1Kings 3:5-15

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 26, 2002


There once was this guy that got a dirty old lamp for his birthday. He cleaned it up and POOF!--out popped a genie! “I shall give you three wishes. You may have anything you like.” So the guys thinks for a minute and says, “I would like a billion dollars.” “You shall have it,” and the genie grants him the wish. “Anything else?” The guy thinks for a while. “I would like a VW Bug with A/C, power locks, power windows, you know the works.” “Your wish is my command. What is your last wish?” “Hmmm. I think I’ll save it for a rainy day.” “OK, suit yourself,” says the genie. So the guy gets in his new VW and goes for a drive to show all his friends. He turns on the radio. There’s a very familiar commercial on. The guy starts singing to it: “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener.”

:5 the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream

What is about to happen is happening in a dream. This doesn’t make it any less real. God is going to speak to Solomon in this dream.

:5 God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

Almost sounds as if Solomon picked up a magic lamp and rubbed it. Not quite.


God is not your genie in the bottle

I do not believe that God would have given Solomon anything he asked for. I do believe that God was testing Solomon. God was looking to see what Solomon’s heart was like.
Maturity in the Christian life is all about learning to live according to God’s will, not about getting God to do things your way.
Some of us came to the Lord when we had gone through very difficult times.
Many of us have experienced what David wrote about when he said,

(Psa 34:4 KJV) I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

It can be pretty thrilling when God answers some of those prayers from an impossible situation.

But we make a mistake when we start thinking that we’ve found that magic rabbit’s foot that will always get us out of every tight circumstance.

You’re going to be extremely disappointed when God doesn’t give you every “wish” you make.

He is God. He is Lord. He is the Creator. You are not.
I think that some people have this idea that God is anxiously waiting to hear every word come off their lips so He can take careful notes and then quickly obey their every command.

I think they must have a concept that God is some kind of weak person that needs to be told what to do.

Boy, will they be surprised when they finally see God face to face.
God’s purpose for your life is to get you to conform your life towards His ways.
God’s desire is that we ALWAYS learn to pray as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane,

(Luke 22:42 KJV) Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

:6 Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee

mercycheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

Solomon uses three words to characterize David’s life:

truth‘emeth – firmness, faithfulness, truth

righteousness[email protected] – justice, righteousness; righteous acts

uprightnessyishrah – uprightness; from yashar – straight, upright, correct, right

Some of the new versions translate this as:

(NLT) he was honest and true and faithful to you.
(ICB) He obeyed you. He was honest and lived right.

Solomon sounds as if God has rewarded David for these things by setting Solomon on the throne.

Yet if you look carefully at these words, do these words really describe David as we’ve come to know him?

David wasn’t always a man of truth. He lied to Uriah.
David wasn’t always a man of righteousness. He committed adultery with Bathsheba.
David wasn’t always upright in all he did. He acted out of pride when he numbered Israel.
These were the three things that time would record as being David’s sins.


Count on God’s mercy

If any of us were to have to count on the good things we’ve done in order to deserve things, we’d be sunk.
The one thing we CAN count on is God’s mercy.
Mercy is when God doesn’t give you what you deserve (which is judgment) and instead He gives you what you don’t deserve (which is grace).
I believe there is a sense in which we are going to be blessed and will prosper as we walk in obedience to the Lord. I don’t believe that being obedient to the Lord is a waste of time.
But the thing we ought to look for and expect is God’s mercy, not rewards for being good.
Some of you may be feeling as if you could never expect to be close to God because of the things you’ve done. You need to taste God’s mercy.
God’s greatest love and mercy for us were shown at the cross, when Jesus gave His life for a world of lost sinners.

:6 and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son

kindnesscheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

For the first time, the entire kingdom of Israel has passed peaceably from one king to the next.

:7 I am but a little child:

Some say that Solomon is anywhere from twelve to twenty years old.

littleqatan – young, small, insignificant, unimportant

childna‘ar – a boy, lad, servant, youth, retainer

How old was Solomon?

John Gill says that the Jewish tradition was that Solomon became king at the age of twelve.

But if this was so, the Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was born when Solomon was eleven years old (1Ki. 3:5).

Others say Solomon might be as old as twenty years old (Keil & Delitzsch).

:7 I know not how to go out or come in.

to go outyatsa’ – to go out, come out, exit, go forth

come inbow’ – to go in, enter, come, go, come in

This is a Hebrew expression used to describe a leader of the people. It seems to come from the picture of a shepherd who leads his flocks in and out of the sheepfold. Moses uses it to describe what a leader ought to do when he asks God for someone to replace him (which would be Joshua).

(Num 27:15-17 KJV) And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, {16} Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, {17} Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

This phrase was used to describe David, the shepherd of Israel, a number of times (1Sam. 18:13, 16; 29:6; 2Sam. 5:2)

1Sa 18:13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

1Sa 18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

1Sa 29:6 ¶ Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, [as] the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host [is] good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.

2Sa 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

Solomon is saying that he doesn’t feel like he knows how to lead this nation.


Usefulness starts with inadequacy

Quite a few of the people God has used the most have all suffered from feelings of inadequacy.
When God called Isaiah, he said,
(Isa 6:5 KJV) Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
When God called Jeremiah, he said,
(Jer 1:6 KJV) Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
When God called Moses, he responded by saying,
(Exo 3:11 KJV) Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

Moses and God went back and forth to the point where God even got a little upset with Moses because he was so reluctant.

If God has called you to do something, don’t be afraid of those times when you feel utterly useless and inadequate.
That may make you the most useful to God because you will learn to trust Him the most.
One of the things that God calls us to do is to share the good news about Jesus Christ with other people. That is one of the things that many of us feel very inadequate about.
But look at the example of John 4, when Jesus and His disciples came to a city of Samaria. The professionals (the disciples) were sent into the city and they just came back with lunch for Jesus. When the amateur (the woman) went back to the city, she came back bringing the ENTIRE city to Jesus.

:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad

judgeshaphat – to judge, govern, vindicate, punish

One of a king’s major job responsibilities was to act as the final judge in civil and criminal matters. He was the “supreme court” of the land.

discernbiyn – to discern, understand, consider.

Solomon will have to make lots of judgment calls, not being able to tell which person is lying and which person is telling the truth. If you’ve ever spent time doing jury duty, there will be times when it’s very difficult to tell who is telling the truth.

Solomon will shortly be faced with one of those most famous cases, where two prostitutes have a dispute as to who is the mother of a certain baby.

Here, the word is in the Hiphil form, which means “to understand; to cause to understand, give understanding, teach”. Though all the major translations have “discern” here, but I think the idea of “teach” is important as well.

As a leader, Solomon would need to not just make judgments, but also teach the people what is right and what is wrong.


Ask for answers

God wants to give us wisdom as well.
(James 1:5-8 NLT) If you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. {6} But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. {7} People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. {8} They can't make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.
Sometimes we don’t think we need that much wisdom.
When Joshua was faced with these foreign ambassadors from a distant country (Josh 9) with old, moldy bread, it seemed like an obvious thing to make a treaty with these people, but it really was a mistake.
(Josh 9:14 NLT) So the Israelite leaders examined their bread, but they did not consult the LORD.
How does God give us the answers?
One way is through His Word.
(Psa 119:98-100 KJV) Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. {99} I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. {100} I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

:10 the speech pleased the Lord


Passing the test

pleasedyatab – to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad
Solomon was taking a test. He passed the test.
Sometimes it seems as if the tests in life are just way too hard.
Job Tests
I came across some sample tests proposed for various types of jobs. See if these sound familiar.
CHEMISTRY: You will be given 1 lb. of lead to convert to gold. Return it to the test administrator along with the only copy of the experimental procedure.
ENGINEERING: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili, next to the box. In ten minutes a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.
EPISTEMOLOGY: Take a position for and against truth. Argue with yourself and lose. If you win, keep trying.
MEDICINE: Your test administrator will provide you with a razor blade, a piece of gauze and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have 15 minutes.
Sometimes what can seem like the greatest opportunity (a genie in a bottle) can really be our biggest test.

A man is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie. The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.” The man says “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand. He continues, “Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him. He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.

How do I pass God’s tests? Find out what He wants from you.

:13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked


Get your priorities right

The whole reason God blesses Solomon is because Solomon has his priorities right, at least for the moment.
(Mat 6:24-34 KJV) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. {25} Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? {26} Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? {27} Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? {28} And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: {29} And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. {30} Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? {31} Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? {32} (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. {33} But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. {34} Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Put God’s ways at the top of your list of priorities.
Don’t think this means that you shouldn’t work at earning a living.

One of the things at the top of God’s list of things for you to do is to work.

But put your pursuit of God as a higher priority than your pursuit for stuff.
My mom used to tell me, “You always have time for the things that are important”. She’d tell me that when I’d say that I didn’t have time to clean my room, or something like that.
Do you make time for the things that God considers important in your life?

:15 it was a dream … he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark … made a feast to all his servants

Why does Solomon go to the Ark? God told Moses:

(Exo 25:22 KJV) And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

God hangs out at the Ark.
I think that Solomon’s dreams was one of those “God Moments”.  But he didn’t want to just settle for a dream.  He knows how to draw close to God, and it’s at the Ark.  He doesn’t want to settle for just a dream.
I think it’s interesting that another result of this “God Moment” was that Solomon shared with his servants.  He had to tell somebody.

Don’t worship from afar. God has told us how to come near to Him. And it’s clearer now than it’s ever been. It’s through Jesus.

(John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Don’t just settle for a dream. Open your heart to the Savior.