How much do you love following The Lord? How much joy does it give you to obey Him, serve Him and please him? I believe that you can tell how much a person earnestly loves God by seeing what it is he wants in life. It becomes evident in the fruit of the Spirit displayed in each person.
Solomon loved the Lord very much. He got pure joy from being His chosen king and servant. We know this because given the chance, what Solomon wanted most was to serve God better. He loved God deeply and he tried to do his best, but he wasn’t perfect in his service. Verses 3-4 read,
“Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. 4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.”
Solomon wanted to please God, but he made his sacrifices at high places. High places were altars to other gods and they were not the altar of the Lord in the tabernacle of the Lord prescribed to be exactly as God intended. But Solomon assumed that as long as his heart worshipped the One True Living God then he was free to worship as he pleased. The Lord understood Solomon’s heart but wanted to elevate him, mature him, and bring him to a better closer knowledge of who He is. So while Solomon was at Gibeon, The Lord came to him in a dream and asked, “What shall I give you.”
Imagine the awesomeness of it. Imagine the magnitude of it. God, the Creator of the entire universe, Solomon’s Lord asked Solomon what it was that He could give him. And Solomon could ask for anything at all and know that God could do it. His palace and the Temple were both still unfinished, he could ask for those to be done. He could ask for riches beyond compare. He could ask for Israel’s enemies to be annihilated. He could ask for a long healthy live with many children. But that is not what he asked for. None of those things entered his request. Verses 6-9 record Solomon’s response.
“And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in.8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
He wanted to be a better king. He wanted the capability to serve God to the best of his ability. God had made him king and Solomon wanted to rule well with understanding and discernment. He wanted wisdom. What was The Lord’s response? Did He say, “Really? You don’t think I’ll give you that as you need it? You don’t think that’s what the prophets are for?” No, He was really pleased by Solomon’s request. It showed Solomon’s love and faith for His father and for his Father. Verses 10-14 say,
“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
God was really pleased with Solomon and his eagerness to serve Him well. So he gave him wisdom greater than anyone before or after him. He also gave him riches and honor even though he didn’t ask for them, and he would live a long life as long as he followed the Lord.
Solomon woke up the next day to find out it was all a dream. He probably wondered if it had been real at all. But the proof of the dream’s authenticity would come. Verse 15 reads,
“And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.”
His first act of wisdom was proper worship, thanksgiving, and sacrifice to God. His wisdom allowed him to see the right thing to do. It was not right to worship The Lord in a manner he didn’t prescribe. It was not right to elevate false gods by sacrificing to the One True Living God in the same place people sacrificed to idols. And with the meat of those sacrifices, Solomon had fellowship with his servants. That was what The Lord specified in Leviticus and that is what Solomon did.
Solomon then had a chance to prove his wisdom to the entire kingdom and surrounding nations. Though proving himself was not his goal, being a good and wise king was his goal, God gave him the honor He had promised. The story goes this way,
“Two prostitutes showed up to see the king. One of the women said, “My master, this woman and I live together. I had a baby and three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone. Her baby died one night when she rolled over on him in her sleep. She got up in the middle of the night and took my son while I was sound asleep and put him at her breast and put her dead son at mine. When I got up in the morning and I looked at him in the morning light, I saw immediately that he wasn’t my baby.”
The other woman retorted “I did no such thing! The living one’s mine; the dead one’s yours.”
The first woman countered, “No! Your son’s the dead one; mine’s the living one.”
They went back and forth arguing in front of the king.
Finally, Solomon had had enough and said, “What are we to do? It’s one’s word against another with no witnesses.” After a moment the king said, “Bring me a sword.” They brought the sword to the king. Then he said, “Cut the living baby in two—give half to one and half to the other.”
That put an immediate halt to the arguing for the mother of the baby. She quickly cried out, “Oh no, master! Give her baby, don’t kill him!”
But the other one said, “If I can’t have him, you can’t have him—cut away!”
King Solomon replied “Give the living baby to the first woman. Nobody is going to kill this baby. She is the real mother.”
Verse 28 reads,
“And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.”
What are the desires of your heart? Do you want more money? Do you long for a family? Do you wish to be famous? Psalm 37:4 is often quoted to encourage people that God will give them everything they want, as if they are the spoiled children of an over-indulgent father. It reads,
“Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Maybe people don’t want to consider what delighting themselves in the Lord really means. Do you truly delight in the Lord if you staunchly refuse to stop sinning? Do you take joy in the Lord if you seek to be rich or do not trust God for your provision? You can’t seek God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind if part of you is yearning for money, or a good reputation. Jesus put it like this in Matthew 6:24-33,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Let’s put the promise of Psalm 37:4 in context, Psalm 37:1-7 read,
“Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!”
To take delight in the Lord is to be like Solomon and desire what God desires. It is to want His heart, to be His friend, to be righteous, and long to serve Him well. Do you really delight in the Lord? Ask for wisdom, ask for Spiritual gifts, ask to be more like Jesus. (James 1:5, 1 Corinthians 12). He will give you the desires of your heart and more.