Title: Wealth or Wisdom?
Text: 1 Kings 3:1-15
(After his father, King David died, Solomon was anointed as the next king of Israel. What influence did David have on his son? After becoming king, this is what Solomon recognized he needed to do because of what his father taught him.)
Solomon arranged a marriage contract with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He married Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the City of David until he had completed building his royal palace and God’s Temple and the wall around Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the people were worshiping at local shrines because at that time no temple had yet been built to the Name of God.
Solomon loved God and continued to live in the God-honoring ways of David his father, except that he also worshiped at the local shrines, offering sacrifices and burning incense.
The king went to Gibeon, the most prestigious of the local shrines, to worship. He sacrificed a thousand Whole-Burnt-Offerings on that altar. That night, there in Gibeon, God appeared to Solomon in a dream:
God said, “What can I give you? Ask.”
Solomon said, “You were extravagantly generous in love with David my father, and he lived faithfully in your presence, his relationships were just and his heart right. And you have persisted in this great and generous love by giving him—and this very day!—a son to sit on his throne. And now here I am: God, my God, you have made me, your servant, ruler of the kingdom in place of David my father. I’m too young for this, a mere child! I don’t know the ropes, hardly know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of this job. And here I am, set down in the middle of the people you’ve chosen, a great people—far too many to ever count. Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?”
God, the Master, was delighted with Solomon’s response. And God said to him, “Because you have asked for this and haven’t grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well, I’ll give you what you’ve asked for— I’m giving you a wise and mature heart. There’s never been one like you before; and there will be no one after. As a bonus, I’m giving you both the wealth and glory you didn’t ask for—there’s not a king anywhere who will come up to your mark. And if you stay on course, keeping your eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I’ll also give you a long life.”
Solomon woke up—what a dream! He returned to Jerusalem, took his place before the Chest of the Covenant of God, and worshiped by sacrificing Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings. Then he laid out a banquet for everyone in his service.
Truth: Wisdom is the greatest gift anyone can receive from God. Wealth is man-made, and can be lost or stolen or wasted foolishly. Wisdom is the gift of knowing right from wrong, and good from evil. Wealth is found in more places than in gold or silver. Wealth is measured in how people respond to you and trust their lives with you. And, that is where wisdom comes in. Wisdom helps you to understand the importance and power of wealth and how to use it wisely, not selfishly.
Thoughts: If you had but one request from God, what would be the right thing to ask for to change your life? Wealth or Wisdom? Most men or women would ask for money, power and riches. But without wisdom all the money, power and riches would be lost, wasted or stolen in time. With wisdom you will know how to handle wealth, and realize real wealth is not something you can deposit in a bank. It is not defined by the car you drive or the big home you live in. Wealth is best measured by your circle of friends, family, and those who are touched by your life, even if you never know them personally. Wisdom and wealth are connected because it is godly wisdom that helps you share your influence upon others that determines your genuine wealth in life.
It is important to listen carefully to what God said to Solomon, “And if you stay on course, keeping your eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I’ll also give you a long life.” God was sharing the KEY to wisdom and wealth: obeying and loving God first with all your life choices. IF you choose rightly, God promises that He will give you a long and happy life.
Some of the richest men in this world are never listed on the world’s list of wealthiest men, because the world measures wealth by money, gold and how much property someone owns. God measures wealth by how many lives are touched and influenced for good and right reasons. A great story to watch every Christmas holiday season that reveals this truth is the story of “Scrooge in the Christmas Carol.” See how his life was changed. He became a wise and wealthy man after he realized life is not measured by the money in your bank.