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God’s Perspective on Man’s Pursuits

In I Kings 3, Solomon received what was probably the greatest offer ever made. God himself asked Solomon, “What shall I give thee?” Now first of all, we must note that an offer may or may not be valuable depending on the one offering. In other words, if the one offering does not have much, then the offer will be limited and weak and disappointing. In this case, however, the one offering was God himself. Because HE was offering, this offer to Solomon was wide open, giving him access to anything within the resources of God- which happens to be everything.

After the offer was given, Solomon begins to reflect on what he should ask for, which offers to us great insight into the values of Solomon.  In I Kings 3:6-8, we see that Solomon valued mercy, truth, righteousness, and uprightness of heart as displayed in his father David. Solomon humbly recognized his position among God’s people as their leader, realizing that the task of leading was beyond his ability. After processing God’s question, Solomon submits his request, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I Kings 3:9).

In verse 10 we are told that this request pleased the Lord. Verse 11 is key because it is God’s response to Solomon. In his response, the Lord reveals what he would expect to be “typical responses” to this offer. It seems from God’s perspective that if this request were given frequently that people would ask for these three things: “long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies” (I Kings 3:11). I believe this insight into the thinking of God should reveal to us a very important truth. This truth shows how God values wisdom, discernment, and an understanding heart (for which Solomon wisely asked); when, in all reality, God would expect most people to ask for things along the lines of health, wealth, and revenge.

The request for “long life” would be logical to any person, Christian or not, because it prolongs the curse of death to which no one desires to succumb. The request for “riches” is natural, because riches supposedly entitles us to more things, more power, and more security. The request for “the life of thine enemies” would again be a natural and logical attraction, because if all of one’s enemies were annihilated, a person could feel vindicated, justified, and have relative peace.

Because these three items are listed in contrast to Solomon’s wise choice, we could deduce that God sees these three as foolish choices. For one, all of these choices would only be temporary. These requests would be short-sighted and, in the end, leave a person who pursues them no better off with or without them. A second thing to note is that wisdom is contrasted with these three things because wisdom has only one source- God himself. The other three things could be attained from sources outside of an explicit offer from God. Solomon certainly made a good choice by asking for the commodity that was not available from any other source. It was prudent to ask for wisdom from the only vendor who had it! In conclusion, Solomon made a good choice when given the best offer. We glean God’s insight into the typical, common, everyday, earthly kinds of requests that he would expect from common men. If we want to be uncommon in God’s sight, we would be wise to abandon their pursuit and go for the things that only God can give.

-Lyle Musser, Administrator

Posted by Kristen on Oct 8th 2015 | Filed in Uncategorized | Comments Off on God’s Perspective on Man’s Pursuits