King Solomon was one of the wisest, wealthiest and weirdest people to ever live. This verse in 1 Kings sums it up, and this will be our theme verse for this series of posts.
“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 1 Kings 10:23-24 NIV
This man was an incredible figure in history and in the nation of Israel. First, let’s go through some basic facts about Solomon.
Solomon was the third king over Israel. His father, David, was an incredible king and man. David is most known now for writing most of the book of Psalms. Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba with whom David had an adulterous affair. There was a baby produced from that affair that ended up passing away. To cover up the affair, David had Bathsheba’s husband killed. There was lots of major problems and dysfunction in Solomon’s family and much controversy surrounding who he was because of who his mom was.
Solomon was about 20 years old when he took over the kingdom. He was immediately saddled with one of the largest construction projects in human history, building the first temple in Jerusalem. In today’s money, it would have cost somewhere around 150 billion dollars. Solomon also built a palace in Jerusalem, fortified the city walls and changed the landscape of the nation of Israel.
Solomon established a variety of trade relations and treaties. He had a shipping fleet and brought incredible wealth to the nation of Israel. He established a formal taxation process with 12 different provinces that would each provide for the palace. He put systems and structures in place that the nation had never seen.
Finally, he was filled with wisdom. He wrote three books of the Bible found in the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.
The Bible also depicts his failures, like marrying 700 different women and on top of that having 300 concubines. These divisions in his heart eventually led his life into a place of idolatry that left behind a broken kingdom. At his height, he was wise. But he didn’t start that way.
Today we’re going to study 1 Chronicles 22. This is David passing the kingdom to Solomon and here is his introduction.
David: “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations.” 1 Chronicles 22:5 NIV
Now, this introduction to the nation was quite a statement telling people that their next leader is young and inexperienced. The word “young” here meant he was untested, never been in any leadership role. While the word “inexperienced” would have been used to reference the type of cattle you would kill if you wanted a really good steak, soft, tender and weak.
So David is saying to the nation of Israel, here’s your next leader, he’s about 20, untested, never had to make a difficult decision, never been in leadership and he’s soft.
David is announcing him as untested, yet there’s a reason because he is supposed to build God’s temple of great magnificence. We can learn from this because God has a plan for us yet, many of us identify with Solomon’s weakness.
Out of our weakness, God builds greatness.
We recognize that none of us are kings over a nation and tasked with building the temple in Jerusalem, but God does have a calling on our life. He has given us people with whom we have influence. He’s given us opportunities. Even in our weakness God can be strong and be glorified.
The Christian is not one who says, “I’m growing to be more competent and strong every day.”
The Christian is one who says, “I’m becoming increasingly aware of how weak and incompetent I really am and how strong and competent Jesus was, and continues to be for me through His spirit.”
There are things that God has called us to grow in and called us to do, but this is a life-time journey of seeing God’s grace be sufficient for us in the midst of our weakness.
So let’s take a look at some of the principles that helped Solomon in the midst of his weakness as David is imparting to him the building of the temple and leading the nation of Israel.
You have to have clarity about what it is you are called to do. David is delivering this clarity, this vision to Solomon.
“‘…the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.’ So David made extensive preparations before his death. 6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. 7 David said to Solomon: ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. 8 But this word of the Lord came to me: You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. 9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, his name will be Solomon 10 He is the one who will build a house for my Name.'” 1 Chronicles 22:5-10 NIV
Solomon is learning about a prophecy David had before Solomon was even born. He’s giving Solomon this incredible clarity and vision. Solomon understood the need for clarity.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18 KJV
Most people who are physically fit have a lot of clarity in how that happened. Parents of well behaved kids have a lot of clarity about how that happened. People who are debt free have a lot of clarity about how that happened. People who quit smoking or drinking have a lot of clarity about how it happened. Meaning, most of them will not tell you, “I don’t know, it just happened.”
They had a clear vision, they worked a plan. For many of us, we have these ideas, but no clarity. But it takes clarity, it takes vision to have a strong marriage, to be closer to God. It take clarity to be kinder, to respond well, to excel at our jobs or have a great family. But clarity begins even earlier than that.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
If you’re hurting or suffering or in your darkest moments, God has a great plan for your life. Plans to give you a hope and future.
The problem is that often times we interpret messages like this through the lens of Hollywood. We have been led to believe this principle, but removed the God aspect. When we hear about a vision for our life, our natural tendency is to ask, “What do I want to do?” Because the world has told us, deep within our heart lies our purpose.
That’s not what this verse says. It’s not about my plans, but God’s plans. We cannot remove the God part of this.
We are not using God to accomplish our plan; God is using us to accomplish His plan.
Many of us really see ourselves as the main character of our own story. We’ve fallen prey to a false gospel that says God exists to make my dreams come true. You may even falsely hear, if I press into God he’ll do good things for me. He’s obligated to keep me from all trouble and adversity. That’s not the gospel. You’ll end up drifting away from the Lord but that’s not what the Lord said.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” Matthew 16:24 NIV
Don’t embrace yourself, die to yourself. If you want to have clarity in life, don’t look within yourself, look to your Creator. Let’s submit to Him and follow Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways SUBMIT to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
There are many times you’ll be confused in life. Do you want clarity for life? You’ll have to get to the place where you settle in your heart that God has the right to be God. We can’t accomplish much at this church until you and I say, “God’s word is right and true. The same yesterday, today and forever.”
When God has an opinion, we will submit to his opinion. If you really want God’s plan for your life, in all your ways submit to him.
Submission isn’t submission until you have to submit.
Until God says something we don’t like, we’re just hanging out. Then he asks us to do something hard and all of the sudden it’s submission, it’s trust, it’s obedience, it’s a relationship, because we need to do something in hopes of a straight path.
Solomon is receiving clarity from his father. Solomon could have chosen a better plan. He would not be the man God called him to be. Solomon submits to the clarity. He teaches us in all our ways submit to him.
Not only do we have to have clarity for the race we’ve been called to run, we have to be teachable in the process.
“May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.” 1 Chronicles 22:12 NIV
At this point, David has told him what to do. To which Solomon may have been tempted to rewrite his own plan now that he’s in charge.
There’s a lot of that in our day, isn’t there? In the information age, we have more and more information at younger and younger ages but it’s just that, information.
We can know all the information, but it’s not wisdom until the information has been tested.
Solomon chose to be teachable. He understood he could learn a lot from his dad’s failings and the wisdom his dad had gained through a repentant, teachable heart. The thing about teachability, you’re never going to have a perfect teacher, because we’re all broken. If you never humble yourself to learn from a broken person, you’ll never learn because we’re all imperfect.
“Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the Lord in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it. 7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’ 8 Solomon answered God, ‘You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place.10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?’” 2 Chronicles 1:6-8, 10 NIV
We know Solomon is teachable because the moment he has the opportunity to receive something from God, he asks for the very thing his father told him he needed, wisdom.
We need the principle of humility, teachability.
Teachability is the ability to learn what you think you already know.
So often we think we have it all figured out. If you’re going to make it in the journey God has for you, you have to be teachable.
Solomon has a lot of reasons to be afraid and discouraged. He’s young, he’s never led anyone and he has a big project on his hands. All of these things are being put on him.
Do you have things put upon you that you didn’t ask for?
Family dynamics, a financial situation, marital problems? You don’t ask for many of the problems you face. You need a source and well of encouragement deeper than you.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” 1 Chronicles 22:13 NIV
For 22 years Solomon was in construction. There was a lot to be afraid of and David told him be strong and courageous. Strong is the idea of urgency. Courageous is the idea of bold. Have a sense of urgency and take some risks. If you ever submit to God and then follow him, there will be resistance. There will be times when you want to give up and cash in. If it were easy, everybody would do it.
Very few do because very few have a tenacious spirit that can be strong in the face of resistance. The fact is, it’s very likely you won’t reach 100% of your goal the first time out. There will be critics and opportunities for discouragement. Sometimes those voices are loudest on the inside, especially when dealing with a weakness.
But be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or discouraged.
It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, it matters how many times you try.
People who have overcome addictions have a saying, “Just keep quitting.” Just because it’s not working right now doesn’t mean God hasn’t called you to it. Just because you’re facing resistance doesn’t mean it’s not the path God has for you.
“…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” Proverbs 24:16 NIV
You will have what the world calls failures, setbacks or adversity. It turns out – that was the plan. If we keep getting up, God’s plans and purposes will prevail.
“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God…” 1 Chronicles 22:19 NIV
You’d think with a project this size, Solomon would say, “Give you’re heart and soul to building the temple.” What he says instead was, as they pursue God’s plan for their lives, while they are in the business of building the sanctuary, that business, family, calling, or ministry.
Am I devoted to the sanctuary or the Savior?
Because it’s easy to get a vision from God and to have a teachable spirit and become very passionate and go out trying to live for God instead of doing life with God.
That’s not what the Lord intended. He wants to be in relationship with us. He wants to walk with us. At the end of the day it’s important that we know Him.
The vision, the weakness becoming great is a byproduct of living with Him. From that flows clarity, the teachability, the tenacity and purity.
Quickly check back on your discussion from last week, “Why The Bible Can Be Trusted.” How has that message and conversation helped you to appreciate the trustworthiness of the Bible? Were there any action steps or questions that need to be revisited?
This weekend we began a 4 week series covering the life of Solomon, including his rise to kingship over Israel, his accumulation of wealth and wisdom, and his horrible demise. While Solomon began his kingship full of God’s great blessings, the king’s disobedient choices eventually revealed that God is true to his word to punish those who serve idols. King Solomon had it all and failed in so many ways, but he found restoration in the arms of God.
“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” 1 Kings 10:23-24
Discussion & Application
Read: 1 Chronicles 22
Solomon had great weaknesses, but God wanted to redeem those and use them for his own purpose. Four qualities that God uses to redeem our weakness:
- Clarity — Solomon was given a clear vision to build the temple. Have you ever felt a clear vision regarding a project in your life? Maybe it had to do with your time, work, a degree, finances, a relationship. Why is clarity so important? What does the enemy do to distort and cloud our clarity?
- Teachability — When Solomon asked God for wisdom, Solomon was showing he was teachable as he took his father’s advice. How have you seen teachability be the difference between success and failure? What makes you want to listen to someone’s advice? What makes you want to disregard someone’s advice?
- Tenacity — “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, it matters how many times you try.” The fact is, we often give up too soon. How have tenacity served you well in your life? Where do you need to remember to be strong and courageous? Proverbs 24:16, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” Where have you fallen that, by God’s Spirit, you can rise again?
- Purity — “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God…” How can a goal help us stay devoted to the savior? Would you say you’re more devoted to the “sanctuary” or the “savior?”
If you haven’t already, ask for prayer requests from the group and pray for one another. Pray specifically for the four character qualities from the message.
This weekend we’ll be celebrating baptisms in all five weekend services. Have you been baptized? If you’re considering it, you can find more information or signup HERE.