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Winning Souls, part 2
Over the last week or so, I have been reading about the life of Solomon in 1 Kings . Solomon does exactly what James suggests: He asks God for wisdom. 1 Kings 3:5-12 “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 Now, O Lord my God, you have made Your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart (wisdom) to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”
I have always been interested in this account where Solomon asked God for wisdom (discerning heart). God often appears to men and says, “What do you want me to give you.” There are some very important points that Solomon brings up in justifying his request for wisdom he says,He could have asked for anything and yet he says, “Give me wisdom.” Why did he do that? He tells us that there are basically two reasons behind his choice,
1. “Let Your promise to my father David be confirmed.”Solomon so loved his father that even after his death he wanted the promise God had made to David to be fulfilled through him.
2.Secondly he wanted to be a good minister/king, “That I may lead this people.”
God gave him his request plus more. He asked for wisdom and though he received that, God also gave him riches and honor to where no man was his equal.
The Scriptures go on to tell us that He spoke three thousand proverbs and wrote over a thousand songs. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom. Can you imagine that? People came from around the world just to hear his wisdom. Have you ever said, “Once I get to heaven I’m going to ask God about…?” That’s kind of what was going on here. People knew that Solomon could give an answer to their questions so they sought him out.
Solomon was no ordinary man. In that light, in light of the fact that he had God given wisdom, I want us to consider what he said about soul winning “he who wins souls is wise.” This is great advice from Solomon’s pen. Did you know that at one time Solomon said, “I acquired all that my eyes have seen and I denied myself nothing.” He had searched into all the avenues of men’s pursuits.
He was a great experimenter. He amassed wealth beyond all others. 1 Kings 10:10 “And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.” 120 talents of gold equals 4 ½ tons. At $1,400 an ounce for gold that would add up to roughly 202 million dollars’ worth of gold in today’s market.
1 Kings 10:14 “The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, 15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.” That would be well over 3 billion dollars a year just in gold. Remember what God told him in verse 13, “I will give you what you have not asked for — both riches and honor.” This was given to him because he asked for wisdom rather than wealth. Then God concludes His thoughts in verse 13– “… in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”
Medication: A Merry Heart
While serving as church usher, I was carrying out our tradition of escorting parishioners to their seats before the service began. After I returned to the entrance of the sanctuary to escort the next party, I greeted two strangers and asked where they would like to sit.
Looking a bit confused, the young man smiled and said, “Non-smoking, please.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Isaiah 58:10-11 ESV
Today’s readings: Exodus 22 – 24