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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Prayer God Answers (1 Kings 3:7, 9)

 "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 . . . . So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"

Many who enter politics today "fake it until they make it." They rely on their charisma or support teams to carry them through. Crying out to God isn't even an option. Leading others carries with it grave and great responsibility. It is only as leaders consider their people as God's people will they cry out to God for His wisdom and help.

Moses records a set of regulations in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 that are to guide the behavior of Israel's future kings.
  1. He must not be a foreigner
  2. He shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses
  3. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away
  4. Nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself
  5. He shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. It shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of is life, that he may learn to fear the Lord and be careful to observe all the words of this law and statutes
  6. His heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left.
In other words, he must not be a proud man. Humility in leadership recognizes that the task is too large simply to "wing it." The wisdom of God is required and it is available to humble leaders. Solomon exhibited humility in leadership. Though he was the son of a great king he didn't take his role lightly. He understood that just as David needed the wisdom of God so he too needed the wisdom of God to lead God's people.

David exhorted Solomon one last time before his death, ". . . observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in the ways, and keep the decrees and commands, his laws and requirements as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go . . .." (1 Kings 2:3) The LORD responds to Solomon's request by granting him wisdom. He then places a condition to the gifts of riches and honor, ". . . if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did . . .." (1 Kings 3:14). The LORD and David pointed Solomon to the 5th guideline for choosing a king given in Deuteronomy. Bible literacy accompanies wisdom from God.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: 1 Kings 2:13-3:15; 2 Chronicles 1:1-13
  • Why does Adonijah want to take Abishag as his wife?
  • What does Adonijah's request cost him?
  • Read 1 Samuel 2:31-35. Why does Solomon remove Abiathar from serving as priest?
  • What does this tell you about the promises that God makes to previous generations?
  • What had Joab done years before that has come back to haunt him?
  • What do the stories about Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei all share in common?
  • How does Solomon view the children of Israel and how does this view shape his request?
  • How does God exhibit the wisdom He gives to Solomon?
Psalm 72
  • Describe Solomon's heart for his people and how he planned to use his position as their king.
Turning truth into prayer:
Pray for the President of the United States. Pray that he will see his need for God's wisdom and that he will cry out to God for His wisdom.