My pastor recently delivered a mini-word on the subject of aiming at a target. He told a story about a farmer who always hit the bull’s eye with his bow and arrow…because he painted the bull’s eye around wherever his arrow landed. My pastor said that sometimes with His seasoned children, God asks them what the desire of their heart is and then tells them to pursue it, trusting that He will give them the necessary grace and provision to see it through.
Well, you might see that as an encouraging word but it scared the daylights out of me! I don’t know what I want! And even if I did, the last time I really wanted something with all my heart, God said “No,” so why should I lay my heart on the line again? Well, for the same reason any child should do what their parents say: “Because Daddy said so.”
Truth be told, I did know what I wanted. I didn’t know that I knew, because I had buried it in the back of the file cabinet under the label, “Unrealistic, Illogical, & Impossible.” During my fearful pity party of soul-searching, I thought about Solomon and how God offered him whatever he wanted and Solomon knew right away what to say. My first thought was envy (he knew what he wanted and he was bold enough to ask). Now that I’ve manned up and admitted to the Lord out loud what I want, I’m revisiting this episode in the life of the king with a different heart: What can I learn?
So today, we’re going to do a little digging in 2 Chronicles 1.
Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
Solomon was only able to take his rightful place because the LORD a. was his personal God and b. equipped him to do so by being right there with him.
Then Solomon spoke to all Israel–to the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, to the judges and to all the leaders in Israel, the heads of families– and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God’s Tent of Meeting was there, which Moses the LORD’s servant had made in the desert. Now David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon in front of the tabernacle of the LORD; so Solomon and the assembly inquired of him there.
Solomon and those under his leadership went out to worship the LORD, even though his father David had brought the Ark in to them. Solomon followed the footsteps of Moses and Joshua, making the effort of going out to meet with God. The significant thing in this instance is that it was the altar Solomon was after, the place of sacrifice. He didn’t only want the presence of the Living God, the blessing and favor; he chose to go to the place where something was required of him and worshiped at cost to himself.
Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the LORD in the Tent of Meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
Solomon was desperate. A thousand burnt offerings? That was more than enough for the entire capitol city. Solomon gave generously out of his abundance, yes, but also I think out of a desperation to hear from God. Let’s face it, a thousand anythings is an attempt to get someone’s attention. Solomon wanted God’s.
Solomon had a plan. He didn’t go to the altar, sacrifice and pray, then wait for God to do the rest. Solomon had a purpose and a plan in meeting with God. He knew his need and he had it ready to lay before the LORD when He showed up.
“You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Solomon praised God. He reminded God of His promise and prior faithfulness. He acknowledged the honor that God had bestowed on him. And quite importantly, He didn’t ask for something for his own sake, but for something crucial to the Father’s plan. He asked for the ability to live out his purpose, to fulfill God’s plan for his life, and admitted his own miserable inability to do so on his own.
God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.“
God was so pleased with Solomon’s heart, He not only gave him his heart’s desire, but also all the things he could have asked for. Solomon was was undoubtedly tempted to ask for them, but things he knew that, though they may be blessings, they were secondary to the Source.
….The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills….
Solomon blessed others by his heart. Because he asked for what the LORD desired him to have, his cup ran over and poured blessing onto the people he had asked for the capability to bless in the first place.
I think that God wasn’t challenging me to figure out what I wanted just so I could chase my dream and have “the life I always wanted.” I think He’s challenging me to trust Him for the impossible, for the things that I can’t do on my own, to trust that His grace is sufficient in my weakness. He’s telling me that I’ve gotten comfortable and now it’s time to stretch again, to get out of my boat and onto the waves and fix my eyes on Him. I guess it’s time to get my feet wet….