The Other Stuff

1Kings 3: 4-5 (the message)
The king went to Gibeon, the most prestigious of the local shrines, to worship. He sacrificed a thousand Whole-Burnt-Offerings on that altar. That night, there in Gibeon, God appeared to Solomon in a dream: God said, “What can I give you? Ask.”

1Kings 3:9 (the message)
“Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?”

How would you like God to personally ask you what He can do for you?  All you have to do is ask?  Does it bring to mind images of a genie in a bottle?  Or a fairy god-mother with her wand…”as you wish!”  God is not a genie or a wish-granting fairy but he did in fact appear to King Solomon in a dream and give him the chance to request anything of God he wanted.  Hmmm…I smell a test.

If it was a test, Solomon passed with flying colors.  Solomon realized the great things God had done in and for him already.  God had given Solomon the throne of Israel, chosen him to follow in David’s place.  Solomon already knew what an honor he had been given.  So, his answer to a request for anything?  “A God-listening heart.”  Wow.  Instead of bending God’s ear to his wishes, Solomon asked God to enable him to hear God’s wishes.  He asked for the ability to discern between good and evil.  My initial thought when I read that was, well it’s not that hard to tell the difference between good and evil!  But…isn’t it?  Solomon, even at this early stage of his reign, realized that as humans we can become confused as to what is really good.  We may think because something or someone feels good that it is.  Or we automatically think if it feels bad or it’s hard on us it’s evil.  We can’t see the bigger picture or what God is trying to do in us and for us. We may be deceived by people or circumstances, especially when we think we can tell the difference on our own. 

I have heard these scriptures before.  I knew the story of God giving Solomon an open-ended “as you wish” and that Solomon asked, in a nutshell, for wisdom.  Today, however, I took a little time with it.  It’s so easy to read scripture and nod my head…Oh Yes!  Yes!!  That is good!  OR…Wow so and so should read this!  Let’s be honest!  Most of the time we read and listen to God’s word with a filter for who we know that needs to hear it, forgetting to open our own spiritual ears! So, this morning as I was in my pj’s on the sofa, before my kids were up and I had a few minutes, I tried to get real with myself.  Of course there are some things I hope for in life, so I went down the list one by one and checked my heart.  Tempting to glide through it and give myself an A+ that of course I want a God-listening heart more than anything else!!  But is that true?  Really?

I challenge you to take a little time and do the same…whatever things in your life you would like to see happen…whatever things you believe you need…even your God-given dreams…what takes top spot in the desires of your heart?  It can be a little scary, huh?  If we let God work in our lives to such a degree that our deepest longing is to know His heart instead of having our heart known…we fear we’ll miss out on something.  So, check this out:

1Kings 3:10-14 (the message)
God, the Master, was delighted with Solomon’s response. And God said to him, “Because you have asked for this and haven’t grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well, I’ll give you what you’ve asked for–I’m giving you a wise and mature heart. There’s never been one like you before; and there’ll be no one after. As a bonus, I’m giving you both the wealth and glory you didn’t ask for–there’s not a king anywhere that will come up to your mark. And if you stay on course, keeping you eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I’ll also give you a long life.”

Sounds a lot like the words of Jesus…Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.  See, we can be so consumed with a set of circumstances that we just know would bring us happiness, fulfillment and contentment.  No doubt God wants us to pray about everything and come to Him with all of our concerns and hopes, large and small.  And really, wanting to know God, to have a “wise and mature heart,” isn’t something we can just turn on like a switch.  You may read this and think it sounds really spiritual but the truth is you don’t care that much about it or you just don’t have any idea how to get there.  All it takes, I believe, is that “mustard seed” size desire and a willingness to take even one step.  Just enough desire in your heart that you would pray the most powerful of all prayers:  “Change my heart, God.”  If you give Him the room in your life to do it I promise He will!  And then, as your desire becomes to know Him, to hear Him, to follow after Him with all you’ve got…you’ll lose focus of all of those “things” and “perfect circumstances” that you were about before.  As God’s presence in your life becomes your fulfillment and contentment He is more than willing, and able, to add anything He wants to your life.  But at that point it won’t matter as much because you will have already found that He is more than enough.

Heavenly Father, I ask for each person who reads this post, as well as myself, that you touch our hearts.  I ask that you change us…that you reveal Yourself to us in such ways that knowing you becomes our greatest desire; our greatest pursuit.  We have nothing to fear from you, God.  You are a wise and loving Father who wants to bless us…please help us to know that letting you change our hearts, giving us a heart that can hear You, is the most fulfilling and prosperous way to live.  God, I ask that your power and presence flow in our lives and touch our hearts to where we are satisfied with nothing less than knowing You more than we did the day before.  Thank you for your love and compassion.  Thank you for your goodness.  Thank you that really, truly, you are far more than enough.  The other stuff is just extra.  In the name of Jesus.

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