WHEN OVERWHELMED BY RESPONSIBILITIES
Week of August 5, 2007
Bible Verses: 1 Kings 3:1-15..
Biblical Truth: God delights in giving His people the wisdom they need to manage the responsibilities He assigns them.
Turn to the Lord: 1 Kings 3:1-4.
 Then Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem.  The people were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days.  Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.  The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. [NASU]
 Solomon's name comes from the Hebrew
word shalom which means
"peace," and during his reign, the kingdom was at peace with its
neighbors. His father, David, had risked his life on the battle-field to defeat
enemy nations and claim their lands for
Solomon is remembered as the king during whose reign the
temple was built [chapters. 5-7]. His alliance with Hiram, king of
Though he wasn't a warrior himself, Solomon was concerned
about the security of the land. He expanded and strengthened the protective
wall or embankment that David had begun to build [2 Sam. 5:9]. Solomon had a
special interest in horses and chariots and built stables in special
"chariot cities" [4:26; 9:17-19; 10:26-29]. He also built "storage
cities" in strategic places [9:15-19; 2 Chron. 8:1-6]. At that time,
[2-4] Solomon certainly made a good beginning, for
he loved the Lord, walking in the
statutes of his father David ; but a good beginning doesn't guarantee a
good ending. God desired that the people of
Focus on what’s important: 1 Kings 3:5-9.
 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.”  Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.  Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.  Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.  So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” [NASU]
 The assembly lasted all day and the people
remained at Gibeon for the night, including King Solomon. God seems pleased at
Solomon’s piety, for the Lord appears in a dream and tells the king to ask for
whatever he wants. The Lord's command and question were a revelation of God's
grace as well as a test of Solomon's heart. (The word "ask" is found
eight times in this passage.) What people ask for usually reveals what they
really desire, and what they desire depends on how they envision their life's
calling. Had Solomon been a warrior, he might have asked for victory over his
enemies; but he saw himself as a youthful leader who desperately needed wisdom
so he could adequately serve God's chosen people. He had succeeded
 Solomon prefaces his request by acknowledging
the continuation of his father’s covenant with God. The fact that he rules
[7-9] In light of the greatness of the Lord’s relationship with David, Solomon humbles himself before the Lord (note the repetition of the word “servant”). He admits that God is the cause of his rise to power. Further, he says he is but a small child who does not know how to carry out his duties of leadership. Here Solomon acknowledges his utter dependence on God. In contrast to his own personal and experiential lack of stature, Solomon must lead a people whose greatness is first measured by the fact that they were chosen by God. Solomon now becomes the head of the nation once led by Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and David. According to Deut. 17:14-20, he must embody God’s standards for the people.
Walk in God’s ways: 1 Kings 3:10-15.
 It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.  God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice,  behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.  I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.  If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.”  Then Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and made peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants. [NASU]
[10-13] God is pleased with Solomon’s attitude for it showed that the king was concerned with serving God and His people by knowing and doing God’s will. Though Solomon could have asked for selfish favors such as wealth, long life, or revenge, he desires the ability to help others. Thus, in the first of four revelations to Solomon, God not only agrees to grant the request but makes promises beyond what Solomon imagined. He will indeed have a wise and discerning heart, one that will set him apart for all times. Solomon’s wisdom will exceed those before and after him. Further, though he did not ask for wealth and fame, these blessings will be his as well. What all kings want, yet rarely achieve, Solomon will have because of God’s answer to his prayer.
[14-15] All Solomon must do to secure these blessings
is to follow David’s example of adherence to the Sinai covenant. If he keeps
the statutes and commandments, Solomon will honor his father and thereby
have a long life. This reference to Exodus 20:12 underscores the continuity of
God’s covenant with
When the king awakes from this life-changing dream, the king seals the agreement. He returns to Jerusalem and goes to the tent that housed the ark of the covenant and there offered more sacrifices. The ark represented the presence of God among His people and the rule of God over His people [Psalm 80:1; 99:1]. Solomon acknowledged the sovereign rule of God over his own life and the life of the nation. In other words, Solomon knew that he was second in command, it was when he started to forget that basic truth that he got himself into trouble.
Questions for Discussion:
1. Did you notice the element of sadness in verse 3? Solomon loved the Lord except. As we read on in Solomon’s life, we will see all the consequences that derive from this “except” [see 11:1-13]. What “excepts” exist in your love for God?
2. In verses 5-9, we see the best of Solomon. Note the repetition of “servant” and Solomon’s focus on all the things that God has done. Make a list of what Solomon says about God and then what he says about himself. What does Solomon ask God for? How does this reveal Solomon’s desires at this time in his life?
3. How does God answer Solomon’s request? Note the conditional element (“if” in verse 14) of Solomon’s kingship (see also 6:11-12; 9:3-9; 11:11-13).
1, 2 Kings, Paul House, NAC, Broadman.
The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament , Warren W. Wiersbe.