Monday Morning Devotion-October 10, 2020
A Blank Check from God
God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Today’s devotion is taken from Chapter 33 of my published book: “Monday Morning Devotions.”
I wonder if you and I were given the same opportunity Solomon was given---to ask God for anything we wanted---what we would ask for? The one in control of life and everything in it, is giving Solomon the chance of a lifetime. Solomon can ask for anything he wants.
As far as we can discern , there were no restrictions put on him. Basically, he had a blank check from God. The Almighty didn’t even provide a hint as to what He thought Solomon should ask for.
God didn’t say, like some genie popping out of Aladdin’s lamp, “You have three wishes.” But if I were you, I would ask for _____.” God simply said: “Ask whatever you want, and it will be granted.”
When considering the choices he could make, Solomon realized that he had already been blessed. Just to be King of Israel was a privilege and a direct blessing from God.
The preeminent college football program of the 1990’s was Florida State University. Bobby Bowden’s teams had an unprecedented run that saw them in the Top 4 in rankings for 13 consecutive seasons. Bobby’s boys won two national championships and of the 100 plus teams vying for a spot int the national championship game, FSU played for the crown five times in eight years.
Bobby Bowden admitted that his football program had been blessed. Why? In his book More than a Game, he said he believed it was because he asked for God’s blessings. He didn’t ask God to let him win games. He just asked for God’s blessings on what he does. Sometimes Bowden’s team lost tough ones like the national championship game in 2001, when his heavily favored team lost to Oklahoma. But he always gave credit to the opponent for playing well and being prepared. When he won Bowden was more than gracious and sympathetic to his opponent. God always kept blessing Bowden throughout his long and prosperous life. (Bobby passed away this year at the age of 91.)
Actually, Coach Bowden was asking the same thing from God that Solomon asked for. He wasn’t given the same blank check the king was given. Solomon asked for discernment to carry out his job. He was concerned that without God’s help, he couldn’t handle the difficult job of being king. He wanted the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to follow through on it. Bowden asked for the blessings that will allow him to do the job the way it should be done.
What would we ask for? Money? That seems to be the thing we are always struggling to get. It takes money to live in the modern world. One catastrophic occurrence or illness and we see ourselves changing places with the homeless person who sleeps on the park bench or lives under the bridge or in the woods.
What would we ask for? Fame? Power? Good Health? Well, Solomon seemed to have it all covered in that one request, when he asked for wisdom. In 1 Kings 4:29 it is explained. God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than all the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man.
It pleased God so much that Solomon’s request was for wisdom and not some superficial, short-term request that He made him the wisest man on earth. According to the Quest Study Bible, “the Bible describes two types of wisdom, worldly wisdom, and Godly wisdom. The wisdom of God helps people become more objective in their decision-making. This was the type of wisdom that Solomon asked for and received from God. This is the type of wisdom available to anyone who simply asks God for.
Solomon’s wisdom was dispensed far and wide. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 1 Kings 4:3. He built the temple for God that his father David, was not allowed to build. Men from every nation came to consult with and learn from him. Solomon had it all going for him. He was feeling really good about himself.
But God’s gift of wisdom didn’t mean Solomon was perfect . Just like anyone else he could still make mistakes. He was given great potential, but with it came great responsibility. Like other humans, when the praise and adoration of others began to be heaped on Solomon, he believed it. He started thinking, “Man I’m bad. I’m da man.” He found meaning in life apart from God. In retrospect it’s easy to see what a hopeless pursuit that was. It is natural, when others keep praising you and telling you how great you are, to believe them. It’s easy to take credit for what God has wrought.
Unfortunately, there is not a happy ending to the story of the wisest man whoever lived. Perhaps, Solomon became too comfortable or self-confident and he began, little by little, to turn away from God. He intermarried for political reasons with foreign women and began to follow their gods and customs.
The wisest man on earth had gone ‘brain dead.” We read in 1 Kings 11:11 that God said, as punishment, he would “tear the kingdom away from him and give it to one of his subordinates.
Solomon’s life is an example that contentment in this life is temporary. True contentment and security can only come through a personal relationship with God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, it is scary to realize that the wisest man who ever lived, erred so greatly that he lost a kingdom. His example shows us that we can never be wise enough to go it alone. We must daily seek Your counsel and follow your advice even if it seems we have a blank check to do what we want to do. Amen!