1 Kings 3:3-16; 4:2-34
And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.
Ask what I shall give thee. THE PRAYER OF SOLOMON IS THE TYPE OF TRUE PRAYER. We learn from it
(1) The power of prayer;
(2) The condition on which it is granted;
(3) Its result.
I. THE POWER. "Prayer," said Adolphe Monod, "sets in motion the whole power of God." The words of God to Solomon show us this Almighty power, placing itself, as it were, at the disposition of human weakness. When the Son of God came to earth, taking upon Himself our frail humanity, that He might perfectly sympathize with all its woes, He spoke in the same way to the poor blind Bartimaeus: "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" (Mark 10:51). Before going back to heaven He addressed the same language to His disciples: "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you" (John 16:23). Let us then ask all that we need with holy boldness, for it is God Himself who bids us do so. Like the father of the prodigal son, He always comes to meet us. Our hopes and desires can never be so large as His promises. We truly honour Him when we make His love the measure of our trust.
II. THE CONDITIONS ON WHICH OUR PRAYERS ARE GRANTED ARE:
(a) Full trust in this infinite love, and grateful remembrance of favours received: "Thou hast showed unto David my father great mercy and hast given him a son to sit on his throne" (ver. 6).
(b) The consciousness of our own helplessness and weakness: "I am but as a little child, and know not how to go out or come in" (ver. 7).
(c) The precedence given to spiritual over temporal gifts: "Give thy servant an understanding heart" (ver. 9). Prayer is not intended to bring to us at once all material prosperity. Such an answer to prayer might be often injurious, hardening the heart, and depriving us of the salutary discipline of trial. If the thing we sought beyond all else was material prosperity, we should be mere mercenaries. We are always heard, but not always in the way we desire, so far as our earthly life is concerned. But when we ask of God a new and understanding heart, we are asking that which He is pledged to grant, for it is written: "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not."
III. THE RESULT OF THE PRAYER OF SOLOMON was not only the spiritual grace he sought, but also the prosperity and glory of his reign. "I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked" (ver. 13). There is a general application both to individuals and nations of the words of Christ: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33), with the exception of afflictions, which may be necessary as discipline, and on the condition that we walk in the ways of the Lord (ver. 14), for the mercy of God, free as it is, is still bound up with His holiness, and cannot suffer the violation of His laws. - E. DE P.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.