2. The incompleteness of so much in life and the need for wisdomWe are told that 'He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem.' This was early in his reign, before the temple was complete or even his palace. It is because there was no temple that (2) ‘The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places’.
This reminds us of the incompleteness of much in life and the way that we often have to work with what is less than ideal. That has many applications. Some of us find it easier to cope with this than others. However, we must all live with it. Only with the coming of Christ will everything be complete. Meanwhile we press on. With Paul we say (Philip 3:12-14) 'Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.'
This is the counterpart to 2 Sam 12:24, 25 where we are told that the Lord loved Solomon. Solomon was never perfect that is clear. As far as the writer here is concerned he could not be anyway until the temple was complete. However, he loved the Lord (a sentiment, I believe, not ascribed to any other Old Testament saint) and showed it by his obedience, ‘by walking according to the statutes of his father David’.
What about us? Do you love the Lord? Do you show it by your obedience to him? See Jn 14:15, 23, 24; 15:10 where Jesus says to his disciples 'If you love me, you will obey what I command. … If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. … If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.'
None of us are perfect but we can endeavour to live to his praise.
4. The importance of worship and the prospect of meeting with God in this lifeWe are then told in verse 4 that 'The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.'
It was there that ‘the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream.’ It was only when he awoke that he ‘realised it had been a dream.’ We are told in verse 15 that after this 'He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.'
He also ‘gave a feast for all his court’. So both at the tabernacle, then in Gibeon, and before the ark in Jerusalem, Solomon and those with him worshipped the Lord. It was in the midst of this worship that God met with him.
What an encouragement that is – in the midst of life’s complexities and responsibilities, its impossibilities and imperfections, there is the prospect of meeting with God as we worship him. Pray that he will meet with you whenever you worship him.
According to D Ralph Davis, at least four things about asking come out here. We can speak of
1. The true incentive to prayer – God’s generosityThis comes out, firstly, in the very way that God says to Solomon ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’ Then after Solomon has asked God says (13, 14) 'Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for - both riches and honour - so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.'
For no good reason we have our doubts about God’s generosity. We somehow suppose he is niggardly in some way, a stingy and mean God, unwilling to give us what we really need. It is a little like a child with good parents thinking they are mean because they send him to bed at a reasonable time or make him eat greens. I suppose it is the devil who gets us thinking like this. It is totally wrong. Remember Matthew 7:7-11 and James 1:5.
'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!'
'If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.'
Get rid of all your doubts about God. He is more willing to give than we are to receive. He knows just what we need.
Jas 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Ps 81:10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
Growing up, both grandmothers were part of my life. We regularly visited them. Early on I was aware of differences. My dad’s mother (Nana Pidge I called her) was generous with soft drinks, biscuits, cake and comics to read. Nana Thomas was much less child-friendly in that way. She would offer tea (made with sterilised milk – yeuch!) and that was all. She was also ready to tell you off if you were naughty. Nana Pidge was big and cuddly and used to call me her little pigeon (hence my name for her) – and had a little more money. The other was thin and stern, not one for cuddles just a wet kiss goodbye. She had less money to spare. It was rather immature but you can guess which I preferred. You can also guess which one I think best illustrates the Lord’s character. All illustrations have their dangers but while there is certainly a ‘Nana Thomas’ sternness in God his main characteristic is much more a ‘Nana Pidge’ big-heartedness. That is clear here and from many other passages of Scripture.