2 Chronicles 1:7-13
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him: “Ask. What should I give you?” 8 And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great and faithful love to my father David, and You have made me king in his place. 9 Lord God, let Your promise to my father David now come true. For You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.10 Now grant me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people, for who can judge this great people of Yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Since this was in your heart, and you have not requested riches, wealth, or glory, or for the life of those who hate you, and you have not even requested long life, but you have requested for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge are given to you. I will also give you riches, wealth, and glory, unlike what was given to the kings who were before you, or will be given to those after you.” 13 So Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place that was in Gibeon in front of the tent of meeting, and he reigned over Israel.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
For a slightly longer account of Solomon's interaction with God in Gibeon, see 1 Kings 3. Solomon has become the king of the Israelite people which entailed great responsibility. We learn from Deuteronomy 17.14-20 exactly what was expected of the Israelite king. We know Solomon failed on many of those fronts, but the crux of our passage today is to reveal that Solomon, at least initially, had the heart of a godly king.
One can hear the echoes of God's claim concerning David, that he was a man after God's own heart, in the replies to Solomon. Solomon was praised for his request to be given wisdom and knowledge. To request those attributes was both noble and humble: noble in the sense that Solomon put God, the kingdom of Israel, and the people ahead of his personal external desires; humble in the sense that Solomon must have been aware that he was not completely up to the task in his current state.
While we will never be king of Israel, we are considered to be priests within the priesthood of believers. As such, we have the terrifying pleasure of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. In doing so we need to be in-tune with the will of God and sensitive to the urging of the Holy Spirit. The best way to maximize both of those features is to be vigilant in the personal spiritual disciplines.
Solomon teaches us that to do the job properly requires both wisdom and knowledge. While Solomon did many things wrong in his reign, he apparently had the proper heart for service of the Lord. We need to emulate Solomon's prayer in asking for wisdom and knowledge. We are taught in the New Testament that if we ask, then we shall receive. Concerning wisdom and knowledge, we need to both ask for it explicitly and we need to ask for the means to get it. We must trust that if we are willing, God will make us ready.
I have centered this devotion upon evangelism, so I will center the practice of this discipline upon evangelism as well. Evangelism can be thought of in two waves: first the presentation of the gospel, and then apologetics. As for the first, we should rely heavily upon the Scripture and our personal testimony. That approach assumes that we know the Gospels well and we have practiced our testimony, consistently relating it to the gospel.
As for the latter, we must oftentimes venture beyond the Bible. While we do so, we must constantly try to guide the conversation back toward the Bible. But going outside of the Scripture means we may need to learn some philosophy, we may need to learn some basic arguments for God's existence, and we may have to engage the culture in a way we have not done before.
To do this well requires much reading and discussing. With the availability of the Internet, one has at one's fingertips volumes of great apologetic works and the writings of great church heroes. I pray that you will seek some of these resources to embolden your evangelism and strengthen your apologetic.
- Do not be afraid to get into discussions even if you are uncomfortable. No one has all the answers, so do not let ignorance stop you. Simply respond that it is a great question and that you will have to research it. Someone at some moment in church history has wrestled with the issue, and your church staff will point you to that resource.
- Try subscribing to an evangelical apologetics site. Read some of the articles there and pray that God sends you folks to use the information on. You can always start with the Southern Baptist Convention's apologetics site www.4truth.net which can be accessed through the North American Missions Board website www.namb.net.
- Repeat Solomon's prayer using your own name and your own calling.
- Remember that the surest knowledge comes through the revealed Word of God. Couple the “knowledge” of spiritual discipline with the spiritual discipline of Scripture reading by focusing on what God would have you learn through your reading.