1 Kings 3:3-28; Acts 6:7-15; Psalms 125:4-5; Proverbs 27:15-16
OT: “The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there because it was the most famous high place. He offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask. What should I give you?” “…Lord my God, you have now made your servant king in my father David’s place. Yet I am just a youth with no experience in leadership… So give your servant a receptive heart to judge your people and to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of yours?” Now it pleased the Lord that Solomon had requested this. So God said to him, “Because you have requested this and did not ask for long life or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies, but you asked discernment for yourself to administer justice, I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again. In addition, I will give you what you did not ask for: both riches and honor, so that no king will be your equal during your entire life. If you walk in my ways and keep my statutes and commands just as your father David did, I will give you a long life.”” (1 Kings 3:4-5, 7, 9-14 CSB)
Solomon began his reign well. He took his father’s charge to him seriously and endeavored to walk in the ways of King David. Though the Ark of the Covenant was in Jerusalem, the rest of Moses’ tabernacle, including the altar and all the tabernacle furnishings, were at the high place in Gibeon – so Solomon went there to consecrate his kingship to the Lord. Later that night, God told Solomon to ask Him for what he (Solomon) desired. As Solomon considered his youth and lack of experience, and considered the vast responsibility that was ahead of him, Solomon didn’t ask for anything that would benefit him – he asked for what would most benefit the people he was called to lead: he asked for a wise and discerning heart. That pleased the Lord greatly. By Solomon keeping primary things first, God not only gave him the wisdom that he asked for, he also gave Solomon the secondary things that he didn’t ask for… but all of it hinged on Solomon’s faithfulness to God’s word, will, and ways. Similarly, Jesus taught us that if we seek first the Kingdom, then all the secondary things that we need and desire will be given to us. If, on the other hand, we seek secondary things first, in the end, we will end up with neither the secondary nor primary things. What are we pursuing? Are we pursuing the purposes of the kingdom and the wisdom that comes from God, or are we pursuing power, prosperity, influence, creature comforts, etc. before the desires of the Lord?
NT: “Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from some members of the Freedmen’s Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, and they began to argue with Stephen. But they were unable to stand up against his wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking.” (Acts 6:8-10 CSB)
The encouraging truth about Stephen is that he was an ordinary guy. He wasn’t an apostle… he didn’t travel around with Jesus, hear Jesus’ teaching, and witness Jesus’ miracles. He wasn’t an educated religious leader. He was, most likely, a Greek Jew… a Jew by ethnicity, but a Greek culturally. Yet this normal guy (an outsider of sorts) was full of grace, power, and wisdom by the Holy Spirit… to the point where he (not the Apostles) was performing great signs and wonders and spoke with wisdom that no one could refute. James 1:5 says, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him.” That was true of Stephen. He was no one “special,” yet he apparently asked God for wisdom, and through the fullness of the Holy Spirit, that wisdom was given to him generously. The same can be true of us who place our faith in Christ: the same wisdom that was given to Solomon of old… the same wisdom that Jesus walked in… the same wisdom that was given to Stephen is available to us if we ask for it in faith.