If he had been in Major League Baseball, his .500 batting average would have been record setting and unprecedented. But stack him up against other followers of God and as a following God average, it kind of stinks.
That’s the thought that comes to mind as I read of Solomon’s start at being king. And maybe that’s why I’m chewing on the fact that God met with Solomon–and blessed Solomon big time–in Gibeon.
I start in on 1Kings 3 and I observe four things in the first four verses:
- Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. A swing and a miss! What’s he doing marrying a foreign woman? Forbidden. Come out and be separate, says the Lord. Don’t mess with unequal yokes. Especially when it’s with the world from which you were delivered by God’s mighty hand.
- Solomon loved the Lord. Home run! That’s what we’re talking about. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might. This is looking promising.
- Solomon walked in the statutes of David his father. Attaboy! Now we’re batting .666 (ok, so maybe that’s a bit foreboding in itself . . . whatever). David was man after God’s own heart and, if the son was going to be like his father, then things are looking favorable for Israel’s king.
- Only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there. But the arks in Jerusalem! Sacrificing at high places was a pagan practice. Right action, wrong venue. Popup foul fly–easily caught for the out. Batting .500. Great, if he’s hitting balls with a stick. Perhaps not so great, at least to my judgmental way of thinking, for someone who “supposedly” loves the Lord.
Good thing I’m not the scorekeeper. Game would be over for Solomon. For so many others. For me!
But here’s what grabbed me this morning:
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.”
(1Kings 3:5 ESV)
God meets with Solomon at Gibeon . . . the “hill city” . . . the high place. Despite Solomon’s forbidden alliance with the world and his misdirected worship at Gibeon, God appears to Solomon and says, “Ask. Seek Me. I’m prepared to bless you.”
And it sets up one of the greatest passages in all of Scripture. Solomon, rather than asking for long life, instead of wanting riches and prosperity, above all the ease that would have been his if his enemies were removed, Solomon humbly asks for wisdom and discernment to lead God’s people well. And “it pleased the Lord” (3:10).
Batting 500 on my scorecard. But God is delighted in His servant.
Where I might have written off Solomon because of his poor entrance scores, God, in His abundant grace, meets with the would be king where he’s at. And I think it’s because Solomon truly loved the Lord.
While some of his actions might have been misdirected, his heart desired His God above all things. His longed to be faithful more than he wanted to be set up to be famous. He loved God. God loved Solomon. And, though somewhat out of context, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1Pet. 4:8).
And then I read this:
And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
(1Kings 3:15 ESV)
God met with Solomon in Gibeon, then Solomon went up to Jerusalem to worship. God blessed Solomon abundantly where he was at, then Solomon went to where he should have been. Jerusalem wasn’t a requirement, it was a response.
How prone am I to think that I must do, and then God will bless. That if I walk in a manner worthy, only then will God accept my worship. Not saying that we shouldn’t seek to obey, just that I’m so glad God’s not keeping score the way I might before meeting me where I am.
After all, it’s not about keeping score, it’s about loving God.
Not about how well I perform, but that He so loved me that He sent His Son to redeem me, and His Spirit to seal me, and His Word to transform me by the renewing of my mind.
And in that, He will meet me even when I fall short. And in His kindness, lead me to repentance. And through the finished work of the cross, and by the shed blood of His Son, forgive my sin when I confess my sin–cleansing me from all unrighteousness.
Not because of who I am or how good my batting average is.
But because of His abundant grace. And always for His all-deserving glory.