Tenth Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
August 1, 1999
(All of us are familiar with the ancient story of Aladin and his magic lamp. Upon finding the ancient lamp he went about the task of rubbing the dust away only to awaken the magic Geanie in the lamp. Pleased to be released after his long confinement in the lamp the Geanie offers Aladin a deal he just couldn’t refuse. The Geanie would grant Aladin three wishes. In our Old Testament today the young, twenty year old, boy king Solomon assumes his father David’s throne. God speaks to him in a dream and offers to g rant him one, single wish, only this is not faery tail, this is for real.
HOW WOULD WE HAVE RESPONDED TO SUCH A DIVINE OFFER?
I would suggest that our response would reveal a great deal about ourselves.
Our choice would reveal, not only our heart’s desire, but whether or not we had a servant’s heart.
What would our choice say…that we would serve self or God?
“If I could only win the Lotto”, Lord, then life would be grand.”
ILLUS: Burt Renolds once played a character in a movie who was told he only had five days to live…
Do we negotiate with God in the midst of the tragedies of life?
Or do we lay the matter solely into God’s hands trusting in His control rather than our own?
My personal experience has shown that when I give up trying to control every situation, that’s when God does His best work.
The lad Solomon revealed a great deal about himself with his choice.
He revealed that his first concern was the people he was to govern as king.
It must have seemed overwhelming for such a young man to suddenly be named king of a great nation…David was a tough act to follow!
He was recognizing that he felt inadequate to the task.
He was displaying a servant’s heart, it was his people’s need that was to come first.
He revealed that it was God’s people, not his, that he was to govern. (v. 9b)
As any good servant does, he sees his role as the trustee of that which belongs to another.
Life for Christians is to be lived in the same way…a life given by God… a life to be used in service to God.
LIKE SOLOMON, MANY THINGS IN LIFE DISTRACT US FROM BOTH GOD’S GIFTS TO US AND OUR SERVICE TO HIM.
In Solomon’s case, his preoccupation with what the world said would satisfy made him less of a servant than he otherwise might have been.
The Book of Ecclesiastes chronicles the tragic distractions of the world in Solomon’s life. (Ec. 2:10-11)
He is a man who had every possible resource for living the “good life” and he finds that if he seeks after what the world says brings pleasure, there is no contentment.
Here was a man who was distracted by nearly a thousand wives and concubines, many of whom where pagans and who convinced him to erect shrines to their false Gods.
Solomon was also distracted by the luxury with which he surrounded himself.
His quest for the accumulation of wealth, property and possessions made him unreasonable in his demands on the people of Israel.
In the final analysis, the end of Solomon’s reign marked the end of the nation as a united people.
We should ask of ourselves: What is it that distracts us?
We must confess that we too share many of our distractions with Solomon.
Our movies, and TV’s bear witness that we are entrapped by our sexual desires.
Many of us rent movies with content that would have peaked Solomon’s interest too.
Marriage has truly been discounted in our culture
ILLUS: Yalla People of Nigeria…
Our lust after consumer goods is virtually unequalled by any culture in the history of the world.
It has been said that we have so much that we have become controlled by the goods we have.
ILLUS: If your microwave breaks…how long will it take you to get a new one?
Perhaps a general precept that we should keep in mind is: Anything that takes our attention away from Christ or cannot be seen in the light of Christ, should be suspect.
THE MOST INCREDIBLE GIFT WE HAVE RECEIVED IS THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS.
We see in Solomon’s life a final wisdom in his old age. (Eccl. 12:13-14)
Sadly, to fear God and keep His commandments is an impossible mission for sin-fallen humanity.
We try mightily, only fall into exactly the same trap again!
Solomon might well have commented: “This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
What we need from Adam to Solomon to us is not our best effort to be good, but we require incredible forgiveness!
It is that incredible forgiveness for which the very Son of God came to this earth!
What is needed is an “above the sun” perspective on life.
What is required is an “above the sun” remedy for sin…external from ourselves!
That is why God became man in the person of Jesus Christ.
His incarnation was a divine invasion of our “under the sun” world so that the meaningless chasing after the wind could cease and we could have true forgiveness of sins.
This incredible forgiveness was the primary agenda item on God, the Father’s heart!
Absolutely nothing in all creation would capture His attention more that the driving, divine love of the Father to restore His fallen children to eternal fellowship with Him.
It drove Him to send Himself to death on a cross.
It is God who breathed His last on Calvary.
It was God who suffered our hellish torments paying the price of our sins.
It was God in Christ, who was buried in a cold, dark tomb for our iniquities.
That’s incredible forgiveness!
Now the Adam’s, and the Noah’s, and the Abraham’s, and the apostles’ and you and I have what we most desperately need…forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
The very same body and blood, with the bread and wine, we are about to receive is the means by which we experience God gracious and incredible forgiveness!
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