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“When the Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame she came to Jerusalem to test him…”  2 Chronicles 9:1

“She said to the king….Praise be to the Lord your God who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord….”  2 Chronicles 9:5, 8

Solomon was the son of King David, who became king of the Israelite people after King David died.  When God asked Solomon what he wanted most of all, Solomon responded that he desired wisdom to lead his people.  God responded that because Solomon had not asked for himself, riches or honor or revenge against enemies; God would grant his wish for wisdom as well as riches, honor and peace.  So it is that Solomon’s fame spread far and wide concerning his wisdom.

Far enough to the land of Ethiopia.  There resided a great queen, who had riches and was also known for her wisdom.  This was the Queen of Sheba.  In what I’ve been able to find, initially the queen was not a follower of Our Lord God.  She was a sun worshiper.  Yet she had heard of this king who had such wisdom, goodness and strength that she could scarcely believe it.  So he came to test Solomon, to see if what she had heard could possibly be true.  Upon visiting Solomon, testing him, experiencing his wisdom and seeing how he had been blessed, the queen was overwhelmed and gave glory to God because what she had seen of Solomon in Jerusalem.  The bible says that she was so impressed she gave Solomon riches of every kind in tribute.  Although, the bible does not expressly say this; there is a tradition that she converted to worshiping the Lord.

So today Dear Sisters and Brothers we have a message.  A message that, to the world, may seem impossible to believe.  We have a message of unconditional love and merciful forgiveness.  The people who don’t live by that same belief system are looking at us.  The people who don’t have our faith are often tossed about by the fortunes of this world, finding themselves feeling cast adrift in a world of callous hearts, mean spirits and selfish intents.  So it may very well be that they will come to us; they will try and test us.  They will be seeking to see if there is anything to the proclamations that they have heard.

Yet if this troubles you, take heart.  For Jesus Christ, Himself told us not to fear when we are called upon to testify to what it is we believe in.  For remember it was not Solomon’s wisdom on his own, but the wisdom granted to him by God the Father Almighty which the Queen of Sheba experienced.  In the same way, it is not solely nor souly our testimony that we will proclaim to the world; but it is the testimony of the Holy Spirit which is the gift from Our Heavenly Father with which we will answer the world.  Some will hear that testimony and scoff.  Some will turn away and not even give themselves a chance to hear that testimony.  Yet some will hear, will really listen to that testimony.  May it be that some will see our lives of faith and undeniable joy, even in times of stress and feel themselves compelled to speak wonder and praise to Almighty God by what they witness in us.  Though again, understand that we are not to be prideful in hearing them praise the Father.  And if instead they want to praise you and I instead of our Heavenly Father, we must be diligent in correcting that.  Showing to them, that except for the blessed Love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we would be as lost as anyone else.  That Our Lord and Savior longs to share that love with all, no matter what their circumstances or past.

So let us strive to live lives that will cause others to notice.  Let us live lives that will cause others to question, to be curious, to desire to have what it seems that we have.  And let us strive to look at what we have as not some exclusive, hard to earn, only for us type of triumph, but something we desire to have shared by all to the Glory of our Savior Jesus Christ and Our Heavenly Father.  That in living those lives, we might be vessels of light, His Light shining out for all to see.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, all praise be to You on earth as it is in heaven.  Grant us the gift of faith and wisdom as You did to Solomon, that we may be seen by the world and the world would desire to ask us and yes to even test us about You.  When we are tested, give us Your Strength to withstand the test.  Give us Your Wisdom, Your Spirit to answer the questions in a way that will bring Praise to Your Holy Name and cause others to want to be in relationship with You.  This we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

“Now, Oh Lord my God, You have made your servant king……but I am a little child…..Therefore give to your servant an understanding heart to judge.”  1 Kings 3:5,7,9

“Then God said to him: ‘Because you have asked for this thing…..have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold I have done according to your words…..”  1 Kings 10,11,12

“You do not have because you do not ask; You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss…… James 4:2,3

Can I….? Would it be alright if I……?  Could you see fit for me to……? Is it okay if I……….? How about letting me……..?  Asking?  Asking.  We seem to have some issues where asking is concerned.  First, as adults, to ask can communicate a certain amount of weakness.  I shouldn’t have to ask.  I should demand!  I have the right to have…….!  I don’t need to ask anyone for anything!  Aren’t I given up a certain amount of power, a certain amount of prestige, don’t I have to be just a little humble to ask someone else for something?

It has been said that it never hurts to ask.  We’ll never know until we ask.  What’s the worse they can say….no?  But even if we decide to ask; how do we do it with the greatest percentage of chance that our request will be granted?  That the answer will be yes?

Solomon’s story in 1 Kings has some interesting elements in it.  First, Solomon’s request comes after God’s question to him.  God appears to Solomon and point blank asks Solomon:  “What shall I give you?”  Wow!  Didn’t expect that.  I might expect that the All Powerful God would shove something down my throat and tell this is what I need; but not ask me what I want.  So at first, Solomon is confronted with a blank check:  riches, power, women, glory; all those things were out there just waiting for Solomon to ask for.  Solomon asks for wisdom.  Really???!!!  And note this, not wisdom in money or wisdom in war and conquering or even wisdom in women!  No, Solomon as for wisdom in judgement and discernment.  Ugh.  Okay, God replies:  “You’ve got it.”

So here’s the key.  First, this was not Solomon’s first encounter with God.  Solomon was the king and knew he was king solely because God put him there; like his father before him.  Second, Solomon knew what was required of him.  Solomon explained to God that he knew he was going to be required to lead God’s chosen people.  Finally, Solomon knew his limitations.  Solomon was young.  He had not had near the life experiences that his father, David, had when David arose to the thrown.  Solomon was ill equipped to lead his people on his own.  His people would need his help to stay a great nation and Solomon knew he would need God’s help to meet his people’s needs.  So he asks for God’s help.  God is pleased to grant Solomon’s’ request.  Oh and by the way, God tells Solomon because he didn’t selfishly ask for riches, power, glory for himself; that God was going to shower down blessings of wealth, power and long life for Solomon.

Fast forward right around 1000 years in the future.  Jesus Christ has come, died and been resurrected.  The disciples are taking His word and preaching it to the world.  Jesus’ earthly brother James is a disciple preaching the Good News of the Gospel.  There is strife in the new church and in the world.  James is very straightforward in where that strife comes from: envy.  People were envying what other people had.  Why didn’t they have it?  They didn’t ask.  If they did ask and didn’t receive; why?  They asked wrongly; only for themselves.  Jesus Christ is very clear and Solomon learns about Our Heavenly Father’s amazing generosity and blessings poured out upon those who will ask and ask appropriately.

Okay, what now?  What about us?  Well first, faith.  Do you and I truly believe that there is One whom we should be asking?  Do we believe that there is Our Father in Heaven capable of doing what we ask?  Second, what is the context and circumstances surrounding our request?  Am I where or at least moving toward where God wants me to be?  Am I humble in my asking?  Is my petition more like a demand versus a cry for help?  Finally, who am I asking for?  Am I asking only for my gain, my pleasure, my glory?  For example; let’s say that I want this posting to be read by thousands all over the world and I ask God for that.  Am I writing this because I believe it is God’s intention that I do so?  Do I want the readers to think me wise and give my glory or some sort or personal reward from reading this?  Shouldn’t I expect a reward because of my time and great wisdom? (please don’t choke on the last one if you had some food in your mouth)  If those are my parameters, I doubt that he’ll see fit for anyone to find it.  But if I’m trying to do His will; hoping that this will help a reader, hoping to bring glory to the Father’s Name.  Well I have faith about what will happen.

Dear brothers and sisters; God is All Powerful.  There is no request outside of His ability to fulfill.  Jesus Christ was very clear on God’s desire for us to make petitions to God in the Name of Jesus Christ.   The world most desperately needs the healing, grace and blessings that Our Heavenly Father longs to give through us.  Please Ask.  Ask like Solomon.  Ask in the Name of Christ.  And watch as His Will be done.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that You have seen fit to listen to us, Your Creation.  Thank you for sending Your Son as an advocate for us, allowing us to pray in His Name.  Give us the wisdom and humility of spirit and heart to ask not for ourselves and our prosperity but to be the means by which You bring blessings, healing and prosperity to the world around us.  That by our asking, but most of all Your Granting, that Your Most Holy Name will be praised.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

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