Charles and Norma Ellis
1 Kings 3:5-15
5In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
6And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
7And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
9Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
10And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
13And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
14And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
15And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
Unlike Solomon, Absalom and Adonijah did not follow in their father's ways. David was, despite his sin, a man of God, and if all of his sons did not emulate him, young Solomon certainly did. Young Solomon was remarkably discerning. He knew the truth of the New Testament verse: 'The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal' (2 Corinthians 4:18). And he chose from God the treasures that are eternal. Considering his palatial home and regal upbringing this is especially remarkable.
If a child in our home had such a choice, what would his decision be? Would he choose as Solomon did or would the materialism of the world about him warp his judgment? Are we careful not to complain overmuch about small salaries, inflation, taxes, inadequate housing? Are we unconsciously driving our children to seek a life in which the possession of a good income is the all-important thing? Are we fostering in them a determination not to 'suffer' as we did or do?
We would be dishonest not to comment upon the wealth that God granted Solomon. Although he did not choose it, he was granted it. Archaeologists believe they have discovered his horse-stables. The Queen of Sheba came from afar not only to hear his wisdom but to see his wealth.
The connection between his wealth and his defection in his latter years cannot be determined. One thing is certain, the wisdom God granted at his request was not directed to his marital life. This area, so important for his own spiritual life and the influence of his family, was an area in which the head wisdom which he possessed was not put into practice!
The young Solomon with his wise choice is an example of what we should do. The older Solomon in his weakness is an example of what we should not do.
We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."
Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.
Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.
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