June 1: What Wealth Reveals
2 Chronicles 1:1–3:17; Titus 1:1–4; Psalm 91:1–16
“What would you do if you won the lottery?”
This question always seems to generate the same responses: There’s the person who devises an investment strategy, the dreamer who envisions ending global poverty, the individual who would travel the world, and the person who would buy the house, boat, or car they’ve always wanted.
These responses tell us something about each person’s character and what fulfills them. The root of these desires reveals something about how they perceive their identity in relationship to their culture, family, and God. They feel “in their identity” or “most themselves” when they pursue happiness, others’ happiness, or the things they want.
Solomon experiences an unexpected “wish” scenario. Like winning the lottery or being granted three wishes, Solomon’s response reveals what is important to him, the core of his identity, and how God responds to people who know what He desires. God says to the king, “Ask what I shall give to you” (2 Chr 1:7). Solomon replies with some of the most humble words ever spoken: “Now, give to me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people [an idiom for a type of leading], for who can judge this, your great people?” (2 Chr 1:10).
In response, God reminds Solomon of all the great things he passed up in this moment, and how doing so showed his true character. As a result, God says that He will also bless Solomon with “wealth, possessions, and honor” (2 Chr 1:11–12). Solomon’s humility demonstrates what it looks like to have a godly identity that’s focused on others rather than ourselves.
To combat selfishness, Paul regularly reminds himself and others that he is “a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of the chosen of God and knowledge of the truth that is according to godliness” (Titus 1:1). He grounds his statement by testifying to God’s eternal work (Titus 1:2–4).
The difference between present gain and eternal gain is focus: Are we working toward the eternal good of God’s work or the temporal good of our own success? When we align ourselves with who God created us to be, our desires become His desires. Our thirst for gain is quenched by God—sometimes surprisingly. We, like Solomon and Paul, should understand our role in God’s work and request what we need to fulfill that role, trusting that He will provide the rest.
What would you do if you came into a large sum of money? How can you align your desires with God’s?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Then Solomon the son of David was confirmed in his kingdom: and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him highly. And Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands, and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to all the governors in all Israel, even the chief fathers. So Solomon and all the Congregation with him went to the high place that was at Gibeon: for there was the Tabernacle of the Congregation of God which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. But the Ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath Jearim, when David had made preparation for it: for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. Moreover, the brazen altar that Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur had made, did he set before the Tabernacle of the Lord: and Solomon and the Congregation sought it. And Solomon offered there before the Lord upon the brazen altar that was in the Tabernacle of the Congregation: even a thousand burnt offerings offered he upon it. The same night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast showed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now therefore, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be true: for thou hast made me King over a great people, like to the dust of the earth. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and go in before this people: for who can judge this thy great people? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, treasures nor honor, nor the lives of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life, but hast asked for thee wisdom and knowledge, that thou mightest judge my people, over whom I have made thee King, Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee, and I will give thee riches and treasures and honor, so that there hath not been the like among the kings which were before thee, neither after thee shall there be the like. Then Solomon came from the high place that was at Gibeon, to Jerusalem from before the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and reigned over Israel. And Solomon gathered the chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he placed in the chariot cities, and with the King at Jerusalem. And the king gave gold and silver at Jerusalem as stone, and gave cedar trees as the wild fig trees, that are abundantly in the plain. Also Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and fine linen: the King’s merchants received the fine linen for a price. They came up also and brought out of Egypt some chariot, worth six hundred shekels of silver, that is an horse for an hundred and fifty: and thus they brought horses to all the kings of the Hittites, and to the kings of Aram by their means. Then Solomon determined to build an house for the Name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom. And Solomon told out seventy thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand men to hew stones in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them. And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou hast done to David my father, and didst send him cedar trees to build him an house to dwell in so do to me. Behold, I build an house unto the Name of the Lord my God, to sanctify it unto him, and to burn sweet incense before him, and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings of the morning and evening, on the Sabbath days, and in the new months, and in the solemn feasts of the Lord our God: this is a perpetual thing for Israel. And the house which I build, is great: for great is our God above all gods. Who is he then that can be able to build him an house, when the heaven and the heaven of heavens can not contain him? who am I then that I should build him an house? but I do it to burn incense before him. Send me now therefore a cunning man that can work in gold, in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and in crimson and blue silk, and that can grave in graven work with the cunning men that are with me at Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father hath prepared. Send me also cedar trees, fir trees and Algummim trees from Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to hew timber in Lebanon: and behold, my servants shall be with thine, That they may prepare my timber in abundance: for the house which I do build, is great and wonderful. And behold, I will give to thy servants the cutters and the hewers of timber twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil. Then Huram king of Tyre answered in writing which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee King over them. Huram said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which made the heaven and the earth, and that hath given unto David the King a wise son, that hath discretion, prudence and understanding to build an house for the Lord, and a palace for his kingdom. Now therefore I have sent a wise man, and of understanding to build an house for the Lord, and a palace for his kingdom. Now therefore I have sent a wise man, and of understanding of my father Huram’s, The son of a woman, of the daughters of Dan: and his father was a man of Tyre, and he can skill to work in gold, in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue silk, and in fine linen, and in crimson, and can grave in all graven works, and broider in all broidered work that shall be given him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunnning men of my lord David thy father. Now therefore the wheat and the barley, the oil and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants. And we will cut wood in Lebanon as much as thou shalt need, and will bring it to thee in rafts by the sea to Japho, so thou mayest carry them to Jerusalem. And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering that his father David had numbered them: and they were found an hundred and three and fifty thousand, and six hundred. 2 Chronicles 1:1–3:17
- Paul a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth, which is according unto godliness. Unto the hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, hath promised before the world began: But hath made his word manifest in due time through the preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior: To Titus my natural son according to the common faith, Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 1:1–4
- Who so dwelleth in the secret of the most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say unto the Lord, O my hope, and my fortress: he is my God, in him will I trust. Surely I will deliver thee from the snare of the hunter, and from the noisome pestilence. He will cover thee under his wings, and thou shalt be sure under his feathers: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid of the fear of the night: nor of the arrow that flieth by day. Nor of the pestilence that walketh in the darkness: nor of the plague that destroyeth at noon day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come near thee. Doubtless with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. For thou hast said, The Lord is mine hope: thou hast set the most High for thy refuge. There shall none evil come unto thee, neither shall any plague come near thy tabernacle. For he shall give his Angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee in their hands, that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the lion and asp: the young lion, and the dragon shalt thou tread under feet. Because he hath loved me, therefore will I deliver him: I will exalt him because he hath known my Name. He shall call upon me, and I will hear him: I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and glorify him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. Psalm 91:1–16