Study from God’s Word… 1st Kings 2: 13 – 46; 1st Kings 3: 1; 1st Kings 9: 16; 1st Kings 3: 2 – 3, 4 [2nd Chron. 1: 2 – 6]; 1st Kings 3: 5 – 14 [2nd Chron. 1: 7 – 12]; 1st Kings 3: 15 [2nd Chron. 1: 13]; 1st Kings 3: 16 - 28 … Passage for Reflection: 1st Kings 3: 9 … NIV 7 "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart [i.e., wisdom] to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
My Journal for Today: The reading – or in this case today, my rereading – of these passages of Solomon’s decision-making when he came to sit on the throne of David, his father, reminds me of the importance of having and using WISDOM in the scheme of life.
Solomon did some pretty clever – but very HUMAN - things to insure the stability of his throne. Some of them were pretty cut-and-dried, like assassinating some of his potential rivals; but when he was confronted – by God Himself – to ask for anything the new young king might need or want to rule God’s chosen people, Solomon somehow knew to ask for discernment (i.e., wisdom); and God honored him for that by giving him not only all the human discernment possible for any man in those days but also the wealth and power which any king would covet to have as a ruler.
And God’s word even gives us – as He did for the people under Solomon’s rule – a shining example of Solomon’s wisdom when the story of Solomon deciding the fate of a little baby where two prostitutes had laid claim to this child. You know the story of how Solomon wisely ordered that the baby be cut in half by a sword; and the real mother showed herself by giving up the baby so that it would live; and Solomon, knowing he had determined forthrightly who was the child’s mother, was able to make the “wise” choice to give over the babe to his rightly determined mother.
Now that’s wisdom! And, as Dr. Smith points out in today’s devotional, that’s being able to make black-and-white out of a very grey scenario; and that’s the kind of human discernment one would need to be a good and effective leader of God’s people. And it’s always been interesting for me to see how much HUMAN wisdom God gave to Solomon; but the Lord never put a damper on the very HUMAN and fleshly impulses in Solomon which later led to him making some very ill-begotten decisions such as taking on hundreds of wives and concubines as well as doing things as a king which openly and defiantly went against what God had put in place as the rules for those who were under his anointing as king. Yes, Solomon was given a tremendous amount of HUMAN discernment and wisdom; but that doesn’t mean he was able to overcome his own, very HUMAN flesh as his kingship unfolded in time.
We, as very HUMAN creatures, need to recognize that God may bless us with the prophetic ability – maybe even the Spirit-given gift – to discern good and evil; but we still must seek after God’s Spirit and His empowering grace to overcome our own nature and make decisions which are unnatural, overcoming the flesh which is so powerful in our lives (see Jer. 17: 9). And that is why, even with the human wisdom of a Solomon, we need to seek after GODLY wisdom to overcome our HUMAN flesh.
That is why James – the man who became the very wise leader of the Church in Jerusalem after Jesus’ departure into heaven - gave us God’s exhortation (in James 1: 5-6 – linked here) to seek after God’s mind through His Spirit so that we could see God’s way more clearly, avoiding the double-mindedness which is so apparent when we try to make decisions in the flesh.
I challenge myself – and you - to remember that even a Solomon can fall and fail if he doesn’t seek after GOD’S way and GOD’S purpose and seeking after these, as James declared, with single-minded faith, knowing that God, primarily through His word (in our lives) will give us the right way as He had also promised through His word [see Psalm 119: 105] and from His love for His children (see Proverbs 3: 5 – 6).
As a reader here with me, I really hope you know – and potentially have internalized – the truths of James 1: 5 – 6, Psalm 119: 105, and Proverbs 3: 5 – 6; because if we Christians have those truths solidly in our minds and implanted – by faith – in our hearts, we will know to go to God’s word to find God’s way and to reveal His will for our future, allowing us to see His purposes for our lives, and avoiding the human pitfalls which eventually trip up even the wisest of humans (i.e., noting Solomon).
My Prayer for Today: Lord, shine the light of truth and give me discernment from Your word so that I can make decisions which follow You and avoid me. Amen