“You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David, my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in…Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:6-7, 9)
I was cruising through Scripture the other day, preparing for my Bible study and I came across this passage with the terms understanding and discernment and wisdom speaking out to me, as if they were highlighted on the page of my Bible, only to find the text in just plain black and white.
Solomon wasn’t a young buck in this scenario, he was very much an adult. And man, with a father like David, I am sure he knew all of things, backwards and forwards. I was intrigued by Solomon’s response. His response could have been, “I’ve totally got this. My dad showed me everything, how hard could it be? I can gain more wealth. Easy peasy. I can’t wait to drive that sweet Rove Ranger in the garage, now that it’s all mine.” I don’t see that he ran straight to his posse to start making plans for the Kingdom or to hire the next chef for the kitchen. Solomon was wise but he didn’t quite have a “wise and discerning mind” (NASB).
What I most appreciate about Solomon in this moment is his feeling of inadequacy, even with the wisdom and experience he would have gained from his father. His first action was to express his inadequacy to the Lord. I love that he first asked for an “understanding mind” and to “discern between good and evil.” He now wanted to be a servant King the way God wanted him to be. He was taking the job seriously.
In our day, some people may get that big promotion or they are now made CEO of the big corporation, or, like the score of The Jefferson’s sings, they are “Moving’ on up!” Some may put their head in the clouds thinking about the benefits, the money, or the riches they could obtain. For me, shoot, I get excited about receiving a tax return, knowing it doesn’t have to go to any bills. I start seeing $$ at times with having $100. Anyone with me? People learn of a good raise they are receiving and start making plans to make their homes bigger or get a fancier car. Now, I am not bashing this at all. These are all wonderful and fabulous things and I enjoy them as much as you do, but are we wise in asking for wisdom in the here and now and not in the things or the benefits we will be enjoying?
“Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.”
~ Proverbs 8:10-11
What I love most about Solomon’s example here is that the first thing he asks for is wisdom. He’s asking God to show him how to govern the gazillion people now. He desires to make good decisions for all. He wants to know between good and evil. Most of all, he wants God to help him in all of it. I often wonder how many times I go straight to the Lord with things in my life. I look back and reflect on job opportunities or promotions or anything that feels big like Solomon being made king and ask myself, “Did I ever think to ask for wisdom or discernment in serving in that position?” or “Did I ever think about what God would have me do in what would now be my responsibilities?”, rather than just keeping my eye on the bigger paycheck or the benefits.
The beauty here is that God heard Solomon and it pleased him saying, “because he did not ask for long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right.” (1 Kings 3:11) He was given a wise and discerning mind, so that there would be no one like him before him and no one like after behind him. He was promised the riches and honor so that there would be no comparison between he and other kings. He was promised longer days if he followed God’s ways and kept his commandments and statutes.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself as getting to be a King or anyone in high power or with great responsibility like our friend Solomon here. But, there is a message here for all of us. God is the beginning, the end, the creator of all, the one in charge, our Father, he knows us…every bit. He created us. He led us to the place we are in right this minute. Wouldn’t we want to go to him for wisdom, discernment, and understanding over every aspect in our life: our womanhood, our marriage, our parenting, our work life, our ministry life, our __________ (you fill in the blank). No matter if we are a stay at home mama with no paycheck or a corporate suit-wearing gal making six figures, we need wisdom. We need some help in living the lives we have now. Am I right? Can I get an amen up in here? I need help. I need guidance. I need God.
Take a little look-see at Proverbs 8 and 9. It’s all about The Blessings of Wisdom and The Ways of Wisdom, baby. The pages on my work Bible (my Bible that only stays at work for lunch breaks and work study) are lit up like a neon sign with all my highlights and notes. Here’s some little tid bits about wisdom:
speaks noble things,
speaks what is right,
all words…are righteous,
better than jewels,
all that you desire cannot compare,
by wisdom, kings reign,
rulers decree what is just,
loves those who love him,
loves those who seek him diligently,
riches and honor are with him,
his fruit is better than gold.
I could go on and on.
Where do you gain your wisdom? Who guides you? Who gives you discernment and understanding? Who is this wisdom that I speak of? God the Father, Jesus, his son, and the helper, the Holy Spirit- they are here for you and me when we need to figure out how to be the mom HE wants us to be, the administrative assistant HE wants us to be, the teacher HE wants us to be. You see, he has made us unique and with us keeping close to him and in his Word, he wants to keep us unique. No comparison. Let’s get the wisdom Jesus has for us, first and foremost, and then let him do his thing and bring about the riches and honor later in our life. The riches that are far better than gold and silver, any day of the week.
“My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.”
~Proverbs 24: 13-4
“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above.”
Hugging you so tight,