DEVOTION: The Wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 3:16-28)
Indeed, this morning we would have decided when to get out of bed, whether to have a wash or a shower, what we were going to have for breakfast, etc. etc. Decisions that many of us found easy, and ones we probably didn’t think much about at all. But, then, periodically, there are those much harder decisions too. Such as where we are going to live, what sort of work do we want to do, who do we want to live with, and what kind of life do we want to lead?
Decisions, we all have to make them. And, with that in mind, I would like to refer to the passage where King Solomon was asked to make a decision—and one which involved a choice between life and death. It’s the story of two women who came to him to make a judgement regarding a baby, which both claimed to be theirs.
Now I’m not sure that I would have wanted to be in Solomon’s position. Two women—one baby—and the need to decide between the two. (But, fortunately for us, we have the advantage of knowing Solomon’s response.) However, if it hadn’t been Solomon who was asked to make the decision, but us, how would we have responded? What decision would we have made?
Now, in one sense, that might seem a silly question. After all, how likely are we to be asked to solve such a serious problem? And yet, we too have to make difficult decisions in life. And many of those decisions affect other people too. Furthermore, people may also have expectations that we will make the right decisions.
So how do we make right decisions? How can we have the kind of wisdom that Solomon portrayed to those two women?
Well, I think the answer lies in the very last line of the passage. Because much is said about the wisdom of Solomon. Indeed it is even stated elsewhere that the Queen of Sheba came to visit him, because of his great wisdom. And yet we’re told in this passage: “When all Israel heard the judgement that the king had made, they stood in awe in the king’s presence, for they had seen that God’s wisdom was in him and that he had wisdom to administer justice” (v28).
In other words, for those present, it was not the wisdom of Solomon at all, it was the wisdom of God. And that was something that Solomon had understood very early in his kingship. Indeed, he knew that he couldn’t rule his people on his own. That’s why he asked God for the wisdom to rule—for the ability to make the right decisions, regardless of what others expected. And God’s gift of wisdom was the result.
So, coming back to us, how do we make the right decisions in life, whether in our personal affairs or in our responsibilities in the church? Well, we need God’s wisdom to make the right decisions. We also need God’s courage to make those decisions regardless of the expectations of others.
When it comes to life, then, we all have to make decisions—some big, some small. But we need to be mindful of the need to make godly decisions, not human ones. And, as Solomon’s experience clearly demonstrates, we can only do that if we are blessed with God’s wisdom too.
Posted: 28th December 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis