Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 3:3-28
As we continue our Saints, Sinners, and Us series, this week we will delve into the life of King Solomon. Solomon was the son of King David and he ruled at the height of Israel’s power. Solomon is remembered for many things: he built the Temple, that extravagant place in Jerusalem where the Jewish people believed the very presence of God dwelled. Solomon is also known for his development of foreign allies during his rule, as well as for his (and his kingdom’s) exorbitant wealth. Most of all, though, Solomon is remembered for his wisdom. Today’s scripture passage describes how Solomon received such wisdom – as a gift from God. This week, we will explore some of Solomon’s wise teachings and actions to see what wisdom we might glean from them.
Today’s scripture passage tells a story about two women, both new mothers. One of their babies passes away, so his mother switches him with the other woman’s living child in the night. They bring their claims to Solomon. Their stories provide Solomon no clear way of making a decision, no way of knowing whose child the baby truly is, so he does something that seems really crazy. He calls for his servants to bring a sword and cut the baby in half, giving half of the boy to each woman. In response, the child’s mother begs for Solomon to give the child to the other woman, in order to save her son’s life. Through this creative test, Solomon determines the child’s mother and returns her son to her.
I love this story because we see Solomon think outside of the box and come up with a creative solution to a difficult problem. As I look around our world today, it is clearer than ever to me that we need some creative solutions for the massive issues we face – issues around health care, poverty, homelessness, and racism, just to name a few. And it’s not just the big things. We also need creative solutions to smaller, more personal problems – problems in our relationships, our homes, and our workplaces.
Solomon’s wisdom was a gift from God, a gift that Solomon humbly prayed and asked for. We, too, can pray for wisdom and discernment. And just like Solomon, we, too, will need to practice and strengthen our wisdom – by taking chances and trying out creative solutions to problems. Is there a certain area in your life where you are desperately in need of change or of a creative solution to a tough problem? Today, I invite you to lift that area up to God and pray for wisdom and discernment. What new answers might emerge if we all made this a part of our daily prayer practice?