Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statues of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’ 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-9
Reflection by Matthew Alexander
Solomon is best known in the Biblical text for his wisdom. It is here, in this part of Solomon’s story, which is kind of like a Genie in a bottle granting three wishes story, the readers learn how that wisdom comes upon Solomon. The Lord asks him what he wants in return for being such a faithful follower who offers burnt offerings in the high places. After singing God’s praises and telling of his steadfast love to his family, Solomon realizes he is but a child trying to lead God’s chosen people. In his immediate wisdom, Solomon consequently asks God for the wisdom to govern the chosen people.
The passage makes me wonder about my prayers and my dreams. It makes wonder about the things I ponder on and worry about throughout the day; things like getting my work done in a timely manner and getting home to run the kids around are at the top of my pondering. Given my work as a hospice chaplain, I do pray a lot of others often asking for God to guide them as they travel on their journey. This passage, however, has me thinking about how much time I spend asking God to guide me through the day with wisdom.
I think, like most folks, that if I found a bottle that I could rub and a magic genie popped out and granted me three wishes I would gravitate toward those things that would make me more comfortable in this life. Things like money, health, and happiness would be at the top of my list of wishes. It is these things that bring us a sense of control and comfort in this world. I will admit asking for things that would assist in ushering in God’s kin-dom would not necessarily come to mind first thing.
We do have a sort of genie in Our God. God does hear our prayers and wants to give us those things we are asking for. Where are our hearts and thoughts though? Are wise like Solomon, asking for God to be more present in our lives? Are we asking God to guide us through our day and grant us wisdom as we deal with the perils of life? Or are we still seeking those things that would give us a sense of power and control? Wisdom is found in being faithful to God’s work in this world.
Gracious Lord, Grant me wisdom on this day. Guide me through this day and the next. Teach me to place my heart and thoughts on those things that will help usher in Your Kin-dom. Show us how wise it is to be faithful to You. Amen.