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Solomon’s Wisdom

The Bible in Art: Solomon’s Wisdom   

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Verses for Consideration: I Kings 3:3-15

3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

7 “Now, 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 to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for-both wealth and honor-so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke-and he realized it had been a dream.

He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

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If you had three wishes and you could ask for anything you want, what would you ask for? Sound familiar? Of course. That’s the story of Aladdin and the magic genie in the lantern. When Aladdin released him, the genie announced that he would grant Aladdin three wishes; and the adventure began.

That story gets us dreaming: “Yes, what if I could have three wishes? What would I wish for? What if I had but one wish, what would it be? Riches? Beauty? Youth? Health? Love?”

“Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” said God to Solomon one night in a dream. It was a dream come true-what every person would love to hear.

But Solomon found himself in a very special position. He was the newly crowned head of Israel and the first king of Israel to inherit his father’s throne. The kingdom was growing stronger, prosperity beckoned, and the future looked bright. What more would a young monarch possibly want?

This young man wanted what people his age often lack: wisdom. Solomon wanted wisdom to be able to lead his nation. God was pleased with Solomon’s request. He gave Solomon wisdom, and he promised him riches and honor besides.

We too can never go wrong by seeking wisdom from on high. God has already crowned us with wisdom in the highest sense. He has given us Christ, and he has worked faith in our hearts to believe in him. That’s why Saint Paul could say that Christ “has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

God also promises to give us wisdom to live our lives. Whether through the counsel of a trusted Christian friend, through special insight, or simply through leading us in some special direction, God provides wisdom to those who ask. Who could ask for anything more?

Prayer: O heavenly Father, be pleased to answer me when I ask you for guidance in this world. Give me the wisdom that leads to eternal life. Amen.

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Title: Solomon’s Judgment (1500-01)

Artist: Giorgione