Scripture text for Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010: 1 Kings 2:1-3:28
I have always been fascinated with the story at the end of 1 Kings 3. At the beginning of 1 Kings 3, Solomon asks for “a discerning heart to govern [God’s] people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” God grants his request and the story at the end of 1 Kings 3 becomes Solomon’s first demonstration of his wisdom.
I am fascinated by this passage for two reasons. First, and this is disturbing, 1 Kings 3 is the only passage in the Bible where suggesting that a baby be cut in half turns out to be a good thing. (If you were hoping just to read this devotion and not the actual Bible text, I hope that was an effective teaser.)
Second, I think that this story about Solomon resolving a dispute between two women demonstrates that Godly wisdom is not simply a matter of memorizing and following a bunch of antiquated rules. Rules and legalism may be an important start, but Godly wisdom ultimately arises when there are no clear rules to apply.
How do we determine if someone is lying to us or telling the truth? What do we do when someone betrays us? How do we decide how much information to share with our children? Should I buy a new computer or not?
There are a whole host of questions that we seek to answer every day that are not neatly contained within biblical rules, but they are contained within biblical principles. For instance, the Bible does not tell me exactly what I should say when I confront a friend about sin in their life, it simply says that I should do so “gently.” (Galatians 6:1) Determining the precise way to go about this is wisdom.
Solomon was wise because he created a solution to a problem. He used his deep God-given insight into life and the human condition to solve a dispute.
Are we wise? Do we apply biblical principles to our daily decisions? Can we make Godly decisions even when there is no rule to follow?
Ecclesiastes 8:1 (MSG), “There’s nothing better than being wise, knowing how to interpret the meaning of life. Wisdom puts light in the eyes, and gives gentleness to words and manners. ”
James 1:5 (NIV), “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Devotion prepared by Dan Teefey