Dispatch Two Hundred Thirty-Two

Posted: November 14, 2016 in Forty-Seventh Bundle
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1 KINGS 2:10-12; 3:3-14

10 Then David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. 11 And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established.

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burnt incense at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings upon that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Solomon’s choice of wisdom from among all the things he might have preferred provides us with yet another moral lesson. His particular station in life, serving as his father’s successor to the throne of Israel, set upon him the special obligation of being responsible for the governance of his people.

While the self-indulgent side of Solomon might have rather had riches and power, the other side of him, the side that humbly acknowledged his own inadequacy and dependency on God in the face of such a daunting task, admitted him need for a wisdom far beyond his years.

In fact, wisdom as a virtue is not the same as having expertise in a given field. It is not so much about the expanse of one’s knowledge or the focus of one’s specialization. You can have all the information at your fingertips, but if you can’t discern what is the right thing to do in a critical moment of decision, your knowledge is practically useless.

Wisdom, then, is about the application of what we know to the situations of life, guided and inspired by the moral values we hold in highest regard. Our values, and ultimately what we value most deeply, steer our decisions along the path of the greatest good.


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