Solomon, like us, never knew what was in the future. He learned early in life that compromise with values of the world meant abandoning God’s plan(s) for us may not match our expectations. As we think of all of our human contacts, no one is beyond redemption!
Most of 1 Kings, the first half, traces the life of Solomon and under his leadership Israel rose in size and glory. He gained unsurpassed fame and respect! Pagan wives turned his attention from God at various periods of time. Worship in the temple of God decreased in later years. The same history continues in 2 Kings with tragic stories of two nations ending in captivity of Judah by the Babylonians.
In 1 Kings Solomon showed his gratitude to God for the stability of his kingdom as it was enjoyed. Solomon traveled and offered a thousand burnt offerings to the Lord. Did Solomon make any request of God? Can we discern a need for God’s love and protection? Solomon began thanking God for all His kindness and consideration while excusing himself for not being an adult and for his lack of knowledge to carry out duties and manage the great people God had chosen! Discernment always plays an important role in any leader’s life.
According to the Scriptures in first and second Kings, there was a time when leaders were chosen based on a very different set of criteria. Morality was most important. Most people, just like God, understood that the spiritual health of a person’s inner being was far more significant than outward symbols of power or wealth. Will we change our thinking to make life better for ourselves and others? There is little chance that our political process will change to reflect such values. Let us thank God for making the right choices to live as moral leaders in our world! We are also extremely grateful for opportunities to seek a discerning heart that chooses to follow God in wisdom and in truth.
Solomon, son of Bathsheba, and King David, had powerful allies in the royal court. However both God and King David wanted Solomon to become the next King of Israel. Let us remember that when God wants any of us to be promoted or exalted; man cannot create a hinderance to stop us.
God rewarded Solomon’s obedience by speaking with him in a dream wherein Solomon was offered anything he desired. To everyone’s surprise, he never asked for riches, a long life, great honor or the destruction of his enemies. Instead Solomon asked for a discerning heart so that he could properly govern his kingdom. What was God’s response to Solomon? God promised him the wisest and most discerning heart and also long life, great wealth with security from his enemies. Solomon insured receiving these blessings by wholly following the commands of God. Solomon never forgot his need for God. Solomon understood the need to separate right from wrong (1 Kings 3:9). We must ask God for discernment for ourselves to help us see things that are not immediately apparent. Solomon received this ability by simply asking God for such a gift (James 1:5).
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.