Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.” - 1 Thessalonians 2:12
“I will charge my soul to believe and wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Then two women who had become mothers out of wedlock, came and stood before the king.”
1 Kings 3: 16
“The Proof Is In The Pudding”
“You can’t access wisdom by the megabyte. Wisdom is concerned with how we relate to people, to the world, and to God.”
Edmund P. Clowney
What does it mean to me to be a “wise” person?
In reflecting on Solomon’s life, did he deserve to be known as the “wisest” person who ever lived?
“He (she) is truly wise who looks upon all earthly things as folly that he (she) may gain Christ.”
Thomas á Kempis
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”
Psalm 111: 10
Solomon was the newly crowned King of Israel, when the Bible tells us that God came to this young ruler at Gibeon, in a night dream, and asked him to “name what you want!” This was quite an amazing offer from the Creator of heaven and earth. What’s more, God told Solomon, up front, that He would honor his request – meaning whatever Solomon asked for, he would receive.
As we discovered, this young king told God that all he wanted was an understanding mind along with a hearing heart. His request was granted – along with great wealth and a long life. Let’s just say, Solomon got the whole enchilada along with the side order, salad and trimmings.
Now I want to ask you something: let’s say God came to you with this same offer and you, like Solomon, asked Him for wisdom. How would you know your wish had been granted? Would you have all of a sudden become Albert Einstein or some other great genius? What would have been the sign you needed to know that God had granted your request?
In reading what many Biblical scholars have considered in regard to Solomon’s immediate life experiences after God’s visit with him in Gibeon, I have found that it was the interaction Solomon had with two women, who the Bible calls harlots, that sent a signal to the entire nation of Israel, and maybe even to Solomon himself, that the young king was highly favored by heaven.
We are told, beginning in 1 Kings 3: 15, that after the dream, when Solomon awoke, he returned to Jerusalem where he, “stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings” (1 Kings 3: 15). We must not forget that it was Solomon’s father, David, who wrote these instructive words: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise” (Psalm 111: 10, N.I.V.) I really like the way this passage of Scripture is paraphrased in The Message Bible, “The good life begins in the fear of God – Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God. His Hallelujah lasts forever!”
Early in his reign, Solomon found out that his father’s words were correct for his own request of God reflected that he understood that by living his life with reverence toward God, blessings would follow. Upon Solomon’s return to Jerusalem, we find him worshipping his heavenly Creator, the Giver of all good gifts. Then he returned to the palace to face all the tasks at hand which required heavenly discernment to solve.
Right off the bat, Solomon was hit with a doozie of a challenge – a tough case brought by two women. We are told they were harlots who claimed that one baby belonged to the both of them. It is easy to see that this claim would be impossible.
It was this unique case, which got me to thinking about an old-time saying we have here in the United States which is, “The proof is in the pudding.” Originally, this statement was: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” which means that you don’t really know what your dessert or “pudding” is going to taste until you have a spoonful yourself. I saw this particular thought played out on a food show several weeks ago when a judge asked a contestant, “Did you taste this food before you served it?” Unfortunately, the individual had not and thus placed an extremely over-salted concoction before the renowned chef who, as you might imagine, gave the contestant quite a dressing-down for this error.
When the people of Israel looked at Solomon, I am certain they wondered to themselves, “How will we ever know if he has what it takes to rule? David, even with his ups and downs, was a greatly beloved leader of Israel. Solomon had some awfully big shoes to fill, so it may well have been that the subjects under his rulership were watching to see if the proof of Solomon’s capability was in the taste of the pudding. They may have felt that the true value or the quality of Solomon’s leadership would only be observed and recognized when put to use or when tried and tested.
This is why the story of the two harlots and one baby becomes such a pivotal point for Solomon so early in his reign as king.
I encourage you to come back tomorrow, as we get an expanded view on how God’s wisdom, when put as the premiere need in our lives, provides us with the essence of what we require to walk successfully, day-by-day.
I love the way the poet Mary Sidney Herbert shared her insights from Psalm 111, where David calls the fear of God, the starting point for wisdom in all our lives:
“Reverence of Him is perfect wisdom’s well;
Stand in His law, so understand you well.
The praise of Him (though wicked hearts repine)
Unbounded bides, no time can it define.”
It was the great British pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon who said, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise…There is no fool so great as the knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
This truth is what you and I will find in the life of Solomon – a wise man whose great knowledge was used to fear God, but sadly, it was also used to bring disgrace upon his own life.
“Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom; and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”
Proverbs 8: 1-5
“Grant me, O Lord, to know what is worth knowing, to love what is worth loving, to praise what delights You most; to value what is precious in Your sight, to hate what is offensive to You. Do not let me judge by what I see, nor pass sentence according to what I hear, but to judge rightly between things that differ and above all to search out and to do what pleases You, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Thomas á Kempis
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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