In 1 Kings 3, Solomon was given an opportunity to ask the Lord for anything. He chose wisdom. God seemed impressed that Solomon did not ask for long life, wealth or even the heads of his enemies. What Solomon asked for gives us an extraordinary peak into the values that drove this leader.
This was Solomon’s chance to advance his agenda, to improve his portfolio or even take revenge but instead, he chose a gift that would primarily benefit others. Wisdom is the one gift he could not earn or purchase. He obviously was moved by the enormous weight and responsibility of governing a nation, a tribe, a people. He genuinely wanted to get it right and God’s gift of wisdom was Solomon’s first choice.
He asked the Lord: “For who is able to govern this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9). It was a statement within a question in which he acknowledges that the people have great value and that they belong to God. Jesus did much the same thing in John 17 when He prayed to the Father: “…those You gave Me, they were Yours.” Wisdom is rooted in a person’s perspectives and values. Solomon’s perspective pleased the Lord (1 Kings 3:10).
Solomon had no self-centered expectations about God’s help but he did recognize that the privilege he was experiencing reflected the Lord’s favor upon Israel and upon King David (1 Kings 3:6). Wisdom holds life in these three tensions:
- Our future is not secure because of an increase in the measurable things around us. Our future is secure because of an increase of God’s presence and perspective (this should temper us).
- We have been given a responsibility to serve and shepherd people and not simply to govern them (this should tenderize us).
- We often experience extraordinary grace because of God’s favor with others who preceded us (this should humble us).
As we begin this journey into a new season, there are some extremely important issues before us. Much prayer continues in humble recognition of our absolute dependence on the Lord. There are sizeable mountains to climb but God’s grace and favor are upon our movement.
While we take this journey as a family, each and every one of us is on an individual, parallel journey in our relationship with the Lord and with others. May the Lord give us strong determination during these days to seek His face, to walk humbly before Him and to guard our hearts and minds against the ever-present schemes of the enemy of our soul.
This is what wisdom looks like: Be bold! Be kind! Be vigilant!
Glenn Burris Jr. is president-elect of The Foursquare Church.