Bible Readings for October 1st
Solomon’s kingdom rises to great heights primarily through the events in the story from today’s reading in 1 Kings 3. Solomon is not an ordinary king—although, as we discussed yesterday, he will also not be the ultimate messianic king who will completely save God’s people from the curse of sin and death in this world. Still, Solomon’s glory will surpass that of every king who will follow him because of the wisdom God grants him in this story.
Commendably, when Yahweh offers to give Solomon any gift whatsoever, Solomon asks merely for wisdom. He remembers that Yahweh had shown great, steadfast love to his father, David (1 Kgs. 3:6). He also recognizes his own limitations as “a little child” who does “not know how to go out or come in” (1 Kgs. 3:7). Looking upon the great multitude of Yahweh’s people, Israel, Solomon asks, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kgs. 3:9).
This request pleases Yahweh, who commends Solomon by acknowledging to him that “you…have not asked for long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right” (1 Kgs. 3:11). In other words, Solomon asks not to enrich himself but for gifts that will bless the people whom God has called him to shepherd as king. Therefore, Yahweh promises to give Solomon not only wisdom but also riches and honor to a level no other king would reach (1 Kgs. 3:13). Furthermore, Yahweh promises that he will give Solomon length of days if Solomon keeps Yahweh’s statutes and commandments all the days of his life (1 Kgs. 3:14).
The chief responsibility of a king is to govern and judge God’s people, so Solomon is right to ask for wisdom to allow him to fulfill his role faithfully and skillfully. Nevertheless, Solomon will fail to use this wisdom to keep his heart pure to follow after Yahweh. Instead, Yahweh will eventually send a different kind of wisdom—a personification of God’s own wisdom in Jesus Christ. So, Jesus is described as the word (lit., “wisdom” or “reason”) of God who became flesh (John 1:14) and as “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).
One of the ways we ought to pray, then, should be to ask God, as Solomon did, for wisdom to live out our lives skillfully—not so that we may succeed in purely worldly ways, but that we may be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1:30–31).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.