1 Kings 3:9 “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
David had already recognized that his son Solomon was a smart guy, (1 Kings 2:9) and here Solomon proves it. He was smart enough to know that he wasn’t smart enough! That sounds like a paradox, but it’s not one at all. Solomon later exercised great wisdom indeed in governing Israel, but he didn’t apply that wisdom to his own life. He let himself be led astray, even to idolatry, by his multiplied wives, but that was simply a demonstration that he had switched his focus from the spiritual to the physical. The book of Proverbs has many wise sayings that are attributed to Solomon, but the book of Ecclesiastes tells us how bankrupt he was spiritually in his later years. There is wisdom there, but not much hope and certainly no real joy. When we focus on this world we lose sight of what is really important. Jesus said we can’t serve God and money, (Luke 16:13) but really that can be expanded to say that you can’t serve God and anything else. All of our other service must be subordinate to, and a reflection of, our serving God. Solomon’s problem was that he served Israel and he served his flesh, (Ecclesiastes 2:10) but in the process he forgot to serve God. That sort of problem can be very subtle. I have seen pastors, even, who served the church but failed to serve God. Their service itself was primary, and wasn’t a reflection of their relationship with God. I won’t say that such a person isn’t saved, but they certainly lose out on a great deal. Solomon knew the truth – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10) – but he failed to apply it properly in his own life.
I am constantly faced with such traps myself. Having grown up immersed in the Bible, I certainly can’t claim that I don’t know God’s truth. However, the devil and my flesh conspire to have me ignore God and/or place something ahead of Him. That doesn’t have to be something attractive, even. Yesterday work began on cutting down all the trees on the land next to the church, and at the same time the real estate agent refuses to say he will sell the church the three plots we are asking for. We grieve for the trees, for the green environment that has given us bird songs throughout the year, and at the same time we don’t have the physical assurance that we will be able to proceed with our plans for a senior care facility. When I yield to that turmoil, I am no longer serving God, but rather this world. That isn’t wisdom! It is only when I am fully submitted to Him that I am able to resist the devil and have him flee. (James 4:7)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Yesterday was just the first day of what’s being done to the land next door. Help me be fully submitted to You so that I may have Your peace and joy in the middle of it all, serving You first and then secondarily serving others, so that Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!