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Scripture Text (NRSV)

1 Kings 3:5-12

3:5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I should give you."

3:6 And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today.

3:7 And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.

3:8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted.

3:9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?"

3:10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.

3:11 God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right,

3:12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.


I read and re-read this passage from 1 Kings, and am caught by, first- the question posed to Solomon by God, and 2nd--by Solomon's response.

Solomon may have been known for his wisdom --because of the sincere recognition of grace which God had poured out upon his father, David, and his humble dependence upon God. This prompted his response--"I'd like some wisdom, please, thank you very much."

Seeking and understanding mind to govern God's people and wisdom to discern between good and evil. Who would have asked for anything near this given the same opportunity.

I think that I must consider preaching on this passage--guided by the great leadership qualities shown by Solomon, and so drastically needed by our leaders today. 1) Love and faith -- can a nation, family, church or home be led without either? 2) Living with a clear sense of graciousness and thanksgiving for the heritage before us. 3) Approach all of life with humility--we all need help from God and others. 4) Seek to live with an understanding (loving) heart. Seek first the things of God.

In a world so inundated with information; humanity has never had so much knowledge available, so many facts, so many experts--yet so often lacking in what people really need to know. "We are drunk with knowledge, and yet we're starving for understanding and wisdom."(parapharse from HOMELETICS - August, 1999) The first step to become truly wise, is to admit that we do not have all the answers. Then in thanksgiving and humility, seek God's guidance and help in all things.

musings from DF in Ks

Regarding the wisdom of Solomon: It seems to me that while Solomon may have understood what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he didn't necessarily do it. His legacy is as much one of a lavish taste for luxury than a hunger for God's will: the house he built for himself was four times the size of the house he built for the Lord. To accomplish his building programs he resorted to forced labor and crippling taxations of his own people. Perhaps the sermon here should be directed to those of us who know what God's will is in our minds, yet fail to evidence it in our actions. Don in Cincinnati

Don in Cincinnati, Your point about Solomon's failure to serve God before all else reminds me that I have always wondered how Solomon could have failed God so mightily--especially when he had pleased God so much to begin with and and had been given so much by God as he began to rule. Yet Solomon admitted his folly when he wrote that everything except God is vanity in Ecclesiastes (12:8) For Solomon to have the greatest share of wisdom ever given to a human being and still to have lived such a disappointing life brings to mind what Jesus said about some things being more worthwhile than wisdom (Matt. 11:25). Just how important is it to be wise? Deacon in OH

It seems to me that God's gift of wisdom to Solomon was not necessarily an immediate thing but perhaps a lifetime process. He obviously did some pretty stupid things in governing the kingdom, he introduced forced labor, conscription services, exploitation of traders, tariffs and taxes, playing favorites in awarding building contracts, and rampant inflation in a young struggling economy. His rule set the stage for the fall of the united kingdom.

Solomon’s wisdom is apparent only at the end of his life, "vanities of vanities".

Pr.del in Ia

I consider it interesting that we, clergy and theologians, find it so quick and easy to fault wealth and riches. Yes, I know that the love of money is the root of all evil stuff, but consdier that a one dollar bill and a thousand dollar bill have no knowledge of the value of each other. Money is amoral, it is neither good nor bad it just is. The thing that gets to me is that we are so quick to dismiss wealth as bad in itself and the acquisition of it as evil. What gives? How are we going to build our churches and contribute to worthwhile causes and charities and mission programs if there are no welathy Christians among us? Yes, I understand that Soloman was very right in askng for an understanding mind, (wisdom) but beyond that there is in my mind nothing wrong with seeking successful wealth as long as one is right with the Lord and seeking the Lord's wisdom in its disbursement and use. I have no problem with taking care of my family and enjoying the finner things of life. I have no problem with a nice home and a new car paid for with cash. Besides doesn't the Bible say somewhere something about not lending money out on interest? If we are to be true to scripture we all had better pay cash as we go. AND we can never pay cash unless we acquire cash and lots of it. I really hope I tick some of you off, because I want to hear from you about this.

W. McB. 27 years in ministry in Pewaukee, WI. (near Milwaukee home of the 2002 All Star game that never ended!!)

I just read a couple of weeks ago where the authors of Left Behind made $50 million each on the series. If the end is soooo near what are they doing with that kind of money? Long term real estate? Stock Market? T-Bills.

Tell you what, if Jesus suddenly appeared today I sure as hell wouldn't want to be caught with $50 million in a country were children are under- nourished and live on the streets.

Sure the Bible says not to lend to another in need charging interest, but it says nothing of borrowing.

I think the pastor who wants wealth should find another job and stop reflecting poorly upon the church of a wandering prophet from Nazarath.