Everyone wants to be treated fairly. If someone has done some wrong against another we want to see justice. We want to see the wrong made right again.
In our country we have a system of courts with judges, lawyers, and juries of our peers who when called together seek to ensure that justice is done.
It’s a great responsibility to be the one who dispenses just rulings. It’s a great responsibility being called to sit on a jury and vote with your peers whether a person standing before you is guilty of wrongdoing or innocent of the charge brought against them.
Fortunately, these decisions aren’t just ours to render. We are just one of 12 people in the jury. Sometimes the weight of the decision does fall upon just one person, the judge. I can’t imagine the burden they must carry at times.
In the days of Solomon’s rule the king was the person who determined innocence or guilt, right or wrong. Because of Solomon’s fairness and discerning wisdom he was considered a ‘wise’ king. Not just because he was smart but because he was fair and his rulings were just.
What made Solomon the wise king that he was? Was it genetics? Was it God? Maybe it was both.
David, Solomon’s father was held up as a great king, a fair king, righteous in the eyes of God. Not perfect, but a person who loved God and trusted in God’s providence.
So, we can understand how Solomon could have inherited some of his father’s characteristics. And since we’ve heard how God blessed others in their dreams we can believe that he would also honor Solomon with a blessing.
But there may be something else that made Solomon’s rule so memorable. Remember Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, the one about faith, hope, and love. Paul said he could have any of the other’s but without love they were meaningless.
I believe what made Solomon’s wisdom so different from any other king’s was that he dispensed his justice with love. He loved God and he loved the people of God.
King Solomon wielded a lot of power as did most kings of his era. And if we would read further in 1 Kings we’d see that Solomon didn’t always treat the people with what we would call fairness and love. You see, he conscripted quite a few of the people of God to build his mansion and the Temple in Jerusalem. He didn’t ask. He ordered.
But in today’s lesson, as a young boy, as a new king, he was filled with God’s wisdom and love and he treated the people with justice. And even with some of his later escapades the people still revered him as a king filled with God’s wisdom and grace.
Solomon received a gift from God, the gift of a discerning heart, wisdom. I believe each of us have received gifts from God. I’ve asked you this morning to consider your gifts or maybe to think about gifts you’d like to be endowed with. Gifts that you’d, given the opportunity, ask God for.
As we know gifts come with responsibility. God blesses us with gifts that we should use not hide under a bushel basket or bury in the ground. Solomon used his gift to govern the people of God wisely. How are we using the gifts God has given us?
As you go on into this week consider the gift on the strip of paper and ask God to guide you in the use of his gift to you. And, maybe, you could share with each other how God revealed this gift to you and how it’s being used to further the kingdom of God here on earth.
Thanks be to God for his grace-filled love. Amen.