Today’s reading begins with Solomon’s request for wisdom and concludes with the building of the temple of the LORD.
David had been a great ruler for Israel. He expanded the kingdom and though his time in power was not without controversy and upheaval, he left a stable kingdom for his son Solomon. David had wanted to build a temple for the LORD to replace the Tabernacle that the people of Israel had used as the place of worship for the LORD during their time of wandering in the desert, but the LORD refused him this privilege. As a result of David’s battles and struggles, the LORD did not want the king with bloodstained hands building him a temple. As such, although David worked to make provision for a grand temple, it fell to Solomon to build it.
Solomon understood that as a man he lacked the wisdom to rule over Israel and that the task ahead of him was great. So in one of his first interactions with the LORD upon his taking control of the throne of Israel, Solomon asked of the LORD great wisdom so that he could be an adequate king for the LORD’s people. In response to Solomon’s request, the LORD said this:
“Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:11-14 (ESV)
Solomon was humbled by the task ahead of him and instead of asking for things that he thought he may need or want to accomplish the task at hand, he asked that the LORD grant him understanding. I for one typically don’t ask for understanding when faced with a challenge, I usually ask for something or that God would do something. As many times as I’ve read and been told of Solomon’s request, I still haven’t let it sink in that allowing God to do the work and simply asking for his understanding and how best to proceed is the best possible course of action and wins the favor of the LORD in the events to follow. Maybe I can start having that attitude. Maybe my asking for things instead of wisdom is a big component in troubles that I face in life.