Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; Proverbs 2:3-6
Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” – 1 Kings 3:9
Solomon understood the enormity of the task before him and humbly asked for God to make him all he needed to be for this position of honor and authority among God’s people. He knew what he lacked was wisdom, so he asked God for wisdom. His father David had praised the God who could examine hearts and find integrity (1 Chron 29:17). Solomon needed the ability to find this same kind of integrity in the hearts of God’s people as they came to him to settle disputes.
Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth while she was with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only the two of us in the house.
“But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”
Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.”
“No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And they argued back and forth before the king. – 1 Kings 3:16-22
Integrity in the heart of a prostitute – that is what Solomon was looking to find. Prostitutes were the most despised class of women in the Israelite community. For Solomon to even agree to meet with these women demonstrated that he was kind and just. He could have rejected them for being pregnant outside of marriage, but he took the time to hear their story and extend a helping hand.
They were alone in this world, no one to even witness the births and testify to whose child was whose. They were cast off from their families, used by men and then abandoned. Yet Solomon had the gift of an understanding heart and he took time to listen to their story and meet their needs. As God said, Solomon’s greatest desire was to help his people, so God gave him the wisdom and knowledge he had requested (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.
Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”
Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child – please do not kill him!”
But the other woman said, “Alright, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”
Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”
When all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice. – 1 Kings 3:23-28
The actions of the mother of the living baby revealed her heart. She loved her child enough to give him up. Solomon heard the love of a mother in her reaction and gave her back her child. Compassion, understanding, wisdom and justice. What God had called Solomon to do, God equipped Solomon to do.
God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else…His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. – 1 Kings 4:29-34
Lord, give us today all we need to be used by you in the lives of those around us. Equip us with the compassion needed to care enough to listen to the stories of those who are in need of justice. Fill us with the understanding we need to help them. Give us your wisdom – not for our own glory but for YOURS! May integrity be demonstrated in our lives and revealed in our hearts. We love you, Lord. Amen.
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:3-6
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever! – Psalm 111:10
When I read through this story of the two prostitutes, I think of all the incredible birthmothers I have met over the years. That moment of sacrifice when a mother cries out on behalf of her child…that courageous decision that shows she loves her baby enough to give him up…that selfless action of choosing a different life for the baby she loves…
Then I look at Solomon’s compassionate heart as he takes the time to listen to her story. I see in him a reflection of the God who knows everything about us and cares deeply about our future. Lord, give us this kind of compassion and understanding for others. Help us to seek justice and search for integrity. Give us insight and lead us into these kinds of moments today. Amen.