3 Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.”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. 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. 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. 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?” (1 Kings 3;3-9)
– Although Solomon practices his faith outside the limits of the Law (sacrificing at the high places), he is still described as one who “loved the Lord.” Is this a parallel to his father, David (mentioned here) who was a man after God’s heart yet sinned deeply.
– Despite the above, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and offered him whatever he desired
– Solomon focuses not on God’s love for him but for his father, David
Two things that speak to me today from this story – first, that Solomon was not exactly a stickler for observing the laws around worship and sacrifice (as clearly noted in the story!). Yet we are told he loved God! A reminder that the love of God is a matter of the heart and not of ritual purity or strict observance of the laws. Solomon is noted as obeying his father’s statutes (but not necessarily God’s). The point is not that everything is ok and nothing is forbidden or proscribed. But, as with David, what makes us acceptable to God is the heart (see the Sermon on the Mount for Jesus’ expansion of this idea).
The other thing I have not considered previously is that Solomon is, in a sense, already wise. He is wise enough to ask for wisdom rather than for riches or honor or fame or success. This lines up with the notion that it is heart that God approves – from that heart of love for God Solomon seeks to be wiser still – to have his love for God and following of his father’s statutes exhibit itself in wisely ruling the people of Israel.
Lord of Wisdom. today may I cultivate a heart that loves you – a heart that honors you – a heart that seeks you and your wisdom. Such a heart will find peace and will find satisfaction for what it seeks is in you. May I find such wisdom, too, as I seek to give my heart to you. In Jesus’ name… Amen.