My new favourite word is “unprecedented” – we are living in unprecedented times, without a road map or rules to guide us. Tim Keller wrote that wisdom is knowing how to navigate the realities of life when rules don’t help. Chuck Swindoll adds that it is the ability to see things from God’s perspective. In today’s reading we find Solomon asking for wisdom in a dream and getting it, because God is good and will give it generously when we ask.
Dreams are powerful things and God uses them to speak to us often, sometimes in a symbolic way and sometimes clearly. The nigt before I wrote this I had dreamed that I was praying for one of the couples in church and texted them in the morning to let them know! Some dreams of course are just dreams – clearing out the previous day or brought on by too much cheese late at night!
Solomon is asked by the Lord what God should give him? His answer is going to be important. But first a little background to Solomon’s life. He was born into privilege, but to a messed up family. He was the son of David and Bathsheba – a son of adultery. He was not the first in line for the throne – Amnon had been a rapist and murdered by another son, Absolom, who then got himself killed trying to overthrow his dad David. Next Adonijah wanted to have Abishag, David’s last concubine (more for warmth than sex 1 Kings 1:4) to prove he was a worthy successor and got himself killed. What a mess. But our past mess doesn’t define our future. The Lord comes to us, to you, right now to clean up our mess and call us to a better future, empowered by His presence and power. The gospel, Christ dying on the cross takes away our sin, when we ask Jesus to apply it to our lives. But I digress!
God comes to Solomon with a destiny dilemma – what do you want from me? Will Solomon ask for riches or wisdom? Will he live the rest of his live “me” or “we”?
A “me” answer will be about power, domination and control. A “we” life will be about vulnerability, intimacy and self giving. A me life will be frantically self-preserving and isolating in selfishnese, where as a “we” life will be centred, thoughtful and prayerful. Toilet roll panic buying anyone? A me answer will be a life livesd in doubt, cynicism and fear. A wise we answer will be a life of faith, hope and love. “Me” goes for lines that divide – “build the wall”. A we life creates circles that encompasses others.
Solomon wakes having asked for wisdom to govern well (not rule – do you remember Saul’s mistake?) It was a dream, but more than a dream. It’s going to be a new reality for the most part. Solomon will begin to lead with wisdom. That’s put to the test when 2 women come to him arguing over whose living child is whose. Bring me a sword Solomon says. We can cut it in half and you will both have half. That immediately highlights the real mum who can’t bear the thought of loosing her child.
For us, we get to ask for wisdom too and boy do we need it in this season. James 1:5 exorts us “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives generously to all and it will be given him.”
We just need to ask – God will give wisdom to anyone who asks. And God gives it generously if we believe and not doubt.
Lord, give us wisdom for this season.