Solomon was a very wise king. In this Old Testament lesson for today we understand the reason for this. At the outset of his reign Solomon could have asked for anything from God; he might have chosen to focus on the perquisites or the power of kingship. But instead Solomon asked for wisdom, and this pleased God. “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this, your great people?” This was Solomon’s prayer, and all these millennia later he still has the reputation of being the wisest king that ever lived.
As a pastor, I think there is no greater prayer I could pray than this. Rather than choosing to focus prayers and ministry on bigger budgets, more attendance, and adding on building space, I can make the choice to pray for wisdom. Solomon’s request was borne out of a clear realization of who God is (the One who shows steadfast love) and who he himself is (“I am but like a little child”). God’s greatness and Solomon’s humility collided in a wonderful prayer for discernment to carry out God’s will on earth.
In this time of year in which it is vogue to make New Year’s resolutions based upon the individual’s willpower, let us take a different approach. Let us pray and invite God to do the kind of deep change in our lives that is needed in order to live well and do God’s will. May we pray for discernment to serve well, and ask for wisdom to be good stewards of our callings from God.
O LORD, my God, give me a mind and heart of wisdom so that I might rightly discern good and evil, right and wrong, and the best decisions to made in every situation. I choose to walk in your ways to the glory of Jesus Christ through the power of your Spirit. Amen.