Discover more from Defined By Moments
SOLOMON - THE THINKER
Step back and think or reflect on your experience. Evaluate your experiences and learn from them because that, my friends, is how you gain wisdom!
If you have been following this series on Hebrew kings and the lessons they can teach us, you probably wonder why have skipped the next Hebrew king. Well, I call it an author's license! It makes perfect sense, in my opinion, to shift to him for some lessons to be learned and applied. Let's move forward and see what we can glean from his life that can help us improve our lives.
Before going any further, let me share with you what this entry is NOT - this is not a biopic that covers every aspect of his life. Yes, Solomon inherited a peaceful kingdom and took the Israeli dynasty to its zenith. At the same time, however, we must admit that he made terrible mistakes as a leader and the kingdom would split because of those defining moments. Instead of offering a blow-by-blow examination of his errors, we will look at what started him down the path of wisdom and reflection. Therein, we will find hidden treasures for us to adopt.
If you have any familiarity with Biblical history, you know that Solomon's origin is a suspect one. His father, David, married his mother, Bathsheba, under awful circumstances - David, an already married man, shirked his duty to lead soldiers in battle, desired a woman he could not have, committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, tried to cover his sin with trickery, and, ultimately, ordered the death of her husband by the hand of his commanding officer. It was that union of these two individuals that produced Solomon as a son of the king.
As he matured, Solomon was groomed to be king; yet, the transfer of the kingship was not smooth at all (see 1 Kings 1). David, still alive but very old, faced a coup by one of his sons - Adonijah, the third oldest son of David. Adonijah declared his intentions of becoming king and acquired a large group of followers (including chariots as the symbol of power). To make his move public, he brings in some family members and court officials for a special sacrifice but, specifically, did not invite Solomon. This maneuver appears to reveal an acknowledgment of his rebellion.
A prophet of God goes to Bathsheba to warn her and gets her to go to the king. David, in the past, had proclaimed that Solomon would rule upon his death. David acknowledged that oath and then acted to transfer the throne to him now in a special ceremony. This public showing drove followers from Adonijah, who fled to the altar and begged for mercy. With Solomon being king, it fell to him to decide what to do with his traitorous brother. Solomon took an oath to permit his brother to live IF, and only if, Adonijah would live right; and the older brother agreed to do so.
David finally died (see 1 Kings 2) and the entire kingdom mourns the loss, while peacefully transferring loyalty to Solomon. Shortly thereafter, Adonijah launches another plot to subvert the throne. He, being the eldest brother, goes to Solomon's mother - not go to the king - and asks to marry David's concubine. When Solomon finds out, he knows exactly what is taking place. Granting the request would immediately give his older brother a claim to the throne; and as the account implies, Adonijah had the support of David's general and priest. In other words, this was a much larger attempt to either split the kingdom or go to war with Solomon. The new king faced a tough decision and ordered the exile or death of these men.
It is this background that leads us to 1 Kings 3 and why Solomon asked God for wisdom. He could have asked for wealth and ease and long life, but he knew none of that mattered without the ability to "distinguish between right and wrong" through a "discerning heart" (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon's immediate context was a rough experience and he pondered that time to figure out what was of true value for life and leadership. Oh, that we would heed his example in our daily lives! Instead of chasing money and possessions, we should pursue truth and wisdom with all of our being.
So what? Why does this matter for you and I?
Prosperity is a poor purpose. Solomon's request for wisdom instead of wealth reveals that we all have a purpose that is much deeper than things. We will leave a legacy behind and we are the masters of that legacy. Our daily choices and commitments are what determine how others will remember us. If we only seek prosperity and convenience, then we will sacrifice character which, in turn, will subvert the memory that others have of us. Look in the mirror, right now, and see what matters most for you; if that answer is not well-liked, then you can start to make those changes today.
Only when you surrender the unimportant do you have a chance to succeed at the most important. Solomon shows us this lesson as he offered forgiveness to his brother. He could have dwelt upon the wrong of his older brother, which would lead to bitterness. Instead, he resolved the matter (surrendering the unimportant) and moved on to other things (having a chance to succeed at the most important). You and I need to evaluate everything - all the things that we do, what we choose to focus on, how we prioritize, etc. - and determine what is of the greatest value. Investing energy in what matters is where we gain the greatest return.
Pride prevents progress. Period. This lesson is not so much from Solomon but from Adonijah as he could not humble himself before his younger brother. Even though he was granted undeserved mercy AND made an oath, his pride led him to attempt another attempt at becoming king. When we allow our hearts to be consumed by pride, we will soon see that our hands take actions motivated by that pride. Solomon would later right in the book of Proverbs something that Adonijah needed to heed - "pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)
The past can help in the present but it does not guarantee the future. Solomon had several examples of kings to study and use to form decisions. He could look to the past in the present BUT he also recognized that the past is not an accurate prediction of the future. Rather than trusting in his pedigree as the son of the warrior king, he understood his decisions would shape his direction and that of his kingdom. Knowing that to be the case, he sought God for wisdom and discernment.
In conclusion, be like Solomon. Step back and think or reflect on your experience. Evaluate your experiences and learn from them because that, my friends, is how you gain wisdom!
Thanks for reading this article! Subscribe now to receive all the latest articles by Defined By Moments in your email inbox.