1 KINGS 3:3-4:34 | ACTS 6:1-15 | PSALM 126:1-6 | PROVERBS 16:26-27
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The account of the reign of Solomon begins. And it is said that he was an upright man, heeding the advice of his father, David, and showing a spirit of obedience to the custom of making offerings of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. One day, in his dream, Solomon is asked by God for anything that his heart desires. Solomon asks for wisdom and discernment to govern his people well.
So pleased is the Lord with this answer that the Lord says this: “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”
Next, there is the account of a wise ruling by Solomon. In the well-known story, the dilemma about who the baby belongs to is solved when the real mother cries out to save its life upon threat of splitting it into two.
Solomon’s reign was one of sound administration and good governance that resulted in peace time for his people. And it was certainly a large land mass that fell under his rule. The text says, 21 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.
Furthermore, Solomon’s fame as a wise king grew far and wide, and he, even more so than his father was known for his knowledge and especially his writings that comprise the Book of Proverbs.
This is a summary of Solomon’s persona and times: 29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we learn about the rapid growth of the early church, and in particular about the selection of seven additional men chosen by the apostles to lead the church. One of them by the name of Stephen was said to be exceptional in his ability to preach fearlessly and to conduct miracles. The Sanhedrin, as always, is still closely monitoring all activities and it is not long before they pull up Stephen to inquire about the supposed charges of blasphemy against him. It is to be seen what may come of these inquisitions. But for now, while they are grilling him about all this, it is said that Stephen’s face was “like the face of an angel.”
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find one of great hope and encouragement. David, the psalmist, says:
4 Restore our fortunes,LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that reaffirms the reason for our labors: it is the hunger in our bodies that keeps us moving forward, how true! Solomon, the wise king of Israel says it like this:
26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
their hunger drives them on.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.