When Tasks Overwhelm

Key Verse: “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”
—I Kings 3:9

Selected Scripture:
I Kings 2:1-4; 3:3-10

SOLOMON, SOON AFTER the death of his father David, began to realize the immensity of the responsibility he had as the new king. God, also realizing this, appeared to Solomon in a dream. In the dream God said to him, “Ask what I shall give thee.” (I Kings 3:5) Solomon’s response is worthy of note. He first gave recognition to the fact that God had been with his father David during his reign, and had shown him great mercy and kindness. (vs. 6) He then showed great humility by saying concerning himself, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.” (vss. 7,8)

Finally, Solomon asked for that which is contained in the Key Verse: ‘an understanding heart … that I may discern between good and bad.’ (vs. 9) That is, Solomon asked for wisdom, with which he would be able to judge and govern the people fairly and righteously. “And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” (I Kings 3:10) God was pleased that he had asked for such a noble thing as wisdom rather than long life, riches, or some other temporal blessing.

God immediately answered his request: “Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.” (vs. 12) In addition, God said he would give Solomon that which he had not asked for—riches and honor. (vs. 13) The only condition that God placed upon Solomon was that he walk in his ways, keep his statutes, and obey his commandments.—vs. 14

The Apostle James also admonishes us to ask for wisdom. He says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) Later in this same epistle, James elaborates on this heavenly wisdom saying: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure [holy], then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) This wisdom is pure, or holy. It is not polluted with the doctrines of men or the spirit of this present evil world. It comes solely from the Word of God itself. Wisdom seeks to be peaceable, gentle, not to vaunt itself above its fellowman; to produce good fruitage to those who are properly exercised by it—to be fair, honest, and the same to all people at all times.

Just as Solomon realized the great need for wisdom to govern and judge Israel, so we also must ask for, and use, the heavenly wisdom that God is pleased to provide us, in order to say and do those things in our life that would be pleasing and acceptable to him. It is only this wisdom and our use of it that will enable us, as it did Solomon, to govern and judge our own characters, that we may be brought ever closer to the perfect pattern set before us in Christ Jesus.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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