Week 4 – Solomon, A Heart of Wisdom
“The Queen of the South came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.” (Luke 11:31)
When I was an eight-year-old, my favorite Sunday School leaflet was one showing King Solomon, all decked out in his royal robes, dedicating the temple in Jerusalem. One of my favorite games was to use my wooden blocks to build the great temple of the Lord, and then to put a robe on one of my toy lead soldiers and pretend that he was Solomon dedicating God’s house of worship.
We remember Solomon, not only because of the beautiful temple he built for the worship of God, but also because of his wisdom. We also remember the hundreds of proverbs and wise sayings he wrote to guide God’s people to live as God’s chosen people. Solomon spent his life studying science, mathematics, history, literature, the habits of the animals, and the psychology of human beings – always seeking to discern, in God’s marvelous creation, lessons for our lives. For the people of Israel, Christians and even Muslims, Solomon is a great teacher of wisdom. In our readings and meditations this week, we will seek to remember Solomon, his proverbs, and certain events in his life that point us to Jesus. Solomon was the world’s greatest student and teacher of wisdom; but Jesus is wisdom in person.
Sunday, August 13
Read: Psalm 72
At the end of his early life, David composed the 72nd Psalm for his son, Solomon. This beautiful song contains both petitions and prophesies that speak of the mission to which Solomon and all of the kings of the house of David were called.
Reflect: In what ways did David’s prayer find fulfillment in the reign of Solomon and the kings that came after him? How does David’s prayer find fulfillment in the mission of David’s greater son, Jesus Christ and His Church? What is your mission in life? Pray that the Spirit gives each member of your family the wisdom to understand and carry out the mission God has given you.
For the Family: David wrote this prayer for his son, Solomon. Who prays for you? Why is it important to pray for other people? Pray now with your family for someone you love.
Monday, August 14
Read: 1 Kings 3:1-15
In Solomon’s dream vision, the Lord offers to give the new king the thing he most needs to govern the children of Israel. Solomon must choose the spiritual gift most needed to carry out his mission as king. Rejecting wealth, long life, and victory in war, Solomon chooses wisdom. True wisdom is one of many gifts the Spirit gives us to help in carrying out our mission. True wisdom is not something we already have when we are born. It is not something we obtain for ourselves by our efforts, our studies, or our holiness. It is a gift of God to be received by faith.
Reflect: Read 1 Corinthians 13:2. What fruit of the Spirit do you need to accompany your spiritual gifts? Pray that you receive the fruit of the Spirit that must accompany the spiritual gifts you have received.
For the Family: God spoke to Solomon in a dream. What did He ask Solomon? How did Solomon answer? Why was God pleased with Solomon's answer? How can you please God?
Tuesday, August 15
Read: 1 Kings 3:16-38
St. Louis is the home of the World Chess Hall of Fame. In chess, as in the game of life, the object of most players is to employ diverse strategies (wisdom?) to checkmate the opponents and claim victory. However, many times the game of life ends in a stalemate that is seemingly impossible to resolve. In 1 Kings, Chapter 3, we read how the wisdom Solomon received from the Lord helped him resolve a stalemate between two desperate women seeking his intervention in their struggle to claim a newborn child as their own. Through the Spirit’s gift of wisdom, Solomon was able to impart justice and righteousness.
Reflect: How do Solomon’s actions in this reading point forward to Jesus and His ministry? What are some of the stalemates in your life that need resolution? According to God’s wisdom, what is the purpose of the game of life?
For the Family: Solomon settled a big problem for two women. He needed special wisdom from God to solve their problem in the right way. What do you do when you have a problem? Who helps you solve it? Pray for God’s wisdom and the guidance of His Spirit to solve your problems in a way that pleases God.
Wednesday, August 16
Read: 1 Kings 4:29-34
True wisdom is not head knowledge, nor is it philosophy, rhetoric, or technical competence in one of the sciences. Wisdom is rather the capacity to discern the work of the Lord in the midst of daily life. It is the capacity to understand life in its depth and God-given mystery. Solomon’s wisdom, described in 1 Kings 4, is a gift of God that is taught by the Spirit. According to Matthew 11:25, this true wisdom has been hidden from those considered to be wise and learned by the world’s standards. But this divine wisdom has been revealed to little children.
Reflect: Praise the Lord for all the mysteries of the universe. Praise the Lord for revealing to us the Good News of His sacrificial death, His resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit. Ask Him to help us see His hand in all that happens around us and to us.
For the Family: Writing just one proverb is hard work, yet Solomon, with the Spirit’s help, prepared over 3,000 proverbs. Learn one of Solomon’s prayers (proverbs) by heart. As a family project, try composing just one new proverb of your own.
Thursday, August 17
Read: 1 Kings 8:17-53
This reading contains one of the longest prayers in the Bible. In this prayer, Solomon prays not only for himself but also for many other people in difficult situations.
Reflect: Consider which is the most important petition in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for you. Take time to follow Solomon’s example, and lift up your hands for all those around you who are “standing in the need of prayer.”
For the Family: There was a great celebration when the temple was finished. King Solomon prayed and gave thanks to God for His blessings. Celebrate God's blessings with your family today. Sing a song of praise together; share a special treat.
Friday, August 18
Read: 1 Kings 10:1-13
George Frederick Handel, the composer of the oratorio we know as The Messiah, was also the composer of another famous oratorio. This one was based on the life of Solomon. One of the musical highpoints in Handel’s work describes the visit of the Queen of Sheba. Although the queen most certainly came to help establish international relations and negotiate some mutually beneficial trade agreements, the important thing stressed in the Bible is that the Gentile queen came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.
Reflect: In what ways does the visit of the Queen of Sheba anticipate the coming of the Wise Men to worship Jesus in Matthew, Chapter 2? In what way does it anticipate your coming to worship Jesus?
For the Family: The Queen of Sheba brought many gifts to King Solomon when she came to visit. One of the things she brought to him were words that were kind and helpful. Who shares kind and helpful words with you? We all need these type of words spoken to us. Think of someone who needs to hear words of kindness and helpfulness from you. Share your words with them.
Saturday, August 19
Read: 1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon was faithful to his father, David, in building a temple for the Lord and providing it with rich ornaments, furniture, priests, musicians, choirs, and animals for the sacrifices. But he neglected the all-important command of his father recorded in 1 Kings 2:2-4.
Reflect: What does the history of Solomon teach us about the importance of abiding in God’s Word? What blessings does the Lord offer us in his Word? Solomon’s temple is no more. Where do we find the presence of God and His peace today?
For the Family: What does it mean to “abide” in God’s Word? How can you abide in His Word? Pray with your family and thank God for His Word.