by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: 1 Kings 3:3-4:34; Proverbs 17:27-28
READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
1 Kings 3:10-12 “It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”
It pleased God that Solomon asked for the ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. It pleased God that Solomon had not asked for wealth, long life and the life of our enemies. It pleased God so much that apart from blessing Solomon with such a gift of discernment, He gave the king what he did not ask for i.e. both riches and honour so that no king can be compared to the glory of his reign (ref: 1 Kings 3:13).
Why was God so pleased with Solomon when he asked for the wisdom to discern between right and wrong? I believe it has to do with God’s character of holiness as well as Solomon’s humility in wanting such a gift. At the heart of God’s character of holiness is the “separateness” of what is right and wrong. When we struggle with being holy as God is holy, we struggle in making choices between doing what is pleasing to God and what is not. Therefore, God was well pleased because Solomon had humbly asked for something that is close to God’s heart. It was a gift that could be of great service to the people as well as to Solomon’s spiritual growth as a king.
In this day and age, it seems that such an understanding of what is right and wrong is less valued. For example, many parents in Singapore would rather spend much resources in training their children for academic pursuits rather than the building up of their character. Some of us Christian parents might even pray much more for our children to do well academically; than to acquire wisdom to discern what is right or wrong in a sinful world. Even for the church, I often wonder if we placed much higher value on many other things than the ability to discern what is right and wrong? Or have we even rebuked people who placed an emphasis on the importance of discernment?
In a time when false teachings are getting more prevalent and difficult to detect, I believe the church needs to pay more attention to this aspect of church life. This is so that we can be a people who are behaving and doing things close to the Father’s heart. As the Word of God warned us, Satan can masquerade himself as like the light and deceive us. Hence, we need to have wisdom to discern, be humble to learn and be ready to discard anything that is leading us onto the wrong path. So in the light of how Solomon had asked God for wisdom to discern what is right and wrong, may we as a church also start to pray more fervently, that the Lord will grant us such a wisdom. This is so we can be well pleasing to the Lord on how we are behaving as His followers as well as the stewardship of His church.
Lord our God, forgive us when we bypass such an important understanding (of right and wrong) for less important wants in our lives. Help us as families and churches to grow in our discernment of what is right and wrong, so that we are pleasing in Your sight. Amen.