August 28, 2019
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
We all like to feel like we know what we're doing, so it takes great humility to admit when we don't. In today's Old Testament lectionary reading from 1 Kings 3, Solomon showed such humility, saying to God "I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in" (1 Kings 3:7). Scripture doesn't specifically say how old Solomon was when he started to reign over Israel, but the responsibility of governing God's people was more enough to make him feel uncertain and helpless, like a scared and confused child. He couldn't rely on his own strength or insight. He needed help, so he asked God for guidance to serve his people well.
I think Solomon's admission gives us a new picture of what it means to "change and become like children" in order to "enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Children aren't ashamed of their need to be instructed, but many adults grow less teachable as we age. As we gain life experience, it becomes easier to dole out answers than to ask new questions. But Solomon shows us that it's only when we come with a childlike openness to instruction that we can receive God's gift of wisdom and direction.
Solomon had faith like a child when he prayed, "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil" (1 Kings 3:9). And God answered, giving him just such wisdom for the challenges before him. Where do you need God's guidance today? Imagine yourself coming to God like a small child comes to a parent or teacher. Admit what you don't know. Ask for what you need. Trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you.
Grace and Peace,