It starts off like a bad dream.
“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, king of Egypt by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter” (1 Kings 3:1).
“Solomon loved the Lord by walking in the statutes of his father David, but he also sacrificed and burned incense on the high places” (1 Kings 3:3).
There are ways to start a new rulership in a nation and there are ways that you don’t. This is how you don’t. Both things–alliances with foreign powers and sacrificing at alters other than the Lord were strictly forbidden.
But the Lord extended great mercy to Solomon anyway and in a dream asked him to name something he would like from the Lord to start his earthly rulership So Solomon asked for discernment and wisdom.
The Lord was greatly pleased as the request was not about money, wealth or health but rather the ability to serve the people with justice. Because of that the Lord would give him the other things he didn’t ask for as well.
This wisdom was then illustrated by the two women who were fighting. They both had babies at the same time but one of the babies had died. The mother of the dead baby swapped the babies out with her neighbor so she could have a living baby.
They brought their complaint to Solomon, both arguing that the living baby was their own. So what would you do?
Solomon did something that looked shocking. He ordered that the baby be cut in two. With that the true mother pleaded mercy and said to let the baby live even if it had to be with the other woman. Solomon then gave the baby to this woman, as she was the one who was clearly the mother.
The best part of wisdom is that it’s true purpose is to serve others. It’s not so people will marvel at it. By its very nature it is selfless. Within it is a connection to God’s justice and righteousness (Prov 1:7). Also with it comes discernment and understanding. We are encouraged to ask for wisdom (James 3:13).
Considering how foolishly Solomon started out, his asking for wisdom was a very good first step.
When was the last time I prayed for wisdom?