Today’s reading is 1 Kings 8:22-40.
In these last few days, we’ve gotten a glimpse into the heart of Solomon. As I read 1 Kings 3:1-15 on Tuesday, it occurred to me more clearly that Solomon didn’t ask for wisdom exactly. He asked in 1 Kings 3:9 for understanding to properly govern God’s great people. Then, as a result of seeing his heart to help others God gave him wisdom, riches, and honor (1 Kings 3:12-13).
Now, now not only do we see him praising God’s greatness in adoration (1 Kings 3:1 and 1 Kings 3:27), but we also see him asking God to forgive others. He does so in 1 Kings 8:30, 1 Kings 8:34, 1 Kings 8:36, and 1 Kings 8:39. The people he’s asking God to forgive are not those who have sinned against him where he might really be elevating himself to say in a way…”I’m right..they’re wrong…please forgive them.” He’s not doing to put himself on a pedestal. He’s asking for forgiveness for his people who have sinned in general. His heart is for others in asking God to intercede on their behalf. We know God did this not only for the Jewish people, but the Gentiles as well in sending Jesus (John 3:16).
Solomon also gives us great wisdom in 1 Kings 8:39 in saying only God knows the heart of each person. How often do we judge people without knowing their story and what they are going through? We may think we know, but we don’t know what’s happened in their past or happening behind closed doors which may be causing them to act in a certain way or turn to drugs or alcohol perhaps even struggling from alcoholism which they wouldn’t choose on their own. They may be making some poor choices, but they may actually be telling God they are sorry for their sin problem and asking God to not only forgive them but help them turn from their sinful ways. On the flip side, we may think someone else has a great heart, but really has ulterior motives or is not who they appear to be behind closed doors. They may be in denial of their sin problem. Two weeks ago I wrote on Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Everyone judged him, but Jesus knew who he truly was on the inside. Yet, those Jewish leaders who many likely looked to as being great were the ones with a bigger sin problem.
A few questions for us to ponder on today.
- Who am I leading that I should ask God for wisdom in leading them..not just at work, but in my home, community organization, or small group?
- Who might I be judging and condemning where I may not know their whole story?
- Do I often think about that only God knows the true heart of others?
- How are my actions, and what is the condition of my heart right now?