Saturday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Kings 3:1-15 (NKJV)
1 Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall all around Jerusalem. 2 Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days. 3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places. 4 Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” 6 And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
10 The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 15 Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
It is strange that Solomon should say that his father David “walked before You [God] in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You.” Of course it is right that a son should honor the memory of his father and to speak only the best of him, but this seems a bit much. “Righteousness” and “uprightness of heart” seem strange descriptors of a man who committed adultery and murder. But they are true because David’s righteousness did not depend on his own deeds; it depended on the One Who was his righteousness for him.
David repented: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7). He repented of his sins and trusted in the grace of God his Savior. This is what made him righteous and upright of heart. It is what makes any of us righteous. It is what makes us saints.
Solomon also shows this faith in God and asks to carry out his vocation honorably and faithfully. He acknowledges that his power and authority come from God, and so he wants to honor God in his calling as king. God is pleased that Solomon asks for wisdom, but he really shows that he understands his place before God. Solomon will not be morally perfect during his lifetime either, but he knows where perfection comes from, or better, from Whom it comes. We do well to ask God to help us in our vocations as husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers or fathers. We honor Him when we acknowledge our place before Him.