8/17/2015 10:08:18 AM
A reflection on 1 Kings: Solomon Begins
Last week we saw David's son, Absalom, leading a revolt against his father. Absalom is killed and David mourns. David's final years as king were filled with wars, revolts, and violence against family members. But his time as king is now over. He goes to sleep with his ancestors (which is just "bible speak" to mean he died of old age or illness rather than by violence). His heir is Solomon and Solomon, in verses we don't hear, secures his control over the throne. He eliminates his political enemies (including a brother), marries a daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh, and heads to Gibeon to worship at a one of Israel's many holy places.
It's important to remember that Solomon isn't David's first born. David had many wives and many sons so there's no straight formula for secession (though typically the eldest son is made king). But Solomon has an advantage the others don't: his mom is Bathsheba. With God's help and her own cunning, she propels Solomon to the throne. And she's why we find Solomon today meeting God in a dream.
But instead of focusing on Solomon, let's focus on God. Part of God's character is revealed in today's text. Solomon makes a grand sacrifice and, in a dream, asks God how he can lead. He's new to a secured throne and he needs helps. And God listens. Instead of demanding Solomon to fit a specific pattern or to follow a certain recipe to guarantee God's love, God does something different. God takes Solomon for who Solomon is. Solomon is new to the throne so God promises to be in relationship with Solomon throughout his journeys. As Solomon finds himself in new places, with new responsibilities, and new duties, God promises to grant him the spiritual gifts he needs to thrive. Our gifts change because we, and our situations, change. The spiritual gifts that work for us when we're 17 are not the only gifts we need when we're 67. God promises a relationship where change is part of the plan. Because love isn't afraid of change. God understands that we won't remain the same. But God's love for us will always be there, no matter where our journeys take us.