Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“He shall deliver the needy when (they) crieth.”
Psalm 72: 12
“The day is long, and the day is hard,
We are tired of the march and keeping guard;
Tired of the sense of a fight to be won,
Of days to live through, and of work to be done.
Tired of ourselves and of being alone.
And all the while, did we only see,
We walk in the Lord’s own company;
We fight, but ‘tis He who nerves our arm,
He turns the arrows which else might harm,
And out of the storm He brings a calm.”
Today’s Study Text:
“The king said, ‘One says, this is my son that is alive and yours is the dead one.’ The other woman say, ‘No! But your son is the dead one and mine is the living one.’ And the king said, ‘Bring me a sword.’ And they brought a sword to the king. And the king said, ‘Divide the living child in two and give half to the one and half to the other.”
1 Kings 3: 23-25
“The Sword of Truth”
“Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks, and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks.”
How would I have gone about getting to the truth in the case of the two mothers claiming one child?
When confronted with confusing situations in my own life, how do I go about confirming what is truth?
“Truth is always as honest in its recognition of darkness as it is exultant in its understanding of light.”
“The truth is sometimes daunting but always worth knowing.”
Recently someone told me about a bumper sticker they saw which reads “Truth is not relative, truth is truth.”
Possibly the person who designed this sticker may have been thinking about Solomon, sitting on the throne of Israel, and being confronted, by two mothers with conflicting stories, both wanting to take possession of one young, surviving infant.
Early in his rule, Solomon was called upon, as king, to make a decision, which at first glance, appears to be a simple determination between two contradictory stories. Frankly, you and I face the same kinds of challenges everyday. It may not be a situation as dramatic as the one we find in 1 Kings 3, but indeed, it can be just as confusing when we are facing two different stories and trying to figure out who is telling the truth.
As we find, Solomon was faced with the reality that he needed to get to the bottom of the stories being told. And this fact made me reflect for a moment on how it is that we get to what the truth is, whether it is trying to find out if someone is lying to us or if it is a question that we are personally challenged by as we attempt to comprehend what our heavenly Father’s truth means in our lives.
Let me go even one step further in our study on “truth” today. The reason we need to have our minds and hearts fortified with truth is that if we are not keenly open and aware of God’s truth, we will, as the Apostle Paul admonished his friends in the church at Ephesus, be like those who can be, “tossed like ships to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, the prey of cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, engaged in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead” (Ephesians 4: 14, Amplified Bible). I don’t want to be blown about without a firm foundation in my life. What’s more, I asked myself, “Why is this so important?” Furthermore, you might wonder what does being grounded in the fortress of truth have to do with two moms and one baby?” My answer is: At the beginning of Solomon’s reign, when truth really mattered to him a great deal and was the foundation upon which his authority was built, we find his decisions were underpinned by his request that God would provide him with heavenly wisdom and understanding. God was so pleased with young Solomon’s plea for heavenly guidance, He responded in a most generous way. Not only did He provide Solomon with wisdom, but also with prosperity and length of days.
This rock solid truth of God, on which Solomon built his kingdom, provided him with an unparalleled opportunity to leave a legacy of Godly leaders that passed from generation-to-generation. This fact becomes critically important for you and me to comprehend, especially as we witness in the coming weeks, our study of the Scriptural record, the devastating wreckage which became a testament to lives which were lived outside the hedge of heavenly truth.
I find it rather interesting to note that when the two mothers came to Solomon with conflicting accusations, the first thing he did, as found in 1 Kings 3: 23, was to repeat to those present what he believed the complaint to be. I learned a lot from this verse. Having owned a small company for over thirty years, I’ve recognized that rarely do two people “see” a situation the same way. And by the way, this fact also applies to families and their disagreements.
I’ll never forget an extremely stressful time in my own family life when we brought in a “third” party, who was a Christ-like individual, to assist us helping us work through a complicated and painful situation. What we all learned was that as many times as the problem had been rehashed, not one person in the entire family articulated the predicament the same way. In fact, some of the viewpoints were so differing, it seemed there could never be a resolution.
The first thing you and I can learn from Solomon was that when confronted by this conflict, he immediately took time to repeat back the situation as he understood it to be, told to him. This is a lesson we can learn from when we are trying to get to the truth in our own experiences.
Then in 1 Kings 3: 24, we find Solomon doing something that I think most likely elicited a gasp from everyone in the royal court. Solomon said, “Bring me a sword!”
However, before we think that murder was on Solomon’s mind, I want to remind all of us that this was a young man whose request from God was for an understanding mind and hearing heart.
Several weeks ago, as we reviewed all the advice that David had given to his son, we found that Solomon had been instructed by his father to “listen” to God’s voice and walk in His way.
Not only did Solomon have an earthly father who had found out the hard way what happens when we choose to trample on God’s truth, but he also had a mother who had lost a child when truth became an expendable commodity.
I can only imagine the joy that must have permeated Bathsheba’s life when she conceived a baby again and when precious Solomon was born. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the love his parents showed him, combined with the understanding from his heavenly Father were two elements in Solomon’s thoughts when he said, “Get me a sword.”
Why would this be his response? Well, I’d like to take a look at what is recorded in the New Testament, in Hebrews 4: 12, “For the word that God speaks is alive and full of power, making it active, operative, energizing, and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life…the deepest parts of our nature, exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thought and purposes of the heart.” God’s wisdom, when bestowed upon us is like a sword that divides right from wrong – good from evil. And I ask you, “Isn’t this exactly the wisdom Solomon needed to find out what was true?” He needed a listening heart which verified what he heard. And he also needed heavenly wisdom to help him expose and judge, with thoughtfulness, the purpose in the hearts of the two individuals who stood before him.
As I asked God to help me read this story with new eyes and His heavenly vision, I thought to myself, “How many times, Dorothy, could you have saved yourself from snap judgments, a quick mouth, and a false decision, if you had asked God first for a “hearing heart” that listens before speaking and second, for an understanding mind that is open to heavenly truth, no matter where it leads. In the words of Albert Schweitzer, “Let us rejoice in the truth, wherever we find its lamp burning.”
A Prayer for Discernment
“God, when I was a child
the issues of right and wrong were simple,
clearly laid down as law by others.
But now that I’m an adult,
responsible for my life,
now that I must make decisions
based on my own experience,
nothing appears clear-cut any more.
Now, I see the movements of life
which can turn evil into good
and I know how corruption can occur
to taint the best of intentions.
In fact, it sometimes seems
that good and evil aren’t separate at all,
but mixed in every action.
And that can make choices difficult.
I pray for the courage to make wise decisions.
In the security of your love,
may I step past the ignorance and fear
which makes me self-protective,
and in a multitude of choices,
may I always lean towards the greater good.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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