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Midweek Devotionals

Published weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Midweek Devotional 8/27/2015

Robert Chen

Dear Church:

1 KINGS 3:16-28

16Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17The one woman said, “Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. 19Then this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne.” 22But the other woman said, “No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine.” So they argued before the king.

23Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; while the other says, ‘Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” 24So the king said, “Bring me a sword,” and they brought a sword before the king. 25The king said, “Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other.” 26But the woman whose son was alive said to the king — because compassion for her son burned within her — “Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!” The other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.” 27Then the king responded: “Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother.” 28All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute justice.

Whew! The line between wisdom and foolishness can be quite thin. Imagine an alternate universe with the same scene -- two women, one baby -- but this time the mother of the baby doesn't speak up, from either fear or some psychological disorder. Solomon orders the baby sliced in two. The gruesome tragic event takes place. Solomon's supposedly famous wisdom goes down the proverbial drain.


Of course this alternate universe does not take place. 


The wisdom of Solomon consisted of knowing what a true mother's heart is like: that she'll do whatever to save her baby, including giving the child away if it means saving the life of the child. The false mother, on the other hand, does not share this kind of heart. True love is missing because the woman's not a true mother.


Hence, the above story depicts indeed the wisdom of Solomon; it shows his discerning heart of knowing the human heart. For Solomon, the discerning heart is a divine gift.


In situations like the one above, there's a certain gamble or risk involved. There is the real possibility of a terrible outcome. A certain pressure is applied and if the pressure turns bad, the outcome is even worse.


Not all conflicted situations involve such gamble or risk of course. But some do -- talking with your boss, lovingly confronting a friend or colleague, confessing one's weakness, being vulnerable, etc. In all these situations, wisdom (a discerning heart) is called forth. The only assurance at times is what you get in prayer. From a human or a self-defense perspective, gambling like this isn't worth it. Better to stay cocooned in low-risk comfort, afraid to face the what-if outcome. 


Again, the line between wisdom and foolishness (i.e., making yourself look like a fool) is sometimes a thin one. But at times making the choice for wisdom can save a life.


Let's pray: Father God, grant us wisdom and a discerning heart, coupled to faith and courage, and prayerfulness. May we know the risks involved but may we consider also the great possibility of wisdom's benefits. Be with us in our decision making process. In Jesus' name, amen.