“For I am just a child. I do not know how to come in or go out…” 1Kings 3:7
I love this quote by the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba, who asked for wisdom and understanding from God instead of riches or fame. God was so pleased with his request, He gave him all of it – wisdom, riches and fame that has lasted all through the ages.
I was studying this passage in the Women’s Group I’m in this past weekend. I found it fascinating. Here was the richest, most powerful man in all of Israel, describing himself as a child who knows so little he can’t find his way in or out the door. At this point in his life, as a young king, his heart is so soft before God that he rightly describes himself as a child, completely dependent on the leading of His Father in heaven. He is never closer to the Lord than he is here, totally transparent in recognizing that, King or no King, he is just an ignorant and needy child running to his Father for direction and care.
Can’t you just see God our Father smiling from ear to ear as he points with fatherly pride to this son who touches the very heart of God with his humility? Do you see Him calling the angels to the edge of heaven to witness this amazing spectacle – a King in all his royal robes, on his knees, crying out to His father as only a beloved child will do.
The story of Solomon, in his own words, in the Book of Ecclesiastes is a story many of us can tell. He starts out knowing his need for God, his proper place in God’s kingdom. But, then, he decides he really can do it on his own. After all, he is the king of his own domain. He’s no longer that little child. He decides he can do life without checking in with his Father all of the time. After all – he is the king! It doesn’t take long for him to decide which laws of God he will follow and which aren’t for him. After all, he is the king… By the end of his life, he has taken over 700 foreign wives and 300 concubines, from pagan tribes, even though God had forbidden intermarriage with pagan wives, because “they would turn his heart away from God.”
Solomon, wisest man that ever lived, takes the enemy into his bed, surrounding himself with pagans, eating with them, sleeping with them, procreating with them. He figures he’s above this law that would deny him, the mighty King of Israel, the pleasure he desires. He is no longer that child with a heart to seek and obey his Father. He turns away from God, just as God had told him he would. The despair and deadness in his spirit are legendary. He opens the book of Ecclesiastes describing for us just how painful the consequences of his rebellion “under the sun” were for him. He cannot wait to find his way home to the God who is waiting for his return to Him, “under the heavens.”
This is, in many ways, a story we all know – how we start out in right relationship with God, and then, wander away to do our own thing. Life lived without being in proper relationship to God, Our Father, is indeed futile – a “chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14 May we all, like Solomon, have the wisdom to run back to Him and recognize that we are but “little children, not knowing how to come in or go out,” save for the mercy of God our Heavenly Father…