Monday, December 31, 2007

Daily Office Old Testament Reading For New Year's Eve

1 Kings 3:5-14

5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ 6And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honour all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.’


This reading for New Year’s Eve strikes me as having great resonance, as we approach a new year. Solomon displays a kind of humility and wisdom that we could aspire to embody. He recognizes that he is called by God to leadership, and that he is not uniquely qualified for this great service. He asks God to grant him wisdom for the benefit of Israel.

God honors Solomon’s request to know what is right, because the request is not self-serving. Can we work from the same sentiment that motivated Solomon? Would the Church be a more faithful servant of the Gospel, if we could put our more worldly desires aside, and work for righteousness?

Solomon certainly had aspirations, hopes and fears, but he keeps them in check, and exercises a more holistic vision. In articulating the vision that transcends his own concerns, Solomon receives God’s blessing. My prayer for the Church is to transcend our particularity and see the bigger vision of God. In doing so, we, like Solomon, will be blessed.


No comments: