June 17, 2020

1 Kings 3:3-9“Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.  The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.  At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.”  And 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 toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today.  And 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.  And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted.  Give 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?”

If you suddenly found yourself in charge of The United States of America, what would you ask for?  If you were suddenly in charge of a country dealing with a pandemic, racial injustice, and deep political division, what would you need to govern?

Some might ask for unrestricted power, some might ask for unlimited material resources, and some might ask for a way to just make it disappear and avoid all the conflict.  King Solomon, when faced with the pressures of governing, did not choose any of these things.  Instead he asks God, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; …”

Solomon asks for an “understanding mind,” for wisdom.  But what does that look like in practice, in real life?  According to the original Hebrew Solomon asks for “lebh shomea,” which is translated literally as “a listening heart.”  Understanding, discernment, and wisdom begin with the practice of listening!

As people of faith we have been called into a great time of listening.  In particular we have been called to listen to the voices of those who are suffering, the voices of those who feel like their lives don’t matter, the voices of those who feel marginalized, the voice of Christ which cries out in the midst “the least of these.”

We have been called to be in holy prayer, prayer that does not fill empty spaces with empty and self-serving words, but rather prayer that takes the quiet reflective stance of listening.  “Let those who have ears, hear.”

“Give Me A Listening Heart”

Give me a listening heart, A quiet place to pray

Open up my soul that I might hear your voice this day

Spirit of wisdom, Pour yourself on me

That I might know your will that I might be free

Greg Ronning
 

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