Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 3:5-13
Upon succeeding David as king, Solomon faced the vastness of his duties (1 Kings 3:5-15). He was acutely aware that he was inadequate to the task. The work with which he was entrusted was immense. He needed divine help: so he asked God, “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?” (1 Kings 3:9). God answered his prayer and gave him “very great wisdom, discernment and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29).
Solomon’s first major task was to build the Temple of the Lord. To achieve this architectural feat, Solomon employed professionals from all corners of his kingdom. The massive national effort needed to construct the Temple made Solomon the ruler of a powerful kingdom. During his reign, Israel’s economic might reached its peak, and the kingdom covered more territory than at any other time in Israel’s history. Militarization came into full flower during Solomon’s reign as the military became an essential component of the kingdom’s stability. He completed the centralization of the nation’s government, economic organization, and worship.
We see in Solomon’s story how society depends on the work of myriad people, structures and systems to organize large scale production and distribution. The human capacity to organize work is evidence of our creation in the image of a God who brings order out of chaos on a worldwide scale. Few of us would care to return to Solomon’s methods of organization—conscription, forced labor, and militarization—so we can be thankful that God leads us to fairer, more effective methods today. Perhaps what we can take away from this story is that God is intensely interested in the art of coordinating human work and creativity to accomplish His purposes in the world.
How can you partner with God to accomplish His purposes?
Prayer: Lord, I ask you for wisdom and understanding today for ____(specific project, relationship, role, situation, task)___ in my work. Help me to partner with you and others to accomplish your purposes in the world. Amen.
For Further Exploration: Read Solomon Succeeds David as King (1 Kings 1-11) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.
Author: Theology of Work Project
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