I Kings 3:5-12
Solomon has wisdom and understanding, and the disciples understand what Jesus says – or so our first and third scripture readings just told us. But then we see how badly Solomon managed his own family and allowed idolatry to appear in his kingdom, and we see how much the disciples (including us) really so often don’t understand what Jesus is saying. Our middle scripture reading has Paul telling his Roman readers all about the joys of trusting God. He is right, of course. But we know how often we do not trust God – if ever.
There is nothing wrong with wisdom and understanding (in fact, they are good things), but they won’t help anyone unless they are used. Our scriptures are correct in pointing out that wisdom and understanding come from God: unless we live in the reality that God is the source of everything, we have no wisdom or understanding. But to be truly wise (to live in the reality that everything is about God, not about us) also involves trusting God as the source of everything (everything is about God, not about us). To be truly wise and understanding involves not only knowing that God is the source of all, but also living in God as the source of all.
The two really should go together: the more we understand the sovereignty and love of God, the more we can trust and rest and live in the sovereignty and love of God. The more we trust, rest, and live in the sovereignty and love of God, the more we will recognize it intellectually. Of course, we can never fully comprehend God, because God is infinite and we are not. But, we can grow more fully into our beautiful human nature, and the more we do that, we become not only more our individual unique selves, but we also become more like God (and so we can understand and trust a little bit more all the time).
There are many ways we can grow more in knowledge and trust of God: reading scripture, praying individually and corporately, being around others who are intentionally seeking to grow, giving to and serving other people, and coming to this table to be fed by God’s self. We don’t have to be immediately wise or trusting, and we will fail in those areas over and over (look at Solomon and all the disciples), but we can always grow. The people around us will also fail (even our most trusted role models will fail), so we ought to compassionately give them the same slack to grow that we would want them to give us. We all go up to the table together to get wisdom and understanding. We trust God to give it to us. And then we come back for more, because we all know how much we need it, and how much we need to trust in the only One who can give it. AMEN