Here's this week's Bible study blog entry for i.ucc.org:
King David died. Solomon became King. God said, ‘What do you want?” and Solomon asked for wisdom. God gave Solomon not only wisdom, but also riches and honor all his life.
Therefore, may we all seek to be like Solomon.
Except there is so much missing from that short snippet of Solomon’s life that it feels as if someone took a phrase, made up something that isn’t at all part of the intent of the phrase, made it into a campaign and then, no matter how inaccurate it was, called it truth – hoping to get others to believe it enough to tell it as if it was not only accurate, but also the complete truth!
All the Sunday School stories I read as a child that seem to end with “and you should be more like them.” need to tell the rest of the story. This week's Bible passage (1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14) needs a lot more so that folks don't get fooled into thinking that Solomon did everything right in all of his life.
Solomon asked for wisdom. But there's so much more to the story. Solomon was flawed. He made many mistakes. He didn't always use the wisdom God promised him. Solomon let the temple -- the glorious place -- become a place poisoned with power and corruption. He built temples to many other gods and made poor decisions when it came to taxes and even raising his children. Instead of being an example of how to be wise, he was a great example of how people -- even great people -- mess up in huge ways.
Why couldn't we remember as Solomon as the king who messed up royally and that God still loved him? Solomon made mistake after mistake and God still got things done.
Solomon was a powerfully flawed leader. He made mistake after mistake. And God worked through him and in spite of him.
Do you ever feel like Solomon?