As we continue to move through the Old Testament, today’s story is, again, part of a bigger story. It happens during the early part of King Solomon’s reign.
Solomon was King David’s son, in fact he was the second son of David and Bathsheba. We hear today Solomon’s request to God to give him wisdom, an understanding mind with which to govern the people of Israel. In those days, as it still is in some places, it was the king or the lord of the area who governed and made decisions about the land and people under their rule. To come before the king seeking judgement over a particular event or transaction, disagreement or contract was common and part of the king’s daily duties. Solomon was asking God for wisdom in these day to day activities of the king.
God look favourably upon Solomon’s requested and granted him not only wisdom but much more as well.
We are then given an example of the disputes that could come before the king, and in this example, we are given Solomon’s resolution – one with great wisdom and understanding.
In this ruling Solomon places love at the heart of the justice he gives. The quality and depth of a person’s love is the measure of good justice; the integrity and depth of love and whether love’s values lie at the heart of an organisation’s work or a court of justice’s business is the fundamental measure of integrity. Solomon’s emphasis on love meant that no matter that the two women were prostitutes, he chose to preside sensitively despite the fact that others would dismiss the matter as beneath them given the class distinctions of the time. God’s justice is for everyone. Everyone deserves to be treated justly. Solomon believed that. God dictates that, both then and now.
On the front cover of the pew sheet is a quote from Martin Luther King Jnr:
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
Could I be so bold as to say that this summarises the connection between God’s justice and the values of love at the heart of justice?
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