Where is King Solomon when we need him?
You and I, we and our nation, are facing difficult, complex, painful choices. In a lot of areas. With several of these choices, it seems to be the proverbial “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” There just don’t seem to be answers that will satisfy all those involved, or even one side or the other.
I hope you’re familiar with the story in 1 Kings 3, where newly enthroned King Solomon had such a choice to make. While he was still shifting around, trying to find a comfortable seat, two prostitutes were brought before him with an impossible problem. Each had recently birthed a child, in the same house, and during the night one rolled over her child and accidentally smothered him. Now each was claiming the surviving child as her own. They were adamant – and there were no witnesses.
All right,” the king said, “bring me a sword.” And when that was done, he said, “Cut the living child in two – give half to one woman and half to the other!”
In shock and dismay, the one who proved to be the real mother cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child – please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”
At that, Solomon said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother.”
And when all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice.
Today our country is torn and divided, over a variety of vital issues. What to do about the economy, our massive and cascading debt, 10 percent joblessness, the out-of-control immigration problems, the institution of marriage and the place of homosexuals in the military, drugs and HIV/AIDS, and guns and violence. And don’t forget the assault of the ACLU and other humanist organizations against religion and its expression – particularly Christianity. These and many other issues are knotty, divisive and volatile problems. Do you have the answers?
The most important question is this: On what should we base our decisions? What or who should be our authority? It has become obvious, painfully, that many intelligent and powerful people are all trying to come up with the right answers. But they are looking to more than one authority and coming up with radically different “answers.”
There are constitutional experts; there are religious leaders; talk-show hosts of various political persuasions; elected officials on every level of government; think tanks, liberal and conservative; economists and professors; humanists and atheists. Countless opinions, coming from almost countless directions. Who’s right? Who should call the shots? Is there a referee, a bottom-line right or wrong?
Yes, there is. And it’s the same authority that guided our Founding Fathers. It’s the Holy Bible, the word and will of God.
Through the millennia preceding this, men have tried to find some other way – almost any other way – but His way. They’ve tried anarchy, kingdoms, serfdoms, colonialism, socialism, communism and others. Some of these ways have seemed good to those who were in charge, the upper class, the rulers; but to the lower echelons, the serfs, the peons, the “ordinary folks,” there was inequity, struggle to survive, even poverty with little or no chance to rise above the lower rungs.
The great Americans who gave us our Constitution were Bible-believing men. They drew guidance and inspiration from the word of God and from British writer/lawyers like Blackstone, himself a believer who realized that the Creator of this world and all mankind knew better than anyone else how it all was supposed to work.
So they created a republic and a lean structure we call government that was to provide safety, equality and the opportunity for each and all to seek happiness. It was not intended to provide the happiness; it was simply a structure in which every citizen could pursue happiness. That was spelled out by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
Starting from this premise, and built upon a simple foundation of faith in God and dependence on His directives as the surest guide, our forefathers gave us – and the world – the greatest, freest, most prosperous and generous society in human history. At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, when an especially knotty problem was encountered in the quest to fashion the structure of liberty and our government, the delegates prayed and asked God for guidance, for wisdom.
They knew the story of Solomon and his unprecedented wisdom. They read and knew the verses in 1 Kings 3 where young Solomon was visited by God Himself and asked what he wanted as he assumed the throne of Israel. And they knew that Solomon’s request was “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
As we look at the giant problems before us, we all need to ask: Shall we think we can solve all these things through purely human reason and humanistic principles? Or must we, must we follow the example of the wise men and women who gave us America and all it became, and seek wisdom from God? Shall we meekly allow others who dismiss the idea of God and discount His expressed will to make our choices? Or will we gather strength and numbers and grit, and determine that we who still honor and believe in God will make the wiser choices for ourselves, our children and our nation?
Face it: We got our ideas about democracy and liberty and equality from the Bible. We got the rule of self-imposed law from the Bible. We certainly got our concept of marriage from the Bible. The examples and the answers to our problems are there for us to read and profit by. This nation benefited when our leaders followed those examples; and it has spiraled downward as our leaders, preferring humanism and “political correctness,” abandoned those examples and directives.
There’s only one way back now. We’d best start making the right, the wisest choices.