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Solomon’s wisdom is sometimes summed up in the story of two women who gave birth to babies a few days apart. One baby died, and its mother exchanged it in the night for the other. When the other woman awoke to find the dead baby next to her and realized it was not hers, she protested but to no avail. They brought the dispute before Solomon, who called for a sword to divide the child between them.
The false mother smirked; if she couldn’t have a live child, neither should the other. But the real mother cried out, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means slay it” (I Kings 3:26). Solomon awarded the child to the one who showed mercy. His judgment may have seemed harsh — but Solomon knew the heart of the deceiver, and he knew the heart of a mother!
A parent’s love is like nothing else. This mother was willing to give up her baby to a rival so it could live: a small foretaste of the love God would show in giving up his only son. In sending Jesus, God showed us that he is a father. In sending him to die for us, he showed that he is “father” through and through, a father with unconditional love, the kind of father we all yearn to have.
Often we see God as a judge. A righteous judge, to be sure, but a judge all the same. And so he is. But he’s a judge like Solomon, seeing into the hearts of those he judges. At the same time, he’s a loving father. And precisely because he is Father, God is merciful when we are needy and when we fail.
God’s justice is like a tree planted on the banks of the river of mercy, drawing from its depths and bearing the fruit of love.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction… (2 Corinthians 1:3)
- READ what it says
- REFLECT on what it says to you
- RESPOND to the Lord, who is speaking to you
- REST in his love
© 2015 Sarah Christmyer