Wisdom and Grace
There’s a modern hymn by the worshipping community Bifrost Arts titled Wisdom and Grace and the chorus repeats this prayer:
Teach us to number our days
That we may apply our hearts to Your ways
O! Teach us to number our days
With wisdom and grace, wisdom and grace.
This sung prayer isn’t all that new. This week, we hear a story of the early days of King Solomon’s reign where he encounters the Divine with humility and vulnerability, recognizing the weight of his responsibilities as a leader. We read in 1 Kings 3:5-12:
The Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.” Solomon responded, “You showed so much kindness to your servant my father David when he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and with a heart true to you. You’ve kept this great loyalty and kindness for him and have now given him a son to sit on his throne. And now, Lord my God, you have made me, your servant, king in my father David’s place. But I’m young and inexperienced. I know next to nothing. But I’m here, your servant, in the middle of the people you have chosen, a large population that can’t be numbered or counted due to its vast size. Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had made this request. God said to him, “Because you have asked for this instead of requesting long life, wealth, or victory over your enemies—asking for discernment so as to acquire good judgment— I will now do just what you said. Look, I hereby give you a wise and understanding mind. There has been no one like you before now, nor will there be anyone like you afterward.
Solomon sought wisdom to navigate the complexities of his new role and to govern with justice, compassion, and grace. This act of seeking wisdom is a testament to the importance of introspection and seeking guidance in our own lives. Like Solomon, we too face moments of uncertainty and decisions that can shape our destinies. In these pivotal times, the pursuit of wisdom becomes essential. It’s an acknowledgment that we don’t have all the answers, and there is wisdom greater than our own that can illuminate our paths.
God’s response to Solomon's plea for wisdom reveals a profound truth. Wisdom is not merely about knowledge or intellect; it is rooted in the values of discernment and understanding. To possess wisdom is to possess the ability to perceive life's complexities and respond with grace, empathy, and fairness. This wisdom isn’t reserved for royalty, each of us, individually and collectively can cultivate this divine gift within ourselves. Wisdom often emerges from the wisdom of others and the wisdom of community. By engaging in meaningful conversations, sharing experiences, and embracing diverse perspectives, we create fertile ground for the growth of wisdom within and around us. By nurturing humility, listening to the experiences of others, and reflecting on our many life's lessons, we can grow in wisdom and grace.
This week, I encourage you to imitate King Solomon’s prayer and I invite you to join me in the prayer that God would continue to teach us to number our days with wisdom and grace.
Grace and Peace,