1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
“O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king
to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”
The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him:
“Because you have asked for this—
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches,
nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right—
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.”
“an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong”
Isn’t it interesting that in our times, “an understanding heart” has been twisted to mean “tolerance,” and by tolerance, we are told it means being “non-judgmental” — the suspension of our moral reasoning about right and wrong, and of our moral faculties that distinguish right from wrong.
But it is morality that not only provides the foundation of a just society’s laws, morality subtends and holds together the society and its culture, without which law becomes tyranny and culture becomes subject to the whims of irrational popular passions and unseen manipulators with their own agendas.
We were warned by St. Paul:
2 Timothy 3:1-2, 13
But know this,
that in the last days
perilous times will come.
For men will be lovers of themselves…
Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse,
deceiving and being deceived.
So how are we to have “an understanding heart”?
The answer is to set aside our egoism and look within us. For, as the Book of Jeremiah 31:33 reminds us, the law about right and wrong is already written in our hearts:
“I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts”
C.S. Lewis called it “the Law of Human Nature” because every human being already knows it “by nature.”
Actually seeing and hearing what God has written in our hearts entails humility and not “do as we will” — the Devil’s motto and humanity’s temptation since our first parents in that first garden. It means being converted, and conversion means transformation — the shedding of our old life and our old self, to be born anew into His loving embrace.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
‘You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and be converted,
and I heal them.’
May you have “ears [that] ought to hear” and be “the righteous [who] will shine like the sun” (Matthew 13:43).
And may the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,