At the beginning of his reign, Solomon prayed, “O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in” (1 Kings 2:7).
Solomon had succeeded his father David to the throne of Israel. God greatly honored him, and, as we know, he became in later years the greatest, richest, and wisest king that had ever sat upon an earthly throne. Early in his reign Solomon was impressed by the Holy Spirit with the solemnity of his responsibilities, and though rich in talents and ability, he realized that without divine aid he was helpless as a little child to perform them. Solomon was never so rich or so wise or so truly great as when he confessed to the Lord, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”
It was in a dream, in which the Lord appeared to him, saying, “Ask what I shall give thee” (1 Kings 3:5), that Solomon thus gave expression to his feeling of helplessness and need of divine aid. He continued: “Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people, that can not be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?
“And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life: neither hast asked riches for thyself; nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart: so there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour; so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days” (verses 10–13). Now the conditions: “And if thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
“And Solomon awoke: and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem; and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt-offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants” (verses 14, 15).
All who occupy responsible positions need to learn the lesson that is taught in Solomon’s humble prayer. They are ever to remember that position will never change the character or render man infallible. The higher the position a man occupies, the greater the responsibility he has to bear, the wider will be the influence he exerts, and the greater his need to feel his dependence on the wisdom and strength of God, and to cultivate the best and most holy character. Those who accept a position of responsibility in the cause of God should always remember that with the call to this work God has also called them to walk circumspectly before Him and before their fellow-men. Instead of considering it their duty to order and dictate and command, they should realize that they are to be learners themselves. When a responsible worker fails to learn this lesson, the sooner he is released from his responsibilities the better it will be for him and for the work of God. Position never will give holiness and excellence of character. He who honors God and keeps His commandments, is himself honored.
The question which each should ask himself in all humility is, Am I qualified for this position? Have I learned to keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment? The Saviour’s earthly example has been given us that we should not walk in our strength but that each should consider himself, as Solomon expressed it, “A little child.”
Every truly converted soul can say, “I am but a little child: but I am God’s child.” It was at infinite cost that provision was made whereby the human family might be restored to sonship with God. In the beginning God made man in His own likeness. Our first parents listened to the voice of the tempter, and yielded to the power of Satan. But man was not abandoned to the results of the evil he had chosen. The promise of a Deliverer was given. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God said to the serpent, “and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). Before they heard of the thorn and the thistle, of the sorrow and toil that must be their portion, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that could not fail of giving them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ.
The Son of God was given to redeem the race. At infinite suffering, the sinless for the sinful, the price was paid that was to redeem the human family from the power of the destroyer, and restore them again to the image of God. Those who accept the salvation brought to them in Christ will humble themselves before God as His little children.
God wants His children to ask for those things that will enable Him to reveal His grace through them to the world. He wants them to seek His counsel, to acknowledge His power. Christ lays loving claims on all for whom He has given His life: they are to obey His will if they would share the joys that He has prepared for all who reflect His character here. It is well for us to feel our weakness; for then we will seek the strength and wisdom that the Father delights to give His children for their daily strife against the powers of evil.
Testimony Treasures, vol. 3, 428–431.