So, what do we know about Solomon? He was the wisest man who ever lived, he wrote much of what is contained in Proverbs, his Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) contains a wealth of "marital" advice, and Ecclesiastes is loaded with wisdom he desired to share as he neared the end of his life. What don't we know about Solomon? Hmmm...
He was King David's son (okay, you knew that already!) and his mother was Bathsheba. Yup, the wife of Uriah (one of David' mighty men) whom David had killed after his sin with Bathsheba. Solomon was born to her after the death of her first child. Since David had so many wives, and so many sons with his many wives, and since Solomon was not King David's firstborn son, I think we can safely assume that Solomon was not anticipating inheriting his father's throne from the time he was a wee lad. And by the time David named his successor, so much had happened between the many sons of King David that it may have been doubtful that any son could sit on the throne as ruler of Israel without trouble from the other brothers.
We learn that he was, indeed, crowned King of Israel ~ his mother Bathsheba was wise in her actions as she worked to ensure the nation of Israel would be left in the hands of the son David had chosen to succeed him (namely, Solomon). This probably did not make her very popular with the mother's of the other sons (some of them may have wanted their son to rule). And later, when Solomon was king, he took great care of his mother ~ protecting her by keeping her close by his side. We know that Solomon was a good son to his father David, and a good son to his mother Bathsheba. And we see that the Lord is just; He did not require Solomon to pay for his parent's sins.
As he neared the end of his life, David gave clear instructions to his newly crowned son regarding the building of the Temple (which Solomon followed exactly). David also gave King Solomon some directives for dealing with men who had wronged him during his time as King of Israel ~ namely Shimei (who cursed David and threw stones at him as he left Jerusalem when David's son Absalom attempted to take over the kingdom) and Joab, who was David's right-hand fighting man during his years in hiding & commander of the Army of Israel for David's 30 year reign. David had Solomon kill Shimei for his actions and Joab was killed under Solomon's rule because he had underhandedly murdered two of David's best military commanders (Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether). Solomon did as his father requested, and while I cannot pretend to understand all of the implications of these two deaths, I do see in Solomon a son who loved his father; a son who wanted to rule as his father had ruled. Unlike his brother's Absalom (who lost his life trying to forcibly become King of Israel) and Adonijah (who attempted to be crowned King before Solomon could receive the crown) Solomon was not looking for an ego boost as he took on this new "job". His goals were to honor the Lord and to honor his father.
After the Temple had been built in Jerusalem, Solomon had the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel gather in Jerusalem ~ he then sent them out to get the Ark of the Lord's covenant. They brought it from Zion to Jerusalem and placed it in the Temple during the Festival of Shelters. Solomon followed all of the Lord's commands during the building and dedicating of the Temple. Then he prayed, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your promises and show unfailing love to all who obey you and are eager to do your will." (1 Kings 8:23 NLT)
Further on in Chapter 8 of 1 Kings, his prayer contains words that encourage me when I pray..."~whatever the trouble is~ and if your people offer a prayer concerning their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people whatever they deserve, for you alone know the human heart." (verses 37 - 39). And in verse 52a he continues, "Hear and answer them whenever they cry out to you." Whatever the trouble is, I can cry out to the Lord about it. Even when I cannot rightly judge a matter, the Lord I'm praying to will answer my prayers aright, because He alone knows the human heart, and so He cannot misjudge. He hears and answers when I cry out. I'm blessed to have Solomon's prayer recorded in the Bible; it helps me as I pray to pray correctly, glorifying God and leaving Him in charge of every situation that I bring to Him.
And lastly, in 1 Kings 5 I find leadership qualities that can be applied to my life; specifically my homeschool life. The king had calculated how many working me were needed to complete the building of the Temple - the number came to 10,000 men. Solomon in his immense wisdom didn't simply order 10,000 men to get busy working on this massive project (it took 7 years to complete the building of the Temple). He enlisted 30,000 men to labor on this undertaking. They were sent to work in Lebanon (gathering the finest wood in the world for use in building the Temple) in groups of 10,000 for one month at a time. So, for every one month a man worked in Lebanon, he spent two months at home with his family. This is great wisdom!!! The men were refreshed in their time at home; their wives weren't worn out and nagging their husbands about all they had to do at home on their own (trust me on this one - I'm an Army wife & it ain't easy when hubby's gone gone gone & mama's home alone alone alone!). The work would have been done well...by that I mean the men could work hard and do their very best for the entire month in Lebanon, because they knew a nice two month break was just around the corner. Solomon got the work done in a quality manner while gaining the support and approval of the families in Israel. S-M-A-R-T leadership in action.
I apply this to my homeschool by keeping in mind that over-working my children in any given subject is to the detriment of their learning. Having built-in "breaks" promotes steady, solid progress across all their school work. Some of these "breaks" include:
1. ~ Spreading out the "hard" work in any given subject over the entire year rather than all "up front" at the school year's beginning.
2. ~ Pace yourself & your kids...no one can go all out all the time.
3. ~ Make sure you aren't overlapping "hard" work in several different subjects at the same time (i.e. the student is doing 2 hours of Algebra at the same time their Physical Science requires 1 or more hours of lab work and the Language Arts requires a paper to be written twice a week)
4. ~ Go on a field trip once in a while! (and count it as a school day - right, Kimberly??!)
5. ~ Pay attention to your child - is he doing the work but hating it? Does he know he can talk to you about the school subjects that he struggles with, or that he dislikes? (This seems silly for younger students, but high school homeschoolers often do most of their work on their own and they may not want to tell you how they really feel because they don't want to hurt your feelings - don't take my word for it, ask your high school student!)
6. ~ Read, read, read. Not just "school" books...read with your kids and to your kids...read books that encourage you as a mom...read your favorite books from your pre-homeschooling days...keep reading!
Keep homeschooling in the wisdom the Lord gives you - ask Him for it in faith and He will deliver on His promise (see the New Testament book of James for more on this topic).
Lord bless you, Wise Women!
Day 33 done :)
Jan L. Burt