Monday, August 20, 2018
Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house. “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.” Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.” “No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king. Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king. Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!” Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!” Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!” When all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice.
1 Kings 3:16-28(NLT)
Of course, it was never a thought in the king’s mind to cut a living child in two. Solomon was counting on the most basic human instinct a mother has (to protect her child) to get at the truth of whose baby was before him. When the king saw the real mother’s willingness to let the child live, even at the expense of letting her son go, he knew he had the right mother.
Solomon was the judge between these two women, but, greater than judge, he was also their friend. By pushing the envelope with the child’s life hanging in the balance the king forced both of them to open their eyes to the truth.
To the real mother, this friendship was a matter of acknowledging and affirming in her the genuine gift of motherhood, her willingness to put aside personal feelings and do that which is best for her child.
To the other one who had lost her own child in infancy, Solomon forced to surface the truth that her selfishness in stealing another’s child wasn’t the answer to the grief she was battling. That grief may have been what caused this coldness towards the living child and the other mother. She was attempting to deal with the grief of her loss by inflicting her pain on another. It is what we do when the pain is too great!
I have had friends like Solomon. I have been in circumstances that produced grief in me big enough to overwhelm my ability to make a sound choice of what to do next. You get stuck, unable to move forward, and, like a car’s wheel, bogged-down in a snow drift, your judgment is in danger of freezing to death. Then a friend utters the simple, basic truth you’ve been unwilling to face, because it demands humility in the face of your pride, or surrender when you’d rather control, or change when you’re so unmotivated in your current tiredness…and you realize the familiar mess you’re in is more dangerous than the move forward into the unfamiliar unknown of the future.
And you press on!
That’s what a friend is really like!
If you have, or have had, one or two friends in your life willing to bring truth to the surface for you, you are indeed blessed.