“The king said, ‘Get me a sword.’ So the brought a sword before the king. The king said, ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.’ …[Following the reactions of the two women to the king’s edict] ‘Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother.’ When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king handed down, they feared the king, for they saw the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” 1 Kings 3:24-25, 27-28, NASB.
The first act of judgment that is recorded for the wise king Solomon is what is still spoken of today as the “Solomon test.” In the story (which I encourage you to read in full), Solomon is approached by two women, both of whom claim to be the mother of a living child. Obviously one is lying but it is up to the king to decide whom. Solomon order that the child be cut in half (which is an equitable solution but certainly not a fair one) and presents the solution to the two women. One agrees and the other protests and is willing to give the living child to the other to prevent its death. Solomon discerns from this that only a mother would give her child away rather than watch his destruction. He awards the child to the woman who was willing to lose everything.
In many ways, God places us in a similar position. It is consistent with His character. He instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in order to test Abraham’s allegiance to God or to the child God gave him. God relented and provided a substitute sacrifice once Abraham responded to the test. In fact, the test of faithfulness is consistent all throughout the Scriptures.
Here, Solomon threatened to take something of great value away to see how each person would respond…would they act selfishly or sacrificially for the benefit of the something greater.
When God instructs us to forgive others…it is not necessarily easy to comply. We comply because we love God more than we love nursing our grudge. When God instructs us to give a tithe (10%) of our income as an offering to Him through OUR local church family (place of worship), we do so because we love God more than we need to control our resources. When God gives, causes, or allows great loss in our lives, we remain faithful because we do not deserve his benevolence anyway…and we thank Him for our many days of blessing more than the temporary, though difficult, loss.
The next time you face difficulty, loss, or a tough opportunity to demonstrate obedience, remember that God is not mean, bad, or unfaithful. He is God…and what we face is not evidence of His lack of love…but is an opportunity to demonstrate our love in response to who He is.