SOLOMON: A LEADER WITH A GREAT BEGINNING
The transition from one leader to another is always a critical time. The transition from David to Solomon on the throne of Israel presented a number of challenges to the new king. Yet, in spite of the actions of the usurper, Adonijah, Solomon was well prepared to take on his role of leader of the people of Israel. Several factors contributed to his great beginning.
First, there was his father's role in the transition. King David gave his son his personal endorsement, abundant resources to build the temple, and wise counsel that would guide the young king (1 Kings 2:1-9). Perhaps the best advice in this section is to "Keep the charge of the Lord your God: to keep His statutes, His commandments...as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn..."
Second, Solomon's prayer showed that he had a heart of wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-9). The young king was probably less than 20 years old when he made this prayer. Yet, he already possessed wisdom beyond his years. He did not ask for riches or long life. Instead, he asked for wisdom and understanding in order to judge God's people.
Even though Solomon was very young, he recognized that leadership is difficult. He was not like many young men who just want to get their hands on the wheel, but are ill-prepared to lead.
The new king humbly asked God for wisdom. God would be his source of sound judgment, as he later wrote, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," (Proverbs 9:10).
By his prayer, Solomon demonstrated before God that his motives were clean and upright. He wanted wisdom and understanding so that he might properly govern Israel. In effect, his prayer was not about himself, but about the people. He wanted to serve them, not himself.
Third, he demonstrated his wisdom by making wise decisions. He did so early in his reign. He made big decisions in dealing with enemies of the kingdom (1 Kings 2:26-46). He even made small decisions about domestic disagreements (1 Kings 3:16-27). His wisdom in these cases gained him the respect of his people.
"And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice" (1 Kings 3:28).
Solomon was indeed a leader with a great beginning. But there is more to the story. As a leader, have you had a great beginning? What about the rest of your story?