“Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other.” 1 Kings 3:25.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” -James 3:17.
The Lectionary points us to wisdom this week, and how necessary it is. Remember, wisdom, within the biblical canon, is about a way of life, not some theory or philosophy you happen to think smart or that it explains the existence of everything. Wisdom is about living, about how one lives one’s life. The lesson from James proves this as the writer describes wisdom in words of action and intent.
What strikes me as interesting, when holding these two passages together, I Kings 3:16-28 and Jame 3:13-18, is that Solomon’s initial judgment greatly contrasts with what James tells us here about wisdom. Splitting a baby is not gentle or full of mercy. Yet, We see that Solomon’s wisdom produces good fruit and mercy by exposing the hypocrisy of the other woman’s wisdom. In her own wisdom, she selfishly swapes babies, and mercilessly agrees to the initial judgment. Her wisdom, scripture tells us, is actually foolishness.
Perhaps, the wisdom from God can initially appear like the foolishness of the world. What separates them is the fruit. One brings death, and the other life. This is more than intent, because the baby actually survives the foolishness of the woman because of the wisdom of Solomon. Having good intentions isn’t enough. Carrying out the wisdom from God requires life giving actions.
Seek the wisdom of God, and James tells us that a harvest of righteousness and a field of peace is in store for you. In other words, pursue wisdom and you will have healthy, life giving, relationships, with God and one another. God’s wisdom isn’t a 3-steps-to-success type of plan but a way of life.