“God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore…” I Kings 4:29
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.” Ephesians 6:10
God is the fountainhead of wisdom, strength, and power. So these paired lectionary readings remind us. Solomon, though rich, powerful, and socially desirable, receives the wisdom that got him there from God. The writer does not want us to get lost in the glamor of his fame. Solomon will eventually get lost along the way, and his kingdom will fall apart. Paul reminds the Ephesians that it is the Lord’s strength and power that sustains them. He matches action words, take, stand, make ready, and fasten, to gifts from God, righteousness, faith, salvation peace, and truth. God is the source of all of these things and more.
In both Solomon’s case and the readers of Ephesians case, they are to act with the gifts of God. The Lord has already given the gifts, Christmas has come and gone, now use what has been given. This is especially the point of Paul’s description of putting on the armor of God. The point is clear, God will not everything for you. Make use of what God’s given you. Weak as you may feel in the face of the evil one, whose weapons include despair, worry, anxiety, the Lord is with you. Paul answers the question before asked, go to God in prayer, empowered by the Spirit, and the weapons of the evil one cannot stand.
Note, scholars tell us that the sword described by Paul was the small sword used by Romans soldiers for defense. The word of God, the sword of the Spirit, defends us against the lies of the evil one. Jesus exemplifies this in his temptation in the desert. With every temptation given, Jesus readily responds with a word from scripture. What we do not see is scripture used as a weapon of attack against all those who do not believe. Attacking someone with scripture so as to “win them to Christ” goes against the Spirit of Christ. God woos us to relationship, God does not frighten us into obedience.