Solomon hadn’t been the king for very long when God appeared to him in a dream one night. “Ask what I should give you,” God said (1 Kings 3:5). Different versions of the Bible translate what Solomon requested as wisdom, or as an understanding mind or heart, but the actual translation of the Hebrew says that Solomon asked for a “hearing heart.” In other words, Solomon wanted a heart that listened well, so he could discern well.
For the ancient Hebrews, the heart was more than an organ. The heart was thought to be the center of everything physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. So when Solomon asked for a hearing heart, what he wanted was for God to inform every aspect of his life so that he could be a wise and faithful king. Hearing hearts—listening hearts—are not reserved for kings alone. We too can ask for and receive the gift of a hearing heart so that we can discern well and judge rightly.
This message is excerpted from the 2013 Women of the ELCA resource “Listening to God,” written by Debra Farrington. Today we commemorate Thomas Cranmer, Bishop of Canterbury, martyr, 1556.
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