In the name of the Father and of the +Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Newly crowned 12 year old Solomon went to Gibeon. (1 Kings 3:4) To a place where the Lord had not promised to be. He went outside of God’s order. His father David had only sacrificed at the Tent of Meeting where the Lord promised to be. (1 Kings 3:3) But not Solomon. He spread it around. Yet God is gracious. He chooses us not because of our merit or worthiness, but because of His grace and favour found in Jesus Christ. So He appeared to Solomon at Gibeon. (1 Kings 3:5)
And what’s the first thing Solomon does after receiving this heavenly wisdom? He goes back to Jerusalem and sacrifices at the Tabernacle, where the Lord promised to be. (1 Kings 3:15) He seeks the Lord, in the way the Lord desired. For this is what faith does. It delights in all the Lord commands and promises. (Psalm 1) Now Solomon had a discerning spirit. The spirit of faith. Trust in He who is the wisdom of God. So Solomon now does what Lord the commands.
Then immediately he has his first test, the classic example of his wisdom. (1 Kings 3:16-28) Two prostitutes. Both have kids. One was born three days after the first. But the second baby was killed by his mother in the night. At least that’s what the first mother says. It’s a classic she-said, she-said. What to do? Well, true to His promise the Lord gave Solomon a discerning heart. He took the measure of the women. He knew one was calloused, the other heart broken. There was no proof to corroborate what either said. So Solomon needs more evidence. He knows how to uncover it. A sword. “Cut the baby in half,” he says. “Give each of them half of the baby.” The true mother bursts into tears. She pleads for her child’s life. “Just give her the child. I don’t care, as long my boy lives.” The mother who by tragic accident smothered her own child and stole the other baby says, “Sounds good to me.” And so by a sword their hearts were revealed. The intents of their hearts became clear. (Heb. 4:12) The love of the true mother showed clearly. For Solomon had been given the wisdom of God. He knew what was in a man. (John 2:24-25) For the word of Jesus is a sword that discerns the heart and mind. (Heb. 4:12) It discerns the living from the dead, the faithful heart from the unbelieving heart. For Jesus came to deal with sinners. To grant peace to a world of sin. Thus, the Church, though she plays the prostitute and is tainted by Her sin, like the faithful mother, desires for the life of her children born at the font of Baptism, nourished from Her own breast with the milk of Christ’s Word—Jesus, the wisdom of God—which discerns those who are His own by the faith He gives them.
And so Solomon brought all of the stones to the site already prepared. There was no loud noise heard there. (1 Kings 6:7) No sounds of the hammer of God’s Law which breaks rocks in pieces. (Jer. 23:29) No hammer cracking sin-hardened hearts wide open. Only the dulcet tones of the Gospel proclaiming the full forgiveness of sins by the Lord who dwelt in that Temple.
For the Law—which is good and wise, which guides us in how we should live, which our hearts delight in when in faith the Gospel pierces our hearts and creates everlasting life in us—however, does not make a saint. Only the Lord who lived in Temple—who took on our flesh, and resides in your flesh by being eaten and drunk into you with your mouth—only His presence makes you holy. Purifies you. Imparts His loving forgiveness, declaring your soiled flesh righteous, your broken heart whole, putting to death your sinful desire and raising up in you a new man of faith who lives before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Temples are supposed to be places where you meet with a god. Jesus’ own flesh is where we meet with Him. We didn’t live in His day, so He gives us Himself here in the Divine Service where we hear Him, eat Him, and receive His blessings. And in turn He uses us to bring the world to Himself and Himself to the world as He opens your mouth to speak of His glorious grace (1 Pet. 2:10) and pray for your children and those the Lord has placed in your life.
He has appeared to you Epiphany, here, in His Supper. For you. Giving you His wisdom.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON