There is a common theme in the passages in the liturgical schedule for this week. The two Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scripture are about wisdom and power coming from God. In Genesis, the wisdom of God is the saving power that feeds God’s children. In the 1 Kings, God’s wisdom returns a child to the child’s mother. And in 1 Corinthians, the wisdom of the Lord draws people to God by proclaiming the atoning death of Christ.
Genesis Chapter 44 is a neat chapter. In the chapter, Pharaoh had a weird dream. Not a pleasant dream about a fair maiden in the land. He was dreaming about seven fat, healthy cows and seven skinny, ugly cows. And the seven scrawny cows ate the fat cows. And they were so scrawny, they looked malnourished and bonny even after eating the fat cows. One gross dream this! Cannibal cows, with a chocolate-like craving for other cows. This is where we pick up the story in the Word of God.
Genesis 41:7-8 (Moffatt Bible) Then the Pharaoh woke up, to find he had been dreaming. 8In the morning his mind was disturbed, so he summoned all of the magicians and sages in Egypt, and told them what he had dreamed, but no one could interpret it for the Pharaoh.
Back to the story. One of the Pharaoh’s servants remembered Joseph interpreted a dream for him. Joseph was called to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. Enter Joseph and the interpretation. See verses 25-27.
Joseph said to the Pharaoh, “The Pharaoh’s dream means one thing. God has been showing the Pharaoh what he is about to do; 26the seven good cows are seven years, And the seven good ears are seven years - it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean and ugly cows that came up afterwards are also seven years, and so are the seven empty ears blasted by the east wind; there are to be seven years of famine (Moffatt Bible).
Because of the interpretation, the land was able to prepare for the famine. Joseph’s family was saved from starvation, by the preparations made in Egypt for the coming famine.
Today, we are in the midst of a spiritual famine. Unfortunately, the famine may get worse before it gets better. Those attempting to fill their souls turn to sex, crime, violence, or materialism in an endless conquest to satisfy a hunger only God can fill. People are chasing after philosophies, and unhealthy forms of religion for the spiritual banquet offered by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In the portion from 1 Kings, we read the story of two women fighting over a baby. You see both women had a baby. During the night one of the babies died. The mother of the baby that died tried to switch babies. Both women claimed the remaining baby as their own. They take their legal fight to the supreme court of Israel, to the throne of King Solomon. Showing wisdom, King Solomon proposes to have the baby cut in half, with each woman getting half of the baby. One of the ladies says she is willing to give up the baby, rather than see the baby cut in half. Solomon recognizes that as the maternal instinct to protect the child’s life.
1 Kings 3:27-28 (Moffatt Bible) The king replied, ‘Give yonder woman the living child, instead of killing it; she is the mother! 28All Israel heard of this decision of the king, and they stood in awe of the king, seeing that he had God’s own wisdom for doing justice.
When God gives you wisdom, people notice. And they know the source of the wisdom too.
Solomon united the child with its mother. The purpose of godly wisdom is to unite people to their Parent, to their Heavenly Parent. This godly wisdom that unites people to our Heavenly Father is a wisdom that understands queer people are part of the Kingdom and helps queer people understand God’s love and God’s grace cannot be withheld from them by society or by homophobic churches.
The Christian Scriptures passage comes from 1 Corinthians, chapter 2. Paul talks some in this chapter about how he came in weakness, not strength. Instead of using human wisdom and persuasive speeches, he relied on the Holy Spirit and the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (Moffatt Bible) Thus when I came to you, my brothers, I did not come to proclaim to you God’s secret purpose with any elaborate words or wisdom 2I am determined among you to be ignorant of everything except Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ crucified.
Paul knew something important. True power of persuasion comes not from university degrees, not from the fiery rhetoric of political debate, not from a large vocabulary, not from acting skills. Kingdom persuasion comes from the King! To have Kingdom persuasion, you need to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If you know little else, you can be a powerful force for the Lord!
Perhaps you feel a little sheepish today. You may have done a few dumb things this week. You might feel totally unable to do what God wants you to do. You are not alone. Some of the best and brightest of people feel that way. Solomon did.
1 Kings 3:7-9 (Moffatt Bible) O Eternal, thou hast made they servant king, instead of David my father; and I am a mere child, I know not how to go about my business.
I love the way Young’s Literal Translation reads. “I [am] a little child, I do not know to go out and come in.” My none-too-literal paraphrase is, “I do not know enough to come in out of the rain!”
All three men, Joseph, Solomon, and Paul, touched lives. The key to touching lives lies with the Lord. Want wisdom? Ask God. Like the ability to bring healing? Ask God. Hope to unite people with the Savior? Do what Solomon did. Look to God. And the Lord will give you Kingdom wisdom for Kingdom purposes.