Just Laws Alone Won’t Save Us

In this polarized moment, strong legislation isn’t a substitute for wise and discerning leaders.

This month, the United States Senate is considering a bill to protect same-sex couples’ right to marry. Seven years have passed since the historic Obergefell decision, so these initiatives might look like grandstanding or redundant efforts. But in late June, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, hinting at the possibility of revisiting other cases.

The Dobbs ruling unleashed a flurry of legislation, as lawmakers rush to codify questions that had previously been settled through the courts. While Democrats at the federal level are working to enshrine same-sex marriage, Republicans in conservative states are working to restrict and prohibit elective abortion.

A political environment that didn’t seem like it could get any more polarized suddenly has.

The swell of policy initiatives has also highlighted the need for discerning leaders—those who know not just how to win elections and judicial seats but how best to rule. Leaders like King Solomon.

Solomon assumes the throne of Israel after a season of political instability that included an attempted coup, a contested transfer of power, a political rival refusing to concede defeat, family drama, and hefty doses of palace intrigue. According to 2 Chronicles 1:1, Solomon eventually “strengthen[s] his hold on his kingdom” (CSB).

But once in power, he faces a new dilemma and asks himself: Once I secure the ability to reign, how should I reign? Once I gain power, what do I do with it?

Rather than lean on his own understanding, Solomon seeks the face of God, offering burnt sacrifices to inquire before the Lord. In response, God promises to grant him whatever he wants. Solomon famously asks for wisdom and knowledge:

Now, Lord God, let your promise …

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