Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What made Solomon so wise?

So, I'm reading I Kings right now for my daily time with God. Really cool to see how God worked in the lives of imperfect kings and how He redeemed their greatest failures and used them to advance his salvation. Of course, one of those kings was Solomon - the guy who is reportedly the wisest man that ever lived. Kings and queens from all over the world came to hear him. His people marveled at how smart he was. He wrote over 3,000 proverbs and 1,000 songs in his life about everything in nature, culture and daily living. Three thousand years later we can still read his wisdom sayings...and they are smart. Can you imagine this guy on twitter? Now of course, God promised and gave him wisdom so it was remarkable, but in my opinion his wisest moment came before God made him wise. In I Kings 3, God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask what I shall give you." Essentially, God was giving him a chance to have one prayer guaranteed answered immediately by God. If you're like me, you may have asked for success, a long reign or life, riches, fame, etc... But (and this is the really wise part), Solomon asked for God to give him wisdom (give your servant therefore an understanding mind...I Kings 3:9). This is the smartest thing he ever said and it's because in wisdom he understood two things that can also make us wise: 1) I do not know... First, Solomon's wisdom is about humility. He understood how incapable he was in light of his age and inexperience. He says in this passage that he doesn't even "know how to come in or go out". Of course, this is an exaggeration, but his point is that compared to God's great wisdom, he doesn't know anything. You know, we often get in trouble when we think we do know, we don't need His help, we have all the answers, or we are qualified. In fact all of us would do well to ask God to direct us, because comparatively speaking (He knows everything) I don't know a thing. 2) I am governing a great people... Second, Solomon's wisdom is about awareness. He understood just how big the job that he inherited from his father David actually was. How do you lead a nation, especially one that is the "nation of God"? Well, you ask for help - from God. You ask God to do through you what you know you can not do in your own strength. Personally, I'm reminded often that I have no idea how to lead a church. It is the kingdom of God you know? What do I know about that? Well, I'm learning that real wisdom comes from asking God to help me do what he has called me to, but I cannot do on my own. Solomon had many wise moments - some great decisions - and some memorable words, but it was this original prayer request that marks him as a wise man to me. So I pray (along with you I hope) that we live the words from James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God..."

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