It is a hot, hazy, humid day in Ontario, one that would make you think that it is the middle of July. In fact, it is the last week of summer. I know that summer officially ends on September 23, but we are just beginning the last holiday weekend of the summer before school starts on Tuesday. Some people, both parents and kids, are happy about that and looking forward to getting back into routine or seeing all their friends again. Other people are not so happy; they don’t want summer to end just yet.
Nonetheless, in honour of school starting up again next week, I thought I would devote today’s blog post to learning, understanding and wisdom. Proverbs 16:16 tells us that wisdom is better than gold; understanding is better than silver. In Solomon’s case, by seeking wisdom, he achieved the silver and gold as well. Let’s look at the story in I Kings 3:5-14. God appeared to Solomon in a dream (which was a common way for God to speak to people before we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit through Christ). In that dream, God asked Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon recognized the extent of God’s power as he had seen it displayed in his own and in his father’s life. Solomon also recognized that he was in a position--to rule the people of Israel--that he did not feel prepared for. He was young and inexperienced. Israel had a reputation for being stubborn and rebellious. It was customary for the ruler of Israel to also be the judge of disputes. Solomon may have been inexperienced, but he was wise enough to know that he needed wisdom, so that is what he asked for. God was pleased with Solomon’s request, and so He gave him so much more than he asked for. (I Kings 3:10-13) This is a promise that He gives to us as well. If we seek the ways of the Lord first, if that is the most important thing to us, then God will provide everything else that we need. (Matthew 6:33)
It is important to distinguish, however, that being wise and knowing the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, does not mean that we will make the appropriate choice between right and wrong. In I Kings 3:14, God says, “If you follow my instructions by obeying my rules and regulations, just as your father David did, then I will grant you long life.” Solomon made a lot of wise decisions and his wisdom in many subject areas—plants, animals, birds, insects and fish (I Kings 4:33); judicial decisions (I Kings 3:16-28), the writing of proverbs and songs (I Kings 4:32, Proverbs 1:1)—was world renowned, but he also made bad choices which led to idolatry and the eventual division of the kingdom. (I Kings 11:9-13) Solomon had gained wisdom, but he lacked the willingness to be obedient.
If God asked you the question that he asked Solomon, what would your answer be? If He granted your request, what would you do with the gift? What kind of person do you think that you would become?