“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” 1 Kings 3:9
Solomon was known as the wisest ruler in history. He was the second son of King David and Bathsheba, and though we do not know his chronological age when he took the throne, he described himself to God as “only a little child. (1 Kings 3:7)” Surely after following in the huge footsteps of his father David, Solomon must have been overwhelmed by the responsibility before him. So when the Lord came to him and said “Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” Solomon made a plea for wisdom. God granted Solomon’s request in a huge way, “God gave Solomon very great insight and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. (1 Kings 4:29)” Solomon knew that without great wisdom, he could not be the leader that Israel needed. He also knew there is only one source for true wisdom – the Lord God Almighty.
Humans have desired wisdom since the beginning of creation. In the account of the first sin, Eve was tempted with the lure of wisdom (Genesis 3:5-6), but it was not the wisdom that God offered to Solomon. Eve succumbed to the “wisdom” that the Apostle James warned about: “If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. (James 3:14-15)” You see, when God told Adam that they were not to eat from the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil, (Genesis 2:17)” it was not to keep them from having any intelligent thought; it was to protect them – and us – from the influence of evil. For God knew that once man was exposed to the concept of evil, we would be consumed by its continual drawing. The wisdom that the devil and the world offers to us is a selfish, self-seeking, prideful and deceptive wisdom that will always lead us away from God and into the darkness of worldliness and sin.
The wisdom that King Solomon received is also described by James: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:13, 17)” The wisdom from God is a life-giving wisdom. It fills us with the character of Christ and is the opposite of the false wisdom of the world. Look at all that this godly wisdom offers to us. James says we will have understanding – the kind of understanding that will enable us to stand firm in what is right. Wisdom will be proven by the good life we lead, which means turning ourselves away from sin and wickedness and turning towards what is right, beautiful and excellent. Humility is always the hallmark of godly wisdom – this humility is shown through the gentleness, kindness and consideration we show to others in Jesus name. Our hearts and our hands will be pure; and Psalms 119:9 tells us that purity comes from living according to God’s Word (which is one way that He imparts His wisdom to us).
When we read that godly wisdom is peace-loving, we generally think that this is a person who goes to great lengths to establish peace in their relationships, but the original Greek is expressing a personal sense of harmony, tranquility, safety and a lack of strife; it is having freedom from emotional worry and frustration. When godly wisdom is the rule in our lives, we are more apt to make decisions that ensure freedom form worry and frustration. In essence, we could say this is a person who loves the peaceful life they live.
A gentle, considerate nature and a submissive and compliant attitude will also mark us as people who have been blessed with the wisdom of heaven. Can you image how your work, home and other relationships will be transformed by these traits? As we consider the characteristics of mercy and impartiality, we can look again at James words: “Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:13) Mercy, love and compassion will always have the upper hand over judgment and partiality in the thoughts, words and actions of the godly wise. James also says that a truly wise person will be sincere. There is no place for hypocrisy in the life of a Christian; for our Savior Jesus Christ is the Truth of God. A wise and sincere person does nothing for a prideful show, but rather always turns any honor and glory to Christ.
Do you, like me, desire to be a person filled with godly wisdom? Then we must go to the same source as King Solomon – we must go to God. James encourages us to seek wisdom with these words: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5) Our wise King Solomon proclaimed the same truth in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Surely this was the wisdom that Eve could have enjoyed, if she had trusted and obeyed God rather than seeking wisdom on her own. This wisdom is available to you and me if we will ask God, trust Him to give us what He has promised and obediently walk in the wisdom and ways of the Lord. Let’s commit to be wise men and women of God.
Holy Father, I come to you with my hands and heart open wide to receive the wisdom that only You can give. Fill me Lord, that the world my see Your perfect wisdom in me. Amen.