When I was in grade school I remember picking up a copy of King Solomon’s Mines in our school’s library. I didn’t borrow the book, but I remember the cover vividly. It had a mysterious looking cave, filled with precious gems and gold. It was obvious that King Solomon was a man of great wealth, prominence and power!
Scripture (and the all-new What’s in the Bible? DVD 5: Israel Gets A King!) tell us a lot more about the son of King David. In fact we’re told in 2 Chronicles, the first chapter, that Solomon was a great king who earned God’s favor! In verse 7, God appears to Solomon and says to him, “Ask whatever you want me to give to you.”
Wow! Can you imagine such an offer from the Creator Himself? Do you think Solomon struggled with what to ask for? The Bible doesn’t tell us that Solomon struggled with this question at all. In verse 10, Solomon says to God, “Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Here’s a clip from DVD 5 to explain:
Taking what we know about Solomon into consideration, a few things jump out at me as to why he might have asked God for wisdom. First, Solomon recognized who God is and he also realized that he had a huge amount of reliance in Him. Solomon was following in the footsteps of a great king, his father–David. He was both young and inexperienced and let’s face it, the people he was to rule over were sort of notorious for rebellion. Then his lineage alone may have given him concern about knowing the difference between what was righteous and what wasn’t.
Solomon, as flawed as he was, realized the absolute need for wisdom. Later he wrote in Proverbs 3:15, wisdom is “more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her”.
God’s favorable reaction to Solomon’s request indicates the importance our Lord places on wisdom. But why was God pleased with Solomon’s request? The answer may come from a better understanding of the difference between wisdom and intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to learn or understand. Wisdom is being able to apply that which one has learned.
Our God is definitely a God of action! Understanding His Word but not applying it gives God no glory. In James 1:22, we see that through the Spirit we are called to be people of action, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. DO WHAT IT SAYS.” Solomon could have asked for anything he wanted, but he asked for wisdom to rule the nation—God’s people.
Solomon had his priorities straight. And God was so pleased with him in this; He gave Solomon wealth and honor as well as wisdom and knowledge.
The same wisdom that was given to Solomon is available to us; the same almighty God offers it! How can we acquire wisdom? First, we must ask God , who “gives generously to all without finding fault” (James 1:5) for wisdom and discernment. Second, we must devote ourselves to studying God’s Word—which is the SOURCE of wisdom.
We live in a world that idolizes riches and power. To think a young king would choose wisdom over anything else may seem to be quite a nonsensical thing! Yet a great lesson for our kids is that when we are like Solomon, and put God first, we will have richly rewarding lives! When we believe we have a purpose and learn contentment, we will be truly wealthy!