1 Kings 3:5-13
God gave Solomon a reminder not to substitute wisdom or activity for a relationship with Him. Solomon’s priorities reveal a man with good intentions who forsook his own advice through compromise. Solomon literally wrote the book on wisdom but still blew it.
Why? Because wisdom isn’t enough. It also takes obedience.
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Try to guess the common reason for these acts of nature:
- Why does the cactus turn itself perpendicular to light?
- Why does the bear get fat before hibernation?
- Why does the olive tree rotate its leaves?
The answers are all the same.
Each is preserving for the future.
- By turning to avoid heat, plants preserve moisture.
- By stuffing itself with food, the bear can sleep a long time without eating. (I wish I could do that.)
God designed His creation—from plants to animals to people—to be savers.
The problem with people? We need a lesson on saving from ants, plants, bears—and Jesus.
The connection between between the first steps we take in making a decision and its final outcome often seems unrelated. Walking the path of wisdom or the way of foolishness has domino effects far greater than we can imagine.
For us, a disciplined intake of Scripture certainly promises wisdom.
But wisdom offers a course of action, not just a course of instruction. (Tweet that.)
The book of Proverbs reveals the outcome of the pathways we are walking. And it tells us how to stay on the path of wisdom.
The awesomeness of creation exists as more than beauty for us to observe.
In spite of the chaos in our culture, the world screams of order in its origin. Its predictable seasons and trustworthy laws of nature reveal wisdom in its design.
(Photo by http://www.ForestWander.com (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons)
The wisdom of creation we see is explained in the Bible we read. Wisdom played such an integral role in creation that the author of Proverbs 8 personifies it as a person present with God:
“Before the hills I was brought forth . . . When He established the heavens, I was there . . . When He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman”—Proverbs 8:25–33
God’s wisdom displayed in the wonders we see also proves His wisdom in all areas of life.
Including the painful ones.
Most travelers to Jerusalem never think to come to Nebi Samwil. The minaret towering above the hill looks like a misplaced lighthouse searching for the sea. On a clear day, a visitor can spy the Mediterranean to the west.
Very few come here today. And yet, there were few more important places in David’s and Solomon’s time—if any.
In fact, it signified Solomon’s most defining moment.
What’s more, it represents the potential for ours as well.
Everybody likes to be an exception to the rule. No exceptions. This paradox seems especially true for individuals who are exceptional. Like Solomon.
(Photo: William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ, USA, via Wikimedia Commons)
“I have given you a wise and discerning heart,” God told Solomon, “so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3:12). Talk about exceptional!
And yet Solomon became the exception to his own wisdom.
It started with two small compromises.
John the Baptist struggled with his own sermon.
He had preached about the Messiah’s kingdom coming with power and justice. But instead, Jesus’ ministry centered on preaching and on acts of mercy, and John found himself unfairly wasting away in prison near the blistering shores of the Dead Sea.
Gentle Jesus hardly seemed the political Deliverer everyone expected.
(Dead Sea shoreline, the area near where John the Baptist was imprisoned. Photo: By xta11, via Wikimedia Commons)
Unable to reconcile the contradictions and imprisoned in his thoughts, John doubted his own preaching. John sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matthew 11:3).
In other words, the Expected One had certain expectations placed upon Him . . . and Jesus had failed to meet them.