Pastor Jared and Pastor Jeff both talked a little about wisdom recently. Jared referenced the book of Proverbs and the value of both receiving wisdom and imparting wisdom to others. We know true wisdom comes from God. We need it in our personal lives and we need it in order to lead people in our roles as church leaders. I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently. My mind goes to the famous wisdom passage in James when I have to face head-on my lack of wisdom in life and leadership:
James 1:5 says: If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
In my devotional reading, I am in 1 Kings right now and God really tied this all together for me in a fresh way. 1 Kings starts off with the problematic change of guard from King David to King Solomon, conducted from King David’s death bed. In chapter 2, David gives his final instructions to Solomon, starting in verse 3 he says:
Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
Solomon begins to rule and reign, to marry, to carry out swift judgment against insurrectionists, and to offer up sacrifices– all the normal Kingly duties you might expect. Ch. 3 vs 3 says;
3 Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship.
Solomon was already starting to miss the mark in his decision-making, choosing to offer sacrifices where he pleased instead of where God had commanded. He was relying on wisdom passed down from his father, rather than wisdom from the Lord. His desire to honor God was spot on, but his decisions lacked divine wisdom. Verse 5 says:
5 That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” 6 Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. 7 “Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. 8 And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! 9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! 14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon woke up and realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, where he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings.
In a dream, Solomon humbly asked God for wisdom. God was pleased with the motivation of his request and through his grace granted Solomon’s request and multiplied the blessing. Fast forward to today. The book of Proverbs (the first 29 chapters), Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs are further evidence of this overflow of blessing in the form of God-given wisdom through Solomon. Solomon had the humility to ask God for help. There’s a treasure-trove of wisdom that has been passed down through time for wisdom-lacking people like us. The wisdom of God that we’re the beneficiaries of was birthed through Solomon’s humble request. How much more is available to you and I when we pair scripture with the Spirit living inside us?
Do you ever feel “like a little child who doesn’t know his way around”? Do you need an “understanding heart so that you can govern people well”? Or need to “know the difference between right and wrong”? What then are we to take away from this? “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom”. AND “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
Not sure how to manage your finances, raise your kids, deal with your spouse, avoid temptation, manage your business? If you’re lacking wisdom, ask Him and He promises to freely give it to you.