11(1Kings 03,05-28) Seeking Wisdom
§ The philosopher Immanuel Kant: “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.”
§ Martin Fischer: “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”
§ Norman Cousins: “Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.”
§ William Saroyan: “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success.”
A. Solomon took office by stating his devotion to God in the most dramatic fashion.
§ The ark was in Jerusalem, the tabernacle in Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40)
§ He sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings (v 4) to express his devotion and thanksgiving to God.
§ The sacrifices were continuous, extraordinary and spectacular.
§ The flames blazed in intensity, the smoke filled the tabernacle, and the aroma pleased the Lord.
B. In a night dream God gave Solomon a blank check: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you”(v 5).
§ What would you want if you were given your heart’s desire? gold, glory, or greatness?
§ Do you desire fame and fortune, power and prosperity, or longevity and looks?
§ None of the above for Solomon, who asked for wisdom. Why? What is wisdom?
I. Wisdom is Comprehension: Understand Past Conditions (1 Kings 3:5-9)
A. Solomon wisely appreciated all that was handed to him.
§ He began by praising God for His faithfulness and remembering His great mercy to David.
§ The only brother who understood his father’s unique role in history and relationship with God.
§ He cared more for his father than his fortune, more concerned for the king than for his kingdom.
B. Solomon was a man of extraordinary rhetoric and melodious praise.
§ In humility, Solomon considered himself God’s servant, a vessel for God’s use on earth.
§ The last king to call himself as such.
§ Such vocabulary was missing from the kings that succeeded Solomon.
§ The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
II. Wisdom is Conditional: Make Personal Choices (3:10-15)
A. Choose one chair.
§ Tenor Luciano Pavarotti told of the choices he made as a young man and the slow progress he made in his field: A professional tenor in my hometown took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers’ college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’“
§ ‘Luciano, my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’“
B. Solomon chose discernment.
§ Solomon’s request for discernment (v 11) was unusual of a commoner or a king.
§ Kings ask for greatness, glory, or gold.
§ The duo words “discerning” and “wise” apply only to Solomon and Joseph (Gen 41:33, 39).
C. God gave Solomon also more things – riches and honor (v 13)
§ However, there is a limit to what God gives.
§ God cannot pour willingness, faithfulness, and obedience into a person.
§ That will have to come out a man’s heart.
§ God in all his wisdom still make relationship with Him and submitting to Him a question of choice.
D. At best Solomon was an obedient son who walked according to the statutes of his father (v 3).
§ That was a good start and a big step, but not an end in decision-making.
§ It’s been said, “God has no grandchildren.” God is our Father, not our grandfather.
§ Faith is guided, and not given. It is teachable, but not transferable.
§ Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to the garage makes you a car.”
E. God’s requirement for Solomon was to follow “my ways,” “my statutes,” and “my commands” (v 14).
§ God left the door open and invited the young king to take the direction his father took.
III. Wisdom is Concrete: Read Present Circumstances (3:16-28)
A. Wisdom that cannot be applied is nonsense.
§ At first sight, Solomon’s decision seemed to be pure magic.
§ However, wisdom is not about pulling a rabbit out of a hat or conjuring a trick out of thin air.
§ It is about making sound and not snappy decisions, to be thorough-thinking and not trigger–happy.
§ Wisdom is not about information or instinct, but about investigation, insight and integration.
§ A wise person is attentive to details, patient in learning and slow to deliberate.
B. Solomon carefully listened to both sides, not one side of the story, before deciding.
§ He took his time, dissected the problem, and judged the intent.
C. The biggest myth about wisdom is that it is dreamlike and surreal.
§ Dreams are made for the night, but wisdom is for the day.
§ Biblical wisdom is not in the mind; it is in the act.
§ Wisdom is practical, not philosophical, and it is realistic and not idealistic.
§ Wisdom is not learned but lived.
§ Of course Solomon was not about to divide the child in two, but he was not beyond using tests.
§ The wisest thing in life is to accept Christ for oneself.
§ Jesus was filled with wisdom (Luke 2:40) and grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52).
§ God has destroyed the wisdom of the wise and frustrated the intelligence of the intelligent through his death on the cross and the message of the cross (1 Cor 1:18-19).
§ The world through its wisdom did not know him, so God was pleased through the foolishness of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Christ to save those who believe (1 Cor 1:21).
§ But notice, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and not an end in itself.
§ Wisdom has to be continually sought and is not permanently caught.