What Good is Wisdom?
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways. Proverbs 2:12-15
God was pleased with Solomon and told him he would give him anything he wanted. Solomon decided he wanted wisdom.
“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:5, 3:7-9
He could have asked for anything. God was even surprised that he did not ask for long life or riches. Solomon, with the wisdom he already had, asked for more wisdom. No one ruled as he did. He was one of the smartest men in history and wrote Scriptures such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. If you read Ecclesiastes you will find wisdom of a different kind. You will see Solomon at the end of his life looking back on his mistakes. Yes, even with all of his knowledge, Solomon made mistakes. Even with all of his wisdom, Solomon was a sinner.
Over his reign he did rule wisely, but in his own life his sinful nature was his downfall. It is one thing to be wise, but it is another thing to act wisely. It is another thing to act Holy. Solomon loved women. We see in Song Of Solomon how he loved his wife. He went on to love many wives. This went against God. He went on to follow the gods of his wives. This certainly went against God.
Why then, with all this wisdom, probably the most wisdom of anyone ever, did Solomon commit these sins? Why did he go against his own Proverbs and his God? I think it was because no matter how smart you are you still need God. Solomon, like most of us, probably thought he was so smart that he didn’t need help. He might have thought he didn’t need council. I remember hearing in a sermon, I believe by Chuck Swindoll, that there are no records in Scripture of him consulting a prophet. His father David had a couple of prophets advise him including Nathan who came to him after his transgression with Bathsheba that lead him not only into an adulteress act but also to murder. Nathan came to him to warn him of God’s anger and also to tell him that God still loved him but he needed to obey the Lord.
Solomon did not seem to get council or have a prophet come to him after his sin. Is this because he felt he was above being told how to act? Was this because in all of his wisdom he was still human and a sinner?
What good is wisdom if we do not act wisely?
How many of us try to be wiser than we act? (Convicted)
How many of us know what to say but not what to do? (Convicted)
How many of us rely on our own wisdom and deny the wisdom of God? (Convicted)
I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:16-17
Solomon, in his end, realized all his wisdom was meaningless without the Giver of wisdom. He realized it means nothing without God.
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
My friends, seek wisdom but seek it from God, for God and His glory. Be wise and obey. His grace will be there when wisdom fails.