Bible Studies for Life

with Don Hicks

Sunday,  October 22

Solomon: Unfailing Wisdom

1 Kings 3:3-14; 4:29-34

I Kings tells us of God’s great wisdom that He gave Solomon as a very young King. “God gave Solomon wisdom, very great insight, and understanding as vast as the sands on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone,” 1King 4:29-31a (CSB).

This generous gift to Solomon and to the people he ruled, was because Solomon loved the Lord and showed his love by keeping God’s Laws.  The Christian Standard Bible says it this way: “Solomon loved the Lord by walking in the statutes of his father David,” 1Kings 3:3.  Solomon knew what God’s laws were, how to follow God’s Laws, and what it looked like when a man and a king lived in God’s will because his father, David, lived that way of life in front of him. Those of us who have had the blessing of a Godly dad can never overestimate the value of that influence in our lives.

God’s blessing of Solomon wasn’t just because of his father.  Solomon personally responded to God.  Solomon built the Temple with the materials that David had gathered for it. Therefore, early in his reign, King Solomon could not worship and sacrifice in the temple. But David, a man after God’s own heart, taught his son to worship God regularly with worthy sacrifices.  “The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there because it was the most famous high place. He offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar,”
1 Kings 3:4 (CSB). Even though worship in the high places was authorized by God and this later got Solomon in a great deal of trouble. God honored Solomon’s sacrifices and worship
this time.

Gibeon was 6 miles north of Jerusalem and the tabernacle and its bronze altar were there.  “In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night. And God said, Ask what I shall give you. 

Solomon said, You have shown to Your servant David my father great mercy and loving-kindness … and You have kept for him this great kindness and steadfast love, that you have given him a son to sit on his thrown this day. … I am but a lad [in wisdom and experience]; … So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge and rule this Your great people?” 1 Kings 3:5-9 (AMP).

The young king’s request pleased God. “God said to him. Because you have asked this, and have not asked for long life, or for riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize what is just and right, Behold, I have done as you asked, I have given you a wise, discerning mind so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall any arise after you equal to you,” 1 Kings 3:11-12 (AMP).  Please take careful note that verse 11 began “God said to him,” Which clearly means God spoke directly to the young Solomon.  I believe when we are open to hear God, He will speak clearly and directly to us personally. Solomon’s reign was peaceful, God allowed him to build a beautiful temple and many other great buildings, and his wealth grew exponentially.

Yet, when Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes he began, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities all is vanity,” Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 (KJV). That certainly sounds like a very discouraged, even depressed individual. H.I. Hester in his classic Old Testament college textbook summarizes what happened to King Solomon.

“It is traditional to think of Solomon as an exceptionally wise man. The degree to which we accept this view depends somewhat on our definition or understanding of the meaning of wisdom.  Unquestionably, he had a remarkable knowledge of the natural world, plants, and animals, as his proverbs will demonstrate.  He seems also to have had a deep understanding of human nature. His famous decision in the case of the two mothers who claimed the same child illustrates this. {1 Kings 3:16-27}

  “However, a careful examination of his entire career leads one to question his wisdom, certainly in his behavior. If wisdom means the courage to practice his own precepts, he failed notably. The latter years of his life witnessed the violation of many of the principles of wisdom which he so eloquently proclaimed.”

Hicks is Associational Missions Director for Jasper Association.