Wisdom is the Principle Thing
INTERESTING FACTS : "ONE OF THE MANY DIVINE QUALITIES OF THE BIBLE IS THAT IT DOES NOT YIELD ITS SECRETS TO THE IRREVERENT AND THE CENSORIOUS." -- JAMES I. PACKER
DAILY READING : 1 KINGS 3 - 5
TEXT : 1Ki 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 1Ki 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 1Ki 3:7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 1Ki 3:8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 1Ki 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 1Ki 3:10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
THEME : WISDOM
As Solomon begin his rule he has a dream in which God speaks with him, asking him what he wanted from God. He asks for wisdom. Such a noble beginning for a man who afterward would defile himself with his marriages to heathen wives who led him and the nation of Israel into idolatry. Still, he begins well, and his request for wisdom is pleasing to God.
"Solomon's dream was not a common one. While his bodily powers were locked up in sleep, the powers of his soul were strengthened; he was enabled to receive the Divine vision, and to make a suitable choice. God, in like manner, puts us in the ready way to be happy, by assuring us we shall have what we need, and pray for. Solomon's making such a choice when asleep, and the powers of reason least active, showed it came from the grace of God. Having a humble sense of his own wants and weakness, he pleads, Lord, I am but a little child. The more wise and considerate men are, the better acquainted they are with their own weakness, and the more jealous of themselves. Solomon begs of God to give him wisdom. We must pray for it, Jam_1:5, that it may help us in our particular calling, and the various occasions we have. Those are accepted of God, who prefer spiritual blessings to earthly good. It was a prevailing prayer, and prevailed for more than he asked. God gave him wisdom, such as no other prince was ever blessed with; and also gave him riches and honour. If we make sure of wisdom and grace, these will bring outward prosperity with them, or sweeten the want of it. The way to get spiritual blessings, is to wrestle with God in prayer for them. The way to get earthly blessings, is to refer ourselves to God concerning them. Solomon has wisdom given him, because he did ask it, and wealth, because he did not." [Matthew Henry]
The first cause brought before his throne for judgment is the dispute between two women [harlots] who argue about the child brought before Solomon. Specifically, one says the child is hers, the other denies that claim. Solomon's "solution," however facetious, is to cut the child in two, giving one-half to each of them. As the real mother, horrified at the suggestion, shouts to spare the child, everyone knows this is the child's true mother. Solomon, in this instance, shows wisdom beyond his years as his is only a "child" [probably about 16 - 17 years old]. This is the beginning of Solomon's reputation for wisdom. His knowledge of architecture, zoology, botany, psychology, music, poetry, oceanography, etc. becomes widespread throughout the Eastern world. It is interesting to note his wisdom is a cause of such notoriety all over the East.
"We learn from 1 Kings 10, that the queen of Sheba was one of those visitants, and perhaps the most remarkable, as we have the particulars of her visit, but not of the others.It is astonishing that of a person so renowned for wisdom, so little should be left to prove the truth of a fact of which all the civilized nations of the world have heard, and of which scarcely any man has ever doubted. The people that came from all kings of the earth were probably ambassadors, who came to form and maintain friendship between their sovereigns and the Israelitish king. We cannot understand the place as speaking of people who, either through an idle or laudable curiosity, came to see and converse with Solomon; to give free access to such people would ill comport with the maintenance of his dignity." [Adam Clarke]
Solomon was charged by his father David to build a temple for God. This he undertakes with materials prepared for this work by David, as well as obtaining aid from Hiram of Lebanon, a friend and supporter of David.
"Immediately after the consolidation of his kingdom, Solomon commenced the preparations for the building of a temple, first of all by entering into negotiations with king Hiram of Tyre, to procure from him not only the building materials requisite, viz., cedars, cypresses, and hewn stones, but also a skilled workman for the artistic work of the temple (1Ki_5:1-12); and, secondly, by causing the number of workmen required for this great work to be raised out of his own kingdom, and sending them to Lebanon to prepare the materials for the building in connection with the Tyrian builders (1Ki_5:13-18). - We have a parallel passage to this in 2 Chron 2, which agrees with the account before us in all the leading points, but differs in many of the details, omitting several things which were not essential to the main fact, and communicating others which are passed over in our account, e.g., Solomon's request that a Tyrian workman might be sent. This shows that the two accounts are extracts from a common and more elaborate source, the historical materials being worked up in a free and independent manner according to the particular plan adopted by each of the two authors." [Keil and Delitzsch]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPLE THING!
It is Solomon himself who writes - "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."[ Pro_4:7] We would do well to contemplate this truth, for in it lays our salvation. For instance, consider this corollary found in our New Testament - "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." [2Ti_3:15 - 16] It is through the wisdom given us in the Bible we have knowledge to grow in Christ and godliness.
Wisdom is a forgotten characteristic in today's Church. Wisdom is an attribute of God that resides in His Spirit that all who are born again receive. "And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD" [Isa_11:2] We certainly see great wisdom in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is through wisdom that we gain the blessing of God and avoid the curse. Therefore, we need to search for wisdom with all our being as Proverbs 4:7 states.
Wisdom is defined [Webster] as -
1. The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness. Wisdom in the first sense, or practical wisdom, is nearly synonymous with discretion. I differs somewhat from prudence, in this respect; prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good. Prudence then is a species, of which wisdom is the genus. Wisdom gained by experience, is of inestimable value. It is hoped that our rulers will act with dignity and wisdom; that they will yield every thing to reason, and refuse every thing to force.
2. In Scripture, human learning; erudition; knowledge of arts and sciences. - Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Acts 7.
3. Quickness of intellect; readiness of apprehension; dexterity in execution; as the wisdom of Bezaleel and Aholiab. Exo 31.
4. Natural instinct and sagacity. Job 39.
5. In Scripture theology, wisdom is true religion; godliness; piety; the knowledge and fear of God, and sincere and uniform obedience to his commands. This is the wisdom which is from above. Psa 90. Job 28.
6. Profitable words or doctrine. Psa 37. - The wisdom of this world, mere human erudition; or the carnal policy of men, their craft and artifices in promoting their temporal interests; called also fleshly wisdom. 1 Cor 2. 2 Cor 1.; The wisdom of words, artificial or affected eloquence; or learning displayed in teaching. 1 Cor 1 and 2.
So prominent is the subject of wisdom the Bible mentions it 234 times. Confining ourselves only to the Book of Proverbs, we see an extensive list [53 verses] of statements about wisdom.
- Pro_1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
- Pro_1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
- Pro_1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- Pro_1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
- Pro_2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
- Pro_2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
- Pro_2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
- Pro_2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
- Pro_3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
- Pro_3:19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
- Pro_3:21 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
- Pro_4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
- Pro_4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
- Pro_4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
- Pro_5:1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
- Pro_7:4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
- Pro_8:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
- Pro_8:5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
- Pro_8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
- Pro_8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
- Pro_8:14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
- Pro_9:1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
- Pro_9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
- Pro_10:13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
- Pro_10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
- Pro_10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
- Pro_10:31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
- Pro_11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
- Pro_11:12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
- Pro_12:8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
- Pro_13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
- Pro_14:6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
- Pro_14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
- Pro_14:33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
- Pro_15:21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
- Pro_15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
- Pro_16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
- Pro_17:16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
- Pro_17:24 Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
- Pro_18:1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
- Pro_18:4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
- Pro_19:8 He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
- Pro_21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
- Pro_23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
- Pro_23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
- Pro_23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
- Pro_24:3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
- Pro_24:7 Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
- Pro_24:14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
- Pro_29:3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
- Pro_29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
- Pro_30:3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
- Pro_31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Therefore, let us seek wisdom as Solomon did and enjoy the benefits God's wisdom gives us.