1 Kings 3:3-14; 4:29-34
Tim Riordan, pastor
SonRise Baptist Church, Newnan
Inventor Buckminster Fuller created the Knowledge Doubling Curve where he determined that until 1900, human knowledge doubled about every century. By the end of World War II, it doubled every 25 years. In 2013, researcher David Schilling wrote that human knowledge is now doubling every 13 months and will eventually double every 12 hours.
The growth of knowledge is not our problem. What to do with the knowledge we gain is a serious concern.
When Solomon became the king of Israel, he recognized that all of the knowledge in the world would not help him if he did not have the wisdom to make right decisions. He encountered God during a time of worship, and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” Solomon asked for the wisdom to lead God’s people.
While we may not be a king, we still need wisdom to lead our families and those within our sphere of influence. We can learn a few important lessons from Solomon that will help us to be better leaders and followers of Christ.
Recognize our inadequacies
We live in a culture of super egos. Sports figures tell us about their great skills and intellectuals refuse to admit their mental limitations. Solomon’s approach to leading Israel was quite different. Instead of self-aggrandizement, he chose humility. When God offered to bless him with anything he desired, Solomon pointed out his deficiencies, “I am but a little child.”
We do not know Solomon’s exact age when he became king, but scholars have determined him to be somewhere between 12 and 20. Because 1 Kings 14:21 indicates that Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was one year old when Solomon became king, many scholars believe Solomon was in his late teens or possibly 20 at the beginning of his reign. Regardless of his exact age, Solomon saw himself as inadequate for the challenge of reigning as king.
A few years ago, I heard my children say someone thought he was all that. The fact is that none of us are all that. The lack of knowledge is not as much of a problem, thanks to the Internet. Our inadequacies begin to show up when we try to make decisions based upon the accessible knowledge.
Paul understood this concept well and expressed it in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” God reminds us that we are totally insufficient to lead his people or accomplish anything of Kingdom value, but he is more than adequate.
Acknowledge God’s sufficiency
Solomon not only knew he lacked the wisdom to lead his people, but also that God abounded with wisdom and understanding. He asked God for an understanding heart to judge the people of Israel.
I learned a long time ago that the only good in me, is God in me. I have no true wisdom apart from God. The Bible says God is the only wise God (Rom 16:27). Job reminded his accusers that with God are wisdom and might (Job 12:13). The Psalmist said God’s understanding is infinite (Ps. 147:5).
We have all met people who seem wise. You do not have to be a Christian to learn from life’s experiences, and thus gain some wisdom, but the wisdom of mankind will always be limited. Paul described God’s wisdom and knowledge as deep riches. His judgments are unsearchable and His ways unfathomable (Rom. 11:33). This is the kind of wisdom we need to navigate the challenges of our contemporary society and provide leadership for the body of Christ.
Seek God’s provision
Our only real option is to do what Solomon did: seek wisdom from the Lord. Solomon was later inspired to write, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Our starting point is always God.
Even as God was ready and willing to bless Solomon with wisdom, he is also ready to bless us.
James 1:5 states, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously.”
Solomon’s encounter with God came in response to his personal worship of God. He had gone to Gibeon to offer sacrifices.
We will find God and His wisdom when we seek Him in worship and prayer. E.M. Bounds wrote, “What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods. She needs men whom the Holy Spirit can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”
Our text also shows that Solomon’s fame spread throughout the world as men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon. I am confident that as people heard of the wisdom of Solomon, they also learned of the God Solomon served.
As we seek wisdom from the Lord, we will find that the world is attracted to the wisdom of God. Many people have already come to the end of themselves as they have discovered the inadequacies of their own wisdom. We are reminded throughout Scripture that we must seek true wisdom from God. Paul challenged Timothy to continue in the things he had learned (2 Tim 3:14). He is reminding this young minister to continue living and ministering in the wisdom and truth of God.
While knowledge may be doubling every 12 hours, wisdom is diminishing every second. The good news is that God offers wisdom to those who seek it. Later in life, Solomon concluded, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom” (Prov. 3:13).