“WISDOM OF LIVING (58) WISDOM” By Pastor YAU
Text: 1 Kings 3:4-15 March 2, 2008.
1) Ask whatever you want: If one day God comes to you and offers to give you anything you ask, what would you ask for? That was the chance God offered to Solomon and Solomon asked God to give him wisdom to discern good from evil so he might lead God’s people to live the right way. (1 Kings 3:9) God was pleased that Solomon asked for this and He gave him what he did not asked for, riches and honor. (vv. 11-13)Solomon is remembered for his unselfish request and the great wisdom God gave him.
2) What will most people ask? If you are like me and the way I know people, I believe most, the greatest majority, people will ask for personal gains, gains for him/her and those in his/her inner circle. Most will ask for happiness and good health, financial security, good marriage and family, healthy and smart kids who are obedient and make good grades, good education and gainful jobs, smooth relationships and so on. While these and many others are all good things, but when compared to what Solomon asked, they all failed the test to please the heart of God.
GETTING TO KNOW WISDOM:
1) Definition of wisdom: According to Webster’s collegiate Dictionary, 9th edition, “wisdom” is defined as following: a, accumulated philosophic or scientific learning, knowledge. b, ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, insight, c, good sense, judgment. A wise attitude or course of action and the teachings of ancient wise men.
2) Origin of wisdom: I guess few people, if any, may say it for sure where does wisdom come from and how man may gain it. The Bible mentions the word “wisdom” more than 270 times with about 100 of them in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastics. The Bible also gives us a simple and easy to understand origin of wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
3) God and wisdom: While the dictionary gives us the “what” is wisdom, the Bible gives us the “where” does wisdom comes from: it comes from God. Man may gain wisdom when he has a proper attitude toward God: fear, reverence and respect. The attitude of man toward God is only the beginning of gaining wisdom. The level of wisdom one may have depends on the level of his relationship with God: the closer he is to God, the more wisdom he will gain.
4) Importance of wisdom: Looking at the definition from the Webster dictionary which includes learning, understanding, insight, judgment, attitude and teachings of wise men, it is pretty safe to conclude that wisdom is one of the few things, if not the most important thing, that certainly helps people stand out among other created things. It is not the rich or the powerful, the beautiful or the successful that stand out in history. It is those who gain wisdom by fear God that stand out in human history. That’s why the rich and the powerful, the beautiful and the successful are soon forgotten after they have passed away. But people with wisdom are remembered for long, long time and they impact the life of millions.
THE APPLICATIONS OF WISDOM:
1) To be able to learn: Opportunity to learn depends on the living condition of the individual, but the ability to learn comes from God. Learning ability is a God given gift that enables one to learn and to retain what he has learned. Not all people have the same level of learning ability. Those who were born with higher level of learning ability are blessed and should be thankful to God while those who have learning disability are unfortunate and they deserve our support.
2) To be able to understand: To be giving knowledge, such as in schools, doesn’t make one learned until he understands and is able to absorb the new knowledge into his pools of prior knowledge to increase his volume of knowledge. On all the machines in the gym where I go to exercise, they all were labeled like this: “Read and understand all instructions before exercise.” Some may have all the facts of knowledge but don’t understand them and can’t use them properly.
3) To have proper insight: According to the dictionary, insight is the ability to discern the inner qualities of facts and their relationship so you gain a more comprehensive knowledge of facts you observe. This is a God given ability to better know the meaning beneath the surface. You could make better decision if you have better insight.
4) To make sound judgment: We make judgments on people, things and experiences everyday of our life: some are more serious than others. The ability to make sound judgment is so important because it may affect the effectiveness of our life and that of others. Wrong or bias judgment may cost us loss of career, relationship, monetary opportunity and others.
5) To have proper attitude: In modern day job market, the two most important abilities employers are looking in potential employees are team-work and positive attitude. People who possess wisdom hold proper attitude on others and things. Proper attitude enables people to see things the right way and respond to people and environment for best possible results.
THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON: (1 Kings 3:4-15)
1) He saw the importance of God: “The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices for that was the most important high place.” (3:4)How many of the US presidents had gone to churches to offer sacrifices to God right after they became presidents even though they all claimed to be Christians? With many pushing issues the king had to handle, Solomon went to offer sacrifices to God at the most important high place in his nation. Knowing the importance of God in his life and government and his personal closeness with God is the first sign of Solomon’s wisdom.
2) He was generous with God: “And Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar.” (3:4b)To offer 1,000 sacrifices at one time was an act of generosity as well as seriousness in his heart. Solomon was not stingy with God. He showed his reverence and love to God by giving a generous offering.
3) He acknowledged God and his father: “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in his heart.” (3:6)Acknowledging the blessing of God on his father and the character of his father was another sign of wisdom. He realized what he had inherited was the results of a gracious God and a faithful and righteous father.
4) He was humble in his heart: “But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.” (3:7)He was humble before God when he realized how little he knew to carry out his duties as a king. Compare to the presidential candidates now running to become president of US, Solomon set a great example for all of them.
5) He saw people over himself: “So give your servant wisdom (a discerning heart) to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (3:9)He asked for wisdom not for the good of himself but for the good of the people. How much we wan to see rulers today will see the needs of the people over and above their own benefits.
6) His request pleased God: “The Lord was well pleased that Solomon had asked for this.” (3:10)In his first dealing with God, he did what God was pleased to see. How often do we do things or ask for things that makes God happy? How often do we really care if God is happy in what we do or ask?
7) He was blessed much more: “Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for, both riches and honor, so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (3:13)we have a very generous God who will bless those He pleases to bless. When you care about God’s business, God cares about your business.
8) His faithfulness continued: “He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burning offerings and peace offerings.” (3:15)Solomon did not treat God with one time reverence when he first became king. He continued to serve God and offered sacrifices to show his heart and dependence of God.
9) He shared with his officials: “Then he gave a feast for all his court (officials)” (3:15b) He realized the importance of his officials in carrying out his duties as king. He treated his subordinates with kindness and respect. This is another sign of Solomon’s wisdom.
1) Can you see the difference? There are many differences between human wisdom and godly wisdom. If you are seeking for wisdom, which system are you following: secular system or godly system? What is the purpose of your seeking for wisdom?
2) Have we learned anything? There are people who think they know it all and there is nothing from anyone they may learn. As we examine the wisdom of King Solomon we need to take a closer look and see if we may learn something from him. To learn about Solomon’s wisdom and do not learn anything from him is like leaving a “treasure island” empty handed.
3) Begin from the start: Still remember that verse in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?” If you are serious about seeking true wisdom, why don’t you start from “fear the Lord?” Ask the Lord to enter into your heart. Confess your sins and ignorance and ask Him to direct your life to make it meaningful and productive.