1 Kings 3:11-12. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.
The wisdom of Solomon is legendary, almost mythical. As Solomon takes the throne he begins where his father, David, left off. He loves God, worships God, and acknowledges that he is blessed by God. So God tells Solomon he can ask for anything (1 Kings 3:5).
And Solomon’s answer will please God. Of all the things he could have asked for – health, wealth, or his enemies’ heads on a platter – Solomon humbly asks for wisdom, the God fearing understanding and discernment to rule the people of Israel.
In the Bible, wisdom is about far more than good decision making. It is about relationship. It’s about an intimacy and connectedness between God and man, between all of humanity, and between man and creation.
But the great warning of the Bible is that there is a false wisdom. Adam and Eve in the garden chose a false wisdom that rejected intimacy with God, each other, and the creation they were meant to serve. They wanted to be “wise in their own eyes.” The tragic result was the loss of connection. God and man, man and woman, humanity and creation, all torn apart.
Wisdom then is the restoration of this connection to God. And so in Proverbs we are told that true wisdom begins with the “fear of the Lord.” We need God to show us not just what is morally good and evil, but we need him to also show us what will restore relational shalom. We need him to teach us how to love in each and every situation of life. This is true wisdom. This is the reversal of the Edenic curse. Which is why Proverbs calls wisdom a “tree of life” (Pr. 3:18).
And this is the life giving wisdom that Solomon has asked for. Take for example his first recorded court case: Solomon saves a baby’s life and restores an infant to it’s true mother. And in his collection of proverbs, Solomon exposes human nature while pointing us down the path of God’s life.
So is Solomon the new Adam? The new ruler of God’s garden-temple? Will his wisdom reverse the curse? No. Although Solomon’s reign begins with wisdom, it ends with foolishness. Over time, his heart will turn from God and his people’s hearts will turn from him.
One thousand years later, Jesus came to earth and declared, “One greater than Solomon is here” (Luke 11:31). How could Jesus claim such a thing? Because only Christ could restore God to man, man to one another, and humanity to creation. Only by Christ’s incarnation, his life, his death, and his resurrection, can there be the wisdom of God that we all need to connect us back to his love and grace.
And now this Wisdom lives in us. Christ is the wisdom of God and our union with Christ makes us truly wise (1 Cor. 1:30). By the Spirit we have been given the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5-7). The wisdom of Christ’s humility and sacrifice.
What wisdom are you looking for today? What are you expecting from God when you pray for wisdom? Do you want him to tell you Door A or Door B? Have you made God into your Magic 8 Ball? Your oracle? Your fleece wetter? “Just tell me what to do, God!”
The wisdom of God is far greater than this simple decision making. It is learning to bring Christ’s mind into each and every situation, both Door A and Door B, with a heart of grace and peace. It is a life lived with purpose, reconnecting God to man, man to one another, and humanity to creation. It is love.
“To live is Christ” is the wisdom from God. It is a response to life that will always seem foolish to the world, because it will always seek to serve rather than be served. It will always do what is just and good even when it hurts. It will always give grace, even when none will be given in return. And it will do all of this from the fear of the Lord. From a faith that trust God’s wisdom found in the upside down of the cross.
Are you “wise in your own eyes?” How have you sought wisdom this week?
You in Christ
How does our union with Christ make us wise? Remember, wisdom is about relational restoration and re-connection.
Christ in you
Read the definition of wisdom in James 3:13-18. How does this describe Christ in you?
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