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 that he can ask for anything (1 Kings 3:5).
And Solomon’s request 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 why Solomon is presented to us as new Adam ruling in a new garden like temple.
But will the wisdom of Solomon reverse the curse? No. Solomon’s reign quickly turns foolish. 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 the life giving wisdom of Jesus Christ could restore God to man, man to one another, and humanity to creation. Only by Christ’s incarnation, life, death, resurrection, can every lost connection be restored.
And now this Wisdom lives in us. Christ is the wisdom of God and therefore 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). We each have the indwelling wisdom of Christ’s humility and sacrifice.
So 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!”
But the wisdom of God is far greater than this kind of simple decision making. It’s learning to trust God and love others no matter what chosen consequences we are living in. 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. The wisdom of God is “to live is Christ.”
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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