Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Wisdom of Solomon

"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of Yours?" (1 Kings 3:9).

During the century between the time the tabernacle was destroyed and the temple erected, the people of Israel worshipped properly at various high places in the land. David moved the ark to Jerusalem and established the rest of the tabernacle furniture at Gibeon, and after this the people were only to worship at these two places. There was a high priest in charge of each (1 Chronicles 16:37–40). After the temple was built, the original Mosaic laws came back into effect (Deuteronomy 12), and high-place worship was forbidden (though the people sinfully continued).

At the beginning of his reign, Solomon went to Gibeon to worship the Lord and God appeared to him. God told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted and God would give it to him. Solomon wisely asked for wisdom. As king, he would need wisdom to apply the law of God fairly to the people of the land.

Yet there is another aspect to wisdom as well. Solomon was going to build the temple, and we are told that God used wisdom in making the world, and Bezalel used wisdom in making the tabernacle (Proverbs 3:19; Exodus 28:3). The temple was a symbol of God’s people gathered around His throne. Building the temple was a symbol of building the nation. Thus, it was fitting that Solomon possessed wisdom both to build the temple and to build the nation it symbolized.

Since Israel was to be a priestly nation, ministering God’s grace to all the people of the world, the wisdom of Solomon was also evangelistic. His proverbs and sayings were published abroad and drew admiration from all the surrounding nations (1 Kings 4:29–34). People came to visit Israel and hear Solomon, going home with the good news that God was making salvation available through His people. Other nations reformed their laws and customs, benefitting from the wisdom of God’s law as taught by Solomon (compare Deuteronomy 4:6–8). As a climax, the Queen of Sheba traveled a thousand miles to learn wise leadership and rule from King Solomon (1 Kings 10:1–13).

James 1:5 says that we all have Solomon’s privilege of asking for wisdom. Wisdom is practical and enables you to do excellent work in all your tasks, whatever they are, and will gain God praise and influence with other people. Are you being a Bezalel—a Solomon—in your daily work? If not, make James 1:5 your prayer today.