The Wisdom of Solomon

The story of Solomon asking the Lord for wisdom prompted me to think Solomon’s motivations. Here he was the King of Israel, after a less than simple rise to power. He was not the first-born son of David and therefore, expectations from other family members didn’t match what David wanted.

Scholars disagree about Solomon’s age when he became king, but Solomon’s own words in I Kings 3:7 indicate something to me.  When the LORD appeared to Solomon and told him to ask for whatever he wanted, Solomon called himself a “little child.” Whether he was actually a young man – teenager/young adult – or an older adult, a truth stood out to me about his words.

  1. Humility – He recognized his position and God’s and acknowledged that God’s faithfulness to David and his family. He later states that “he doesn’t know how to go out or come in.” vs. 7
  2. Responsibility – In verse 8 he states that he is a leader of a great multitude and knew the gravity of the situation. The greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility.
  3. Example – He recognized his Father’s godly example because he mentions that David “walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness and in uprightness of heart toward you.” Despite David’s failings, Solomon knew that David valued his relationship with the LORD and walked obediently.

Solomon then asked for wisdom. Acknowledging the need for discretion and discernment in dealing with the people he was responsible for, he wanted the capability to tap into the endless supply of wisdom that only God could provide.

Struck by the truth that God’s wisdom was what Solomon most desired, I had to run a quick assessment in my own heart. So many times, I am anxious to run ahead and “handle” daily life. Not necessarily the big decisions – those seem easier to acknowledge I need God’s wisdom for. It’s the minutiae of daily decisions that I struggle with sometimes. Solomon’s example though was one of humility. He acknowledged that he didn’t naturally possess the wisdom to be a great leader and he wanted to lead well. He knew the responsibility was ginormous, and that David’s example of obedience to the LORD resulted in blessing.

Of course, this is not the only example of asking for wisdom in the Bible. There are plenty of examples from the Old and New testaments, but I love how James reminds us in chapter 1, that if we lack wisdom, we need to ask for it and know that our faithful father is willing to give it liberally, abundantly and doesn’t hold back. We don’t need to be kings or queens, we have access to him as His children to humbly approach and ask for the wisdom we need no matter the situation great or small.

Now isn’t that the encouragement we all need each day?

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