Summary: How to get wisdom and what it does for us.
I have a sister with a high IQ, high enough to have got her into Mensa. She can solve puzzles, work out the odd man out, tell you the next number in a certain sequence, but when it comes to plain old common sense, she was standing near the end of the line when it was given out.
Now, if you ask my wife about me, my IQ is not as high, but I was probably behind my sister in the common sense line up! Which goes to prove that common sense is not that common!
So all the more reason to be a "wise guy", or like the TV show, "Get Smart".
But how do you get smart? How do you get wisdom?
True wisdom comes from God:
"To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his." (Job 12:13)
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God. Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (Jas.1:5)
Now it’s all very well to get it but what can it do for you when you have it?
The Bible records the wisest man of all, how he got wisdom and what it did for him
It’s recorded in 1Kings 3:1-15
Verses 1-3 record how Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh King of Egypt just so he could make a peace treaty. Now that might have been strategically smart, but it was not smart to have married outside of the Israelite nation, as he was to later find out.
Very often, the things we do today come back and bite us tomorrow. If you don’t service the car, eventually it will break down.
If you don’t do your homework or your assignments, eventually they are going to be late and your marks will suffer.
If you don’t get the shopping in, you will eventually run out of food. Common sense, yes? But we know common sense is not that common.
Here’s Solomon, doing what he thinks is a smart move, but we find later that his wives religions turned his head.
Wisdom doesn’t guarantee you won’t make mistakes.
In verse 6 Solomon says that his father, David was faithful. And yet we know David also as a murderer, an adulterer, but also a faithful king and a man after God’s own heart. That’s why David had a son and heir on the throne. David made mistakes, but he was still a man of God and he made the firm decision to be one.
Perhaps you’re just finishing school. You’ve almost finished the last of your exams, your whole life is ahead of you. The decisions you make today WILL affect you tomorrow, or the day after. If you get in with the wrong crowd, your behavior will suffer, so will your school work, but worse still, so will YOU as a person.
You might be "smart" in the sense that you can pass exams, but then again, so is my sister. What you need is discernment - the exercise of sound judgment.
Solomon, whilst being wise, didn’t always make sound decisions.
Wisdom helps us recognise our limitations (v7)
Solomon firstly acknowledges that it is God who has placed him where he is. Without God, he does not sit as king. Without Gods’ grace to his father David, there would be no throne anyway.
Solomon confesses that he is "only a child and doesn’t know how to rule."
That’s a far cry from those know-it-all types who can’t be taught anything.
That’s one of the advantages of wisdom; it gives you discernment regarding your own limitations.
Inexperience is nothing to be ashamed of. How can anyone be an instant expert? You aren’t born able to walk, or talk or feed yourself. In fact, there’s very little we can do without being taught.
Wisdom helps us recognise our place (v8)
Solomon counts himself as a servant (v8). There’s not many who call themselves that. But a king, a servant?
And again in verse 9, "So give your servant…"
Even though he was king of the nation, Solomon had enough perspective to be able to see that in the scheme of things he was, in reality, still a servant of God.
Solomon was just like his ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David - they were all called servants of the Lord. They were "doers", "tillers" of the ground. A servant does what he’s told, he has a master, he is not the master of his own destiny.
And if we have enough wisdom, we’ll also realise, like Solomon and his ancestors, that we also have a Master, Jesus Christ.
It’s He that leads and guides if only we would follow.
Solomon asks for a discerning heart - or literally - a hearing heart.