Summary: Kings of Judah, Pt. 1: "Solomon" - Sermon 2
There couldn’t be wiser sayings than the following quotes on wisdom.
Philosopher Cicero: “The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.” In the words of Educator Elbert Hubbard, wisdom is “to know when to be generous and when firm—that is wisdom.” The philosopher Immanuel Kant distinguishes between science and wisdom, saying: “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” Martin Fischer: “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”
Other sayings on wisdom include:
Norman Cousins: “Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.”
Robert Green Ingersoll: “It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”
Robert Heinlein: “Goodness without wisdom invariably accomplishes evil.”
Sam Levenson: “It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and say the opposite.”
Stephen Sigmund: “Learn wisdom from the ways of a seedling. A seedling which is never hardened off through stressful situations will never become a strong productive plant.”
Theodore Roosevelt: “Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.”
William Saroyan: “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success.”
George Christoph Lichtenberg: “One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”
Anonymous: “Age doesn’t always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone.”
Frank Whitmore: “The biggest difficulty with mankind today is that our knowledge has increased so much faster than our wisdom.”
Naguib Mahfouz: “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”
Socrates: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
The new king Solomon took office by stating his devotion to God in the most dramatic fashion. He sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings (v 4) to express his devotion and thanksgiving to God. The sacrifices were continuous, extraordinary and spectacular. It was close to a 3 years’ sacrifice for a commoner who offered a sacrifice a day. The flames blazed in intensity, the smoke filled the temple, and the aroma pleased the Lord. In a night dream God gave Solomon a blank check: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you”(v 5). What would you want if you were given your heart’s desire? Would you want: gold, glory, or greatness? Do you desire fame and fortune, power and prosperity, or longevity and looks?
None of the above for Solomon, who asked for wisdom. Why? What is wisdom?
Wisdom is Comprehension: Understand Past Conditions
5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 “Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 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?”