THE PROCESS OF WISDOM
Date: April 5
Category: Wisdom and Understanding
1 Kings 4:29, 32-33
"And God gave Solomon exceptionally much wisdom and understanding, and breadth of mind like the sand of the seashore… He also originated 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish."
This is a summary of the great wisdom that Solomon had. Solomon was one of the wisest men who ever walked the face of the earth. Of all the things Solomon could have asked God for, he chose to ask Him for wisdom. He could have asked God for riches and power or the life of his enemies, but instead he prayed for wisdom. He asked God to give him wisdom to rule the people, and because of that, God was pleased. Because of that, God answered that prayer and made Solomon the wisest king who ever lived.
We too can ask God for wisdom in our lives. In James 1:5 we read, "If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him." So in the New Testament, James says that if we need wisdom, all we have to do is ask of God and He will give it to us.
But today let's examine Solomon's wisdom. There is something we must learn from this passage in 1 Kings. Verse 29 says, "And God gave Solomon exceptionally much wisdom and understanding and breadth of mind like the sand of the seashore." So Solomon had wisdom, understanding, and breadth of mind, which is actually knowledge. Those are three different things that worked together to help Solomon become successful in his reign.
As we read further on into the passage, we learn that Solomon originated 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. Also, he spoke about the trees, it says in verse 33. So if he was to speak about them, he must have learned about them first. He also spoke of beasts, birds, creeping things, and fish (verse 33). Solomon knew the natural world quite well. That means that he must have taken time to learn these things. That's how breadth of mind happens, when you're able to speak on all kinds of topics and know what you're talking about. When you can do that, it means you have knowledge, and knowledge is power.
Solomon's knowledge then provided him with understanding. In Hebrew, the word "understanding" is "tebunah," which means to distinguish between two things. Solomon didn't just accumulate knowledge and stop there; he developed understanding. His understanding allowed him to decipher between right and wrong.
So once he accumulated knowledge, he gained strength. Once he developed understanding, he knew what was good and what was evil. Then came wisdom. Wisdom is what allowed Solomon to make the right decisions. That's the process of wisdom, and that's the process of gaining success in life.
That's how Solomon became exceptionally wise. In verse 30 we read, "Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the people of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt." At the time, the men from the East and the Egyptians were renowned for their wisdom; they were famous. But here is a man of God named Solomon, who asked God for wisdom, and God just gave it to him freely. Because of that, he became wiser than anyone else on the face of the earth at that time.
Today you may feel like you lack wisdom in certain areas of your life. Well in James 1:5 we read that God will liberally give wisdom to those who ask Him for it. All we have to do is ask. That's what Solomon did and that's what Solomon got. Let's learn from Solomon. Let's be like him and ask God for wisdom above everything else. And let's work to gain knowledge so we can develop understanding in order to make the right decisions in life.
But first we need knowledge. In order to accumulate knowledge, we need to read the Word of God. Secondly, we need understanding. To develop understanding, we need to meditate upon the Word. Lastly, we gain wisdom, and wisdom is doing what the Word of God says – that is taking the proper course of action to be successful both in God and in life. That's what it took Solomon to be successful. So let's ask God for wisdom just as Solomon did!