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How wise do you have to be?

I have been reading through 1 Kings recently. Most people have likely heard at least a reference to Solomon the wise king. Solomon asks for wisdom:

9 Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.”10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had made this request. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked for this instead of requesting long life, wealth, or victory over your enemies—asking for discernment so as to acquire good judgment— 12 I will now do just what you said. Look, I hereby give you a wise and understanding mind. There has been no one like you before now, nor will there be anyone like you afterward. 13 I now also give you what you didn’t ask for: wealth and fame. There won’t be a king like you as long as you live. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my laws and commands, just as your father David did, then I will give you a very long life.” (1 Kings 3:9-14)

Solomon as a king would prove to be very wise. People would come from all over to seek this wisdom. So it troubles me when we see Solomon walk away from God. Solomon had more than 700 wives and 300 concubines. Many jokes have been made concerning this relationship between his wisdom and the choice to have this many wives. However, this is not my question.

My question is this. How did he walk away from God? This is the question that bounces in my head. How can a man with such wisdom make such unwise decisions that lead him away from God? Yes, the wives are mentioned here as creating the problem. However, we know Solomon only has himself to blame:

3 He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred secondary wives. They turned his heart. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods. He wasn’t committed to the Lord his God with all his heart as was his father David. 5 Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes and wasn’t completely devoted to the Lord like his father David. 7 On the hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a shrine to Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and to Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9 The Lord grew angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from being with the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 The Lord had commanded Solomon about this very thing, that he shouldn’t follow other gods. But Solomon didn’t do what the Lord commanded.

In a way, that last verse almost sends chills down my spine. You have this wise man making such a foolish decision. If someone with all this wisdom cannot make good decisions…..well, how can I?

Here is the trap. The trap is ever thinking we can. The trap is thinking we can only please God if we get it right all of the time. The trap is thinking if I only had more wisdom. If I knew more, then I could live my life out “right.” Then God would be pleased with me and love me.

God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. (Romans 8:3-4)

God, thank you for Jesus, who did what I am not able to do. Please guard my heart, fill it with your love and with your desires. Amen.


Pastor Matt

(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)

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