Thursday, April 29, 2010

1 Kings 3-4: A Really, Really Smart Guy

I always knew Solomon was the wisest king that ever lived. When I was little, I had a Children's Picture Bible, and one of my favorite stories was about the two women and the baby and how Solomon knew which one was the mother. (Of course the Children's Bible didn't describe the women as prostitutes.) I remember the look of the anguished mother as the other woman rationally suggested that Solomon should cut the baby in half so that they could share the baby.

I wondered how he got that smart, that wise, that he knew those things.

He was smarter than anyone else in the land, and he ruled wisely, and the people lived in peace and prosperity. Every day "they ate, they drank, and they were happy" (4:20).

I didn't realize until this morning, but Solomon was apparently the original renaissance man. He spoke three thousand proverbs, wrote songs, studied botany, and taught zoology. So he didn't just have random wisdom, which is totally cool, but he also wanted to learn, to add to knowledge, and to discover new things. Nice.

When God gave wisdom to Solomon, he basically baptized him in it.

And it's important to remember that Solomon is not wise because he's a super smart guy--his wisdom is a gift from God. The wealth of the kingdom is a gift from God. The peace and prosperity of the people in Israel and Judah is a gift from God.

Solomon can't--or at least shouldn't--take any credit of his own.

And so in these two chapters, we see Israel in its golden age. Promises fulfilled. Life is good. And they lived happily ever after. (Why can't we live like that?)

Oops. (Spoiler alert.) That's not quite the ending.

No matter how good we're doing, financially, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, we must keep our eyes on the Lord, we must worship God and serve him, we must spend time in God's word. When Solomon, the wisest man in the world, ceased to put the Lord God first, he tumbled just like anyone else, and his sin led to all kinds of problems for the people.

Not one of us are so spiritually grounded that we can't be shaken.

"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." (Hebrews 2:1)

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