January 15, 2016
Anyone who attended Sunday school as a child has most likely heard the story of Solomon and his request for wisdom. The Lord told Solomon he could ask for anything and it would be given to him. Solomon famously asked for wisdom, and the Lord responded that he would—as promised—give him wisdom and, because he had asked for this and not riches or long life, the Lord would also bless him with wealth and honor. Solomon went on to become the both the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived.
I don’t know about you, but when I first heard this story, I went home immediately and told the Lord I wanted wisdom so He would make me rich!
The Rest of the Story
But, as is usually the case with the Lord, there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Let’s take a look at 1 Kings chapter 3:
In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.” 6 Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
You know how you can read a passage or a verse a million times, and on the millionth-and-first time you see something you had never seen before? That is what happened to me with this passage.
Wisdom Requires Humility
I had always been so focused on the wisdom portion of this story, but one day I was reading was completely stricken by Solomon’s humility in his request.
When I read the line, “I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in,” it occurred to me that wisdom requires humility.
Solomon—the wisest man who ever lived, besides Jesus—provides countless examples of this throughout the Bible.
In Proverbs 1:7 he tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge,” and again in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
To fear the Lord is to acknowledge and revere Him and His sovereignty, power, and might. To know that all things exist in and through Him, and that it is only by His will and choosing that we are in existence, let alone in relationship with Him.
I cannot think of anything more humbling. Solomon provides an example of this in the passage above when he asks, “For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
In Proverbs 1:5 he says, “a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”
Pride precludes receiving teaching and counsel from others. It is only in humility that we can acknowledge that someone else knows something we don’t and receive from them.
It’s not a coincidence that Solomon puts this in the introduction to the Proverbs. The idea is that you are setting your heart in the right place before reading on to all of the wisdom he lays out in the rest of the book.
Solomon was rightfully known throughout the world—in his time and still today—for his remarkable wisdom. But we would be remiss to overlook the deeper message of humility in Solomon’s life and words. I love and value the Lord’s wisdom, and desire that each of you reading this would pursue and steward it in your lives. But beyond the gift itself, my greater desire is for you to have humble hearts and fear the Lord, that you may receive all manner riches and abundance He has made available to you.
Do you ask the Lord for humility? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Topics: All TopicsLeadership