“Therefore give to your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.” 1 Kings 3:9
There is a huge mistake in thinking that wisdom can overcome ignorance or lack of deliberate obedience to God’s Word. Solomon asked the Lord for “an understanding heart” to “discern between good and evil.” God granted his request because he asked it for the benefit of God’s people and not for himself. Solomon became and remains famous for the wisdom he espoused. Much of that wisdom is recorded in the Bible for us to read.
As we read through the life of King Solomon we cannot help but notice that wisdom of itself could not protect him or the people from corruption and destruction. We look up to the wisdom of Solomon and yet his kingdom was split as a result of his failing in obedience to the Lord. Everything that made the kingdom great was lost.
Wisdom without obedience to the will and word of God will always lead to destruction. For all his wisdom Solomon was not obedient to the Lord.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 God gives five instructions for any king of Israel:
- He shall not enlarge military resources by number or alliances (v 16)
- He shall not have multiple wives (v 17)
- He shall not accrue personal wealth (v 17)
- He shall write his own personal copy of the Law (the first five books of our Bible) (v 18)
- He shall read it, meditate on it and study it every day and live in accordance with it (v 19)
Since we know from the Bible that Solomon did not observe the first three of these we can assume he did not keep the other two either. Yes, he had wisdom but it could not be applied in the vacuum of ignorance or out of a rebellious heart.
We must not allow ourselves to be content to live as Solomon did. Claiming to be wise in discerning the will of the Lord it may be that we are ignorant of what the lord has said. There is no suggestion that we should write out the whole Bible but there are multitudes of admonitions in the Bible that encourage us to read it, meditate on it and study it. Of course the one who does not read it won’t know this.
Solomon had one of the best possible heritages but it was wasted because he did not obey the Lord. He did not obey the Lord because he did not know or believe, to the point of obedience, the command of the Lord.
May it never be that your name could be written in place of the name “Solomon” in the preceding paragraph.