The King | Week 2: The Wise King

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King Solomon’s Wisdom: The Rise

Today we are looking at the Rise and Fall of King Solomon. Ancient literature usually only includes kings’ great deeds and daring exploits, lists victories and skips over defeats. But the Bible is more honest about its heroes than that, it gives us both the rise and the fall of King Solomon. 

Solomon had a pretty meteoric rise.

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 1 Kings 10:23-24 NIV

As a young 20 something king, Solomon quickly secured his throne and his power. Which was pretty amazing because even his father David referred to him as soft and inexperienced. David said, “This is my son. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He doesn’t have a clue how to fulfill the call God has placed on him.” But in spite of that glowing recommendation, David wanted the people to give Solomon a chance at being king.

Recognizing that he truly is untested and inexperienced and soft, Solomon himself, prays this prays a desperate prayer:

Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the Lord in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it. 2 Chronicles 1:6 NIV

And then…

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 2 Chronicles 1:7 NIV

And Solomon made a very interesting request from God. He made a request that most of us would not have made if given the opportunity to ask God for ANYTHING.

Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people… 2 Chronicles 1:6-10 NIV

Solomon admitted he was untested, naïve, and unready to be king, so he asked God for wisdom.  

Solomon’s asking God for wisdom showed that he was already wise. And God answered Solomon’s prayer and granted him extraordinary wisdom that became the catalyst, the foundation, for Solomon to build an extraordinary kingdom and live an extraordinary life.  

Because God said, “Since you didn’t ask for all the things that most people would have asked for: money, power, and pleasure, I’m going to go ahead and give you all those things as well as wisdom.”

This is what led Solomon to write, 

Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! Proverbs 4:7 NLT 

Solomon became famous very quickly because of his wisdom. One of his jobs as king was to rule over the people and to make decisions when no one else knew what to do. It was part of his job to settle disputes that no one else had been able to settle. Solomon was able to take complex issues and make them simple. That’s what wisdom does.  

We all have moments in life where we ask God for wisdom. Moments where we need God to help us cut through the clutter of the complex and come up with a simple course of action that makes sense.

Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have… Proverbs 4:7 NIV

The idea here is that wisdom is the most valuable thing you can get. The word “get” there is actually a financial term. Wisdom is worth whatever it costs you to acquire it, because it is foundational to every aspect of your life.

Do you want a great marriage, great kids, or a great career? Get wisdom. Do you want great friendships and great finances? Get wisdom. Everything you want in life is built on the foundation of great wisdom.

Cherish her (wisdom), and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. Proverbs 4:8 NIV

Wisdom will give you a life a significance, a life of honor.

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. Proverbs 4:10 NIV

Wisdom will give you a rich and prosperous life.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12 NIV

People often make bad decisions that lead to setbacks, but if you seek wisdom, you can forge ahead and you don’t have to be afraid of being hampered or held back, you don’t have to be afraid of stumbling.

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. Proverbs 4:14-15 NIV

Solomon says that one of the keys to success in life is making good relationships. Stay away from the wicked and the evil doers. One of the hallmarks of Solomon’s life was his ability to make good treaties, to make good contracts, to make good agreements with good people who were able to help him reach his goals and accomplish his agenda. Wisdom helps you to make healthy, productive relationships that are beneficial to both parties and avoid foolish and evil people who will drag you down and destroy your life.

Now, the pursuit of wisdom does not mean that you won’t face problems. Trials and tribulations and trouble will come into your life. But the wise person knows how to deal with trouble so that it doesn’t destroy their life. The wise person isn’t overcome or defeated by trouble. Seek wisdom and your marriage will become better, your children will become more obedient, your job will become more fulfilling, your finances will become stronger, and your friendships will become healthier.

If you get wisdom that means that someday your lows will be higher than your highs used to be because God is raising up your life through wisdom. But how do you get wisdom?


Three Keys to Getting Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5 NIV

This verse lists three keys that will help you to become a pursuer of wisdom.

  1. Recognize that WE NEED WISDOM. 

The first step to getting wisdom is to realize that you don’t have it and that you need it. None of us have all of the answers to the problems in life. That’s why Solomon tells us:

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  Proverbs 3:7 NIV

That’s the folly of youth. When we are young we think we have it all figured out, we are wise in our own eyes. There is a lot to be said for the zeal and energy and enthusiasm of youth, but there is also something to be said for the wisdom of our elders.  

Solomon, in his youth, had the wisdom to say…

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 1 Kings 3:7 NIV

Solomon had the wisdom, the humility, and the authenticity to say, “I don’t know what I am doing.” He recognized that he needed wisdom and you and I need to do the same.

There is a difference between humility and humiliation. Humility is voluntarily recognizing my limitations, lack of knowledge, and lack of wisdom. Humiliation is involuntarily feeling reduced or shamed for my lack of wisdom and foolishness. The person who thinks they know it all and fails is laughed at and humiliated. The person who admits they don’t know it all is admired for their wisdom.

  1. Recognize where WE GET WISDOM. 

Since we don’t have wisdom, where do we get it? James tells us that if we lack wisdom we should ask God, which is exactly what Solomon did. Solomon recognized that God is the source of wisdom. In Proverbs, he said:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 NIV

The word fear in the Hebrew is the word for respect, awe, and reverence. We recognize that we do not have wisdom but God does. You can’t get wisdom in your life until you dethrone yourself and recognize that God is God and you are not. Once we do that, then it becomes possible for us to pursue God for wisdom.

  1. Recognize how GOD GIVES US WISDOM. 

So how does God give us wisdom? Let’s break down James 1:5 (“gives generously to all without finding fault”) and see how God gives us wisdom.

Gives: the word there means to give CONTINUOUSLY.  God knows that we need wisdom more than once, over and over again. It’s not like God gives us a “box of wisdom” and when that’s gone we’re out. It’s not like He dumps the whole load on us all at once and suddenly we have all the wisdom we will ever need. No, He gives us a steady supply of wisdom as we need it.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34 NIV

Jesus said that every day is going to come with a dose of trouble and everyday God promises to give us a corresponding dose of wisdom. Everyday, in every way, we need wisdom. And everyday God promises to give it to us. His wisdom is never late and it’s never early. As we trust Him moment by moment God’s wisdom arrives right on time.

Generously: that word means to spread out or to make wide. No matter how many people are asking for wisdom, God doesn’t run out. God doesn’t have decision fatigue, God is a never ending supply of wisdom

All: All does not mean to everybody, but to everybody individually. God doesn’t give everybody the same dose of wisdom. When God gives wisdom it is not one size fits all. No, God gives you the wisdom that you need for your specific, individual situation. God gives you wisdom to navigate the exact issue that you are facing. 

Without Fault: God is never upset because you have to ask. Even when you ask again and again and again. God gives wisdom happily. He’s glad to do it. You ask God for wisdom and God says, “I’m glad you asked.” Free from condemnation. Free from guilt and shame. You don’t have to worry that you don’t know the answer. God is happy to answer every time you ask.

This is what makes THE FALL of Solomon so tragic.


King Solomon’s Wisdom: The Fall

On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 1 Kings 11: 7-10 NIV 

What happened to wisest man in the history of the world, to make him do such a tragically, dumb, stupid, foolish thing as this? As a young, naïve, inexperienced king, Solomon built the Temple for the Lord God of heaven and earth. And then as a “wise” old man he turns around and builds temples for these despicable, false Gods.

How did that happen? Because he stopped asking God for wisdom. Because once he had accomplished so much, he became wise in his own eyes. Because he thought wisdom was a thing that God gives you.

But, that’s not how God works. God doesn’t give us stuff. God gives us Himself. This is not about improving the quality of your decisions, this is about improving the quality of your relationship with God. The quality of your relationship with Christ. The quality of your walk with the Spirit.

Because the closer you get to God, to Christ, to the Spirit, the more you open your life to them, the wiser you get. That’s why the Apostle Paul says,

…in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and understanding.  Colossians 2:3 NIV

If you’re facing difficult, complex decisions, draw close to God. You want to get wisdom, get close to Jesus Christ.


Check Back

Quickly check back on your discussion from last week, “The Untested King.” God uses four qualities to redeem our weakness: Clarity, Teachability, Tenacity, and Purity. How has God used those qualities in your life to strengthen you this past week?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

When Solomon became king he quickly asked God for wisdom in 2 Chronicles 1:6-10. God answered his request. King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 1 Kings 10:23-24 NIV

Application

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NIV 

  1. Recognize that we need wisdom. If any of you lacks wisdom… James 1:5 

Why do you think it is difficult for us to admit that we are not wise? What is the danger in that? 

  1. Recognize where we get wisdom. …he should ask God… James 1:5 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 NIV

Where do we often turn for wisdom other than God? Where did Solomon start to turn for wisdom later in life? Read 1 Kings 11:1-3 NIV.

  1. Recognize how God gives us wisdom. …who gives generously to all without finding fault… James 1:5

God gives (continuously) and generously (enough for everyone) to all (each one individually) without finding fault (He’s happy to give every time you ask). If this is true, why not ask God for wisdom for a difficult situation you are facing right now? 

The Rise and Fall of King Solomon: Solomon’s rise came as a result of pursuing his relationship with God. His fall came when he began to trust in his own devices and when he began to forsake God and pursue idols. Read 1 Kings 11:1-13. What were the poor choices that led to Solomon’s fall? What poor choices are we at risk of making? 

Tell Someone Else

Ask for prayer requests from the group and pray for one another. Pray specifically for God to grant each person the wisdom that they need for the situations they face this week and beyond.

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