Tuesday, May 20, 2008

wise guise

I'm presently trekking through the book of 1 Kings in the Bible. Today, I read chapter 3--a perfect passage for my present position. God has a way of doing that.

The chapter is about Solomon, the son-heir to the throne of King David. In his rise to power, Solomon has a dream where, in it, God invites him to "ask anything" (v. 5). The tone of the verse suggests that God would have made good on whatever Solomon requested. The opportunities are endless! Anything is an almost paralyzing prospect. What would I desire if, upon asking, my wish would be granted?

Solomon asks for wisdom. Which was a smart thing to do.

Because, God not only gives him wisdom, but promised to heap on the king health and wealth because he made such a good choice. Then (v. 15), Solomon woke up, returned to Jerusalem and began to sacrifice burnt offerings. His response shouldn't be overlooked. Because the chapter opens with the observation that "Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places" (v. 3). This was the practice of the pagan Canaanites who believed that the higher the hill where they offered their sacrifices, the closer they were to their gods. But, in Leviticus 17:3-4, God specifically limited offerings to Himself to the tabernacle (and later, the Temple). So, the Israelites, though well-intentioned, were living in disobedience. So was Solomon.

But, after wisdom was granted, Solomon went to Jerusalem and honored the Lord before the ark of the covenant. In wisdom, he was rightly aligned in worship. I learned long ago that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). But, this passage reminds me that the fear of the Lord is also the "end" of wisdom. The evidence of true wisdom is God-centered living. Truly wise people are endued with the mind of God and, therefore, manifest the priorities and purposes of God.

So, today, I've asked God to give me whatever I want. And, I want wisdom.

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