Living on Purpose: Asking for the gift of wisdom
BY BILLY HOLLAND
When I think about having wisdom, I am reminded of king Solomon. If you remember the popular story about David and Bathsheba, Solomon was their only son and also became king of Israel after David passed away.
In I Kings chapter 3, we read that Solomon sincerely loved God and obeyed his laws. Verse 4 records him offering 1000 burnt offerings upon the altars at Gibeon and as the story continues we notice that something very special happens to him. “The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ask whatever you want and I will give it to you.” We must admit this is a huge opportunity and temptation especially for a young person, which is why it’s so impressive when we hear his request.
How would we respond if God offered to give us whatever we wanted? Money, fame, super-powers, long life? Amazingly, Solomon gives a very mature and humble response as he simply desires more wisdom and understanding so that he can be a good king. Verse 10 says that Solomon’s reply pleased the Lord and listen to this, “And God said unto him, because thou hast asked this thing, and has not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked for riches for thyself, nor hast asked for the life of thine enemies; but has asked for understanding to discern judgment, behold I have done according to thy words.”
This is truly awesome, but the encounter does not end here. God continues to declare that Solomon will not only become the wisest person in the history of the world but will also receive all the things he did not ask for like riches and honor beyond the imagination. Scholars say that Solomon wrote thousands of clever sayings and songs and we can read some of his brilliant writings in the books of Proverbs, The Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.
However, we also know that when he became older, he made some critical mistakes as it seems that he allowed his wealth and authority to distract him from his original passion. It’s unfortunate that he strayed away from focusing on God’s commandments by carelessly allowing his wives to publicly worship their pagan idols which made God very angry. Solomon was just like everyone else in the fact that walking with God requires a strong personal commitment and is more serious than a casual religious lifestyle.
Since wisdom is such a wonderful attribute and it no doubt pleases God when His people ask for it, I wonder why we often forget to make this a high priority within our prayers? Discernment is associated with wisdom to help us know right from wrong, but its more than just collecting information.
For example, becoming a contestant on Jeopardy might reveal that we have retained a lot of facts but it does not necessarily mean we are wise. It is said that knowledge is knowing about things but wisdom is the gift to understanding them. I believe we can all agree the desire to develop a deeper comprehension is a good path to consider and one that can transform what we do and who we are.
One of the greatest discoveries is the realization that if a person can allow God to change their mind into His way of thinking, they can become the person He has called them to be. When Solomon relayed God’s truth in Proverbs 23:7, “for as a person thinks within their heart – so are they” he was revealing one of the most powerful life changing principals we can apply to our life.
Arnold Bennett said, “Our mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by our permission.” Let us consider that the reason people are the way they are is because of the way they think. If we dwell on negative, critical and discouraging thoughts, we will be a wellspring of darkness and depression. However, if we think about forgiveness, compassion and humility, we will live in the contentment of God’s peace and joy.
Through the positive awareness of His presence, we can learn how to become sensitive to the influences that form our convictions. “Where there is love and wisdom there is neither fear nor ignorance” Francis of Assisi.
Check out Dr. Holland’s book, “A Lifestyle of Worship” and ask for his free CD at: billyhollandministries.com