We are all foolish and need wisdom, particularly when dealing with people and in the area of making life decisions. Wisdom begins with knowing, fearing, and worshipping God (Proverbs 1:7; Jeremiah 9:23-24). God is the Creator and Controller of all. Only God gives us wisdom to make right choices and decisions (1 Kings 4:29; James 1:5). Finding wisdom and meaning in life apart from God is a vain search. We must center our life on God and God’s Word to find wisdom, direction, and guidance for happy living.
Wisdom is practical and affects every aspect of our lives from beginning to end--- speech, pleasure, emotions, humility, time, general, and money. Wisdom means “hokmah”. The word “hokmah” is found at 1 Kings 4:29-34 and 1 Kings 10:1-9 when discussing King Solomon’s wisdom. These verses reveal Solomon's gift of wisdom. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed Babylon, Syria and Egypt. These nations were known for wisdom. Yet, King Solomon was described as wiser than all the other Gentile nations. Throughout most of his reign, Solomon applied his wisdom well when he diligently and wholeheartedly sought God. Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon and witnessed Solomon’s vast wisdom (1 Kings 10:1-9).
Solomon is famous for much more than wisdom preserved in Proverbs. The book of Proverbs records many of Solomon’s 3,000 wise proverbs. Other writings of Solomon include Psalms 72 and Psalm 127, and the books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. Solomon's wisdom was known throughout the world. Yet, Jesus’ wisdom surpasses Solomon’s vast wisdom (Matthew 12:42). Jesus is the true wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) in whom everyone can find true wisdom (Colossians 2:3). A life of wisdom is centered on faithfully trusting and following Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, 30-31) and obeying the Holy Bible’s teachings (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:14-16).
What Was Solomon’s Wisdom?
Solomon’s wisdom is similar to “master of all trades” and the word “hokmah” describes Solomon’s wisdom. Solomon’s wisdom is prosperity, justice and righteousness. Solomon’s administration (1 Kings 4:1-28), his discretion and skill (1 Kings 3:12; 1 Kings 5:1-9), his building projects (1 Kings 5:10–7:51), and his business dealings (9:18, 26-28; 10:15-29) all demonstrated his wisdom. Solomon gathered vast knowledge (1 Kings 4:29-33) and wrote proverbs (the book of Proverbs), songs (Psalm 72, Psalm 127), love poetry (the Song of Songs), and philosophical literature (Ecclesiastes). Solomon also was a man of literature and fine art. Thus, Solomon’s wisdom consisted of highly level of arts, literature, music, and poetry. Even more, Solomon had wisdom regarding life science, plant life, trees, plant species or botany. Also, Solomon displayed wisdom regarding animals or zoology. So, Solomon was also a naturalists or scientists. The Holy Bible also described Solomon as a teacher and builder. Finally, Solomon is described as a man of justice with the ability to discern right from wrong and sort out the truth.
Also, other Bible verses describe the word “hokmah” as meaning skilled, abled, or capable. Proverbs 30:24-28 discusses the ants, the coneys (badger), locust, and lizards as wise examples of hokmah. These animals are “capable.” Moreover, Exodus 35:25 discusses “skilled” or “ability” as hokmah. Ezekiel 27:8 also discussed wisdom as meaning “skilled” when describing Gentile (non-Jewish) ship builders. Furthermore, Proverbs 8:12-21 describes wisdom as “knowledge” and “discretion.” Lady wisdom of Proverbs 8:15-16 gives one the skill to govern and rule with justice and equity to make just laws for human life.
Wisdom is closely connected to truth, righteousness, and justice and not intellect or a high IQ. True wisdom hates deception, dishonesty and fraud. Deuteronomy 4:3-8 provides that wisdom in the highest sense is one skilled in living a righteous life before God. Learning to live a righteous life before God means obedience to God’s commandments that helps one develop wisdom. God’s commandments are exemplified most famously in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21) and most concisely in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-6). These commandments are the heart of God's law and they are still applicable today. All other laws of God are interpretations and applications of these primary commandments. Jesus also encouraged His disciples to obey the Ten Commandments and the demands of the Shema (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31; John 13:34-35). These commandments do not bring eternal life and salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10) but they are an expression of our commitment, worship, and love to God the Father and His Son Jesus (Matthew 5:17-19; John 14:15-21). In essence, obedience to God’s Word is wisdom (see also Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Proverbs 1:1-7). Thus, wisdom means the ability to make right choices. Moreover, wisdom applies to large skills such as governing a nation and pleasing God by living a righteous life as well as small skills such as preparing your meals in the summer for the coming winter.
How Do You Get Wisdom?
Wisdom does not come by polls, surveys, or statistics. Wisdom is a gift that comes from God (1 Kings 3:5-6). While education comes at great expense, God gives wisdom and understanding freely to all who ask (see James 1:5). Solomon became wisdom through asking and seeking God (1 Kings 3:4-15; 2 Chronicles 1:2-13). Solomon met God in a dream. God had to give Solomon wisdom first. So, Solomon was first of all given wisdom by God and then he was able to study plants, animals, write literature and proverbs. Moreover, Joseph was also given wisdom from God (Genesis 41:33, 38). God’s Spirit lived with Joseph as he knew and trusted God. Also, Daniel was given wisdom by God (Daniel 1:17; Daniel 2:20). Exodus 31:1-11 reveals God gave Bezalel and Oholiab Spirit-filled wisdom in artistic craftsmanship to build God’s Tabernacle. Therefore, only God gives true wisdom, and we must depend upon Him for this lasting wisdom.
Bookstores are filled with “how-to-books” on success and knowledge. Yet, true wisdom cannot be found by any amount of searching nor can wisdom be purchased (Job 28:1-19). Only God has wisdom (Job 28:23-28) and wisdom can never be separated from the true and living God. Wisdom starts with the fear of God and leads to knowledge of Him. The “fear of God” does not mean fright or terror. Instead, the fear of God means a good and close relationship with Him based upon reverence and respect for Him and His commands. In essence, the fear of God is righteous living.
God’s wisdom is more precious than any metals, gemstones, or glass. Wisdom has been with God from the beginning of creation (Proverbs 8:22-31). True wisdom begins and ends with the knowing, fearing, and worshipping God (Job 28:20-27; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Jeremiah 9:23-24; Romans 1:21-23) and obeying and studying His Word (Deuteronomy 4:3-8). According Romans 1:21-23, we must not only know God but also worship Him as the Creator and Sustainer of all and not worship idols. Job 28:28 declares that fearing God and shunning evil is the beginning of wisdom (see also Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Today, becoming a follower of Jesus is the beginning of wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). In Jesus are hidden all God’s treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossian 2:3). Only Jesus has fully fulfilled and obeyed God’s commandments. Following and abiding with Jesus makes one wise as He changes our hearts and makes us new (John 15:1-10; see also 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21). Fundamentally, all the beautiful qualities of wisdom are revealed in Jesus, and Jesus’ life is a pattern for everyone to follow who wants and seeks God’s wisdom (1 John 2:6; James 3:13-18).
In our modern day, everyone wants to be wise. James 3:13-18 explains true wisdom and false wisdom. True wisdom means pure, peace-loving, mercy, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere. But evil wisdom stirs up strife, envy, boastful, and self-ambition. In the book of Daniel, Daniel had God’s wisdom while other men of Babylonian only claimed to be wise, but these Babylonian’s wisdom proved to be useless. Also, Egyptian magicians claimed to be wise but their wisdom was also futile against God’s wisdom given to Moses. Ultimately, all human and man-made wisdom fails. “There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise” (Proverbs 26:12 NLT).
We must seek and worship the true God as the center of the universe and not selfish ambitions. God must take first place of worship. Only God through Jesus gives true wisdom. Wholeheartedly following Jesus and His pure teaching with thanksgiving protect us from dishonest, worldly, and fraudulent wisdom (Colossians 2:6-8).
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