1 Kings 3: Need Wisdom? Ask Our Powerful God, He’ll Give it to You

Who doesn’t want wisdom?! What’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom? Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to add it to a fruit salad. There is natural wisdom — the kind you get with age and experience. The “been there, done that” kind. The wisdom that tells you not to touch the hot stove again. Learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Learning from history.

Then there’s divine wisdom. That’s the kind that comes from God and that ONLY God can give you. How do you get it? Let’s dig in…

1 Kings 3

Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his palace and the Temple of the Lord and the wall around the city.

1 Kings 1 NLT

We need to pause here a bit. Though the marriage to another king’s daughter may have seemed like a good idea politically, it was against God’s rules. In Deuteronomy 17:17 God says, “The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord.”

God has a purpose for his rules. Unfortunately, we humans tend to think we know better. OK, we can give Solomon this one, because he’s young and lacks wisdom. If it would only be just the one wife.

We next have a wedding psalm…

Psalm 45

For the choir director: A love song to be sung to the tune “Lilies.” A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

Who was Korah? His name first comes up in Exodus 6 as a descendant of Kohath, a son of Levi. The Levites were the priests of Israel. They served in the temple. There are several psalms attributed to the “sons of Korah”.

Beautiful words stir my heart.
    I will recite a lovely poem about the king,
    for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.

You are the most handsome of all.
    Gracious words stream from your lips.
    God himself has blessed you forever.
Put on your sword, O mighty warrior!
    You are so glorious, so majestic!
In your majesty, ride out to victory,
    defending truth, humility, and justice.
    Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!
Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemies’ hearts.
    The nations fall beneath your feet.

Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
    You rule with a scepter of justice.
You love justice and hate evil.
    Therefore God, your God, has anointed you,
    pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.
Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume your robes.
    In ivory palaces the music of strings entertains you.
Kings’ daughters are among your noble women.
    At your right side stands the queen,
    wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir!

10 Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.
    Forget your people and your family far away.
11 For your royal husband delights in your beauty;
    honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts.
    The wealthy will beg your favor.
13 The bride, a princess, looks glorious
    in her golden gown.
14 In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king,
    accompanied by her bridesmaids.
15 What a joyful and enthusiastic procession
    as they enter the king’s palace!

16 Your sons will become kings like their father.
    You will make them rulers over many lands.
17 I will bring honor to your name in every generation.
    Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.

Psalm 45 NLT

Those last 2 verses are prophetic as there will be many kings in Solomon’s lineage, the final one being King Jesus. I love the last part, “the nations will praise you forever and ever.” That actually comes true in the Book of Revelation!

1 Kings 3 Continuing…

At that time the people of Israel sacrificed their offerings at local places of worship, for a temple honoring the name of the Lord had not yet been built.

Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship. The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! 14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”

15 Then Solomon woke up and realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, where he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then he invited all his officials to a great banquet.

In those days, before the temple was built, burnt offerings and worshiping God were supposed to be done only at the tabernacle. These “high places” were convenient, not correct. These high places would later be where Solomon sacrifices to the pagan idols of his wives and concubines. Solomon was still young and lacked wisdom.

Then, God comes to him a dream and tells him that He’ll give him anything he wants. What does the young king ask for? Riches? More power? No, wisdom. In this case, he was wise enough to realize that he had huge responsibilities to the people of Israel and he needed God’s wisdom.

We all need God’s wisdom.

Going on….

Solomon Judges Wisely – An Infamous Story

16 Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. 17 “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. 18 Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house.

19 “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. 20 Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. 21 And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”

22 Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.”

“No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.

23 Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. 24 All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.

25 Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”

26 Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!”

But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”

27 Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”

28 When all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice.

1 Kings 3 NLT

Solomon here showed not just moral wisdom, but GODLY wisdom. Solomon is the author of most of the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I’ll be sharing bits of Proverbs as we go along in 1 Kings and we’ll dig into Ecclesiastes soon. Here’s a taste of Proverbs…

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
    to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
    to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
    knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
    Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 1:1-7 NLT

My child, listen to what I say,
    and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
    and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
    and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
    seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
    and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
    From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
    He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
    and protects those who are faithful to him.

Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
    and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Proverbs 2:1-10 NLT

I highly recommend you read through the Book of Proverbs several times a year. Each time you read it, different passages will stand out for you. Think of it as God giving you a smack upside the head. Check out the free Bible apps ThroughTheWord.org and YouVersion to help you dig in to this great book.

In the New Testament, we have the Book of James, one of Jesus’ brothers, which is the New Testament’s Book of Wisdom. Here’s a taste…

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

James 1:5-8 NLT

Ask with the right motives.

If you truly want a discerning heart to align with God’s will, you need to ask God for…

  1. The ability to see people and circumstances through His eyes. That’s what’s called having a Biblical Worldview.
  2. An understanding of what to do — wisdom and discernment.

Paul wrote…

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 NLT

Solomon asked for something he knew he didn’t have and needed. He didn’t need wealth and fame, but he will get that anyway. He sought God’s wisdom first.

Jesus told us…

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:33 NLT

Read the Bible Daily!

The more you study the Bible, the wiser you will become.

  • Get to know God
  • Feed your soul the spiritual nourishment it craves
  • Gain wisdom

No one is guaranteed tomorrow!

Last week one of my first cousins died of a heart attack. His heart just stopped. He was 67 — a year older than me. His service was this afternoon and I watched it on Facebook. This morning I learned of a colleague’s death. His heart just stopped. He was 76.

I’m sure the people who got on the 4 airplanes 20 years ago didn’t plan to die fiery deaths. Nor did the people who went to work that day, like any other day, in the World Trade Center or at the Pentagon.

Are you ready to meet God today?
You may just meet God today!

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

God So Loved the World

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!