by Pastor Ricky Kurth
“If Solomon was given such great wisdom, why wasn’t he able to use it in his own affairs?”
Solomon is well known for the wisdom he demonstrated when two women both claimed to be the mother of a baby boy. His suggestion that the baby be divided in half with a sword to satisfy both parties revealed which woman was the loving mother and which was a selfish imposter (1 Kings 3:16-28). In addition, the wisdom he displayed in the Book of Proverbs is part of the reason that the books of Job through Ecclesiastes are known as the “wisdom literature” in the Bible. The Queen of Sheba found his wisdom positively breathtaking (1 Kings 10:4,5).
But in his own personal life, Solomon displayed a striking lack of wisdom when he married “outlandish” pagan women who caused him to sin (1 Kings 11:1-8; Neh. 13:26). In addition, his decision to unwisely tax the people of Israel too heavily planted seeds of discontent in the northern ten tribes, seeds that eventually led them to secede and form their own nation (1 Kings 12). Plus, how unwise do you have to be to choose to have a thousand mothers-in-law? (I can say that because I have a terrific mother-in-law!)
But while Solomon’s wisdom is legendary, God would have had to interfere with his free will to cause him to implement his wisdom and use it to govern his affairs. And if God were to force a man in Israel to walk in wisdom, how could He justly reward him with “ten cities” to rule in the kingdom of heaven on earth (Luke 19:17), while only giving “five cities” to a man He didn’t force to walk in wisdom (v. 19)?
An old saying says, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” Similarly, God’s right to impose His will ends where man’s will begins, something that He decreed to be so in the original creation. You see, He Himself has free will, and He made man in His own image (Gen. 1:27). And while man fell afterwards, we know that he still retains the image of God, for the reason murder is still a capital offense is that “in the image of God made He man” (Gen. 9:6).
What a lesson for us! It’s not how wise you are about the Bible that matters, it’s whether you are walking in wisdom that counts with God. Remember, it is our apostle Paul who wrote,
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Phil. 4:9).
To the Reader: