What is the one thing you need most in life? How do you answer this question? If God would give you anything you wanted, what would you ask for? Wealth, fame, health, friendship, success, a new car, a great-paying job, a long life, a loving marriage, or a beautiful house?
About one thousand years before Christ, Solomon, son of David, became the third king of Israel. His reign of forty years marked the zenith of Israel’s glory. He built the first temple and brought great wealth and prosperity to Israel. Do you know why Solomon became such a great king and leader? The answer is found in Solomon’s prayer soon after he becomes king. ” Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of yours?” I Kings 3:9.
This humble prayer pleased the Lord and He responded to Solomon, ” Because you have asked this thing and not asked for long life, nor have you asked for riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for discernment to understand justice, behold I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.” I Kings 3:11-12.
What would Solomon suggest that we need above all else? Here’s what he advises in Proverbs 4:7,” Acquire wisdom.” This is pretty much the theme of the entire book of Proverbs!
What IS wisdom? Some folks equate wisdom with education. That isn’t necessarily true, is it? Do you know of any well-educated people that don’t seem to have any common sense? There seems to be a lot of this on display in places of leadership in our country.
So, what is your definition of wisdom? I asked my wife, Cecelia, to define wisdom and this is what she said, ” It’s knowing what is the right thing to do.” I think that knowing what is the right thing to do is undoubtedly a big part of wisdom. This idea is part of what Solomon was praying for when he asked God for the ability to discern and understand justice. He wanted to be able to see things as they really are and know how to act or react. We see this play out in I Kings 3:16-28 when two women claiming to be the mother of the same child came to him for a decision about who should have the child.
I would add one other thing to the idea that wisdom is “knowing what is the right thing to do.” I would say that wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and doing it.
2. Who determines what is right and wrong?
This, I think, is where we are going wrong in so many ways. Many of our so-called leaders seem to believe that “might makes right” and just do whatever nasty, evil thing you need to win. Win no matter what it takes, whoever you slander, hurt, or destroy. It’s all about money, power and control. Do whatever you need to do. Silence any pain of conscience you may have left and do it.
Many of our leaders claim to be Christians but are acting like pagans or atheists. And, so do we when we forget and act like we get to determine what is right and wrong, just and unjust.
We are very foolish when we replace God’s instruction about how we are to live with our watered-down version of Christianity. God makes the rules of life and to disobey them is to sow the seeds of personal destruction in our life. As the scriptures teach us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Why Do We Need Wisdom? This may seem like a dumb question to be asking but stay with me and let me tell you why I’m asking it. I wonder if we really take into account the important role wisdom can play in every facet of our lives. That’s why I ask the question. Wisdom takes many forms and can serve us in making all kinds of decisions. Let me tell you how wisdom can work for you in three dimensions of your everyday life.
A. Wisdom can guide us in our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:36-40 that the main goal in life is to love God above all else and to love others as we love ourselves. Life is about relationships and how we treat God, ourselves and others. We need to be wise, to know and do what is right toward others. Where do we get this wisdom? Well, the Ten Commandments is a good place to begin. In these guidelines, God has given us laws of wisdom that teach us about honoring God and boundaries that will keep us from mistreating others. The Bible is the primary source of wisdom about how we treat marriage, friendships, parenting, and business transactions. If you need wisdom on how to handle issues in relationships, you can find guidance in the Bible. You can also seek out wise Christians who can assist you with biblical guidance in areas that concern you. Also, you can find some sound biblical principles to guide you by reading my books at cosdavis.com or many other Christian authors.
B. If you are concerned with how to do the right thing in ethical situations, wisdom is what you need. There is absolute truth. Stealing is morally wrong, and so are pride, slander, lying , adultery, and idolatry. There are many biblical teachings about ethical boundaries we should not cross. Likewise, there are many biblical teachings about the positive things we should do to care for the needs of others. The motive of love is the issue in all these things; we refrain from negative behavior and we do good for others out of a heart of love and genuine care. God gives us the love and ability to care for others in ethical ways. James tells us that God will give us wisdom to know what is right to do if we just ask Him. Here it is In James 1: 5, ” If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously without reproach, and it will be given to him. If you sincerely want wisdom and will agree to do what wisdom dictates you do, God will give it to you.
C. Wisdom is also very useful in practical applications in life. There are things like plumbing, insurance, auto repairs, yard care, carpentry, cooking, etc. that are not necessarily covered directly in the Bible. However, the Bible does encourage us to get people who know about these things to advise or help us do what needs to be done. So we need this kind of wisdom or knowledge to learn how to navigate the basics of living in this world. I know folks who can fix just about anything, while some of us were at the shallow end of that gene pool. It is always wise to learn and do what you can for yourself but it is also wise to let experts handle what you cannot. There are numerous wise sayings that have grown up around some of the practical aspects of life, a type of wisdom if you will. Here are a few: “A stitch in time saves nine.” ” Measure twice, cut once.” Do you know any more?
Now, here’s my final word to those of you who are wise; obey the teachings of Jesus. Pay attention to his words in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. How does he describe the wise person? This person is like a builder who builds his house on a solid foundation. What is that foundation? His teachings. Matthew 5:24 says, “Everyone who HEARS and ACTS on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”
Do you need help dealing with some issues? Ask God for wisdom. He has all wisdom and knows everything about everything!!