I have been reading Solomon’s story for the past few days. There is much to be said about how his father, David, seemed to provoke his son towards wisdom by pointing it out where he saw it in him (1 Kings 2:6 and 9). What a lesson for us, as parents, to point out what is lovely in our children which will encourage them to pursue those things, as it did with Solomon, when he was, soon after, afforded the opportunity to make one wish. God met Solomon a dream and offered him something amazing. “Ask what you wish me to give you,” He offers (1 Kings 3:5). What child hasn’t daydreamed of what he would ask if a Genie popped out of a bottle and posed the same question? Perhaps a hundred more wishes.
But Solomon asks for wisdom. “Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon asks for something to help him rule well and serve well. Something that will help him to be faithful to his calling.
And God grants it in abundance. The Queen of Sheba hears rumors of Solomon’s wisdom in her own land, and comes to see if his reputation is founded. She is stunned, and says this to him, “Happy are your men! Happy are your servants who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom.” (1 Kings 10:8). It occurred to me, as I was reading her words, that God was so gracious to preserve some of Solomon’s wisdom for us in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
As I finished up the story of Solomon’s rule in Kings, I felt the urge to skip ahead to Proverbs or Ecclesiastes, rather than finishing everything in between before I get to Solomon’s writings. I flipped 263 pages to the right and began reading Ecclesiastes 1. I read about eleven verses and reeled back in my seat, because it hit me like a brick in the forehead. One of the deep tap-roots of Solomon’s wisdom is that he was keenly aware of how finite he was, and how eternal and omnipotent God is. “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” (Ecc. 1:4). Obviously, we know from other parts of Scripture, that Solomon is taking some poetic license here in saying the earth will remain forever, and that the earth is actually temporal itself. “Until heaven and earth pass away” says the only Man whose wisdom surpassed Solomon’s (Matthew 5:18). Yet Solomon makes his point. Even something temporal like the earth seems eternal when you compare it to each of our individual lives.
Smiles and I are in some major transitions in life, at the moment, and it is tempting to think of all obedience might cost us. To follow God sometimes costs you everything. But it also gains you everything. Every time I am tempted to recoil at the thought of the sacrifice, I am reminded of the passage in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body.” When I was younger (and less wise) this thought intimidated me. I thought of all surrender could cost me (as though I actually had some control over my life, anyways!). Suffering was much more fearful a thing, because I hadn’t experienced as much of His glory, goodness, or nearness in the midst of hard places. But as I age and grow steadily into the wisdom God has gifted me through experience, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, I realize how very beautiful suffering and sacrifice can actually be. My life belongs to God and He can do much more robust and glorious things with it than I can.
The odd thing is, knowing how few moments I have on earth actually makes every choice, experience, memory, moment becomes more purposeful because it takes up more surface area in my story. Instead of wanting to race to the finish line, I want to savor and utilize every moment for something eternal and significant.
I also realize how very temporal the suffering is. Like Solomon, I know my time on earth is short-lived. Even so, every hard place becomes a deeper place of knowing Him, which is a far greater treasure than any earthly comfort could grant. If any hardship befalls me, it is only for a brief moment, and then I will be with God in eternal bliss! Oh, glory!
Space, Thank you for this “Wisdom”. I believe there are times when we truly forget that God is there for us. I pray all will go well for you and Smiles. You two are some special people that I got to know a little about. God be with you and bless you in all that you do and say.
Thank you very encouraging I needed that today.