|Just the mention of
"Solomon" will cause many to think of the
word "wisdom". Upon consideration, most would like to possess wisdom
like Solomon did. We might even ask for it. After all, wouldn't that be
neat to have? We read how God was pleased that Solomon asked for wisdom
himself (1 Kings 3:5-15). We go along the road of life and never really
seem to gain this wisdom we thought would be neat to have. So we
continue thinking, "Oh well," and carry on.
Consider this a minute: It's one thing to realize wisdom
would be nice to have. It's another to realize wisdom is something we
NEED. We might say to ourselves, "Why do I need to have it? After all,
I'm not in some position like Solomon, ruling a nation." It's thinking
like this that shows how much we really need it. In this we betray a
confidence we have to rule, at least, over our own life. What man can
ever have confidence to lead himself correctly in his own life? No man
has ever led himself correctly:
26 He that trusteth in
his own heart is a fool: but whoso
walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
(Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 12:15; 14:12; 15:11; 16:25; 19:3; 20:9,24;
23:4; Matthew 19:25,26; Romans 3:9-18,23)
There's something you need to gain knowledge of, so hear my
I AM A FOOL!!
Yes! I realize and declare this. If I didn't realize it, I
would be completely consumed in it. Once I realized I was one, I was at
the beginning of the answer to my problem (Proverbs 3:7; 28:13;
30:1-9). In realizing this though, I also saw that I dare not ever call
another man a fool (Matthew 5:22). I must declare what God instructs me
to say, woe is me if I don't (1 Timothy 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
For me to call a man a fool, however, is to set myself in the seat of
God and judge other men of my own accord. James warned against this
Once we realized the complete folly of all that proceeds
from us, of our own accord, then we're ready to move forward. It's when
we cast aside all that's of ourselves that we can walk free from folly.
So here lies the key, to gain wisdom, a person must first realize he's
a fool. We then see our need and not just our fancy. From this comes
the "fear of the Lord" (Proverbs 9:10; 14:27; 28:14). The fear comes
because we realize we have no ground for confidence before the Judge of
all the earth (Ecclesiasties 12:14). Upon realizing our lack of wisdom,
James declares that we can ask for it and if we have faith, our prayers
will be answered:
5 If any of you lack
wisdom, let him ask of God, that
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given
him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth
is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and
God dearly desires all his children come to the
they'll realize they're void of wisdom, and need to ask Him for it. The
whole basis of heavenly wisdom does require we ask for it. It will only
be given to seeking hearts (Proverbs 18:1). Wisdom indeed is a great
pearl, that's not just cast before swine.
THE TWO WISDOMS
We're shown in scripture there are two things called
wisdom. The world always has its antitype, or counterfeit, of the true
heavenly type (Proverbs 21:30). I've been referring to the true
heavenly type to be apprehended. From God's viewpoint, the wisdom of
this world is folly, and from man's viewpoint, the wisdom of God is
folly (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
13 Who is a wise man and
endued with knowledge among you?
let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of
wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts,
glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not
from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and
strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to
be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and
without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
of them that make peace.
The wisdom from above is apprehended by humbling
before God (Proverbs 15:33; 16:5), a result of seeing ourselves as
fools. We're then in a state of meekness. It's notable this word
"meekness" is used in James 3:13 above. Meekness is a realizing that
all that proceeds from me is folly, but all that proceeds from God
through me is wisdom.
5 Trust in the LORD with
all thine heart; and lean not unto
thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he
shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5,6 (Proverbs 16:1)
The earthly wisdom also needs to be examined. By
what it is, we're better able to discern between the two. With this day
and age, many are led by games, books, movies, etc., to think of wisdom
as that which wizards, sorcerers and those commanding great power
possess. This isn't the wisdom from God, but the earthly and devilish
wisdom as mentioned in verse 15 above.
Let us look at the wisdom from above and the wisdom from
earth in this side by side comparison chart:
WISDOM FROM GOD IS:
1) Near at hand:
As shown in James 1:5, it is for the asking. No brave
exploits are required to obtain it.
2) After the whole heart
Upon Solomon's pondering what's wise
in all the earth and what's vain, he concludes the summary of all his
wisdom taught to fear God and keep His commandments. God's desire is
the focus (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Proverbs 8:35).
3) Fulfilling all
(Psalms 92:15; Romans 9:14; Proverbs
8:13,20; 12:28). Since it's that which seeks God and comes from Him,
and He is only righteous, it would always be after righteousness.
Notice verses 17 and 18 of James 3. Whatever is sin is folly.
4) At the sacrifice of
It shows God's whole character in this
point. His whole nature is sacrificial, from love. He sacrificed His
Son for us. This wisdom works in such a way, that it costs positions of
esteem and power in this world, which on the natural plane is a loss to
self (Ecclesiasties 1:18; Proverbs 13:7; Matthew 16:24-26).
THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD IS:
1) Near at hand:
As shown in James 4:1-3, which expounds on the two
wisdoms, from 3:13-18, it's already a part of us. It's merely developed
as we live more and more in our fleshly ways.
2) After the whole heart
It serves self, which was Satan's
temptation to Eve, in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4-6). Satan's ways
are self-centered. His proud declaration of 'I's' in Isaiah 14:12-15 is
to be noted.
3) Based in all
(Jeremiah 22:13-17; 2 Thessalonians
2:9,10; Luke 9; consider the riches of unrighteous-ness with Ezekiel
28:1-19, which pictures Satan.) Here is the ultimate area of an
opposite of heavenly wisdom. Whatever is not ultimately towards
righteousness, is towards unrighteousness. This is the pointing finger
of truth, if the wisdom isn't of the one, then it's the other (Matthew
6:24; Proverbs 14:2,3,9).
4) Serves Self:
It seeks to gain at the cost of others. If it gives,
it's so it can get. It works so that it can gain a position of esteem
or power for self (Luke 16:15; James 3:13-4:6).
Now we've seen the two faces of the coin, let's focus on
the heavenly side once again. Let's move from the ways of death to
those of life. This is the focus of wisdom.
WISDOM IS A TOOL
Many might think that once they get heavenly wisdom,
they've arrived. This isn't the case. Wisdom's a tool, not an end. It's
the hammer or saw used to make the building, not the building. You
might buy the tools, but never construct the building. To have wisdom
and to walk in it, are two different things. Solomon had wisdom (1
Kings 4:29-34), but look at his end:
1 But king Solomon loved
many strange women, together with
the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites,
Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord
said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither
shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart
after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 4
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away
his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord
his God, as was the heart of David his father. 6 And
Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the
Lord, as did David his father. 9 And the Lord
was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God
of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
Obedience to the light of wisdom must follow,
is vanity (keep his command-ments of Ecclesiastes 12:13).
HOW IS THIS TOOL USED?
Being aware it's only a tool, we need to consider how to
use it. By the use of it, we gain knowledge which can lead to life
through either warning or exhortation. Remember that all truth to life
is already found in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The wisdom God gives
is a spiritual understanding of the truth. When you realize a truth it
registers as, "Oh, of course, how obvious, why didn't I see that
before?" It's not like, "OK, now I'll have to remember that."
You might learn truths you didn't know before by applying
divine wisdom, but if you search hard enough, you'll find them taught
in the Bible. To merely search the scriptures to see what's right or
wrong without divine enlightenment, is useless. You end up with the
letter of truth, not the spirit. You still end with death (2
Corinthians 3:6). You therefore have two dangers to watch for: One is
gaining Spirit enlightenment to the truth, and ability to do it
supplied, but not doing it. The other is, you figure out by the letter
and intellect what to do. You then endeavor to do your best, but still
stay out of the path of life. The reason is that you do it by works of
13 And I gave my heart to
seek and search out by wisdom
concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail
hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised
13 This wisdom
have I seen also under the sun, and it
seemed great unto me: 14 There was a little city, and few men within
it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built
great bulwarks against it: 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise
man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered
that same poor man. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength:
nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not
heard. 17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of
him that ruleth among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war:
but one sinner destroyeth much good.
Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 (Ecclesiastes 7:23-25)
From these passages, we see Solomon's gift was
life by considering different things he observed in life. God's wisdom
would bring him to the right conclusions upon meditating over
something. This is how wisdom's used.
KNOWLEDGE PLAYS A PART
Solomon said to gain wisdom and knowledge. Only by knowing
about something can wisdom be applied. Knowledge that's profitable to
wisdom must, with knowledge of a situation and its outcome, be tempered
with knowledge of God. If it doesn't have this, it's worthless.
99 I have more
understanding than all my teachers: for thy
testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients,
because I keep thy precepts.
(Proverbs 1:7; 2:5; 5:1,2; 9:9,10; 11:9; 14:18 15:2; 22:17-19; 24:3-6;
12 For wisdom is a
defence, and money is a defence: but the
excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have
It's by knowledge that we see the necessity of
Wisdom doesn't operate in a vacuum. It requires a situation and
information about the situation to give instruction as to which action
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and
with all thy getting get understanding.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
When I was in High School, I went on a retreat with
Christian friends. A husband and wife led it. During that weekend, I
was finally fed up with my own stupidity, saying the wrong things at
the wrong time. While I was out enjoying the scenery, I asked God to
give me wisdom. I saw my need for help over my foolishness. Near the
end of the retreat the woman called each of us aside privately to talk
with us. She told each of us what God had shown her for us. She told me
the Lord had said he was going to give me His wisdom. Talk about an
answer to prayer! I hadn't mentioned my prayer to anyone. What shocked
me was the use of the pronoun "His". That was more than I could dream
of. I learned there's no other kind of godly wisdom. There's no such
thing as degrees of wisdom, either it is, or it isn't. It's like
purity, either something's pure, or it isn't. For a while, it didn't
seem to come. What seemed to bring it to life, or reveal its presence,
was reading Proverbs.
I learned I still committed folly, even with the gift. The
ability to do wisely lay in the Spirit. The gift of wisdom wasn't the
end, but part of the method in conforming to God's image. It's a tool
to teach self-sacrifice and obedience to God. It's the key to meekness
(Compare Prov. 16:16 with 16:19).
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
a) Wisdom's pure, but can it be partial? If so, what would keep it from
b) I've itemized differences between worldly and godly wisdom. What do
they have in common that they're both given the title of "wisdom"?
c) You have a man with much knowledge, but little wisdom and one with
much wisdom, but little knowledge, which is there more hope for? Why?
d) Folly is grievous to the wise, but why is wisdom grievous to the
fool? What warning does this give?