Open Your Bible
1 Kings 3:1-28, 1 Kings 8:54-66, 1 Kings 9:1-9, James 3:13-18
I have asked for many things in my life—a home, children, a spouse, a car that doesn’t break down, financial means to pay off my school loans, good friends, a few acres in the country. God has given me a few of these blessings, and some He still has not and might not ever. But it is rare for me to ask God for the intangible things. I like measurable. I like quantifiable. It’s difficult to measure wisdom or quantify humility or capture joy long enough to know it’s real. What’s more, the means to come by those qualities are often difficult and wrought with pain, and I don’t like pain.
God sometimes gives His people tangible gifts in an instant. It only took me three seconds to meet my husband. Two seconds to sign my name on a contract to buy our home. One second to click, “Pay in full,” on my student loans.
The gift of wisdom, though? Not so much. Wisdom takes a lifetime.
But not for Solomon. Solomon asked for wisdom, and Scripture says God gave it to him, right then and there. He told Solomon, “I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again” (1 Kings 3:12). For most of us, those qualities take a lifetime to develop and hone, but because Solomon’s heart desired the right thing—to please and honor God by living with wisdom and understanding—God gave it to him.
There is a kind of wisdom that is not of God; James calls it “earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:15–16). I often find that my desire for what I think is a good, tangible blessing often brings disorder to my affections. It seems that as soon as I get “the thing,” I forget the Giver of every good thing. But there is another kind of wisdom, the kind Solomon sought:
“Wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace” (vv.17–18).
Would things we long for change if we first asked for wisdom from above, trusting God to meet our truest needs with a gift that cannot be quantified? Solomon’s desire for riches or houses were rightly ordered under his desire for wisdom. God honored that desire and gave it to him, and I want to be like that too.