I hope that the these messages challenge you to consider where you are in your journey and, perhaps, how to lighten your load or find a better path. Most of my messages are for the Christian—not for those looking into Christianity. I think that there are men called to be evangelists, but a pastor is called to tend to the flock—-and to share the good news as opportunity arises.
My hope is to get our eyes onto the way things should be—-and how they eternally will be! That’s the challenge of living in this passing world and not getting too trapped within in. “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” C. S. Lewis
I hope that what I speak you will verify and consider after you leave here. As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Test what I say to see that it is true. But this morning think about the inspired words from the book of Proverbs: "Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:6-7, NIV
Let me pause and ask you a question: If you could be any person in history, who would you want to have been? A famous movie star? John D. Rockefeller? Noah? Methuselah? My choice, without hesitation, would be Solomon. What a great life! He was king over a safe, stable and incredibly wealthy kingdom; he enjoyed health, success, admiration, no major troubles his entire life, he was blessed beyond any king in history, and surrounded by a 1000 beautiful woman—-all were wives or “intimate” acquaintances. The man had it made! He had a huge palace, silver was so common that it lost it’s value during his time.
On top of all of this he was smart—-really smart. He was the wisest king to ever live and people stood in awe of his great intellect and wisdom. They came from all over the world just to listen to Him.
And that’s today’s message. Wisdom—the kind that Solomon had. It’s a gift from God, yes, but it’s also something you have to want. God gives it, but only to those who humble themselves and ask for it. It would appear, by definition, that the arrogant and pride-filled are not wise. They might have a high IQ and even be sly and cunning, but they’re not wise. And you know, I don’t know any wise men that are arrogant. In fact, wisdom and humility go hand-in-hand.
We are witnessing a fiasco in Afghanistan and at our borders right now because of an abundance of pride and an absence of wisdom. No one is saying that our leaders are wise right now—nobody. Our enemies are laughing at us and rubbing their hands in satisfaction. Our leaders need wisdom! But how can they get it—because they need it? Heres what James said: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5. We claim to believe in God’s word and that it cannot fail. Do we believe this verse from James? I cannot transfer or infuse wisdom into my children, or my friends or those that lead this nation….. all I can do is pray that they might be humbled and turn their eyes to Him—the author.
Do you do that? Do you admit you don’t know what to do, how to do it, and how to go forward? Are you asking Him for wisdom each and every day and in all circumstances? It’s changed my life—-for the better!! I am admitting to Him, more and more, the older I am getting, that I don’t know what to do and need His wisdom.
Bu wisdom and knowledge are not the same things. The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to reach intelligent conclusions…..the capacity to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence. Knowledge, on the other hand, is “information gained through experience, and education or reasoning.” Our President and the Governor of New York have great knowledge—they’re both brighter than I am! Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not the other way around. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge is knowing how to use a gun; wisdom is knowing when to use it and when to keep it holstered.
And knowledge is good—-God wants us to have knowledge of Him and what He expects of us. In order to obey Him, we have to have knowledge of the commands.But more important is wisdom. Knowing facts about God and the Bible is not wisdom. Satan has knowledge—-so do atheists and members of the Taliban. Wisdom is different.
We’re to pray for wisdom and then carefully use that wisdom to honor Him and draw others to Him as we display that wisdom. Paul said, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 , NIV. Look at the newspaper or watch TV to see just how evil the world is and how hated people who love God and use wisdom are.
And I would say this about anyone who claims to know God and have God’s wisdom but lives a life of hate and violence—-as with the militants in Afghanistan and the Communist despots of China and Cuba: “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17, NIV Be careful to accept as “wise” those that are masquerading as creatures of light and yet glory in violence and meanness. Chairman Xi, Putin, Maduro and their ilk are not wise—they are cunning and clever—so is their father the devil.
So let me share some things to remember about wisdom:
1. It’s the single most important gift to seek. “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” Proverbs 16:16. Time and time again we’re urged to gain wisdom—-to cherish it and earnestly ask God for it. Do we? Do our leaders? Are we teaching this to our children? You can’t learn wisdom or absorb it. You have to earnestly seek it from the source of wisdom.
2. It’s essential for evangelism. You’ve got to have it or you could do more damage than good! “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."Colossians 4:5-6. You cannot live in the world and accomplish His tasks if you’re an idiot or fail to respond and react proper. You can’t learn this in seminary or college—-you have to receive it as a gift from Him.
3. It is the quintessential secret to step out of merely existing and start living abundantly! “The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper."Proverbs 19:8. Why don’t we talk about this more! Why do we trust gadgets or collecting more and more things as being the means to good life?? You can have all the toys you want, but without wisdom our lives will be dull and unfulfilled.
4. The essential attitude you must have if you seek the gift from God is humility . “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise."1 Corinthians 3:18. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.Proverbs 11:2
5. Now is the time to get wise—-not later! Make that decision today—-right now. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."Psalm 90:12. Why number our days? So that we can see how ridiculous it is to wait till we retire or get ready for the grave to stop blundering and stumbling through marriages, jobs, friendships, careers, vocations, relationships, and chasing rainbows!
6. You can’t get wisdom from books, by living long enough, merely from experience or even from listening to wise people—those all these things are advantageous. In fact, “the next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are”. C.S Lewis. But wisdom is the divine knowledge He imparts to us that exceeds mere knowledge. And some folks could care less about it. “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. "Proverbs 18:2. Which are you? A person that always blabs has his/her opinion, or one that speaks as God imparts that wisdom? Have you humbled yourself —-and surrendered your tongue and wandering thoughts to Him—-and asked Him to give you the words, the thoughts, the ideas and persuasive rhetoric you are looking for to get the work done and God’s will accomplished? Or are you still trusting your own limited resources?
7. The gift of wisdom does not guarantee that you will live and act wisely, only that you knew what to do. “Doing” is not a gift—wisdom is. There are many people that you will come across that are wise, but don’t follow their own counsel and insight. Solomon was the worst. We’re told in I Kings 11:1-4, NIV that “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter--Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” What a sad epithet to what could have been the most glorious reign in the history of Israel.
But you never hear about people coming from the house of Solomon, but the house of his father, David. David was a man less educated, less wise and less instructed—-but he was a man in love with God.
I told you at the beginning of this devotion that if I could be anyone in history it would be Solomon, but I must confess to you that in truth, I am “a” Solomon, not a David…..and I intend on changing. God has given me wisdom, protection, blessings and incredible love—-and each of you could say the same. But what have we done with those blessings?
I want to show Solomon’s wisdom, but live a life like David——one of single-minded devotion to God.