Introduction: In 1 Kings 3, God promised to bless Solomon with incredible wisdom because he did not petition Him for wealth, power, or fame. Because Solomon only asked for wisdom, God promised to bless him with both the wisdom that he asked for and the worldly things that he did not ask for. In this chapter, God fulfilled His promises to Solomon. From this chapter, God reveals seven lessons on the blessings that come when a wise leader lives in service to Him.
First, with God’s wisdom, Solomon appointed Spirit-led leaders to help him govern. Solomon could not govern alone. From this example, God reveals that a wise leader succeeds by appointing Spirit-led leaders. Second, also through God’s wisdom, Solomon succeeded in governing the diverse tribes of Israel by delegating responsibility. For this example, God reveals that a wise leader succeeds by delegating responsibilities to Spirit-led leaders. Third, because he governed using God’s wisdom for God’s purposes, Solomon brought provision and joy to his people. From this example, God reveals that a wise leader who serves Him brings provision and joy to others. Fourth, because Solomon ruled using God’s wisdom, he received tribute and honor from many territories. From this example, God reveals that He will exalt and honor a wise leader who serves Him. If not here, God will do so in heaven. Fifth, because Solomon used his God-given wisdom for God’s people, God also blessed his government with abundant provision. From this example, God reveals that a wise leader who pursues Him will also live life abundantly. God’s promise of an abundant life, however, is frequently not provided through material things. Sixth, the Bible proclaims that God gave Solomon a wisdom greater than any leader around him. Solomon later gave God the praise for this blessing. From this example, God reveals that a wise leader recognizes that true wisdom comes from Him. Finally, Solomon used his God-given wisdom to counsel people both within Israel and in other countries. Jesus revealed that His wisdom is greater than Solomon’s wisdom. He is the Word who became flesh. Thus, you can share wisdom greater than that of Solomon anytime you share Jesus’ Word.
Solomon appoints Spirit-led leaders to help him govern. Blessed with God’s wisdom, the first thing that Solomon did to succeed as a leader was to appoint other capable, Spirit-led leaders to help him govern: “1 Now King Solomon was king over all Israel. 2 These were his officials: Azariah the son of Zadok was the priest; 3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 4 and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the army; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 5 and Azariah the son of Nathan was over the deputies; and Zabud the son of Nathan, a priest, was the king’s friend; 6 and Ahishar was over the household; and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the men subject to forced labor.” (1 Kgs. 4:1-6). Both the order of Solomon’s appointments and his actions showed his God-given wisdom.
A wide leader governs by first seeking God’s guidance. To govern wisely, Solomon first appointed someone who would handle the nation’s spiritual relationship with God. He chose Azariah, a descendant of the High Priest Eleazar. Although he is called a son of the priest Zadok, he was actually his grandson (1 Kgs. 4:2; 1 Chron. 6:8-9). Solomon’s decision to first appoint a priest was in stark contrast to David. With David’s two administrations, he selected his top military commander before selecting the High Priest (2 Sam. 8:16; 20:23). A wise leader will also seek God first and trust God to provide for the rest: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). If you are leading others, always seek God’s guidance first.
A wise leader governs by studying the past and learning from mistakes. Solomon next appointed Elihoreph and Ahiah as secretaries or scribes and Jehoshaphat (who served under David (2 Sam. 8:16; 20:24)), as a recorder (1 Kgs. 4:3). The three would have worked together to record official edicts, official records, and the daily affairs of the kingdom. Every leader should study the past. This includes studying the successes and failures of leaders in the Bible to guide their decisions: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). Do you study God’s Word to learn from the successes and failures of leaders like David and Solomon to improve your walk?
A wise leader governs with mercy and grace. The Bible next records that both Zadok and Abiathar were priests (1 Kgs. 4:4). The both served together as High Priests under David (2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25). Yet, after Abiathar supported Solomon’s brother in his challenge to the throne, Solomon sent him into exile (1 Kgs. 2:26-27, 35). Why then would the Bible record that Abiathar kept the title of priest? There are two reasons. First, in this context, it showed that Solomon wisely ruled with mercy and grace. He showed mercy by sparing Abiathar’s life from the penalty he deserved. He showed grace by allowing him to keep the title of priest, an honor he did not deserve. Possibly from this example, Solomon wrote how being merciful to others benefits the person who shows mercy: “The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.” (Prov. 11:17). Jesus later expanded upon this principle: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7). Solomon later failed in his walk with God. Yet, his merciful nature allowed God to show him mercy. Are you merciful towards those who have hurt you?
A wise leader has good relations with his or her subordinates. Like any king, Solomon appointed someone to lead the army. Yet, what made Zabud, the son of Nathan the prophet, different is that Solomon was a friend to his servant (1 Kgs. 4:5). A good leader maintains a good relationship with subordinates to both encourage and mentor them. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11). Do you encourage and mentor others in their walk with Jesus?
A wise leader selects good subordinates to keep order. To govern others effectively, Solomon selected Ahishar to govern his “household.” This referred to the official lands and buildings (1 Kgs. 16:9; 18:3; 2 Kings 18:18, 37; 19:2). He also picked Adoniram to oversee the conscripted workers and tribute (1 Kgs. 5:13-18). A good leader will keep his or her house in order and not wait until it is too late to set things right with God: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, . . .”’ (2 Kgs. 20:1). Keeping the leader’s house in order also allows the leader to better solve other problems.
The laying hands upon a leader should never be done in haste. Selecting leaders to help run a ministry or organization is critical to success. Yet, great harm can come to an organization that selects a leader who is not ready or qualified. The leadership selection process is not concluded until a senior leader publicly laid hands on the new leader (Nu. 27:19). This symbolized the transfer of authority (Lev. 1:4). Yet, Paul warns: “do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.” (1 Tim. 5:22). The Bible provides several tests to make sure a leader is ready to lead. First, the person must be an honest God-fearing and Spirit-led person “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” (Ex. 18:21; Acts 6:3). Second, a person must be content (1 Tim. 6:6-9). Third, the person must be “above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” (1 Tim. 3:2). Fourth, the person also must not be “addicted to wine or be pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.” (1 Tim. 3:3; 6:6-10). Fifth, the person must also manage his or her own household well (1 Tim. 3:4). Sixth, the person must also not be a new convert (1 Tim. 3:6). Finally, the person must also lead by being a servant to others (1 Tim. 6:2). In short, you will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16, 20). Every believer is part of God’s nation of priests (1 Pet. 2:5). Ask God to show you where to improve as a leader.
Solomon delegates responsibility to Spirit-led leaders throughout Israel. Also critical to Solomon’s success as a leader was not to rule as a dictator. Instead, he governed the diverse and unruly tribes of Israel by delegating power throughout the 12 tribes: “7 Solomon had twelve deputies over all Israel, who provided for the king and his household; each man had to provide for a month in the year. 8 These are their names: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim; 9 Ben-deker in Makaz and Shaalbim and Beth-shemesh and Elonbeth-hanan; 10 Ben-hesed, in Arubboth (Socoh was his and all the land of Hepher); 11 Ben-abinadab, in all the height of Dor (Taphath the daughter of Solomon was his wife); 12 Baana the son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo, and all Beth-shean which is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah as far as the other side of Jokmeam; 13 Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead (the towns of Jair, the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead were his: the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and bronze bars were his); 14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo, in Mahanaim; 15 Ahimaaz, in Naphtali (he also married Basemath the daughter of Solomon); 16 Baana the son of Hushai, in Asher and Bealoth; 17 Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar; 18 Shimei the son of Ela, in Benjamin; 19 Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only deputy who was in the land.” (1 Kgs. 4:7-19). Although the names of these leaders may mean little to the modern reader, the manner in which Solomon delegated and empowered others provides a powerful example for leaders to follow.
A wise leader empowers and listens to all of the people. Solomon recognized the divisions that existed throughout Israel. Saul inflamed these divisions by only appointing people from his tribe of Benjamin. David ignored these tensions when others felt that his tribe of Judah had too much influence. Solomon showed his wisdom by appointing “governors” throughout the land to handle taxation. Yet, these were based upon geographic and not tribal boundaries (1 Kgs. 4:7). These governors gave the local tribes a voice and allowed Solomon to better appreciate local concerns.
A wise leader seeks to prevent burn out and corruption amongst his or her leaders. Solomon also allowed his leaders to serve on a rotating basis (1 Kgs. 4:7). This prevented any leader from becoming burned out. It also helped to address the common problem of officials misusing their power for personal gain: “You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.” (Ex. 23:8). With rotating work schedules, they had fewer opportunities to extort others.
A wise leader succeeds through delegation to other Spirit-led leaders. The most important lesson from Solomon’s actions here is the manner in which he delegated power throughout the lands. When Moses tried to lead the nation on his own, he wore himself out: “I spoke to you at that time, saying, ‘I am not able to bear the burden of you alone.”’ (Dt. 1:19). His father-in-law Jethro then rebuked him and advised him that it was wrong for him to try to govern on his own. He told Moses that he needed to delegate power and responsibilities: “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” (Ex. 18:17-18). Are you looking for help from Spirit-led people to help you be a leader for God?
Solomon used his God-given wisdom to bring prosperity and joy to God’s people. Because Solomon used his God-given wisdom to rule for God’s glory and not his own, Solomon’s wisdom brought God’s people both prosperity and happiness: “20 Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing.” (1 Kgs. 4:20). As one commentator notes: “The reign of Solomon was a golden age for Israel as a kingdom. The population grew robustly and it was a season of great prosperity, allowing plenty of leisure time and pursuit of good pleasures.” (David Guzik on 1 Kgs. 4). God wants to pour out His blessings upon the nations. Yet, He is highly unlikely do that when a nation rejects Him.
God will pour out His blessings when a nation serves Him. The Bible describes the nation’s population as exploding as “numerous as the sand that is on the seashore” (1 Kgs. 4:20). This showed both God’s blessing and His fulfillment of His promise to Abraham to make his descendants numerous (Gen. 22:17). When a nation is faithful and obedient, God will bless a nation or its people with any or all of 21 specific blessings. These include: (1) protection from diseases (Ex. 15:26); (2) a prolonged life (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16; 5:32-33; 4:40; 6:1-2; 12:28; 22:6-7; 25:13-16; Lev. 18:5; Eph. 6:2-3); (3) God’s holy presence (Ex. 40:34-35); (4) provision (Lev. 26:3-5); (5) peace (Lev. 26:6); (6) protection from enemies (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22); (7) fertility (Lev. 26:9); (8) abundance from giving (Lev. 26:10; Ps. 92:12-14; Mal. 3:10-12); (9) guidance (Lev. 26:11-12; Ps. 32:8); (10) freedom (Lev. 26:13; Ex. 20:2); (11) exaltation for the nation (Dt. 28:1-2); (12) exaltation for the individual within the nation (Dt. 28:1-3); (13) growth (Dt. 28:4); (14) food (Dt. 28:5); (15) success (Dt. 28:6); (16) the defeat of enemies (Dt. 28:7); (17) prosperity (Dt. 28:8); (18) holiness (Dt. 28:9); (19) respect (Dt. 28:10); (20) the fullness of God’s blessings (Dt. 28:11-14); and (21) forgiveness of sin through repentance and Jesus’ atoning death (1 Jo. 1:9). Having a wise, Spirit-led leader like Solomon to lead a nation is critical to unlocking the fulness of God’s blessings.
Use your God-given talents to serve others and not yourself. One of the most important lessons in Solomon’s success during the early portion of his reign is that he used his God-given wisdom to bless others and not himself. Sadly, unlike Solomon during his early reign, many believers are like the servant who failed to use God’s talents or gifts for His Kingdom: “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (Matt. 25:18). Jesus will discipline those who fail to use their talents for His Kingdom: “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.”’ (Matt. 25:24-26). Solomon’s later failures came when he allowed his fame and fortune to cause him to gratify his own flesh instead of others. Are you using your God-given talents, time, and treasures to serve His Kingdom or your own?
God’s wisdom to help others is free when you ask for it. God is ready to pour out His wisdom freely when you ask for it to help others: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (Ja. 1:5). “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” (Ps. 51:6). Are you seeking His wisdom for others?
Solomon’s use of his God-given wisdom for God’s people brought him tribute and honor. Because Solomon used his God-given wisdom for God’s glory and not his own, God blessed him with both tributes and honors from all the lands that surrounded him: “21 Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.” (1 Kgs. 4:21). This verse is important for at least two reasons. First, it shows that God was faithful to bless Solomon with great wisdom. Second, this shows God’s faithfulness in honoring his land promises made centuries earlier to Abraham.
God fulfilled his promise to bless Solomon wisdom after he asked for it in humility. Solomon previously showed reverence to God by recognizing the “mercy” that God showed to his father, King David (1 Kgs. 3:6). He also recognized God’s faithfulness in upholding His Covenant with David to allow Solomon to be king (1 Kgs. 3:6). Solomon did not ask to be king. Even though he was the youngest of David’s children and the son of an adulterous marriage, it was God’s will that Solomon would be the next king. God then made that happen. In humility, Solomon recognized his lack of qualifications and training to be king (1 Kgs. 3:7; 1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He conceded that he could not lead the 12 rebellious tribes without God’s help. Because Solomon approached God in humility, God promised to exalt him amongst all the nations that surrounded Israel: These verses show that God was faithful to keep His promises to Solomon.
When you follow God’s wisdom, God also promises to bless you with honor and respect. Like Solomon, God will also bless you with honor and respect when you follow His wisdom. “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.” (Dt. 28:3). Joseph is another example regarding how following God-given wisdom can lead to honor and respect. As a slave, Joseph was obedient to administer God’s wisdom for the benefit of others. As a result, God blessed Joseph and the entire Egyptian household that he managed (Gen. 39:5). Joseph showed that he was faithful and obedient in the face of the temptations of Potiphar’s wife. He was again faithful and obedient to God, even when he was thrown in jail on false charges and then forgotten. Because he showed that he was obedient and faithful in small things, God blessed him by elevating him to have power second only to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40-41). God’s many blessings in the Bible show that He wants to bless you. Like Solomon and Joseph, are you showing yourself faithful and obedient with the small things so that God can grant you His wisdom?
Walk humbly and use God’s gifts for Him so that He can exalt you. Like Solomon, God wants to exalt you. Yet, you must also walk in humble service to God and not the needs of your own flesh: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). “‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”’ (Jam. 4:6(b)). Do you walk with humility by serving God and His people? If so, He will exalt you either on Earth or in heaven.
God’s faithfulness in granting land to Abraham’s successors. God’s covenant with Abraham included the promise of land stretching as far as the river Euphrates: “18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:” (Gen. 15:18; 17:8). Through Joshua, God later again promised lands stretching as far as the Euphrates to the Jews: ‘“3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.’” (Josh. 1:3-4; Dt. 11:31; 17:14; 34:4; Neh. 9:8). David’s prior conquests fulfilled God’s promises to Abraham (2 Sam 8:1-14). As Joshua once remarked: “45 Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Josh. 21:45). Through Solomon, God again fulfilled His promises to Abraham that the Jews would control these diverse territories (1 Kgs. 4:21). Yet, after Solomon’s reign, this area then slipped out of the Jews’ control. Because of faithlessness, disobedience, rebellion, and idolatry, the Jews would fail to maintain these God-given lands.
God is sovereign over kings and nations. This account also shows the sovereignty of God. He controls the destiny of every leader and every nation. He also appointed for each person a nation to live in: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,” (Acts 17:26). “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the people according to the number of the sons of Israel.” (Dt. 32:8). Thus, He controls the destiny of every nation. When times are bad, do you trust that God is in control?
You also can trust in His promises to you. The accuracy of God’s promises centuries earlier to Abraham show that you can also trust His promises for you as well. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:24). “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). He is faithful even when you are not: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). Have you given thanks that you can trust in His faithfulness in your life?
God blesses Solomon’s government with abundant provision. Also because Solomon used his God-given wisdom to governed for God’s glory and not his own, God blessed his government with abundant provision: “22 Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty kors of fine flour and sixty kors of meal, 23 ten fat oxen, twenty pasture-fed oxen, a hundred sheep besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl. 24 For he had dominion over everything west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had peace on all sides around about him. 25 So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. 26 Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 27 Those deputies provided for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month; they left nothing lacking. 28 They also brought barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds to the place where it should be, each according to his charge.” (1 Kgs. 4:22-28). The quantity of food means that well over ten thousand people served in different capacities across the diverse lands that Solomon governed. Because Solomon ruled for God, God provided for his all servants.
God also blessed Israel with peace through Israel’s strength. The Bible states that the people under Solomon’s reign lived “safely” “under his vine and his fig tree” (1 Kgs. 4:25). This symbolized the blessing of peace during Solomon’s 40-year reign (Joel 2:22; Micah 4:4). God ensured Israel’s peace in part through Solomon’s strong army. Here, it says that Solomon had 40,000 horse stalls for chariots (1 Kgs. 4:26). Yet, elsewhere, it states that he had 4,000 horse stalls (2 Chron. 9:25). The accumulation of too many horses and chariots would have violated God’s law (Dt. 17:16). Thus, the smaller number may be correct. Whatever the number, God blessed the nation with peace and prosperity because Solomon led the nation to be obedient and faithful.
Seek God’s wisdom first and He will add everything else you need. If you seek God’s kingdom, His righteousness, and His wisdom, He also promises to provide for your needs: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jo. 15:7). “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6). “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4). Thus, you don’t need to worry about His provision of food or clothes (Matt. 6:25-34). If you diligently seek Him, you will also find Him: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). If you feel Jesus’ provision is lacking, are you diligently seeking after His Kingdom?
God also wants you to act on His Word to receive the fullness of His abundant blessings. Like Solomon, God expects you to act on His Word by using your God-given gifts for His Kingdom. Obedience is not a test for salvation. Yet, for those who obey God’s Word, He promises to pour out many kinds of blessings. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10). This may also include material blessings if it is part of God’s will: “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (Dt. 5:32-33). “O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Dt. 6:3). ‘“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”’ (Jer. 29:11). God doesn’t want you to be obedient for the wrong reasons. Out of love (and not the promise of reward) are you being obedient to God’s Word, His Spirit, and His calling in your life?
God’s wisdom is worth more than any earthly honor or treasure. Even though God’s wisdom may bring honor, respect, or money, Solomon learned that His wisdom is worth more than any of these things. “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Prov. 16:16). “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.” (Prov. 3:13-15) “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, and my yield better than choicest silver.” (Prov. 8:19). Do you seek out riches, power, and respect or God’s wisdom?
A Spirit-led leader must never use God’s blessings to covet wealth. The most dangerous time for a leader like Solomon is guarding his or heart from covetousness when God pours out His blessings. A Spirit-led leader must be content with what he or she has. He or she must never seek to enrich himself or herself through his or her leadership for God (Dt. 17:17(b)). If God has blessed you, do you covet more money or power?
God blesses Solomon wisdom greater than anyone in any kingdom around him. To fulfill His promise to Solomon, God blessed Solomon with wisdom greater than any other person in the surrounding nations: “29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.” (1 Kgs. 4:29-31). God blessed Solomon with wisdom to fulfill his prior promise: “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.” (1 Kgs. 3:12). Solomon, however, only enjoyed God’s full blessings when he was obedient and when he feared God by avoiding evil: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7). “Then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.” (Prov. 2:5). Solomon later revealed that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; . . .” (Prov. 8:13).
God blessed Solomon when he was obedient. When he obeyed God, God set Solomon high above the Earth (1 Kgs. 4:30). This also fulfilled a promise in Deuteronomy: “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.” (Dt. 28:1). Yet, when that fear disappeared and he pursued evil, God’s wisdom left him.
Solomon’s wisdom came from Jesus, the true source of any ruler’s wisdom. Solomon later praised God as the source of true wisdom: “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6). Before his death, David also paid tribute to: “He who rules over men righteously” (2 Sam. 23:3). For a time in his life, David followed the King of Kings and ruled righteously: “So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteousness for all his people.” (2 Sam. 8:15). Like David and Solomon, rulers must turn to the King of Kings, the true source of righteousness, for wisdom in ruling: “Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.”’ (Jer. 23:5; Is. 11:3-5). Jesus is our righteous judge (2 Tim. 4:8). As your King, Jesus also wants you to depend upon Him. And He wants you to pray for your rulers to seek out His wisdom as well.
Jesus will pour out His righteousness to leaders who seek His wisdom. In one of Solomon’s psalms, he prayed for God to give His righteousness and wisdom to allow him and his descendants to rule in holy righteousness: “Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2 May he judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted with justice. 3 Let the mountains bring peace to the people, and the hills, in righteousness. 4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor. 5 Let them fear You while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6 May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon is no more.” (Ps. 72:1-7). Like Solomon, every leader should depend upon Jesus for wisdom.
Never boast about your God-given wisdom or other gifts. Because true wisdom comes from God, believers also should never boast in their God-given wisdom or other gifts. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23-24). “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14). When others give you praise do you give the praise back to Jesus?
Praise Jesus for all your undeserved blessings. Because God is true source of your wisdom and your blessings, God wants you to praise Him for all that He provides you with. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:14). “To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the LORD.” (Ps. 116:17). Are you praising Jesus for His blessings of wisdom and guidance?
Solomon uses his God-given wisdom to advise people everywhere. Solomon showed that he was a Spirit-led leader during the early portion of his reign by using his God-given wisdom to speak God’s Word to help others around him: “32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. 34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.” (1 Kgs. 4:32-34). Only Jesus exceeded Solomon in wisdom (Matt. 12:42). Solomon’s prestige and honor grew throughout his reign (1 Kgs. 10:23-24). Because he used his God-given wisdom for others, God blessed mankind with the Book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, the Book of Ecclesiastes, and at least Psalms 72 and 127. This not only included spiritual wisdom, it also included scientific matters like plant and animal life (Prov. 6:6-8; 28:15: 30:19). These verses suggest that he also wrote other great works that were lost to mankind.
Listen to Jesus, the wisest counsel anywhere. Jesus lamented that the people had someone wiser than Solomon to advise them, but they refused to listen: “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” (Matt. 12:42). Jesus wants you to listen to Him “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3). Are you seeking the free wisdom that Jesus offers?
Share Jesus’ wisdom with others. Jesus is the Word who became flesh (Jo. 1:14). That means that you can share even greater wisdom than Solomon merely by sharing the Word. Are you sharing the Word as part of your Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20)?
Teach the wisdom of Jesus’ Word to edify the Church. Speaking the wisdom Word of God over another to bless, correct, restore, or uplift them is one of the highest callings. Any member of the Church can be called to do it: “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.” (1 Cor. 14:4). “I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, . . .” (1 Cor. 14:5). A prophet speaks God’s Word. If you use the wisdom of Jesus’ Word to edify, bless, correct, or encourage, you are a prophet.