Introduction: The modern division of 1st and 2nd Chronicles did not exist in the original Hebrew scrolls. It was considered one continuous set of teachings. The scrolls were also taught at the end of the Old Testament, not immediately after the book of Kings. While the book of Chronicles shares many similar stories with the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st and 2nd Kings, Chronicles served a different purpose. It was meant to encourage the Jews who returned from exile that God was faithful to keep His promises. The book of 2nd Chronicles also differs from 2nd Kings by excluding the account of the kings of Northern Israel. The account instead follows the promised line of kings who descended from David. God’s purpose was to show the Jews that He was faithful to keep His Covenant with David’s family line, even when David’s descendants were unfaithful. The book begins with God’s famous promise to guide Solomon with God-given wisdom. Solomon’s wisdom was meant to guide God’s people. While Solomon initially used this wisdom to benefit God’s people, he later misused it to benefit himself. In this chapter, God reveals seven lessons about how to obtain His wisdom and how it differs from worldly wisdom.
First, God was faithful to keep His promise to make Solomon Israel’s next king after David. Before God blessed Solomon with incredible wisdom, Solomon needed to have the faith to trust God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom also requires faith in Him before you can receive it. Second, before receiving God’s wisdom, Solomon also led the nation in repentance and renewal by atoning for both his sins and the nation’s sins with blood sacrifices. Through this account, God reveals that His wisdom is available through Jesus, who atoned for our sins with His sacrifice at the cross. Third, after worshiping God in a proper manner and leading the nation to repentance, God offered Solomon anything he wanted. In humility, Solomon only asked for the wisdom to be king. Solomon was young and humble enough to realize that he lacked the ability to rule on his own. From his example, God reveals that His wisdom is available when you rely on Him and not yourself. Fourth, because he prayed correctly, God granted Solomon’s request. From Solomon’s example, God’s wisdom is freely given when you pray in humility for His guidance. Fifth, God gave Solomon wealth and power, things he did not ask for, because he did not pray with the wrong motives. From this account, God reveals that His wisdom brings everything else you need when you seek Him with the right motives. Sixth, Solomon misused his God-given wisdom to hoard wealth and power in a manner that God prohibited. From Solomon’s mistakes, God reveals that His wisdom comes through obedience to His Word and His will. Finally, Solomon apparently tried to use his obedience to try to skirt God’s rules and rationalize his disobedience. But he later came to regret his covetousness. Being smart and wise did not guarantee that he would follow God. From his mistake, God reveals that His wisdom comes through fearing Him. The Bible defines the fear of God as hating evil.
God faithfully kept His promise to install Solomon as king. God promised David that Solomon would succeed him, and He was faithful to keep His Word: “1 Now Solomon the son of David established himself securely over his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and exalted him greatly.” (2 Chr. 1:1). Just before his death and with David’s health failing, David’s son Adonijah declared that he would be king (1 Kgs. 1:1-6). The Jews rejected Adonijah’s attempt to exalt himself as king. They instead accepted and submitted to Solomon as God’s anointed King of Israel. Upon David’s death, the Jews pledged allegiance to God’s appointed king Solomon (1 Chr. 29:22-25). This showed that God was faithful to keep His promises to David and his descendants. God in turn wanted His people to trust Him and have faith in His promises. This included, among other things, the promise to guide His people with His wisdom. He was the pillar of light who guided the Jews in the wilderness: “The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” (Ex. 13:21; 14:19; 40:38; Dt. 1:33). Through His anointed leaders, God offered wisdom to guide the nation.
God kept His Covenant with David. God previously promised David that: “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.” (2 Sam. 7:12). “He gives great deliverance to His king, and shows lovingkindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” (Ps. 18:50). ‘“I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah.” (Ps. 89:4). After David had fulfilled God’s plans for him, God kept His promise to establish Solomon’s reign as king (1 Kgs. 2:10-12). Throughout the book of 2 Chronicles, countless times God honored His Covenant by keeping the line of David alive and on the throne. God kept His Covenant even though the kings who followed David were frequently unfaithful.
God is faithful to keep his promises to you as well. God records the fulfillment of His many promises to show that He is faithful to keep His many promises to you as well: “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). “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thess. 5:24). Have you given thanks that you can trust in His faithfulness even when your faith fails Him?
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Without faith, Solomon would have never understood or had the ability to follow God’s wisdom: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). If you wish to be blessed with God’s wisdom, you must also have the faith to trust God and follow His guidance in your life.
Solomon led the nation in seeking atonement for the nation’s sins. Near the beginning of his reign, Solomon assembled the leaders of the 12 tribes. He sought to atone for the nation’s sins and to seek out God’s guidance, presence, and fellowship: “2 Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds and to the judges and to every leader in all Israel, the heads of the fathers’ households. 3 Then Solomon and all the assembly with him went to the high place which was at Gibeon, for God’s tent of meeting was there, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. 4 However, David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place he had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5 Now the bronze altar, which Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of the Lord, and Solomon and the assembly sought it out. 6 Solomon went up there before the Lord to the bronze altar which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.” (2 Chr. 1:2-6). Just before his death, David also led the nation in sacrificing 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs (1 Chr. 29:21-22). Solomon followed David’s example when he sacrificed 1,000 animals at the Tabernacle in Gibeon, seven miles northwest of Jerusalem (1 Chr. 16:39-40; 2 Chr.1:3). The massive scale of the sacrifices suggest that this was a unified act of atonement that Solomon led on behalf of the entire nation. Each of the 12 tribes and Solomon from his royal resources would have selected their best animals as part of the 1,000 sacrifices. It would have also likely taken at least a week for all of these animals to be sacrificed. It was likely a somber time of repentance. God was pleased with Solomon not because of the number of animals that he sacrificed. Instead, He was pleased that Solomon began his reign by leading the nation in repentance and in seeking spiritual renewal.
The animal sacrifices atoned for the nation’s sins. The many animal sacrifices were part of both an act of worship and for the atonement of sins. True fellowship with God is impossible without a burnt offering of sinless blood to atone for a person’s sins. During Old Testament times, this was done through animals (Lev. 1; Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11). Christ later gave His sinless blood to offer salvation to everyone (Rev. 7:9). Through Christ’s death -- and not our own works -- we are made right or “justified” before God (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:25; Gal. 3:13; Mk. 14:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Believing that He died for your sins also means that you do not take His sacrifice for granted. If you believe that He atoned for your sins yet continue to sin, you have taken His sacrifice for granted.
Solomon’s wisdom came from Jesus, the true source of any ruler’s wisdom. Without the atoning sacrifices to atone for his sins, God might not have rewarded Solomon the way that He did. The atonement of sins made it possible for Solomon to be in God’s presence and receive His blessings. Solomon later praised God’s gracious blessings 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). “3And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.” (Is. 11:3-5). Jesus is our righteous judge (2 Tim. 4:8). “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (Jo. 5:30). “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.” (Jo. 8:16). While David, Solomon, and Israel’s other kings sinned, Jesus never will. His reign will be perfect, just, and righteous. 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. How frequently are you praying for God to guide you and your leaders?
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)?
Solomon’s prayer for wisdom. Because God was pleased with Solomon for leading the nation in repentance and renewal, He offered Solomon the opportunity to ask for anything he wanted. Instead of asking for riches or power and trusting his own instincts to lead, Solomon humbly asked for the wisdom to lead God’s people: “7 In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’ 8 Solomon said to God, ‘You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?’” (2 Chr. 1:7-10; 1 Kgs. 3:4-9). God appeared to Solomon through a dream. While God had spoken to others in the time of the patriarchs in dreams (Gen. 26:24; 28:12; 46:2), this was unique because Solomon had a dialogue with God. At the time, Solomon was only 20 years old. Solomon showed his spiritual maturity by only asking for God’s wisdom in making decisions as king. Solomon further asked God for wisdom in humility. He recognized that God was faithful to keep His promises. He further recognized that he was leading God’s people, not his own. In the parallel account found in 1 Kings, Solomon called himself a mere child before God: “7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. 9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?’” (1 Kgs. 3:4-9). Solomon knew that he could not lead on his own.
God wants you to seek out His wisdom. Like Solomon, God wants you to seek out His wisdom as opposed to relying upon your own understanding: “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). A wise and godly leader should not lean upon his or her own understandings: “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). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). Are you seeking His wisdom to guide your actions? Or, are you relying upon yourself?
Govert Flick (1615-1660) “Solomon asks for wisdom” (oil painting 1658)
God wants you to rely upon His wisdom, even when the world thinks it foolish. Even if it seems unpopular, God wants you to rely upon His wisdom. “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14). His wisdom is the truth that will set you free (Jo. 8:32). His wisdom is revealed when you read His Word and pray for guidance (Ps. 119:105; Jo. 14:16, 26). Are you reading the Word and praying for His wisdom?
Pray for God’s wisdom for both yourself and your leaders. Like Solomon, God wants you to ask for His spirit of understanding to act wisely and to resolve conflicts: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Eph. 1:18). “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6). Are you praying for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding and wisdom? If so, are you also praying for His understanding for your leaders?
God answers Solomon’s prayer. Because Solomon did not ask for riches or power, God blessed him with the wisdom to lead God’s people: “11 God said to Solomon, ‘Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you.” (2 Chr. 1:11-12(a)). God answered Solomon because he prayed correctly and in humility. He can do so for you as well.
God granted Solomon wisdom because he did not ask with the wrong motives. Solomon received God’s blessings because he sought gifts that would benefit God’s Kingdom, not his own: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (Ja. 4:3). “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 Jo. 5:14). “What the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.” (Prov. 10:24). “He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.” (Ps. 145:19). “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Prov. 15:29). “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.” (Jo. 9:31). If you have asked and not received, examine the motives behind your requests. Are you seeking gifts from God for your glory or for the glory of His Kingdom?
God gave Solomon incredible wisdom as a free gift after he asked for it in humility. God exalted Solomon in wisdom because of his humility: “O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear.” (Ps. 10:17). “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.” (Lk. 1:52). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Ja. 4:10). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5; KJV). Are you seeking God’s wisdom in humility?
Jesus will also 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.
God blesses Solomon and the nation with great wealth. Because Solomon was not greedy, arrogant, or demanding, God granted Solomon the wisdom that he asked for and the power, wealth, and prestige that he did not ask for: “And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you.’ 13 So Solomon went from the high place which was at Gibeon, from the tent of meeting, to Jerusalem, and he reigned over Israel.” (2 Chr. 12b-13). In the parallel account found in 1 Kings, God also promised to prolong Solomon’s life if he kept God’s laws (1 Kgs. 3:10-14). Solomon’s request pleased God because his request was meant to help him better serve others as king. Thus, because he sought God first, God added everything else Solomon would need to be a great king. But God’s blessings were partly conditional upon Solomon’s obedience to His Word (2 Sam. 6:17).
In addition to wisdom, God blessed Solomon with great wealth and respect1
God’s wisdom allowed Solomon to become respected by all who met him. Because Solomon wanted God’s wisdom to rule for God’s Kingdom, God blessed him with wisdom that also brought him the respect he needed to govern: “28 When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” (1 Kgs. 3:28). The people feared Solomon because he made decisions that seemed beyond normal human reasoning. Many feared that they could not hide their sins from God’s wise judge. His wisdom would continue to set him apart until his lusts for women led him to idolatry. Only Jesus, the King of Kings, would surpass Solomon’s God-given wisdom and righteousness.
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 will in your life?
Solomon’s disobedience to God’s laws. Despite being blessed with incredible wisdom, Solomon violated God’s laws by hoarding wealth in a manner that God’s prohibited: “14 Solomon amassed chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. 15 The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the lowland.” (2 Chr. 1:14-15). This wealth was a blessing from God (Jam. 1:17). It was meant for God’s Kingdom. Solomon misused his wisdom to take his God-given wealth to build up his own power and prestige.
Solomon violated God’s law by seeking to multiply his wealth. By multiplying his power and wealth (as symbolized through horses), Solomon violated God’s law that was meant to protect His leaders from coveting: “Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.”’ (Dt. 17:16). Isaiah later condemned the kings who did the exact same thing that Solomon did here: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!” (Is. 31:1). Instead of trusting in horses and chariots for protection, God wanted Solomon to place his trust in Him: “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.” (Ps. 20:7). Wealth is not by itself evil. It is only when you develop a love of money that it becomes a sin (1 Tim. 6:10). Do you love money and prestige?
Solomon’s success would depend upon his obedience. Before his death, David warned Solomon that his success as king would depend upon his obedience: “Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,” (1 Kgs. 2:3). Solomon was further required to write a personal copy of the law to make sure that he followed it as king: “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.” (Dt. 17:18). Solomon’s disobedience would later lead him from God and cause him to suffer.
Coveting cannot be satisfied by giving in to temptation. Solomon’s coveting began with money and power. It then grew to include women. Yet, no matter how hard he tried, he could not satisfy his coveting by feeding it. The coveting that the devil offers can only be satisfied through more coveting (Heb. 11:25; Lk. 12:19-20). “And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.” (Is. 56:11; Hab. 2:5). “Sheol, and the barren womb, earth that is never satisfied with water, and fire that never says, ‘Enough’.” (Prov. 30:16). Giving into your temptations only leads to misery as you are unable to find peace and contentment. Are you giving into your temptations?
Coveting is a sin of the heart that leads to more serious sins when left unchecked. Coveting is a sin of the heart that defiles you. Jesus warned: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mk. 7:21-23). God prohibits coveting because it leads to other more serious sins. Every believer is at times guilty of this sin (Rom. 3:20). Jesus and Paul analogized sin to yeast, the fastest growing microorganism (Mk. 8:15; 1 Cor. 5:7-8). If you are entertaining small sins, they will not stay small for long. Have you repented of your hidden sins?
Solomon’s horse import and export business. The account of Solomon’s tremendous wealth concludes with his use of horses to form an international trading business: “16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue; the king’s traders procured them from Kue for a price. 17 They imported chariots from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver apiece and horses for 150 apiece, and by the same means they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.” (2 Chr. 1:16-17). There are no extraneous details in the Bible. The fact that this business is mentioned immediately after Solomon’s unlawful accumulation of horses suggests that Solomon formed his trading business to rationalize his otherwise prohibited concentration of wealth. If challenged by a priest, Solomon might have used his intellect to claim that he was not in fact hoarding horses for himself. He could claim that he acquired tremendous numbers of horses as part of an international trading business that would increase the country’s wealth. In other words, Solomon misused his intellect to rationalize his disobedience.
Solomon violated God’s Word by accumulating thousands of horses2
Satan can also cause you to rationalize your sins. Satan misquoted Scripture in a failed attempt to deceive Jesus (Matt. 4:6). He most certainly will use the same attempt to cause you to either ignore or rationalize behavior that God calls sinful. Like Solomon, Satan’s goal is to pull you off of your walk and bring you sorrow and misery.
Solomon later lamented his covetousness. With his God-given wisdom, Solomon acquired incredible wealth. “I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself;” (Ecc. 2:4). Yet, his willingness to skirt God’s rules regarding coveting wealth led him to covet women. His unchecked lusts led him to take 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kgs. 11:1-8). This was, however, also against God’s law (Dt. 17:17). His willingness to reject God’s laws later caused his heart to turn against God (1 Kgs. 11:4). This in turn led to pain and anguish. At the end of his life, he lamented that his actions were wasted vanity. “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.” (Ecc. 1:14-15). Are you chasing after vain things? If so, you may one day look back on your life and be filled with regret.
To fight covetousness, fear God. Solomon was the wisest man alive and the author of most of the proverbs. He knew that covetousness and hoarding wealth was wrong. Why then would he break God’s laws? In short, he rationalized his disobedience. He was able to rationalize his disobedience because he did not fear God. For this reason, Job defined true wisdom as fearing God: “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.’” (Job 28:28). From his own mistakes, Solomon also came to see that fearing God was the beginning of true wisdom: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7; Rom 7:7). “Then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.” (Prov. 2:5). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” (Ps. 111:10). Solomon further defined what it means to fear God. It is “hating” evil (Prov. 8:12). Do you hate it when you desire something that is not of God?
To fight covetousness, deny yourself physical pleasures and covet the things of God. Jesus reveals that to follow Him you should deny yourself certain worldly pleasures: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”’ (Matt. 16:24-26). The one thing in life that you should covet is a deeper relationship with God: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1-2; Matt. 6:6, 19-24; 13:44-46; 1 Cor. 12:31; Phil. 3:7-14). The Bible reveals that “godliness with contentment” is “great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”’ (Heb. 13:5). Are you content seeking to draw closer to God?
To fight covetousness, praise Jesus for all your undeserved blessings. Every good and perfect gift in your life comes from above (Jam. 1:17). Because Jesus is the true source of your wisdom and your blessings, thanking Him for it can help to prevent a sense of entitlement: “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). “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Ps. 100:4). Are you praising Jesus for His blessings of wisdom?
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?