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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about wisdom.
In my role as a mother, I often feel inadequate. There are situations that, on my own, I have no idea how to handle. Well, actually, I can usually think of several ways to handle those situations, but the trouble is that I’m not sure which way is best.
Sure, I can hand out appropriate consequences, deliver articulate lectures and provide useful instructions to my children all day long. But am I truly addressing the root issues at stake in the hearts of my children? Am I merely directing them, or am I directing them in paths of righteousness? These matters require wisdom.
I often think of King Solomon. Remember when they brought two women before him? Each woman—harlots, actually—claimed to be the mother of a certain baby, and no one could figure out which woman was telling the truth.
What would you have done?
It’s interesting to consider all the ways Solomon could have dealt with this problem.
He could have gone the factual route, researching the background info on these women and gathering witnesses and reports. He could have interviewed each woman and come to a conclusion based on his intuition. He had no modern DNA testing available, but perhaps he could have assessed parentage by considering the baby’s physical features. He might have compared notes with other powerful rulers, to find out if they’d ever dealt with a similar circumstance. He could have consulted the annals of history to find examples of wise decisions made by those before him. He could have simply laid down the law and chosen one woman—he was the king, after all, and they’d have to live with whatever choice he made.
Instead, he did something quite simple and absolutely brilliant. He instructed his men to cut the baby in half. Can you imagine!? Immediately one of the mothers protested. To prevent the child’s death, she bowed out of the argument. Let the other woman have the child! She said.
Solomon surmised this to be the true mother, the one who would rather give him up than see him harmed. In the end, she was reunited with her baby.
Isn’t this just like many situations we face every day? As parents, spouses, employers, employees, friends, students, teachers, family members and HUMAN BEINGS, we make choices all the time. Choices between good ways to handle a situation, or the best way to handle it.
How did Solomon land on such a wise method of solving the problem before him?
He had wisdom–supernatural wisdom.
I’m only a few decades into this journey of life, but it’s been long enough to know this:
- Old age does not equal wisdom
- Intelligence does not equal wisdom
- Much knowledge and learning does not equal wisdom
- Popularity does not equal wisdom
- Pleasure does not equal wisdom
So how do we get the wisdom we so desperately need in order to address the myriad issues we each face in this life? How did Solomon get wisdom?
- First of all, Proverbs 9:10 explains that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” I love how John Piper explains what it means to “fear” the Lord:
[F]earing the Lord means fearing to run away from him. It means fearing to seek refuge, and joy, and hope anywhere other than in God. It means keeping before our eyes what a fearful prospect it is to stop trusting and depending on God to meet our needs. [Source]
- Secondly, 1 Kings 3:11 tells us that Solomon asked God for wisdom. In James 1:5 we’re told that if any of us lacks wisdom, he should ask God for it.
- In the first five verses of the second chapter of Proverbs, we see a third strategy for getting wisdom: the son is instructed to actively pursue wisdom by making his ears attentive, inclining his heart, calling out, raising his voice, seeking, and searching.
- Furthermore, John Piper defines wisdom as hearing and doing God’s Word. Jesus said just that in Matthew 7:24, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock.”
I’m currently reading A Woman’s Wisdom, in which author Lydia Brownback examines the concept of biblical wisdom by looking at principles outlined in the book of Proverbs. It’s been a great resource as I ponder what it means to be truly wise.
I love how she concludes the first chapter by pointing out that “We can’t do it!” Wisdom is impossible for us to attain, apart from Christ.
Christ is our wisdom…We have no wisdom of our own, but if we are in him, we have his wisdom, which means we can grow it to fullness. In Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). If we are in Christ, those treasures are ours too.
That’s what I’m banking on, since it’s painfully clear that I am unable to attain true wisdom on my own. What about you–could you use some supernatural wisdom?
Won’t you join me in actively pursuing true wisdom–God’s wisdom–and applying it to our lives as parents, spouses, employers, employees, friends, students, teachers, family members and HUMAN BEINGS? We all need His wisdom, and desperately so.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
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