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Solomon – the wise and foolish builder

October 19, 2014

  James 1:5 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.

Been reading about Solomon recently. Many of us have known Solomon since we were in Sunday School. He was the king who followed after his father David.

We remember the story of the 2 women (prostitutes to be specific) who came to him with the problem. “One of our babies is dead. This one is mine. No it’s not is mine. Please sort it out”. Solomon was known for his wisdom and his proposal to cut the baby in half for sharing revealed the true mother.

Solomon’s beginnings were controversial. The son of David’s wife Bathsheba. The one who David committed adultery with and then killed her husband.

Was Solomon next in line for the throne? At least one other thought he was more entitled. But he was David’s choice and we assume God’s choice.

Solomon started so well. God spoke to him and offered him whatever he wanted. Riches fame the lot. He chose wisdom. God was pleased and God gave him everything else as well. We learnt that in Sunday School too.

And he was wise. And he was a philosopher, a great thinker, a poet, an expert on wildlife. He was David Attenborough and more. He was also a huge romantic – see the somewhat racy Song of Solomon.

And yet it Solomon was so wise why did he make so many mistakes?

Solomon was not Solo Man! We are told he had around 700 wives and 300 concubines. It might be easy for us to laugh it off but why? Was it just because he could? One can barely imagine the logistics of such an arrangement!!

If that isn’t bad enough he married with women of other nations and faiths. And he worshipped their gods and took part in their sacrifices and evil practices. In spite of everything that God had given him. The God for whom Solomon had built a temple.

Wisdom of Solomon? There’s something very odd here.

It seems that Solomon was wise in theory but not so much in practice. He knew a lot of stuff. But he didn’t seem to make the connection between all his knowledge and his daily living.

What you know and what you believe must shape how you live. And when we step outside of God’s ways, surely we will be seen for what we really are?

Even in the past few weeks a woman has justified an adulterous relationship with a prominent Christian figure, by claiming that it was “God’s voice” that called her to enter the relationship.

When our behaviour is so plainly against the word of scripture, how can anyone be taken in?

But it goes on. And before we point the finger, we all do it in one way or another. By our behaviour we deny all that we stand for. We say we trust God but we actually trust financial security. We say we are honest but we bend the rules.

We need wisdom. Wisdom to live by. God’s promise is that if we ask for it he will give it.

Solomon lost the plot and ultimately his family lost the throne. All that God had promised him turned to dust through his poor choices.

Later on in one of his ‘wisdom’ books Solomon concludes that with all he had life was meaningless. He realised the greatest priority was to “fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”.

Of course as Christians we will quickly point out that we are no longer under law, but actions speak louder than words. And those actions should be in harmony with God’s word.

So if God asks you what you want, what will it be?


From → Christianity

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