Once upon a time, there was a king who was given one wish. He could ask for whatever in the world he wanted and had the assurance from God he would receive it. His name was Solomon who had just become king after his father, King David’s, death. Solomon was given a wish from the Lord who appeared to him in a dream in a place called Gibeon. “God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” (I Kings 3:5)
I don’t know what I would ask for if given one wish. It seems that no matter what I would ask for, there would be both positive and negative issues with it. Such as money, for instance. Money does pay the bills and buys things I need and extras, but there are headaches. Not that I would know. I’ve just heard too many stories of unhappy and suicidal billionaires.
Solomon didn’t pick such popular items as wealth, a peaceful reign, or a long life. Solomon instead said, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I Kings 3:9)
God was pleased with Solomon’s answer of wisdom. Although he was new on the job, he realized he needed oodles of wisdom to recognize good from evil, to make sound judgments, and be the leader God’s chosen people of Israel needed. God granted Solomon a wise and understanding heart so that there was none like him before him nor after him.
Even though he was the wisest king who ever lived, his reign did not run as smooth as silk. His strength was wisdom but he had a problem with lust. According to the Bible, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. A bit much if you ask me! It wasn’t just that he had so many but the wives were described as foreign princesses. Despite his better judgment, Solomon allowed his foreign wives to bring in their national deities, building temples to their gods Ashtoreth and Milcom.
Solomon does have me puzzled when it comes to women. In the Biblical book of Proverbs, whose author was Solomon, Chapter 21:9 states, “ It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” This is coming from a man who had a household of 1000 of them. I don’t get it but I’m one who has never been married. Maybe Solomon would have much better off single like me or married to one woman who loved him, supported him, and believed, too, in the One who granted him his wish.
I have kept in the back of my mind a simple definition of wisdom: the ability to use the knowledge one has. One can have an extensive knowledge of the Bible, quote scriptures galore, but if one doesn’t put into practice the verses that fall easily of their tongue, one lacks wisdom. On the other hand, one who couldn’t recite that much scripture but takes to heart and puts into practice “love thy neighbor as thyself”, he or she is not lacking in wisdom.
Solomon wasn’t a total flop as a King. That moment he asked for wisdom above all else was a defining moment. His failures don’t erase his successes. Solomon had his achievements, but he could have done better with his wise wish.