- Sermon Notes
For Those Who Desire Wisdom
1 Kings 3:1-15
October 16-17, 2021
In the early chapters of 1 Kings, David is advanced in years and declares his son Solomon to be the new king of Israel. Shortly after, he breathes his last and Solomon is firmly established as king of Israel.
Solomon was David’s son born to Bathsheba with whom he had had an adulterous relationship and then later married. This speaks of the grace of God in not only forgiving David, but also in allowing a son from this relationship to sit on the throne of Israel.
The name Solomon means, “peaceable.” This was the name David gave to him. But God also gave him a name. He called him, Jedediah, which means, “loved of God.” The fact that God called him Jedediah is another declaration of the grace of God.
Solomon is famous for building the temple of God in Jerusalem in all its glory, as we will soon see. Solomon is also famous for his wisdom.
If you were to assign one word to describe Solomon, no doubt it would be the word wisdom. The “wisdom of Solomon” is famous.
If people who knew you well could describe you in one word, what would that word be? Would it be grace? Would it be wisdom? Would it be faith? May God give you a name that has His honor and character attached to it.
Proverbs 22:1, A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.
How did Solomon get such wisdom? It’s an important question. The answer is that wisdom comes from God.
Shortly after Solomon was anointed king of Israel, God appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” Solomon did not ask for a long life, nor for great riches, nor for the life of his enemies. Above all else, he wanted wisdom to be able to judge the people of Israel, to discern between good and evil.
Wisdom is a right thing to desire. Many, in their daily devotions, read a proverb. Since there are 31 Proverbs, it works very well. Why read Proverbs every day? To gain wisdom.
If we were to do a show of hands and ask, how many desire to have not just more wisdom, but great wisdom? Many would raise their hands. The desire for wisdom is a right desire.
I. We Need the Wisdom that Comes from God
- Verse 1 – Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and took Pharaoh’s daughter to become his wife.
- This is an example of man’s wisdom. This was commonly done by kings of nations in that day. It was considered wise and prudent. It was politically savvy.
- It may have been politically savvy, but it was spiritually disastrous. And there we gain great insight. It’s a life lesson.
- There is a vast difference between the so-called wisdom of the world and the wisdom that comes from God.
A. The world’s wisdom is foolishness to God
- Solomon was doing what many kings did in that day. It was considered wise because it built alliances.
- But God had said in His word that this was not good, because it would draw the king’s heart away from God.
- What we know of Solomon’s life is that this was just the beginning. Solomon took many wives for himself and ultimately it led to great trouble in his life.
1 Kings 11:1-2, Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.
- God’s wisdom is proven right. There is a way that seems right to men, but God’s ways are better because God’s way leads to life.
Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
- God has much to say about marriage that is wise.
2 Corinthians 6:14, Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…
- But that’s just one example, the wisdom of the world and following one’s own wisdom is what gets people into trouble. God’s wisdom is greater and leads to great blessings and favor.
1 Corinthians 3:19-20, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the One who catches the wise in their craftiness” and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”
B. What you desire is what you pursue
- Verse 5 – When Solomon went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.”
- What would you say if God asked you that same question? What would you ask for? What is it you truly desire?
- That may seem like one of those “if you had three wishes, what would you ask for” type of question, but it’s a very important and serious question.
- Many would look back and realized that what they asked for was too small.
- I think also that people could easily ask for things they later would wish they had never asked for at all.
- I submit that we are – right now – pursuing what we desire. If you stop and think about it, you are right now in the pursuit of your desires. Therefore, what you desire has everything to do with who you will become.
- I’m also convinced that if you and I desire God that He will transform our desires. In other words, when you grow in faith and maturity in Christ, your very desires also are transformed.
Psalm 37:4-5, Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.
- If you ask people who are being transformed by the Lord, what they now desire, they will tell you that what they desire now that is very different than what they desired back then, before they were transformed. In other words, God has changed their desires.
Illus – I know people who used to have great desires for worldly success, but now want to make a difference for God. Their desires are new.
II. In Wisdom, Ask God for Much
- When God asked Solomon what he wished God to give him, he recognized his insufficiency. He knew he was inadequate for what he had been called to do, and so he asked God for wisdom.
- He asked for an understanding heart so that he would be able to judge the people of Israel to discern good and evil.
- In other words, there was good and godly purpose to what he asked.
- What is the good and godly purpose in your life? Do need God’s wisdom to do it? If not, ask for something higher and greater!
A. God’s wisdom is a great treasure
- How precious is wisdom? God’s word says it is more precious than great riches.
Proverbs 16:16, How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
Illus – Imagine a man who was both wealthy and very wise. He has an abundance of both. You then ask him to choose what he must give up, his wealth or his wisdom. I can absolutely assure you – without a question in my heart – that any man who is wise will answer; a man may lose his wealth, but he must have his wisdom.
Proverbs 23:23, Buy truth, and do not sell it; get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Proverbs 4:7, The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.
Solomon knew he needed wisdom to fulfill his calling. The same is true for you and me. You can’t do whatever you are called to do without the wisdom of God, for without it, you may begin well, but you most certainly won’t end well.
The wisdom of God, the Word of God, is of great value because of what it does in your life!
Psalm 19:7-11, The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb… In keeping them there is great reward.
B. Learn to discern – applying God’s Word
- Solomon asked for an understanding heart to discern between good and evil.
- Wisdom is taking the Word of God and then applying it correctly. That’s discernment. How does that happen?
- First, by growing in the knowledge of God’s Word, and secondly; by having the heart of God. In other words, having God’s word written on your heart.
- Why both? Because knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. You need more than knowledge; you need the heart and character of God.
Illus – How do you get wisdom? You get some wisdom just by the experiences of life; touch a hot burner and you’ll get burned. Lesson learned.
But what you and I need is the discernment that comes from the knowledge of the truth and by asking God for the wisdom to apply it.
James 1:5, 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.
Illus – If your wife asks if you like her new outfit and you think, hmm… not so much. That’s a good time to cry out to God for wisdom! “You do more for that dress than it does for you,” saith the one who is wise.
- We need to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word, because God’s Word contains the wisdom of God.
2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- That leads us then to having our senses trained to discern good and evil. That comes from putting the wisdom of God into practice.
Hebrews 5:13-14, Everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
C. Don’t just have wisdom; live by it
- First, choose which wisdom you will follow, man’s wisdom or God’s wisdom. Because each will bring different results.
- If you submit a question to both worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom, you will get very different answers.
- Once you decide you would rather have God’s wisdom than man’s wisdom, you must then choose to live by that wisdom.
- Having wisdom and living by wisdom are not the same thing. Knowing the right thing to do and then doing it may be two different things entirely.
Illus – In the same way, a person can have intelligence and not use it…. I was thinking of some examples. What comes to mind are questions lawyers ask witnesses on the stand. These are actual questions as recorded by court reporters…
Attorney: How was your first marriage terminated?
Witness: By death…
Attorney: And by whose death was a terminated?
Witness: Take a guess.
Attorney: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
Witness: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
Attorney: Can you describe the individual?
Witness: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Attorney: Was this a male or female?
Witness: Unless the Circus was in town, I’m going with male.
Solomon received great wisdom from God and didn’t always use it. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Matthew 7:24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
- And that is the greatest truth of all; the one who hears the words of Christ and acts on them is the one who is wise. This is because Jesus is the wisdom of God.
Colossians 2:2-3, Attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- You draw near to Jesus and you will have the wisdom of God and the heart of God as well.
1 Kings 3:1-15 NASB
1 Now Solomon [a]formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days.
3 Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he was sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, because that was the great high place; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”
6 Then Solomon said, “You have shown great faithfulness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in [b]truth, righteousness, and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have [c]reserved for him this great faithfulness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 And now, Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am like a little boy; I do not know how to [d]go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. 9 So give Your servant [e]an understanding heart to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil. For who is capable of judging this [f]great people of Yours?”
10 Now [g]it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself [h]a long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words. 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. 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. 14 And if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.”
15 Then Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and made peace offerings, and held a feast for all his servants.