Saturday, July 21, 2012

The wisdom and knowledge that matters

I am reading through 1 Kings which recounts the life of King Solomon. He was reknown for his great wisdom, learning, and knowledge. It is striking to me that the character of this quite different to what we associate with wisdom, learning, and knowledge today. It certainly does mention his knowledge of the natural world (1 Kings 4):

29  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore,30 so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. ....  33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish.34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

But, Solomon's request to the LORD was:

 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
(1Kings 3:9) 

After he passed judgement concerning the two women claiming to be both the mother of a child:

28 And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.

In relation to the Queen of Sheba. "Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her."
(1 Kings 10:3).

Her response is noteworthy:

 Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”

Knowledge of the natural world and traditional scholarship (philosophy, literature, history,...) is valuable. But, the real "wisdom" that matters to God is the justice and righteousness of God. This "wisdom" makes worldly wisdom look "foolish".

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