The concept of wisdom is understood differently by many. It is associated with matters of intellectual ability. It takes a practical approach being equated with mature insight with sound judgment based upon experience. The wisdom in the life of King Solomon led him to be declared “wealthier and wiser” than any of the kings of the earth. (1 Kings 10:27). But it also has its limitations and dangers.
One night early in the days of his reign Solomon had a dream in which the Lord appeared to him and said, “Tell me what I should give you” (1 Kings 3:5). In Solomon’s reply he emphasized both the Lord’s faithfulness and his own inexperience, and so requested of the Lord, “Give your servant a discerning mind so he can make judicial decisions for your people and distinguish right from wrong” (1 Kings 3:9). “A discerning mind” is literally, “a hearing heart.” The word hearing is also often associated with obeying. The clear implication is that Solomon understood that his ability to distinguish right from wrong depended on his own faithfulness to keep God’s commandments. Wisdom would them come from hearing God’s words and will within God’s precepts.
Remember King David, also had instructed his son: “Do the job the Lord your God has assigned you by following his instructions and obeying his rules, commandments, regulations, and laws as written in the Law of Moses. Then you will succeed in all you do and seek to accomplish” (1 Kings 2:3, 1 Chronicles 22:11-13; 28:20). It was advice that Solomon would need to follow as king throughout his entire reign. Solomon was still yet a boy. This instruction to Solomon had been preceded by David’s charge to his son to display true strength of character and genuine manhood: “I am about to die. Be strong and become a man” (1 Kings 2:3).
David’s challenge echoes a familiar phrase that is all throughout the Scriptures. David knew well by experience that this was the proper course of life–for only by doing so, had he been blessed with God’s protection and deliverance.
Much earlier Moses had admonished Joshua with a similar challenge. It was imperative for Joshua to keep the law of the Lord: This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful” (Josh. 1:8).
Later the Apostle Paul would encouraged the Corinthian Christians saying, “Be alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). Whether in Old Testament or New Testament, the believer was urged to so conduct himself in his walk with God’s law and principles. With that God’s will and God’s work became our all-consuming passion.