“And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.”
(1 Kings 4:30-33)
King Solomon is arguably the greatest king in Israel’s monarchy. Though his love for God did not match that of his father, David, God nevertheless blessed Solomon and his realm in ways that stagger the imagination. At no other time in Israel’s history did the nation’s borders extend so far, nor was there ever such widespread peace and prosperity as when Solomon sat on the throne. As today’s verse passage reminds us, Solomon was uniquely gifted by God with supernatural wisdom, knowledge, and insight. God was pleased to bless Solomon and all his realm not only for the sake of David, with whom God established an everlasting covenant, but because Solomon specifically asked for wisdom when he could have asked God for literally anything (1 Kings 3:5-14). Solomon is so great, in fact, that the Lord Jesus actually compared Himself to him. “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation,” declared the Lord, “and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). What an honor to be mentioned by the Lord, let alone being compared to Him! Nevertheless, the best of men are men at best. Solomon began to drift in his thinking; God became less and less his focus (1 Kings 11:1-6). Today’s passage mentions the things that people came to hear Solomon speak about. Conspicuous for its absence is any mention of God. Like many of today’s doctors, scientists, philosophers, and just common folk, Solomon began to focus on specific items in his human experience without reference to the One who stands behind those items, the One Who makes proper interpretation of all things possible. It is not wrong, of course, to focus our attention on a specific area of investigation or strive for proficiency in a particular skill. Pursuing such things can be extremely enjoyable and extremely rewarding. We must never, however, forget the Creator and Sustainer of all these things. It is God Who has lovingly granted us the necessary pre-conditions for profitable research and proficiency at the things that fascinate and thrill us; it is God Who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). As we pursue the things that interest us today, let us remember our God Who has shown such favor to even us, His fallen but redeemed image-bearers.