-REAL WISDOM: What Does It Take?
Intelligence can certainly be a curse when it comes to knowing God and pleasing Him.Solomon was the wisest man on earth apart from the Lord Himself, and yet he made some very foolish decisions. God said that Solomon “was wiser than all men” (1Ki. 4:31). The Queen of Sheba tested him with hard questions, and came to this conclusion: “Indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard” (1 Ki. 10:7). God used Solomon to build the temple that David his father had wanted to build. God appeared to him twice and the second time He told him, “Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever” (1 Ki. 9:4-5). Yet Solomon was not faithful to God, and late in his life began to worship the gods of his foreign wives, setting the stage for Israel’s descent into the worship of foreign gods. What was this intelligent king thinking? We aren’t told what he thought of as he began worshiping other gods, but he certainly wasn’t showing much intelligence or wisdom.
Paul seems to be an exception to the rule that intelligence tends to cause us to walk by sight and not by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). That is, our natural inclination is to walk by what makes sense and not by what God tells us, especially when His words don’t make sense. If we are going to walk by faith and not by sight, not everything in life is going to make logical sense. It didn’t make sense for Abraham to offer his son on an altar, but he was willing to do it. It didn’t make sense that our Savior would die for us instead of having us die for Him. Circumstances of life don’t always make sense. Job didn’t know why he was suffering. Joseph didn’t know why he was in prison. Sarah didn’t know why she was childless. All these things make sense now, but they didn’t then.
I do not believe that we have to quit thinking to believe God. I am convinced that a logical person will understand that if the Bible is true, nothing else matters. And if it is not true, nothing matters. There is no other religion or philosophy that gets its teaching from One who is eternal and who knows what eternity is all about. Therefore, there is certainly nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing that God is the author of the Bible, and that He has revealed Himself and His will to us through it.
But that doesn’t mean that we will understand every aspect of creation, or that we will understand all of the suffering in the world. I will never understand why I was born in the comforts of the United States while others were born into adversity in third world countries. But even though we can’t understand or explain such things, we can believe that God wants us to worship Him when things make sense, and even more so when they don’t.
I suspect that when Solomon, in all his wisdom, began experimenting with the worship of other gods, he liked some aspects of that worship. He likely felt he was being generous and compassionate when he allowed his wives to worship their gods instead of his God. But ultimately he seems to have concluded that those gods were real gods that deserved worship. He went after gods which God said are not gods (1 Ki. 11:5; 2 Ki. 19:18). How could he be called intelligent and wise when he did that?
I guess I’d rather be considered unintelligent and end up in heaven, than intelligent and end up in hell. I’d rather be considered unintelligent and worship God faithfully according to His will, than intelligent and lose my desire to do what the Lord says, even when I think He could have done things better if He had just done them differently.
The really wise person will trust the Lord and do what He says.
By Bruce Collins
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org
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