Solomon’s Respect for Wisdom


Solomon's Dream - where he is given wisdom
Solomon’s Respect for Wisdom
Image:Solomon's Dream - where he is given wisdom

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If you read today’s Terce Reading you will know that Solomon had a great respect for Wisdom, so much so that when God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’ Solomon asked for Wisdom and God granted his request. Yet Solomon is the man who wrote:

“… I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”- Ecclesiastes 1:17-18
“Then I thought in my heart, ‘The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?’ I said in my heart, ‘This too is meaningless.’”- Ecclesiastes 2:15

What is this all about? There are 2 types of Wisdom, there is human wisdom and then there is God’s wisdom.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”- Isaiah 55:9

Why was Solomon so down on wisdom in Ecclesiastes? Well Ecclesiastes is one long involved commentary on life. And Solomon had an agenda in this book. He starts out talking about things that are desirable in this world. Things like Wisdom, Pleasure, Success, Wealth (and more). He points out that all those things are good in their own way. But at the end of his discussion on all those “desirable things” he says, “It’s all vanity… it’s empty… it’s worthless. And he starts out focusing on the one gift for which he was known: wisdom.

His intention in Ecclesiastes is to show that wisdom – without God – is vain and empty. “… Like the fool, the wise too must die!” In other words, wisdom alone cannot spare you sorrow or grief. Wisdom by itself cannot spare you from death. Wisdom has a great many advantages. But without God there is little to protect us from the despair and the fears of life… and from the fear of death. Even the wisest man faces sorrow and despair. Even the wisest men die!

It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. - 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)

Yes, because it is in Jesus that we gain the wisdom of God, we have hope, and death has no sting. In Jesus, God has given us the power to face what we could never face without Him. This world can be harsh and cruel and difficult to handle at times, but in Jesus we have the power of redemption and resurrection.