If you know of Solomon, you know of the Bible’s wisest man. You might even know of the day he offered to divide a baby between two bickering women.
No … really. He was going to DIVIDE the baby.
The real mother offered to give the whole child away, and Solomon knew immediately that the baby belonged to her. And so he awarded custody of the very undivided child to the correct woman. The story spread, and the nation knew that its new king had a really good head on his shoulders.
So back up a few steps and see what had just happened to the young king.
As Solomon took the reigns of leadership, he was overwhelmed with the task. So he went to Gibeon to pray.
This was a big deal, this prayer retreat at Gibeon. There was a great “high place” there, and Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar. You can read all of this in 1 Kings 3. Gibeon was an important city in ancient history and not far from Jerusalem. It was the place where God had caused the sun to stand still as Joshua finished an important battle. Solomon’s father David had his own history there. Now Solomon knelt at Gibeon, asking only for wisdom from the God who could have given him anything.
God was so pleased with the humble request, He gave the new king wisdom, long life, peace and prosperity.
It was only a few days before he was dividing contesting mothers by offering to split a baby in half.
Don’t miss what happened in between those two events!
It happens so quickly, it’s easy to miss. Whatever you do, don’t miss this simple detail! … (Solomon) returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court. (1 Kings 3:15)
The first smart move of the world’s wisest king?
He returned to Jerusalem and worshipped there.
Let’s rephrase that.
He remembered what God had commanded and he obeyed.
God had already asked for the people to worship at Jerusalem, and Jerusalem only. Every king that ruled over the nation would struggle with alternate places of worship scattered all around Israel. But the ultimate place of worship had already been determined. God had already set aside Jerusalem. One day the world’s most important story would play out in Jerusalem. From God’s point of view, it was critically important that Jerusalem be set aside like the perfect stage waiting on the ultimate play.
Gibeon was a place where people worshipped, but it was not the right place.
So Solomon returned to Jerusalem. From that day forward, Solomon would worship where God had instructed him to worship.
This carries a wonderful lesson for us. Do you want to be wise? Do you long to make great decisions that will benefit you all your life?
Then go back, see what God has commanded, and do that.
The culture around you will surely rush from idea to idea, from immorality to immorality, from new fad to new fad, always looking for … something.
All the while, wisdom waits in the Word of God.
Read those words every day. Memorize them. Understand them.
Do what those words command.
Wisdom will arrive for you, as surely as it arrived for young Solomon.
I know, I know … Solomon married hundreds of women and allowed his heart to be drawn away from God. By the end of his life there were lots of places of pagan worship within sight of the great Temple. He had allowed their construction. The foreign women and their foreign ideas turned out to be his downfall. It was the end of a really good thing. For as soon as Solomon died, the kingdom crumbled.
Why? Because Solomon had done the very things that God had told him not to do. He had become the dumbest wise man you’ll ever meet.
That’s his life. He threw away the kingdom by making poor decisions.
This is your life. Wisdom awaits.
All you’ve got to do is do what God has already asked you to do.
So do that today.