The View From Here: Wisdom Comes from God
God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite and the sons of Mahol—Heman, Calcol, and Darda. His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the Wisdom of Solomon. (1 Kings 4:29-34)
That is quite an impressive set of accolades. Not only was Solomon’s wisdom extolled but so was his fame, his writing, his speaking, and his popularity. It is easy in the reciting of all of the accolades to miss the opening two words of the passage—“God gave…” What a difference in the opening years of Solomon’s life when he knew where his wisdom came from and the end of his life where he began to “believe his own press clippings.”
Ministry offers us many opportunities to accumulate accolades. If not formally through awards and recognitions, certainly we can accrue fame and popularity that unchecked can leave us believing that we are as wonderful and impressive as others say we are.
I am reminded of a story about Corrie Ten Boom, the little Polish woman who grew up hiding Jews from the Nazis and spent time in German prison camps for it. After the war and the publishing of her book The Hiding Place she would speak and in response people would heap great compliments on her. She never deflected the compliments in false modesty. She simply said, “thank you” and received the compliment. “I take each remark as if it were a flower. At the end of each day I lift of the bouquet off flowers that I have gathered throughout the day and say, ‘here you are Lord, it’s all Yours.’” (The Five Silent Years of Corrie Ten Boom, page 92)
That kind of humility and perspective never let her forget what James announces: “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father…” (1:17)
Few of us will ever receive the levels of fame and renown that Solomon, but those we do receive are no less a distraction that lead to self-deception. It is with Corrie’s prayer and this truth clearly before us that we are reminded that the source of whatever attention we receive is God…who gave. Leaders seek Wisdom, but they know where Wisdom comes from and readily acknowledge Him.