Listening to advice

Although we largely remember Solomon as a wise king, when we read about the impression his people had of him, we see that it was not all favorable. After he died, his son Rehoboam became the next king.

“Rehoboam traveled to Shechem, for all Israel had gathered in Shechem to make Rehoboam king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news, he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. Jeroboam returned from Egypt. They sent for him, and Jeroboam and all Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, ‘Your father made us work too hard! Now if you lighten the demands he made and don’t make us work as hard, we will serve you.’ He said to them, ‘Go away for three days, then return to me.’ So the people went away.” (2 Chronicles 10:1-5 NET)

We quickly get the impression that Solomon, although a wise king, had been a harsh ruler. He had spent twenty years in building his palace and the temple following which he continued with further building projects. These had taken their toll on the people, both through taxation as well as forced labor (see 2 Chronicles 8). As a result, Israel was now a powder keg, waiting to be ignited. Continue reading “Listening to advice”

The meaning of life

It would seem Song of Solomon was written when Solomon was a young man, Proverbs in his middle age, and many would see Ecclesiastes being written in his later life. That it was written by Solomon is seen in the opening verse: “The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1 NET). Although some question Solomon’s authorship, if we accept this as being from the Holy Spirit, then it must be a son of David who was king, and the internal evidence fits Solomon well.

Like many who reach an older age, Solomon seemed to be disillusioned with life. Notice what he says: “‘Futile! Futile!’ laments the Teacher. ‘Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He had lived a long life and what was there to show for it? Everything continued as it always had: generations come and go, the sun rises and sets, streams flow into the sea but never fill it, there is nothing new that ever happens. Even what is done will be forgotten in future generations. Continue reading “The meaning of life”

The knowledge of God

Let us never forget that the essence of the Way is the knowledge of God. Any hint to the contrary ought to be promptly rejected. By knowledge is meant both knowing about God and knowing God intimately. One can have the former without the latter, but never the latter without the former. Mystics might affirm communion without the facts, and postmodernists may think relationship possible without objective truth, because they place religion on separate plane from normal life, but the incarnation of Jesus Christ sweeps away their fuzziness.

The wisdom of God has been brought down to earth. Of course, it was always practical, always present for man to grasp, but in the Lord Jesus it was internalized and manifested in a new way. God’s word has always been sharp, clear, and pragmatic. His counsel to Cain, early on in human history, serves as a prime example. Continue reading “The knowledge of God”

Solomon’s proverbs

Solomon is known for his proverbs. Most proverbs are short, compact statements that express a truth about human behavior. Most of the proverbs use two contrasting phrases which compare two ideas, usually wisdom and foolishness (or folly). It is thought by many that Solomon wrote his proverbs in the middle of his life and the book of Proverbs is presented as the wisdom of a father that he is giving to his son.

During his reign Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs according to 1 Kings 4:32. Many of these were compiled during his reign. Other, chapters 25-29, are identified as being copied during the days of Hezekiah, hundreds of years later. Continue reading “Solomon’s proverbs”

The wisdom of Solomon

When we think of Solomon’s wisdom, three incidents from his life would readily come to mind as well as the book he wrote that we call ‘Proverbs’. If you recall, he asked for wisdom from God when he began his reign – and God answered that request. We see his wisdom when two women were claiming the same baby. The third incident is the visit by the Queen of Sheba.

“When the queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, she came to challenge him with difficult questions … Solomon answered all her questions; there was no question too complex for the king.” (2 Chronicles 9:1-2 NET) Continue reading “The wisdom of Solomon”

Was this wise?

Was it wise to spend nearly a whole Sunday school quarter focused on pain, suffering and meaninglessness? Apparently so, if success can be measured by the participants’ enthusiasm each Sunday.

Am I correct in perceiving a tendency exists to gravitate toward the positive, uplifting and empowering? If this be the case why would anyone even consider wallowing for an extended time in such things as human suffering? You are probably already ahead of me in this article. Continue reading “Was this wise?”

Time well spent

“If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength, but wisdom brings success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10 NKJV).

I recently watched a man in South Asia cut down a mahogany tree with a hatchet. The tree was probably 20 inches or so in diameter, with a fairly full top, and he climbed up near the top then began trimming branches. When he had it trimmed down to the main trunk only, then he came to the ground and cut it at the roots. Some of the work he did with a crosscut saw, but most was with a hand ax. If you have never tried it, take it from me, that is a hard job. This man did it well, and it did not take a very long time. Continue reading “Time well spent”

Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God

In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding (Proverbs 10:13, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — The words of this proverb are not hard to understand. Wisdom comes from only one of two sources. The source of wisdom is either from God or not-God. There are no other options. Continue reading “Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God”

Wisdom

Christians sometimes moan about the times in which we are living. Everything seems to be going from bad to worse. And then it gets worse than it was. We think we live in the worst times that ever were. Christian often wonder why those around us can’t see their need to change the way they are living and thinking. If seems that one of the things missing in our world is real wisdom.

What is wisdom? Some seem to think that wisdom is simply the accumulation of knowledge. The problem with that type of definition is that you can accumulate loads of knowledge and not have wisdom. Wisdom is a quality which one gets that is based on knowledge, experience and good judgement. As a friend of mine has often said, knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit rather than a vegetable; wisdom is knowing you shouldn’t put it in a fruit salad. Continue reading “Wisdom”

Exceptions that prove the rule

“If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14).

What makes a proverb a proverb is that it is generally true in most cases. This also means there could conceivably be an exception to the rule, but it would only prove the rule.

When Jesus spoke the proverbial statement above, he was warning his disciples not to blindly follow the advice and  attitudes of some of the religious hierarchy of the day because of their hypocrisy. But even he recognized that there are exceptions to it: Continue reading “Exceptions that prove the rule”