I’ve been and have been for sometime thinking about the words of James and his instruction on getting wisdom.
As our church has begun to make a serious effort to move forward with purpose, patience, and perseverance one of the things we need the most is wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is the proper application of God’s truth. Wisdom is not simply knowledge, knowledge not applied is simply and purely a waste of that knowledge.
Wisdom is a lofty term, when I think of wisdom I think of the wisdom of Solomon, something that is far beyond my reach. I think to myself if I only had the wisdom of Solomon then I would know exactly what to do!
Let’s think about Solomon. Solomon was the wisest of the wise. His wisdom compared to mine seems to be wisdom on steroids! But was the wisdom that Solomon displayed his own? I’m sure that Solomon truly did have some great natural gifts and abilities. I’m sure intellectually he was a brilliant man. (though later in life he clearly lacked good ole common horse sense)
But let’s stop for a moment and ask a simple but very important question, “Where did Solomon’s wisdom come from?”.
That question brings us back to the book of James. In the opening verses of chapter one James talks about wisdom. He makes this all important statement in verse five “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV)
Back to Solomon for a moment, how did Solomon become so wise? Ready for the answer…he obeyed the Scriptures and he asked God for wisdom. In fact Solomon did exactly what James wrote.
Let’s break down what James said.
There are two key components to what James wrote. First of all James says if any of you lacks wisdom. Think about that for a moment. What is implied in that statement? The implication is that in order to ask for wisdom we have to come to the place, or the understanding that we lack wisdom! If we never acknowledge that we need wisdom it probably won’t ever cross our minds to ask for wisdom! In other words we’re not wise enough to know what we don’t know!
Second Solomon asked for the wisdom he lacked. Solomon was about to take over the throne of his father David, this was a major turning point in his life, this was a defining moment in his life. Each one of us will have a defining moment in our lives and it is at that time that we don’t want to mess things up, we don’t want to make a critical mistake.
What did Solomon do at this critical juncture of his life? He turned to the Lord and he obeyed the words of James and he asked for wisdom. “At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.” (1 Kings 3:5–10 ESV)
Did God answer that prayer? Absolutely! Solomon’s prayer was pleasing to the Lord and He granted Solomon the wisdom he needed and wanted.
How will you and I get the wisdom we need? First of all admit that you do lack wisdom, then ask God for it.
This brings me back to the words of Paul Teutel above. “Sometime you just have to get to the gettin, you know what I mean?”. Whether he realized it or not he was paraphrasing scripture. The Scriptures command us to “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 4:5 ESV) “Sometime you just have to get to the gettin, you know what I mean?”
So are you getting to the gettin?