Greater Than Solomon in The Wonder of His Wisdom
Solomon is the human expression of wisdom desired and bestowed. In 1 Kings chapter three the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give thee.” His answer is worthy of note, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in … give Thy servant an understanding heart.” To this request God replied, “Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold I have done according to thy words: Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.”
This wisdom which was divinely bestowed on King Solomon was soon put to the test as the remainder of this chapter reveals. Without going into the details it should be observed that the king called for a sword, suggesting that the living child over whom the two mothers disputed, should be divided in two and a portion given to each of the mothers. The real mother said, “O my lord, give her the living child and in no wise slay it.” Then the king said, “Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.”
In 1 Kings 10 the Queen of Sheba (called the “Queen of the south” in Matthew 12:42) came to visit Solomon, having heard of his fame concerning the name of the Lord, and she plied him with hard questions. When she had seen all Solomon’s wisdom there was no more spirit in her. She further confessed, “It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes have seen it: and behold the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.”
While there is much that was divinely approved in the life of Solomon, for “all the earth sought to Solomon to hear his wisdom which God put in his heart,” when he was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God. “Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord” (1 Kings 11:6).
We turn from the records of this wise man Solomon and consider the One who stated, “Behold a greater than Solomon is here,” Christ, who is Wisdom personified! The Holy Spirit through Paul affirms Christ to be “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). If we would consider wisdom in the abstract or in the concrete, we must turn to One Person only, even Jesus Christ our Lord. “Never man spake like this Man” was the testimony of the soldiers sent to arrest Him (Jno. 7:46). “He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). The words He spake, “they are spirit and they are life.” The parables that He taught were truly miracles of His wisdom; while the miracles which He wrought were parables of His power.
Wisdom in the Hebrew Scriptures is more than a human endowment: it is more than a divine attribute, it is a person! While some may find difficulty in interpreting “Wisdom” in the Book of Proverbs as applying to Christ because it is a feminine noun, it would be good to remind such that the “red heifer” of Numbers 19 is also feminine: and who would doubt the application there to Christ? It is one of the grandest types of our Lord in Old Testament writ. The context of Proverbs eight brings “love” forcibly before the heart (verse 17). The principle of love is of paramount importance, and we can say, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” Then there is the thought of “seeking.” “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found” (Isa. 55:6). “Wealth” is emphasized too; and Paul reminded the Corinthians, “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). “Righteousness” and “judgment” follow in the train of the preceding principles. Wisdom speaking says, “I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures” (Prov. 8:20-21). Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” It is apparent that wisdom and righteousness walk hand in hand: they were perfectly harmonized in Christ, and He has left us an example that we should follow His steps.
When James penned his Epistle, he too revealed that wisdom and righteousness are closely allied, for in chapter 3 verses 17 to 18 he states, “Wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
While some commentators interpret wisdom here as skill by which the believer may make use of his knowledge: a loftier ideal would be to examine it in light of the Christ of God.
We have stated that Christ is wisdom personified: and He has come from above, and He is pure. Every thought, word and deed of His was wholly in harmony with the Father’s mind, for He claimed, “I do always those things that please Him.” It is “peaceable,” and Christ is designated “The Lord of Peace” (2 Thess. 3:16). He was never alarmed or dismayed. Peace was His in view of His mission to earth; it was His throughout that mission; and when He finished the work, that peace remained undisturbed. He assigned to His followers peace, saying, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.” This wisdom is “gentle.” Never at any time did our Lord injure anyone. He could take the children in His arms, saying, “Suffer little children to come unto Me.” This wisdom is “easy to be entreated.” Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus and besought Him that He would come into his house. This ruler had only one daughter and she lay dying. Christ responded to the request for He was easy to be entreated, and He raised the girl to health. This wisdom is “full of mercy and good fruits.” It is true that the woman in Matthew 15 sought mercy of the Lord, but her approach was wrong. She was a Gentile, and had no claim on Him as “Son of David” for she cried “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David.” When she took her rightful place as a Gentile, then Christ bestowed upon her the blessing she craved, her daughter was made whole. Wisdom is “without partiality” as revealed in Christ. No matter the need He was ready to meet it, whether it was in a Hebrew or a Gentile. He met the need of Nicodemus in John three and of the woman of Sychar in John four. Impartiality is confirmed in the usage of the word “whosoever”; and the glorious invitation of John 7:37, “If any man thirst, let his come unto Me and drink,” reveals how impartial He was. The seventh factor is as important as the six preceding ones; it is “without hypocrisy.” The Christ of God was wholly transparent. With Him there was no duplicity; for if there was one thing more than another He detested, it was hypocrisy. In Matthew 23 Christ seven times over, speaking of the scribes and Pharisees, designated them “hypocrites.”
The Book of Ecclesiastes (9:13-18) gives us a lovely little parable. The little city — this earth — was taken, and the conqueror consolidated his position by an army of occupation, holding the inmates in bondage. There appeared in the city “a poor wise man,” and he by his wisdom delivered the city. No human strategy could have conceived a plan of liberation. This poor, wise man, “by his wisdom” delivered the city. What a triumph was that of Christ at Calvary!
“By what might seem defeat,
He won the meed and crown:
Trod all our foes beneath His feet
By being trodden down.”
There is a sorrowful anticlimax to this story, “The poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.”
In Solomon we have wisdom and peace manifested. In our Lord Jesus Christ these great principles are seen in perfection. Solomon made a good start, but made a bad finish. Our adorable Lord is ‘par excellence’ in every principle enunciated in our study. In wisdom there is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ: in peace there is the present enjoyment of all that Christ has secured for God and for us. He is superlative! In Him there is no trace of failure for at the end of that pathway of obedience unto Him who sent Him, He stated, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do.” Truly, “the half has not been told.” Behold a greater than Solomon!