I have often ruminated in the proverbs over the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, qualities for the soul to attain and develop or so I think. But when texts like the following appear something foundational to these qualities seem to elude me:
“ Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you.” (2 Chron.1:10-12)
This text accounts Solomon’s prayer to God for aid in ruling Israel. The proverbs often speak of wisdom and knowledge being superior to anything else one may desire or possess. Why? Because it comes from fearing the LORD (Prov.1:7); it is true treasure (Prov.8:11) not riches, wealth, honor, revenge nor a long life.
That which is so dear to our society is shown to be vain by this text for it is fleeting and in the end incapable of satisfying our deepest longings and desires. To rule the people of God Solomon understood that he needed nothing less than the all-knowing God’s wisdom—the proper application of knowledge for the flourishing of a thing or person according to its divine design.
When I prepared to do a seminar on “Darwin, Design & Origins” I was both nervous and perplexed at the amount of study and preparation I needed to execute. But Solomon’s prayer is an insightful model of asking God for these qualities and rigorously applying oneself to the task of said acquisition. Consider the following texts:
“Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.” (Prov.10:14)
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov.12:1)
“My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.” (Prov.2:1-5)
We see here that hard work is indispensable and nevertheless through it knowledge and wisdom are granted. That is, God is the source of that which is given even if we (and we must) labor rigorously.
We’re so desperate for you LORD God in our lives, our hearts may fail but nevertheless you remain faithful and true. Often we are derailed from fixing our eyes upon you yet this is not hidden from your sight. Our passions, sloth and the resulting misery have brought us low. Yet, for your Names sake lift us up so that we might enjoy the delights purchased for your children by your son. For the sake of your renown give us wisdom and knowledge to rule well in the lot apportioned for us.