The Gift of Wisdom


The Gift of Wisdom

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Revival: Stronger Than Ever / Wisdom; Prayer / 2 Chronicles 1:6–12

 2 Chronicles 1:7-12

If you place a Christian in trouble you will find that he does not want gold then—that he does not want carnal honor—then he wants his God. I suppose he is like the sailor. When he sails along smoothly he loves to have fair weather, and wants this and that to amuse himself with on deck. But when the winds blow, all that he wants is the haven. He does not desire anything else. The biscuit may be moldy, but he does not care. The water may be brackish, but he does not care. He does not think of it in the storm. He only thinks about the haven then.

It is just so with the Christian. When he is going along smoothly he wants this and that comfort; he is aspiring after this position, or is wanting to obtain this and that elevation. But let him once doubt his interest in Christ—let him once get into some soul distress and trouble, so that it is very dark—and all he will feel then is, “With my soul have I desired Thee in the night” (Isa 26:9).

When the child is put upstairs to bed it may lie while the light is there, and look at the trees that shake against the window, and admire the stars that are coming out. But when it gets dark and the child is still awake, it cries for its parent. It cannot be amused by anything else.

So in daylight the Christian will look at anything. He will cast his eyes around on this pleasure and on that! But, when the darkness gathers, it is “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you far from helping me, far from the words of my groaning?” (Ps 22:1)

Charles Spurgeon, 300 Sermon Illustrations from Charles Spurgeon, ed. Elliot Ritzema and Lynnea Smoyer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017).

This morning we are going to discover the path that leads us to find solace in the storm. We are going to discover where to go in our quest in order to obtain save harbor in the Gift of Wisdom.

We are learning lessons these days about how to restart our lives after being shut down by a national crisis.

Our teacher during this series is an ancient scribe named Ezra. Ezra described himself as “a scribe skilled in the law of Moses.” 

After 70 years of exile in Babylon, and being set free to restart their nation, Ezra compiled a selective account of the history of his people. We call his account, “The Book of Chronicles.”

In it, Ezra teaches scores of lessons from the lives of kings on what to do and what not to do when you get a change to do things over.

REVIEW

Last week, we learned another lesson from David, this one was about faith.

We learned that God relents when we repent. And that repentance involves remorse for our wrongs and turning towards what’s right, and giving something costly to God.

Today, we are going to learn a lesson from Solomon about wisdom. 

PREMISE

The Bible says that, apart from Jesus Christ, Solomon was the wisest man in history.

You’ve turned to 2 Chronicles 1, but I’m going to start in 1 Kings 4. Listen as it describes Solomon’s wisdom:

1 Kings 4:29–34 KJV

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 

And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 

For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 

And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 

And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 

And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

When you study the life of Solomon, you quickly realize he did many things wrong. But Ezra is writing to encourage us. So he’s going to talk about what Solomon did right. And what Solomon did right benefited an entire nation.

What he did right started in the very first year of his reign. 

Solomon was replacing his personal hero, David. David was the greatest king in Israel’s history. 

As he thought out how to begin his kingship, Solomon did something we might not have thought of. He went to Israel’s holiest place, a mountain not far from his home. He took with him 1,000 sheep, goats and cattle. He built a fire on an altar, and he made a thousand-animal-offering to God.

As a result, God appeared to Solomon and changed his life.

CONTEXT

Solomon was 14 years old when he did this. 

He wasn’t the youngest king to rule Israel, but whether you’re 7, 8, 14, or 40, becoming king is a daunting assignment.

If you’ve ever felt small and helpless, if you’ve ever wondered if you could do the thing you were being asked to do, if you’ve ever wished your dad or somebody else was there to help you with the task you’ve been given, you know what Solomon was feeling that day. 

Solomon found himself responsible and caring for 2 million people who all needed leadership, care, and protection.

This was the biggest assignment of his life, so he makes the biggest sacrifice he can imagine. One after another, 1,000 herd animals are slaughtered and hoisted onto the altar. One after another, their ashes rise upward to God.

The Quest Starts at The Altar

2 Chronicles 1:6 KJV

And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.

Christ is our Final Sacrifice

Hebrews 7:27 KJV

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

Hebrews 9:28 KJV

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Believers are to Offer a Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1–2 KJV

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Hebrews 13:15 KJV

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

The Quest Requires a Choice

2 Chronicles 1:7 KJV

In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.

You Could Choose Selfish Ambition

1 John 2:16–17 KJV

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

You Could Choose The Glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:23 KJV

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

The Quest Requires Humility

Acknowledge God’s Grace

2 Chronicles 1:8–9 KJV

And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. 

Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.

Acknowledge Your Need

1 Kings 3:7 KJV

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

James 1:5 KJV

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

2 Chronicles 1:10 KJV

Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?

The Quest Ends With the Gift of Wisdom

2 Chronicles 1:11–12 KJV

And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: 

Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

Ezra, who is telling us this story, is teaching us a lesson about rebooting our lives. He’s saying, “The best way to have a fulfilled life, is to follow God’s purpose for your life. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all the things you’re hoping for will be added to you as well.”

SOLOMON

On the day of Solomon’s sacrifice, he was starting his life over. Once he was a prince, now he is a king. Princes can play. Kings must lead. 

So Solomon asks for this incredible thing called wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing facts and figures and principles.

Wisdom is knowing what to do with those facts and figures and principles.

Knowledge is about information.

Wisdom is about application. It’s about knowing what to do in every situation.

TRANSITION

If you can find the time this afternoon, read through the next eight chapters and you’ll discover some incredible things that happened as a result of the wisdom of Solomon.

For instance, right here in chapter 1, v. 14, Ezra tells us:

2 Chronicles 1:14 KJV

And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

Those numbers might not mean much to you, but 1,400 chariots was a lot of chariots. When Pharaoh with his vast army came riding after Moses and the children of Israel, he only had 600 chariots. – Solomon knew that if God blessed his country, he’d need a strong military to defend it.

The next verse says…

2 Chronicles 1:15 KJV

And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance.

Solomon knew how to generate wealth. 

2 Chronicles 1:1–2 KJV

AND Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly. 

Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers.

Solomon knew the importance of having a place for people to worship God.

Solomon knew how to assign labor to build that place. Solomon’s wisdom endowed Israel with the most incredible temple or worship in the world.

Chapters 3 through 8 describe how Solomon built that Temple, and how he fortified the cities of Israel, and how he settled people in those cities so that all of Israel prospered.

Flip forward to chapter 9 and you’ll see this description:

2 Chronicles 9:13–14 KJV

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; 

Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.

THE POINT

The point Ezra is making is this: Wisdom is a great gift!

– Israel experienced fantastic blessings as a result of Solomon’s wisdom.

– Israel became the wealthiest nation in the world. 

– Her people enjoyed safety on all their borders.

And the whole world experienced blessing as a result of Solomon’s prayers.

APPLICATION

Ezra is teaching us a lesson about wisdom. If you want to start your life over and live it at a higher level, you need wisdom. Wisdom is one of God’s greatest gifts.

Proverbs 8:11 KJV

For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Whatever you desire: money, sex, power. Thrills, achievements, recognition. Wisdom is better than them all.

So if you want to recover well, or maybe your life didn’t get shut down during this crisis, and you just want to live on a higher level, here are four steps to take. You can live a better life from here forward:

1. Make a burnt offering. 2 Chronicles 1:6

Declare a do-over, by building an altar somewhere, – maybe in your heart – and climbing onto it. Offer yourself 1,000 times over to God. Give Him your possessions and your position, your rights and your hopes, your goals and your dreams.

“Say, Lord, here I am. All I have is yours; and all I am, is yours.”

The second thing to do to live at a higher level is…

2. Ask God for wisdom. 2 Chronicles 1:10

The book of James says…If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God – who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly – and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Once you’ve asked for wisdom, continue to grow in wisdom. You do that by reading the book of Proverbs.

3. Pursue wisdom by reading the book of Proverbs.

There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, which means you could read the whole book in one month by reading one chapter a day. Billy Graham did that for over 70 years of his life.

Every day, read the Proverb of the day. Every month, you’ll grow in wisdom. 

REVIEW

Make a   burnt offering.

Ask for   wisdom.Pursue   wisdom. 

And then…

4. Walk in wisdom. 

Proverbs 13:20 KJV

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:57 PM November 20, 2020.

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