cry of wisdom
It was a balmy summer night at a service camp in Louisiana. I was fourteen. I sat in evening chapel listening to the speaker close out the week. It was an open air pavilion with wooden benches that served as pews. The air was hot and sticky. It stunk of aftershave and sweat.
"I challenge you to pick out your favorite Bible character."
The speaker had one hand in his pocket, the other held out a Bible. I think that's the way all Christian speakers present. They put their hands in their pockets a lot, as if to look humble, occasionally gesturing with one hand; attempting to portray humility and authority at the same time. Or, they weren't paying attention in public speaking class.
"Now, think of their defining characteristic. Is it passion, strength, humility, or wisdom?"
I immediately thought of David. The Bible says he was a man after God's own heart. David was filled with passion. He danced to God in his underwear and didn't care who watched. He was a warrior. The people of Israel chanted, "Saul has slayed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands!"
I also thought of Solomon. Growing up, I thought, "If God gave me one wish, it would be the wisdom of Solomon."
The speaker leaned in and spoke softly. "I want you to pray God will give you that characteristic. The rest of your life, I want you to ask God to grow you to be like . . . fill in the blank."
I cheated, I asked for both, and have ever since. God teach me to have the passion and heart of David. I ask for the wisdom of Solomon.
I have also been told to be careful what you pray for. If you pray for patience, God will give you trials to cultivate patience. Pray for peace, He will show you the value of peace, and so on. At fourteen, I hoped it would be magical. I hoped I would suddenly act in wisdom, and pursue life with passion. It didn't happen that way. But, I found myself valuing those characteristics in my life and my response to situations.
I am a very passionate person. I have a drive, I believe naturally. I push too hard many times, and I lack empathy often when I want to accomplish something. I don't think that was the heart of David, and those actions are not always wise. I think David loved life. I believe he was confident and found beauty in everything. He fought fearlessly with a faith that moved mountains.
Initially, I thought Solomon suddenly became wise. He had a dream described in first Kings. God offered to give him whatever he wished. Solomon chose a discerning heart to rule his people with justice. God was pleased with his request and made him one of the greatest kings in the world. But there is more to the story.
When Solomon was born God loved him and instructed Nathan to name him Jedidiah meaning one whom the Lord loves (2 Samuel 12:25). David referred to Solomon as a wise man before God granted him a discerning heart and wisdom (I Kings 2:6). Solomon also saw through a plot hatched by his older brother to take the throne from him through marriage. He had the man executed.
Solomon pursued wisdom in his life long before God granted him a discerning heart and wisdom. It took a wise man to ask God for a discerning heart. Solomon's love for his people, his acknowledgement of his weakness, and his reliance in God, all showed signs of wisdom.
God blessed Solomon. He bestowed him with wisdom and made him one of the greatest kings history has ever known. But Solomon pursued wisdom his whole life. Wisdom is introspection. Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs about wisdom calling in the square, but it is for us to listen.
I always thought it was magically bestowed on Solomon. I now believe he had the heart and desire to accept the gift of wisdom. He requested it out of his love for his people and wisdom.
You and I must practice at wisdom. We must search the scriptures for the heart and will of God. We will mess up, but every time we move closer to the mark. Constant look at our personal and inward lives is required to grow and become wise. When we don't like what we find, we distract ourselves by looking at other's shortcomings.
Continue to grow and develop. Listen for wisdom, she is calling.