Solomon’s request for wisdom pleased God so much that He promised Solomon wealth also. And he acquired that wealth through wisdom.
You could say that Solomon had the “Midas touch” but it wasn’t through magic that he acquired his wealth. He put the wisdom he received from God to work. I had never realized this before but Solomon was a ‘horse trader’. The last verse in our reading today says so. “Likewise through them these were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria” (verse 17b).
God granted Solomon enormous wisdom. He shares a LOT of it with us in Proverbs, but that is still a while away. For his people of the time, his wisdom improved their lot in life too. Through shrewd trading and gifts for his services precious materials flooded the market in Jerusalem. This would actually drive the price of goods higher. When money is devalued it takes more of it to purchase the item you desire. Or it takes trading for something else of greater value. Items never before attainable now abound in Jerusalem.
This didn’t spill over into ALL the cities of Israel but it would have had a trickle-down effect for the rest of Solomon’s people. The cities with chariots now became ‘advertisers’ for the king. They had something special on display that drew buyers to the king. I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that they received compensation for this ‘traffic’.
Another great consequence for Solomon’s shrewd trading is that it brought the price of the Temple within reach. We will see more on that process tomorrow but today’s insight into Solomon’s wealth directly impacts the building process. “And the king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shep-helah” (verse 15). Jerusalem overflowed in at least three of the essential building supplies for the Temple.
This preparation reminds me of how God supplied Israel with what they would need before He commissioned the Tabernacle. Before leaving Egypt, the Hebrews asked for gold, silver, clothes and jewels from their Egyptian neighbors. And God moved the people’s hearts to pour into Israel’s skirts an abundance of all these things. When God called for His Tabernacle to be built, the Israelites generously of what they had received. They could have said, “I worked hard for this! I’m not giving it away.” But they didn’t. They KNEW that God had moved the people’s hearts and freely given them this wealth so they freely gave it back to Him.
The people in Jerusalem KNEW that the wealth they had received was from God’s hand through Solomon so they would freely give also. God built His Temple as surely as He would build His Tabernacle.
The sad part is that this wealth would change Solomon. Solomon began to like nice things. He liked what his wealth bought. He especially liked ‘who’ his wealth bought. In time he would wind up worshiping the gifts over the Giver. But that too is a lesson for another day.
God’s gift of wisdom was/is not limited to Solomon. Solomon provides us with an example of a woman who also uses the wisdom of God. Women today still seek to emulate her. She is the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31. God prospered this woman because she put Him first. His gifts of wisdom are not tied to material wealth. He gives us spiritual wisdom which is FAR more valuable. We are told in James 1:5 we are told to ask for wisdom from God. “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” God is waiting to give wisdom to those who will seek it. He doesn’t promise you ‘Solomon type riches’ with the wisdom but He will bless those who seek Him and His wisdom.
Father God, I NEED YOUR wisdom! I need it daily in my life. Not to make me ‘rich’ but to help me in understanding the world around me. I need it to help me in my daily choices. To be able to discern where a path might lead without walking halfway down it and find it drew me away from You and Your will. I need it to understand how to apply the principles of Your word in my life. I need EVERY PART of my life filled with Your wisdom! Even how I train my dog. I give it ALL to You. Thank You for all Your insights along the way. Keep them coming Father!