Solomon, the wisest king to ever reign, says that having more wisdom leads to sorrow. God gave him wisdom to rule Israel, but Solomon sought out even more.
In the early years of Solomon’s reign as king, God appeared to him in a dream. God asked him what he would like to have. Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people. God was VERY pleased with Solomon’s request. He granted that request, and more.
Solomon’s fame began to spread throughout the world regarding his wisdom. Leaders came from far and wide to hear what he had to say, to watch how he ruled the people, and to learn of his wonderous ideas. This wasn’t enough for Solomon though. He wanted to know ALL there was to know.
I’m curious to know how Solomon studied “madness and folly” in his searching. Was he searching for the root causes of these? Was he searching for a ‘cure’ for those who indulged in these? Did he want to experience it for himself? Was he trying to identify those who might be susceptible to these so he could intervene beforehand? Was he looking to establish places of help or ways to keep those exhibiting these out of his kingdom? That would be like trying to strain all the ocean’s sand through a single sifter. Not something that can be done by man!
Whatever his reason or methods, Solomon discovered it was an impossible task and one that didn’t remain done over the seasons of time. His efforts were in vain. He also discovered that, with understanding/wisdom, there is great sorrow. Sorrow over not being able to prevent others from indulging in risky behavior. Sorrow in knowing that others will freely choose to walk away from God. Sorrow in seeing what one man can and will do to another for his own purposes.
The more you show the wisdom you have been gifted with, the more others want you to judge between them or explain things to them. The story of the two women and the one baby is one of my favorites but probably not one of Solomon’s. Having to decide between two distraught women. On this side of the story, we recognize how ‘simple’ the solution was, but Solomon solved the problem without our perspective. However, he had the wisdom God had given him to work with. I wonder if he was sorrowful for the woman who lost her son, or did he feel that her deception didn’t warrant his sorrow. Her answer to splitting the child removed any sorrow I felt for her.
The way Solomon speaks of his search for wisdom and his realization that it “is but a striving after wind” (verse 17b) brings me right back to my original feeling of sorrow or despair in this book. He says that sorrow increases with knowledge, so, I assuming he is meaning in his own life too. The more you know about a situation, the more helpless you feel sometimes. This is what I feel Solomon is saying. It’s NOT easy being the one with all the responsibilities.
It is hard seeing people doing things you KNOW they shouldn’t. Sometimes you (I) want to run over and take away what they are hurting themselves with or take their hand and show them the ‘right’ way to do things, but that doesn’t give them a chance to learn or stand on their own feet. No matter how smart we are or how much wisdom we possess, we cannot live the life of another for them. They have to be allowed to make their own mistakes. It doesn’t make your (my) wisdom any less true or valuable by holding off until invited in. Sometimes waiting is the BEST wisdom of all. Learning when NOT to speak is as valuable a lesson as any other in the world of wisdom.
To Solomon, I would say, just because there is sorrow, and often resistance, wisdom is ALWAYS valuable. It’s the learning how and when to use it that is the greatest lesson. It doesn’t vanish like a vapor. God’s wisdom will endure forever! Even when man refuses to follow it. It is NOT a vapor and it is not “vanity” to search out His wisdom. It is profitable for the soul.
Father God, thank You for Your wisdom. Thank You that I can come to You with my problems. You always listen. Sometimes I’m not ready for a solution yet. In those times, You wait and let me try to figure it out on my own, KNOWING the answer but waiting for me to be ready to receive it. Other times, You bonk me on the head to get my attention and let me know that YOU are ready with help, if I will just stop ‘trying’ to fix it myself.
Guide me daily Holy Spirit as I walk through God’s word. Show me what You would have me learn from our time together. Help me share only what is truly from You and not my imagination. I LOVE spending time with You!