The Wisest Fool

Who is the wisest man in the Old Testament? While many candidates come to mind, King Solomon must rank as a strong contender.

When he began his reign as king of Israel, he was granted any wish by God. Instead of asking for a long life or the demise of his enemies, he asked for wisdom to rule his people. God was very pleased with his request as it clearly reflected Solomon’s maturity. And Solomon went on to display great wisdom and was the ancient version of the “guru”. Even the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon to learn from him. God also blessed Solomon with riches and power. Solomon was also the king who had the First Temple built. He was credited with writing many passages in the Book of Proverbs and was the likely author of the book of Ecclesiastes.

But sadly, the wise king became a foolish one. His penchant for building lavish monuments imposed onerous taxation on his people and made their lives miserable. However, the main cause of Solomon’s downfall was his love for foreign women. They were from nations which the Lord had told the Israelites not to intermarry with because they would influence the Israelites to worship their gods. (1 Kings 11:1-2)

Solomon had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines. Tragically, his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives influenced him to worship other gods. He committed evil and failed to follow the Lord completely. (1 Kings 11:3-4)

In the end as punishment, God decried that after Solomon’s death, the kingdom would be split in two. Solomon did not practise the wisdom that God had given him. The wisest king became a foolish one. How did that happen?

Solomon fell because he was snared by lust and worldly pleasures. God instructed him not to have foreign wives and concubines. He refused to listen. Solomon took his eyes off God and was lured away from God by his sinful desires. He had lost his love for God.

Solomon’s downfall can happen to anyone. We are often tempted by lust and worldly pleasures. How then can we resist them?

We must continually focus on deepening our relationship with God. How do we do this? The answer is known to most of us. It is by diligently studying His Word, praying, being part of a Christian community, etc.

However, before we begin answering the above question, we must first ask ourselves a fundamental question, which is, “How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to know God deeply?”

What will your answer be?