“Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from ANY direction.” ~Unknown
“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)
“And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.” 1 Kings 4:29-31 (NKJV)
A fool is a person lacking wisdom and common sense. They act imprudently and are easily tricked or deceived. If you wish to avoid the label of simpleton, dunce, blockhead, or imbecile I encourage you to seek out and find someone wise and sit at his or her feet for a while. Soak in their knowledge and try to apply it to your life.
King Solomon had many faults but he did appreciate the value of wisdom and understanding. He had the common sense to ask God for wisdom in order to lead the children of Israel. God blessed this son of King David with a wisdom so great it was known around the world. A fool leading a nation is dangerous and both King Solomon and God wanted a wise and competent ruler.
So, if King Solomon was incredibly wise, how did he fall into such great sin that it tore his kingdom apart? How could the ruler who built the first temple of Jerusalem fall into idolatry and turn away from God? I will suggest that pride had a lot to do with the downfall of this king, and possibly an unwillingness to seek out and accept wise counsel.
Pride leads to disobedience and King Solomon did not heed the words of Deuteronomy 17:16-17 (NKJV).
“But he (a king) shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.”
King Solomon was guilty of ignoring all three of these commands. Did he think he was above the law?
Oh, if only King Solomon had kept the company of insightful men who were willing to speak God’s truth! He may have been the author of such books as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes but ALL men are tempted and can easily find themselves entangled in sin. A lack of wise counsel and accountability for actions has been the downfall of many world leaders, kings, and rulers. Sin is not a disease assigned to just the common man.
So here is a warning and I pray you heed my counsel. You may be in a spiritually mature place right now. Your relationship with God might be intimate and close. The thought of ever stepping out of His will is beyond your imagination. But this is pride! We ALL have the capacity to fall away from God. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert and sober of mind for the devil prowls about like a lion looking for someone to devour.
The story of Solomon is in the Bible for a reason. We must learn from the mistakes of others and King Solomon made some real whoppers. The great can fall. The righteous can become unrighteous. Sin has no prejudice and will latch on to anyone in sight.
You may be highly favored in the sight of God, just as King Solomon once was, but this will not excuse you from judgment and discipline if you ignore the commandments and instructions found in the Word of God. Our Lord has no favorites. He is impartial. Although longsuffering, He is also just.
Fools may read scripture but this doesn’t mean they apply the instruction to their lives or memorize and keep the words hidden in their heart. King Solomon stopped relying on God and trusted more and more in himself. He forgot the source of his wisdom, wealth, and power.
Oh, how the great have and will continue to fall! I desperately want everyone reading this devotion to consider his or her ways. Are you relying on God or have you put your trust in your own resources? Are you in fellowship and do you surround yourself with wise advisors? Does pride cause you to turn a deaf ear to instruction and has a sin distracted you from the things of God?
Learn from Solomon and fear God. For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom and the foolish do not desire or understand her ways.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
“On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’
And Solomon said to God: ‘You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?’
Then God said to Solomon: ‘Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.’” 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 (NKJV)