A King’s Wisdom – Solomon – Gospel in Life

A King’s Wisdom – Solomon

Tim Keller |  October 5, 1997

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  • The Bible
1 Kings 3:16-28
RS 83-05


If you don’t yet, you will soon sense an acute need for wisdom. You’ll take a job you never should’ve taken, hire somebody you never should’ve hired, date somebody you never should’ve dated.
Often, the older you get, the more you worry. Because the older you get, the more you see how important wisdom is, how difficult it is to gain, and how your life absolutely blows up when you make choices without it. Many centuries ago, Solomon became king of Israel at the age of 20. When he did, he got wisdom, and he exercised wisdom in a way that can teach us a great deal about how we can get it ourselves.
If we take a look at this narrative, we’ll see 1) the need for wisdom, 2) the anatomy of wisdom, and 3) the essential principle of wisdom that runs all the way through it—the heart of wisdom.

1 Kings 3:16–28

The story of King Solomon deciding which of two women was the real mother of a baby shows how important wisdom is when making decisions. Without wisdom, we can make really big mistakes. This story also helps us understand what wisdom really is – it’s based on love and kindness. Seeing Solomon figure out who the real mom was through her selfless love amazed everyone because of his deep wisdom.

1. Why we need wisdom

Wisdom is super important when we’re faced with hard decisions and there’s no clear rule to follow. Nowadays, especially in Western culture, we’re faced with these kinds of tricky situations more than ever. The story of Solomon and the two women is a perfect example of why we need wisdom. It’s just like personal challenges we might face, like deciding whether to stay in a relationship after someone cheated.

2. What wisdom is made of

Wisdom is closely connected to the idea of being a king, because in the Bible, kings are often associated with wisdom. The most important thing to understand is that whatever has the most influence over you is the source of your wisdom. But if that’s not Jesus Christ, then your wisdom is actually foolishness, as shown in the story of Solomon and the two women.

3. The most important thing about wisdom

Real wisdom, which we talked about in the sermon, means you’re willing to make sacrifices to follow God’s plan. Examples like a mom giving up being a mom to keep her child safe, or the story of Abraham and Isaac, show how important it is to let go of things we hold dear. The sermon highlights how important it is to stay calm, make sacrifices, and follow God’s will, even if it seems silly. It tells us that Jesus is the ultimate King and selfless Servant, and that by focusing on Him, we can find peace, forgiveness, and selflessness.


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