All of us want to be successful in the things that we do. We have the urge to grow things, and we derive from it a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Solomon was no different. He was given a new responsibility to fill the void his father, David, had left. David was well-loved by the people to whom he served as king. David established the kingdom of Israel and created a name for his country in that part of the world. Now it was Solomon’s turn to lead. The people of Israel were not sure what to expect.
In 2 Chronicles 1:1,2, we see that Solomon demonstrates a knack for leadership. “Solomon, son of David, strengthened his hold on his kingdom. The Lord, his God, was with him and highly exalted him. 2 Then Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges, and to every leader in all Israel—the heads of the families.” Solomon communicates with everyone who is a leader in the kingdom, and most importantly, God was with him.
Now, Solomon could have settled for the success he has achieved and be satisfied with his accomplishments that he has already attained because he had strengthened the hold on the kingdom, and things are going smoothly. Solomon had reached a mountain top, but he was not keen to stay there for long.
2 Chronicles 1:7, That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him: “Ask. What should I give you?”
Let that verse sit there for a minute. Put yourself in the shoes of Solomon. You have achieved some level of success. It may seem that you have done this on your own even though God’s guidance was present throughout. Now God shows up and asks you this question: Ask, What should I give you?
You can replace Solomon’s name with yours and read it out loud. ________ Ask. What should I give you? How would you answer that question? Would you ask for something that you need now? Would you ask for something small and temporal? Would you ask for something now and regret it later? Would your request be vague and superficial? Solomon asked for Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom.
2 Chronicles 1:10 Give me wisdom and knowledge.
1 Kings 3:9
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding mind to govern your people,
The three essential things that one needs to own a successful empire are knowledge, understanding, and Wisdom.
Proverbs 1:22 How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing, and fools hate knowledge?
To make any sort of progress in any field, one needs to know the facts, information, and principles that govern that field. You would have received knowledge in a classroom in the School and in a College. You also find this information in textbooks, and they are also readily available online.
A lack of knowledge leads to destruction. Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; Having the information will help you to make the right decision for a specific situation. Finding detailed information in your field of interest that is current will give you the advantage that you need to move forward with your plan of action.
While knowledge is an essential first step, knowledge alone is not helpful as facts alone can’t take you far. An encyclopedia contains a lot of information, and its usefulness ends there. Facts can be beneficial to entertain people and probably take part in a quiz, but its effectiveness ends there.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion.
Understanding is the ability to relate the information you have so it makes valuable sense. You can look at a set of data and see how they are associated with each other or how they can be connected.
The ability to comprehend the information that you have in your possession is understanding. You may read a piece of information, or you may read a book. In both these cases, you should follow what the content is revealing to you and how you could use it for your benefit is to demonstrate your understanding.
The root word for understanding comes from a Latin word which means to grasp. We also use the word comprehend as a synonym for understanding. With knowledge, you know the ‘what’ of the matter, and with understanding, you know the ‘why’ of the issue.
When you know only the facts, you are no more than an encyclopedia. When you understand a concept, you can then simply explain the concept. A teacher demonstrates both knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 24:14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. As you can see, wisdom encompasses knowledge and understanding. The keyword in the definition is the experience that one gain from taking action on the information and the plan they have.
Solomon writes that by having wisdom, we will have a future filled with hope. His advice to us is to seek wisdom more than anything else. Seeking riches alone is a short-sighted goal, but wealth can be gained when seeking and finding wisdom.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Ask, and it will be given to you.
Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Solomon sums it up accurately. We need all the three to own a thriving empire, but most importantly, we need to remember that we can go to God, who gives generously to those who ask of Him.