Wisdom for the Ages: Legacy for Life’s Paths. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, February 28, 2018
“Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and pay attention so that you may gain discernment. Because I give you good instruction, do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son to my father, a tender only child before my mother, he taught me, and he said to me: “Let your heart lay hold of my words; keep my commands so that you will live. Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding; do not forget and do not turn aside from the words I speak. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is supreme—so acquire wisdom, and whatever you acquire, acquire understanding!” (Proverbs 4:1–7, NET)
One thing that insulates generations from unnecessary or self-imposed disaster (perhaps more than others) is our forefathers passing love, resources, guidance, and wisdom on to us. There is so much we can learn if we listen to those who have travelled life’s paths before us. However, too few take this seriously. What if more fathers taught our children the precious keys to life? What if more parents were honest with our sons and daughters about some of the mistakes we have made and how we learned from those experiences?
I find today’s passage tender and encouraging because Solomon is sharing generational and acquired wisdom with his son. Solomon’s daddy faithfully taught him to embrace his words so he could experience a long, healthy life just like the fifth commandment promises.
Six Assets We Can Also Pass Down
What did King David actually teach Solomon in this context?
- David taught Solomon that he loved and cherished him. You may be rushing back to your Bible to see where he said that. Though you will not find it in words written in the text, you will find it in David’s approach to his son. He could have allowed Solomon to go his own way and discover all the good and evil of life without direct guidance. However, David’s love said, “I will not leave you to fend for yourself. I will love and honor you enough to be by your side as long as God gives me strength.”
- David taught Solomon to embrace all of his words of instruction so he could experience a long, healthy life.
- David taught Solomon to drink up all of the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding he could.
- David taught Solomon to have a great memory. It is in remembering how the Lord has taken care of all our needs and led us in the past that we can have assurance and hope for the future.
- David taught Solomon to have a rich relationship with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. He said that wisdom would protect him if he loved and cherished her.
- Above all things, David taught this sixth lesson: “In all you do, aspire to, achieve, and hope for, let wisdom be your chief asset. Let wisdom be what you value most. No matter what else you get, get wisdom, and you will succeed.”
Now, let me ask you a question: Did Solomon listen to his father? “One night in Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said, “Tell me what I should give you.” Solomon replied, “You demonstrated great loyalty to your servant, my father David, as he served you faithfully, properly, and sincerely. You have maintained this great loyalty to this day by allowing his son to sit on his throne. Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in my father David’s place, even though I am only a young man and am inexperienced. Your servant stands among your chosen people; they are a great nation that is too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning mind so he can make judicial decisions for your people and distinguish right from wrong. Otherwise no one is able to make judicial decisions for this great nation of yours.”
The Lord was pleased that Solomon made this request. God said to him, “Because you asked for the ability to make wise judicial decisions, and not for long life, or riches, or vengeance on your enemies, I grant your request, and give you a wise and discerning mind superior to that of anyone who has preceded or will succeed you. Furthermore, I am giving you what you did not request—riches and honor so that you will be the greatest king of your generation.If you follow my instructions by obeying my rules and regulations, just as your father David did, then I will grant you long life” (1 Kings 3:5–14, NET).
Solomon followed David’s counsel, and where he made mistakes, he repented. All-in-all, this relationship was a success.
A word to the foolish is wasteful. A word to the wise is sufficient.