How to Be Wise

How to Be Wise
May 15, 2022

How to Be Wise

Passage: 1 Kings 3:1-15
Service Type:

How to Be Wise

Scripture:  1 Kings 3:1-15

Subject: Wisdom

Central Theme: Valuing Wisdom

Objective Statement:  We should value wisdom for ourselves and for those we influence.  Notice three parts of Solomon’s dream from the Lord that help us to value wisdom as we should.
Keyword:  Parts


  1. Request Offered: “Ask me anything.” (V.4-5)
  2. Request Made: “I need wisdom.” (V.6-9)
  3. Request Granted: “The speech pleased the Lord” (V.10-14)







We should value wisdom for ourselves and for those we influence.  Notice three parts of Solomon’s dream from the Lord that help us to value wisdom as we should.

1.      Request Offered:  “Ask me anything.” (V.4-5)

(4)  And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.  (5)  In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.


  • Notice when the request was offered.
    • It was offered after worship.
      • the “king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there”.
      • He made 1,000 burnt offerings.
      • This would have cost him something.
      • It was an offer of worship to God.
      • He offered His worship and allegiance to God, and God responded here.
    • It was offered at night in a dream.
  • Notice that the request was broad.
  • It is broad in its wording. “Ask what I shall give thee.”  He doesn’t put much qualification on what He is telling him to ask for.
  • It’s also broad because of who makes the command. It could be anything because of who is offering this command to him.
  • What could God give? Anything!  God can give anything within His nature that is logically possible.


  • Now, let me ask you a question. If God came to you and asked you to ask something from Him, what would be within your universe of answers?
    • Happiness
    • Joy
    • Long life
    • Answers that effect your: possessions, income, health, relationships.
    • Give me money.
    • Give me stuff.
    • Give me power.
    • Give me time.

Transition Sentence:

  • What an incredible command is offered to him. Request of me anything.
  • Let’s look at what request Solomon made. Let’s look at his answer.

2.      Request Made: “I need wisdom.” (V.6-9)

  • Now in verse 9 we see the answer. Solomon asked for an understanding heart, and discernment.
  • But he gives the reasoning to this request in verse 6-8, and at the end of 9. Why would he ask for understanding, discernment, or wisdom when he could ask for anything?

A. A request informed by wise upbringing.

(6)  And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

  • He starts out by talking about his dad, David.
  • It is an honorable conversation that he has about David, but it is also realistic.
  • Notice three words that he uses to describe God’s relationship with David.
    • “servant”
    • “mercy”
    • “kindness”
  • Solomon understood that though his dad was King David, that God’s relationship with David was marked by mercy and kindness.
  • God dealt kindly with David, and David saw himself as the servant of God.
  • Solomon’s perspective of David’s view of himself was that David understood his place in relationship to God.
  • What an incredible thing to demonstrate to Solomon.
  • As King he could have been arrogant. He could have set himself against God.
  • But Solomon saw David’s relationship with God. It was authentic.
  • David didn’t do everything right. In fact, Solomon was the son of Bathsheba- a woman with whom he had committed adultery.
  • Yet apparently David had raised his son Solomon well enough that Solomon saw the authenticity of David’s relationship with God.
  • When David asked the Lord if he could build the temple, God told him no because he had been too bloody in his rule. Instead of sulking about it, David did everything he could to prepare Solomon for success in building what he had been forbidden to build.
  • David had a perspective of investing in the next generation.
  • As a result, Solomon was ready for this question.
  • Your kids are watching.
  • Your kids are getting their values from somewhere.
  • They are getting them from you- good or bad.
  • They are getting them from the culture- good or bad.
  • Sometimes those things are in keeping with Biblical values and often they are not.
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  • You are discipling your kids. Are they ready for this kind of question?

B. A request that demonstrated a right identity.

(7)  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

  • Notice what Solomon called himself in relationship to God.
    • “thy servant”
  • It’s the same thing he called David.
  • Who did he say made him king?
    • “Thou has made thy servant king”
  • David saw himself as servant and God as big.
  • Now we see Solomon take on that same identity.
  • Here Solomon acknowledges
  • His inexperience.
  • “…and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”
  • This may seem an exaggeration but there are times where I feel this way.
  • Sometimes as a pastor, or as a dad, I am faced with questions, situations, and circumstances that seem daunting.
  • When it comes to being consistent in making the wise choice sometimes, I feel as new and fresh to those things as a kid is to their surroundings.
  • This is a good place to be. The person that thinks he knows everything stops asking questions.  They stop learning.
  • If you are not teachable then you have likely stopped growing.
  • If you are arrogant people do not like to be around you.
  • You also create a culture in your family, workplace, or even here at church where others are also bound to be arrogant and unteachable.

C. A request that recognized an important stewardship.

(8)  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

(9)  Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

  • He acknowledges here, #2- The magnitude of the task.
  • He sees it as a stewardship.
  • He calls himself “thy servant” and the kingdom “thy people which thou has chosen”.
  • They are not Solomon’s people.
  • They are God’s people.
  • The weight of leadership is vast because of whose they are. They are God’s people.
    • Have you ever noticed that sometimes you treat other people’s stuff as better than your own.
    • If you borrow something from Bill Vanhoose, then you take care of that thing because if it breaks you have to repair it and you have to make it right with Bill.
  • In a similar vain, your life is not yours. Your kids are not fully yours.  Your house is not ultimately yours.  Everything you have comes from God.
  • Your Sunday School class is Gods. Your talent and abilities are Gods.
  • Your spiritual gift is Gods.
  • Your ministry position is Gods.
  • The weight of the position he had was vast also because of how many there are.“That cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.”
  • Solomon had a right perspective from His dad, of himself, of His God, and of the stewardship of his task.
  • This right view lead him to asking for the right thing. “Lord God, I need an understanding heart, and the ability to discern right from wrong- good from evil.  God give me wisdom.”
  • The truth about this question is that you and I have been asked this question at some level.
  • We live in a culture where we have a lot of opportunity.
  • We live in the church age where we can and do ask God for all kinds of things.
  • We ask God for health. We ask God to provide.  We ask God for stuff.  We ask God for what we want.
  • Do we ask God for wisdom?
  • Are we leading our kids to be wise? Our employees?  Our friends?
  • Do you value wisdom enough to ask God for it regularly and specifically?
  • You need it!
  • Solomon asked for wisdom. Notice God’s response.

Transition Sentence:

3. Request Granted: “The speech pleased the Lord.” (v.10-14)

  • Now I love how that God’s response in granting this request unfolds.
  • The Bible says that if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God which gives to all men liberally.
  • If you sincerely ask God for wisdom He will give it to you.
  • This is amazing.
  • Why? Because it pleases him.

A. God was pleased.

(10)  And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

  • God’s offer to Solomon was profound.
  • Solomon’s answer to God was wise.
  • The result is that God was pleased.
  • Notice that the result is that …

B. God granted his request for wisdom.

(11)  And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;

(12)  Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

  • God pointed out that he could have asked for:
    • Long life,
    • Riches,
    • Safety,
    • And even vengeance.
  • This is a very comprehensive list of what most people are looking for in life.
  • There are more people searching for happiness than for wisdom.
  • If Solomon would have asked for this list instead of wisdom, would God have given it to him?
  • Maybe not.
  • Think about it though.
    • Long life
      • What if he had long life without wisdom?
      • Can wisdom help give you a long life?
    • Riches
      • What happens to people that have riches and they are foolish?
      • Can wisdom help give you riches?
    • The same could be asked about safety and vengeance.
    • Notice that because he asked for wisdom, he got the rest.

C. God was generous.

(13)  And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

  • God gave him wisdom.
  • God gave him those resources.
  • Both contributed to God’s blessing in his life.
  • He did not promise him unconditional long life. It was conditional.

D. God challenged him to obedience.

(14)  And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

  • See wisdom needs to be applied.
  • Just because you know what you need to know, and you know how to apply what you know to what you should do, you still have to go out and do it.
  • When we know what to do and do not apply it that is foolish.
  • Wisdom must be applied.
  • Notice the condition: “If thou wilt walk…keep…then I will…”


Wisdom must be applied.  Two points of application:

1. Solomon started out well.  (v.15-28)

(15)  And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

  • Solomon awoke.
  • Continued to worship
  • Made a feast to all his servants…treated them with kindness.
  • In verses 16-28 we read a story that demonstrates Solomon’s wisdom in judging the kingdom.
  • But notice something about Solomon’s circumstance at the beginning of the chapter.

2. The seeds of disobedience had been planted. (3:1-3)

(1)  And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about

(2)  Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.

(3)  And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.

  • While David had taught him a lot of good, Solomon also learned some bad from his dad.
  • Here you have Solomon beginning to have a problem with vast amounts of intermarriage and polygamy.
  • You also see him worshipping God in the “high places”.
  • God tolerated both of these things for a time, but these were among the foolish things that Solomon did.
  • It lead to problems in his relationship with God, and meant bad things for Israel:

1 Kings 11:1-13

(1)  But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; (2)  Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. (3)  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

(4)  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. (5)  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

(6)  And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

(7)  Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. (8)  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

(9)  And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,(10)  And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

(11)  Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.  (12)  Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.  (13)  Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.

  • Wisdom must be applied.
  • We have to actually do what wisdom leads us to do, no matter how difficult it may seem.
  • This is why James says,


James 1:5-8

(5)  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

(6)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

(7)  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

(8)  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.





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