Home > Trinity 16-End of Church Year > The Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Christ. Thursday after All Saints’, 2015

The Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Christ. Thursday after All Saints’, 2015


Thursday after All Saints’—Evening Prayer

St. Peter Lutheran Church

1 Kings 4:29-34

November 5, 2015

“The Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Christ”

Iesu Iuva

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore; so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom. 1 Kings 4:29-34

 

The LORD had appeared to Solomon in a dream at the beginning of his reign and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” (1 Kings 3:5) And Solomon said, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9) “And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.” (1 Kings 3:11-13)

 

And now in chapter 4 we see God making good on His promise. We hear about the abundance of Solomon’s table and the breadth of his dominion, how he had dominion over “all the kings west of the Euphrates. And he had peace on all sides around him.” (1 Kings 4:24) The people of Israel lived in safety and had an abundance during Solomon’s reign because God had given him riches and honor, things for which he had not asked.

In addition the Lord gave Solomon wisdom. He had asked for understanding “to discern between good and evil” so that he might faithfully govern the people of Israel. But the Lord gave him more than he had asked. He made Solomon wiser than all other men and made his wisdom surpass all the wisdom of the East and of Egypt, regions known for having great insight and wisdom. He gave Solomon knowledge of literature and music, so that he composed 1,005 songs and three thousand proverbs. He taught Solomon science, so that he was able to speak learnedly about plants ranging from the mighty Lebanese cedar to the lowly hyssop plant and about all kinds of animals—beasts, birds, reptiles, and fish. And people from all nations of the earth, including their kings, travelled to Israel and to Jerusalem to learn from Solomon.

The wisdom of Solomon, David’s son, is a picture of the perfect, Divine wisdom of the One who sits on the throne of David forever, Jesus Christ. When He was born, wise men from the East came to bow down to Him who was born the King of the Jews. “In [Him] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” St. Paul says of Christ (Colossians 2:3). And in the ages since He appeared in the world, the nations have come to His kingdom to hear His great wisdom. It was out of the nations where the Christian Church dwelt that modern science arose with all the benefits it has brought to the world. Wherever the Christian Church has flourished, so has literature and the arts, philosophy and music, science and medicine. That is only fitting, because Christ is the eternal Word through which the creation came into being and through which it continues to be sustained. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

 

But our heavenly Solomon Jesus has a better and deeper wisdom than the earthly wisdom His Church’s members have imparted to the world. It is “a secret and hidden wisdom of God which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8) wisdom of God, because it is a wisdom that is only imparted by the Holy Spirit. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

It is the wisdom of the cross. All of the wisdom of the world does not bring people to the knowledge of God. Philosophy and science, literature and the arts can teach people many things. But they cannot teach the knowledge of God and give eternal life. The knowledge of God comes through the foolishness of preaching “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The wisdom of our heavenly Solomon declares that God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Mary’s Son and to place on Him the sins of the world. When He was cast away and rejected by God, dying as a curse on the cross, our sins were atoned for and God was reconciled to His fallen creatures.

Since human beings first fell into sin and under God’s curse, they have been running from God. They think they are actually trying to draw near to God, but in reality they are running away from the true God who says “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But in Christ’s Kingdom, the Church, the wisdom of God is revealed. God comes to us in our flesh and blood and receives the penalty for our sins. This is how the just and holy God is able to receive sinners to Himself without sacrificing His justice. He Himself is condemned so that He might justify the ungodly.

This is the wisdom by which Jesus reigns over His kingdom and keeps it in peace and safety. The enemies of the Church—the devil and his angels—storm against Christ and His people with temptation, persecution, hardship and suffering. But they are unable to disturb the peace of Christ’s kingdom, because He reigns through the wisdom of the cross. He proclaims peace to us through His being cast away on the cross. And although the world and the devil do not accept Christ’s wisdom, a great number from every tribe and nation and language and people have come from the ends of the earth to hear Him. We see even now people from every nation to the end of the earth coming to the Church to be baptized and taught Christ’s wisdom. We wait to see the day when all the saints, together with the angels, will fall down before His throne saying ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)

 

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Soli Deo Gloria

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