Do people come to you for advice or run from your foolishness? Truly, it does not matter how clever you deem yourself. What matters is how wise you are in the eyes of others, and especially the Lord. Better take a hard listen to what you profess, because whether bright or dim, folks are going to hear about it and God already knows your thought before you ever speak it.
Sometimes word travels farther than we might think and the influence we wield as Christians can make a difference to people we least expect. Even before the era of internet, word of King Solomon's wisdom spread like a virus. It happened to a king; it can happen to us as well.
“When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions...she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
“She said to the king, 'The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.'
“Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.” (2 Chronicles 9:1-9)
What can we learn about wisdom from Solomon's session with Sheba?
One: The litmus test for wisdom is accuracy. When asked hard questions, do you speak the truth? Honest words are honorable. "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth." (Proverbs 16:13) In the book of Matthew alone, Jesus uses the phrase "I tell you the truth" 30 times! Yes, it seems apparent that the King of Kings considers truthfulness of utmost importance. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the first One we need to consult is His Holy Highness and the teaching of His Word so we're equipped to speak real truth.
Two: Seeing is believing. If you want someone to trust your wisdom, the talk better match the walk. Consistency begets credibility. Queen Sheba saw it with her own eyes before she completely believed the reports of Solomon's great wisdom and wealth. If accuracy is the litmus strip, then consistency is proof positive. Does your life line up hearsay with reality? Wisdom says in order to be respected, remain reliable.
Three: Give credit where credit is due. When Queen Sheba rolled into town with her lavish entourage, she was looking for the greatest of all men. She met the man and praised his God. Solomon's wisdom relinquished the right to claim credit for all his knowledge and blessings. He did not beg for Sheba's compliments nor steal God's deserved thunder, for Solomon surely had learned what God considered worthy. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8) Wisdom and humility go hand in hand.
If you heed the lesson, then you'll find wisdom has its rewards. A regal queen may not always bring exotic gifts to acknowledge your wise ways. You may not be ranked among Fortune 500's rich and famous. But the premium for wisdom is always abundant and gratifying. One final word from the wisdom of the Word to the wise willing to listen: "Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life." (Prov. 22:4)