Solomon’s wisdom on Learning, Listening and thinking

When Solomon Speaks Series

When Solomon Speaks 1

There was virtually no king in the days of Solomon who belonged to his class; perhaps, only his predecessor, David, was. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Solomon grew up under the parenting of a man whose panting was after God’s heart. He took over the reins of kingship in Israel after Absalom raised dust with the intention to take over the position already reserved for him by David his father. As a king, Solomon lived large. He had virtually all things at his fingertips. The money, gold and ornaments of ostentation were there like an Ocean. In fact, silver was like stones on the streets of Jerusalem. Women were not his problem – he had them at his beck and call. His government was highly organised too. Dignitaries and other visitors came from far and near for different purposes ranging from the need for justice to official visitation. Such was Queen Sheba’s visitation.

Sincerely, if Solomon lacked anything at all, it was because he didn’t want it. He confirmed his no-lack-no-limitation life when he said that: “And whatsoever my eyes desired, I kept not from them. I withheld not my heart from any joy…” (Eccle 2:10).

Subsequently, after having a taste of all he could desire or think of, Solomon had experience which he put in writing in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Songs of Solomon. Solomon had a lot impressed on him by God, the Author. I do think that because of the richness of Solomon’s experience, he decided to write them in bits or what I call quotable quotes so he could cover as many as possible issues. I think that was why Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are written such that each verse is almost unrelated to the immediately preceding or next verse. Each verse carries a message on its own that one needs to meditate on.

Experience never expires, Pastor Femi Bankole said during my NYSC year. The experiences of Solomon cannot expire. Without doubt, it is good to learn from people’s experiences. Solomon had it and he confirmed it when he said, “…I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge” (Eccl 1: 16). His experiences were written for us to search and study since they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim 2:16). When a man with life experiences speaks, it is wise to listen to him.

From the beginning of Proverbs, Solomon stated clearly, the purpose of his writing which are to enable us know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; (and) to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. Prov 1: 2-4, KJV.

Solomon emphasises listening and learning

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning — Prov 1:5, KJV

Learning means ‘to gain knowledge or skill by studying, from experience, from being taught, etc’ (Oxford Dictionary). From immemorial times, learning has been a subject of emphasis. A man who does not listen and learn will always lean on others to do his thinking for him. And whatever he gets, he cannot be dissatisfied with. If learning is not important, sagacious Solomon would not have called our attention to it. When a man like Solomon emphasises a matter as important as learning, one needs to listen.

Look at that Prov 1:5 again, preceding learning is hearing which NIV refers to as listening. From the definition of learning above, it is revealed that one can gain knowledge (learn) from being taught. However, you cannot be taught without having listened. How well do we listen to God’s counsel in the scripture, to our parents, supervisors, to our children and friends, etc?

Learning also involves gaining knowledge from experience which could be the experience of others too. How well do we learn from others’ experiences? Do we still get our fingers burnt despite the fact that we have observed how others failed on a project that was not viable?

Solomon summarized virtually all he learned as a king in Israel into quotable quotes put together in books for our learning, proper living and understanding. That is why Solomon’s Proverbs are collectively called the Manual for Living (Prov 1:3, The Message Bible). He has invited the studious and meditating minds to listen and also learn from his experiences.

As a gifted king, Solomon’s exposure to several issues in different spheres of life made him rich in knowledge. Therefore, he wrote widely touching areas such as spiritual discernment and receptivity, understanding and wisdom, the fear of God, greed and robbery, evil association, prosperity, knowledge, safety and security, health, temptation, shady businesses, marriage, impurity, flattery and hypocrisy, poverty and riches, humility, agriculture, good name, benevolence, envy, chastity, abstinence, virtues, vanity, friendship, ingratitude, love, etc.
As we go on this series of study on Solomon’s words starting from Proverbs 1, it will take us a couple of weeks as we search through the whole of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I believe that God has a lot to teach all of us. When Solomon speaks about what God and life taught him, I think it is wise to listen, learn and grow.

Remember: The emphasis of WSS 1 is on listening and learning. Recall also that a man who does not listen and learn will always lean on others to do his thinking for him.

By the grace of God, we shall meet here again in continuation of the series.

Thank you for being a part of this. Do drop a comment.

Vessel Anani Sunday K (VASK) is saved by grace.

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