Understanding vs Wisdom

07-30-2017HomiliesDeacon Mike Woiwode

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you." If God were to ask you and I the same question, what would we ask for? I've asked this question several people over the last 10 days and I got many different answers. I had only one that had the same request that Solomon had requested from God, "Give me the understanding to know right from wrong." This is what Solomon had asked for and that pleased God. In the Book of Kings, Chapter 3: 5-12, we find that this understanding Solomon received is called Wisdom. And if we read on a bit further, lines 16-27, we read a story that we are very familiar with, the splitting in half of a baby.

Is there a difference between understanding, which Solomon asked for, and the gift of wisdom which God granted Solomon? No, there is not! Wisdom is the ability to understand, through faith, what God reveals to us. This is not the same as knowledge either. Knowledge is what we are able to learn because of our intellect. We all need to know God and we all need wisdom in order to understand what we know.

Here is an example: We know God is love! But do we understand through faith, what God's love is? This is where wisdom comes in. We can ask a hundred people, "What is love?" and get a hundred different answers. Our culture and social media has twisted love into so many different descriptions, and none of them are even remotely close to God's design of love. So knowing God is not enough. We must also have the wisdom to understand who God is and what He wants and why He wants it.

Now, let's go back to my original question, "What did you ask for"? Do you feel it would have pleased God, as Solomon's did? What Solomon had asked for pleased God because he did not ask for something that benefited him only. It benefited others and was for the good of others. Would your request do that? If it doesn't, what should we ask for? Jesus does tell us, "Ask my Father for anything in my name and the Father will grant it." We have the same opportunity Solomon had. We too are called to the service of others. That is love and God is love. We are here to give glory to His name and there is no better way than to lay down our lives for a friend. You and I are called to invite God, and His Son, into the hearts of all those He puts in our lives. This is the way we live in Jesus and He in us. We must persevere to the end, lest we lose our way.

Even though God had given Solomon a gift greater than anyone had or will ever have, Solomon still fell away from Gods' grace, and he turned to the love of many foreign women. Because of this, Solomon's heart was not entirely with the Lord. So the Lord said," Since this is what you want, I will deprive you of your Kingdom, but not in your lifetime for the sake of your father, King David." God did take away the kingdom, from Solomon's son. We need to receive and keep the gift God gave Solomon.

So, how do we open ourselves to receive gifts from God? It all starts with prayer. Everything we do when we turn to God starts with prayers. If we study God by: reading the bible, attending church services, especially the Mass, reading books on saints, receiving the sacraments often, like reconciliation and the Eucharist, receiving spiritual direction from a priest, and going to adoration, we will start learning about God and gain the correct knowledge of who He is. Wisdom is measured out in proportion to our knowledge of God.

The more knowledge we have, the more wisdom we receive. Through the gift of Wisdom, we can then surrender our life to Him and love in His wisdom. This is God's desire for us, to live in Him and He in us. This is the way we can grow closer to God and bring God to others.