We know the story. God gave Solomon a choice: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (II Chronicles 1:7). Gee whiz, how about a billion zillion dollars? Or my own planet to rule? Or eternal life? But no, Solomon chose wisdom and knowledge (II Chronicles 1:10).
And, of course, it was a good choice – a great choice. But where did he get the wherewithal to come up with that? I mean, up until then, he didn’t have wisdom or knowledge, although he was certainly educated as a prince among men.
And that’s where dad came in. For you see, it wasn’t Solomon’s idea at all but rather, it was the instruction he received from his own father, King David. Solomon testified, “When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 4:3-5)
And because of the depth and degree of this wise counsel by a Godly father, Solomon remembered it. He was schooled in the things that mattered in life… and it stuck. More valuable than all the money in the world, it was. More precious than everlasting rule over many kingdoms. Wisdom. Knowledge.
I remember when I used to drop off my own son at school. My parting words were, “Make good choices,” or something along that line. Often, I tried to find sticky words that my son and daughter would remember – words that would make a difference in their lives, never to be forgotten.
My son, now 25, and I recently enjoyed camping and hiking in the Grand Canyon. In the darkness of the canyon’s rim under a pale gray sky of a billion zillion stars, I asked him what he enjoyed best about our time so far. He responded something about wading in the Colorado River. Then he asked me the same thing.
Where did that come from? From a dad who’s still learning to burn great images of life into the heart of his boy. I wanted him to ask me the same question and I knew he would. “I enjoyed last night before we went to bed, and hearing you say you loved me and giving me a hug. I love you, too, Kyle.” I wanted to emphasize that my love and admiration for him was much larger than the canyon we were scrambling out of.
Somehow, David had made a lasting impression on his son, Solomon, and the son did not forget. I’m just hoping to be in the same ballpark with a father like that so my own children will never forget the times when I’ve tried to plant wisdom in their hearts.