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Wisdom Wins

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During family time, we’ve been watching television game shows. Recently we checked out a TV program called “Idiot Test”: a challenging series of mental tests thrown at contestants. Also, players must avoid overthinking because the answer could be right in front of them. 

At the start of each episode, the game show host asks contestants to share why they think they are qualified to be on the show. One young man responded matter-of-factly, “Because I’m a member of MENSA.” 

If you don’t know, MENSA is a society for people with high IQs.

What happened next surprised me: this young man with a high IQ did not breeze through the game and win. Frankly, he didn’t do well at all — he performed poorly and left the game early.   

Watching this game show reminded me that intelligence and wisdom are beautiful gifts from the Lord, yet they alone do not bring guaranteed success in everything we do.

One might also glean that when you are sharp, talented, or an expert in something that takes brains—keeping some humility is wise.  

One great example of this is the story of King Solomon. In the Bible, his story shows that wisdom and intelligence are blessings but do not replace God in our lives. When someone is smart, they must be careful not to become overly confident in their own mental acuities. 

In 1 Kings, we get an overview of this playing out with King Solomon. In Chapter 10, Solomon is at the zenith of his reign as king. His intelligence is so high that royalty from other nations would come to Jerusalem seeking his wisdom (1 Kings 10:23-24. What happens in the next chapter is more shocking than a genius losing a TV game show: Solomon — the wisest man on earth at the time — stopped listening to God. That’s not a smart choice for any of us.

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.  For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. (1 Kings 11:1-4 ESV)

Although Solomon didn’t hear a game show buzzer go BZZZZ: WRONG ANSWER—maybe he felt pain and frustration for getting so close to “winning” it all but ultimately coming up short? 

We are unsure how he responded personally, yet we know his “incorrect” answers late in life brought division among the twelve tribes of Israel. Nothing more of his life gets mentioned besides his death and burial in Jerusalem.

With his immense wisdom from God—King Solomon knew better. Yet he chose to defy the Lord. He married into forbidden cultures—becoming unequally yoked with 700 wives and seeking other gods! God warned this would lead him spiritually astray, but Solomon did it anyway. 

When Solomon was a young man starting out, he didn’t ask God for the great wealth and honor eventually given him as king. Instead, he asked God for a wise and understanding heart (1 Kings 3:7-9). Good answer, Solomon! That was a brilliant request. 

But his inability to continue following the Lord throughout his life shows us how much we need God. If Solomon couldn’t stay on the righteous path, who could? Other than Jesus, no one. 

We all need God — no matter how high our IQ or how many questions we can answer on a game show. Our wisdom can never supersede God’s wisdom. 

Father, we seek your wisdom today — the same understanding Solomon requested. Please help us stay humble, so we receive your omnipotent direction and never forsake your guidance. In every decision we face, we ask for Your wisdom and discernment. Amen. 


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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About The Author

Matthew Loomis

Matthew Loomis, Direct Marketing writer at CBN, lives in Missouri with his wife, Royale, two children Courage and Integrity, and their beloved Shih Tzu Coal Boo. Matthew is a lifelong KC Chiefs superfan.

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