Can I Become Too Wise?

man reading the Bible

The Question

I think I can speak for all of us that having and seeking wisdom is a very good thing. I pray that all of us seek the wisdom of the Lord in every aspect of our lives. But, is it possible to become too wise? The short answer is yes. You, as a Christian, can become too wise for your own good. How do we know this? Well, let’s start off by looking at the wisest man in the Bible.

The Story of Solomon

If we look in 1 Kings Chapter 11, we find king Solomon, the wisest man in the world, succumbing to the very sin that God warned him of, to avoid the strange women (1 Kings 11:4). Solomon, at the beginning of his reign over Israel, lived a life that was pleasing unto God. He was visited by The Lord and told to ask for anything and it will be given to him. Solomon pleased The Lord when he asked for wisdom and discernment. Because of his response to God, he was given what he asked for, and in abundance, he was given riches and fame (1 Kings 4:29-34).

Solomon, being so wise, led the people of Israel well. Much like his father David, Solomon had the favor of God. However, God knew Solomon’s heart. He warned him twice to stay away from the strange women in the surrounding lands because if he didn’t, his heart would be turned over to their false gods. Solomon refused to listen, putting his pride on a pedestal, and he disobeyed God. We learn that Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. We can assume that none were jews (1 Kings 11:1). If he were to be with the jewish women, they would have reminded him that The Lord God is one, and that his idol worship is wrong. It’s also likely that he shunned the prophets from his life so that he didn’t have to be reminded of his convictions and morals. 

Solomon believed himself to be wise above reproach. There was no one who could correct him, not even God. Or so he thought. By the end of 1 Kings chapter 11, Solomon loses the kingdom and has enemies against him. Israel is divided and Solomon dies. 

How Does This Apply to Me?

As doers of the Word and not just hearers, it can become easy to believe that we know better than those around us. If we are not careful, our knowledge and understanding of God can be the very thing that causes us to stumble (James 1:22-25).

Why ask God for answers if you think you can figure it out on your own? Why attend church services and listen to sermons if you already know the Word of God? Why submit to a pastor if you know just as much about the Word as he does? 

You can never know too much scripture. We need to study to show ourselves approved by God like in 2 Timothy 2:15. However, you can get a false perception of yourself and believe that you are above reproach, based on the fact that you know the Bible like the back of your hand. It’s alright to know the Bible word for word, but I caution you to never think that your knowledge and understanding puts you above people, above God. 

Solomon messed up by thinking his wisdom exceeded God’s. He believed no one could tell him anything that he didn’t already know, so why even listen to advisors or prophets? 

His pride made his intelligence worthless. 

If I am not careful, I too can let my intelligence prevent the work of God in my life. I can instinctually attempt to rationalize a move of God. I can unintentionally try to comprehend the supernatural, which will only cause me to be frustrated and unfulfilled. His ways are above my ways and his thoughts are above my thoughts as stated in Isaiah 55:8. When I try to force God into fitting my understanding, I take away from his immensely incomprehensible powers and abilities.

How Do I Avoid This?

Know and understand that wisdom is a gift from God. The ability to obtain and retain knowledge and understanding is a gift from God. All glory and honor belong to him. Therefore, when you receive wisdom from him, acknowledge that it’s not of you, but of God (Proverbs 3:7-8). When doing this, you remove your pride from the equation. I can’t boast about something that I can’t take credit for. If you can remove your pride and submit to God, his will, and the spiritual authorities that he places in your life, then you will not fall the way Solomon fell. 

I must heed the word and message of God, regardless of who the messenger is. If God speaks, I must listen. I must take the time to confide in him when I lack understanding. To take it a step further, I must look to him even when I don’t lack understanding. In all things, I must include God and give him Glory. Ultimately I must have child-like faith. Faith that does not require intelligence or understanding of God in all of his glory, but faith that says, “God, you do all things well and I will trust you to have your way in my life.” 

In closing, what are some areas in your own life that you have relied more on your own understanding rather than trusting in the wisdom of the Lord? 

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