"Playing the Fool"

June 25, 2021

I am always rather dismayed when I hear or read of the “Wisdom of Solomon.” He certainly shares wisdom in what he wrote in the Wisdom of Solomon as noted in this week’s reading selection in the RCL. And of course, Solomon is widely known for his “wisdom.”  But was Solomon as wise as most perceive him to have been? In my personal estimation, he was wise, but only in the wisdom of this world.

His wisdom as it pertained to the will of God was as lacking and deficient as any other sinful human being. How could one who said so many “wise” an “learned” things go off and disobey the very simple commands of God to not take to himself foreign wives or worship foreign gods -- and marry foreign wives and worship foreign gods Solomon did in excess. It is believed by some that Solomon had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines; that’s 1000 women, many, if not most, from the very nations the Lord, God of Israel told all in Israel not to marry as Israel would be led astray to worship false gods,

And, his wives certainly led him astray in the worship of their strange and foreign gods. It seems Solomon made some “wise” alliances with the surrounding gentile nations through many of his marriages of foreign wives -- but all of that was worldly wisdom and with disregard for God’s warning against doing so.
For sure, many may view the apparent immediate lack of negative consequences from Solomon’s actions as tacit approval of those actions. But, such is a human illusion. Israel suffered greatly down the road as a result of Israel’s and Solomon’s abundance of worldly wisdom compared to the actual wisdom of God’s warnings against foreign wives and foreign gods. Yes, people can, and do, easily deceive themselves into thinking that mixing worldly things and ideas with Godly things and ideas can pay high dividends at times. And, that such justifies the deviation from God’s Word.  Sorry, such thinking and action ultimately results in deficit and loss. 

Solomon compromised with the nations around Israel to secure physical security and riches, and then suffered the consequences of a divided nation and eventual captivity. There is a great lesson to be learned from that -- a lesson the Church appears to ignore repeatedly. Compromising with the constantly changing morals and “progressive” ideas of the world, especially in these times, is producing a divided Church -- a divided Church that is more and more distracted from its mission and purpose. And with that, the Church becomes ineffective in the mission Jesus assigned us to.

Jesus commanded us to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Mark 28:19-20.) Yet, compromising, or joining with the world in an up-side-down attempt to rehabilitate the world distracts us from our mission of making disciples for Christ. That is our mission, that and spreading the Good News, not righting the wrongs of this world.  Changing the world is Jesus’s mission for when he returns to this earth. Let us not be like Solomon ignoring God’s Word thinking we can do much more good doing things that are not our business to do. And in the process, therefore, fail in the business of revealing our Lord to those with Eyes to See and Ears to Hear and in making such disciples of Christ. Without doubt, in the end, Solomon dropped the ball. And he actually played the fool.

Mark Johnson

NSUMC Lay Leader