Starting in childhood, I loved receiving praise. I wanted to hear my parents say “good job” when I would complete a task. As I got older, I longed for that praise from friends. When I played basketball, I wanted teammates and friends to say “good game.” I don’t think I am alone because praise is something that all of us seem to long for. I wish I could say that I have grown out of this, but I haven’t. I love to hear my wife say, “Good job washing the dishes” or hear my kids say “Supper was good, Dad.” Having that praise can be energizing. It can be fulfilling. However, there can be danger in seeking the praise of men. If not careful, we can be so driven by praise that we can pursue praise more than what it right. As a preacher it can even be tempting at times to be more interested in hearing people say “good sermon” than to be true to God and His Word. Seeking praise is something we all have to guard against.
In 1 Kings, we see an interesting contrast. When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom. He wanted wisdom because he wanted to govern rightly. He wanted to clearly know good from evil. In other words, he wanted to do what was right in God’s sight. His greatest concern was to do what was right according to God and his Word and to lead God’s people correctly. As a result two interesting things happen. We first read in verse 10 that God was pleased that Solomon asked for wisdom. That alone is a great thing! Having God pleased with your life is amazing! But then we read in verse 28 that the people perceived that the wisdom of God was in Solomon to do justice. In other words, Solomon’s life gave testimony to God so that the people really were praising God. Having people praise God because of our lives should be a desire of every Christian. For example, as a preacher I should not want to hear people say “Good sermon, preacher”, I should want to hear them say in response to a sermon, “Amen, preacher! God is good!” Let’s today seek the wisdom of God so that we live lives that do just that. Let’s seek God’s wisdom so that as we live life, people give praise to God.