Becoming a Wise Leader – #2
Some time ago I did a study on the great, bold prayers of the bible. Two prayers stood out to me. The first request was Solomon’s prayer for wisdom ( 1 Kings 3:1-15). As Solomon began his reign as king, he soon realized that the demands upon him were beyond his ability. When God spoke to him in a dream, he was given permission to ask for anything (3:5). How would you like to have that permission given you from God Himself? What would you have asked for? Now Solomon was already a wise young man (see David, his father’s comment in 1 Kings 2:9), but he knew enough to realize that wisdom was the secret to life and success for him as a leader, and so he asked for a wise and discerning heart (3:6-12). Note that God was “pleased that Solomon asked for this” (3:10), and granted his request and in addition granted him much more as a result of his wisdom (3:12-14). What a wise young man!
The second prayer request that impressed me was that of Moses in Exodus 33:12-23. Moses too was in a position of leadership and was stretched beyond his ability, looking for some help in how to make wise decisions. Note that Moses asked for the ability to understand the ways of God (33:13) in order to continue to find favor with God. This request also pleased God (33:17) and it was granted to Him. David comments on this in Psalm 103:7, where he contrasts Moses who knew the ways of God with Israel who knew the deeds of God. Moses understood why God acted the way He did, but Israel only knew the acts of God. They did not understand His ways.
As a result of this study, I began to pray and ask God to grant me the same things that these men asked for—that He would grant me wisdom and that I would understand His ways. I can do this knowing that God does not show favoritism and therefore, will grant me the same as what others asked and knowing that He will be pleased by my asking for these things. I do so want to please Him with my life, and here’s a simple way to move towards that goal.
Wisdom is the key to a life that is pleasing to God. We must pursue it and we begin by asking for it. That request begins the process of the pursuit of wisdom for life’s decisions. Often, this request arises from our sense of inadequacy on how to handle our current situation (like Solomon and Moses). But, we don’t have to be a leader of a nation to need wisdom. We all need it to fulfill our God-given roles; whether it is as an organizational leader or a husband, wife, father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother, in addition to the other demands of life that constantly press upon us, that we may live a life pleasing to Him.
Wisdom is not a product of age or experience. There are many older people who are very unwise. One can obtain wisdom at a young age. Solomon was young when he asked for wisdom and was given it, even while young. Rather, wisdom is something to be pursued and sought after. It is a life-long pursuit. It is my desire to continue to grow in God’s wisdom and knowledge and understanding of the ways of God. I pray that for myself and for other leaders that I know and mentor. May it be your pursuit as well!