Solomon was the wisest man and supposedly one of the richest men who ever lived.
Historians have recorded the richest man who ever lived as an African ruler by the name of Mansa Musa. Mansa Musa’s estimated wealth was approximately $400 billion (in today’s money) which is actually wealthier than the Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and even Elon Musk right now. According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man and is estimated to be worth $187 billion.*
Most of us have probably never heard of him for many reasons. He was an African ruler in Mali, who lived many many years ago. His subjects just like King Solomon’s subjects in biblical times were treated almost like royalty. It’s recorded that half the world’s gold came from Mali during that time. The rest of the world only discovered Mansa Musa’s great wealth after he converted to Islam and travelled with an entourage to Mecca.
He journeyed through Egypt on his trek to Mecca, and the Egyptians recorded that 60,000 men accompanied him to Mecca. His entourage included 12,000 servants, soldiers, court officials and princes, entertainers and more. He also brought his own food, there were hundreds of goats, there were camels carrying hundreds of pounds of gold. Mansa Musa’s wealth was exhibited in all the earthly trappings on himself and yes, even his servants. It is recorded that even his servants wore entire gold outfits! During his reign as the king of Mali (1280-1337) in Africa, his empire included all of Niger, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Burkino Faso. He built schools, libraries and mosques and during his reign Timbuktu gained world renown.
While Mansa Musa was the wealthiest, Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. Biblical scholars and historians have acknowledged that Solomon did indeed live and that during the time of his reign Israel flourished. The bible says that Solomon as a young king, being made an offer from God to ask anything for himself, decided to ask God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:9). How many young persons would have asked for wisdom? I imagine not many!! God was so pleased with Solomon’s response that he also gave him wealth and favor, loyal subjects and so much more.
Solomon’s wisdom and fame spread rapidly. Rulers came from all over the world to see Solomon’s kingdom. They had heard of Israel’s wealth and beauty. They had heard that his subjects and citizens were happy and glad to serve and work for the King. Can you imagine that today? Most of us at some time or the other have had problems with our government or state policies. We have made complaints. Even protested. Imagine happy citizenry!!
Back to Solomon…World leaders had heard of his wisdom. Different leaders came just to converse with him to test him to see whether he was as wise as he was rumored to be. Indelibly his responses and the decisions he made right before their eyes exceeded their expectations. We remember Queen of Sheba’s visit, but there were many other rulers who came to visit Solomon as well.
Then there was his wealth. David had longed to build a temple in Jerusalem. Solomon instead was blessed with this responsibility. Solomon’s temple was ornate, exquisite, ethereal, covered with gold and silver. One scholar even estimated that his temple cost well over half a billion dollars or around $500,000,000! That’s a lot of money for a temple! How many temples, churches, mosques do you know today that are worth so much money? Jerusalem would have indeed been a wonderful sight to behold! And yet, in spite of his wisdom and all these blessings, King Solomon still made some unwise decisions. Those decisions were made when he strayed from God.
Solomon the wisest man who ever lived on earth still made unwise decisions!
My inspirational text for this week is taken from Isaiah 41:10 (KJV).
Isaiah 41:10 says, I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and dry land springs of water.”
Have you made some unwise and even foolish decisions this week or in the past? Do you think that you will never get past those decisions? Take heart, God can make fountains in your valleys, pools in your desert and springs from dry land. Your best is still to come!
Just think about it… water flows through valleys, streaming down from the mountains. Yet God says he can make water, not simply flow down from the mountain, but also come from the ground as fountains. God promises that the answers and the funds you need will also spring up from the dry ground in deserts! Because He is the God of the impossible!!!
He will make the very enemy that is fighting against you, fight for you! Let go and let God create your springs in dry land!
*Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/