“A wise man has great power. And a man of understanding increases strength. (Proverbs 4:5).
In the Old Testament of the Bible, I got interested in how leaders select their successors. One particular instance was the selection of Solomon as King David’s replacement when the time came to retire and relinquish the throne. What made David chose Solomon among his other sons? Discovering David’s criteria can be useful for us in the modern world.
David’s chosen successor surprised everybody because he was totally insignificant during the selection process. Who was he anyway? For one reason, his family background was not something he could be proud of. His mother was Bathsheba. The concubine of his father who had her husband killed. His brothers were more assertive and overly ambitious than him. They could be more experienced in both military and administrative supervision. Still, Solomon gained the king’s favor.
Let us look at how Solomon reacted to this new development in his life. When he was proclaimed the new king of Israel, Solomon did not jump for joy and ran towards the throne. The coveted throne was ready for occupancy but he was not salivating to occupy it.
The power, privilege and authority that went with the position were not appealing to him at that moment. His own self-assessment revealed his inadequacy. He doubted whether he can be a great and strong leader like his father. He did not want to destroy the good leadership that took David years to establish.
He knew very well that public service demands wise decisions. And he wanted to do it right the first time. So he did not dash to the throne to assert his new role. He went first to a solitary place to pray for wisdom. In fact, he chose wisdom over riches when he appeared before God in prayer.
O, if leaders have attitudes like this.
As a result of Solomon’s leadership:
- He gained prominence. The history of great leaders provided a place for him in its pages. Kings, queens and other heads of states nearby and abroad have heard of his good governance.
- He was repeatedly consulted. He seemed to have a ready answer to all life’s problems. And this made him very influential.
- He became rich. People often seek riches but don’t have the wisdom to get it. That is why some would resort to anything even if they have to become dishonest just to get rich. And if they have riches, they lack the wisdom to properly manage it.
- He constantly received favor from God and man. Gifts, tokens of appreciation and donations from leaders of nearby kingdoms and abroad regularly arrive at his palace.
All I’ve learned about this story is the extreme humility of Solomon. He was blessed with a good brain but never flaunted it. He management and administration secretly by observing his father. He was learning in private. He never even looked at himself as qualified but David saw his potential, humility and willingness to learn. This, I believe, made him got the job. And his wisdom blossomed at the right time.
I discovered that, to the wise, his opportunities multiply. His boss will be more interested in what he says. People will probably consult him and maybe pay him just to say some vital information only a few possess. He had nowhere to go but up the ladder of success.