The Nature Wisdom of Solomon

Can be used with Proper A-12

Or Anytime

Hello I am EcoChaplain Roger Wharton and I wish to share with you some information about the Christian Tradition that dates back to the very beginning of humankind’s spiritual and religious thinking, feelings and expressions. It comes down to us as what scholars call the Book of Nature and is the root of our Bible. After all nature was the first manifestation of God and it was the initial way that people encountered God. The people of the land saw God revealed in and through the phenomena of creation. Often times the miracles of nature like the rainbow were understood as acts of God for their instruction and to help them better live in relationship with their Creator. 

The Lord Creator was literally present to these people in the rain that soaked their fields and gave them life as well as in the plagues that ravaged Egypt before the Exodus. The parting of the Red Sea permitting them to flee the Egyptian army and God stopping the flow of Jordan River to permit their final passage into the promised land could not be understood as anything other than the action of their loving God. 

These earth centered people often used natural metaphors as teaching tools to help them better understand their relationship with God and how to live a holy and righteous life.  Actually many of the parables of Jesus fall in this tradition of the biblical nature wisdom. 

Here is one example of a nature wisdom proverb from the Hebrew Scripture — (Jerusalem Bible Proverbs 6:6-9:

Idler (lazy bones), go to the ant;
ponder her ways and grow wise:
no one gives her orders,
no overseer, no master,
yet all through the summer she makes sure of her food, and gathers her supplies at harvest time.
How long do you intend to lie there, idler?
When are you going to rise from your sleep

Nature wisdom was not only the knowledge of the farmers, shepherds and village folk.Understanding the natural world was also considered part of what made individuals great in the eyes of the people. King Solomon, reputed to be the wisest person in biblical literature, is described as a sage of natural wisdom.

 As a child Solomon prayed for wisdom so that he might wisely rule God’s people. What follows is an edited description of Solomon’s wisdom  (I Kings 3:5-12)

The Lord God gave Solomon immense wisdom and understanding, and a heart as vast as the sand on the seashore. This wisdom of Solomon surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the East, and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other… He composed 3000 proverbs and his songs number 1005, and he could talk about plants from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop growing on the wall; and he could talk of animals, and birds, and reptiles and fish. People from all nations came to hear Solomon’s wisdom. 

Be wise like Solomon and learn from nature. You don’t have to be a zoologist, botanist, arborist, ornithologist, herpetologist, or even an ichthyologist but study will make your enjoyment of nature deeper and perhaps more receptive to the Holy Spirit inspiring you into new insights. 

Idler (lazy bones), go to the ant;

Bird, tree, fish, lizard, 

Go to Nature
ponder her ways and grow wise:

Discussion & Reflective Questions 

1.  What are some examples of how nature is important in Bible stories? 

2.  What spiritual or personal insights have you gain from time in nature? 

3.  Do you go to nature for refreshment, rejuvenation, or inspiration?  What are some of your favorite activities and/or places you like to visit?