The arrogance of our day, largely fuelled by an evolutionary world view, demands that we look at humanity in past millennia as inferior to ourselves. We have our I-pads, Ferraris and ballistic missiles while the savages of yesteryear were drawing on walls in caves and trying to tame fire. Even a modified version of this comeuppance looks at past centuries with a slight shake of the head at those “poor people” and their struggles with a lack of what we consider to be basic technology.
The reality is that man has not been slowing evolving upward – in fact, since Adam’s perfect creation in the image of God, our path has been downhill. Despite this “devolution,” the 21st century does not have the market cornered on skill and technology - every generation since Adam has had some VERY talented people. Some of those people are around today, but they are hard to find in and among the masses who largely waste their time on video games, social media and the other “blessings” of the modern day. The vast majority around us are consumers of someone else’s ingenuity and not innovators themselves.
The Bible describes a man in Solomon’s day named Hiram who assisted in the technological aspects of the building of the temple. Hiram was said to be, “skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving...” (2Chron 2:14) This is quite a portfolio of talent! Today we might find someone who specializes in one or two of these areas and maybe has an interest in a third, but to find a man with the whole package?
As we probe a bit deeper into this individual, we find that these were not merely natural talents. Hiram had a passionate desire to learn and acquire new skills. The Bible tells us that , “he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning....” (I Kings 7:14) According to Webster, cunning means “experienced; well-instructed as applied to all kinds of knowledge, but generally and appropriately, to the skill and dexterity of artificers, or the knowledge acquired by experience.” If Hiram didn’t know how do it, he found out! He would work at the new task until he figured it out! I Chron 2:14 says that he was, “skilful..to find out EVERY device which shall be put to him.”
Was Hiram an exceptional individual because he enjoyed a life of privilege and access to the best education that money could afford? No. Scripture indicates that he had the deck stacked against him: a mixed race home (Jew/Gentile); a lack of tribal identity due to his mother’s tribal mixture (Dan/Naphtali); a solo-mother home (mother a widow); grew up in a pagan Gentile country (Tyre). And yet this adversity was used as catalyst rather than as an excuse to mold one of the most physically talented men in all of the Bible – the genius behind the genius of Solomon’s temple!
Where are the Hiram’s of our day? Where are the curious innovators who constantly acquire new skills, seek out the experts for more training and stay at a new task until they have mastered it? Or more specifically, what about you? How are you currently attempting to advance yourself in becoming a more effective servant of Christ? Or are you quite content to sit back and let others do these types of things while resting upon the excuses of a lack of time, talent or money while the real reason is laziness? Maybe it is time to ask the Lord to rekindle some desire in that heart of yours and to get back into the race! “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” (Prov 18:1)