Solomon knew the seven laws of success, but his life may have ended in failure. Why?
If the, mystical genie of Aladdin's lamp suddenly appeared before you, what would your wish be? Something strangely reminiscent of that Middle Eastern fable actually happened in the life of ancient King Solomon. Just as Solomon was ascending to his father David's throne, the Eternal appeared in a dream saying, "Ask what I shall give you." Solomon asked for understanding. In response he was given not only understanding but great wisdom. God said, "... I have given you a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like unto you" (I Kings 3:12). In spite of all this wisdom and understanding, Solomon ended his life years later in a type of failure. His heart had been turned from God by his many women. In fact, the book of Ecclesiastes. (understood to have been written by Solomon late in life) demonstrates some of his departures from God.
What went wrong?
But why? What went wrong? Is all that wisdom and understanding not enough? To understand we must study the meaning of a little-used, but powerful Hebrew word. That word is m'zimmah. It is translated in the King James Version of the Old Testament variously as "devices," "thought," "mischievous device," "wicked," "discretion," "witty inventions," "lewdness" and "intents." These widely divergent •translations cloud an important meaning of m'zimmah, however. That meaning of m'zimmah is "to devise or to purpose." It carries the sense of premeditated determination, deep resolve and willpower. The notion is one of powerful determination and resolve.
God's powerful will
A good example is found in Jeremiah 30:24, "The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents [m'zimmah] of his heart.... " When God purposes something in His heart — in this case a prophecy — it is as good as done. He is not lackadaisical but undeterred and determined in His resolve. God's will is powerful! M'zimmah, strong purpose or determination, can also be directed in a negative or evil way. In Proverbs 24:8 we read, "He that devises [m'zimmahj to do evil shall be called a mischievous person." This proverb is not talking about someone who sins carelessly or through weakness. Premeditated resolve to do evil is the meaning. Proverbs 12:2 says that God will condemn a person of "wicked devices" (m'zimmah).
Formulas for success
M'zimmah appears five times in the introductory chapters of Proverbs — in each case in the positive sense, in basic success formulas. The first and most important is in chapter 1:2-4. Here the purpose of the book is given: "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man [or woman] knowledge and discretion [m'zimmah]." M'zimmah is ranked right up in the introduction of the book with wisdom, instruction, understanding, judgment and other weighty factors of a successful life. The word appears several times in the ensuing chapters linked with these same important qualities.
Linked with understanding
In Proverbs 2:11 we read, "Discretion [m'zimmah] shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you." M'zimmah is linked with understanding if you want to achieve success in life. In chapter 3:21, "My son, let not them [wisdom and understanding] depart from your eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion [m'zimmah]." Willpower and deep resolve to do right is an indispensable partner of wisdom. In Proverbs 5:1-2 we are told, "My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow your ear to my understanding: That you may regard discretion [m'zimmah], and that your lips may keep knowledge." Here, m'zimmah is associated with knowledge. Finally, chapter 8:12 says, "I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions [m'zimmah]." Like knowledge, wisdom and understanding, prudence also needs the commitment of determination in order to be of any value.
To have wisdom and understanding is not enough! To be prudent is not enough. Knowledge by itself is not enough. These great qualities must be activated by m'zimmah. In God Speaks Out on the New Morality (page 143, 1964 edition), Herbert W. Armstrong painted a vivid picture of what we call character. He wrote: "What is this righteous spiritual character? "It is that controlled ability, in a separate independent entity, to come to a right knowledge of the true from the false — the right from the wrong — and, by free choice, to choose the right and the true; and, further, to use the self-discipline to will and to actually do the right." Character requires not only knowledge and understanding of what is right and what is wrong — not only choice — but character requires the will — the premeditated resolve and determination — to do that which is right. That is m'zimmah!
Ingredient for success
While m'zimmah resembles two of the seven laws of success (drive and perseverance), it often serves as the needed catalyst to activate all the laws of success. Many times, the only thing standing between you and success (physically or spiritually) is this ingredient — m'zimmah. Solomon was the wisest man who had ever lived. But all the wisdom in the world did not make his life a success. He needed that will to perform that which he knew to be right. A person could sit in church for years and gain great knowledge of the Bible. But without m'zimmah to activate that knowledge, it will all come to nothing. The apostle Paul noted, "For not the hearers of the law [and those who know and understand the law] are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Romans 2:13). Consider Solomon. Consider m'zimmah. And consider your life physically, financially, spiritually and in every other way. What could m'zimmah do for you?