Beginning of Wisdom

God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 1 Kings 4:29-30

These two sentences sums up Solomon’s wisdom. The rest are in the details of the accounts of wisdom. Even in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes we see the wisdom that came out in writing. Of course he had the very best teaching that the world could offer, but many learned and scholarly men are not wise. Knowledge itself doesn’t bring wisdom. Having a high IQ does not give a person wisdom. We see very clearly in life today that having a lot of money and fame and beauty does not bring about wisdom. Even those who are considered wise in the things of the world may not have a Biblical view of right and wrong.

Solomon states that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). That’s our starting point, and a good one at that. Meditate on this phrase throughout the day and let it permeate your soul.

Heavenly Wisdom

Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, "My lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other."

The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, "Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don't kill him!" But the other said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!"

Then the king gave his ruling: "Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother." 1 Kings 3:16-17, 24-26

We're familiar with this story. It is the first time that Solomon's wisdom is tested. Solomon's task was to do the right thing, to discern who was telling the truth and telling a lie. Solomon got the reaction he wanted. He knew the "mother instinct" would kick in. Most mothers would have compassion on their own children even if it meant giving them away than to lose the children altogether.

Often we are faced with extremely difficult decisions that must be made quickly. We may not have time to weigh all the options that are available, so what do we do? Read through the list of wisdom qualifiers in James 3:17-18 (pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere). Any decision that meets all of those qualities must be better than those that don't. Unfortunately, we rarely have 100% of all the facts when we make a decision.

Sometimes we just have to make the decision. It'll be okay. Really, it will.

Five Minutes Before Bedtime

So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. 1 Kings 3:11-15

I've had dreams like this before, but they are rare indeed. Solomon had given the possible answer to the question, "what do you want me to do for you?" Wisdom is the answer. He wanted discernment in meting out judgment. He wanted to be able to see black and white in a gray world.

We should be praying for wisdom often. But there's another point I'd like to make.

How is your dream world? Are you troubled by the cares of the world? Do you wake dreading what this day holds? Do you find yourself waking up unrested and worn from a night of tossing and turning? I know I do often enough. But I can usually point back to something I've read or seen or heard the previous night or the night before.

I would encourage everyone reading to try this over the next week or so. Before hopping into bed at night and clicking off the light, meditate on Scripture for five minutes. That's it, five simple minutes. Choose one verse and read it until you've committed it to memory. Then the fun begins. Roll the verse over and over and over in your mind, meditating on its meaning, letting it settle into your inner being. Then with that verse on your mind, it will stay in your head throughout the night (like that song you heard but can't get out of your head sometimes).

After a week or so, let me know how it has worked for you. The power of God's word, even when you are sleeping, cannot be underestimated.

Here are a few verses that you can start with. Most Believers are familiar with them already.

Proverbs 3:4-5
Psalm 23:1,2
Ephesians 3:20
Psalm 139:1
Psalm 67:1-2

Good Answer, Solomon!

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" 
1 Kings 3:5,9

Good answer, Solomon, good answer. Out of all the things that Solomon could have requested, a discerning heart was the absolute best. As King, he could have power and wealth and prominence and fame and whatever his heart desired. But few with that kind of authority and power have had the desire to be wise. It's sad but true. The folks who need it the most are the least likely to ask for it because they think they're invincible.

Look at the countless years of history: none of those leaders were invincible. None. They all have come and gone. So, too, the current crop of leaders will come and go.

Once again, I urge you to pray for your leaders, that they will have a heart of wisdom and will desire to discern between right and wrong. Leaders today do not need more fame or power or wealth or beauty. They need wisdom.

And so do we.

Blessing Others in Prayer

"I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.' 1 Kings 2:2-4

The entire first chapter of First Kings is how Adonijah wanted to be King but those advising King David insisted that Solomon take the throne. Then, as David is on his death bed, he blesses Solomon, who is considered the wisest man who ever lived.

David blessed Solomon thusly, "So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go." This is a prayer that most Believers would love to have prayed over them. So, why don't we?

Read the prayer over and over again until you commit it to memory, then put it in the form of a prayer: "I pray that this person will be strong and show himself strong, and that he will observe what the Lord requires of him. I pray that he will walk in His ways, and keep his decrees and commands, as written in the Law of Moses, so that he may prosper in all he does and wherever he goes."

Memorize this blessing, then pray it over a different person every day. Then, watch that person grow in the Lord!

A Sacrifice

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”  “To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped.”Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are
threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. O king, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the LORD your God accept you.”

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.
Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

2 Samuel 24:21-25

This is a fairly famous passage buried in the Old Testament. As a King, David could afford anything he wanted. Many dignitaries and rulers heaped upon him lavish gifts. It happens in all societies and cultures. People want to curry favor with those in authority. So, then, it was natural for Araunah to offer the King the entire threshing floor.

But David realized something very significant: A sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice if it’s not a sacrifice for you. It’s something to think about as we give of our time, talent, and money to others and to organizations.

Jesus came to earth: it was clearly a sacrifice for him. Jesus lived among us for 33 years: no small sacrifice. Jesus endured vile insults and beatings, and ultimately was nailed to two blocks of wood: the ultimate sacrifice.

Consider the sacrifices you make for His sake. Surely you sacrifice; we all do. Often, you don’t consider those things sacrificial because they are the “right thing to do.”

  • Teaching your children the Bible and bringing them to Sunday School week in and week out.
  • Housing a missionary family when the come to town.
  • Dropping a little extra in the offering for that same missionary family.
  • Memorizing Scripture even though it’s touch, and teaching your children to do the same.
  • Giving up your career to go to a foreign land to eat strange food and learn a difficult language just so you can communicate the love of Christ.
  • Remaining single so that you can serve Christ in dangerous places without having to worry about your spouse.

The list goes on and on. You can do thousands of things that are sacrificial. Your labor is not in vain, Brothers and Sisters. Keep at it. The world will not understand your sacrifice (if it knows of it at all), but God sees and He blesses.

Not Alone

“I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” 2 Samuel 24:10

We don’t know precisely what David had done wrong in taking a census. Scholars debate it even to this day. Even his military commander, Joab, questioned the action before David carried it out. In the end, after David had confessed, a three-day pestilence took the lives of 70,000 of David’s men (2 Samuel 24:15). David knew it was a sin and did it anyhow. It seems drastic and harsh to us, but God obviously hates sin that much.

David, though, continued to be a man after God’s own heart. He sinned greatly but he seemed to always come back to the fold, and God restored him greatly. It really is a picture of our life we have in Christ.

We sin; we grieve; we confess; we’re restored, and the cycle continues. Hopefully along the way we are learning to trust Jesus more. As our walk with Christ matures, we’ll face different battles and temptations that we didn’t have to face ten or twenty years earlier. After we “master” those challenges, we’re faced with newer ones. All in all, what we face in this life helps us to depend on Christ’s strength and not our own.

We are not alone in the Journey, for Christ goes with us.

He Reached Down

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters." 2 Samuel 22:17

As you go through life, you need this. You need God to just reach down and take hold of you. More often than we care to admit, you think He might just reach down and shake you into your senses, but this is not the case in this passage. No, after spending a lot of time and more energy running from his enemies, David just cried out to God. In fact, this entire chapter is like that. You can tell that being on the run took its toll on David. He's spent, exhausted, ready to just hang it all up.

We get like that. We sometimes feel as if we can no longer move. But God, through simple, honest prayers like this, restores our soul, renews our spirit. But we have to take a step of faith and let it all go. Blurt it all out. Holding in all the junk and misery of life just complicates it. Let it all go.

Read the entire 23rd Chapter of Second Samuel out loud, then close your eyes and just worship. Weep if you need; raise your hands if you must, but cry out to Him.

Just Because

David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. 2 Samuel 22:1-2

This is very similar to what we see all throughout the Psalms. David accomplished something great and he took time out to Praise the God who delivered Him. He did it often enough to make me think that it was a part of his character. Sure he sinned and fell and doubted and worried and obsessed over his enemies. But he also praised heartily.

We have the same things going for us. Of course we aren't kings and queens, but we still have our victories and valleys, our depressing times and our times of elation. We have ups and downs, highs and lows. Sometimes our lows are ruts, and our highs are Mt. Everest-like. But still, we seek Him.

Take time today to praise the Lord. Praise Him for who He is. Praise Him for what he's delivered your through. Praise Him for what He's continuing to do through you.

Praise Him, just because.