Focus: Learning from the example of others
Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
Does it ever seem like maybe you just don’t know enough to live the kind of life that will lead to happiness and security? When you consider the prospect of living an honest and open life before God, does the task seem daunting? When we’ve had our share of failures, it’s easy to wonder if anything good will ever come of us. The Bible is frank about the condition of mankind. There is none righteous. So, that could leave us feeling defeated—if we let it. Yet, the heart of God is absolutely tender to those who come to Him seeking wisdom and counsel.
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There is a story in the Bible of a man who lacked wisdom. He was faced with an intimidating task and had no idea how he would be able to handle the responsibility set before him. Do you feel that way sometimes, too? If so, there is good news for you. As plain as the Bible is about the fact that there is none righteous—it also states that wisdom can be had by those who ask.
James 1:5 (NKJV) says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Great news! Except there is a catch. Verses 6-8, go on to say: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” In other words, the key to getting wisdom is to ask God in faith, not doubting—believing He is able and willing to provide.
The first eleven chapters of 1 Kings in the Bible give an overview of the end of the reign of King David and the acts of King Solomon during the time he ruled over Israel for forty years, ending in 970 BC. In chapter three of 1 Kings, we see a precious example of how the Lord rewards those who lack wisdom, but have honest intentions.
In this account, we see Solomon, the son of David, who has just been crowned King of Israel. Solomon was humble and honored to be given the position. At the time, the nation of Israel was very large in number and the responsibility was nearly overwhelming to Solomon.
The account in 1 Kings 3:4-14 (NKJ) says: “Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
King Solomon was blessed by God with much wisdom, power, and wealth. But as is the case with many people who become rich and powerful—Solomon began to feel he was above the law in some ways. He didn’t keep the One True God as his only God. He married many foreign women and honored their false Gods. This made God angry, and toward the end of Solomon’s reign God told him so. Even though God had blessed him abundantly—King Solomon didn’t stay honest by not having idols. He compromised and lost honor in the process. We can learn from that.
Declaration: I will find new strength and wisdom to live an honest and open life by asking God for His help. I will not compromise or lower my standards. I will trust God to help me walk in right ways all my days by staying close to Him through His Word. I will learn from the example of King Solomon’s life, not to take the blessing of God for granted.
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