Wise Enough to Ask for Wisdom

1 Kings 3

March 12

If an Almighty Being had just offered to grant you one wish – what would you wish for? Oh, so many great possibilities. What about that new house you’ve been dreaming of? Or, even better, a long and healthy life – not just for yourself, but for your family as well – that’s a good one – or is it more than one wish? Imagine how much you could help others if you were the richest person in the world, that could be a good wish! This is hard. Maybe you should ask for more time to decide what you would ask for. It would be a pity to throw away a great wish opportunity.

When Solomon (the second son of David and Bathsheba) became king after his father, God appeared to him in a dream and said:

 “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”

1 Kings 3:5-9 – NIV

Ah, good choice, Solomon. God thought so, too, as He rewarded Solomon with not only the wisdom he asked for, but also great wealth and honor. Make sure you read the whole chapter to hear the impressive story of how he displayed his God-given wisdom to administer justice, which left his subjects in awe. (Wouldn’t it be nice to feel awe at the wisdom of your nation’s leader.)

I admire Solomon’s humility in knowing that he didn’t have all the answers and could use some divine assistance in leading the nation of Israel. There are many times I still feel like a child, unsure of what is right and best in many situations or questioning how God would want me to proceed, even though I have been an adult for about 30 years now. I’ve never led a country before and probably will never need to, but when I am honest, I know I need a good amount of Godly wisdom to do the jobs He has given me to do: wife, mother, servant of God, follower of Jesus.

And, the best news is, I don’t have to wait for God to appear to me in a dream and hope I will be wise enough in that groggy moment to ask for wisdom.

In James 1 we read: “ If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:5-8 NIV)

God loves giving His people what they ask for when they are wise enough to ask for what He wants to give them. And when we ask, it is not a wish or a hope or a “wouldn’t it be nice if…”, it is boldly believing that the Almighty will answer. Solomon had asked for a discerning heart to know right from wrong to lead God’s people well. God said He would happily deliver. But, what if in that famous case, Solomon would have heard God’s prompting to suggest cutting a baby in half, but rejected the idea because it seemed so outlandish or unpopular or unlike anything he would have said before. Solomon would have missed out on truly “receiving” and using God’s wisdom. So, pray for wisdom. Then, when God gives the promptings to act – ACT, even if it seems uncomfortable or unpopular. Ask God for wisdom. Then, when God leads you to speak – SPEAK, even if it seems a little foreign. For all of us not wise enough on our own (all creation), it will take some courage and tuning into God to truly receive and use the wisdom He is ready to give when we ask.

-Marcia Railton

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Solomon asked for a discerning heart to govern the nation well. And God provided. The nation of Israel had an exceedingly peaceful and prosperous time under his reign and the fame of his wise leadership spread. How did Solomon fail to use this wisdom in his own personal life as well?
  2. Where do you sometimes struggle in discerning between right and wrong? Is it important to know the difference between right and wrong? Why? How can you find godly answers to these questions?
  3. Are you wise enough to ask God for wisdom? Are you bold enough to ask God for wisdom? How can you increase your faith, believing that He will answer?

How to Become Smart

Proverbs 1-3

Proverbs 1 7 NIV (1)

How do you become smart?  Are you just born that way?  Do you have to go to school to get smart?  Proverbs 1:7 says that the beginning of knowledge is to fear the Lord.  You will start down a path of intelligence as soon as you fear the Lord.  You might be a great doctor or an impressive lawyer that studied a long time to get where you are, but if you don’t fear God, you aren’t that smart.  Fear seems like a very odd first step in becoming intelligent, but let’s talk for a second about why that is true.

Why should we fear God?  Well, He knows everything, has the power to do anything He wants, has been around forever, made everything, is in control of the whole world, and could squish you like an ant if He wanted to.  That is really intimidating!  If you are not fearful of someone with that kind of power and control over your life, you probably don’t really believe He exists.  If you don’t believe He exists, you’re not very smart.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

The first step in becoming smart is to fear God, but what are the next steps?  You may think that certain people are born intelligent, that some people are just naturally smarter than others.  That may be true to an extent, but wisdom is not going to just automatically happen for you.  Proverbs 2:4 says that you need to search for wisdom and understanding like it is a hidden treasure.  It takes the action of searching on your part to become wise.  Proverbs 2:2 mentions that you need to make your ear attentive to wisdom and incline your heart to understanding.  You need to study the Bible and listen to what it has to say and listen to what wise Christians may also be telling you.  You need to open your heart and mind to the possibility of changing your mind and learning from the Bible and others.  You may think you already have all the answers and can handle everything on your own, but you don’t and you can’t.  Verse 3 goes on to say that you need to cry for discernment and lift your voice for understanding.  You should take the time to ask God for wisdom, and not be scared to ask others you can trust for their help or advice.

On a side note, in Proverbs 1:20 it mentions that wisdom is a “she”.  Gentlemen, take note of that.  I don’t think it is just a coincidence that the author says wisdom is female.

There are many benefits of wisdom mentioned in today’s chapters:

  • God will protect those with integrity and discretion will guard you.
  • It will deliver you from the way of evil and from evil men and women.
  • Days and years will be added to your life.
  • Peace will be added to your life.
  • You will find favor and have a good reputation with God and man.
  • Trust in God with all your heart and He will make your paths straight.
  • It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones if you fear God and turn away from evil.
  • It will give you riches and honor.
  • All her (wisdom’s) paths are peace.
  • Happiness to all who hold her (wisdom) fast.
  • You will not be afraid and your sleep will be sweet.
  • Confidence will come from the Lord.

Fear God, search for wisdom, study the Bible, listen to wise Christians, be open to different viewpoints, and ask God for wisdom.  That is how you become smart.  And once you become smart, you will live longer, have special protection, be at peace, have riches, have honor, and be happy.  Seems like the smart thing to do.

Rick McClain

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+1-3&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Proverbs 4-6 as we learn more about wisdom on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

More Valuable than Wealth or Honor

1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; and Psalm 72

1 Kings 3 5 NIV sgl

In 1 Kings 3, we’re told that the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream when he was in Gibeon. During this dream, Solomon says “But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties” (1 Kings 3:7b). Have you ever felt like this before? I know I have. I often think of myself as not a ‘child’ anymore, but some things just seem too big to do by myself, no matter how old I get. There’s some dispute on how old Solomon was during this time, but I think that this statement Solomon made shows that he realized he couldn’t do this alone. Solomon realized that he needed wisdom from God, so that’s what he asked for. God was pleased and gave Solomon wisdom. And, he was also given things he hadn’t asked for – wealth and honor (bonus!).

 

Verse 15 of 1 Kings 3 says, “Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream”. I think about how if this quote was in a movie, most of us would think that what had happened in the dream didn’t actually occur, that it was just a dream. Maybe the movie had something really bad happen and you think to yourself, ‘maybe it was all just a dream’ or something wonderful happened, almost seeming too good to be true, and you think, ‘I hope that wasn’t all just a dream!’. Here though, God used a dream to speak with Solomon, and by reading on (1 Kings 3:16-27), we learn that Solomon settles the dispute between the two women and one baby. And we could think to ourselves, ‘Yes! It wasn’t “just” a dream! It carried into life even after waking up!’ God used a dream to have a conversation with Solomon and then Solomon awoke and had the wisdom God had given him. 1 Kings 4:29-34 also conveys to us how great this wisdom Solomon has, his fame, and how many came to listen to his wisdom.

 

In this day and age, I think we sometimes go about our days and we don’t always ask God for wisdom. Or, we’re like the other kings during those times and want wealth, fame, or honor. Maybe you don’t fit into that category, in which case you’re more like Solomon than I. But, I know that I should be asking God for wisdom, listening for His response (maybe even in a dream ;)), and using the resources (mainly the Bible, but also godly mentors) to seek out wisdom myself.

 

Moriah Railton

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+3-4%2C+2+Chronicles+1%2C+Psalm+72&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 119:89-172 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

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