Monday, June 10, 2013

A Prayer for Wisdom

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, June 8, 2013:  I Kings 3:3-4:34

7 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. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 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?  I Kings 3:7-9 (NKJV)

Have you ever made a really stupid mistake?  We all have.  Afterward, we feel like kicking ourselves for not being wiser.  I once tried to carry an old mattress to the dump, but failed to tie it down in the back of the truck I was driving.  Have you ever seen a mattress fly up and out of your pick-up while you were driving down the Interstate?  Not a good moment.  What was I thinking?

Perhaps you've locked your keys in your car -- and the motor was still running.  Or left your window down on a sunny day not thinking a violent thundershower would sneak up and pay a visit.  Most of our bad decisions are laughable as we review them later.  But sometimes, our lack of wisdom brings a stiff, long-lasting penalty.  We need the wisdom of God.

Wisdom is a major topic throughout Scripture.  There is even a portion of the Word of God specifically called the Wisdom Literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon).  All of Scripture displays the wise-ness of God, whether it be the logic of the law or the powerful words of Jesus. 

But the wisest man of the Old Testament was unquestionably Solomon.  Scripture says that "God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand of the seashore.  Thus Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East .... for he was wiser than all men ..."  (I Kings 4:29-31). 

Wisdom has been defined as the ability to make good decisions.  The Hebrew word for wisdom is chokmah (the ch is pronounced with a hard h-sound).  Surprisingly, this word means "skill" or "ability".  The Greek word for wisdom (sophia) tends more toward philosophical insight or understanding.  The Hebrew word is very practical.  Regarding "skill", an example would be the ability of a ship's captain to maneuver his ship through treacherous waters into a safe harbor.  Wisdom, in the biblical sense, is PRACTICAL.  Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge correctly.

Have you ever cried out to God for wisdom?  Solomon did.  He inherited the throne of Israel from his father David, and the first thing he did was pray for an understanding heart so that he could judge correctly. 

God had actually come to Solomon first.  God came in a dream.  This is another entire topic, but it is worth our attention to realize that at times God speaks to us through dreams!  God asked Solomon a question:  At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (I Kings 3:5) 

If God asked you the same question, what would you answer?  Wisdom is not a high-browed diversion from reality.  It is the applied, practical skill to maneuver through rough waters.  If you are in such waters today, God's word speaks to you from James:  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. (James 1:5).

Father, I pray today for you divine, life-changing, life-transforming wisdom.  Despite the turbulence of a dangerous world, we believe that you know the path ahead.  Guide our steps so that we make all the right decisions and walk the right paths.  In the end, may your wisdom be seen in the way we walked through dark places with You only as our light.  Amen.

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