May 06, 2020
So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. (1 Kings 3:9-10)
There is nothing more wonderful than knowing you have pleased someone you love. If there is one whose opinion you value at home, or work, or in a relationship, you long to do that which blesses them, that brings a smile to their heart and a “Well done!” to their lips.
Solomon ascended to the throne of Israel following his father, David, the greatest King in Israel’s history. God, in His grace, spoke to Solomon asking him what he most greatly desired. Instead of requesting riches or power, Solomon asked for wisdom. A humble heart preceded such a request. Solomon knew his limitations and was quick to admit his needs. This humility pleased God.
Humility is the solitary entrance to our relationship with God. The proud man will receive nothing from God. In fact, he’s so smug in his self-sufficiency that he would not think to make such a request as Solomon’s. Jesus would later remind us in the very first Beatitude (which is first in the progression and first in importance), “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there’s is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Humble men and women will receive the best for God knows they can be trusted.
But look further and you will discover what pleased the Father most. It was the heart, the motivation behind the request. Solomon longed for understanding so that he could lead God’s people well. This was an unselfish prayer.
A hindrance to prayer is often our motives.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:3)
Study the life of our greatest Leader. You will discover that every prayer came from a heart consumed with the needs of others and the glory of His Father. This was because He was a man of perfect love. The opposite of love is not hatred, but selfishness. Read the great explanation of love in 1 Corinthians 13 and you will see that each characteristic describes a concern for others more than for oneself.
Do you want to please God? You should. You should value His opinion so much that He is the only one you live to please and honor and bless. Paul encouraged the Colossian Christians to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).
Do you want your prayers answered? Not only did God delight to answer Solomon’s prayer as he became the wisest man on the face of the earth, God did more.
God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. (1 Kings 3:11-13)
God loves to give to His children so He can bless them. In the doing, He also displays His perfect love and abundant mercy and the world receives a right opinion about Him. The world has yet to see all that God would do for us—all the prayers He would answer—if we would approach him with a humble, unselfish heart to help others and please Him.
Father, purify my heart. Help me see my need for you so much that it drives me to prayer. Let humility be at the core of my soul, ever mindful of the vast difference between You and me and let me approach You with a humble heart. And purify me from unselfishness. Let me long for the good of others, willing not to seek for myself but for their good. And, Father, may my prayers ascend like a sweet smelling sacrifice to You. May my prayers bless the One I love the most.
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September 17, 2020
September 15, 2020
The rapid spread of the church in the New Testament can only be attributed to two things: the gracious, miraculous activity of the Holy Spirit and the bold witness of His followers. If God had not moved, nothing would have happened. If believers had not shared the gospel, the movement would have stalled.
September 14, 2020