Tag Archives: Solomon

No God I won’t, but will You…

It was a dark period in the history of God’s people. The once strong nation divided after King Solomon’s death. The 10 tribes to the north became known as Israel and the 2 tribes to the south were Judah.

This sad state of affairs lasted slightly more than 200 years. In all, there were 38 kings but only 5 – all of them in Judah – were God-fearing, good leaders. God sent prophets repeatedly to call the people to repent and come back into their covenant relationship with Him but they stubbornly refused.

Israel experienced judgment at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. They were conquered and led away into exile. Judah rallied for a time because of placing their trust in God, but another bad king once again led to moral decay and chaos.

When Judah finally experienced judgment at the hands of the Assyrians, it was a two-year ordeal. When the final assault was at hand, King Zedekiah asked Jeremiah to make one more appeal to God. Jeremiah was straightforward in his message from God – it’s too late!

King Zedekiah, along with all of Judah, persistently ignored God’s prophets who warned about the consequences of unfaithfulness to God. They refused to honor their covenant relationship with God and yet when the chips were down, King Zedekiah wanted God’s help.

Stop and think about that for a moment!

They refused to do life according to God’s directives, but still wanted – perhaps even expected – God to come to their rescue. Does that sound at all familiar to you? It does to me.

I think it describes much of what is called Christianity today.

We participate in church life and even other token activities identified as what it means to be a Christian; but then we do life pretty much how we want. Yet when our back is up against the wall we want and even expect God to come through for us and bless our agenda.

And I’m just as guilty as the next person.

Bob Yawberg, one of my mentors, kept a journal throughout his nearly 40 years of ministry. The simple title was “Saying Yes to God.”

Lord, forgive us for abusing the covenant relationship with You that cost Jesus His very life.

May we recognize that You are the center of life and may we say “Yes” to doing life with You.

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

3 Comments

Filed under Christianity, God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender

What would we ask of God?

We’ve all heard jokes about being granted a wish by a genie, but what if God showed up to grant us a request? This actually happened to a guy I know who was very serious about following God.

You can read about it yourself in 1 Kings 3:1-15. That guy was none other than Solomon, son of King David. After David’s death, Solomon became the next King of Israel. After completing the Temple God showed up in a dream to grant Solomon whatever he wanted.

Solomon could have requested anything of God but asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. It was a very selfless request and God was very pleased with Solomon.

In fact, God was so pleased that He gave Solomon not only what he asked for but more.

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 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, 12 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. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. ~ 1 Kings 3:10-13

People came from far and wide to learn from Solomon. And he penned thousands of proverbs because he wanted everyone to benefit from what God was teaching him.

But it didn’t last…

As wise as Solomon was, he broke God’s boundaries and married women from other nations. God had not placed this restriction on Israel because He was a racist but because He knew that if they let themselves be influenced by people of other nations they would eventually be led into worshipping false, pagan gods.

As selfless and respectable as Solomon’s request was, I believe his father David made an even better request.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Solomon wanted wisdom to serve God well.

David wanted more of God’s presence.

We don’t have to wait for a dream or special visit from God. We are made in His image and exercise a free will. We choose what matters most to us every day by what we give our time, attention and energy to pursuing.

Will we choose the presence of God above everything else today?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

8 Comments

Filed under Choices, Christianity, Desire, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God, Priorities, Relationship with God, The Story, Wisdom

Guarding our most valuable asset – Part 2

“Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.”

~ Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Yesterday I blogged on why it is so critical to guard our hearts, today I want to touch on how we can do that. Taking care of our physical heart requires discipline; habits of exercise and eating right. The same dynamic is true for guarding the heart that King Solomon is referring to here in Proverbs. Here are some suggestions.

The Discipline of Reflection. Like a bad amusement park ride the pace of life just keeps getting faster and faster. Making time to pause periodically and reflect is crucial.

We live in a busy and noisy world that will suck the life out of us if we let it. This is why it is essential that we intentionally pull away to a quiet place, pause, and reflect. If Jesus needed to do this (Mark 1:35), how much more important is it for us?

The Discipline of Rest. It was no accident that God took the seventh day of creation to do nothing with Adam and Eve. Reread the 10 commandments and notice which one gets the most attention. (Hint: Remembering the Sabbath – Exodus 20)

We were designed by our Creator to need rest. Eight hours of sleep. One day every seven to relax. Don’t skip vacation time! Without rest our judgment gets blurry and the heart is more vulnerable to attack. Make rest a priority and write it in on your calendar.

The Discipline of Recreation. There is a difference between amusement and recreation. There is nothing wrong with amusement but it can leave us more tired than before we started. Recreation, on the other hand, are those activities that recharge us.

Reading a good book. Creating something with wood or crafts or even baking. Playing an instrument simply to enjoy it. Spend time working on that project that’s been waiting all this time. It will be different for everyone but the common thread is that the activity refreshes our soul.

The Discipline of Relationships. We are wired by a relational God to be in relationship with Him and others. Our level of involvement with others will vary depending on our personality but we need others with which to share the journey.

Make time to deepen important relationships and do all that you can to keep them healthy. They do more to strengthen our heart than we realize. And our most important relationship with the one we pursue with God!

These disciplines will help guard our heart and our heart will direct the course of our journey in life!

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Filed under Determination, Friendship, Heart, intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Recreation, Reflection, Rest

How to avoid the consequences of being stupid

I have to admit that it has taken me a few years to let go and move into the passenger’s seat. No… I’m not referring to teaching the girls how to drive but about helping the kids with 4-H projects.

Because I wanted them to do well and get blue ribbons I kept my hand in the project enough to ensure that it turned out well. But the long-range goal of them developing their skills was sacrificed for the short-term reward.

So last year I took a much different approach with Josh and Kyrsten’s model building. I waited until they asked for help. I took the same approach this year and yesterday Josh learned a big life lesson.

He got to going so fast with painting and building that he didn’t take time to read the instructions thoroughly. He ended up doing much more work than was necessary. Later that same day as Susan and I were chatting I asked him to tell her what he’d learned.

“That if you don’t take time to read the directions you’ll suffer the consequences of being stupid.”

That was a bit harsher than I would have put it but he certainly got the point. But we all do that at times with life and God. We rush into a situation and handle it as we see fit without taking the time to consider any directives that God has given us.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. ~ Proverbs 14:12

This one principle is so important that Solomon repeats it in chapter 16 of Proverbs. God has given us His values and principles to live by for our own benefit. And we see them lived out in how Jesus did life. We need to slow down and spend more time in God’s word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 1 Timothy 3:16-17

Are you spending time in God’s word?

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Filed under Life in General, Scripture