THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Wisdom


2 Chronicles 1:7-12

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honour, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honour, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

 

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Imagine with me that God would visit you one night and say to you the very same thing he said to Solomon….what would your true answer be? For many of us we would think of all the things we have desired and that are important to making us feel good. However, look at Solomon, he asked for what would help him take care of the task set before him…to lead the children of God. He was less concerned about his personal matter because I guess he understood that when he stepped into his role and did what was expected of him the rest would come. I hear the words of Matt 6:33…seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

 

Did he know that? Owing to the fact that he was the son of david I believe he knew keenly the place of God and how he would take care of the other things. I know that from sitting with his father and hearing the things God had done in his father’s lifetime there was hope and certainty in walking with God. It was a daunting task to lead the children of Israel. So he acknowledged that he did not have what it took to run this nation right so he sought divine intervention. We are told that he established himself firmly over the kingdom for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.

 

So here is Solomon, freshly anointed, installed and established as the king and he does several very profound things:

  1. He assessed his situation – he took careful stock of what he had to handle on a day to day basis: a people numerous as the sand on the sea and they were the great people of God close to his heart with a great many matters to be resolved.
  2. He accepted his reality – he could not do it on his own even if he tried or wanted to. There would be cases to judge and justice to dispense and in his own strength he would not be impartial. He needed someone bigger than him to provide balance
  3. He respected the people – called them a great people of God. He knew without a doubt that these people where different from the other nations around and had to be handled differently. This was higher than him and intervention was needed to be able to be the kind of leader they needed.
  4. He asked for wisdom and knowledge –he tapped into the one person who knew these people and could provide the perfect solution. He was unashamed to seek assistance and support from someone higher than himself

This is such a profound request… 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

 

Where are you? What have you been called to do? Have you counted the cost and found it higher than you could do on your own? Remember that God is the one who establishes us and provides what we need to be the kind of people we need to be. God has called us to be of service to him and to be change makers in the nations. He provides all we need in the right proportions. Remember Daniel? Daniel 1:17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” God provided all that they needed. He protected Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den and when others reported him and wanted him dead. He was his shield and protector.

 

Remember that in the walk we are set on there will be things that will appear too big to overcome and to challenge. These are the moments that God desires for us to look back into His eyes and understand that He will make a path for us achieve His purpose. We must be like Daniel and Solomon who regularly and diligently sought God and His will and obeyed Him no matter what. And even when they had instances of failure like Solomon when he married so many women, God remembered His covenant with David and spared Solomon loss.

 

His covenant to us and will come through for us when we keep close to him and follow in His ways. We must live in obedience and commitment to Him and His word. He will provide the wisdom on how to tackle the situation and make ways where there seem to be no way. However, for all this to happen we must have connected with His plan and purpose for our lives and be committed to it regardless of how it looks to those around us. We must know His will for us and ensure we are steadfast to it.

 

He will provide the strength, wisdom and ability to achieve so just connect with Him in obedience and be consistent and He will do the rest. Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

REMEMBERING…


 

Why do we think we can get away with behaving like three year olds even when we are adults? I realise that it is the New Year and many of us are making resolutions about this and that and in a sense it is all well. However, I cannot get over the fact that many of those resolutions will not be kept. Don’t get me wrong, I it is good to make choices to do things differently each year, however it is pointless to make the resolutions if there will be no change. Many times we intend to change it but we do not have the internal resolve to keep on track.

I strongly believe that we can make sure that the choices we make will be long-term and achievable. It is based on connecting with God and seeking his will and keeping in it. This is often easier for us to say than do because we often operate in our strength. When we check into his vision for us and understand that he will never leave us nor forsake us then we are on the road to success. One thing I now believe is that remembrance will keep us on track. We are called to remember. We are required to remember. We need to remember to survive.

Ok, this is all good but; remember what? That is not too hard to answer. Constantly in scripture we are called to remember who God is. This is in relation to his person (loving, gracious, a judge, faithful, etc). Secondly, we are to remember what he has said/commanded and done. There are words he has spoken over us through his word and others as well as through us to others. We also need to keep that in mind the reality that he has provided, protected, preserved and will do so for the rest of our days. This helps us keep perspective in life as we remember what God has done for us, said he will do for us and challenges us to be for him.

I suspect that the main reason the children of Israel lost faith at the Red Sea and numerous other locations was because they simply forgot. Think about it, the Israelites had arrived in Egypt under divine direction to be preserved in the midst of the greatest famine the world had ever seen. They had been in Egypt for generations and become slaves to the nation due to fear of the hosts that they would be too fruitful and overrun the nation. Being there for so long made them think and interact with life in a very specific way that was not beneficial to them yet they were unaware of their state of mind. Then one day out of the blue, a strange guy who many of them did not remember came and told them that he was one of them and had been sent to rescue them from bondage. I bet they all thought ha ha. So the initial reaction was probably yeah right until he begins to speak to the king of the land on their behalf and do signs and wonders which surpassed and confounded the local magicians.  

They began to realise that he had to be about more than just luck and magic. First the rivers went bloody, then frogs were all over, and then irritating gnats, flies all over, dead livestock, boils on all regardless of social status, hail that killed, locusts that ate all the hail left, darkness over the nation and finally the death of the firstborn. Yet they the people of Israel were protected from all the plagues. Surely it was time for them to believe? Well they finally believed that there was a God in heaven who was interested in them. All this resulted in the order to leave Egypt and let them restore the sanity of their nation. The Israelites even left with gold and silver from their neighbours. Who ever heard of unwanted guests leaving with gifts?

The Egyptians soon realised that their source of cheap labour was gone and Pharaoh ordered and led the pursuit to return the slaves. I can only imagine the reality setting in when in the morning they realise that there was no one to build the pyramids or clean their homes. Amazing! When the Israelites saw them they panicked and blamed Moses for wanting them to die in the desert. Ultimately, God came to the rescue and parted the waters of the Red Sea and they passed through on dry land to safety. Each time they met an obstacle they went back on their resolve and wanted to go back. And each time without fail God rescued them and showed his presence miraculously. He provided water, manna and quail. He gave strategies to defeat their enemies, spoke in thunder and lightning, preserved their clothes, healed disease and many more. Yet most of the time all they did was complain and few like Caleb and Joshua remained steadfast in faith and belief in God. The end result was only Caleb and Joshua entered the Promised Land. A whole generation died in the desert.

It makes me question what is going on in the world in and around me. Why is it that it is so easy lose track of the faith that has been built into my life through the things I have been through and learnt? Then I realised that humanly I forget everything. I had forgotten what God had done and written of the daily stuff as my right. I had come to believe that it was my right to life, move and have a life filled with treasures and pleasure. The reality is that He gives what I need and the rest is a bonus. So why is it so easy to forget God’s goodness and daily provision? On my part it has often because I don’t focus on God and His Word and works. What about you?

I need to remember. I need to focus. I need to change. To remember is to recall with clear focus on the events that have happened. I need to recall with clear focus the person of God. This is who He is in the spoken and written Word. Remembrance creates rejoicing, repentance and understanding. In remembering I must be careful not to become fixated on the way God did it that I try to box him in. rather it is the recognition of what he has done and focus on him and he will daily resolve issues in different ways with the same result…that his name be glorified. I am alive to bring glory to God and produce fruit. May I always remember the true purpose of my life.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

PURPOSE


The last time I wrote I was talking about obedience and the impact it has. The more interesting one was the realisation that there is so much more that enhances obedience. Think of it this way, there has to be something that makes the demand for obedience worth the pursuit and allows you the time to keep everything on track. This is PURPOSE.

I am not talking about purpose in the usual sense it is used meaning the reason we are alive and the work we are called to do on this side of heaven. I am talking about purpose in the sense of taking a pre-determined position and sticking with it. This is even more interesting when we look at the place is stands out more in scripture.

We all know the story of Daniel and often we overlook the profound truths that lie in plain sight but we never truly see them. We all know the story…Nebuchadnezzar captured the nation of Israel and took them into captivity. He gave orders to have the young men of good looks and royal bearing be brought to him to be trained and fed well in preparation for his service. In the group was four Jewish young men namely Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. With Daniel in the lead they requested to be spared the goodies of the king’s table and given vegetables and water. This was because they had PURPOSED not to defile themselves with wine and food offered to other gods. They were tested and found to be superior in all ways to those who partook of the goodies. AMAZING……

There are many things to learn but I will only highlight the ones I found most profound.

They PURPOSED not to defile themselves. This was not a half-hearted easy decision to make. In the event they did not look better than the other young men the move could cost them and the head of the eunuch’s their lives. Yet despite all this they decided to do something different and nothing could dissuade them from the same. I said NOTHING could change their minds from the decision. They settled it in their hearts that this was a risk worth taking regardless of the consequences.

They REQUESTED to be excused. Even after deciding in their hearts they informed someone outside the circle who was unlikely to understand their stand. The head of the eunuch’s did not know better than to obey the orders of his mater. This coupled with the fact that there were such delicacies he could not wrap his mind around the fact that these young men did not want the goodies. The four men politely made their stand abundantly clear and were ready to stand up for what they believed.

The FOUND FAVOUR in the eyes of man. The head eunuch listened to them and considered his options. There was no natural reason for him to listen to the strange request from these four kids but he did and contemplated it and discussed scenarios with them…UNBELIEVABLE.

They were TESTED. The eunuch agreed to try this mad diet and see if they would actually survive and be what they believed they could be. Ten days…shorter than a diet to begin to take concrete effect and they had it all down and ready. They were more handsome, brighter, fatter and generally in better shape. They passed with distinctions and were then allowed to stay on their preferred diet.

They found FAVOUR with God. God honoured their faithfulness with knowledge, skill, wisdom, understanding and the gift of interpretation. He raised them to a place of prominence that would have been impossible to attain if they did not defer and focus on God and his will.

This got me thinking…if it was me in that scenario what would I do? I am wondering because God is working on me and pushing me to do things for him that I at times find ridiculous and not the way I want it to go. Then I am reminded of different things like:

It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith

Without faith it is impossible to please God

I cannot achieve great things for God if I am not willing to do radical things and hold onto His word over me and my life. Purpose in this sense then is brought to pass when we have a clear vision on what we are called to be and achieve in this life and make the rest of our days meaningful. What is it that I must purpose to do that I may never be cast out of the presence of Jehovah? The task or act we are called to will vary from person to person depending on our destiny. Each of us has a task to accomplish and so we must buckle down and figure out the best way forward.

In this season of my life…I have purposed to follow Jehovah with all that is in me despite the surrounding situation and the slow pace that things may unfold. I have learned that disobedience is born of an over-active self that will eventually lead me down the wrong path. I wonder what your need to purpose in your to do that your destiny may be released upon you. I have purposed to:

Have a consistent time with my father and king on a daily basis regardless on the circumstance.

Die to self daily moment by moment that I may hear the voice of the Lord clearly

What do you need to do to make the changes in your life… Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Stand firm and do not waiver even when everyone is changing course. I am reminded of the words of a song by Cece Winans…alabaster box. She says “…you weren’t there the night that Jesus found me; you did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his arm around me…you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.”

I believe that when we focus totally on God and his will for us, the world will stop and take notice and make room for us.

What do you need to purpose to do with his call on your life?