Ask God

Psalm 72:1
A Psalm of Solomon.
“Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s Son.”

When Solomon first stepped onto the throne of his father, David, he was overwhelmed by the task before him. He realized he was weak and inexperienced, and the responsibility of ruling the nation was too much for him to handle. He knew that the Lord was his only hope, and cried out to God for wisdom. This psalm is a poetic expression of an event recorded in 1Kings 3. There, we find Solomon encountering God in his dreams. Faced with the overwhelming task of leadership, God allows Solomon to request anything he wants. Solomon’s reply is essentially the same as is recorded here. He asks for wisdom to know how to lead the nation.

Few of us are kings or even politicians, but all of us have responsibilities that are too much for us to handle, and all of us face seasons in life when we do not know what to do. James explains what we should do when we face those trying times,

James 1:5 “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.”

Whatever you might be facing, it is comforting to know that we can seek wisdom from God and He will supply it. Solomon found that God gave him much more than he could have ever imagined. Sadly, as time went on, the king became self-reliant and drifted from the Lord, who had been so gracious to him.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 72

  1. Verse 1 the Psalmist prays for the king and the king’s son. We need to remember to pray for the leaders of our country. Take some time to pray for the leadership of the nation.
  2. We often fight what God is telling us to do in our life. The psalmist says in verse 8 that one day everyone will know God. Is there anything you need to lay at the feet of Jesus?
  3. We often forget that God delivers us from trials. In verse 12 what does the “needy” need to do to get out of trial?

Shhhh! It’s A Secret

Jeremiah 38:16
“So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah…”

As the book of Jeremiah moves forward, we find the prophet having repeated discourse with King Zedekiah. The king seems somewhat erratic in his behavior. One moment, he is treating Jeremiah favorably, while the next, he is having the prophet committed to the dungeon. By his own admission, he mistreats the prophet out of fear of how the people will react. He seems to conclude, the best approach is to become a secret believer. In public, he denies any relationship to the prophet, but in private, he seeks his counsel.

Zedekiah is not alone in his attempt to be a secret follower. In New Testament times, we read of Nicodemus and Joseph, who both believed Jesus was the Christ, but due to their social status, refused to be open about following Him. Today, many claim to follow Christ in private, but have yet to make their commitment to Him known to others. Sometimes, this is caused by fear of how we will be treated. Other times, it is motivated out of desire to continue participating in certain sinful activities. We realize, as long as we are quiet about our faith in Christ, we will not be questioned regarding how we act, talk or behave.

Zedekiah soon found he must make a decision to either follow the Lord or not. Life brought him to a crossroad where he could no longer live in two worlds. Either he would trust the Word of God and submit to Him, or he would follow the ways of the world in which he lived. Zedekiah made his choice and lived with the consequences. Now, it is time for us to make ours. Will you choose today to follow Christ, not as a secret disciple, but as one who will boldly and publicly confess Him as Savior and Lord?

Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”

Pastor Jim

 

Divided Heart 

1 Kings 3:3
“And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.”

Throughout his life Solomon showed evidence of his love for the Lord. He wrote three thousand proverbs to instruct young men how to walk pleasing to the Lord. Although only a few remain, we are told he also wrote over one thousand songs. Because of the influence of his father, it is safe to say, most of these would have been songs of worship. Solomon also spent the early years of his reign building the Temple, so Israel would have a permanent structure in which to worship he Lord. All of this attests to the statement that, “Solomon loved The Lord.” The problem arises when we continue reading the verse and find, along with his love, he had what the text calls “an exception.” Solomon loved The Lord except…”

For Solomon, this exception was a divided heart. He loved God, but he also loved women, and married hundreds of them. Many of these women were foreigners, and in order to please them, he erected altars or even temples to their false gods. This double devotion led Solomon further and further away from the Lord, and sowed seeds that would ultimate cause the collapse of the nation. His life proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the truth of the Jesus’ words:

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other…”

It is important that we carefully examine our lives to determine whether we are dividing our devotion between the Lord and the things of the world. James reminds us, love for the things that God opposes, puts us at enmity with God (James 4:4). Instead of having Him on our side, helping us to become the person He designed us to be, we find ourselves constantly fighting against Him, in order to do things that He forbids.

The danger is, these exceptions will become the rule. What started out as a little compromise, became the defining element of  Solomon’s life.

Pastor Jim