The Wisest Conclusion

The conclusion of the wisest man.

The Bible records Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. Upon his request, Solomon was granted wisdom. God granted Solomon wisdom like no other.

1 Kings 4:29-34 says, “God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the east and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else…. His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed some 3,000 proverbs, and wrote 1,005 psalms. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants from the great Cedar of Lebanon to the tiny Hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals: birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.”

Solomon also had wealth, and he did not lack in provisions.

With his vast wisdom and provisions, Solomon examined the aspects of life. He looked at every path life could take. He tried to find fulfillment in partying and working hard. He tried to find fulfillment in himself and his wealth. He came to the conclusion everything was meaningless unless he pursued the Lord first and foremost.

Solomon writes his final conclusion at the end of Ecclesiastes. In 12:13, Solomon writes, “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thin whether good or bad.”

Take a moment to reflect on your priorities. How well do they align with Solomon’s conclusion?

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Always Confident

Confidence even when bad news and opposition surrounds us. Headlines may be bringing bad news to mind. It does not seem there is a shortage of bad news in our current culture. Opposition may stand at every corner. It is easy to lose trust, but we can have confidence. Our bad news may not make the headlines and our opposition may not be as well-known, but it is as devastating to us. The relationship that ends and the job that is lost probably will not make the news, but it still shakes us. Even though our trust is shaken, we can have confidence. Psalm 112:7-8, in speaking of those who follow the Lord, says, “They do not fear bad news. They confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless, and can face their foes triumphantly.” Psalm 112 states this confidence in the Lord comes in true wisdom. It comes in following his guidance for our lives. Following the Lord will give us light in darkness. It will provide us with a path when it seems there is no path to be found. As you read today’s headlines and survey your current situation in life, ask this question. “Where is my confidence?” Confidence in the Lord will give us the boldness to tackle today and approach tomorrow.

True Wisdom is Life’s Foundation

Justice, goodness, and trustworthiness are found in true wisdom. David was nearing the end of his life, and he placed Solomon on the throne to be Israel’s next king. His final charge to Solomon was to observe all of the Lord’s commands. It is in this observance, according to David, success is found. This observance gives us the opportunity to find true wisdom. Psalm 111:10 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” In saying this, Psalm 111 reflects on all the Lord has done. • Verse 4 says the Lord is gracious and merciful. • Verse 5 reminds us the Lord provides for our needs. • Verse 6 recalls the Lord’s power in meeting our needs. • Verse 9 reminds us of the ransom the Lord has paid for us. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many,” Jesus says in Mark 10. • Verse 9 also tells us the Lord has guaranteed his covenant with us. Verses 7-8 say, “All he has done is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.” True wisdom is the foundation on which our lives should be built. As we build on this foundation, we can be secure of its justice, goodness, and trustworthiness. Take a moment today to reflect on how the Lord has proven himself. Not only historically, but also in your life. How has the Lord’s justice, goodness, and trustworthiness showed up in your life?

What is true wisdom?

True wisdom is the foundation for success.

There is an ancient Indian legend of a king who loved Chess. He challenged visitors to a game, and he was usually victorious. One day a traveling sage visited the kingdom and was challenged to a game. To entice him to play, the king offered to gave the sage whatever reward he asked if he won. When the king was defeated, to honor his word, the king asked the sage what prize he would like. The sage asked for one grain of rice to place on the first square of the Chessboard, and then, that it be doubled on each following square.

The request seemed modest, and the king asked for a bag of rice to be brought. It soon became apparent the terms of the request were impossible to meet. By the 21st square, more than 1 million grains would be required; by the 31st square, the total would go over 1 billion, with more than half the Chessboard still left to go.

Small things have a big impact when they are added together. It is important that we seek God’s wisdom for every decision we make regardless of how small it seems to us. When we add to our wisdom and understanding, it grows stronger and stronger.

Getting God’s wisdom.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

The Bible records Solomon being able to ask for whatever he wanted, and he asked for wisdom to lead Israel. The Lord was so impressed by Solomon’s request that he granted it as well as all the others things he could have requested. Wisdom was the foundation for Solomon’s success. It is also the foundation for our success.

Wisdom is the foundation for success.

Ecclesiastes concludes wisdom is the foundation to everything else. Solomon writes in 12:13, “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commands. For this is everyone’s duty.”

Wisdom has a good look.

James 3:13 says, “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” Wisdom is humble.

James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.

According to the IVP New Testament Commentary Series, “James is deliberate to state a foremost characteristic of the wisdom from above. It is first of all pure, and only then the other qualities. His term speaks of holiness and provides the immediate contrast to every evil practice. The first and foremost reason for valuing wisdom is that it will lead people to do what is morally right. Today’s popular relativism makes it all the more pressing Christians do what is right.”

Verses 17-18 go on, “It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Is true wisdom from above our guiding force? Are we allowing wisdom to guide our decisions? Will we do what is wise?

As we move forward in our lives, these are good questions to ask ourselves.

Peace and Strength

Out of his power, God grants peace and strength.

Peace and strength are always in demand, especially right now. We need peace as we navigate everchanging surroundings. We need strength to walk toward the unknowns of the future. The Bible tells us the Lord will give us both.

Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”

This is the same Lord described in Psalm 29 as powerful and majestic. He spoke creation into existence; everything came from nothing simply by his voice. He calms storms; nature acts as his symphony. His power and majesty are greater than any other, and he grants you and me peace and strength.

Take a moment today to reflect on the Lord’s power and majesty. Allow the Lord to give you strength and bless you with peace today.

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Worthy of Praise

They praised him.

Jesus had a seat on a hill, “A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who could not speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all.” Matthew goes on in 15:31, “The crowd was amazed. Those who had not been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again, and they praised the God of Israel.”

Why did they praise the Lord?

The people praised the Lord because of his acts of grace and compassion. They praised the Lord because of his character.

The people praised the Lord for the same reasons David praised the Lord in the Psalms.

Many times, in the Psalms David offers praise to the Lord. David praises the Lord because of his grace, mercy, and compassion.

David writes of many occasions in his own life when the Lord came through in a big way. As a young man, David was kept safe from Saul’s envy. As an older man, David was kept safe from a rebellion. David was offered grace amid many mistakes and wrong choices. David could not help but praise the Lord.

The people praised the Lord for the same reasons we can praise the Lord.

We can praise the Lord because of his grace and compassion. We can praise the Lord because of his character.

Psalm 145:8 says, “The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love.” Verse 9 goes on, “The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all of his creation.”

How has the Lord’s grace and compassion been visible in your life? Remember to praise him.

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Remembering Creates Trust

The past helps us trust in the future.

The Psalmist encourages, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name. Make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him. Tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name. Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength. Seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has pronounced.”

Psalm 105 encourages us to remember the past. The Psalm does not want you and me to forget how the Lord has worked in the lives of those who came before us.

“By recounting God’s work in history, Christians can be encouraged to praise God, because he is trustworthy.”

Max Lucado

According to The Bible Panorama, the Lord’s work throughout history is to be remembered. “It is here that we see God in his faithfulness, power, and grace. These characteristics have been manifested abundantly in the past. The sweep of Israel’s history including the exodus from Egypt and entering the promised land is rehearsed in the rest of this Psalm. What God promised to Abraham, he confirmed to Isaac and Jacob, made possible through Joseph, and progressed towards through Moses and Aaron.”

The Lord later brings these characteristics to fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s faithfulness, power, and grace. Galatians 5:1 states, “For it was for freedom, Christ set you free.”

Today, Memorial Day, as we remember the sacrifices made for us, remember what the Lord has done. Take a moment and make a list of how God has been faithful. Include your personal experience and Biblical examples. Remember and praise him for what he has done.

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Remembering

Give to each one what you owe. If honor, give honor. If respect, give respect.

Joshua 4 records the account of the Israelites building a memorial to remember crossing the Jordan River. Joshua instructed one man from each tribe to bring a stone from the river to the bank to build a monument. The monument was to serve as a reminder of what the Lord had done for the Israelites. The stones would remind future generations of the Lord’s work. The Bible encourages Christians to remember those who have gone before us.

Memorial Day is not a religious holiday; however, the idea is Scripturally based. Shortly after the Civil War, the last Monday in May was set aside to remember those who sacrificed their lives to help their country, community, and family.

Remembering the past helps us be grateful for the blessings of the present.

Romans 13:7 encourages us to give to each one what we owe. If honor, give honor; if respect, give respect. As we celebrate the unofficial start to summer, may we pause and remember those who have went before us so we may enjoy the blessings of today.

They Gave Much

“Some search for what they can take, but a true king searches for what he can give,” Mufasa says in The Lion King.

Between Me and the End of the World by Adam Hambrick reminds us there are individuals who sacrifice much for us.

 “This song is for the people who step in and serve people when things go horribly wrong,” Adam tells the Associated Press. “I have spent this quarantine watching my wife go off to work as a Physician’s Assistant to do her version of that. Testing and treating people for the virus. It has given me a new appreciation for all the people who spent their lives serving others in difficult times. It’s terrifying seeing someone you love do what they were made to do but have to do it in harm’s way.”

1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

As we celebrate Memorial Day, may we pause and remember there are men and women who have lived out John’s words to the fullest. For the good of their country, community, and family, they gave their lives. To them, we owe a debt of gratitude and appreciation.

Good Shepherd

3 reasons Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Being a shepherd in Jesus’ day was a lifestyle as much as a career. Shepherds spent their days and nights watching over their sheep. They cared deeply for their sheep, and did everything to take care of their flock.

In John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” Being the good shepherd means Jesus…

Cares for us deeply.

For the most part, sheep were not raised to be slaughtered. They were raised to produce lambs and wool, so the shepherd cared for them deeply. Each sheep was an investment, so shepherds would…

  • Tends to the sheep’s wounds.
  • Make sure the sheep were safe, protecting them from threats.
  • Lay down his life for the sheep.

As our good shepherd, Jesus cares for us in this way.

Values us over himself.

Jesus says the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. If a wolf threatened the flock, the shepherd would stand between the wolf and the flock. He would fight the wolf to protect the flock.

Jesus intercedes on our behalf. His grace and mercy protect us. He was willing to go to the cross on our behalf.

Knows us individually.

Shepherds know each of their sheep. They know if an individual sheep is injured or missing. All sheep may look the same unless you are the shepherd.

Jesus knows us individually. The Lord numbers the hair on our head. He knows if we are missing or injured. He knows if we are hurting. As our shepherd, Jesus is there to tend our wounds and comfort us.

Psalm 95:7 says, “For he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today.”

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