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?
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.
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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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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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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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.
“Some search for what they can take, but a true king searches for what he can give,” Mufasa says in The Lion King.
“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.
It is freeing.
George Washington Carver became one of his generation’s most honored and beloved scientists by focusing on a simple peanut. Carver eventually found some 300 uses for this common food item. Carver attributed all of his scientific discoveries to God.
Carver remarked he once asked God to explain the universe to him, but felt God saying that was too large of a task. When he asked for something he could handle, he believed God directed his focus to the peanut. Carver said he would be helpless if God did not pull back the curtain of truth.
Telling ourselves the truth and recognizing our place in God’s plans can be a freeing experience. The truth reminds us of our reliance on the Lord. The truth is fear and anxiety may be a part of our current circumstances, and God will be there with us.
The truth was freeing for David.
David may have understood the freeing experience of telling himself the truth. Some have suggested David wrote the Psalms as therapy for himself. In Psalm 57, we find David hiding in a cave as Saul is pursuing him. Everything seems grim for David, but he understands the Lord will take care of him.
David writes in Psalm 57, “I am surrounded by fierce lions, who greedily devour human prey, whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords.” There is no doubt he felt the fear and anxiety of the current moment.
We too may feel the fear and anxiety of the current moment. The fear of things getting worse. The anxiety of our bank account balance dropping. What happens when the emergency fund is depleted? The confusion of conflicting data and mixed messages. The truth is life has fearful and anxious moments.
Like David, we can look at the bigger picture in these moments.
A bigger picture gives a more confident viewpoint.
David writes, “My heart is confident in you. My heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises. Wake up my heart…I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.”
David was in the cave, but he knew God was beside him. David was being chased, but he knew God was shielding him. Amid his fear and anxiety, David told himself the truth concerning God’s presence.
Amid our fears and anxieties, we can echo the truth of God’s presence. The truth is freeing.
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You are not alone.
As recent events continue to unfold around the globe, a feeling of hopelessness may be emerging. The unknown of the future is causing much anxiety and stress for many individuals. If this is you, you are certainly not alone.
In Psalms 42 and 43, the writer shares the feeling of hopelessness. The writer felt separated from God. Perhaps he felt as if he was on an island all by himself. Though feeling separated from God, the writer recognized he should put his hope in the Lord.
Seek the Lord in moments of hopelessness, and he will provide hope.
- Psalm 42:5 says, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God. I will praise him again.”
- Psalm 43 says, “Send out your light and your truth. Let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God, the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my heart, O God, my God. Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God, I will praise him again, My Savior and my God.”
The Bible reminds us there is no hopeless situation. Having Christ as Savior means there is hope in hopelessness, life in death, and light in darkness. “Our hope is the anchor for the soul. ‘Where’s your hope,’ Jesus asks. It is the confident hope of the return of Christ,” states Max Lucado.
Give the Lord your list of hopeless situations, and allow him to provide you with hope. And, do not be afraid to reach out to others for help in this moment of hopelessness. The Lord has blessed us with individuals who can help us in our time of need.
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Looking and moving ahead.
We all have goals and dreams, and we work hard to achieve and fulfill them.
As Christians, our main goal should be imitating Christ. Paul provides some advice to help us.
In Philippians 3, Paul writes, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection, but I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing – forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us.”
We are encouraged to narrow our focus in two ways.
Forgetting what is behind.
This may be hard for us to do. We cannot allow the past to absorb and control our present and future.
- We cannot get hung up on what we have already achieved. There’s still more work for us to do.
- We cannot allow mistakes we have made to beat us down. In his grace, the Lord will help us move beyond mistakes.
We should look ahead to what is coming; our concentration should be on the Heavenly prize awaiting us.
Keeping our focus on the future rather than the past will give us the motivation to press on. Our Heavenly prize awaits us at the finish line.