It is pretty exciting that we are almost done with our fast. Only a couple of days left…
I hope that you guys have really pushed through… I hope that you have created space for Jesus to speak to your heart and to your mind and I hope that you have been able to carve out some time to diligently seek Jesus in prayers.
Often times, one habit that I fall into is I will fast… but I will only take on the martyr-side of fasting. I will let myself suffer and convince myself that I am doing it for the Lord… but I won’t really press into him much during that time. Instead, I kind of just pout my way through the misery, committed to finish for sake of my pride but in the end it feels like I never actually met with God.
and when that happens, it kind of defeats the whole purpose.
Because remember, you don't fast to get God to act.
You don't fast to get heaven to move… its already moving. Its moving whether you move or not, it is moving whether you fast or not. Fasting creates space… it clears room in your life so that WHEN you pray, there is a margin in your life and in your mind… an empty room for God to set up shop in your heart and give you the wisdom that it will take to do his will.
But what good is fasting, and clearing our minds, and opening our hearts, if we do not let those areas be filled with what God wants to do in our lives?
Paul prays an incredible prayer in the beginning of his letter to the Colossians (1:9-10):
“we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Today we are praying this prayer… that we would be filled with knowledge OF his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
King David had this dream… to build the temple of the Lord. He was really disturbed by the fact that he lived in a castle, and that God lived in a tent. The tabernacle at that time was a tent. There was never a permanent home for it.
So David said “lets change that.”
but God spoke to him and He told David that he was not going to be the one who would see that dream through, but rather, that dream,
that huge, God sized dream, would be fulfilled through his son, Solomon.
Near the time of his death, King David prays this prayer in front of the whole assembly and (1 Chronicles 29:19) in it he asks God to give Solomon “a perfect heart.” Obviously, the man who was going to carry on David’s dream had to have a heart like his.
and When King David was on his death bed, at the end of his life, one of the final things that he teaches to his son in that final moment is this:
1 Kings 2:6:
“Act with wisdom.”
Rewind even further… When a young David is anointed by Samuel… Samuel is looking over the options of who this future king could possibly be, and David of course seems the least likely to be King, but God tells Samuel:
“Man looks on the exterior. But God searches the heart of man.”
From the time he was very young, God recognized something in David.
King David is the only person in the bible who is called “A man after God’s own heart” which means that when God searched the heart of King David, despite the exterior baggage that we all know was there, God saw something beautiful.
And so now King David, in trying to impart something to his son, he gives him this nugget…
Act with wisdom. and in fact King David, in essentially the very last line recorded that he spoke to Solomon, he tells him:
“You are a wise man.”
King David sees this in his son, and he begins to speak it into his life… You are wise. You are wise. You are wise.
“And son, there is great value in that!”
So now Solomon is King. And he feels totally in over his head.
andthe Lord appears to him at Gibeon him in the very next chapter (1 Kings 3:1-15) and says to him:
“Ask what I shall give you”
What do you want, Solomon? Ask anything.
Solomon asks for wisdom. He basically tells God, “I am just a kid, I have no idea what I am doing. I don’t know how to navigate this incredibly important job that you have given me.
He basically acknowledges from the beginning the same thing that we all need to acknowledge in our own lives with whatever mission God has placed before us…
“I am not adequate. I don’t know how on earth I am going to do this…”
“God, show me how to do this.”
He asks for an understanding mind to govern God’s people, and ability to discern right from wrong.
And God tells him, “because you asked for this, I will give you everything! I will give you everything you have asked, and everything that you didn't ask for.
You didn't ask for money, I will give you money.
You didn't ask for long life, I will give you long life.
And what you did ask for, I will give you more than I have ever given anyone. In fact, I will give you EVERYTHING, more than I have ever given to anyone.
That, my friends, is the best way to get your prayers answered.
That, is exceedingly abundantly more than we could hope or even imagine.
No prayer has ever been answered in a more extravagant way.
And then the very next passage tells us a bit about the wisdom that King Solomon now had.
As two prostitutes come to him with a baby…
and one of them says to him that the other stole her baby. The explanation that she gave was that they both were pregnant, and they both gave birth basically at the same time, in the same house, and nobody else was there.
And one of the babies died in the night, when the mother lay on him… so she stole the other baby and put the dead baby with the other Mother while she was sleeping..
So they are arguing back and forth about who the baby belongs too and so Solomon calls for someone to bring him a sword, and he says “we will cut the baby in half, and the two of you can split him.... Since you can't agree on who the mother is."
and right away one screams out “NO! Give the child to her.”
Don't kill the child on account of this student argument.
but the other woman said “He shall be neither mine or yours; divide him”
What an evil lady.
and of course, Solomon saw at that moment a very clear picture of who the mother was, and so he gave the child to the woman who was willing to give the child to the other mother in order to save his life.
and the bible says (1 Kings 3:28) “All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.”
Wisdom is not information. But wisdom does know that you must seek information:
Proverbs 18:15 says “the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
so if you have wisdom, you know enough to know that you have to keep learning. You have to keep growing.
But learning is not wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to perceive. It is the ability to take information and piece it together with discernment.
to separate what is of God from what is of man… to know in your heart, “This is going to be good… or this is going to be chaos!”
It is the ability to look past what is visible and into the heart of the matter. Into the heart of what is really going on.
Wisdom lets what is in your mind get to your heart.
Great leaders are not people who have a doctorate degree in information, a great leader has the innate ability to maneuver difficult circumstances. To find solutions that you cannot look up on google.
And there is no better prayer to pray during a time of fasting, when your life is open and ready to receive, than the prayer for wisdom.
Than the prayer that your heart understand.
Wisdom is not merely mental, it is spiritual and it is in your heart.
1 Kings 4:29says “Now all of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God put in his heart.”
Everybody is seeking out this guy because he doesn’t respond the way they expected him too…
he doesn’t handle situations the way that they taught him in college he was supposed to respond to things. He doesn’t act based on circumstances and his decisions are not based in common sense…
He sees in his heart, what nobody else sees because none of them even know what it means to open their hearts like that.
Psalm 90:12 - “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Wisdom is not just in your head. The bible references it over and over again as being something that is in your heart.
Proverbs 2:10 says that “Wisdom will enter your heart.”
and I don’t find it a co-incidence, that King David made it such a point in his final moments of his life to affirm this...
the man after God’s own heart affirmed Solomon’s wisdom and told him to keep seeking it…
and then when God asks Solomon what he wants… basically God asks Solomon, “What is important to you…”
Solomon essentially answers: my heart.
My heart is important to me.
Everything that Solomon writes about wisdom in Proverbs and elsewhere, just about every time, he draws the connection that it rests in his heart.
"What is important to me is my heart."
God will you please fill it with everything that is needed to do your will? To do this job that I am totally inadequate and way too young for…
Can we pray that prayer over our own lives?
God give me the heart.
The heart that can look at a situation, and know what you would do.
That can look at a situation and know how to meet the need. Know how to “do justice” as the people said about Solomon.
Know how to do the right thing.
Solomon prayed this prayer of wisdom, and suddenly the pieces just started making sense. His dads dream of a physical temple came to pass because the bible says that Solomon had the wisdom that it took to know who the right people were to build it. The bible says that God sent wisdom, understanding, AND THE SKILL to see it get done.
His wisdom drew other wise men who wanted to be involved in the process (1 Kings 7:14)…
He says this in Proverbs 24:3, “By wisdom a house is built”
and by wisdom he built the house of the Lord.
Wisdom attracts. It draws people.
Nobody could reason the way that Solomon did. He knew how to handle circumstances, and he knew how to handle people. All types of people.
Do you want that?
the bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The reverence for Jesus… that humble adoration that quickly acknowledges we are but a vapor… dust from the ground who will return to the ground,
and he is the only. wise. God…
who knows everything. Who knows our sicknesses before we feel them in our body. Who knows our weaknesses and our strengths.
Solomon knew the secret to answered prayers.
Psalm 25:4 - The secret of the Lord is with those who fear him, and he will show them His covenant.
The secret to answered prayers is to pray for what God has.
God can do anything, but God has wisdom. And he has a covenant that he wants to make with those who fear him. And 1 Corinthians 2 tells us that God’s wisdom is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. And it tells us that we have not received the spirit of the world, with all the wisdom that the world thinks that it has…
We have received the Spirit of the living God. The only spirit that knows what is in the heart of God.
1 Corinthians 2 even tells us that a person who has the spirit can make judgments about all things.
What is stopping us from living our lives in line with the Spirit? What is stopping us from relying on the spirit for the wisdom we so desperately need?
The bible says “ask and it shall be given to you”
and I believe that God wants us to ask for wisdom.
There is no prayer in the bible that he answered in a more radical, over the top way than he did this prayer by Solomon.
I believe that He wants us to ask that the Holy Spirit fill us with all of the wisdom that is in heaven so that we can know how to move with it, here on earth, in this Kingdom.
When Paul writes the Colossian church he tells them that they are praying that the church would know what it means to walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord. He prays that they will increase their knowledge, that they will keep learning…
but the key here is that he prays that they be FILLED with the knowledge of HIS WILL in SPIRITUAL wisdom and understanding.
Wisdom will always stand the test of time. It is how a house is built, and it is how the temple was built. It is how you will know right from wrong… Wisdom will tell you when to be generous, and where to plant seeds.
And it will tell you when to walk away.
Wisdom told one man to build his house on the rock when his neighbor was building it on the sand.
Wisdom told Isaac to sow in a time of terrible famine… and in the same year he saw a 100 fold return (Gen 26:12) THE SAME YEAR!
Wisdom told him to invest in the land when everybody was saying to sell… it told him to dig wells when the Philistines were coming behind him plugging them.
Wisdom saw something that others don't see.
If you are here in this place and you are wondering… “God, where am I going?”
What is even happening?
What should I do differently?
Do I buy this house? Do I move into this neighborhood? Do I start this ministry? Do I do this program?
Do I go to college? Do I go into ministry?
Seek wisdom. Ask the Holy Spirit to give this too you. It will launch you to new levels in your life. You will learn how to treat people, and how to manage people, and how to handle people.
It will help us...
to know if we should buy the intern house the first year or rent it… it will help us to know what buildings will get us in over our heads too soon and what projects we can manage. It will help us see what others don't see.
It will show us where our faith can take us and it help us discern what a closed door truly looks like.
Spiritual understanding will help you discern peoples motives.
It will help you discern peoples hearts and it will help you cultivate yours in such a way that you can best and most effectively serve the people that Jesus has given you to serve.
James 3:17 describes what Godly wisdom actually looks like, and its amazing. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
All matters of the heart.
if that doesn’t sound like a heart shift, then I don’t know what is.
Wisdom is what we are missing when we don't treat people right, when we fly off the cuff… wisdom is what we are missing when we wage war or show favoritism.
It is impossible to say someone has true wisdom if they don’t have these attributes:
Open to reason.
Full of mercy.
Full of good fruits.
We must earnestly seek these things.
and with our minds already more clear from fasting… and with our hearts hopefully more focused than ever, lets pray this prayer over our lives and over our families and over our church today.
“Give us wisdom to discern right from wrong, and an understanding mind as we move into what you have for us for 2016.”