Ask God for Wisdom!
O Lord God, our dear Father in heaven, we live in a world which presents challenges both to our faith and our abilities to love. As we come before You to worship, please fill our minds with an increased knowledge of Your Word and our hearts with a growing desire to love. Grant us Your wisdom so that all of our words and actions might serve to glorify You and uplift others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
We are saved by faith alone, but our saving faith will never be found alone. Saving faith will always be accompanied by a repentant heart, which desires to respond to those who need with mercy and compassion.
The world and those who are of the world place their trust in the riches of this world. Jesus suggests that those who are truly wise are willing to give up everything in this world to follow Him and enter the kingdom of God!
Text: 2 Chronicles 1:7-12
On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, "Ask! What shall I give you?" And Solomon said to God: "You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O LORD God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?" Then God said to Solomon: "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king—wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like."
In Christ Jesus, Who would have us walk wisely in this world as we serve in His kingdom, dear fellow redeemed:
Problems, problems, problems! Have you ever felt at times that your life has become one, big problem, and that you aren’t sure what to do about it? Have you ever been in a situation, where things seem to be spinning out of your control? Have you ever been faced with a dilemma that is so complicated, that you would need the proverbial wisdom of Solomon to figure it out? Well, my dear friends, if you have, and I know that I have, there are options available to you, if you will only use them. You may find just the right solution for your problem by turning to good, Christian friends and accepting their advice. Solomon offers this advice in Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.” You may find good advice in a book. I am currently reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, which while written from a secular perspective, actually presents principles which rest ultimately upon Scripture. Today, however, I want to direct you to another solution for your problems—prayer. I am not talking about prayer in general, but rather I would urge you to follow Solomon’s example in our text, who prayed for wisdom and was assured by God that he would receive it. Yes, I want to encourage each of you to ASK GOD FOR WISDOM!
Yes, ask God for wisdom in view of the promises He makes to you! This incident from the life of young Solomon has always impressed me, and I have tried to emulate Solomon in my own life, asking God for wisdom to fulfill His will in my life rather than for temporal riches. However, it did not strike me until I was preparing for this address that Solomon’s prayer was based upon the certainty that God fulfills His promises.
God appeared to Solomon during the night shortly after he became king. God addressed Solomon with these words, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Imagine the possibilities that offer had for a young king! Yet, Solomon was led in faith to respond, “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O LORD God, let Your promise to David my father be established.” Solomon knew that God had promised David that his son would sit on his throne. That promise had now been fulfilled with his ascension to the throne, but Solomon also knew that God had given David an even greater promise. God had promised David that one of his descendants would be the Savior, to whom an everlasting kingdom would be given! Solomon knew that he was part of God’s overall plan of salvation. Consequently, as he prepared to respond to God’s offer, he did so fully aware of God’s ability and absolutely confident of His reliability! He would keep His promises!
My dear friends, James, the brother of our Lord Jesus, once wrote as we have already confessed in this service, “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” (1:5). Notice that there are no conditions attached to that promise. When we ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us. We need not doubt that fact, for that same able and reliable God has made and will keep His promises to us! Our Savior promised before He ascended into heaven, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He promises us through the Psalmist, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (37:4). Which one of us, in spite of all of our problems, has not experienced the presence and blessing of our Lord Jesus in our lives? We can add to those promises, others such as “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) and “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Consequently, even as Solomon realized he was part of God’s overall plan and made his request for wisdom within the context of a faith resting upon the promises of God, so I would urge you to ask God for wisdom in view of the promises He makes to you. He will keep those promises!
Secondly, ASK GOD FOR WISDOM in view of the ministries He entrusts to you! God had just entrusted to Solomon a monumental task—the governing of God’s chosen people. Solomon was only too aware of his personal inadequacies, but he was also very much aware that God could and would enable him to accomplish that which God had entrusted to him. He, therefore, prayed: “You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?” In the account of this event recorded in 1 Kings, Solomon describes himself as “a little child…(who did) not know how to go out or come in” (3:7). He knew that all of the duties and responsibilities of being a good and godly king would require more insight and judgment than he possessed, but he also knew that God could give him exactly what he needed to succeed.
The same is true, dear friends, for you and for me. God has entrusted to each of us a variety of ministries—situations in which we are responsible for and are to serve others. There are ministries in the home—that of husband or wife, of father, mother, son, or daughter. There are ministries in the workplace—that of employee or employer. There are ministries within our Christian congregation—that of pastor, teacher, deacon, organizational officers and members, maintenance and supervision. God entrusts each of these to us and they require our attention and devotion, our decisions and expertise.
When fulfilling our respective ministries, we often run into difficult challenges. Husbands are given the charge to “love their wives just as Christ also loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25), to “dwell with them with understanding, giving them honor” 1 Peter 3:7). Which husband among us could not use and does not need the wisdom of God to fulfill that charge? Our wives are among our greatest treasures, and yet our words and actions at times can reveal callous disregard for their feelings and emotional needs, while at times our wives are unwilling to follow our leadership. Wives, in turn, are urged to “be submissive to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1) and to “respect” them. How you need the wisdom of God to fulfill your calling to assist and encourage your husbands to fulfill their duties before the Lord, especially when they seem to be failing to provide godly leadership. St. Paul urges us, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceable with all men” (Romans 12:18). Christians, at times, may not get along very well, but the Lord urges us to “let (our) love be without hyprocrisy,” to “repay no one evil for evil,” and to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9,17,21). We need the wisdom of God to help us control our words and actions, and to choose those words and actions, which will not aggravate a situation, but rather will advance that situation to a point where differences can be resolved. Ask God for such wisdom, dear friends, in view of the ministries God entrusts to you. God will give you the wisdom you need to accomplish those ministries entrusted to you!
Finally, ASK GOD FOR WISDOM in view of the blessings God will bestow upon you! One of the remarkable parts of this biblical account is God’s response to Solomon’s request. God told Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king—wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” God granted Solomon wisdom, which was evident to all. You no doubt recall Solomon’s decision when two women came to him, both claiming the same child. After listening to their claims, he ordered the child divided and split between the two of them, leading the real mother to offer the child to the lying woman in order to spare his life. Solomon knew a mother’s love would require such a response, and so he discovered the real mother’s identity and returned the child to her. You perhaps recall the impression Solomon made on the visiting Queen of Sheba. Beyond the gift of wisdom, however, God bestowed upon Solomon many other blessings—riches, honor, and long life.
My dear friends, I do not want to suggest that your path to riches lies through a prayer to God for wisdom. God had His reasons for blessing Solomon as He did, and those blessings also proved a source of temptation for Solomon as he grew older. However, there are distinct blessing to be had by those who seek and employ the wisdom of God. Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, begins with these words, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!” When we lead lives of quiet godliness, seeking and employing the wisdom of our God in our daily living and within our personal relationships, God’s blessings will be present. When children wisely honor their parents, and parents take seriously God’s commands to raise their children in the faith, good relationships and fewer problems arise. Stress is reduced and laughter rather than crying will characterize family life. If we comply with the 6th Commandment and wisely refrain from pre-marital and extra-marital sexual activity, we will not have to worry about AIDS or the dozens of other sexually transmitted diseases. The suspicions and heart-ache of extra-marital affairs will not threaten our marriages, as we seek to fulfill very real sexual needs within the framework of marriage. If we honor one another by protecting each other’s property and good names, rather than attempting to exhort that property or destroy those good names, we will find that living together in peace and harmony will flow quite naturally from our efforts.
Beyond the temporal blessings of the Lord, however, lies the promise of God’s blessing throughout eternity. St. Paul, in addressing the young Timothy wrote when concluding his first epistle, “But you, O man of God,…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (6:11-12). Dear friends, our lives in this world do not go on forever. Look ahead to what your future promises. Life apart from the Lord—a life, which dismisses the wisdom of the Lord and seeks only the temporal advantages of this world, will lead to eternal death. Life lived in the Lord—rejoicing by faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and employing the wisdom He freely and willingly bestows, will lead to eternal life! ASK GOD FOR WISDOM, dear friends, in view of the promises He makes you, the ministries He entrusts to you, and the blessings He will bestow upon you! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting