I was always warned, “don’t pray for patience, the Lord just might give it to you.” Well, this morning I prayed for wisdom. Careful what you wish for……..
While praying, I surfed through Bible Gateway, one of my favorite websites, to find a verse to use in my prayer. And among the MANY discussions throughout the Bible on wisdom, I found such an interesting interchange. It’s the dream conversation between the Lord and King Solomon. It was actually Solomon I was after when I went to the Word this morning, thinking the wisest man that ever lived might have a few words of “wisdom” from someone who has been there and done that in the asking for wisdom category. The long and the short of this interchange found in both I Kings 3 and in II Chronicles 1 is this:
The LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart….Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”
Then as you read you’ll see that the very next thing that happened after he rose up and thanked the Lord was that he was confronted with a challenging situation where he imparted great wisdom. And the next chapter tells us that “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore….He was wiser than anyone else.”
WOW! Talk about getting some wisdom. But I wonder if Solomon, on the day of the first test of his wisdom (read on I Kings 3 if you haven’t heard this saga) thought “I sure hope this is right because otherwise I’m going to be cutting a perfectly good baby in half……..” or if he just knew. As someone who is NOT the wisest person to have ever walked the Earth, I would have been a little nervous. The reason I wonder this is because after asking for said wisdom, I was given some. I wrote earlier about how I have a big decision facing me. As the days have worn on, one choice slowly began to outweigh the other one until by this morning it was nearly a foregone conclusion. Still a fear inducing choice, but one that I would make. But I did feel a bit of a sting in my spirit yesterday when a friend of mine said, “well, I know you will pray about it and you’ll make the right decision.” Because certainly I HAD prayed about it but I wasn’t currently praying about it any longer (foregone conclusion and what not). You don’t need Solomon to tell you that’s foolish. Hence my morning prayer for wisdom. And then I went to a meeting. And then all my foregone conclusions flew out the window. Everything was dumped back on its head and I had no clue what to do.
I haven’t written a lot about my history or childhood but sufficed to say I crave stability and certainty. Unknowns and confusion scare the pee out of me. And I was back in the middle of unknowns and confusion. So this afternoon I took to Bible Gateway again in search of wisdom. What did the New Testament offer on the subject? And this is what I found (ironically I’m in a study on James this spring but missed the night on this set of verses):
James 1 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Seriously? NOT DOUBT??? Or I’m unstable? Well crap. Excuse my language. But that is what I thought. Am I not supposed to doubt that God is giving me wisdom or not doubt the actual wisdom given? Does that make sense? Because I have no doubt that God is giving me wisdom, but now that I have some, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. And does the fact that I’m completely unsettled by what I heard this morning mean that I just need to leave my comfort zone for this next chapter, or does it mean that wisdom is saying that it is the wrong choice after all and I should back up while I can? I get that I prayed for wisdom and got kicked in the stomach, a wake up call I’m sure I needed, I’m just not sure yet what that kick means.
So in the middle of this whirlwind spinning through my head, and I’m not subjecting you to the half of it, I went to my hotmail account. Yes, not exactly where Solomon was running for wisdom, but I figured it would at least be a nice break. And what was sitting there? You’ll never guess, so I’ll just tell you. The daily devotional I get from Lysa TerKeurst. They so frequently knock my socks off that I have a handful of them I keep in my inbox just because they are SO relevant and powerful in my life these days, God is definitely using them and half the time it’s like she’s in my head with my issue of the day. Today she shared one verse because she said (sorry for the rough paraphrase) sometimes all you need is one verse to speak to you and you don’t need to read a whole chapter. And here’s the verse (sit down, you won’t believe this):
Proverbs 2 – My son if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
Isn’t that easier on the soul than ole James? I mean James has a word for the people, but sometimes he is hard on you. And in the midst of my confusion, I needed a balm. And this was a balm. Call out for the insight and then you will understand and that will be good for your soul and it will protect you. The Message translates a portion of this text to say, “Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you. They’ll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions…”
So this is what I learned today: steel yourself before asking for wisdom because you’ll get it, and know that God’s wisdom and guidance will protect you from taking the wrong path if only you’ll let it. Now I’m off to do some praying……