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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 208

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Solomon continued...

Solomon realized instinctively what Paul would later verbalize in his letter to the Romans, that there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Whether to bless a nation or judge a nation God appoints its authorities, its rulers and its kings. As creatures limited in understanding, oftentimes we do not perceive or understand the plan of God in the appointment of a certain leader, or a certain authority. One of the most common reasons why we cannot see the plan of God is due to the underlying assumption that the leader or authority was appointed for our blessing rather than our judgment. We want to believe that God will bless us in spite of ourselves, but His word confirms the contrary.

It is when we open our eyes to the reality that God establishes rulers to both bless and judge that we come to understand why certain men are in power in certain nations.

How can you not understand the sovereignty of God and everything it implies when your father, once a shepherd boy, became king of Israel? How can you not understand that God does as He wills, when contrary to every expectation his father had felled the giant Goliath with a slingshot and a stone?

Solomon did not forget the lessons of the past. He did not forget the life his father had lived, and all the kindnesses and blessings God had shown him. Because he did not forget these things, Solomon came to understand the nature of God more fully than his contemporaries.

Solomon was not an uneducated man. Since his father was king, chances are good he had the best schooling of the time, likely groomed to one day be king himself. When Solomon speaks of his being as a little child concerning leading the nation of Israel, he does so out of true humility and sincerity before God, even though at the time he was the most qualified individual in the kingdom. Since his father had been king before him, Solomon had a legitimate claim to the throne based on bloodline. His father had chosen him, God had chosen him, he’d been groomed to lead, yet here he was speaking to the Lord in his dream insisting he fell short of the necessary attributes to lead.

I keep returning to this because it is of vital importance whether God has called us to lead men, or serve Him in any capacity. No matter how easy or difficult the task might seem, being dependent upon God for guidance, counsel, and wisdom are always of utmost importance. Oftentimes it’s the things we think we can do on our own – without the aid or intervention of God – which we seem to muddle up more than anything else.

If little foxes can spoil the whole vine, then small decisions without the Lord’s input can be detrimental to our walk, wellbeing, and efficiency. The reason for this is that no decision is isolated or insular. One decision leads to another, then another, and the domino effect produced by the initial decision, even if in our minds it seemed like an irrelevancy, can be frightening.

1 Kings 3:9, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

And now we come to the heart of Solomon’s prayer, an altruistic and selfless prayer if there ever was one. The impetus for this prayer was neither an easy life for Solomon, nor a more comfortable existence. The impetus was the people of God, and Solomon’s prayer centered on this singular desire of having an understanding heart to judge God’s people.

Solomon also prays for discernment, and once more it is a request after God’s own heart because he does not ask to discern between more and less profitable, or easier and harder, but between good and evil.

I realize full well that between relativism and moral equivalency we’ve pretty much done away with the difference between good and evil, having considered ourselves so superior to any who came before us that we’ve redefined everything until it meant absolutely nothing, but to God there is still good, and there is still evil, and I pray the desire of our heart is to discern between the two.

There is a marked difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God and more often than not, in the short term, the wisdom of God looks like foolishness to those of the world.

Solomon asks for wisdom, not because he wanted to impress those around him, not because he wanted to prove to his contemporaries how smart he was, but for the most altruistic and selfless of reasons…to judge the people of God wisely and with understanding.

God is pleased when we pray selfless prayers. He is pleased when we come before Him and ask not for ourselves, not for our glory, but for the furthering of His kingdom and the blessing of the entire body of Christ.

When we are diligent in our study of God’s word, we discover why God doesn’t answer certain prayers no matter how often or how passionately we might pray them.

James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Solomon’s prayer was not for himself, it was not centered on his person, his wellbeing, or his status. Solomon’s prayer was for the wellbeing of the people of God, and for his equipping as an instrument of God in guiding them.

Selfless prayers are rare nowadays, but God honors selfless prayers because they come from selfless hearts which are in harmony with God’s will for us.

As ardently as self is preached from many a pulpit nowadays, God still honors selflessness among His people, and though every televangelist might insist that God has changed, His word tells us He has not.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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