08 12 2019 Verse
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. Proverbs 1:5 NKJV
Wisdom. We all want it but seldom do we ask for it or seek God for that special wisdom. My husband and I pray together daily and we decided many years ago to pray for wisdom. Why? Because when you have wisdom, you seldom make terrible mistakes whether it’s in your relationships, your finances or your work. We have asked for and were granted wisdom in these areas many times over the years. Do we still make mistakes? Occasionally. And usually when we haven’t sought proper counsel…whether from God or from those more knowledgeable in the areas we need counsel.
Being wise isn’t a facet of the elderly. Although, the elders in our lives have lived more and seen more so they do have more wisdom that we do. But no, even the young can have wisdom. How? By seeking wise counsel. Being selective to who we approach for wise counsel is another aspect of wisdom. You wouldn’t go to a banker for legal advice nor would you go to a computer technician for banking advice. Lining up your counsel for the right advice is crucial. You might ask a banker who they might recommend for legal counsel or you might consult friends or you might check reviews for attorneys. Ultimately, though, the decision is yours and yours alone. We ask those people for advice but we ask the Lord to give us direction and discernment when deciding. All these things point toward wisdom.
Another place to look for wisdom is in the book of Proverbs. It’s amazing how many proverbs are mainstream and most folks don’t know a particular saying comes from the Bible and many of them from Proverbs. I like to think of Proverbs as a guide to life. You can’t go wrong with what you learn from Proverbs.
“Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Job 1:10 NKJV
For anyone who has read or knows the book of Job. It is a difficult book to read. It took my husband years to read through the entire book! He’d get so far in the book and then he’d stop reading because of Job’s terrible trouble.
There is an idiom in the English language: “to have the patience of Job”. It’s a reference to Job’s unending and absolute, unshakeable faith in God despite the trials Job goes through. His afflictions are many: physically, his family, and his possessions. More than a single person can even comprehend much less endure. And yet, his love of God never waivers.
Let’s look at the context of today’s verse. In verse one through five the Bible gives us Job’s background. Job was from Uz and he was blameless, feared God and shunned evil. He has seven sons and three daughters. The Bible tells us of his many possessions and how his sons would feast on an appointed day and invite their sisters. Job sacrificed for his sons in verse five if they had sinned.
In verses six through nine, there’s a conversation between God and Satan where God tells Satan to consider His servant Job who is blameless and there is none like him in all the earth. This leads us to today’s verse.
In verse ten, today’s verse, Satan tells God that He has protected Job by putting a hedge around him. Job’s life had no terrible trouble…no health issues, no financial worries, and no family issues. Satan is goading God to see if Job is who God thinks he is. (We know Job is who God says he is because God can see the heart of man.) God, through Job, will prove Satan’s error.
How can this verse help us live in today’s world? There is one thing I know for sure and that is: prayer works. I have prayed for protection for my children, grandchildren, extended family and friends in all areas of their lives. Do I believe God has put a hedge of protection around my family and friends? Absolutely. I have no doubt whatsoever.
Case in point. Years ago, my daughter studied in Luxembourg for a fall semester with sixty other college students. A small class. Long before she left, I began to pray for her. The day she left, I laid hands on her and prayed. For her safety while traveling throughout Europe.
She called periodically, and she had said she had been traveling to various large cities in Europe. Even to cities the students were advised not to travel to because of the terrorist activity. She had told me she was planning on a ski trip to the French Alps. I thought nothing of it at the time since I knew she knew how to ski.
But I came home from work one evening to a voice message on my phone from someone at the school in Luxemburg. The message was that my daughter was fine but that I’d probably had already heard a skiing accident in the French Alps where I immediately called my daughter’s host family but with the time difference and language barrier the host family kept hanging up on me.
I walked the floors most of the night waiting until I could call and not have the host family hang up. I must have dozed off because the phone began to ring and it was my daughter. Her host mother thought one of my daughter’s friends kept calling in the middle of the night. My daughter realized her friends would never call in the middle of the night and that it was me who had called.
She told me she had gone to Prague because it was one city she loved in Europe. At this point, I was reluctant to tell her what had happened. I gently asked her about her friends that went on a ski trip. She said other students wanted her to go but she didn’t feel comfortable about the trip. (I believe the Holy Spirit told her not to go.) When I explained what had happened, she immediately wanted to go to the school because she had no idea what had happened since she had been out of town.
Coincidence? I think not. God’s love for His children who pray and love Him far outweighs the terrible things that can happen. In today’s world, we need all the help we can get. And while the enemy can cause trouble throughout the world, we have the power to overcome that trouble through prayer to God, our savior. For strength and power to overcome…just as Job did.
To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. Est 1: 11 NKJV
The book of Ester is my favorite Old Testament book of the Bible. I’ve read it many times and am always amazed at Ester’s strength and courage. How God worked out the circumstances to preserve His people is mind-boggling. Every little detail. His love, commitment, and grace to His people always astound me even though I shouldn’t be astounded…I always am.
Now the context for the verse I highlighted today. The first ten verses of the chapter starts with King Ahasuerus who reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. In the third year of his reign, he had a feast for all his princes and servants, nobles and princes of the provinces. In those days, feasts lasted for three months. The king showed off his kingdom and his wealth. After that, he gave another feast for all the other people great and small in the palace. His queen, Queen Vashti, gave a feast for the royal women of the palace. On the seventh day, the King ordered his seven chamberlains to bring Queen Vashti to him.
In ancient times, women were only chattels to their husbands and particularly a queen would bow to her husband’s wishes, the king. It was the way it was. It’s historical.
In today’s society, it’s a different story. And while I believe a woman should be independent, have strength and courage and make her own way in the world, I also know my husband supports me in whatever I do. Likewise, I support him. We are one. We are a couple who lean on one another when things get tough. We pray together daily for our families and for the needs of our friends. It’s important.
Something important my husband said to me when we got married was: “I’m only middle management. I have to answer to God if I treat you poorly.” This has been something that I cling to when things get rough…and it has been rough on occasion but we both knew we had a third person in our marriage to help us through the tough times. Jesus.
We could not have survived the many upheavals we’ve had if Jesus were not a part of our marriage. It’s interesting to me. My husband once said, “I don’t know how other couples make their marriage work without Jesus in it.” I believe he’s right.
So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. Neh 1:4 NKJV
Let’s look at the context of this verse. Nehemiah wrote this book around 445 BC. He was the cupbearer of King Artaxerxes. The first three verses of this book recount a meeting between Nehemiah and men of Judah. The men of Judah tell Nehemiah the Jews who had escaped and survived the captivity were in great distress and the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and its gates burned with fire. This verse is the response to the news of Nehemiah’s brethren.
Like Nehemiah, when life hits us with sad or disturbing news, we too cry. We don’t mourn like Nehemiah did but do other things. Some people become depressed turning to pills, alcohol or food to relieve the burden, some people escape through physical activities and others escape by becoming workaholics. These measures destroy our bodies and souls.
But Nehemiah did something different. He fasted and prayed. Today people fast for their diets but not for spirituality. Fasting clears the mind. And prayer…it lifts the soul out of its dark place.
Prayer changes not only our circumstances but changes us. Ask any of your friends and family for their personal experiences on how their lives have changed because of prayer. The responses will astound anyone. There is power in prayer even if some people don’t believe in it.
But there is scientific proof that prayer works. According to Dr. Kent Ingle who researched the correlation between prayer and health, he states the following.
“Although science is ill-equipped to prove the existence of God, scientific research does show that prayer works. The literature I looked at states, regardless of God’s existence, elements of prayer are universally valid—across various religions, traditions, and practices. The act of prayer itself has beneficial physiological effects.”
“Prayer, much like meditation in Buddhism, or concentration on breathing techniques in Yoga, causes the mind and body to focus on singular focal points that align the mind, soul, and physical aspects of a person to lower cortisol levels, improve oxygen utilization, and confer numerous other psychological benefits.”
Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD, God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 1:3 NKJV
Let’s look at the context of this verse. After Israel had three waves of their people exiled to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Persia held the Jews in captivity for seventy years. In the first two verses of Ezra chapter one, God gave the King of Persia, Cyrus, who followed Nebuchadnezzar, a sense of urgency to put out a proclamation in writing to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Cyrus was an ancient, cruel and pagan king. It’s interesting to me that this mighty king would proclaim the Jewish God, THE God and then give the Jews the green light to return to Jerusalem and build the temple to their God. This king ultimately allowed the exiled people to return to their homeland.
Based on Daniel, Ezra and many other major and minor prophets of the Bible, I believe God puts men and kingdoms in place to bring about His plan. Ezra chapter one verses one and two, tells us this. I believe it has been this way since the beginning of time.
11 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— 12 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. 2 Chron 1: 11-12 NKJV
Let’s talk about the context of these two verses. From verse 1 to verse 6 of 2 Chronicles chapter 1 God blessed Solomon, and he took the people to the high place (where the people could meet with God) and made special sacrifices to Him. In verse 7, God appears to Solomon and tells him to ask whatever he will. In verses 8 through 10, Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge to lead God’s people.
Solomon asked God not for wealth, health or abundance of any sort but he asked for wisdom. How wise it was of him to ask God for a trait that he could use to push the nation of Israel to heights no one had ever seen before. God was exceedingly pleased with the request and not only gave Solomon great wisdom, the likes of which this earth hadn’t seen before him or since but great wealth and favor among the nations.
Solomon was by no means a perfect man. There’s only one perfect man, Jesus. But he wrote practical advice for the ages in the Book of Proverbs. Even today we quote from that Book.
My husband and I pray daily, both individually and corporately. One of our prayers is that God gives us wisdom and favor in all things and with all people like work issues, family, finances, health. All of it. And He has been faithful to provide the wisdom and favor we need for the day.
One day last year my husband called me on the phone from work and said he was having a tough time dealing with a case he had (he’s a network engineer and many times those cases have a complexity that sometimes can be way over not on his head but also his colleagues.) We had prayed that morning, but this was a special prayer for the specifics of the case. We took about five minutes to ask the Lord to intervene and give my husband the “eyes” to see the problem to fix it or have His ministering angels intervene and fix it for him. The wind up was when he got off the phone and went back to work on it, he figured it out, fixed it and the client was happy. We have scores of stories like that. Where God answered the prayer for wisdom. God gives us our needs, not our greeds. We were specific in the wisdom he needed for the moment and God answered that prayer.
He truly is a mighty and awesome God.