“The Way To Go” ( Proverbs 22:6, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Solomon strongly suggests teaching your child early “about the way he should go.” He says:

Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

The pertinent questions, however, are:

1) What to teach?

and

2) How to teach it?

Solomon readily answers the first question by imploring the parent to teach wisdom. And for the second question, Solomon implies the work is primarily that of the child who must willingly listen to instruction. If the child refuses to listen, no amount of words will matter. Solomon implores the child to listen to instruction so that “wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart.” ( Proverbs 2: 10 )

Solomon says to his own child:

My son, don’t forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commands;
for they will bring you
many days, a full life, and well-being.
Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.
Tie them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will find favor and high regard
in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. ( Proverbs 3: 1-7 )

What Solomon does not offer is advice to model the behavior you expect from your child. He knows better than that. Instead, he calls on the parent to speak truth, write truth, think about truth and “trust in the Lord with all your heart” and “not rely on your own understanding.”

Solomon wisely says not to “consider yourself to be wise.”

Instead, “fear the Lord.” For awe of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

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“A Perfect Work” ( James 1: 4-6, WYC ) by Carley Evans


James Bond Island
 (Photo credit: Jo@net)

Patience, steadfastness, determination – James says “patience has a perfect work.” With patience, you may become “perfect and whole, and fail in nothing.” And, if you are not wise enough to be patient, you need only ask God for His wisdom; but when you ask, ask in faith, not doubting. Don’t be like a wave on the sea, moved about at the whim of the moon and the wind.

“patience hath a perfect work, that ye be perfect and whole, and fail in nothing. [soothly patience hath a perfect work, that ye be perfect and whole, in nothing failing.] And if any of you needeth wisdom, ask he of God, which giveth to all men largely [that giveth to all men largely], and upbraideth not; and it shall be given to him. But ask he in faith, and doubt nothing [nothing doubting]; for he that doubteth, is like to a wave of the sea, which is moved and borne about of the wind [the which of wind is moved and borne about].”

The great judge, Solomon speaks of fools as if they are on every street corner; and they are. We rush about, silly for pleasures, intrigued by this, then by that. We buy things to fill our voids. We ask our gods for more things when we tire of old things or exhaust the resources God gives.

Solomon cries out to his own son to flee folly and earnestly seek wisdom. Patience leads to a perfect work.

“True Wisdom” ( Proverbs 9:10, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


“True wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord; he best discerns, who has knowledge of holy things.”

Foolishness
Foolishness (Photo credit: WaveCult (luis.m.justino))

True wisdom is founded on the fear of the Lord; who but a fool would despise such wisdom, and the lessons she teaches? Heed well, my son, thy father’s warnings, nor make light of thy mother’s teaching; no richer heirloom, crown or necklace, can be thine. 10 Turn a deaf ear, my son, to the blandishments of evil-doers that would make thee of their company. 11 There are lives to be had for the ambushing, the lives of unsuspecting folk whose uprightness shall little avail them; 12 there are fortunes to be swallowed up whole, as a man is swallowed up by death when he goes to his grave. 13 No lack of treasures here, they say, rich plunder that shall find its way into our houses; 14 thou hast but to throw in thy lot with us; every man shares alike. 15 Such errands, my son, are not for thee; never stir a foot in their company; 16 thou knowest well how eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood, 17 and the snare is laid to no purpose if the bird is watching. 18 What do they, but compass their own ruin, plot against their own lives? 19 Such is ever the end of greed; he who cherishes it must fall by it at last. (Proverbs 1: 7-19)

The opposite of true wisdom, without a doubt, is foolishness. And foolishness leads, apparently, to greed. The cherishing of money is, indeed, the root of all evils. Foolishness results in chasing after people who say “throw in with us; you’ll never lack. We’ll share our wealth with you.” The foolish one fails to see how “eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood.” When he keeps their company, he invariably sets himself up for a fall.

On the other hand, true wisdom is the fear of the Lord and “knowledge of holy things.” What is knowledge of holy things? Some would say it’s avoidance of the world. Some might say it’s keeping in the Word of God and in the company of the saints. Avoiding the world is the wrong approach to true wisdom. Rather, lean not on your own understanding. Rely on God’s understanding. How? By keeping in His Word. True wisdom is understanding that with God, life is always better than it is without Him.

“Fuel To Fires” ( Proverbs 15: 1, WYC ) by Carley Evans


English: A metaphorical visualization of the w...
English: A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A soft answer breaketh ire; an hard word raiseth strong vengeance.”

Answer an accusation softly and God says your quiet, humble answer breaks your accuser’s wrath, great anger, and intense resentment. Respond with a harsh word, and expect your response to “raise strong vengeance.” The person is all ready angry at you; your hard word in return adds only fuel to the fire.

I’m sure you’ve seen this work in your own life. A client, perhaps, complains about your performance. Their anger washes over you and makes your defenses rise. You want to defend your actions; the words in your mind are sharp, hard, crisp, angry. You take a deep breath. You speak softly, agreeing with your client. ‘Yes, I could have done that differently. I’ll work on that for you.’

And your client is appeased; their rage dissipates. You avoid adding fuel to the fire and escape “strong vengeance.”

 

“Follow Mercy” ( Proverbs 21:21, WYC ) by Carley Evans


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

I realize Solomon is speaking to the common man — and woman — but reading his words this morning, I didn’t think of myself or you; I thought of Jesus.

21 He that followeth rightfulness and mercy, shall find life, [and rightwiseness,] and glory.”

When each disciple leaves his home and livelihood to follow after Jesus, he is following after rightfulness and mercy. Jesus finds life and glory. So do His friends.

“Wisdom” ( 1 Kings 3: 5-14, 16-28, WYC ) by Carley Evans


5 Soothly the Lord appeared to Solomon by sleep in the night, and said, Ask thou that, that thou wilt, that I give it to thee.

God offers Solomon a choice. God says He will give to Solomon whatever he asks.

6 And Solomon said, Thou hast done great mercy with thy servant David, my father, as he went in thy sight, in truth, and [in] rightwiseness, and in rightful heart with thee; thou hast kept to him thy great mercy (thou hast shown him thy great love), and hast given to him a son, sitting on his throne, as it is today.

7 And now, Lord God, thou hast made thy servant to reign for David, my father; forsooth I am a little child (but I am like a little child), and not knowing mine out-going and mine in-coming.

Here Solomon recognizes how little he knows, comparing himself to “a little child, and not knowing [his] out-going and [his] in-coming.”

8 And thy servant is in the midst of the people, which thou hast chosen, of [a] people without number, that may not be numbered and reckoned, for multitude. (And thy servant is in the midst of the people, whom thou hast chosen, of a people without number, who cannot be counted, or reckoned, for their multitude.)

Solomon perceives the enormity of the task of ruling God’s people, “a people without number, who cannot be counted.”

9 Therefore thou shalt give to thy servant an heart able to be taught, that is, enlightened of thee, that he may deem thy people, and judge betwixt good and evil; for who may deem this people, thy people, this much people? (And so give thou to thy servant a heart able to be taught, that is, able to be enlightened by thee, so that he can judge, or rule, thy people, and judge between good and evil; for who can judge, or rule, this people, this great people of thine?)

Therefore, Solomon asks God for wisdom, for the ability to “judge betwixt good and evil.”

10 Therefore the word pleased before the Lord, that Solomon had asked (for) such a thing.

God is pleased.

11 And the Lord said to Solomon, For thou askedest this word, and askedest not to thee many days, neither riches, neither the lives of thine enemies, but thou askedest to thee wisdom to deem doom, (And the Lord said to Solomon, For thou askedest for this thing, and askedest not for many days for thyself, nor riches, nor the lives of thy enemies, but thou askedest for wisdom to judge justly, or wisely,)

12 lo! I have done to thee after thy words, and I have given to thee a wise heart and an understanding (one), in so much that no man before thee was like thee, neither shall rise (up) after thee.

Therefore God gives Solomon wisdom but also the things he does not ask of God — “riches, and glory.”

13 But also I have given to thee these things, which thou askedest not, that is, riches, and glory, that no man be like thee in kings in all times afterward (so that there shall not be any man like thee among the kings in all thy days).

14 Forsooth if thou goest in my ways, and keepest my biddings and [my] commandments, as thy father went in them, (then) I shall make thy days long.

God provides a means for Solomon to demonstrate his gift of wisdom to the people of Israel.

16 Then two women whores came to the king, and stood before him;

17 of which one said, My lord, I beseech, I and this woman dwelled in one house, and I childed at her in a couch (and I brought forth my child in a bed when she was there).

18 And in the third day after that I had childed, also this woman childed (And on the third day after that I had given birth, this woman also gave birth); and we were together in the house, and none other was (there) with us in the house, except us twain.

19 And the son of this woman was dead in the night, for she slept, and over-lay him; (And this woman’s son died in the night, for while she was sleeping, she rolled over, and laid upon him;)

20 and she rose up in the fourth part of the night in silence, and took my son from the side of me, (while) thine handmaid (was) sleeping, and she laid it in her bosom; and she putted in my bosom her son, that was dead.

21 And when I had risen early, to give milk to my son, he appeared dead; whom I beheld more diligently by clear light, and I perceived, that he was not mine, whom I had engendered (whom I had begat).

22 The tother woman answered, It is not as thou sayest, but thy son is dead; forsooth my son liveth. The contrary, she said, Thou liest (But the other woman said, Thou liest); for my son liveth, and thy son is dead. And by this manner they strove before the king.

Two women claim the living child is hers while the dead child is not. Solomon arrives at a solution.

23 Then the king said, This woman saith, My son liveth, and thy son is dead; and this woman answereth, Nay, but thy son is dead, and my son liveth.

24 Therefore the king said, Bring ye to me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king,

25 he said, Part ye the quick young child in two parts (Divide ye, or cut ye, the young living child in two), and give ye the half part to the one, and the half part to the tother.

26 And the woman, whose son was quick, said to the king; for her entrails were moved on her son; Lord, I beseech, give ye to her the quick child, and do not ye slay him. The contrary, she said, Be he neither to me, neither to thee, but be he parted. (And the woman, whose son was living, said to the king; for she was moved with love for her son; Lord, I beseech thee, give ye to her the child alive, and do not ye kill him. But the other woman said, Be he neither to me, nor to thee, but be he divided, or cut in two.)

27 The king answered, and said, Give ye to this (first) woman the young child quick, and be he not slain (Give ye this first woman the young child alive, and do not kill him); forsooth this is his mother.

Solomon recognizes the true mother; she is the woman who would rather give up her child to the other woman than have her son killed.

28 Therefore all Israel heard the doom, which the king had deemed; and they dreaded the king, and saw, that the wisdom of God was in him, to make doom. (And so all Israel heard the judgement, which the king had decreed; and they revered the king, and saw, that God’s wisdom was in him, to make judgements, or justice.)

Israel hears of Solomon’s wisdom. The people of God know “that God’s wisdom is in [Solomon]” and that he is able “to make judgements, or justice.”

English: Judgement of Solomon

“For You Alone Know Every Human Heart” ( 1 Kings 8:39, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Solomon prays “before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire congregation of Israel” (1 Kings 8:22) He asks, rhetorically, “Will God indeed live on earth? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain You, much less this temple I have built.”

Solomon asks God for mercy when the people of Israel “sin against You, and they return to You and praise Your Name, and they pray and plead with You.” (1 Kings 8:33) Solomon asks God to “hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel.” (1 Kings 8:34) He begs God to “teach them the good way they should walk in.” (1 Kings 8:36) “May You hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, and may You forgive, act, and repay the man, according to all his ways, since You know his heart, for You alone know every human heart.”

Solomon adds, “When they sin against You — for there is no one who does not sin — and You are angry with them and hand them over to the enemy, and when they come to their senses and repent and petition You: ‘We have sinned and done wrong; we have been wicked,’ and when they return to You with their whole mind and heart and when they pray to You, may You hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, their prayer and petition and uphold their cause. May You forgive Your people who sinned against You, and may You give them compassion. For they are Your people and Your inheritance. For You, Lord God, have set them apart as Your inheritance.” (1 Kings 8:46-53 selected)

God alone knows every human heart. And every human heart has sinned.

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your willingness to show mercy. Thank You that the Lord Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to approach the throne of grace, despite our sinfulness and unworthiness. Thank You that You give us Your own holiness through the shedding of Your Son’s blood and the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Let us forever be grateful, showing our love for You in praise. In Jesus’ Name, amen.