Word of Encouragement (03/28/2024)

Pastor James
March 28, 2024

And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. (1 Kings 8:30)

God gladly granted Solomon wisdom at his request (Ch. 3), so he was wiser than all men (4:31). Yet, as we see here at the dedication of the temple, he desired nothing more than God’s attentiveness to his prayers and the prayers of God’s people Israel. Maybe this shows more than anything that he was indeed a wise man. What is wiser than a finite creature trusting in God rather than trusting in his own wisdom? So, he said in his Proverbs, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

Even though he was the wisest of men (or because he was the wisest man), Solomon recognized the limits of his wisdom as a mere creature and his desperate need for God. When things go well, it’s easy to feel like we are in control of our lives. (When things go too well, we get a sense that something more than our efforts and plans is at work.) But how many things are really under your control? How many of them are the things that you really care about? We also know that it doesn’t take long or much to shake to the core whatever sense of security or self-reliance we have. If a simple cold or flu can put us out of commission for weeks, imagine the kind of havoc a debilitating or terminal illness can wreak in our lives. There are more than a few things, the loss of which will turn our lives upside down.

There comes a time when we feel like we have reached the end of our ropes. We have run out of options and there is nothing more we can do. Solomon certainly had a privileged upbringing as a prince of Israel, but he came to understand his limitations either by experience or contemplation. Even though the time of the temple dedication was a high point in Solomon’s reign, he humbled himself before God and pleaded for God’s mercy, especially for God’s mercy in listening to the prayers that he and the people directed to the newly constructed temple.

Do you have the wisdom of Solomon? His humble prayer is recorded in the Bible for us so that we can share in his wisdom. Now we have access to God’s throne of grace, not through an edifice built by men, but through the powerful name of Jesus Christ, who atoned for our sins fully and imputed His perfect righteousness to us. We can approach God with boldness as His beloved children. What riches are available to us in Jesus Christ! May the Lord make all of us prayer warriors and enable us to enjoy all that God has made available to us from His infinite riches!