One of the advantages in reading through the Bible in a year plan I am using this year is reading in both the Old and New Testament each day. I have been amazed how one part answers the other. Most people see this working in Jesus life. You read about the Passover in Exodus, you read about Jesus death in Luke. You see the connection.
But how about this, the other day I read Jesus question in Luke 18:41, “What do you want me to do for you?” And discover God’s favorite answer a few days later in 1 Kings 3:9, “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?”
God replies in 1 Kings 3:10-12, 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 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, 12 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.
Sounds great right? Solomon becomes known as the wisest man who ever lived. Read some more in 1 Kings, Solomon makes some great decisions — figuring out which mother belongs to the living baby, building the temple and just about everything else of size in Jerusalem. He extends Israel’s boundaries. These are the glory days of Israel.
Solomon also makes some foolish decisions. He doesn’t walk in the ways of David his Father. He marries multiple wives who lead him away from the true God. At the end of his life, you wonder if Solomon still walks with God.
Solomon had a great answer, the right answer, perhaps even the best answer to: “What do you want me to do for you?” But in the end he missed the application. He becomes the absent minded King. He can crank out proverbs, but he can’t walk faithfully with the God of his father, David, the God who wanted to be his Father.
Isn’t that the challenge for us? We know the right answer, perhaps even the great answer. It’s the application that does us in. So what do you do when you miss the application and you have the right answer?
1. Come clean with God. David does that in Psalm 51 after his affair with Bathsheba (who later becomes Solomon’s mother), and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. Solomon knew this answer as well in the prayer he prays for the consecration of the temple, that those who need forgiveness can turn back here. But Solomon doesn’t turn to God, he turns to his wives and their gods.
2. Seek not only the Spirit’s guidance but also the Spirit’s boldness. Fear at times keeps us doing from what we know God wants us to do — the phone call to make, the apology to ask for, the forgiveness to give, the tithe to generously give, the help to those in need.
3. Make the goal of my Bible reading, not only to hear, but to do. Jesus cryptic advice in the gospel accounts, “he who has ears to hear let him hear.” As a child I often wondered, what else would you do with your ears but hear? Then I came to realize it was His wise advice to hear and to obey, to listen and to do, to seek and to follow.
How about you? What helps you to not only give the great answer, but to make the great application?