1. When I sin it is because the devil made me do it.
The observant reader who frequents this blog will know that this was already covered in the devotion a few days ago titled “Understanding Sins Origin.”
2. Solomon prayed and asked God for wisdom.
Sometimes discernment is as simple as reading with comprehension! But here is the scenario that I have seen and heard over and over again. Someone who is teaching a Bible class takes up lesson notes on wisdom and in the lesson teaches that Solomon was the most wise man (beside Christ of course) who ever lived. The Bible does confirm this for us. But then they rely too heavily upon tradition or faulty material and they tell us, “Solomon was given wisdom by God because God asked Solomon what he wanted. God said that whatever Solomon wanted He would grant him. And so Solomon thought about it and asked God for wisdom and God was so pleased with the request that He immediately made Solomon the wisest man ever!”
They usually follow this with James 1 telling us that if we lack wisdom we just need to follow the example set by Solomon and ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us!
But does the Bible really say that Solomon asked for wisdom? Here is where we learn to discern. Instead of taking someone’s word for it we get into the Word ourselves to see if what the are saying is true. And guess what – Solomon did NOT ask God for wisdom!!!
Don’t believe me? Let us read the account then (1 Kings 3:1-15) and see what the Bible says Solomon asked for:
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 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?” The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.
Did you see that? Solomon did not ask for wisdom! He asked for an understanding heart so that he could discern between good and evil! He wanted discernment – and that is what God gave him.
And here is the key for us in our study. When we were examining the things that we need in order to discern one of those things was wisdom. We cannot discern, we cannot tell the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, or sound and unsound doctrine unless we have wisdom. Wisdom, remember, is the right perspective. And God knew that in order to be discerning Solomon would have to have wisdom, so when He granted Solomon’s request, He gave him a “wise and understanding heart.”
Wisdom was not what Solomon asked for but it was given as a bonus so that he could effectively discern between good and evil.
Today take the time to be careful and attentive with the words you are reading on the pages of your Bible. Don’t assume, or take for granted that you already know what you are reading! Pay attention.
Here is an exercise to test your reading comprehension. A bonus question for the week.
How many of each clean and unclean animal did Noah take on the ark?
I’ll give you the answer Friday – but hopefully you will have already found it by then. (note – the answer is not 2 or 7!)
Tomorrow we will look at questions #3-4.