Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
At this time of year our thoughts are easily pulled to what presents to give. We hear a barrage of words blaring at us in commercials about the best gift to give AND receive. Marketing preys on our own selfishness. We are not good enough if we don’t give the perfect gift. Sometimes we think that our value is wrapped up in pleasing someone else, too. So, not only are the marketing geniuses wanting us to buy for others they want us to buy for ourselves! “Just buy our products”, they are really screaming, “my job depends on it!”
If that isn’t enough, we are told we must look good at all the Christmas parties and secular celebrations with the “hottest” clothing of this year. Ladies, our daily hair and makeup just isn’t enough and won’t do! Makeup that completing changes what we look like so others don’t recognize us seems to be what is “in”. We are also seduced by weird commercials (that I don’t understand until the bottle is shown) to splash on this mystic, magical potion that will make us look and smell like Julia Roberts. Um, I tried it. It didn’t work.
SO, it is so refreshing to come to a prayer of Solomon in our next psalm of honesty and praise. He prays for the gift that keeps on giving….He asks God for wisdom. God’s wisdom. Oh, that we all would begin each day with a prayer for wisdom, insight and understanding! Wisdom from God is the gift that keeps on giving.
Psalm 73, The Message
A Solomon Psalm
1-8 Give the gift of wise rule to the king, O God,
the gift of just rule to the crown prince.
May he judge your people rightly,
be honorable to your meek and lowly.
Let the mountains give exuberant witness;
shape the hills with the contours of right living.
Please stand up for the poor,
help the children of the needy,
come down hard on the cruel tyrants.
Outlast the sun, outlive the moon—
age after age after age.
Be rainfall on cut grass,
earth-refreshing rain showers.
Let righteousness burst into blossom
and peace abound until the moon fades to nothing.
Rule from sea to sea,
from the River to the Rim.
9-14 Foes will fall on their knees before God,
his enemies lick the dust.
Kings remote and legendary will pay homage,
kings rich and resplendent will turn over their wealth.
All kings will fall down and worship,
and godless nations sign up to serve him,
Because he rescues the poor at the first sign of need,
the destitute who have run out of luck.
He opens a place in his heart for the down-and-out,
he restores the wretched of the earth.
He frees them from tyranny and torture—
when they bleed, he bleeds;
when they die, he dies.
15-17 And live! Oh, let him live!
Deck him out in Sheba gold.
Offer prayers unceasing to him,
bless him from morning to night.
Fields of golden grain in the land,
cresting the mountains in wild exuberance,
Cornucopias of praise, praises
springing from the city like grass from the earth.
May he never be forgotten,
his fame shine on like sunshine.
May all godless people enter his circle of blessing
and bless the One who blessed them.
18-20 Blessed God, Israel’s God,
the one and only wonder-working God!
Blessed always his blazing glory!
All earth brims with his glory.
Yes and Yes and Yes.
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. “What is wisdom? What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?”
Wisdom and knowledge, both recurring themes in the Bible, are related but not synonymous. The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Knowledge, on the other hand, is “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance.”
Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not the other way around. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge is knowing how to use a gun; wisdom is knowing when to use it and when to keep it holstered.
God wants us to have knowledge of Him and what He expects of us. In order to obey Him, we have to have knowledge of the commands. But as equally important as having knowledge is having wisdom. Knowing facts about God and the Bible is not all there is to wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God.
Wisdom is knowing God’s commands, beginning with the most important, “Love God and Love Others” then simply living obedient to God coupled with God-given skills to apply to daily living. Living in God’s ways make life better for you and those around you. When troubles come or hard decisions need to be made, Godly wisdom takes over and guides us through every circumstance.
Wisdom is given just for the asking….James confirms as he writes: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5, NIV)
How long has it been that you earnestly asked for God’s wisdom?
When you did ask, what happened?
Has God ever failed to respond to your honest plea to be wise in decision making? When, how? What happened?
We sometimes forget that God wants us to succeed. He wants us to ask for what HE knows is best for us. He is on our side! He loves us more than we can imagine. He loved us before we were a twinkle in our parents’ eyes. He loves us still and always will!
THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM…
In this Psalm, Solomon is also telling of the greatest gift to come…Jesus Christ, King of kings and LORD of lords. He will rule with all wisdom forever. Jesus is God and we are not. So, wisdom begins by accepting God’s greatest gift…the gift of His Son who came into the world and moved into the neighborhood of humanity. Jesus felt all that humans felt. He felt love and lived love that was beyond human thinking. He came to seek and save the lost who thought God was dead and/or not listening anymore. He ask others to follow and they did. This motley crew of young followers were teachable and in awe of his character. Then, unlike humans, he laid down his own life willingly to pay the debt of our sin…the gift of redemption for all of us. Later, all but one of the motley crew, knew for sure, without doubt, Jesus was, indeed, the son of the Living God.
James (earthly brother to Jesus) was one of the ones who resisted for awhile and then realized later all that Jesus said about Himself was true. It isn’t any wonder that James asked for wisdom and was assured that God would give it…as a gift. Wow.
Solomon knew that above all that wonders and riches that his earthly father, David had collected for him would not be enough unless God gave him the wisdom to rule in ways that would be pleasing to God and good for the people he was to care for and help. God gave a humbled Solomon so much wisdom, insight and understanding that Solomon became known, became famous all over the world for having “the gift”.
We can have it, too. Just ask for it. God’s Wisdom is the gift that keeps on giving. God blesses us with wisdom in order for us to glorify Him and use the knowledge we have of Him.
The book of Proverbs is perhaps the best place in the Bible to learn of biblical wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 speaks of both biblical knowledge and wisdom: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, / but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” To fear the Lord is to start on the path to knowledge, and God can then begin to provide us with wisdom through Christ, who the Bible says is wisdom itself: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Knowledge is what is gathered over time through study of the Scriptures. It can be said that wisdom, in turn, acts properly upon that knowledge. Wisdom is the fitting application of knowledge. Knowledge understands the light has turned red; wisdom applies the brakes. Knowledge sees the quicksand; wisdom walks around it. Knowledge memorizes the Ten Commandments; wisdom obeys them. Knowledge learns of God; wisdom loves Him.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I am asking for your wisdom, insight and understanding for every detail of my life. I know you. I know you want the best for me. I know you loved me so much you sent Jesus to die for my sin. I know you are a loving, kind and gracious Father who wants what is best for His children. I know who you say I am and I am grateful for all your Gifts!
In Jesus Name, Amen