Getting To Know God | Week 4: Our Unchanging God

blog.001

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17 NIV

We’re in a series about what God is like. The attributes of God. We’ve studied his omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. This week, we are looking at what is called, God’s immutability. Immutability simply means God never changes. Everything else in creation changes except God.

“I the Lord do not change!”  Malachi 3:6 NIV


We’re going to take a Selah moment now and reflect on this. In this series we’ve just been taking a moment, before we make it about us, to worship God for who he is. We’re going to simply pause to think about and then worship the only one with immutability. God. He never changes.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8 NIV


Today, we will look at how God’s immutability can stabilize us in the midst of all these changes and worries. They will add stability. They are things we can stay focused on in an ever-changing world.

1. GOD’S LOVE FOR US NEVER CHANGES.

We were created to be loved by God. God’s love is consistent and it is continual. One of the reasons we get frustrated with relationships is because people change.  They change from one day to the next.  “You’re not the man I married!” or “My sweet child has become this rebellious teenager. I don’t even recognize him anymore.”  That causes stress in our lives.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”  Romans 8:35-37 NLT

POINT: We never need to doubt God’s love

No matter what happens, no matter what we do, no matter what we feel, God’s love for us never changes. We don’t measure God’s love for us by our circumstances. We measure it by the cross. We need to understand just how high, how wide, how long, how deep God’s love is.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39 NLT

We always get into trouble when we doubt God’s love. So when tragedy strikes or when we pray and don’t get an immediate answer or when things don’t go our way, just remember God’s love for us hasn’t changed one bit. That is a stabilizer in life.

2. GOD’S WORD NEVER CHANGES

The Bible is not the easiest thing to read. But what we find as we learn God’s word, is that it’s unchanging. The overarching story, the accounts, the principles, are timeless.  It is always relevant, up to date, never obsolete.  Anything that man writes eventually becomes obsolete, dated. We need to build our life on something more stable, permanent and unchangeable than the current fad or therapy.

“Long ago I learned from your statues that you established them to last forever.”  Psalm 119:152 NIV

The Bible has stood the test of time because His word never changes. God has established the universe to operate on not only physical laws, but moral and spiritual laws that we cannot ignore.  If we ignore them, we have chaos. There are some things that will always be right and some things that will always be wrong.  It’s not a matter of opinion. Contrary to popular opinion God does not invent new rules for every generation. He has established them to last forever.

Satan’s temptation is always to get you to question God’s word. 

The first temptation:  Satan asks Eve, “Did God really say you couldn’t eat of that?”  He’s getting Eve to question did God really say you shouldn’t do… Today Satan still does this, but has put a little twist on the temptation. The phrase we’ll hear over and over again, “That’s your interpretation.”  When we pull up to a stop sign, how would we interpret that? How many ways can we interpret S-T-O-P. There’s no interpretation needed there. The fact is God’s word has not changed. It’s immutable.

Jesus: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  

26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”  Matthew 7:24-27 NLT

Jesus said there are two ways to build a house.  We can build it on sand or we can build it on a rock. If we don’t build it on a solid foundation the whole building will eventually tilt and fall over.  We’ve got to have a solid foundation for our lives. God is saying that if we build our lives on what’s popular today, what feels good today, on popular podcasts or streaming or social media, we’re building on shifting sands and we’re going to have an unstable life when the changes of life come.

If we want to have stability when the stresses of life come, we’ve got to build it on something that never changes.  God’s love for us never changes and God’s word never changes. It may seem hard, unreasonable, unpopular. But it is always the right thing to do.

Why do we spend more time filling our mind with the TV or reading the news—something we don’t believe—than filling our mind with the things we do believe, God’s word and God’s ways. It doesn’t make sense. Now, should we shut out all of that stuff completely? No, it’s good to be aware of what’s happening around us.

If we want to have stability in our life, we will fill our mind with scripture.

We don’t listen to the advice of our friends for right and wrong. They may be just as wrong as we are. But we build our life on something that will never, never change. If you want to have more stability in your life when you’re under stress memorize scripture — verses from the Bible.

Start filling your mind with things that never change and then when you need them God can bring them to mind. If you’re wondering what you should do in a situation, God will pop that verse into your mind.  You don’t always have a Bible with you.

When Jesus was out in the desert being tempted by the devil, he responded to temptation with scripture. Jesus didn’t have to pull out a Bible, He just simply said, “Satan, the Bible says ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” He had it memorized and it helped Him. The fact is if we want stability in our life, we’ve got to base it on these things that don’t change. We’ve got to build our life on rock.

3. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR OUR LIFE WILL NEVER CHANGE

No matter what happens to you, in you, through you, God’s purpose will never, never change.

God is at work in human history. What is the world coming to? It’s coming to the very climax that God has planned from the very beginning.  Many are saying the time we’re in is the end right now. The Bible doesn’t give us a time, it gives us some signs. And while we don’t know when the end is, those signs are good reminders to prepare. That’s what the New Testament encourages us to do, even when things are good. Fortunately, I’m on the winning side. If you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, that’s good news. His purpose remains.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Psalm 33:11 NIV

Do your plans ever change?  How often do they change? Why do your plans change so much?

Two reasons: One, because you don’t have the perspective or foresight to know everything that’s going to happen. When you get more information and know something different it changes your plans. The other reason your plans change is maybe you don’t have the power to implement the changes you had intended to do. Ran out of time, money, energy, effort – whatever, so your plans change. Since God is omniscient—God knows everything—and since He’s omnipotent—God has all power—His plans never have to change.

What does that mean for our life? If God created us and loves us and has a purpose for us, what does this mean for our life? God does not have a Plan B for our life.  Think of the biggest sin you’ve ever committed, that thing you regret the most. Then think of the biggest disappointment you’ve ever had. Do you think God knew about those in advance before you ever did them?

Yes, He did. And he still went thru with creating you and still has a plan.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 NLT

That means no matter what has happened in your life your destination is still plan A. God has not changed His mind and God’s purpose for your life has not changed.  God knows everything that’s going to happen in your life and He’s fit it all in to work for good in your life. Even the mistakes and sins you commit that are wrong and bad,

          Here’s God’s purpose for us… To make us like Jesus

Right after Romans 8:28, it says God’s plan for your life is to become like Jesus Christ. That we would learn to think like He thinks and feel like He felt and act like He acts. How can we cooperate with this plan? It begins with salvation. For two thousand years there is only one way to get to know God and that’s through Jesus Christ His son. Jesus said “I am the Way” — “I’m not a good way, the best way, one way, — but the way”. God’s invitation to you has never changed.  He wants you to come to Him and establish a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 NIV


How are we going to respond to life’s stressful changes?

We can’t prepare for them because they aren’t predictable. What’s going to be the source of stability in your life? Three things to remember when you’re under stress.

1.  God will never stop loving us. 

Never.  He won’t even love you less. You won’t understand all that is going on but no matter what He’s doing, He’s acting toward you in love. That’s a stabilizer.

2.  God’s word is always right.

The advice here in the Bible is the right thing to do, even if it’s unpopular or unpleasant it is always the right thing to do. That’s a stabilizer.

3.  God’s purpose for your life is bigger than your problems.

Problems can’t change God’s purpose.  It has not changed God’s purpose for your life and it will not change what He wants to do in your life.

“Those who trust in the Lord are as steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.”   Psalm 125:1

That’s what I call stability.  Security, stability, confidence come from being anchored in an unchanging God.  When everything around us is changing in this throw away society where nothing remains the same, there is one thing that never changes and that’s God and these aspects of His life.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “Where Is God When You Need Him?” God can lift you up, calm you down, help you out and see you through. How has practicing his presence by inviting Jesus into your life, being quiet, talking to God about everything and developing the habit of praise made a difference in your life? Any more thoughts or conclusions about that message?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

Too much change creates stress in our lives. When everything else is changing we look for some stability in our lives. So, the question then becomes: Is there anything in the world that is permanent?

Is there anything that is reliable that never changes?

YES! God is immutable. Meaning, God never changes. “I the Lord do not change!”  Malachi 3:6

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17 NIV

Discussion & Application

  • How is the fact that God is unchanging any comfort to you in these days of constant change?
  • God’s love for me never changes. Read Romans 8:18-39. Why is it people doubt God’s love when they face the things mentioned in this passage? Why does the Apostle Paul say we don’t need to doubt God’s love in those times?
  • God’s Word never changes. What does it look like to follow Jesus’ instruction from Matthew 7:24-27? What are some practical ways to fill your mind with scripture?
  • God’s purpose for my life never changes. God uses two primary ways to achieve the purpose of becoming like Christ in our life: Our circumstances and applying God’s word to our life. How has God used past circumstances to grow your character?
  • How do you think God could use your current circumstances to reveal your character and grow your character?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Also, continue to pray for nations, states and community’s leaders. Pray for first responders and medical personnel?

Next Steps

During these times, the church can be a light for Jesus Christ. We are a church on mission. How can you simply serve or check in on your neighbors and friends at this time?

For Mobile Wallpaper

Getting To Know God | Week 3: Where Is God When I Need Him?

blog.001

Each week in this series of posts we’re looking at a different attribute of the nature of God. 

His omniscience, God is all knowing.

His omnipotence, God is almighty.

Today we’re going to ask, “Where is God?” How would you answer that question? Some would say that God is in heaven or He is in their heart. Some people believe that God dwells in church buildings. God is much more than a weekend service. That’s why we are much more than a weekend service.

The Bible says that God is all over the place. David says in Psalm 139 that we cannot escape from God’s presence.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”  Psalm 139:7-12 NIV

It’s mind boggling to think that God never has to go anywhere, because He’s already there.

“‘Am I only a God nearby,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God far away? 24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 22:23-24 NIV

There is no place in the universe where God is not. Theologians call this God’s omnipresence.

Omnipresence: God is everywhere

God is not limited by space and place. He is not confined to any one location. That’s a hard concept for us to imagine because we are finite creatures with a body. It is impossible for us to be in two places at once. But it’s no problem with God, because God is Spirit.

God is not limited by the physical realm. So He can be in many places all at the same time. In fact, He’s everywhere.

It does NOT mean: God is everything

That’s pantheism. Pantheism claims that a tree is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God. Pantheism is behind many cults and false religions like Hinduism and Buddhism to an extent. Don’t confuse the Creator with His creation. God is not everything but He certainly is everywhere.

“He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’”  Acts 17:27b-28a NIV

Fact: God is always with me, I just need to recognize it

The air around you is filled with radio waves, television waves, wifi… We’re constantly surrounded by this stuff. But we don’t benefit from them until we connect to them.

In much the same way, God’s presence is constantly available, and if you can learn to tune in to the presence of God, it will benefit your life. 

There are lots of ways to recognize and sense His presence. Reading scripture, stepping out in faith, praying, sharing your faith, singing out to Him.

Worship music doesn’t increase the presence of God, it increases our awareness of the presence of God.

Before we practice the presence of God, we are going to take a Selah moment. Selah just simply means, “pause and calmly think about that”. Weigh the meaning of what you have just read or heard.


Before we make it about us, let’s rest in the fact that God is always with us. We’re going to stop and take just a moment to pause.

Here’s an instrumental playlist you can have playing while you sit in wonder and awe of a God who is completely and eternally omnipresent.


The Benefits of God’s Presence

God is with you. God is everywhere. That is a basic theological truth, but the natural reaction to a doctrinal statement like that is… so what? 

What difference does it make in my life? Especially in times like these? If God is truly everywhere, what does that mean for me when I’m lonely, worried, tempted or discouraged? God’s presence will make a difference in those four areas if you’ll let Him.

1. When I am lonely, God is my companion

“Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress.”  Psalm 25:16 NLT

We already lived in an era where there are more people in the world than ever before, yet there are more lonely people. Now we’re expected to social distance and quarantine. So many of us are feeling lonely right now.

We were working in an office full of people, now we’re working remotely. The reality is, there are many different kinds of loneliness. There’s the loneliness of the death of a spouse or friend. There’s the loneliness of a new school, of growing old, of child who won’t listen to you, the loneliness of not being understood or the loneliness of success. 

So what do you do when you face uncontrollable loneliness and you can’t do anything about it? You recognize God’s presence and remember that God is your companion.

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you!'”  Hebrews 13:5 NIV

God is always with you. When we face a challenge, we like to have somebody with us. Remember your first day of school and you wanted your mom to go with you? We like to have reinforcements. 

When you are lonely remember that God is my companion, because He says “I’m always with you.” What’s the benefit of this?

David got lonely sometimes. In Psalms David said:

“You will fill me with joy in your presence…”  Psalm 16:11 NIV

There is still joy to be had in God’s presence today. There are benefits to God’s presence. The first one is:

BENEFIT: God’s presence lifts me up

In the midst of these rapid changes and fears about tomorrow, and in the midst of our loneliness, God can, indeed, lift us up. He can lift the despair and spirit of heaviness. God lifts us up.

2. When I am worried, God is my confidence

God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Moses started making excuses, and God gave one answer to his excuses. “I will be with you.”

God’s presence will be your confidence.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”  Isaiah 42:2-3 NLT

Some of you are going through a fire right now. Some of you are going to go through a difficulty this week, but one thing you can be certain of, God is going through it with you. 

“I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.”  Psalm 16:8 GNT

Are you always aware of the Lord’s presence?

BENEFIT: God’s presence calms me down 

God’s presence is a stabilizer, a stress reliever.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”  Psalm 23:4 ESV

Why fear no evil? Because God is with you. God is your confidence. God’s presence calms you down.

3.  When I am tempted, God is my counselor

God is ready to help. He is ready to help you make it through the temptation.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

When God is with you, He provides a way out. Notice that this verse says that temptations are common. We all have the same problems and temptations. If there are common problems, it means there must be common solutions in God’s Word.

BENEFIT: God’s presence helps me out

He knows exactly the struggle going on in your mind. He sees it coming before I see it coming. He knows I’m walking right into it and He’s already preparing an escape route for you to get out of it.

It’s not just by will power but His power and He’s promised to help you. No matter what temptation we face this week, temptations of fear, of purity, temptations of injustice, God is there with us to help in that time of temptation.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16 NIV

This is a time of need, but God already knows that. He knows it all. We’ve talked about the omniscience of God. God knows everything, God sees everything, because He’s there. 

He is omniscient because He’s omnipresent. He’s all-knowing because He’s everywhere and sees everything.

God is an eyewitness to every single thing we do. Maybe in this time of distance, you feel a little lost without a weekly gathering, or accountability or your sponsor or friend or whatever it may be. Lean on those relationships as much as possible still, but also learn to lean on God like never before.

4. When I am discouraged, God is my comforter

If you’re discouraged, God is with you. Is your heart breaking today? The Lord is close to you. Where is God when it hurts? The answer to that question is He’s with you. He feels your hurt, your discouragement and when you’re frustrated.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18 NIV

We’re going through rough times right now and some of you are ready to give in or give up and throw in the towel. Whatever you are going through, God is going through it with you. You are not alone.

His presence is there because He wants to be your comforter. God is not some impersonal force. God is not some far off power. He’s very personal and He’s right there with you.

Jesus Christ experienced these things and more. He experienced loneliness, temptation and frustration, yet he conquered those things. He did not give in and did not give up. We can look to him and he has sent us a comforter. Jesus said in John 14,

“The Father will send you a Comforter who will never leave you.”

That comforter is the Holy Spirit. Some of you are listening to this and thinking of this as intellectual truth, information to fill your mind.

Others of you know from experience what I’m talking about. You’ve been through some deep waters in life and you have felt God’s presence in your life. He has comforted you and encouraged you. He has given you the strength to keep on going.

People can have all kinds of reactions in the hard parts of life. Reactions at funerals, hosptials, or job loss. How do people make it through these kinds of things without the Lord? The reality is, many don’t.

“The Lord saved me from death; he stopped my tears and kept me from defeat. 9 And so I walk in the presence of the Lord in the world of the living. 10 I kept on believing, even when I said, ‘I am completely crushed,’ 11 even when I was afraid and said, ‘No one can be trusted.’”  Psalm 116:8-11 GNT

BENEFIT: God’s presence sees me through

God’s presence gives you the motivation to keep on going. It renews your strength, lifts up your heavy heart and gives you a new vision. 

That’s what God’s presence can do to your life, but you have to connect to it. The key to overcoming discouragement is the phrase, “I walk in the presence of the Lord.” 

How do you do that?  God is present all around us but most people are totally unaware of it. How do you walk in the presence of the Lord?

Let’s finish with four ways to practice the presence of God.


How To Practice God’s Presence

1. Invite Jesus into your life

God is around you, God is by you and He wants to be in you. He wants to put His Spirit inside of you, so you can handle the stress. 

When you feel all the pressure of life pressing in on you, you must have an equal pressure from the inside enabling you to cope. 

Whenever people get under pressure they always begin to fill themselves with something to equalize the stress: food, work, alcohol, drugs…

They put something on the inside to equalize the pressure on the outside. Yet the Bible says clearly…

“Don’t get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” 

As you are filled with God’s presence in your life it equalizes the pressure on the outside so you can cope. You can handle this stuff, it doesn’t have to cave you in. 

The starting point is to invite Jesus Christ into your life. What Jesus has done for us on the cross has made possible for us to come in the presence of God with freedom and confidence.

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”  Ephesians 3:12 NLT

2. Be quiet 

Just be quiet and don’t talk. Many people are not experiencing the presence of God in this time because they’re too distracted. They always have their radio, TV or news or some feed going.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 NIV

Several times a day, “Tune in and drop out”. 

Tune in to God’s presence and drop out of the environment around you. Just say, “God, I realize that You are present with me right now. You are by me, with me, and in me”…

Take these little breaks during the day to be quiet and recognize that no matter where you are, God is with you. As you tune in to Him, you’ll begin to be aware that He’s always there but you have to be aware of it.

3. Talk to God about everything

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing.” How do you do that? 

How do you get on with life and be continually in prayer? It’s talking about maintaining a continual conversation with God. Talk to Him about anything and everything. Your needs, your concerns, your thanksgiving.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”  Psalm 62:8 NIV

Pour out your heart, out loud. Pray, out loud. Read scripture, out loud. Sing, out loud. You maintain an ongoing conversation with Him at all times because you recognize that He is omnipresent.

4. Develop the habit of praise

Praise means to thank God for who He is and what He’s done for you.

“Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.”  Psalm 96:2 NIV

We move into an awareness of God’s presence. Nothing will help you become aware of God’s presence in your life faster than developing the habit of praise. Nothing helps you tune in to Him than beginning to praise God. God is always around us, He’s always present, but sometimes we sense His presence more than at other times. 

He’s equally present no matter where you are, but sometimes we sense His presence more. We talk about entering His presence through praise. That simply means to tune in or connect.

Since God is everywhere, you can praise Him everywhere. 

You can do the same things you do in a physical church building on Saturday night and Sunday morning, at home. You will have the same experience of feeling close to God during the week that you do when we’re here together on Sunday morning. 

A whole new life is about to open up to you if you will become aware that God is always with you. It will lift you up, calm you down, help you out and see you through when you become aware of that.

To those of you who are tired, discouraged, frustrated, hurting, afraid, worried, sick, or depressed…God is with you. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “What God Knows About You.” How has knowing that God knows all about your failures, feelings, future, fear and faithfulness made a difference in your life? Any more thoughts or conclusions about that message?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

The Bible says that God is all over the place. There is no place in the universe where God is not. Theologians call this God’s omnipresence. The omnipresence of God simply means that God is everywhere. God is spirit so he is not limited by space or place. He is not confined to any one location.

Now, this does NOT mean that God is everything. That’s pantheism. Pantheism says, “A tree is god, an animal is god, the sky is god, the sun is god, you are god…” Pantheism is behind many cults and false religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. God is not everything but He certainly is everywhere. God wants us to recognize his omnipresence because when we do, we are empowered knowing God is with us.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”  Psalm 139:7-12 NIV

Discussion & Application

  1. Describe a moment or two when you felt more aware of the presence of God more than others. What were the circumstances? Worship? Change? Fear?
  2. Of the four benefits of God’s presence, which one do you feel you need most? Do you need God most to, lift you up, calm you down, help you out, or see you through?
  3. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that when we are tempted God will provide a way out. What might this look like? How has God empowered you to flee from or resist temptation before?
  4. Whenever people get under pressure, they always begin to fill themselves with something to equalize the stress. It may be food, work, alcohol, drugs or something else. They put something on the inside to equalize the pressure on the outside. What might this be for you, and why is it so great to be filled with the Spirit of God?
  5. Of the four ways to practice God’s presence, which one comes most naturally to you? Which one do you need to work on?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Also, pray for nations, states and community’s leaders. Pray for first responders and medical personnel.

Next Steps

During these times, the church can be a light for Jesus Christ. We are a church on mission. How can you simply serve or check in on your neighbors and friends at this time?

 

For Mobile Wallpaper

Getting To Know God | Week 2: God’s Power In Your Life

blog.001

Evidence of God’s Power

We are in a series called “Getting to Know God.” Last week we started by looking at His omniscience, meaning He’s all-knowing. This week we’ll look at another attribute of God that is very fitting for the times and week we are experiencing. We will look at what theologians call the omnipotence of God, meaning God is almighty. 

“Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 NIV

God has unlimited power. He never gets tired. He never gets sick. Everything He does, He does easily. Nothing is ever too hard or difficult. It’s easy for him to answer a prayer and it’s just as easy for Him to create a universe. He’s all-powerful. Almighty.

Jesus: “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

Creation is a witness of God’s power. The sun produces more energy in one second than has been used in the history of the world. But it’s not as great as the power of the Creator who made the sun. Because something that powerful doesn’t just show up out of thin air.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

    The skies display His craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;

    night after night they make Him known.

Psalm 19:1-2 NLT

Every moment creation is a witness to the fact that God is powerful. God says, look outside! See God is powerful.

Our God is in heaven doing whatever he wants to do. Psalm 115:3 MSG

He’s omnipotent and he does exactly as he pleases. He doesn’t have to consult with anyone, get something passed, or get approval. And we’re either okay with that or we’re not. If you know God, if you know Jesus, this is very comforting because you know his character.

The Bible says that the universe was created at God’s command. He spoke the world into existence. We see the evidence everyday of God’s power. Where there is design you have to have a designer: Jesus Christ, for from Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things. 

Jesus’ life displayed the power of God. He had power over nature. He calmed the storm. He spoke and the wind and waves became quiet. He spoke to a tree and it withered. Another time He turned water into wine. He had power over nature. He had power over illness and death. He healed the blind, the sick, the lame, the diseased. He raised people from the dead.

Even Himself. Jesus raised Jesus from the dead. He had power over the devil. He would command and displace demons. They were utterly afraid of him. Even starving in the desert and at his weaker moments, he would use God’s word and Satan was powerless. God’s power is awesome!


Before we move on in this post, we need to ask you to do something first. We want you to worship first. What we have already read about God is amazing, and we should not move on from this too quickly. Let’s make much of Him.

Throughout the book of Psalms you see these interludes. Your Bible might say, “Selah.” It’s a pause moment, an interlude. A chance to take a breath.

Weigh the meaning of what you have just read about God. Rest in the fact that God is almighty. So take a moment, literally a few minutes, and sit with this. Here’s an instrumental playlist you can have playing while you sit in wonder and awe of a God who is completely and eternally omniscient.


God’s Power in My Life

The amazing thing is that God is generous with His power and His name. He wants to share His power with you.

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

That’s amazing! Incredible! He wants to share His power with you. There are so many people who never experience God’s power, who never come to a place where they recognize they are powerless, and then understand the incredible greatness of God’s power. 

There are two primary areas were we struggle with power. Two power shortages in our life.

POWER SHORTAGE #1: The power of getting started

How many good things have you been postponing in the last six months? What would you like to change about yourself but you can’t get the motivation to get started?  Do you ever find yourself paralyzed by not being able to get started?

How many addictions or bad habits, sins, have you wanted to stop but you can’t? The Bible talks about this and even gives us the reason we struggle.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 NIV

The reason we struggle is not simply because we do sin, but that we are sin.We have a sinful nature. Sin doesn’t make you bad, it makes you dead. We are dead in sin and dead people are powerless. It’s why we can’t do the things we want to do, and we end up doing the things we don’t want to do.

GOOD NEWS: God can give me the power to perform

He can give me the power to get started. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, can raise me from the dead. You can’t get started without Christ. You can’t even do anything pleasing to him unless He first revives you. Just like you didn’t have anything to do with your physical birth, here’s nothing you can do to be born again without God’s work, not your own.

Once we get started we find that our sin nature is in battle with our new nature and we experience a new power shortage.

Power Shortage #2: The power to keep going

It’s one thing to get started but another thing to keep on keeping on doing what you know is right even when you don’t feel like it. God says I’m not only going to give you the power to get started,  but I can give going to give you the power to keep on going.  

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT

God can actually work in you to change your desires. That’s a great thing to do. Instead of creating our own desires and then working in our power to please them, instead ask God to give you the desires you should have. Maybe you feel tired or powerless today, but God says, I want to help you keep on going. The Bible says that God can give me the power to keep on doing what is good.  

GOOD NEWS: God can give me the power to persist

He can give me the power to not only perform but He gives me the power to persist. When you run out of air there is a second wind.  There is ability that comes into your life, additional power not just to get started but power to keep going.

Do you not know?

    Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

    and his understanding no one can fathom. 

He gives strength to the weary

    and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,

    and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

    will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

    they will run and not grow weary,

    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

God will give me the power to persist, because God’s power is unlimited He never gets tired.  He never gets weary.  He never goes to bed.  He never gets tired of my prayer requests, of my talking to Him, of anything. 

You might be thinking, “That may work for you but that doesn’t work for me. I’m a believer but I never felt God’s power in my life. I don’t know if this stuff really works.”  

You’re probably exactly right!  The fact is, God’s power is not automatic.  Most Christians never key into God’s power in their life.  They are just as defeated as unbelievers and just as tired and fatigued.  The question then becomes “How do you get power to the people?” 

How to Get God’s Power

  1. You admit your lack of power.

Our problem is that we think we’re omnipotent.  We think we’re God.  “I can handle anything.  I can do everything. I don’t need rest”  If you don’t believe it, look at your schedule.  Who are you kidding? Admit your need for God’s power in your life. You can’t do it all on your own.  

You are not going to reach every goal you set in life. You’re not going to make as much money as you may have thought.  You are a human being.  You have weaknesses. You’re getting older! What do you do when you realize you are weak?

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

God did not totally remove Paul’s weakness. He did not heal this thing. He had bigger plans for it. Again, God is all knowing and he knows what he’s doing with you.

  1. You believe in faith.

The key to personal power in our life is faith. Life with God is all about faith.

Jesus: ”Everything is possible for one who believes.”  Mark 9:23

Jesus: “According to your faith it will be done to you.”  Matthew 9:29

What are you expecting God to do in your life?  What are you expecting God to do through your life?  He works according to faith.Since God has unlimited power, we should not limit Him because of our expectations of Him. We limit God by our own belief.

God has given us atomic bomb power and we live firecracker lives. There’s no problem too big for God and there’s no request that He can’t handle.  He can create a universe, he can create a flower. It’s all equal. Then the issue really becomes your faith – what ar eyou willing to believe God for?

  1. Speak in faith..

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

You must verbalize your faith.  You must announce what you’re intending God to do. You must not just think it in your mind, you must announce it. The Bible says in the book of James that your tongue is the rudder of your life. It’s like the little rudder that moves the giant ship.  

You talk to God about your marriage, about your job, about your health, about your finances, about your kids. those things. But, do you talk to those things about your God Jesus encouraged us to speak to the problem. This is why singing is valuable. 

  1. Act in faith

You must step out in advance before the power is released.  God wants you to take action even before you feel anything. The amazing thing is that God wants to share His power with you but you’ve got to follow the steps.  

Some of you are waiting for God to do a miracle in your life and you think that you are waiting on God.  In reality God is waiting on you. He’s waiting on you to take the first step.

The power will not be released until you take the first step.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “What God Knows About You.” How has knowing that God knows all about your failures, feelings, future, fear and faithfulness made a difference in your life? Any more thoughts or conclusions about that message?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

 

Big Idea

The Bible says, “All things are possible with God.” God is almighty. He has unlimited power. He never gets tired. Everything he does, he does easily. It’s easy for him to answer a prayer. It’s just as easy for Him to create a universe. 

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

The skies display his craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;

night after night they make him known.

Psalm 19:1-2 NLT

But we have power shortages in our lives. We struggle to get going, and we struggle to keep going. The good news is, God can give us the power to perform and the power to persist.

Discussion & Application

Read Isaiah 40:28-31 with the group. Does anyone have any other Bible verses about God’s power they want to share?

  1. Jesus displayed God’s power over nature, illness, death and satan. What is your favorite miracle of Jesus? If you’re not familiar with any, read the verses referenced in your sermon outline.
  2. When do you wish you had God’s power in your life most?
  3. When have you been the most faith-filled in your life? What were the circumstances? What were your prayers like?
  4. How have you seen acting in faith and the feeling and the power following work out in your life? Forgiving someone? Loving your family? A situation at work?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Also, pray for nations, states and community’s leaders. Pray for first responders and medical personnel. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Next Steps

During these times, the church can be a light for Jesus Christ. We are a church on mission. How can you simply serve or check in on your neighbors and friends at this time?

For Mobile Wallpaper

Getting To Know God | Week 1: What God Knows About You

blog.001

We’re beginning a new series of posts on the attributes of God. The Apostle Paul said that the goal of his life was to know Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection.

What is God really like?

To start us off, let’s look at a character quality that is completely unique to God.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare to Him to whom we must give account.”  Hebrews 4:13 NIV

The Bible says nothing in creation is hidden from God. 

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”  Psalm 147:5 NIV

What these verses are talking about is what theologians call the omniscience of God. Omniscience means God is all-knowing, God knows everything. There is no question He cannot answer, no problem that confuses Him. He’s never surprised or shocked. God knows everything.

1.  God knows all about Himself

You don’t know all about yourself. That’s why you have a lot of problems. We are constantly surprising ourselves with things we thought we could do that we can’t or things we thought we could not do that we can.

God never has these moments because God knows what He’s doing. We don’t always know what God is doing, but He does.

2. God knows all about creation

He knows about everything He has made.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31 NIV

There are two amazing statements here, God saw everything. Every rock, every tree, every blade of grass, every fish, bird, animal, star and grain of sand. He was totally aware of everything that He created and He said, “It is good.”

This is before the fall. When things were the way God created them, they were very good, because God is a very good God.

3. God knows all about history

He knows the past, present and future. He knows the scope of history from beginning to end.


Before we move on in this post, we need to ask you to do something first. We want you to worship first. What we have already read about God is amazing, and we should not move on from this too quickly.

Throughout the book of Psalms you see these interludes. Your Bible might say, “Selah.” It’s a pause moment, an interlude. A chance to take a breath.

Weigh the meaning of what you have just read about God. Rest in the fact that God is all-knowing. So take a moment, literally a few minutes, and sit with this. Here’s an instrumental playlist you can have playing while you sit in wonder and awe of a God who is completely and eternally omniscient.

As you do this, stuff is going to come to your mind. Don’t let those thoughts frustrate you, but use them as an opportunity to give what ever it is that comes to mind back to God. To say: “God knows and God is good. I submit that to you God.”

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3 NIV

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above- what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below- what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”  Job 11:7-9


What God Knows About Me (Psalm 139)

The Bible says in Psalm 139 that God knows everything about you. We say God knows everything, but we really don’t live like it.

Let’s look at five specific areas that God knows everything about in your life and the difference that it will make if you just remember that fact.

1. God knows all your faults and failures

This is the bad news. God knows everything about us. The fact is, sometimes we want to forget the omniscience of God because it’s a little uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable to realize we have no secrets from God. There are some things we’d rather God not know about us.

“O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you.”  Psalm 69:5 NLT

Foolishly, when we do something wrong, we try to hide our sins, put them in the closet and lock the door, but God knows what’s behind that locked door.

“For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.”  Proverbs 5:21 NIV

The devil tempts us by saying, “No one will ever know.” So we go ahead and do it and then afterwards he hits us with another question, “What if they find out?” 

You have already been found out. God knows and He’s the one who counts.

Fact: God is not shocked by your sin.

Your Response: Be honest and turn from your sin.

He’s already seen it. When we confess to Him the things we’ve done wrong, He’s not shocked. He understands our faults and our failures.

So be honest. The Bible says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Just admit it. You’re not fooling anyone. “God, You’re right. I was wrong.” 

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  Proverbs 28:13 NIV

God knows everything about you. He already knows all you’ve done wrong and He still loves you. When you admit it to Him, it never changes the way He feels about you, because He already knows.

He loves you and He loves you unconditionally. That means you don’t have to fake it, you don’t have to pretend.

2.  God knows all my feelings and frustrations

You may thing that no one knows what you’re going through, or that no one feels the pain you’re going through.

God knows. He knows your feelings and frustrations.

“…you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.”  Psalm 31:7 NLT

Often when we’re hurting we feel very isolated, very lonely. Maybe there’s been a death in the family, a divorce, a traumatic event. We feel alone thinking that no one understands they way we feel.

What does God think when He knows how you feel?

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”  Psalm 103:13-14 NIV

Fact: God is sympathetic to your hurts.

Your Response: Trust Him with your hurts.

Not only does He see, He cares. God understands why it happened. The Bible says He understands because He made us. He sees the hurt in your heart that nobody else may see.

Listen, God knows what He’s doing. We may have no earthly idea what he’s up to, but, whatever it is, it will be good and meaningful. There is a God and there is purpose for pain and hope for humanity.

Are you trusting God in the dark? Are you trusting God in the midst of your feelings and frustrations?

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Cast them all permanently, once and for all, don’t take them back. Give Him your hurts just like you give Him your faults, every area of your life.

3.  God knows all your future

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:16 NIV

Everybody is interested in the future. People try all kinds of things trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Astrology, horoscopes, reading tea leaves, bio-rhythms.

Fact: God sees your tomorrow, today.

Your Response: Ask for his advice.

He already sees the things we’ll face. God is not limited by time. He’s not limited by sequence of events.

It’s like when they show a helicopter shot of the Macy’s thanksgiving day parade. You could see the beginning of the parade and the end of the parade all at the same time, without even stopping it.

God, from His perspective, can see it all at once. That gives us greater confidence in God, because He knows everything that is going to happen in your life, and He still created you.

He knew every horrible thing that would happen to me and every stupid thing you would do and He still thought it was worth it to create you. He doesn’t want anyone to suffer for nothing. What He has in store must be greater than we could have ever imagined.

The things you don’t know, God can tell you about. He’s not going to lay out your whole life all at once, telling you everything that will happen in your life. If He did you’d get very discouraged or full of pride or both. He will lay it out a little at a time.

Here’s a practical application: When go over your schedule with the Lord, say, “Heavenly Father, You’ve already seen this day that I’m about to experience. You know every interruption I’m going to face, every cranky person in the office, everything my teacher is going to throw at me. You’ve already seen it. Would You, right now, give me the strength to cope through this day, the strength that I need for today.”

He already knows and you can ask Him in advance for wisdom and strength, for what you will face that day. 

4.  God knows all my fears

Often, the things we get most uptight about are in the areas of finances, our needs.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”  Matthew 6:31-32 NIV

He knows everything you need. Worry is the result of not realizing the omniscience of God. When you think that God doesn’t know what’s going on in your life, that He’s unaware of it and He doesn’t care, then you start to believe you need to take matters in your own hands.

Worrying is us trying to play God. Worrying is taking responsibility for things God never intended you to have.

“…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”  Matthew 6:8 NIV

Fact: God knows all your fears.

Your Response: You don’t worry.

Don’t worry, trust God. Don’t panic, pray and surrender it to God.

5.  God knows all your faithfulness

Every time you do the right thing, God is watching. Every time you don’t give in to temptation, every time you exhibit the fruits of the spirit, God understands and He sees your faithfulness to Him. 

Fact: Every good deed will be rewarded.

Your Response: Don’t be discouraged.

Every good deed will be rewarded no matter how insignificant, regardless of whether anybody else on earth saw it or not. Every encouragement you give to other people, every time you serve your husband or wife, every time you pick up around the office when it’s not your job, or set up chairs in church or stuff bulletins, He sees it.

Every act of courtesy, every time you had the opportunity to gossip and you didn’t, every time you had the opportunity to be critical and you weren’t, He sees every little thing and every big thing.

Every time you gave an offering sacrificially, served someone in a big way or went the extra mile, God sees it. He’s seen it all and He will reward you. 

It really doesn’t matter how we appear in public. What matters is how we are in private. Character is who you are in the dark. Reputation is what other people say about you.

Character is who you really are. What matters is the integrity in your life when nobody is looking, because there is someone looking…God. That is a tremendous motivator to live a Christ-like life.

If God sees all the good things that you do and He’s out there cheering you on and you are going to get credit for them all then we shouldn’t be discouraged.

Every act of kindness, every act of love — God is recording it all. Nothing good that you do is ever done in vain.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9 NIV

Matthew 10 says even a cup of cold water given in the name of Jesus Christ, God is interested in it. Knowing these things and knowing that God knows everything in your life, can either be very disturbing or very comforting. It depends on your relationship to Him, whether your trying to fool Him or not.

Which of these five areas have you been acting as if God is totally unaware?

God knows all your faults and failures. Have you been acting as if, pretending, that God does not know the wrong things that you’re involved in? Maybe you thought you could get away with it or that no one will ever know. You may be fooling other people, but you’re not fooling God. 

You need to admit it to yourself and to God — come clean — and ask God to forgive you.  Remember that He already knows about it and He still loves you. 

God knows all your feelings and frustrations. Maybe you’re hurting or feel misunderstood. Have you forgotten that God understands you, completely?

He sees the crisis in your soul, every time you cried yourself to sleep, He has seen it. He loves you and He’s very much aware of all that has happened in your life, that has brought you hurt. Look to Him for comfort and strength. Realize He understands you even better than you do.

God knows your future.

God knows your fears.

God knows all about your faithfulness. Are you discouraged trying to do what’s right? God knows and He will reward you. Nobody knows you like God does. He knows you better than you know yourself and at the same time, nobody loves you like God does.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “The Excellent King.” (Am I making wise choices? Am I managing what God has given me well? Am I treating people well? Am I worshipping sacrificially?) Any more observations or thoughts on that message or your discussion?

 

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

This week we began a new sermon series on the character of God. In this series we’ll look at what God knows about us, his omniscience; God’s power in our lives, his omnipotence; Where God is when we need him, his omnipresence; Our unchanging God, his immutability. From his love and grace to his sovereignty and faithfulness, let’s get to know God!

To start things off, we looked at what God knows. The Bible says nothing in creation is hidden from God. Hebrews 4:13 says “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” What this verses is talking about is called the omniscience of God. That means God is all-knowing. God knows all about himself. God knows all about creation. God knows all about history.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”  Job 11:7-9 NIV

Read Psalm chapter 139 with your group.

Discussion & Application

1. Growing up, what was your family’s view of God? Was he ever discussed? How did you picture God? What influences were shaping the character of God for you?

2. Which of the five things God knows about you stood out the most?

3. Proverbs 5:21, “For your ways are in full view of the Lord and he examines all your paths.” Why do people feel they can hide their faults and failures from God? Have you ever concealed a sin from God? What were you hoping would happen?

4. Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Since God knows all my future, what might it look like to ask God for advice? How will he respond?

5. Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” How could the fact that God knows our faithfulness impact our daily life?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week.

Next Steps

Have you been honest with God and confessed your sin to him? Have you asked God to save you through Jesus Christ so you don’t have to face the punishment for sin? If you’ve never done that, let the group know so they can pray with you.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

For Mobile Wallpaper

The King | Week 4: The Excellent King

blog.001

We’ve been in a character study on a king who lived 3,000 years ago named Solomon. If you want to read the accounts of Solomon take a look at 1 Kings chapters 1-11.

Our theme verse for this series of posts is 1 Kings 10:23-24.

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”  1 Kings 10:23-24

Let’s look at the verses leading up to this statement. The word has spread about this great king. He was excellent and wise, has the favor of God and built an amazing kingdom and neighboring nations have started to hear about it and begin to take notice and see for themselves.

One person in particular, the Queen of Sheba is one who wasn’t convinced and wanted to see for herself. She puts some questions together to ask the king to see if he’s that wise. He moves from untested and soft to wise and strong.

“When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.”  1 Kings 10:1-5

The word “overwhelmed” was translated from the Hebrew word Ruah, which means breath, wind or spirit. What that tells us about this moment as she has spent some time with him all these things have left her breathless. Breathtaking. She had trouble breathing because it was so overwhelming.

“She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.’”  1 Kings 10:6-9

She saw the excellence that surrounded King Solomon and therefore she saw God. What’s happening here is what Jesus challenges us to do.

Jesus: “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

If we live our lives a certain way, people will see God in our lives. Not that it’s about how great we are, but it wouldn’t happen without God in us. So what does this mean for us today?

We look at Solomon and think that’s great for Solomon, he had all those riches and a platform to do amazing things. Or we can look at him and think, “How could someone who saw God twice and had all this wisdom go and marry multiple women and dishonor God like that?” or “How could Solomon build the temple go and build temples to other gods?”


Today, as we leave this series, let’s look at some questions to reflect on and challenge us to see the Solomon in us. To see the platforms we have to point people to God and the sins in our life we need to uproot.

The Queen lists several different things she sees leading up to being overwhelmed. The first thing she points out is his wisdom.

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon…”

We can all agree that Solomon made the right choice when he asked for wisdom. We can have the wisdom of God, but never actually ask God for wisdom in the circumstances of our life.

1. Am I making wise choices?

We can ask God, what we should do with a relationship, how to parent our children or handle finances.

It’s easy for us to see the wisdom or foolishness in Solomon or in the people around us, but does that also cause us to ask for ourselves this question.

The next thing the Queen points out is:

“…the palace he had built, the food on his table…”

The palace she’s talking about here, this is not the temple, this is his dwelling place, his home. Solomon was managing all of what God had given him.

2. Am I managing what God has given me well?

Again, this is about pointing people to Christ, giving God glory. She saw these things in Solomon and it caused her to give glory to God. The better we steward our time, talents and treasure to glorify God, the more those things are used to bring people to him.

The next thing she notices:

“…the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers…”

These are the people he sees every day and is doing life with. He’s in relationship with these people. The officials are the cabinet that have a lot of responsibility and are making big decisions. Even the servants are well dressed and well taken care of.

3. Am I treating people well?

Do you trust those around you? Giving to them and being generous with your wisdom. Do you want what’s best for them?

The last thing she noticed was,

“…the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD…”

This is before Christ where they are making sacrifices to God for their sin and for worship to God. He was going the extra mile and doing it over the top. That’s great but the reflection question for us is,

4. Am I worshipping sacrificially?

When it talks about sacrifice in the Bible, it’s referring to something the person wanted or needed. A first fruit, a first crop or livestock that were needed.

These things were given to the Lord to put him first, to make a sacrifice and see how he would provide. It’s hard to submit that way.

In week one of this series we said: “Submission isn’t submission until you have to submit.” 

Sacrifice isn’t sacrifice until we sacrifice something we don’t want to sacrifice.

It’s easy to give income that doesn’t have a name on it already, give our spare time or spare gifts.

Giving our time and energy is big because there is a war going on for our worship. Do you realize that? Not to be over the top or embellish this to make a point, but there is.

There is spiritual warfare happening over your worship.

To understand this better, take a look at another person in scripture who lived years before Solomon, his name is Job.


The War For Your Worship

“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”  Job 1:1-3

If you keep reading Job chapter 1, you see the enemy challenges God by saying that the only reason Job worshiped God was because his life was great. That if it wasn’t great, Job would curse God. The enemy said the reason Job loved God was because he lived protected and in luxury.

God replied saying that Job really did love him and allowed the enemy to touch him but not kill him. So Job lost it all. His livestock were attacked and stolen, his servants killed, a house collapsed on his children. You can shuffle that theological deck however you want wondering why God would allow that, but He did.

God’s glory was on the line and there was a war going on over Job’s worship. Could you consider this possibility today?

It’s possible that when you are having a very bad week, that there’s a war going on.  It’s just possible that a challenge went up to God, “Oh, they’re a Christian? Really? As soon as that person has a tough moment they’re going to drop you like a lead weight!” And God responds, “Well, let’s just find out.”

And we don’t have to like it, but in the midst of it we remember that God has not forsaken us, and he’s exalted when we say, that He is God and we belong to Him.

Now Solomon wrote a book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes. In this book, we get a glimpse into what life is like for a person who has literally everything. If you think about it, Job and Solomon had the same thing happen to them but with different implications.

Job had everything taken away from him while he was the richest person in all the land. Children, land, livestock, servants, money, houses, it was all taken away. His loss was unimaginable.

Solomon had the opposite happen in that his gain was unimaginable. He started off with little and ended up with wisdom, property, parties, gardens, servants, money, sex. All to an extreme that is hard to even imagine.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

Here’s what he did. He said, “Do you think possessions satisfy? Let’s find out. Do you think sex, a hobby or fun satisfies? Let’s find out.” He went out to settle this once and for all.

He did all of that and came back to say he was still not satisfied and nothing was really gained. At the end of the day, both Solomon with everything, and Job with nothing find themselves recognizing and worshiping the Most High God.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13

At the end of the day, sitting there with all his stuff, Solomon realizes it’s all meaningless except worshipping God and doing what he says.

The Bible says that when the messengers came to tell Job about all the losses in his life. Sitting there in the ashes,

“Job fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’”  Job 1:21

This is why Solomon says in Proverbs:

“Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And if I am too poor, I may do something to insult God’s holy name.”  

At the core of every gain or loss in your life, you’ll find the war over your worship. Within every compliment and every criticism. Where respect is gained or respect is taken away. Within every pay cut and pay raise, in every subtraction and every addition, you’ll find the war over your worship. Every new life. Every death.

In every good thing, and every bad thing, at its core is the question, “Now what? Who’s God now? Who do you love now?”

And somewhere in Heaven there is an, “I told you. It’s not because of what they have or don’t have, it’s because of who I am. It’s because I am worthy.”

It makes you wonder if the war over your worship has ever been the centerpiece of a conversation in Heaven. Now don’t give the devil too much credit here. Many of us are just bending whichever way the world blows, we just respond to however we feel and whatever our flesh wants that the enemy doesn’t even have to bother with us.

The point is, that there are serious heaven-sized ramifications to your decision as to who or what you are going to worship. So guard your worship. Do not let anybody rob you of your worship. Don’t let any idol, guy, girl, job, sex, money, possession, sports team rob you of your worship.

Don’t let any failure or any accomplishment rob from you your opportunity to give God your worship.

Don’t let it rob you of the thing you were made to do! Don’t let it rob God of the praise that is His alone. If God is worthy and there was a revolt that happened in Heaven, and now for this short time on earth, we decide whether we worship the God who delivered us out of slavery and death, or we will worship the idols of this world…in that choosing moment what would primary objective of the enemy be but to strike blows at the worthiness of God and turn the whole world to an idol.

Do you really believe that it’s just coincidence that two thirds of the world are bowing down before bronze, concrete, and wood? No, it’s no coincidence that right now that people all over Asia are paying somebody a couple of bucks for some flower stems to lay in front of a golden idol.

It’s no coincidence that there are people kneeling on the streets of Bangkok right now saying their prayers to a big brass idol.

It’s no coincidence that people all over the India and the world make their pilgrimage to a river they think will save their soul.

It’s no coincidence that our nation, the richest people group the world has ever known still have to borrow to satisfy their materialism.

It’s no coincidence that we’ve decided that we’ll only believe what our human mind can understand and only what we see in our reality.

Satan is attacking the worth of God and directing the world to little idols so we’ll ignore the Creator of the world.

And into this scene, into this war steps Jesus Christ. When he hung on a cross, it was the first domino that fell in putting worship back in order. He paid a heavy blow to deliver us from meaningless lives into the family of God. He paid a price to offer us the love and grace of God and a future with God. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “The Relational King” Any more observations or thoughts on that message or your discussion?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

The Big Idea

Read: 1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba noticed a few things about Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon’s legacy gives us four questions we can ask ourselves to help determine if our lives are honoring God.

1. Am I making wise choices?

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon…”

2. Am I managing what God has given me well?

“…the palace he had built, the food on his table…”

3. Am I treating people well?

“…the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers…”

4. Am I worshipping sacrificially?

“…the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD…”

Discussion & Application

1. What stood out to you in this message or scripture reading?

2. Which of the four questions do you need to reflect on most? Why? If you don’t know, get wisdom from the group. Ask them which one on which you should reflect.

3. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. — Proverbs 30:8-9

Why do you think it is many turn from God in moments of abundance or loss?

4. Does your life look a little more like Job’s or Solomon’s right now? Are you seeking God in the midst of abundance or seeking God in a loss? Could it be both?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week.

Next Steps

What is a next step you can take from this series? Is there something from one of these messages that could stick with you months from now?

 

For Mobile Wallpaper

The King | Week 3: The Relational King

blog.001

Solomon’s father, David, introduced Solomon to the nation of Israel as an inexperienced king. But David thought Solomon had potential and wanted both Israel and God to give him a chance.  As a young king, Solomon asked God to give him wisdom to lead the nation. God granted the request and blessed Solomon with remarkable wisdom and every other blessing as well.

Over the years, Solomon built the Temple of the God Almighty and he ruled and reigned effectively for many years. He built an extraordinary kingdom and lived an extraordinary life.

But, unfortunately, Solomon’s story is one of those classic rise and fall stories. In his old age Solomon did extremely foolish things that destroyed his legacy. And most of those foolish things happened within his relationships.

Solomon embraced his relationship with God in his youth and enjoyed the benefits of God’s wisdom but in his later years Solomon turned his heart away from God and foolishly began to worship other false gods.

In his early years, Solomon accomplished the main task that God had given him to do which was the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. And Solomon accomplished all of that through his relationships because…

The relationships you MAINTAIN will determine the legacy you RETAIN.

The people you surround yourself with are shaping your life. The quality of your life will be determined by your five closest friends.

In Solomon’s life there was one relationship that really accelerated his life as a young, untested king and helped him become the man that God wanted him to be. But there were also relationships that Solomon had in his later years that ended up destroying his kingdom and ruining his legacy.


The Right Relationships

The right relationship that Solomon had was started by his father David. We’ll pick the story up in 2 Samuel chapter 5.

“Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built David a palace. And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:11-12 NLT

When David was a young king taking over the kingdom from King Saul, he was a little insecure about his leadership. He was unsure whether or not people looked at him as the king. So God used Hiram, the King of Tyre, to confirm to David and the people of Israel that David really was the king.

Through David’s relationship with Hiram and the successful completion of this palace building project David came to know that God really did want him to be king and that the kingdom was more secure and stable than David had actually realized.

The first thing that your friends should do is:

  • Affirm your CALLING.

 The people that you surround yourself with should see the greatness that God has placed in your life. Reality is that the people around us are either pushing us toward our destiny or they are keeping us from it. There’s not much middle ground.

As you evaluate your relationships ask yourself, are these people driving me to be better…? Are they affirming the call that God has on my life…?

Too many of us have surrounded ourselves with critics who tell us all the things we can’t do and all the reasons why we can’t do them. God wants us to surround ourselves with people who are constantly pulling greatness out of us.

One of Satan’s favorite tools is self doubt. He gets you to doubt whether or not God has really called you. So you need people in your life who affirm your call because lives will be changed on the other side of your obedience.

God doesn’t want us to go through life alone. He wants his church to work together, encouraging one another and building each other up.

The second things friends do for us is they:

  • Assist your VISION.

Once you get God’s call on your life, then you get a vision for how that’s going to unfold. Solomon had a vision of building the Temple and Hiram is going to play a role in that vision.

“Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord, and also a royal palace for himself. Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram at Tyre: ‘Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. So send me a master craftsman. Also send me cedar, cypress, and red sandalwood logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil.’ King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon: ‘It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! I am sending you a master craftsman named Huramabi, who is extremely talented. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father. We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.’”  2 Chronicles 2:1-16 NLT

It is fascinating that we call it Solomon’s Temple. We say that Solomon built the Temple. But really, David got the vision for it, drew up all the blueprints and raised all the money. Hiram supplied all the timber and craftsmen. But,  Solomon got all the credit. It’s called Solomon’s Temple.

When God gives you a dream, something He wants you to accomplish with your life, it’s always bigger than what you can do on your own. So you have to look for those strategic that make you bigger and better than you are yourself.

The third things friends do is:

  • Address your SHORTCOMINGS.

“It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them. ‘What kind of towns are these, my brother?’ he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means ‘worthless’), as it is still known today.” 1 Kings 9:10-13 NLT

Hiram calls Solomon out for being a bad gift giver. Sometimes we don’t see the things that we are bad at. So you need people in your life who will point out areas where you need improvement.

We usually react to this defensively, but after the pain fades a little bit we can be thankful for people who will call us out and speak truth.

Solomon said, The wounds of a friend can be trusted. It’s only an enemy that multiplies kisses.

Next thing your friends do is:

  • Alter your POTENTIAL.

Your relationships are shaping how much you will be able to accomplish with your life. Some of us live well below the lid of what God had for us because we don’t have friends pushing us to excel. Others of us live far beyond our own capacity because of what our friends help us to accomplish.

That’s what happened with Solomon because of his relationship with Hiram.

“King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons of gold.” 1 Kings 9:26-28 NLT

The people of Israel were shepherds by nature. That’s the trade, the lifestyle, that has been passed down to them from all the way back to Abraham. But then when God gave them the Promised Land they became farmers and city dwellers.

They had never sailed before. They were not an ocean going people. There was a lid on what they could accomplish. But in this relationship between Solomon and Hiram, Hiram was by nature a trader. He sailed ships and exchanged goods with foreign countries all over the Mediterranean Sea. He knew how to work trade deals with other countries.

Once again, Hiram had the knowledge. And as a result of his relationship with Hiram we see Solomon diversifying his portfolio. He’s becoming an entrepreneur in a new market. But you don’t successfully do that without someone leading the way.

You have to know how to sail the ship, to chart your course, to know what goods you possess that would be good for trading over seas. That’s what Hiram did for Solomon. The Bible tells us that these ships returned with sixteen tons of gold.  In today’s money that is over 456 million dollars, and they did it every three years.

That’s a very good rate of return on investment. In fact, that’s why in our theme verse it says,

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.” 1 Kings 10:23 NIV

Solomon is at the pinnacle of success and things are going great for him and Israel. But lurking in the background of Israel’s history is this foreboding prophecy in Deuteronomy 31:20. God says…

“When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their forefathers, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other     gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant.” Deuteronomy 31:20 NIV

In other words, God saw this coming. What would make Solomon and the nation of Israel turn their back on God at the height of their success?

The answer is… their relationships.


The Wrong Relationships

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites.” 1 Kings 11:1 NLT

The word there for loved means to affectionately desire. It speaks in a sexual sense. The first thing the wrong relationships do when they creep into your life is…

  • Prey on your PASSION.

All of us have unhealthy desires that we must overcome, contain and bring in line with what God says we are to do in His Word. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who pull you in the direction of those unhealthy desires.

Some of us have people in our lives who are not helping us win the battle. Instead, you have people in your life who are telling you its no big deal and everyone does it.

“The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. 1 Kings 11:2 NLT

It matters who you love. It matters to God and it matters to you. There are consequences to these life choices. Here’s the pattern of sin when it comes into our lives: I want it. I deserve it. I can handle it. 

Solomon wanted these unbelieving foreign women even though God told him to stay away from them. He felt he deserved it based on the good things he had done for God and others. And he thought he could handle it because he was strong enough.

Unfortunately, Solomon couldn’t handle it.

“He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 1 Kings 11:3-4 NLT

You are never too old to be immune from Satan’s attacks. Satan wants to destroy your faith and he doesn’t care how long it takes.

  • Wrong relationships… Pull you from your PURPOSE.

Solomon’s purpose was to build the Temple, the first permanent place on the planet where the Creator of Heaven and Earth could be worshiped. Now in Solomon’s heart and mind he probably thought he was fine because he continued to make sacrifices in the Temple. He just also offered sacrifices in these other temples to other gods.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14 NIV

God doesn’t want us worshipping other gods. He doesn’t want to share our affection with other gods. He doesn’t want half-hearted worship. He wants us to worship Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength.

What other things, maybe even good things, are vying for our passion, our love, our worship?

 “Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites.” 1 Kings 11:5 NLT

  • Bad relationships… Pollute your PERSPECTIVE.

The worship of Ashtoreth and Molech was very, very detestable. First, because it involved temple prostitution. They were fertility gods so there was perverse sexual activity in their worship. Which we already see was a problem in Solomon’s life because he had a thousand wives and concubines. He’s got an issue that he’s not dealing with properly.

Also, if you worshipped Molech you would take your first born child and sacrifice it on that altar in the belief that Molech would then bless your family with prosperity and more children.

God had very specifically told the nation of Israel not to allow that kind of worship to be practiced in their nation. And not only did Solomon allow it to be practiced but because of his relationship with these pagan women he is participating in it and building the temples where it is taking place.

His perspective has shifted. In the modern day church how many of us have allowed relationships to come into our lives that are shifting our perspective away from God’s word?

We’re waking up today in a modern day culture where sin is no longer considered sin and the Church is condoning things that the Bible clearly calls sin. That kind of cultural drift is costly. It cost Solomon dearly and it will cost our culture, our churches, and our lives dearly as well.

“The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” 1 Kings 11:9 NLT

“So now the Lord said to him, ‘Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.’” 1 Kings 11:11 NLT

Solomon’s bad relationships cost him his legacy. Your relationships are going to accelerate your life and help you fulfill your call, vision, purpose and potential. Or your relationships are going to prey on your passions, pull you from your purpose, and pollute your perspective.

It is a very significant choice we have to make and it is not an easy one because the wisest man who ever lived messed it up. Who are you going to allow to have a voice in your life?


Check Back

Quickly check back on your discussion from last week: “The Wise King.” God gives us wisdom (continuously) and generously (enough for everyone) to all (each one individually) without finding fault (He’s happy to give every time you ask).

How has God given you wisdom this past week?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

The relationships you maintain will determine the legacy you retain. Solomon had both right and wrong relationships. Both kinds of relationships had significant impact on his life and legacy. The same thing is true for you.

Hear the Word

Right Relationships – Read 1 Kings 9:10-13;26-28 – Affirm your calling, assist your vision, address your shortcomings, alter your potential

Wrong Relationships Read 1 Kings 11:1-11 – Prey on your passion, pull you from your purpose, pollute your perspective

Application

Solomon’s rise came as a result of pursuing his relationship with God and pursuing right relationships with positive influences like Hiram. His fall came when he began to turn his heart away from God and toward his pagan wives and their gods.

What positive influences have made inroads in your life due to healthy relationships?

What negative influences may be making inroads in your life due to unhealthy relationships?

For Mobile Wallpaper

The King | Week 2: The Wise King

blog.001


King Solomon’s Wisdom: The Rise

Today we are looking at the Rise and Fall of King Solomon. Ancient literature usually only includes kings’ great deeds and daring exploits, lists victories and skips over defeats. But the Bible is more honest about its heroes than that, it gives us both the rise and the fall of King Solomon. 

Solomon had a pretty meteoric rise.

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 1 Kings 10:23-24 NIV

As a young 20 something king, Solomon quickly secured his throne and his power. Which was pretty amazing because even his father David referred to him as soft and inexperienced. David said, “This is my son. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He doesn’t have a clue how to fulfill the call God has placed on him.” But in spite of that glowing recommendation, David wanted the people to give Solomon a chance at being king.

Recognizing that he truly is untested and inexperienced and soft, Solomon himself, prays this prays a desperate prayer:

Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the Lord in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it. 2 Chronicles 1:6 NIV

And then…

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 2 Chronicles 1:7 NIV

And Solomon made a very interesting request from God. He made a request that most of us would not have made if given the opportunity to ask God for ANYTHING.

Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people… 2 Chronicles 1:6-10 NIV

Solomon admitted he was untested, naïve, and unready to be king, so he asked God for wisdom.  

Solomon’s asking God for wisdom showed that he was already wise. And God answered Solomon’s prayer and granted him extraordinary wisdom that became the catalyst, the foundation, for Solomon to build an extraordinary kingdom and live an extraordinary life.  

Because God said, “Since you didn’t ask for all the things that most people would have asked for: money, power, and pleasure, I’m going to go ahead and give you all those things as well as wisdom.”

This is what led Solomon to write, 

Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! Proverbs 4:7 NLT 

Solomon became famous very quickly because of his wisdom. One of his jobs as king was to rule over the people and to make decisions when no one else knew what to do. It was part of his job to settle disputes that no one else had been able to settle. Solomon was able to take complex issues and make them simple. That’s what wisdom does.  

We all have moments in life where we ask God for wisdom. Moments where we need God to help us cut through the clutter of the complex and come up with a simple course of action that makes sense.

Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have… Proverbs 4:7 NIV

The idea here is that wisdom is the most valuable thing you can get. The word “get” there is actually a financial term. Wisdom is worth whatever it costs you to acquire it, because it is foundational to every aspect of your life.

Do you want a great marriage, great kids, or a great career? Get wisdom. Do you want great friendships and great finances? Get wisdom. Everything you want in life is built on the foundation of great wisdom.

Cherish her (wisdom), and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. Proverbs 4:8 NIV

Wisdom will give you a life a significance, a life of honor.

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. Proverbs 4:10 NIV

Wisdom will give you a rich and prosperous life.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12 NIV

People often make bad decisions that lead to setbacks, but if you seek wisdom, you can forge ahead and you don’t have to be afraid of being hampered or held back, you don’t have to be afraid of stumbling.

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. Proverbs 4:14-15 NIV

Solomon says that one of the keys to success in life is making good relationships. Stay away from the wicked and the evil doers. One of the hallmarks of Solomon’s life was his ability to make good treaties, to make good contracts, to make good agreements with good people who were able to help him reach his goals and accomplish his agenda. Wisdom helps you to make healthy, productive relationships that are beneficial to both parties and avoid foolish and evil people who will drag you down and destroy your life.

Now, the pursuit of wisdom does not mean that you won’t face problems. Trials and tribulations and trouble will come into your life. But the wise person knows how to deal with trouble so that it doesn’t destroy their life. The wise person isn’t overcome or defeated by trouble. Seek wisdom and your marriage will become better, your children will become more obedient, your job will become more fulfilling, your finances will become stronger, and your friendships will become healthier.

If you get wisdom that means that someday your lows will be higher than your highs used to be because God is raising up your life through wisdom. But how do you get wisdom?


Three Keys to Getting Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5 NIV

This verse lists three keys that will help you to become a pursuer of wisdom.

  1. Recognize that WE NEED WISDOM. 

The first step to getting wisdom is to realize that you don’t have it and that you need it. None of us have all of the answers to the problems in life. That’s why Solomon tells us:

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  Proverbs 3:7 NIV

That’s the folly of youth. When we are young we think we have it all figured out, we are wise in our own eyes. There is a lot to be said for the zeal and energy and enthusiasm of youth, but there is also something to be said for the wisdom of our elders.  

Solomon, in his youth, had the wisdom to say…

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 1 Kings 3:7 NIV

Solomon had the wisdom, the humility, and the authenticity to say, “I don’t know what I am doing.” He recognized that he needed wisdom and you and I need to do the same.

There is a difference between humility and humiliation. Humility is voluntarily recognizing my limitations, lack of knowledge, and lack of wisdom. Humiliation is involuntarily feeling reduced or shamed for my lack of wisdom and foolishness. The person who thinks they know it all and fails is laughed at and humiliated. The person who admits they don’t know it all is admired for their wisdom.

  1. Recognize where WE GET WISDOM. 

Since we don’t have wisdom, where do we get it? James tells us that if we lack wisdom we should ask God, which is exactly what Solomon did. Solomon recognized that God is the source of wisdom. In Proverbs, he said:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 NIV

The word fear in the Hebrew is the word for respect, awe, and reverence. We recognize that we do not have wisdom but God does. You can’t get wisdom in your life until you dethrone yourself and recognize that God is God and you are not. Once we do that, then it becomes possible for us to pursue God for wisdom.

  1. Recognize how GOD GIVES US WISDOM. 

So how does God give us wisdom? Let’s break down James 1:5 (“gives generously to all without finding fault”) and see how God gives us wisdom.

Gives: the word there means to give CONTINUOUSLY.  God knows that we need wisdom more than once, over and over again. It’s not like God gives us a “box of wisdom” and when that’s gone we’re out. It’s not like He dumps the whole load on us all at once and suddenly we have all the wisdom we will ever need. No, He gives us a steady supply of wisdom as we need it.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34 NIV

Jesus said that every day is going to come with a dose of trouble and everyday God promises to give us a corresponding dose of wisdom. Everyday, in every way, we need wisdom. And everyday God promises to give it to us. His wisdom is never late and it’s never early. As we trust Him moment by moment God’s wisdom arrives right on time.

Generously: that word means to spread out or to make wide. No matter how many people are asking for wisdom, God doesn’t run out. God doesn’t have decision fatigue, God is a never ending supply of wisdom

All: All does not mean to everybody, but to everybody individually. God doesn’t give everybody the same dose of wisdom. When God gives wisdom it is not one size fits all. No, God gives you the wisdom that you need for your specific, individual situation. God gives you wisdom to navigate the exact issue that you are facing. 

Without Fault: God is never upset because you have to ask. Even when you ask again and again and again. God gives wisdom happily. He’s glad to do it. You ask God for wisdom and God says, “I’m glad you asked.” Free from condemnation. Free from guilt and shame. You don’t have to worry that you don’t know the answer. God is happy to answer every time you ask.

This is what makes THE FALL of Solomon so tragic.


King Solomon’s Wisdom: The Fall

On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 1 Kings 11: 7-10 NIV 

What happened to wisest man in the history of the world, to make him do such a tragically, dumb, stupid, foolish thing as this? As a young, naïve, inexperienced king, Solomon built the Temple for the Lord God of heaven and earth. And then as a “wise” old man he turns around and builds temples for these despicable, false Gods.

How did that happen? Because he stopped asking God for wisdom. Because once he had accomplished so much, he became wise in his own eyes. Because he thought wisdom was a thing that God gives you.

But, that’s not how God works. God doesn’t give us stuff. God gives us Himself. This is not about improving the quality of your decisions, this is about improving the quality of your relationship with God. The quality of your relationship with Christ. The quality of your walk with the Spirit.

Because the closer you get to God, to Christ, to the Spirit, the more you open your life to them, the wiser you get. That’s why the Apostle Paul says,

…in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and understanding.  Colossians 2:3 NIV

If you’re facing difficult, complex decisions, draw close to God. You want to get wisdom, get close to Jesus Christ.


Check Back

Quickly check back on your discussion from last week, “The Untested King.” God uses four qualities to redeem our weakness: Clarity, Teachability, Tenacity, and Purity. How has God used those qualities in your life to strengthen you this past week?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

When Solomon became king he quickly asked God for wisdom in 2 Chronicles 1:6-10. God answered his request. King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 1 Kings 10:23-24 NIV

Application

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NIV 

  1. Recognize that we need wisdom. If any of you lacks wisdom… James 1:5 

Why do you think it is difficult for us to admit that we are not wise? What is the danger in that? 

  1. Recognize where we get wisdom. …he should ask God… James 1:5 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 NIV

Where do we often turn for wisdom other than God? Where did Solomon start to turn for wisdom later in life? Read 1 Kings 11:1-3 NIV.

  1. Recognize how God gives us wisdom. …who gives generously to all without finding fault… James 1:5

God gives (continuously) and generously (enough for everyone) to all (each one individually) without finding fault (He’s happy to give every time you ask). If this is true, why not ask God for wisdom for a difficult situation you are facing right now? 

The Rise and Fall of King Solomon: Solomon’s rise came as a result of pursuing his relationship with God. His fall came when he began to trust in his own devices and when he began to forsake God and pursue idols. Read 1 Kings 11:1-13. What were the poor choices that led to Solomon’s fall? What poor choices are we at risk of making? 

Tell Someone Else

Ask for prayer requests from the group and pray for one another. Pray specifically for God to grant each person the wisdom that they need for the situations they face this week and beyond.

For Mobile Wallpaper