During a devotional time this morning, our Associate Pastor read 1 Kings 3:7-12 and something grabbed my attention that I’ve never noticed before. It was in verse 12. In the ESV it reads, “I now do according to your word.” The interesting thing is that in this portion of Scripture, God is speaking. God said to Solomon, “I now do according to your word.”
What?!?!? We’re supposed to say that to God. He’s not supposed to follow us! He’s God right?? So why would He do “according to our word.” We’re just stupid, arrogant, prideful, selfish people. Of course you all know the answer. God is willing to say He’ll do “according to our word” when we have completely lined up with His will – when our desires are the same a His desires – when He has placed His words in our mouths – when our word is the same as His Word.
So here’s my question: Can God say to you, “I now do according to your word.”? Is your desire the same as His? Is your heart in line with His? If you could ask for anything in the world from God (like Solomon), would your request be a selfish one? or one that would honor God and be in line with His desires for the world?
Me? To be real honest, I’m not sure what my request would be. I believe that in moments like that God gives us strength to do the right things, but I also know that my first temptation would be to ask for a job and a way to support my family right now.
Prayer: Lord, I confess that I’m a selfish man – that I want things my way way too often. I confess that I’m fearful for the future of my family. I do trust You. But I’m also fearful. I know those things don’t really go together, but it’s truly where I am right now. There’s a real tension between my faith and my fear and the two of them are waging war within me. Lord, I’m weak and I know that in these moments, You are strong. So please Lord, take charge of this battle. My true desire is to be faithful, to honor You, to hold fast. My deep desire is to have my words, my desires, & my life in tune and in step with You – to put myself in a position where You can say, “I now do according to your word” to me. May it be so. AMEN.
Dr Loken was sick last week and so we watched the movie “Solomon” for class. I hate it when we do that. I can watch a movie at home. Dr. Loken’s teachings are much better.
There are some movies that can be life-changing. Movies can challenge your thinking and make you see things differently, but in general the “Christian” ones aren’t as good. It’s horrible to say, but it’s true. It seems like these days the church is almost always behind when it comes to the arts, but in years past the church was the center of it all. There has always been something about the “mystery” of God that inspires artists to try to express that which can’t be defined. I guess somewhere along the line the church decided that they had God figured out so art/mystery lost out.
Anyway, it seems to me that in the area of music, the church has gained some of the ground lost in catching up to the rest of culture. But in almost every other area – movies/film, writing, dramatic arts, painting/sculpting – we still seem to be way behind the rest of culture. The truth is that we as Christians have more truth to express to the world than any other people group. We should be setting the bar for every other artist in the world! What happened? How do we encourage people to express themselves to the Lord? We ask them to sing and pray in church, but what happened to these other expressions? How can we “worship” with our lives? our talents? our abilities? What would the rest of the world gain if we were each to take these ideas seriously? What could I offer the world as an expression of my heart to the Lord? What will I offer to Him?
It’s interesting that the movie Solomon is the one that sparked all these thoughts in me. I mean Solomon was the guy who organized all the most creative artists in the world at that time to build the temple. Solomon was an art supporter, and yet the movie/artform that portrayed him was lacking in that area. Weird.
The Song of Solomon series by Tommy Nelson, has been and will continue to have an incredible impact on my life.
I first discovered this series and Tommy Nelson at Metro Bible Study many years ago. I’d guess around 2001 or so. Anyway, he was speaking there during one of the summers that I worked at Tomball UMC. I used to drive an hour up there each week to hear him teach and somewhere during that time I heard about this series. Around the same time, my sister was attending a church in the Dallas area where they had Tommy joining them too. Anyway, I went through the series with Tommy Nelson that summer and it really made me rethink how I had been doing the “dating” thing. I learned how I should treat women and also how I should be using the time I was single to prepare myself for meeting someone. My sister and I had a few conversations about it all back then.
Sometime after that, one of the adult Sunday School classes in Tomball decided to go through the video series. I heard about how some of the women who were active in the church really struggled through the series because their husbands just weren’t in the same place they were spiritually. I decided then, that I would not be one of those husbands. I also decided that I should be teaching that material to the students I was working with. At that time, they didn’t offer a “student” version, so we just carefully went through the adult series and the students just ate it up. They loved it! Tommy spoke of and explained things that no other adult in their lives would even come close to talking about. The students were also shocked to realize that the Bible really speaks about some of those things. It was an incredible time in the youth ministry as I watched students begin to make better decisions about their dating lives.
Sometime later, I began dating Miranda and we really tried to live out our dating life in the way that God would want us to. We prayed together and decided that after we got engaged, we would go through the Song of Solomon series together. We had each been through it on our own, but felt like doing it together would bring up specific issues that we could talk about and make sure we were together on before our marraige. It did, and it was a good thing for us to do together.
Another time I taught this series to my sister and her fiancee. They didn’t really have any marriage counseling, and were asking me to lead the wedding service. (My father-in-law actually officiated the wedding.) I insisted that they go through Tommy’s material first and Miranda and I traveled up to Ft Worth to lead them through it. I must admit that it was a little strange talking about some of those subjects with my sister, but still a really good thing.
My most recent experience (besides this school one) was teaching it to the students in my new church. It was my first experience with the student version, and it went well for our group, but when we finished, they still wanted to know the rest of the story. (The student version doesn’t cover the marriage portions.) I taught that portion to them on my own.
Now, I’ve talked alot about my different experiences with the Song of Solomon, but probably haven’t said much about how it specifically has impacted my life. The picture that the Song of Solomon paints of how to do a love relationship is the most impressive I have ever seen. Solomon’s character is strong and yet sensitive to His bride. He is truly a man’s man and yet knows how to approach her with gentleness. Their love for each other is evident and they freely express it to one another with their words, their actions, and in their intimate moments. It is also evident that there are times to restrain and to focus on the Lord. I pray that I can be a man like Solomon (with the exception of all the extra wives) and that my bride will love me the way that this book describes her love for him. Also in this book, we are able to watch them fight and argue and then make up with each other – how comforting it is to know that these are normal things that couples go through, and that love is a commitment to continue in spite of those things. I don’t believe that I would ever have been the kind of man who would have attracted my bride, if it weren’t for the things I learned from the Lord through Solomon and Tommy Nelson. I would still be a single, and probably miserable man – so all this is to say – I love this stuff! God has used it greatly in my life and I will continue to teach it to the best of my ability to anyone who will listen.