The apprentice - part 2
April 25, 2004 AM
Last week we began a new series on being an apprentice --
learning the ways of God to become a success in our life.
Last weeks secret was : The buck stops here --
No one controls your life but you --
If others are controlling your life, it is because you are allowing them to.
Where you are right now in your life is not someone else’s fault.
We cannot play the blame game and change our future.
The buck stops here .... we are responsible for our own life.
Today we’re going to look at secret # 2 --
2) Secret #2: Seek Wisdom
Let’s look at God’s word in relation to wisdom;
(Prov 4:5 NKJV) Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
(Prov 4:6 NKJV) Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.
(Prov 4:7 NKJV) Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
Wisdom is the principle thing!
I thought maybe success was the main principle.
Or being nice to people, or maybe feeding the hungry,
Or some people think being cool is the principle thing.,
Or being happy.
Let’s look at a story from the history of God’s word;
(1 Ki 3:1 NKJV) Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter;
then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall all around Jerusalem.
(1 Ki 3:2 NKJV) Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days.
Now when you read about sacrifices at high places in the old testament it usually refers to pagan temples,
Or altars to idols.
Often they were places where a statue or an idol was set up and people would bring offerings and gifts.
Our team that is going to Thailand will see buddist high places --
Statues covered in gold leaf, idols surrounded with flowers and gifts .
1 Ki 3:3 NKJV) And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.
It appears Solomon copied the customs of the pagan idol worshippers -- and worshipped at this high place.
The ark of the covenant and the brazen altar were indeed there in Gibeon.
But it was forbidden by old testament law to make offerings anywhere but the temple or the tabernacle -- but, offerings were being made at this high place to Jehoveh
(1 Ki 3:4 NKJV) Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
(1 Ki 3:5 NKJV) At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask! What shall I give you?"
(1 Ki 3:6 NKJV) And Solomon said: "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You;
You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
(1 Ki 3:7 NKJV) "Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.
(1 Ki 3:8 NKJV) "And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.
(1 Ki 3:9 NKJV) "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"
(1 Ki 3:10 NKJV) The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.
(1 Ki 3:11 NKJV) Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice,
(1 Ki 3:12 NKJV) "behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart,
so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.
(1 Ki 3:13 NKJV) "And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.
(1 Ki 3:14 NKJV) "So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."
(1 Ki 3:15 NKJV) Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
What testimony --
Solomon could have asked for all those things --
Money, power, the death of his enemies, to live a really, really long time.
But instead he asked for wisdom.
The four things God said he could have asked for represent the four main things people think would change their life.
1) Money -- people like to think that if they just had more money their life would change for the better.
It’s what fuels the lotteries, it’s what keeps Las Vegas going, it’s what keep the indian casinos open.
"If I just had enough money" --
That’s what the reality shows are counting on -- people who will do stupid stuff hoping for the chance to get money.
I hear it from people all the time -- if I just had the money .....
The problem is that if you had the money -- you would soon not have the money.
Because money is not the solution - it’s the by-product of understanding.
Money follows wisdom.
You live, behave, and act with wisdom,
And you will not only have suffucuent funds for today, but accumulate finance for the future.
2) Then there is Power --
people who think if they can just get control of this or that they will have achieved the peak of their life.
Let me show something -
(Phil 2:3 NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
(Phil 2:4 NKJV) Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Real power is a by-product of understanding.
3) Thirdly, we see God mentions the removal of enemies -
See, we think if so-n-so would just leave me alone, my life would be great.
If I didn’t have to put up with so-n-so my life would be so much easier.
Dealing with difficult people in a positive way is a by-product of understanding and wisdom.
4) Lastly, God mentions having a long life -- having more time.
All of us have at one time or another made the comment we need more time.
But for some of us -- living to 263 would not help.
We would still be behind
The reality is that gaining understanding -- getting wisdom reorders the time we do have --
And amazingly -- more gets done.
The key here is that Solomon asked for none of those things.
He asked for understanding and wisdom.
And that’s what God gave him, but gave him everything else as well.
But wisdom is the primary thing
(Prov 16:16 NKJV) How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
Our past cannot be changed -- but our future can be --
It will be changed by the choices we make today --
And the choices we make today are based on the wisdom we have accumulated.
So our future will be changed by the wisdom we acquire and the understanding we gain - today
Follow me here;
Last week learned that our future is determined by the choices we make.
And the choices we make are based on the way we think.
This week I want you to see that the way you think is based on the understanding, the wisdom, that you have or gain,
And the understanding, the wisdom you have is determined by the influences you have around you.
The people, the books, the entertainment, the lifestyles,
All will affect your understanding and wisdom.
Which means those things which you surround yourself with, will determine your future.
We have to consciously train our eyes and our ears and our mind to seek out positive influences to surround ourselves with.
We cannot bombard our minds and our spirits with influences that create doubt, or fear, or dissatisfaction.
Not if we intend to move forward.
I want you to see this --
We must choose our friends carefully,
We become who our friends are.
We speak their language, we wear their clothes, we share their opinions,
And we pick-up their habits.
We will accept their lifestyles, and we will defend their choices.
We will go where they go, and do what they do.
We will act like they act, and we will react the way they react.
We’ll watch what they watch, we’ll listen to what they listen to.
If your friends don’t like their jobs -- you won’t like your job.
If your friends are upset with the church, you’ll be upset with the church.
If your friends waste their money, you’ll waste your money,
If your friends have critical spirits, you’ll have a critical spirit.
If your friends get bored with their marriage, you’ll get bored with your marriage.
Choosing friends is one of the most important decisions when it comes to determining our future and our contentment today.
If we surround ourselves with chickens we will spend our time scratching the ground and squabbling over crumbs and worms.
It is in part, those whom we surround ourselves with that increase our understanding and wisdom.
Without an increase in wisdom and understanding we can only make decisions based on what we already know,
And it is our current level of wisdom that has us in the mess we’re in.
Let me show you something from the Word;
(Exo 31:1 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
(Exo 31:2 NKJV) "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
(Exo 31:3 NKJV) "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
I want you to see -- It’s God that gave great wisdom and understanding,
Look with me in 1 kings;
(1 Ki 4:29 NKJV) And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.
Again note -- God gave wisdom and understanding.
(Prov 2:6 NKJV) For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
Again note -- God gives wisdom.
It’s not about books, or education, or IQ -
It’s about pursueing God and God’s ways.
The human race thinks that pursuing God creates misery and boredom, and is no fun --
Yet God says;
(Prov 3:13 NKJV) Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
Secret #2 for success is Get Wisdom.
Unfortunately there are no Wisdom Stores.
Walmart does not have a "Wisdom Section"
You will never see a sale on slightly damaged wisdom at Walls.
But I think there are 3 basic steps in acquiring wisdom;
1) Recognizing that God is God.
Look with me at;
(Prov 9:10 NKJV) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Now we like to think "fearing God" means to be scared of God -
But that’s not it -- it’s a matter of respect, honor, admiration, awe....
Recognizing God is God
He’s not to be argued with, bargained with, nor ignored.
He is God -- the Ultimate, final authority for all matters of the entire universe.
And step one in acquiring wisdom is to recoginize that fact.
Step two is to go the next level with that --
2) walk in relationship with God
(Psa 111:10 NKJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments .....
When you’re in relationship with God you’re playing by His rules
You’re walking according to His laws.
Don’t expect wisdom in your decisions when you insist on doing things your own way.
You cannot violate God’s principles and expect God’s wisdom in your choices.
Let me say that again for you ....
You cannot violate God’s principles and expect God’s wisdom in your choices.
People refuse to pay tithe, and then wonder why they buy the wrong cars, choose the wrong investments, and lose money everywhere they turn.
Step two in getting wisdom is following God’s laws.
People pick their mate at a night club and then wonder why it doesn’t work out.
To get wisdom -- follow God’s laws
(Eccl 10:10 NKJV) If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.
You can do it God’s way or struggle your whole life.
So first -- fear God, second, follow God,
The third step in getting wisdom;
3) Ask for it
(James 1:5 NKJV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
I showed you examples in scripture of God giving wisdom to His people
James says He wants to give you an abundance of wisdom.
But unless you fulfill the first two steps you won’t see step three happen.
But to those who fear God and follow his statutes, God gives wisdom and understanding.
But you have to ask.
In our choices, in our decisions God likes to be included.
If we ask Him -- He will help us make wise choices.
I will note however that it is kind of useless to ask God what to do when you have already made up your mind what you want to do.
But He will give us wisdom.
Let me finish the story of King Solomon --
His first official act after God giving him supernatural wisdom;
It’s there in 1 Kings 3;
(1 Ki 3:16 NKJV) Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him.
(1 Ki 3:17 NKJV) And one woman said, "O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house.
(1 Ki 3:18 NKJV) "Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us in the house.
(1 Ki 3:19 NKJV) "And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him.
(1 Ki 3:20 NKJV) "So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
(1 Ki 3:21 NKJV) "And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne."
(1 Ki 3:22 NKJV) Then the other woman said, "No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son." And the first woman said, "No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son." Thus they spoke before the king.
(1 Ki 3:23 NKJV) And the king said, "The one says, ’This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ’No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’"
(1 Ki 3:24 NKJV) Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king.
(1 Ki 3:25 NKJV) And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other."
(1 Ki 3:26 NKJV) Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, "O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!" But the other said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him."
(1 Ki 3:27 NKJV) So the king answered and said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother."
(1 Ki 3:28 NKJV) And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.
Kind of a bizarre demonstration --
But one which proved to the whole kingdom that Solomon was now thinking outside of the box --
Because God had blessed his life with wisdom.
Success principle #2 -- get wisdom.
Fear God, Follow God, Ask of God.