What’s Life All About Lord?

He actually tells us, through the man that He made the wisest that ever lived – King Solomon.

After God gave him all that wisdom, He left him with an important piece of information regarding what to do with it:

“And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kin. 3:14 ESV

So, regardless of all King Solomon’s wisdom, it was the godly application of it that brought the blessings. Indeed, as long as Solomon followed that advice, he and his kingdom remained blessed:

And Judah and Israel lived in safety…every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. 1 Kin. 4:25 ESV

You have to understand however, that there are no shades of gray with God. You are either doing what He says to do, or you are not. There are no half measures. And unfortunately, regardless of all his wisdom, Solomon veered off his Creator’s path:

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women…from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” 1 Kin. 11:1, 2. ESV

Just as God said, it came to pass:

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods… 1 Kin. 11:4 ESV

And when you violate His commands, there are always consequences:

So the LORD said to Solomon, “ Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 1 Kin. 11:11 – 13. NASB

God must mete out His punishment or His word would not stand in truth. But because of his father’s (King David) obedience, God showed mercy to Solomon by delaying His retribution until the time of Solomon’s son’s reign. Moreover, you can see that out of His mercy, God would also leave Solomon’s son one tribe (Judah) to perpetuate the throne in Jerusalem.

Solomon knew that he messed up in a big way and fell into a deep depressive funk, for which he tried to find solace by immersing himself in the ways of the world. Thankfully for all of us, Solomon eventually repented, turned his life around and made himself right with God. At that point, God’s wisdom returned to him in his old age and Solomon left us the wisdom gleaned from his wayward journey:

“Behold, I have acquired great [human] wisdom and experience, more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of [moral] wisdom and [scientific] knowledge. And I set my mind to know [practical] wisdom and to discern [the character of] madness and folly [in which men seem to find satisfaction]; I realized that this too is a futile grasping and chasing after the wind. For in much [human] wisdom there is much displeasure and exasperation; increasing knowledge increases sorrow.” Eccl. 1:16 – 18. AMP

Solomon is saying that the pursuit of the world’s wisdom is laden with errors and dissatisfactions and the only fruit that it bears is misery – a lesson he learned from direct experience:

I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure; “What use is it?” I searched with all my heart how to cheer my body with wine…I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks…I made myself pools…I bought male and female slaves…I also had great possessions…I also gathered for myself silver and gold…I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines… Eccl. 2:1 – 8. ESV

King Solomon had immersed himself in the world – yielding himself over to gluttony, drunkenness, pride, fornication and greed; i.e. he gave into everything that his flesh yearned for. His conclusion?

Thus I considered all my activities which my hand had done and the labor which I exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun. Eccl. 2:11 NASB

Then, Solomon applied godly wisdom to his observations and came up with the Holy Spirit-inspired meaning of life:

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or find enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and striving after the wind. Eccl. 2:24 – 26. ESV

So, the ‘meaning of life’ begins with finding contentment through God and from His provisions, as you walk in His ways and know that you play a special part in HIs plan – finding your joy as you perform the tasks that He assigns you.

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with…I have perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live… Eccl. 3:10 & 12. ESV

Added to the ‘meaning of life’ then, is that walking in God’s ways includes laboring to help others reach their highest and best.

Knowing the meaning of life and living that way allows us to get the most out of it. It doesn’t mean that there will not be hardships from time to time however:

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed one as well as the other… Eccl. 7:14 NKJV

Our lives have cycles of ups and downs; but the ‘downs’ are not times where God is throwing obstacles in your way. He doesn’t do that. God allows adversities to manifest in your life (usually of your own making) so that you can gather strength of character and godly wisdom to draw you closer to Him and increase your dependence upon His love.

Every day, God gives you an opportunity to connect with Him to see the meaning of life through the eyes of love, so that each day can be the best day of your life.

The last aspect revealed to Solomon about the ‘meaning of life’ is the vision we must keep in our hearts while we live it, that of the eternal paradise that awaits us. God wants us to live our lives to their fullest but even so, the day of our heavenly arrival will far surpass it:

…the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Eccl. 7:1 NASB

Finally, King Solomon sums up all the aspects of the ‘meaning of life’ in one scripture;

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Eccl. 12:11 – 13. ESV

Thus, all meaning in life is found in knowing and loving your God and living by the tenets of His love – which guarantees you a life now and forever, surrounded in complete love. That’s what it’s all about…

Goodnight and God bless.

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God’s Marital Wisdom

Last week we considered the wisdom that God imparted to Solomon and how important it is to have that same wisdom in our lives. Yet, having a head full of wisdom does not create a wise person. It is in the application of that wisdom in one’s life, that makes him or her wise. (James 1:22 – 25.)

Let’s consider the application of God’s wisdom in marriage; and as we do, we will find that He has woven that marital wisdom throughout the Bible, not just in the proverbs.

Marriage was the first institution God created after He formed Adam and Eve:

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Gn. 2:24 AMP

God is telling us that when a man and woman are wise enough to become husband and wife, something extraordinary happens: there comes a spiritual opportunity to transcend their individuality and become one.

He also tells us that He has another purpose for their union:

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. Mal. 2:15 ESV

God is trying to spread the love. He loves the husband and wife as one and desires the fruit of their loins to create other bundles of love, to amplify His efforts. You’ll also notice that this same scripture infers that marriage is a sanctified relationship – not to be breached by a lack of wisdom that leads to faithlessness.

Indeed, God says that it is wise for a man to find and keep a good wife:

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband… Pr. 12:4 NKJV

He who finds a [true and faithful] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor and approval from the LORD. Pr. 18:22 AMP

Moreover, God says that finding a good wife will also make for him an incomparable partner:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life…She perceives that her merchandise is profitable…Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Pr. 31:10 – 12, 18 & 25 – 28. ESV

That’s a woman worth having! Note that a man could strive for those characteristics as well, just saying.

God leaves nothing to chance. Because your marriage is so sacred to Him, He left you instructions for how to conduct yourself within it, so that your relationship will thrive:

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Eph. 5:22 – 24. NKJV

Some ladies are prone to take exception to this scripture, so let’s break it down a little. First, like any verse of scripture, it must be taken in context. The two verses just prior to the above citation read thusly:

…giving thanks always for all the things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Eph. 5:20, 21. NKJV

So, we are moving from a contextual former scripture that reveals our need to submit to one another within the family of God (if what we are submitting to is in alignment with God’s word), to a deeper and specific application within a godly marriage. Thus, the marital application infers that a ‘good husband’ should fill the role of making sure that God’s will (His wisdom) is carried out within the marriage, stating that the wife should defer to his leadership.

In addition, the scripture suggests that this marital command is especially important in spiritual matters – where the husband is primarily supposed to lead.

But what if hubby is being a little lax in his spiritual leadership? God’s got wisdom for that as well, telling us that the wife can step in and take the relationship to a higher level:

Wives, likewise be submissive to your husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives… 1 Pt. 3:1 NKJV

For my female readers, I want to stress that God is not being chauvinistic in any way. The husband too, has his own set of responsibilities within the marital relationship:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…let each of you so love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:25, 28, 29 & 33. NKJV

We see then, that the husband is to love his wife with a depth that commands he sacrifice his life for her. That is an attitude that is far from chauvinism. Also, the husband must love his wife as he loves himself. Why would God tell the men to do that? It’s because we cannot love anyone until we first know what love is; and the only way to know love is to first give it to ourselves.

Husbands must nurture that relationship – keeping it sweet and showing her honor and compassion:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Col. 3:19 NKJV

…husbands, love with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Pt. 3:7 ESV

We must concede that in most cases, men possess greater physical strength than women. But that has no bearing on the spiritual side of marriage. In my opinion, man’s physical strength is complemented by the greater strength of the heart that the woman brings to the relationship.

Also note in the same scripture that marriage grants a spiritual oneness that connects the husband and wife – a oneness so precious to God that if either bring discord to than harmony, His love is cut off until that oneness is restored.

God takes a firm stand against anything that brings harm to the marital union:

“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong and violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore keep watch on your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously [with your wife].” Mal. 2:16 AMP

It is extremely rare to find God expressing the word ‘hate’ is Scripture. So why is He using such a strong and negative expletive here? It’s because divorce thrusts violence upon the entire family. Everyone in the home begins to fear for the well-being of their spirit, soul and body; and because fear and love cannot coexist, the love is leeched out of the entire family.

Divorce is Satan’s greatest weapon. He steals the family’s love to weaken them for his purposes. Conversely, keeping a marriage together, making it work by living by God’s marital wisdom, keeps the love – the very thing the devil cannot overcome.

If you do not choose to seek the wisdom of God and apply it, there will be no love to buffer against discord (which comes whenever you put two humans together). Without love, bitterness sets in and is projected outwards:

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand. Pr. 27:15, 16. ESV

(You could just as easily substitute the word ‘husband’ for ‘wife’ here.)

When bitterness takes root, somebody strays because they think the solution lies in ‘greener pastures.’ The fruit of this straying is often adultery:

Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. Pr. 6:27 – 29. ESV

Remember that two of the Ten Commandments expressly forbid adultery; and God pulls no punches about the seriousness of this transgression:

You shall not commit adultery. Ex. 20:14 NKJV

…you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… Ex. 20:17 NKJV

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:14 ESV

God loves you so much. He knows how much destruction is brought to your house when you seek solace in flesh outside the home:

For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. for by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Pr. 6:23 – 26. NKJV

Adultery leads to divorce. Violence falls upon every member of the household in divorce – including the perpetrator, who loathes him or herself for their transgression. Even if the adulterer manages to carry on their illicit tryst undiscovered, they are already divorced in their heart, if not in the courts.

Adultery separates the perpetrator from the love of God, and should they remain impenitent, they run the danger of losing their eternal date with Him:

Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. Pr. 7:25 – 27. NKJV

But thank God for His mercy! Even if you’ve fallen for this trap, if you return to Him with sincere confession and repentance, He will restore your relationship with Him.

Still, you must deal with the destructive aftermath and pray that your household can heal. Sin always has consequences.

Far better to let God direct your marriage. It is His wisdom that leads us into matrimony; and it is the same wisdom that shows us how to exercise love, respect, fidelity, kindness, benevolence, mutual submission and restraint (by keeping our affections at home). When you apply that wisdom, you’re completing your connection with God and living out His purposes, which always lead to your highest and best life.

Doesn’t that sound wise to you?

Goodnight and God bless.