Life Lessons: Skillful in Life

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Life Lessons

Skillful in Life

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Everyone has heard the myth about someone finding a genie in a bottle.  The genie offers to fulfill the finder's greatest wish.

What would you do if God actually granted you your deepest desires?  Three thousand years ago Solomon was crowned king over the kingdom of Israel.  God appeared to him in a dream and declared, "Ask!  What shall I give to you?"

Solomon praised God for the mercy shown to his father David, and himself.  He was humbled by the task of ruling Israel and prayed, "I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or to come in.  And your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.  Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil."  Solomon's request pleased God and He gave Solomon special wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-12 1 Kings 3:5-12 [5] In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give you. [6] And Solomon said, You have showed to your servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before you in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with you; and you have kept for him this great kindness, that you have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. [7] And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. [8] And your servant is in the middle of your people which you have chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. [9] Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this your so great a people? [10] And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. [11] And God said to him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life; neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies; but have asked for yourself understanding to discern judgment; [12] Behold, I have done according to your words: see, I have given you a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like to you.
American King James Version×
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The Hebrew word translated "wise" in the English Old Testament, was used in a secular sense to denote someone who was a skillful craftsman.  It was used in a religious sense to denote someone who was skillful at using God's word to live a practical life of obedience.

Points to build on

The practical art of living is built on three foundational steps:

1.  Gathering Knowledge - the learning of facts and information.

2.  Developing Understanding - the ability to discern what is true and important.

3.  Growing in Wisdom - the ability to practically apply knowledge and understanding.

A person can memorize a great deal of facts and not understand how that knowledge relates to others or pertains to specific situations.  A person can have understanding, but not have the ability to practically apply what they understand.  Wisdom combines knowledge and understanding into practical decision making.

Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, admonishes his son to seek wisdom as if it is great treasure.  Wisdom isn't inherited through a genetic code.  It is learned through biblical study, personal experience and the observation of others.  It is ultimately expressed in the daily choices we make in our relationship with God and neighbor.

Application

Since wisdom isn't an inborn trait, but is developed over time, a person who wants wisdom must be dedicated to the effort and study of becoming wise.

1.  Pray for wisdom.  The Creator of the universe knows how life works.

2.  Seek wisdom through knowledge.  This includes daily Bible study, and a lifelong dedication to continued education in science, history, creative activities and current events.

3.  Observe and analyze both your life and the lives of others to learn effective, moral decision making.