What do we pray for mostly?
What do we mostly pray for? We all pray, we got up this morning, Sabbath morning and we want to spend some extra time in prayer and meditation and sometimes we have meditative prayers even in addition to the time we spend on our knee in praying and I think an important question is, what do we pray for mostly? What is the focus of our list, of things we have to pray for?
I got the idea for this sermon, of all places, from an archery magazine! And you wonder, what in the world does that have to do with prayer? Well, it was an interesting one, it was about two old guys, older than me, so they’re definitely old guys, they were in their mid-sixties, this only happened a couple years ago…well actually they were in their late sixties, 67 and 68 if I’m not mistaken, but they were tall lanky men who were pretty fit, life-long friends and they decided that for fun they would go to Alaska and have a pilot fly their raft in up a river about six miles past where he could land and drop the raft, literally fly low and dump it out and so he did, sort of bombed the sandbar with the raft. It was all wrapped up and everything, then he went back and got the two hunters and flew them in six miles downriver from the raft…well six miles and a mountain basically, down river from the raft. They had to carry 100 lb. packs to get to the raft, those were their supplies and then they would hunt their way down the river, they’d hunt up by the raft first for a while, for a few days and then they’d float out, that was how they would get out to civilization again. So you’ve got two old guys doing that and they’re hunting with bows and arrows, they have firearm back up because there are grizzlies and black bears in the neighborhood and in fact they had episodes where they very narrowly missed a serious head to head with a grizzly, very narrowly. And not so narrowly, missed one with a cantankerous black bear which are normally not cantankerous, or not as cantankerous as a grizzly.
So they got to talking, they’re both Christian types, there is a Christian Bow hunters Association up there, actually active members and so they are the kind of men, maybe they don’t understand God’s truth but they certainly take their religion seriously and they had a philosophy about prayer, they never prayed for gifts, they’d pray for something else. You know you could…God give me a big moose…one had a moose tag, the other had a caribou tag and…give me a caribou…you know you could pray like that if you were in their boat, but no, they asked for something else and I think there is an interesting piece of advice in there, they asked for wisdom, for guidance…guide me to a moose (or a caribou)…and protection…that’s where the bears come in, well the moose too because the mooses tend to have (is it mooses or is it meese? Mice, mouse, anyway) its mooses and moose can be a little bit cantankerous when you surprise them up close, they’re big, about 1500 pounds and they have big headgear on there.
They didn’t pray that God would just give them what they came for, they just prayed that He would give them protection and He would guide them and He would give them wisdom. I thought, wow, that’s profound. Now I like to read this archery magazine and a couple of others but most of them are about shooting arrows and making bows and things like that, but not that profound, so I had to mull it over and I decided, there’s some lesson, there’s a good piece of wisdom, literally for us here today, particularly as we get ready for the Passover season, we’re not far away from that and what better time is there than to overhaul our prayers appropriately?
Now we don’t have to face angry moose and caribou aren’t as dangerous, they tend to run away with from you, but sometimes when they’re running away from you and you’re in the way, they can be dangerous and bear in mind they were, I don’t know, 50 miles away from civilization, no roads, just the river was the road. See when they got done getting the moose and the caribou and hauled the meat to camp and got it all, well they had to share some of the caribou with the grizzly bear, you know that goes with the territory I guess, the bear insisted. Then they loaded it all up in their big raft and they floated it down the river and almost capsized it twice on strainers – strainers are trees that fall in the river and they create an eddy that if you get too close to them it can pull your craft either in underneath which is one of the main things, it kind of strains you off of it and holds you under water until you can’t breathe anymore, you don’t want to go where there are strainers if you are a rafter or a boater for that matter, on a swift river and this was a swift one. So you can see why the protection part of their prayer came in, they hit one of the strainers and one of the men was strained out of the boat and when he managed to pull himself up out of the water because he was, even though he was older, he was strong and got to shore, that’s when he had the episode with the black bear, because the black bear was between him and where his buddy got the raft around the bend of the river and off to the side and it was a pretty exciting story you know, when you get down to it!
We have some pretty exciting times that we live in, let’s consider our times. When we think about praying for wisdom, guidance and protection, sometimes you need a little motivation for your prayer. Let’s turn to Jeremiah 30 , now here’s a proverb, a prophetic proverb I guess you could say it is in many respects, it’s a prophecy. Chapter 31 is of course more famous for having the New Covenant prophecy in it but chapter 30 has one that has to do with the time before the New Covenant becomes a wholesale event but while it’s still one or two here and there as the Church is today.
Jeremiah 30:4 Jeremiah 30:4And these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
American King James Version× – Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah. “For thus says the Lord: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace, ask now and see whether a man is ever in labor with a child …no… so why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor and all faces turned pale? ‘
Why do I see fear in the eyes of those of the population that would normally be brave? Why do I see that? Then we come to the kicker verse:
V.7 – Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it and it is a time of Jacob’s trouble .
Time of Jacob’s trouble – now when it says that day is great and none is like it, that language connects to Matthew 24, by the way we’re going there shortly and a couple other places, Daniel 12 as well, talking about the end of the age will be a time of trouble that is unparalleled in human history, like there has never been since there has been a nation nor will there ever be again, and we’re floating our raft right down to that whitewater filled with strainers and waterfalls and nasty sharp rocks and bears lining the shores with their mouths watering. That’s pretty much of the world’s situation, a time of Jacob’s trouble. By Jacob’s trouble, that means specifically a time of particular trouble for the nations descended from Jacob, i.e., the twelve tribes of Israel and Judah. The United States qualifies in that category, being one of the premiere ones descended from the tribe of Manasseh. England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, descended from Ephriam and various other nations in northwest Europe have descended from some of the other tribes. A time of Jacob’s trouble – that’s the time that we are floating straight into. Challenging times indeed.
You know Timothy was told by Paul that…and this is for your reference, 2 Timothy 3:1 2 Timothy 3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
American King James Version× , you know it; we won’t turn there, because I want to go to Isaiah next, but in that spot in Timothy it says:
2 Timothy 3:1 2 Timothy 3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
American King James Version× – This know also, that in the last days there will perilous …or dangerous… times . Well, we are in dangerous and perilous times.
Now we all came here to services without major problems, a little bit of wet roads, some rivers are high and so there will be a few roads you can’t take here in Ohio and similar things elsewhere, probably a blizzard blowing somewhere in the west of the United States or Canada and other brethren will be facing other challenges but we can, we’re functioning reasonably well at the moment, but for those who are watching what’s happening in the world, the trends are not good. The civil unrest across North Africa and into the Arab world are significant. Not in the sense of significance as in various rulers will be given the royal boot out of office, or the non-royal boot, depending on which they deserve, as the case might be, but because the region is destabilized and Europe runs on the fuel that comes from there, we do to a certain degree as well, but America has resources that haven’t even been developed that makes all those resources look small. Europe doesn’t have those resources; their fuel comes from under the sands of the Middle East. That puts them in a precarious position, when the United States cut off Japan from its fuel sources in Indonesia and other sources in Indonesia and other places at the beginning of World War II, Japan had to make war within about six months or they would not have the ability to make war, they had to open up those sea channels to get that fuel for their ships and things or they would simply have to give up. At that time they weren’t of a mind to give up and thus we have another theater of World War II! That was a perilous time, a very perilous time for many people in many countries but it will be, this one coming, be significantly more. Let’s go back to Isaiah 3 . It’s not just the dangers of the events in Egypt and now in Libya and the fact that that is spreading around to other areas, it’s not just the threat of terrorism which increases greatly, you know we haven’t had any nuclear terrorism yet, we’ve had movies about it, but we haven’t had it yet, that’s always possible you know, there are all kinds of dangerous bottlenecks in our society, we are so dependent upon electricity that if that’s cut off, the grid…and I don’t mean a local cut off, I’m talking about a complete grid breakdown of the electrical system in huge sections of America or any other country, then it gets very dicey and very precarious very quickly. You think, well I’m ok, I’ve got a credit card – no you don’t because you can’t use a credit card, it depends on electricity to be connected via the telephone to all the places that electrically read your credit card so they can charge for your fuel, and then how are you going to pump it out of the tanks if there is any left in the tank under the grocery store filling station which is where the filling stations are more today.
You start thinking about these things; you could scare yourself really well! Like facing a grizzly bear, I’ve done that one time; it was at one of our camps in the Tetons in Wyoming, this was a few years ago and two of us had driven the vans that hauled the campers to their trail camp and they were going to go backpacking for three days. So we followed them up, we go to where they have lunch, it was a 3.5 mile hike up to a pass, Fox Pass or something like that. Fox Pass was very innocuous; the trail up there went to Death Canyon, perfect name for what we were facing. On the way back down, because everybody was fine, they got sick after we left, actually a couple of them did but everybody was fine by the time we got there. So we’re hiking down, just marching the 3.5 miles out from where the vans were parked and you know, there are other hikers from other, just regular hikers in the Tetons at the time but we hadn’t met any and we’d come down the trail off the scattered rocks and into the big timber at the bottom of Death Canyon and we walked around the trail that went around a tree and it was a good size fir tree, maybe 2-3 feet in diameter at the base and then the trail straightened out which was rare, mostly it zigzags but it straightened out for about thirty yards and around the tree at the other end stepped a grizzly bear and I stopped and looked at him and he stopped and looked at me and I went for my gun and he went for his and dropped it because he didn’t have a disposable thumb…no, that’s not what happened! A little fun with you there, I didn’t have a gun, I had a video camera on a little aluminum tripod, now that is serious protection against a bear! Get back or I’ll take your picture! I was supposed to be the carnivore expert at the camp and I’d done my study and I looked at the bear and I thought, black bear or grizzly, blonde? No blonde jokes are used on bears but there’s a color phase of grizzlies called blonde. Well interestingly, rarely does it happen but in the Tetons it does happen, you have blonde color phases of black bears and we’d actually seen one only a couple of days earlier so I’m looking at him, grizzly bear or black bear, he was standing slightly broadside with his head, swinging his head back and forth. Fortunately they can’t see very well, the wind was coming from him to us so I looked at his hips and thought, I can’t tell, how are you supposed to tell that? Then I went…look for the hump…grizzlies have a hump over their shoulders, they are really high on the shoulders and it slumped slightly up but I couldn’t say that there was a hump.
This was all taking place in less than half a second, processing all these thoughts and then I looked, ok, look at the head, if the ears look big, it’s a black bear, small skull because the ears are the same size on both kinds of bears. If the ears look tiny then it’s a grizzly bear because of the big skull. The ears looked tiny. Oh that’s a grizzly! And about that time he took one more step forward, I thought, that’s really not good, he’s supposed to go away, not toward me, so I said, OK, what do I…still…this is only 3/4th of a second after the first sighting, as we processed all these thoughts, OK, the three strategies, be big, be loud, be brave, all right, how am I going to be big? I had this little tripod in my hand and I thought well, I’ll just wave my hands, wave slowly above my head and the tripod will kind of capture the tension in the right hand and so I did that and he held his head back for a minute but he didn’t budge. And I wave my arms up slowly like this and try to give the impression of being giant and he wasn’t impressed. I thought, well, that’s not good, supposed to be impressed. If big isn’t good enough, you have to also be loud so I thought, all right, I’d better yell at him, but what am I going to yell? What do you yell at a grizzly bear to sort of intimidate him and I had no idea, whatever comes out is what it’s going to be. Well what came out was hooohaw! I have no idea why hooohaw, well I do too because I used to hunt elk with a bow and arrow so you get out in the elk woods in the spring, sorry, in the fall, in the early fall when the ruts on, you can bugle and I learned to bugle with my voice rather than with a call and it requires a great deal of diaphragm effort which makes you sound a whole lot bigger than you really are. So the hooohaw sounded pretty good, I was impressed, it was almost like the hoo-raah of the U.S. Marines, so I started yelling that at him and after hollering about five times and continuing to wave my arms, he took his step back. I thought, well that is good progress and he swung his head at me some more, sort of glowering through his eyebrows and then he turned and he went down toward the river, we could hear the river down deeper in the canyon, Death Canyon. Ahhh, that was a big sigh of relief when that happened, I looked over my shoulder at Amy Allwine who is in the Minneapolis church who was behind me about ten feet behind me and I noticed, wow, she’s putting her running shoes on, what are you going to do, outrun the bear? She said, no, all I have to do is outrun you! She wasn’t really, our eyes must have looked like saucers, the bear wasn’t especially scared, he just decided he wasn’t hungry and went away, we hooohawed for about a hundred yards down the trail until we were well past that spot and every time we bumped into hikers coming the other way we warned them about what we’d seen and to be on the lookout.
So dealing with the fright of what these two bow hunters did in fact have to come across, the grizzly and black bear is really a good analogy for the kind of trouble that the world is having today. And it’s not just violent trouble, but there’s another kind of trouble and that’s moral trouble that the nation and America and all the nations are in. Isaiah 3 really begins to get into that.
Isaiah 3:8 Isaiah 3:8For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.
American King James Version× – For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory .
Jerusalem is often a term that takes in, because it was the capital of all Israel under David and Solomon - takes in by extension and speaks of all the tribes especially when you have, in conjunction with Judah mentioned specifically afterwards. For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord …we live in an age that claims that God doesn’t exist, vociferously claims it and then they follow on the logical conclusion of atheistic belief and their conclusion is that there is no moral law, no moral code of any kind, therefore whatever you want to do is O.K. and that’s how they operate and that’s their doings of our society today.
V. 9 – The look on their countenance witnesses against them …the countenance is the face… and they declare their sin as Sodom and they do not hide it. Woe to their souls! For they have brought evil upon themselves .
Their sexual immorality is one of their primary pursuits, that is the condition of this nation and so many others, especially those descended from the tribes of Israel and when you stop and think about it, they know better, they have a heritage of the bible, they know what the Ten Commandments say, that knowledge is not completely foreign to them by any means and yet they reject it. So as we size up our times we can see both physical and spiritual - and moral danger that the world is facing. And now we go to Matthew 24 and by the way, remember what we’re doing is analyzing what we need to pray for, what needs to be a primary aspect of our prayers and that’s wisdom, guidance and protection. In Matthew 24 which is a pivotal chapter in the bible, in the New Testament certainly but in the bible in many ways. We have all these challenges that we are facing now.
And Jesus said to them …and this is a prophecy that He gave from the Mount of Olives, hence it’s often called the Olivet Prophecy, named after the Mount of Olives, the Mount of Olives is immediately to the east of Jerusalem and there’s a canyon that runs…a steep deep canyon…that runs down between the Mount of Olives and the temple mount and when you get on top of the Mount of Olives, you’re slightly higher than the temple mount and you can actually look down into the compound to where presently the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and so on are established or are built and it’s always been slightly higher, that deep valley between is the Valley Kedron that David spoke of so many times, the Kedron Brook or stream flows at the very bottom of it. So Christ is on top of there, they’re looking back, the disciples are with Him, they’re looking back across the canyon at Jerusalem and at the temple particularly, in His day it wasn’t the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque which are Islamic holy places, it was the temple and the expanded temple mount that King Herod had built, so it was God’s temple then and it was a massive beautiful place and the limestone that it was all constructed from was still relatively fresh, only a few years old, consequently it was very bright, seems to be bright in most times when it’s brought out of the soil or very light colored and then in the sun it will age to sort of a golden patina over considerable length of time and at this time it was still very bright and even when it ages it’s still quite bright, so Jesus is telling them, they want to know what’s it going to be when You’re ready to return? What will be the signs of Your coming, what do we look for? They thought He was coming back real quickly, a couple months, a few years maybe at the most and they found out later, no, it was going to be some time ahead, the time in which we live.
Matthew 24:4 Matthew 24:4And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
American King James Version× – “ Take heed …he said… that no man deceives you. For many will come in My name saying that I am the Christ and will deceive many …there will be many false messiahs and there will be many religions proclaiming Christ as Messiah but inaccurately proclaiming Him as Messiah, that can be applied in several ways and then they will be deceived and certainly we have seen traditional Christianity take root in place of true Christianity of old except for the remnant of God’s people that He has always maintained.
V. 6 – “ And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars …and that’s what we hear now, wars and rumors of wars, we hear them better now than the ancients did because we have better television reception! There’s was lousy, it was so lousy that nobody bothered to buy TV sets back then which is why we never find any in archeological digs! Of course they hadn’t been invented then – I jest… see that you are not troubled for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet .” So we’re going to have those kinds of troubles.
V. 7 – “ Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom …you know, battles going on here, battles going on there… and there will be famines …wow, we haven’t had a famine yet…
Well we actually did, remember the food shortage of rice and the riots in China and several other countries only two or three years ago? And you think well we haven’t really had famines in our time, well I’ll tell you what, when I was in my teens we had the famine in Biafra, we had a famine in Chad and basically those famines in Africa weren’t just because of crop failures, some of them are crop failures exacerbated by rival tribes that used the crop failures to kill, to starve out their competition and you think, well that’s really nasty! Well Stalin did that with White Russians at the end of World War II, he starved, directly by his policies in Soviet Russia, 2.5 million White Russians in the Ukraine. Jolly fellow. So we’ve had famines in our time, we will have more. Russia has just had a massive wheat crop failure, that’s not good, the last time they really had a serious one of those was about 1972 and America supplied them with the grain and then the joke on the streets of Moscow was that, well, you know the reason that we have so little bread in our stores is because there’s a famine in America and we’re sending wheat to help them! It was just the other way around but that was the way the Soviets presented the truth - that was the tactic of the Marxist regime of that time. Not surprising by any means, it’s generated by human thinking and human nature.
V. 7 - There will be famines and pestilences …
We’ve had pestilences, HIV-Aids, that’s been a pestilence, Ebola, SARS, who knows what other things are lurking that can get going. You know the ones that they worry about the most was flu, the Spanish flu killed 40 million people in 1918, you know just when they got done fighting World War I, they lost so many people to the Spanish flu in the world population that it made World War I look kind of like a skirmish. So how do you combat things like the Spanish Flu and other virus’s that we aren’t able to get on top of, or that medical science isn’t able to do. Now we live in a precarious condition, you know by the grace of God, we survive and we thrive.
V. 7 - Earthquakes in various places …
Well isn’t it nice to know we haven’t had any earthquakes recently! Our newspaper up at Columbus over the past few years, they have an earth update and so every week it shows up on one particular day, it’s up in the upper corner of the second page, the earth update shows where all the earthquakes have taken place, and tsunami’s which usually are accompanied by earthquakes or generated by them, but we’re having all of those things! And these are just the beginning of sorrows; it really gets going after that.
V. 9 - And they will deliver you to tribulations …so He talks about persecution… and false prophets will arise …so even more false religion and accept that this is the opportunistic false prophets and then:
V. 12 – And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold …we see that trend already happening, people are so preoccupied with things and stuff and self that they overlook anybody else.
I’ve always noticed that Ohioans are very friendly people except when they want to change lanes! They don’t bother to tell you they’re going to change the lane, they just change, no signals way too often and having driven in a lot of states over the years, I’ve never seen anything like that, so I just expect that they all want to change lanes at any particular time and drive accordingly but they don’t show that courtesy, well it’s hard you know, you’ve got your left hand stuck to your ear talking on the cellphone (at least you’re not texting!) and how do you run the turn signal – with your knee? No, they’re running the steering wheel with their knee so that they can get their coffee while they talk on the phone going at high speed, don’t ever drive like that, and too many of you do.
V. 13 – But he who endures to the end shall be saved …ahh, that’s good news; there is a way to survive, endure to the end.
V. 14 – And the gospel of this kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end will come …and be actively involved in promoting and proclaiming the gospel of God’s kingdom.
And that is what we are about in the United Church of God, to get the gospel of the kingdom out to the world as a witness, so even when we aren’t getting as many responses to programs, literature and other things as we would like, we always want to hear more, we know that we are fundamentally reaching the world as a witness. We’re constantly trying to make that even more effective, to get through the consciousness, all that being the reason why the responses provide are you know, potential new disciples but it gives us a read that we are striking a nerve here and a nerve there and getting through to people’s thinking and believe me we are, because we’ve noticed that because so many areas in just the past couple of months have begun to contact the Church, to attend Church, to want to know more about what they’re reading and about what they’re hearing and what they’re watching on the program. We live in exciting times indeed, but times that are dangerous, needless to say, when you look at that. Roll over the pages to Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version× , now it’s a parallel to Matthew 24, Luke 21 is, Luke covers most of the same things but not in as much detail as Matthew did in a couple of instances and adds a little bit as well. At the end of it, Christ gives an admonition and says:
Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version× – Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of God .
Watch and pray, but how do you pray, what do you pray for while you are watching the dangerous times in which we live? You pray for wisdom, guidance and protection and you can add into that prayers specifically for people’s healings, for advancement of the work, well we need the wisdom to advance the work of God. So let’s look at those three things, wisdom, guidance and protection.
Wisdom first of all , the primary term used in the bible for wisdom is found in Proverbs 1 , so we’ll go to Proverbs 1. The first seven verses are an introduction to the book and the very first place that wisdom occurs is in verse 2 and that word there in Hebrew is chochmah , except when they spell it in English it’s chochmah , sounds like chockma but it’s the way they start the word with h, it has a sort of ch sound to it. That is the key word for wisdom, chochmah and when you read about it and look at the dictionary definitions and what it means in Hebrew and so on, it has been described as the knowledge of those truths which lead to the knowledge of God, beginning to understand and to know God in detail, it doesn’t mean that the knowledge of those truths that just lead to knowing God exists, it goes beyond knowing that to knowing God.
Certainly God’s law is a reflection of that. In the writings class at ABC that I’m covering right now, we’ve been going through the Proverbs, we just finished that, we just went through what we call the hierarchy of wisdom, essentially the law of God – two great commandments and then the ten commandments and then the statutes and the judgments and then the prophets, that’s the hierarchy, all of God’s truth is wisdom, to love God above all things and to love your neighbor as yourself, the two great commandments, that is the essence of wisdom.
So when you say God is love, you are summarizing what wisdom really is, we want to be like God, God is love, we want to be love too. Not to just be loved, but to love and to be love itself. So that is the great wisdom. The knowledge of those truths that lead to the knowledge of God. One Jewish commentary says…it is the Soncino Jewish Commentary actually… “ It is not sagacity (or the wisdom of great philosopher types) or abstract learning or philosophical speculation ” – that is not what the Proverbs are, that’s not what wisdom is, God’s wisdom isn’t like that. You can go and watch and read the meanderings of the great philosophers over time, Ralph Waldo Emerson, we saw a bronze bust of his on the Antiques Roadshow the other evening and now I have an idea what he looked like and he was sort of a modern American philosopher, relatively modern American philosopher but you go all the way back through time and whatever nation, there have been philosophers and they speculate about this and speculate about that and go on ad infinitum on one topic or another and when you get done you aren’t sure what it was they were talking about and I’m not sure they’re sure! In fact I’m fairly sure that they’re not sure, and I say that with a certain amount of surety!
God’s wisdom isn’t like that, God’s wisdom is understandable, it has a practical application and the applying of that wisdom helps you understand God better, wisdom is, as it goes on to say: “ An understanding of the principles which control and directs human living at its highest and best .” Wisdom is, essentially, the way of life, God’s wisdom then, therefore as we deduce from the definitions in the Soncino Commentary, God’s wisdom is practical and pragmatic, readily applied at any particular time and actually the concept of chochmah carries with it, because of the words it’s derived from, a practical skill or skillful living. We use the term skill sets and things like that, that people have and being skillful in this or that, it is an ability. Let me give you an example in the practical sense, in the hands on sense so to speak. Exodus 35 , of the same word, but applied to two particular fellows, one was of the tribe of Judah, the other was a Danite. Someday we’ll see how talented they were but nobody knows where the Ark of the Covenant is right now. In Exodus…actually the assignment for these two men is in chapter 31 at the beginning of the chapter but we’re looking at chapter 35 toward the end, beginning in verse 30.
Exodus 35:30-33 Exodus 35:30-33 30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, See, the LORD has called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
31 And he has filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33 And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
American King James Version× – And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the spirit of God in wisdom… and that’s chochmah … and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship .”
That was called wisdom. Now considering the fact that it was Bezaleel and the next one we’re going to read about, their job was to design and construct the ark of the covenant, the tabernacle of meeting, which was the portable temple and so many of the other items that God required for the Levitical priesthood and the worship services that were conducted by them, and when you read from chapter 31 forward, these two men were not involved in the rebellion of the golden calf – no evidence of that at all. God already knew they were tried and true, it would appear and He gave them particular gifts.
V. 34 - And He put it in his heart an ability to teach in him …so not only could Bezaleel work in all these different mediums of art and design, but he could teach others how to do it… and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. So we have Bezeleel and Aholiab… and He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and of the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen and of the weaver and those who do every work and those who design artistic works.
Now they worked with teams of artisans among the tribes of Israel at the time, out in the wilderness, they were in the wandering times when this took place, to construct the tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and all the other items that God wanted them to do. That was chochmah.
When you apply the principle and the phenomenal artistic skill, you think these people were real masters in precious metals, gold and silver and in jewels, they could set jewels in such a way and they could work with tapestry and with linen which would have to do with making canvas and the cloth that would be part of the covering for various things and they could work with any kind of wood, they were phenomenal, everything there was to work in, they could do it, knew how to do it and they could teach it to other so others could do it, those were masters. People talk about artists who were called the Dutch Masters at a particular time in art history, and they were, they were pretty remarkable and other artists have been remarkable too in painting pictures but these men were remarkable in such a multiplicity of ways, phenomenal skills.
Now, apply that thinking to skill in living the right way, if we could be like Bezeleel or Aholiab in using God’s wisdom in our lives, knowing when to say just the right thing, knowing how to do just the right thing that needs to be done, knowing how to circumvent our own selfish natures to reach out to serve others and love God above all, if we could just do that, we could have a chochmah like Bezeleel and Aholiab. But there’s another word for wisdom back in Proverbs and the word is haskel – I don’t know if you ever remember the TV show a long time ago, there are reruns on nowadays, of Leave it to Beaver. Well Beaver’s older brother Wally had a best friend and his name was Eddie Haskell, which is Haskell, same word basically, haskel in English letters, that’s in the book of Proverbs, I think it’s verse 3. This is another…it’s just simply called wisdom here but it’s another word and the translation can also be rendered, “wise dealing” which carries with it the concept of insight. Now sometimes we tend to think of wisdom as more of that, the insight to look into something and get the meaning of it, whether it’s a statement or actions or whatever, or projects, to understand the inside meaning, having insight to look into it. As the commentary I was quoting from before said, “ The reader will be taught how to acquire the discipline which will enable him to perceive the line of conduct that is just and right.”
When you want to do the right thing, you have to be able to figure out what the right thing is to do. Most of the time it’s obvious, it’s Sabbath – keep the Sabbath, it’s the annual holy days, keep the annual holy days, go to the Feast, those are pretty obvious. But in our interpersonal relations, knowing how to say the right thing, knowing when to say, “You know, I need to just go and help my family do this project.” Whatever it was I wanted to do, that can be done later if there’s time for it. Knowing and perceiving the line of conduct that is just and right, it means to be circumspect and thus to be skillful with intelligence or discipline of skill. It’s an applied skill in that sense, very similar to chochmah but it has this concept of insight woven into it. “Applied skills such as that of an artist or a musician, wisdom affects living in the same way that the skills of artists affect their crafts ,” that’s another commentary, Nelson Study Bible Commentary describes that. Now let’s look at another example in the book of Proverbs, it’s one you probably know by heart, it’s in Proverbs 15:1 Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
American King James Version× , see if you remember what it says before you look at it.
When someone comes at us angry, we have a tendency to bristle, to snap back, but when you circumvent that tendency and you remember a soft answer turns away wrath and you answer peacefully and softly, virtually always it diffuses the tension the other person is experiencing, it makes them happier and it makes the situation much more manageable so it doesn’t escalate into an argument, it deescalates into solving the problem, whatever it is. So being able to step in and cut off your natural reaction of snapping back and giving a soft answer instead is a skill, a remarkable wonderful skill, an applied skill. So that’s the haskel , true life skills. Again, they both have to do with skill, but it’s skill in living and it involves lots of practical things like Bezeleel had, but you can learn wisdom from even those. But there’s one more word that we need to understand about wisdom and it’s right here in Proverbs 1 as well, it’s in verse 5, this is a fun one because it shows a couple of additional items. Proverbs 1:5 Proverbs 1:5A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain to wise counsels:
American King James Version× – and it is the one called wise counsels.
Proverbs 1:5 Proverbs 1:5A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain to wise counsels:
American King James Version× – A wise man will hear and increase learning and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.
So as you begin to learn and apply chochmah and haskel , you will ultimately attain or rise to having wise counsels at your command. Now there’s an interesting word that is used there in the Hebrew, the word is pronounced tachvulah – these are the English letters obviously – tachvulah , wise steering, it comes from the Hebrew word for sail. How many here in Cincinnati have ever sailed anything? A sloop for instance – wow, quite a few – you know therefore how to sail into the wind because you can’t always just sail where the wind wants to take you because sometimes you need to go the other way and being a landlubber that I grew up being in South Dakota I had no clue how in the world you could possibly sail into the wind. Sailors all know it, you zigzag by moving your sails you are able to put them at an angle where the wind is coming at you but it’s actually blowing you slightly into the wind and so you zigzag to this side of the lake and after a while you make a turn and you zigzag the other way, throwing your sails back around so they catch the wind blowing at you but with the aid of the rudder, it’s pushing you into the wind at a slight angle and you zigzag into the wind and every one of those turns is called a tack, it’s called tacking and it comes from the same root as tachvulah . Hebrew and English are not that far apart, linguistic studies have proved that time and again. It literally means steering, hence the discernment to steer a right course through life, as the Jewish Commentary comments. Practical, moral, spiritual skill in making right decisions to steer through life.
So we need to pray for this kind of wisdom summarized by these three words – to make wise and right decisions in life, to avoid dangerous areas, to know how to deal with dangerous times as we are living in them. We need to pray for wisdom to be frugal, be thrifty and to budget effectively because we life in tough economic times. We need to pray for wisdom to be fruitful, spiritually and to avoid all the pitfalls around us, sinful entertainments and things like that. But we also need God’s divine guidance. Now the two bow hunters I started talking about needed wisdom on how to deal with the grizzly bears, they found with the grizzly that the soft answer kind of turned away his wrath and they were prepared, one had the monster handgun and the other one carried a 12 gauge shot gun but they didn’t want to shoot the bear, they decided you know, if you really like that hunk of caribou meat, I guess we’re willing to share and they backed away without the bear charging which would have meant either the death of them or the death of the bear which would have meant the death of the bear so they used wisdom in dealing with that particular situation. But in order to have gotten the caribou and then to get their moose and then to get out of there, they needed guidance and we need guidance. Sometimes we forget to ask for guidance, we want wisdom but guidance is the part of wisdom that we can’t have.
God has it, He has seats above, He sees from where He is and can see all aspects of our lives. He guided the Israelites – let’s look at a couple of Psalms on that score. Psalm 78 , an example of God’s guidance, the time of the Exodus, we’re leading up to Passover so this is certainly apropos. Verse 51 talks about how He destroyed the firstborn in Egypt and then in Verse 52:
Psalms 78:52-53 Psalms 78:52-53 52 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
American King James Version× – But He made His people go forth like sheep …they walked out of Egypt… and guided them in the wilderness like a flock …now we’re not talking about the Sinai yet, they still hadn’t crossed the Red Sea… and He led them on safely so that they did not fear but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
He guided them in the wilderness – remember they were entangled in the wilderness is the way I think it’s described in Exodus – where God led them out of, from their Exodus on the Night to be Much Remembered, He guided them down to the banks of the Red Sea and the Egyptians thought they were pinned against the water so they came hot and heavy with their chariots, to destroy the Israelites and to capture as many as they could as slaves again but God was waiting for that, God guided them to that spot specifically because He was going to execute judgment on the leadership of Egypt. God guided, He could see. Psalm 23:
Psalms 23:1 Psalms 23:1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
American King James Version× – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me besides the still waters .
V. 4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me …etc. etc.
God is our Shepherd, literally Christ is our Shepherd, you know, He is the Head of the Church, He’s shepherding us, we need to pray for that guidance. What is a shepherd supposed to do? He guides his sheep. Why? Because he knows where the best grass is and where the watering holes are, he knows where the dangers are and guides them away from the dangers. A shepherd is a guide for the sheep and that guidance is vital. We need to ask God to shepherd us through these troubling times – personally and in our families and in the Church. To guide us through the things we can’t anticipate because we simply can’t see them. God can see them and we need that direction . Proverbs 3 , very famous, verses 5-6.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
American King James Version× – Trust in the Eternal with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths .
To direct our paths is to guide our paths, directing us around the obstacles that we wouldn’t know about. But we need to trust…you know where it says trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding – trust and lean go together, so in a sense of leaning on the Lord. Lean on Him to guide us, stay that close, to where you’re leaning on Him spiritually in that sense. Acknowledging Him in all your ways, thus praying for wisdom and for guidance, that He would direct us. Notice in Isaiah, talks about how great a guide God actually is for His people. Isaiah 28 , the section starts in verse 23 and goes through verse 29.
Isaiah 28:23 Isaiah 28:23Give you ear, and hear my voice; listen, and hear my speech.
American King James Version× – Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear my speech. Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking his clods? Does he just keep plow and plow and plow, I’m going to plow today and then five weeks, well I’m going to plow some more today, same field. No of course he doesn’t.
V. 25 – When he has leveled its surface does he not sow that black cummin and scatter the cummin …cummin is a tiny little grain that is nutritive and flavorful values… and he plants wheat in rows …scatters the cummin in a broadcasting way and then he plants the wheat in rows… and the barley in its appointed place and the spelt in its place? He has these different places that he plants these things, doesn’t throw the cummin in with the wheat or the wheat in with the barley, because they get ripe at different times.
V. 26 – For he instructs him … God instructs him (man ) in right judgment, his God teaches him . For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge …you don’t thresh the cummin seeds, they’re too tiny, like you would fresh wheat or barley or spelt… nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; but the black cummin is beaten out with a stick.
I think presumably you take the stalks and beat on them with a stick, that’s similar to the way wild rice is harvested which isn’t technically rice at all, but it’s a seed for that particular plant. In Minnesota and other places where it grows naturally, the way the Indians harvested it is the way it is still harvested by some, you get a canoe and you paddle into the marshes and you lean the rice stalks of the rice plant over into the canoe and then you beat on them with a stick, just knock off all the rice seeds and then you move forward and you get another batch and do the same thing. Well the cummin, again, you use a stick for doing a similar kind of work, you don’t grind it down with the wheel with the ox going around and around in a circle.
V. 28 – Bread flour must be ground; therefore he does not thresh it forever …I mean if you’re going to make bread you don’t just keep threshing it and threshing it and threshing it, you grind it into flour so you can cook it and eat it… he doesn’t break it with his cartwheel or crush it with his horseman. This also comes from the Lord of hosts …what do you mean it also comes from the Lord of hosts? God gave man enough sense and guidance to make sure he understood how to harvest the food that he planted. Practical things indeed… this also comes from the Lord of hosts who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.
Somebody had to learn how to harvest the grains but God guides in lots of other ways, like I said, often God guides when we don’t know what’s coming and the dangers ahead and that’s what we’re concerned about right now.
Winston Churchill, during the days of World War II, which was a time of great disaster, disaster after disaster in the early part of the war for Britain in particular, to some degree for America, but especially for Britain. But then there were times which prevented complete disaster and Winston Churchill had a saying that he sometimes said, “ Sometimes I have a feeling of great interference .” That was his way of saying divine intervention. His great interference, God was guiding things and moving the part of the British Navy here and part of the British Navy there and even though they had some defeats, they were still preserved, even though they were threatened with disaster in the Battle of Britain, the air war, they were preserved, God guided things. We need His guidance for us and for His work.
Finally, we need to pray for protection , back to Proverbs, praying for protection is wisdom itself. Back to chapter 3:19 in fact.
Proverbs 3:19-23 Proverbs 3:19-23 19 The LORD by wisdom has founded the earth; by understanding has he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, let not them depart from your eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
22 So shall they be life to your soul, and grace to your neck.
23 Then shall you walk in your way safely, and your foot shall not stumble.
American King James Version× – The Eternal by wisdom founded the earth; and by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the depths were broken up and the clouds drop with dew. My son, let them not depart from your eyes – keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely …oh….IF you seek God’s wisdom, you will walk safely, pray for protection. A great deal of protection comes from having prayed for wisdom and guidance.
V. 23-24 – Then you will walk safely in your way and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet . Because you know you are being watched over by God and because you have been wise and sought the wisdom and have taken appropriate measures like locking your door, things like that, to be sleeping well.
V. 25 – Do not be afraid of sudden terror …the world is afraid of that, we need not to… nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes …and it will… for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught .
We live in times when we need God’s protection but a lot of that protection comes from having already prayed for wisdom and thus for guidance as well. Go to Psalm 18, it talks about God’s protection there too. David knew that he needed…as strong as David was, and David was very strong, he killed a bear up close and personal, I’m not sure how he killed the bear and that is escaping me at the moment, they had bears in those days in the Middle East, they were sizeable bears, they were larger than our black bears generally from what I have read and not as big as our grizzly bears but they could be just as cantankerous at times. He also killed a lion that came after his sheep when he was a shepherd – remember he was talking about killing a bear and a lion and how he grabbed the lion by his beard or his mane and he struck him, it appeared to be he struck him with a knife, I would presume, but I don’t know what kind of clubs you would use to knock a lion senseless unless you were really strong and you would have been one phenomenal baseball player, make Mark McGuire look like a wimp, or Barry Bonds like a weakling! Maybe David was, he was very strong, but David was always asking for God’s protection anyway, he knew that his strength wasn’t all there was.
Psalms 18:30 Psalms 18:30As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
American King James Version× – As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Eternal is proven; He is a shield to all those who trust in Him. He is a shield, in other words, God throws the shield up to protect us.
V. 31 – For is God except the Eternal and who is a rock, except our God? A rock . It is God who arms me with strength . David knew that’s where his strength came from, physically and spiritually. And makes my feet like the feet of a deer …sometimes strength is in run away, get away from the danger… and sets me in high places. He teaches my hands to make war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
I used to read that, at the start of the archery article, I thought, well their bows were made out of wood and fiberglass, a bow of bronze! I know that there were bows made of spring steel, crossbows use those, they will pierce! But I had no idea that you could make a bow of bronze until I commented on this scripture once in the hearing of Dan and John Miller, two brothers up in our Cambridge, Ohio congregation who are in tool and die and parts manufacturers and they make a lot of parts out of spring bronze, so one of our projects is to make a small crossbow and have a bow of bronze on it so we can experiment with how in the world did you have a bow of bronze? But it had to be a phenomenal bow and I’ve often thought, well what was the advantage of a bow of bronze? I know that in India, having read the Antiquities of Archery there, they had steel bows and the beauty of the steel bow is it was left strung all the time and it didn’t hurt it, it wouldn’t take a set. Wooden bows have to be unstrung, even composite bows, when you use them you have them strung, shoot the arrows, but when you’re done you take the string off so the bow can relax and wait for the next time. But when the next time comes, if you’re in a really big hurry your bow is unstrung. Now I am sure that there were some people that learned how to string their bows fast but if you wanted a bow immediately in action, then you had to have a steel bow or a bow of bronze. So we have a project, it’s sort of experiment and see what the bow of bronze’s capabilities were back in the day and understand this prophecy. But it talks about being ready, on top of things, a minuteman – for us there’s a spiritual application, we’re not going to be fighting the wars of this age, those aren’t our battles. Our kingdom is not from here, if our kingdom was from here, as Jesus said in John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
American King James Version×, then My servants would fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but My kingdom isn’t from here, these are not our wars, we don’t fight them.
We fight spiritual wars, that’s what the bronze bow is an analogy of immediate readiness and God is the one who gives us the strength to pull it. In Psalm 91 , God will protect, but we must ask Him to protect.
Psalms 91:1 Psalms 91:1He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
American King James Version× – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. That’s where we want to be, is under God’s shadow in that sense. I will say of the Eternal, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler…
And how does God deliver us from the snare of the fowler, when – to understand the snare of a fowler, it was a snare that was set to catch birds, that was in the age before shotguns when getting birds was a little on the tricky side so they sneaked out when the birds were roosting or they would set traps to capture them and snares was one of the ways they did that, actually the snare of a fowler would be often put on a post or a branch and when the bird landed, it was a spot where birds would land and when they would land the little wire or cord would be tripped and it would catch them by the feet and then you come along, collect him and take him home to dinner, probably doesn’t want to go home to dinner with you but that’s tough, he’s a bird!
But we don’t want to be caught by the feet, taken home to a dinner that we don’t want to go to, we’re not birds, but God will deliver us, so how does He deliver you from the snare of the fowler? Well sometimes that comes from guidance – you’re not going to go there, God uses the Jedi trick you know, in Star Wars, I think I’ll go here instead of there…why did I decide that? Then you find out, well because this was the safe place to go, that was dangerous, you were just deflected. Sometimes His intervention is like that, He guides us, sometimes, which way am I going to go? Oh, that doesn’t look good, I’ll go there, go where it’s safe, where we should go, where righteousness dwells you see, because we’ve been given wisdom and we’ve asked for the wisdom and we’ve asked for the guidance and even so we still need the protection.
V. 3 – Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence …oooh, ok, we understand that… He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will take refuge …we’re going to be protected by feathers? Protected, you mean like protection protected, by feathers? Actually yes. Remember when Jesus said in Matthew 23 right at the end, He was lamenting to Jerusalem, how “ Jerusalem , Jerusalem, how I have longed to gather you under My wings like a hen gathers her chicks .” And under the mother hen’s wings the little chicks are protected, they aren’t visible to predators, they’re protected from the weather, the wings are marvelous as far as shedding water and things like that. They can protect them from hail and she might not be as well protected from the hail if it’s large, but the baby chicks, they’re much more fragile. Oh yes, being protected under God’s wings, that’s a good thing.
V. 4 – He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will take refuge and His truth will be your shield and buckler .
We have God’s truth in the Church of God and it is a shield, the buckler – the difference between the shield is big and big and round like this or a Roman shield was about four feet long and about 30 inches wide, maybe it’s a little wider than it actually was, but that was for defending as a shield while working as a team. A buckler on the other hand is a tiny shield that is maybe as big around as a basketball or smaller and it was worn…it was in the opposite hand, the left hand when the sword was in the right so it was a battling shield and it was used to deflect the other man’s sword away from him, that’s the whole purpose of a buckler so it was a shield that was used for a tactical shield, the other was a strategic shield. Either way, God’s truth serves as both a shield and a buckler, it can deflect away that which is dangerous and it can protect like a wall.
V. 5 – And you shall not be afraid of the terror by night nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in the darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday . And the next verse we’ll see happen when really sad times come.
V. 7-12 – A thousand will fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes you shall look and shall see the reward of the wicked. And that’s because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil will befall you, nor any plague come near your dwelling; for He will give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways and in their hands they shall bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone .
Whoa, we’ve heard that one before, yes, that’s a prophecy of Christ, Christ’s Messiahship in verse 12. Bottom line, God will protect, do not take that for granted, we have to pray for it, and not just for ourselves or our immediate family but for all of God’s people, for the Church and for the Work, for promoting the gospel. Wisdom, guidance and protection.
Now finally we end with a small example, a short prayer that was prayed in the early days of the Church, in Acts 4 that embodies this prayer. Peter and John had been arrested and they ultimately get released.
Acts 4:23 Acts 4:23And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
American King James Version× – And being let go …and suddenly they’re seeing what Christ had said, they aren’t going to like you, they’re going to persecute you, being arrested was a type of persecution because they were telling them not to preach in Jesus’s name anymore… they went to their own companions (that is the brethren) they reported all the chief priests and elders and said to them. So when they had heard that …everybody heard that, all the disciples, the brethren heard that… they raised their voice to God with one accord …now I’m not sure what that means, they, they raised their voice, did the apostles raise their voice in a prayer that all just were sort of inspired to know at the same time, it was an audible prayer, it was out loud, or did they all, I mean everybody that heard their report, simply spontaneously pray this prayer, I think there was some guidance, I don’t know at what level, there was some intervention here for certain. But notice the prayer:
V. 24-26 – “ Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and all the sea and all that is in them and who by the mouth of Your servant David have said …so they looked at God’s greatness as Creator… and through Your servant David have said …now this is Psalm 2…” Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? And the kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.” So the nations were angry, they opposed God.
V. 27-28 – “ For truly against Your servant Jesus, whom You anointed both Herod and Pontius Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose deemed before to be done.” That had to be done.
V. 29-30 – “ Now look on their threats …we are facing danger… and grant Your servants, that with all boldness …now boldness is going to require wisdom… that with all boldness they may speak Your word. And by stretching out Your hand to heal …so God will intervene to guide their preaching, you’re using wisdom to be bold, guide their preaching and to intervene specifically to protect either from disease through healing or… with signs and wonders that they may be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. “
It is a powerful phenomenal prayer and they essentially, when you look at what they were facing and what they were asking, they were asking for God to give them wisdom and for God to guide them, you know considering the troubled times they lived in and thirdly to ask God to give them protection so that they can move forward to do His work.
V. 31 – And when they had prayed the place where they had assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the holy spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
So brethren, that’s what the Church needs to be able to do now, speak God’s word with boldness and be heard by a society that doesn’t really know God and desperately needs to and there are disciples out there that need to be made, the Church needs to grow in that sense, but the witness has to be carried to the world. We need, at a personal level as well therefore as a Church level, we need to pray for wisdom, guidance and protection.