It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 1 Kings 3:10 ESV If God gave you a blank cheque, what would you write on it? Riches? A long life? Victory over your enemies? Or wisdom? Solomon chose the latter. Some people have speculated that Solomon asked wrongly for wisdom, especially seeing as he went off the spiritual rails in his old age. Yet this verse flatly contradicts that claim. We're clearly told that God was glad Solomon asked for wisdom. God granted Solomon's request for wisdom. Not only so! He also granted riches, a long life, and victory over his enemies. If we were to quibble with Solomon, maybe we would see that he wanted wisdom to rule well as king of Israel, when what he also needed was to be able to rule over his heart and household. His appetite for pagan women would lead his heart astray from the Lord. He would end up full of regret. 'Lord God, please grant us wisdom not just for our work, but for our l


  As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), Acts 10:36 ESV Jesus ministered in Roman Palestine, a pretty small geographic area. Yet His impact is global. He might have been sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, but He sent His followers out to the world. Jesus isn't simply the Jewish Messiah; He's the Saviour of the world. He came to save His people from their sins. His people are from any ethnic group who would put their faith in Him. Christ came to bring peace on earth to those on whom God's favour rests. God's favour doesn't just rest on Jewish believers, but Gentiles too. The division in humanity isn't ethnic but spiritual- depending on what we make of Christ. Christ is Lord of all. Whether we acknowledge Him now or not, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Best to worship Him now, befor


  I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22:4 ESV David might have self inflicted some of his problems, but God always came through for him. His adultery and murder had horrific  consequences within his family, yet God delivered him time and again. Even when Absalom sought to usurp the throne, David was saved from him. I love the humility of David in this verse. He didn't brag that his enemies ended up dead, often by his hands. He attributed his success to God. We need to clarify that we won't necessarily overcome all our temporal enemies. Maybe we'll get martyred one day! Yet we still will overcome in eternity. In a spiritual sense, we very much do overcome our enemies. Sin and death, the devil and hell are all overcome by the blood of Jesus. We just have to believe in Him. 'O Lord, please help us to overcome our enemies, for Your sake, not our own. In Christ's name


  In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26 ESV Fear and confidence might seem like an oxymoron. Yet if we fear the Lord, we won't need to fear anything else. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the love of God is the eternal end of wisdom. The fear of the Lord isn't the kind of fear that makes us run away. It's the kind of fear a child has to not want to disappoint their parent. It's not just the fear of punishment, but the fear of causing displeasure to a loved one. The proverbs are general truths. They're not cast iron promises. Sadly there's no guarantee that the biological children of believers will come to faith. If, like me, someone grows up in a Christian home, they'll likely have a secure upbringing, a refuge of a home from the storms of life. I think there's a spiritual application to this verse too. If we help to birth fa


  They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. Psalm 73:9 ESV I can't read this verse without thinking of a quote attributed to Putin. He said that it's God's job to judge terrorists, but his own job to send them to Him. Of course Putin himself is the biggest terrorist of all right now! Asaph, like we might, saw the arrogance of the wicked and despaired. Before we pack it in and give up on the faith however, we need to read the end of the Psalm. When Asaph joined in corporate worship, he gained a sense of perspective. If we go to church, we will gain an eternal perspective. The proud and arrogant might often have it easy in this life. Yet there's an eternal reckoning to come. Through faith in Christ, we can avoid the condemnation we deserve and gain eternal life. If we do, we don't need to be envious of the arrogant players who strut across life's stage. We can just patiently


  This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 'God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.' Acts 7:37 ESV At first, it might seem pointless and strange that Stephen gives his fellow Jews their own history lesson which I'm sure they knew well enough to mime to. I think there's a few reasons as to why he did so. Firstly, to comfort and reassure himself that he was on the right side of history Most importantly though, I think Stephen was communicating to his hearers that in rejecting his Messiah, they were rejecting the only Messiah. He goes on about Moses at one point, and this verse illustrates why. Stephen could have tried to defend himself as a man of integrity. Instead, he decided to make much of Jesus, the final Prophet raised up from the Jewish people for the world. Christ is the One promised to Moses. Just as Moses led the people of God from slavery in Egypt to the promised land of Canaan, so Jesus


 And a messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom." 2 Samuel 15:13 ESV I haven't picked this verse to provide a history lesson. You can read the context. Suffice to say that Absalom was seeking to usurp the throne of Israel from his father David. It was going well for him, and badly for the divinely anointed king David. I have picked this verse as a picture of king David's greater Son, his most famous Descendant, King Jesus. David was promised a Descendant whose reign will never end. This is fulfilled in Christ the Lord, whose church is His Kingdom. Sadly, although Jesus is King of His heavenly Kingdom, there are plenty of 'churches' that pay Him lipservice only. Many people gather celebrity preachers to tickle their itching ears. These charlatans are to Jesus what Absalom was to David. False teachers would steal our hearts away from Jesus. Like Absalom, they're narciss


  So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; Acts 5:38 ESV Even though Gamaliel wasn't a believer in Christ, he had some common sense. He was clearly a liberal in the best sense of the word. His advice to his fellow ruling Jews was to leave the fledgling Christian Church alone. Gamaliel's reasoning was to stop persecuting the church, because it would fail anyway if it was manmade. Everything manmade is fallible and has a shelf life. The church however has persevered for 2,000 years and is still ticking along. The reason the church is soldiering on isn't because of any intrinsic strength in itself but because it is God's passion project- it cannot ultimately fail. The true church has been persecuted throughout its history, yet God has sustained it through it all. Persecutors are wasting their time. Jesus told us we're blesse


  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:18 ESV As I start to go grey and age, this is a great verse for me to pray. God hasn't forsaken me yet. So I can have confidence that He never will. As we seek purpose for our lives, we would do well to mine this verse for meaning. If we know God's mighty sustenance of us in our lives, our job is to proclaim Him to others. If we're old, we're to pass on the good news of His salvation to subsequent generations. I love a verse where Paul says to Timothy to pass on what he entrusted to him to people who likewise can pass it on to others. That's four generations of influence. If we want a legacy for ourselves, that's selfish. If we want a legacy for God's glory, that's a noble pursuit. We mustn't be like people in the days of the judges, who forgot God an


  It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 2 Samuel 11:2 ESV This verse is only part of a series of steps David took towards adultery and murder. People don't simply wake up one morning and decide to commit adultery and murder. It's a slippery slope. The quote that the devil makes work for idle hands isn't lifted directly from the Bible, but it is Biblical. It is illustrated by David in this chapter. He should have been leading his army in battle, but decided to rest on his laurels at home. What was the king of Israel doing lounging around on his couch in the late afternoon? He was clearly being lazy. He made time to be up to no good. Accidently seeing a woman bathing wasn't necessarily wrong in and of itself, although we could ask what David was doing instead of fighting I