- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. George Marshall at Scripture Church of Christ in Falls Church.

Solomon became king when he was a very young man. He tried to follow the good example of his father, King David. And one day the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask what I shall give thee [I Kings 3:5]."
Solomon knew that the Lord had showed his father "great mercy." His father walked with God in "truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart." But Solomon felt like just a child. "And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king," Solomon said, "and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in."
If God would give you anything you want, what would you say? "Line my pockets." Give me a big bank account. I don't know how many of you played the lottery last week. Jesus told his disciples to catch a fish, and the first one would have a coin in its mouth to pay the tax. The first fish. Don't you think if God wanted you to play the lottery, you would win the first time? A lot of Christians play the lottery. They could take that money and help somebody or help God's work.
You might ask God for long life. The oldest character in the Bible was Methusela. He was 969 years old, but did he do anything we remember? Martin Luther King said he didn't pray for a long life, but that his life make a difference. How many of you would ask God to get your enemy? "Get that old man or woman, God."
Solomon didn't ask for any of this. Not for money, long life or revenge on his enemies. He said, "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad." It pleased God that he asked for that. God not only gave Solomon "a wise and understanding heart," but said, "I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor."
Now, Solomon asked God's wisdom in the Old Testament. With Jesus, we live in the age of faith. In the New Testament, we see this in Hebrews and James. We ask for "wisdom that is from above," but we ask in faith. And we must act on our faith and wisdom. "The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it," Hebrews says.
We have to mix wisdom and action with faith. When you are making bread, you can just put the ingredients all together with the water. If you don't stir it up, there's no result. You have to mix it up, and so it is with your faith. You have to do something about your faith.
Like Solomon, we need wisdom every day. When you go to the shopping mall you need wisdom. They can tell you, "We'll give you a bargain." But you sense something is wrong, so you turn it down.
Think of how much King Solomon understood with God's wisdom. He had insight; he was a keen observer. He knew botany, zoology and oceanography, and he was a master builder. Most of us go to school for that. He wrote thousands of proverbs. When people didn't work, he said, "Look at the ants." He said, "Still water runneth deep." What does that mean? Yes, sometimes we do a whole lot of talking, but it is empty. A quiet person can have depth.
Now, how many of us grew up well because of the wisdom of our mothers? They had so little, but they were wise. They knew how to feed us. In the Middle East, they have the smartest people in the world going over there. But they can't stop the conflict. There's a need for God's spirit and wisdom. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Everybody needs God. Some are "down and out," others are "up and out." Ask God for wisdom. If you do, God will let your cup runneth over. Ask in faith. Say, "God give me wisdom." Wisdom in what we say. Wisdom to know good and evil.

Next week: a sermon at a Maryland congregation.

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