Devotional Week 4 Wednesday
“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path.”
Psalm 142: 3
“The work which we count so hard to do,
He makes it easy, for He works too;
The days that are long to live are His,
A bit of His bright eternities;
And close to our need His helping is.”
Today’s Study Text:
“So King Solomon was king over all Israel…And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt…and he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five…and there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.”
1 Kings 4: 1. 29, 30, 32, 34
“A Life Lived With Purpose” – Part 1
“You never test the resources of God until you attempt the impossible.”
F. B. Meyer
What heavenly gift would I like to have my Father give me which is “exceeding abundantly above all I could ask or think?”
If I asked God to do in my life what is, “exceedingly, abundantly above,” what would it be?
“God loves with a great love the man (and woman) whose heart is bursting with a passion for the impossible.”
“Every life should have a purpose to which it can give the energies of its mind and the enthusiasms of its heart.”
Neil C. Strait
I thought it would do us well as we have studied about God’s fulfilling the plans He has for our lives to take a few days to review what a life lived with purpose looks like.
When the Olympics roll around every four years, I find myself spellbound by the athletic feats of the young people who dedicate hours to training for the events. And while it is obvious that some of the athletes are extremely “gifted,” it is really necessary for all of the participants to hone their skills with sweat and toil, as well as an inner spirit dedicated to the overwhelming desire to push further than one might ever imagine.
One of the “greats” in Olympic history, track and field star Carl Lewis, shared this observation: “Scientists have proven that it’s impossible to long-jump thirty feet, but I don’t listen to that kind of talk. Thoughts like that have a way of sinking into your feet.” I’d like to add that the same thinking can apply to your life and mine for when we limit our view of the purpose of our lives, our diminished vision can sink right into our souls.
This is one of the reasons the Apostle Paul was so emphatic in his encouragement to his Christian friends in Ephesus when he told them to “think big,” especially when it came to the purpose God had for their lives. He wanted to encourage his fellow travelers with the fantastic idea that what God could do for them and through them was better than anything they could imagine! Paul’s inspiring words are eloquently paraphrased in The Message Bible:
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in. And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”
Ephesians 3: 14-20
The King James Version of the Bible uses the word in Ephesians 3: 20, “Exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” This is a whole lot!!
As Olympian Carl Lewis would advise us, don’t let any impossible thoughts sink into your souls and keep you from what the Bible says is “exceedingly above.”
It is the use of the word “exceeding” in describing how God’s gifts to Solomon gave his life a purpose beyond anything this young king or the people he served could imagine that I want to focus on for a few moments.
As 1 Kings 4: 29 states, “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much,” which in the Hebrew means not only was Solomon’s brilliance intensive, his understanding was “superlative.” Add to this the fact that Solomon was also given largeness of heart,” which the Hebrew denotes is the same description as Paul gives when describing the immenseness of God’s gifts to us, for they are without parallel in breath, thickness, wideness, and largeness.
What makes this such a vital concept for you and me to grasp is that there’s really no difference between what God did for Solomon and what He will do for you and for me – especially when it comes down to the fulfillment of His purpose in our lives.
God’s purpose, in the life of young Solomon, was to answer his king’s request for wisdom and understanding. And as we find, when God honors His Word, He supersedes anything we ask for or imagine. As Dale Davis writes in a commentary on the book of 1 Kings, “Solomon’s wisdom is excellent only because of its source. God gave. God is the one…having confessed that, however, the writer of (1 Kings 4) goes on to insist Solomon’s wisdom excelled in its superiority. It was superior to anything these bastions of wisdom, Mesopotamia and Egypt, had produced...finally, and instructively, (the writer) suggests Solomon’s wisdom excelled in its scope.” He wrote 3,000 proverbs and over 1,005 songs. “Solomon spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.” As Dale Davis perceptively shares:
“the sheer extent of Solomon’s wisdom, the range of his interests, is even more impressive than the quantity of his proverbs and songs.”
I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like “exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask or think.” And this brings us to the heart of the matter. When God fulfills the purpose He has for your life and mine, He will be no less generous than He was with His gifts to Solomon.
While you may not need the exact qualities that were bestowed in such a benevolent manner on Solomon, whatever it is you and I specifically need, our Father, Jehovah-Jireh, will provide in abundance.
Recently I read words penned by Priscilla Maurice who confronted head-on the way God provides for us each by giving us just what we need and when we need it to fulfill the purpose God has for us. In her case, she was writing about the need for strength to do the work God placed before her. Here was her conclusion: “If you need strength, you will have it.” And I’ll add, any other gift God deems necessary for the tasks before us will also be bequeathed upon us.
All we have to do is to look at Moses, who needed the gift of speech when called of God. He was given the heavenly tools necessary, “exceedingly, abundantly, above, for not only was Moses able to speak but also write!” So it has been with all God’s children down through the ages, even a young, inexperienced king who was given wisdom and understanding – “exceedingly.”
I ask you today, “What is the “exceedingly” that you need God to bestow upon you? I encourage you to share your longing with Him and in the words of Charles de Foucould, our response should be,“I am prepared for anything. I accept everything, provided Your will is fulfilled in me.”
“Lord Jesus, You prayed to Your Father, ‘do what You want, not what I want.’ Help us to follow Your example. Help us to want to do the things that please You and to go the way that You have chosen for us, because we love You.”
Exceed My Expectations
“What does it mean to have an exceedingly abundant need met?
The last time I exceeded something, the cop said I was exceeding
the speed limit by 10 mph. I was going too fast! Maybe that’s my problem.
I go too fast doing what I think I should do; jumping into things I come upon.
And then I find out too late that I’ve traveled way too quickly past the plan You had for me. I find out too late that I didn’t recognize You in a world where everything flies by without notice.
Yet, it is You who has told me to imagine a life that exceeds everything, even my own expectations. It is You who has used the words ‘abundantly exceed.’ But right now, I confess, I don’t know what that means. Life is so full of so much stuff that doesn’t satisfy, that when You offer me the really “good stuff,’ I often miss it.
Help me not to be oblivious to the abundance You supply – the love, the joy, the fulfillment – and above all, the purpose You have for the life You have given me.
Carry out Your purpose in my life. Your superabundance. Shower me with more than I ‘dare ask for or think about, infinitely beyond my highest prayers, hopes or dreams.’
And I promise that You will be the “One” glorified!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus