The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, King of Israel, to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment and equity, to give prudence to the simple to the young man, knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel to understand a proverb, and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom, and instruction. (Proverbs 1:1-7)
Throughout Scripture, we read that God is wisdom and He is love. But we are also told to gain understanding through our relationship with God. We read here that the beginning of wisdom is to have the fear of the Lord. A reverential, serious relationship with God, Himself, is a foundation we can build on that is unshakable.
As I was reading this Proverb on January 1, I felt led of the Holy Spirit to also to go to Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
When the fear of the Lord leads to the wisdom and understanding of God, we begin seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness—and all things are taken care of that concern us.
“Don’t worry. This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided such as food, water, clothing, everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing? Look at all the birds, do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your father than they are? So which one of you by worrying can add anything to your life? And why would you worry about your clothing?
“Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil. And yet not even Solomon in all of us splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these. So, if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need even though you live with such little faith? Therefore, forsake your worries.
“Why would you say what will we eat? Or what will we drink? Or what will we wear? For that is what the unbelievers chase after. Doesn’t your heavenly Father already know the things your bodies require? So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom, and the righteousness that proceeds from him, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Matthew 6:25-34, The Passion Translation)
Jesus is saying here, “Don’t worry! Don’t worry! Don’t worry!”
I believe we, the Church, are at a critical juncture in time, and it’s very important for us to have the right perspective in the midst of whatever goes on around us. We need to seek God first, be obedient to what He asks of us, and trust Him to take care of all that is going on around us.
HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD!
In 2 Kings 7, Syria had besieged Samaria and there was a great famine. It was so bad that people were willing to purchase bird dung and donkey brains for food. They were afraid, and they couldn’t go out of the city because of the siege. In that context, Elisha says in verse 1: “Hear the Word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord…”
In other words, this is God’s Word! He goes on:
…‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’ So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” (2 Kings 7:1-2)
Now remember, there was famine, they were besieged, they could not get out. They were starving to death. But Elisha said something was going to shift in a suddenly moment. He said something was going to change the next day. He said there will be barley and flour and other resources. And the people are saying, “How can that be?”
Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:3-4)
I had to chuckle a little bit at their conversation. “If we sit, we die. If we go into the city, we die. If we go to the enemy and beg mercy, we still might die. Isn’t it better to get up and stop sitting and doing nothing?”
So the lepers went to the enemy camp and discovered it was empty!
For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses—the noise of a great army; so, they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!” Therefore, they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact—their tents, their horses, and their donkeys—and they fled for their lives. (2 Kings 7:6-7)
The lepers ate, drank, and stashed away silver, gold, and clothing, before their consciences convicted them.
Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some [punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.” So they went and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and told them, saying, “We went to the Syrian camp, and surprisingly no one was there, not a human sound—only horses and donkeys tied, and the tents intact.” And the gatekeepers called out, and they told it to the king’s household inside. (2 Kings 7:9-11)
The king feared it was a trap, but sent some of his servants to investigate. They returned with good news!
So the messengers returned and told the king, then the people went out and plundered the tents of the Syrians. So a seah a fine flower was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. (2 Kings 7:15-16)
Remember what Elisha said? “Hear the word of the Lord…” And then, “Thus says the Lord.”
I believe 2 Kings 7 is a “now” word for the Church. We need to hear the voice of God. We need to hear the word of the Lord. Like those four lepers, we can either sit back and do nothing, or we can get up, go, and begin to see God do things that only He can do.
THE LORD IS MIGHTIER THAN ALL THE NOISE
Let’s hear the word of the Lord! God had made such a great noise that the Syrians thought there was a large, great army coming against them! They literally fled, leaving behind all their wares, their weapons, their food, their treasures. They left them fleeing, because God made a great noise, the sound of the Great Army of God.
Psalm 93:1-5 tells us the Lord is mightier than the noise of many waters:
“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved… Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O Lord; The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea. Your testimonies are very sure; Holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever.”
Often, we make our decisions based on our opinions and personal experiences. Perception is not always the truth, but it becomes truth to the one who perceives it. If we make our decisions in our moment of our emotion, we’ll find ourselves wanting. But if we bring it all to the cross, remembering God’s amazing, abounding, and great grace that was given to us, we will see from the optics of His Kingdom. Then we can be like Joshua, who said, “As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). We will believe the report of the Lord, not the report of the daily news. But we need God on the throne of our hearts.
In a recent article I wrote called “The Centrality of the Cross,” I said that I’m not beholden to the party of the donkey nor the party of the elephant, meaning the two major political parties, but I am surrendered to the Lordship of the government of the Lamb and the Lion. It is the Lord who should define how we live our lives; our decisions should not be based on personalities or political parties, but on biblical principles.
In the midst of all that we’re going through in our personal lives, in our nation, and around the world, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and allow these other things to be added to us.
Psalm 29 tells us these things about the Voice of the Lord:
The psalm concludes with this statement in verse 12: The Lord sits as King forever! The Lord will give strength to His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace.
In a moment, God can turn things around. The armies of the living God are still greater than the difficulties and the situations around us. His voice is still mightier than all the noise is swirling around.
LOOK UP AT THE HARVEST
Could it be that in the midst of all we’ve been through, in the midst of what seems humanly impossible, God could do something so significant, something that only He can do? Moving us from famine to plenty, from tragedy to triumph, the Lord, Himself, is already going before us. He’s our rear guard. We seek first the kingdom of God, we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. In a posture of humility with our eyes fixed on Jesus in vertical worship, we say, God, we need you. But we can’t sit back and do nothing. We need to get up, look up, and do what God has called us to do.
John 4 tells us the story of the Samaritan woman who came to the well. She began to dialogue with Jesus, who reveals Himself as Messiah.
The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him. (John 4:28-30)
In the meantime, his disciples returned and urged him to eat.
But Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat in which you do not know.” And therefore, the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him anything to eat?” And Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” (John 4:32-34)
Jesus is saying His fulfillment and complete satisfaction are not in the things of this flesh or the things of this world, but in doing the work of the Father who sent Him. The same is true of us. Our complete fulfillment, the satisfaction of the longing of our hearts, will only be complete in doing the will of the Father.
He goes on to say, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes [or look up!], and look at the fields for the or already white for harvest.” (John 4:35)
Sometimes we have to look up from our own two feet and get our eyes off our own circumstances to see from the perspective of God and notice that the harvest in front of us.
In the past year, we experienced a pandemic, civil unrest, anarchy, lawlessness, and financial distress. All of us have suffered challenges. Some have lost loved ones and are experiencing difficulties even now. But I can say this: God sees, God knows, and God has not forsaken us.
With so much going, it’s easy to lose our perspective. It’s easy to become discouraged, disheartened, and distracted. But in the midst of it all, God is already at work. He’s doing things that only He can do. He’s gone before us, and He’s our rear guard. Just like with the four lepers in 2 Kings 7, we can’t just sit. Let’s get up! Let’s take our eyes off our own two feet, look up, and see there’s so much yet to do! Instead of sitting and dying or going into the city where the famine was and dying, the four lepers chose to get up and go to the camp of the enemy, and many lives were saved. God had gone before them and done a supernatural thing, but no one would not have known if somebody didn’t get up and go.
We, too, need to go and finish the work of the Lord. It’s our time. In this season of challenges and difficulties, we have a great opportunity to refocus and reset. For many of us, it has been a time of pruning, recalibrating, rethinking, and trying to get the mind of God. I learned from the late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole that the wisdom is in the strategy. We’ve had to rethink a lot of things—we’ve learned to do webinars, work remotely, minister in new ways to reach more people. Because we can’t just sit back and do nothing.
Five years ago, when I went through stage four lymphoma cancer, I could have sat every day in the rocking chair, just pondering my life. But I decided it didn’t matter if I had a day or 100 more years, I was going to get up and do what God said to do.
What could happen if God’s people would, like those lepers, get up from our place of sitting back in fear and anxiety and stress? What could happen if we get up and go to the enemy’s camp to be a light that shines in the darkness? What would happen if God went before us and the sound of His voice was so loud, it caused the enemy’s camp to scatter and multitudes of people were saved as a result?
We cannot just be stuck in our holy huddles. We can’t just hide away. This is our moment of opportunity. There are desperate people all around us who are looking for answers and hope. Often, people don’t realize they need what you and I have. But how will they know if we just sit and keep looking at our own two feet and our own circumstances?
May our eyes be open with discernment and our hearts returned to the Lord, our first love. May we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness so that He can take care of all these other things that concern us. We need to get back to honoring God, trusting God, and letting God do a work in us. If we tap into the noise of the world, we’ll never find the opportunity God is giving us to see the finished work of God and to see lives changed.
I believe God has already gone before us. He’s doing things and shaking things up in ways we can’t even see in our own human comprehension. Like the lepers, we can choose to sit and die. We can go into the city and die. Or we can go and do what God says to do and see what He has done!
Look up! The fields are ripe and white unto harvest. It’s time to finish the work of Lord! The Lord is already working on our behalf in ways we can’t even comprehend.