Text: 1 Kings 3:3-13 April 25, 2010.
Words of an admiral: As a young man, Jimmy
Carter was a junior officer in the US Navy. He was deeply impacted by Admiral
Hyman Rickover, the mastermind of the
Words of a king: Thousands of years ago, King
Solomon too knew that life could be overwhelming. When he succeeded his father,
David, as king of
WHY IS LIFE FULL OF CHALLENGES? Few people know all the answers. Here are a few reasons for your consideration:
1) Because life is a difficult thing: Since the Great Fall early in human history, life has never been easy, in fact, it has been very difficult for everyone. God did not just pronounce judgment on the First Couple, he also pronounced judgement on the earth: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you. By the sweat of your blow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.” (Genesis 3:17-19) Men have never had the ability to overcome the problems of life.
2) Because men are not like God: Even though the devil promised Eve and Adam, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)So, both Eve and Adam did what the devil told them to do. The only thing that didn’t happen was they didn’t become like God, knowing good and evil. Men don’t have the ability as God has. Neither men have the ability to know good and evil. Except the spirit God gives to all men, there is little, if any, that men are like God. Men can’t even know what is right or wrong in most cases of life, much less the power to do the right and avoid the wrong.
3) Because man’s evil nature: Since the early time of human history, men’s hearts and minds have been filled with evil. Before God destroyed the first creation of the earth, men were so evil in their nature. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5)All the overwhelming problems we face today originated from the evil of man’s heart, directly or indirectly. Evil is dominating the world and makes life so difficult. This is true in marriage, in family, at work, in government, in business, in some churches and in the hearts of all the people.
4) Because life itself is a mystery: No one knows for sure what may happen tomorrow. No one knows why evil seems has the upper hand in almost everything on earth. How about good men died of terrible disease or tragic death while evil men live long and happy life and have power over good people. With little wisdom and ability, men are left helpless, if not hopeless, in his life experience. Man has little power to change his surrounding, much less the world. There are so many things in life that are beyond our understanding, much less our knowing what to do or how to manage or overcome.
HANDLE CHALLENGES THE WRONG WAY:
1) Some will ignore the reality: People like Admiral Rickover and King Solomon were honest to admit that there were times life was too big and too complex for them to handle by themselves. But there are people who are either because of being naive or pride, they won’t admit the reality but deny the problems they face. They will make excuses, dig their heads deep in the sand and pretend that everything is all right with life.
2) Some believe they are invincible: It is good to have positive attitude in life, but to believe or pretend that you can handle all things of life is way over your head. Who in the world can say he or she is capable to do all things, solving all problems, makes all things work his way and gets all the desirable results? People like these will never admit their weaknesses, their shortcoming and/or their setback in the face of overwhelming burdens. Their self-perpetuated confidence won’t make things better nor drive their problems away.
3) Some will blame on others: While it is true that some of the overwhelming problems we may face are results of the evil of others, but there are way too many of them are direct or indirect results of our own failures. Ever since the days of Adam and Eve, blame game is part of human schemes to cover up their own mistakes, sins and problems.
4) Some just don’t know what to do: Panic, loss and depressed are some of the words to describe some people when they are facing overwhelming challenges in life. These people never learn the skill to face challenges, big or small. They are the one who need help from God and others to handle their life problems, provide their needs and lead them out of the pit of depression. They need guidance, counseling and medical support to get out of their plight. Without external support, they will lose direction of life and sink into despair.
LEARN FROM THE REAL WISE KING: (I Kings 3:3-15)
1) Began a relationship with God: “Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David.” (3:3) Began his life with a close relationship with God, following the statutes of a godly father was his starting point. Solomon realized that life of a king or anyone else is much more complex than he could handle, so he needed God to guide him through his life. This is the most important step a wise man needs to do. A close walk with God is the best starting point.
2) Acknowledged his inability: “Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father. But I am only a little child and do not know how t carry out my duties.” (3:7)To admit his inadequacy is the second step Solomon took to build his successful kingdom. This is about self-understanding and humility. To know what you can and what you cannot handle is important when you face challenges.
3) Sought help from God: “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish right from wrong.” (3:9)There are too many people who seek help from men before they seek help from God when they are facing mountainous challenges of life. But Solomon did the opposite. He believed that God has more power and resource than anyone else to help him manage his life and the life of his people.
4) Received more than he asked: “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this...Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor, so that in your life time you will have no equal among kings.” (3:10, 13)God is never stingy in giving his blessings to those who sincerely and humbly ask Him. If we set our hearts right with God and ask for the right things with the right attitude, God will grant us more than what we ask for to handle the challenges of life, be it in our family, our career, relationship and material needs.
1) Every life has its challenges: Regardless of your background, ability, education, position, power or possession, you will face challenges more than you can handle by yourself. So don’t be panic that you are overwhelmed by challenge you don’t know what to do. Until we arrive in heaven with God, we have to face challenges each and everyday of our life.
2) Don’t leave home without God: While those who ignore God and his love and power, we have God on our side to face any and all the problems we may have. Learn from King Solomon and do what he did in time of overwhelming challenges. God is all we need to sail through the stormy sea. He knows how to steer your ship to safety.
3) Do the first thing first: Learn from Solomon, begin your life with a relationship with God. Accept his gift of salvation from his Son Jesus Christ by confessing your sins and ask for forgiveness. Take Him to your heart and let him lead your way to safety, meaning and eternity.