If you are like me, your mind flips back to practicality. The LIST, the PLAN. How? What is the path that takes me from the wilderness of my life as a Christian-in-name but with the anxiety, worry, weariness of one lost -- to the life promised that includes peace that surpasses understanding, joy to the fullest, hope and rest? Give me the coordinates so I can put it in my GPS. I will meet you there at 9am, after my exercise class but before preschool pick-up. Yes, where to start… Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” All of God’s word is Manna. But you have to start somewhere, and one place to start is in the Proverbs. They are succinct words of wisdom that we can live by, that we can put into practice. So simple, like Manna, the Proverbs offer these little nuggets of truth – simple and powerful – and if we will pick them up, and take them in, and live by them, we will live fully.
Interesting story, the Proverbs. They were written by King Solomon, son of King David. In 1Kings 3:6-10, God speaks to Solomon in a dream and He says, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” That’s pretty cool. Open ended. I love it. And King Solomon first starts by thanking God for all He did for King David, and how He never left him, and how He always loved David. He goes on to say that it is only because God gave David a son that Solomon himself is now king. He comes from this place of great humility and he says, “Thou has made thy servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.”
Who hasn’t felt like that in the midst of raising a family, of being a friend, or managing our lives? I confess that I so often feel like I don’t know how to come out or come in! It is with this enormous humility that Solomon says, I don’t deserve where I am, I cannot do this well on my own, all I ask is for “an understanding heart to judge thy people to discern between good and evil. And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.” So, God goes on to say that because Solomon didn’t ask for riches or long life but for understanding, “I have DONE according to your words. Behold I have given you a wise and discerning heart.”
So many things so cool about this. First, I love and adore and could pop over the fact that this is even faster than next day, overnight delivery. It was DONE. When we ask according to God’s will and from a place of humility, the answer is YES.
Second, Solomon did not have to go to God, GOD CAME TO HIM. Let’s all be very clear here. God has come to you. Jesus came and the Bible is your proof. Those words in there are true and real and sharper than any two-edged sword. They can change your life, shape your life. They can sustain your life. They are MANNA.
Third, Solomon did not have to put a plan together and then ask for blessing, Solomon went to God to get the plan. This is glorious news to the calendar-phobic. We can go to Him with a heap of people that we want to do right by and just ask, “Give me wisdom, give me understanding, because I can’t tell what is good and what is evil.” What mother does not cry out for this daily? Is there anything more valuable when raising your kids and making decisions for a family than understanding of what is good, what is wise?
But finally, and here is our point, Solomon was already eating the Manna when he asked. He was humble. He knew God had brought him to this point, he knew that God had made him king, he knew that God’s wisdom is more precious than wealth. He had already picked up the Manna that said ‘be humble and trust in the bigness of God’ - even as king. He had heard it, he had believed it, and he was living it. And that Manna blessed Solomon.
Listen to this: “Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom on Egypt. For he was wiser than all men…and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3000 proverbs.” I Kings 3:29-32
These proverbs of Solomon were recorded and preserved and we have them today. They are Manna sprinkled on the ground for us to pick up and take in and live by. It starts with a prayer, “Father, I know that I cannot do this alone. I know that you have a better plan for me. I am so very prone to wanting to control everything and that makes me forget to trust you. I want to be wise in the way I live this life that You have given me. I want to live sustained by your Manna, your Love dropped from Heaven, your Wisdom that is neverending. Help me.”
It starts with the humility of knowing we don’t have it all figured out, and the hunch that God in fact does. And then we begin gathering the Manna ALREADY SPRINKLED DOWN UPON US and living by it.
For Monday Manna, September 22nd Read Proverbs 1 and 2. Take it slow, 5 -10 verses a day. Chew on them. Write out verses that tug your heart. Pray about how to live them out. Journal about them. Think about the simple truths detailed here – they are wisdom poured out to Solomon and then passed on to us.
Be careful that you don’t just check the Bible Study box, don’t just read them, don’t just gather the Manna and let it sit. Let’s try to eat it, to obey it. The Manna given from God in Exodus came with these words… “to test whether or not they will walk in my instruction.”
Proverbs 3: 1-2 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.