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Tag Archives: KIng Solomon

Swift Training

The term swift appears 38 times in the Bible. Swift refers to happening quickly or promptly. There are many circumstances in life that pop up without any warning. When you encounter these situations, there is often little or no time to react. Thus, this requires an immediate response, action that is instantaneous, rapid, and without delay. One of the most famous passages on this topic is Numbers 22:22-35, where the Lord allows Balaam’s donkey to talk or else he would have been killed by an angel of death.

Of the Gadites there went over to David to the stronghold in the wilderness men of might, men trained for war who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were swift as gazelles on the mountains, 1 Chronicles 12:8.

Swift training often began with soldiers, prior to going off to war each spring, 2 Samuel 11:1. According to the passage above, Old Testament boot camps took place in the wilderness, likely in the desert where there was no snow in the winter. The three main criteria for swift training included handling a shield, spear, and being as quick as a gazelle. What set these individuals apart was an intensity which was on display with a glance at their face, possessing the eye of the tiger.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the place of the dead), where you are going. 11 I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all, Ecclesiastes 9:10-11.

Yet, swift training isn’t limited to soldiers. King Solomon personalizes swift training to all members of the nation of Israel. Similar to the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 1:5-6, there is an urgency to fan into flames your spiritual gift and talents. It appears that Paul quotes the passage above in Colossians 3:23, a call to put your heart and soul into your best qualities. When you take King Solomon’s words and apply this toward the church, 1 Corinthians 12:6-7, your unique and special gift should be swiftly applied daily.

by Jay Mankus

Terms of the Eternal and Timeless Purpose

Terms are a word or phrase used to describe a thing or to express a concept, especially in a particular kind of language or branch of study. In the context of the Bible, the Old Testament begins with Plan A, B, and C. Genesis begins with the creation of human beings, designed to become stewards of this newly formed planet. However, when this authority over the earth was lost in the Garden of Eden, a new plan was set into motion, Genesis 3:15. Plan B was briefly altered in Genesis 6:13 as God hit the reset button when desecration, a lust for power, and violence spread throughout the world. Plan C was forced to take a detour as well, Genesis 11:3-5 as human motivation did not coincide with the Lord’s grand design.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves], Genesis 12:2-3.

When the dust settled, the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose of God was re-established with Abraham and fulfilled by Jesus, John 3:16-17. However, when you try to understand the countless whys along the way, King Solomon says it best in Ecclesiastes 3:11. “God will make everything beautiful in His time.” Like an artist who spares no expense or time until their work is complete, the apostle Paul details the eternal and timeless purposes in Romans 8:28-29. Each individual life is a blank tapestry, prepared in advance by God, Philippians 1:6, brought to completion as you yield control of your life over to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10. As Christians become recreated in Jesus, mindsets change to see yourself as one of God’s works in progress, Ephesians 2:10.

[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere. 11 This is in accordance with the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which He has realized and carried into effect in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord, Ephesians 3:10-11.

Perhaps this explains the words of King Solomon, warning those who try to push God off to the side, Proverbs 19:21. No matter how frustrating it may be, God’s plans don’t always coincide with your heart’s desire, Proverbs 16:9. When your steps are altered, you have to realize that your time table is different from God’s. Like the process of sanctifying grace, this gradual change takes a lifetime to be completed. To follow these terms, perseverance is a necessary attribute if you want to finish what God began in you, Hebrews 12:1. While I don’t always comprehend or understand God’s eternal and timeless purposes, Christians are called to be faithful, not always successive. Whenever you are in this journey called life, make a decision to follow Jesus so you can become all that God wants you to be.

by Jay Mankus

I Owe So Off to Work I Go

The song ” Heigh-Ho ” comes from the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Written by Larry Morey with the melody and music created by Frank Churchill, Heigh-Ho is sung by six of the dwarfs. To pass the time while walking back and forth from work, Heigh-Ho serves as a distraction from the mundane aspects of life. In a recent sermon by Dr. Tony Evans, he put a new spin on this song with a parody entitled, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”

There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it, Proverbs 21:20.

The term foolish is used 71 times by King Solomon in the Book of Proverbs. While defining and illustrating wisdom to his sons, foolishness is used as an example of what not to do. In the passage above, Solomon points out that a lack of saving results in poverty. This analogy highlights that fools don’t appreciate what they have, often devouring everything all at once. Thus, unless some form of self-discipline is exercised, foolish choices will lead to debt and poverty.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:7.

One chapter later, Solomon reveals the consequences of poor financial decisions. When individuals don’t pay off their credit cards each month or out spend what they make, you will become a slave to debt. Subsequently, Dr. Evan’s sermon becomes a reality as desperate people are forced to go to work to pay off their car, home, and or school debt. One of the way politicians stay in power is by promising their constituents government handouts. Instead of promoting rugged individualism, lifelong politicians want voters to be in need, a slave to debt, to insure their votes over and over again. Break this habit quickly so that financial freedom is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

Run into the Tower

As a former runner, my high school cross country coach used a series of different techniques to get our team into shape at the beginning of each season. One of my favorites is known as fartlek training. This intermixes walking, jogging, and sprinting. Depending upon the group you were placed in, the leader with a stop watch sets the pace and gives the command to switch every 2 to 5 minutes. Starting with power walking soon transitions into a steady jog until you go all out, as fast as you can go, until this cycle is repeated several times.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong, Proverbs 18:10.

King Solomon uses the Hebrew word לרוץ at the end of the passage above. Solomon could have used הליכה to command his children to walk into God’s strong tower. Another option was to זה מה שאני עושה, by elevating the sense of urgency to a jog. Rather, Solomon doesn’t want people to be apathetic or distracted. Thus, when you find yourself surrounded by a world filled with darkness, run toward to the Lord’s strong and safe tower. This level of urgency is found in those who are upright and in right standing with God.

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high protecting wall in his own imagination and conceit, Proverbs 18:11.

Unfortunately, the gifted, talented, and wealthy often exchange God’s tower for a high wall that they build on their own. Solomon compares this type of person with conceited individuals who possess a great imagination. The apostle Paul refers to a similar character flaw in Galatians 6:7. While things may go well for you for a while, those who trust in themselves will eventually become worn out by living outside of God’s strong tower. In view of this spiritual reality, run into God’s tower.

by Jay Mankus

Partners in the Fellowship

The book definition of partner is a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits. These relationships are often described as associates, colleagues, or teammates. When partners become intimate, terms such as soul mate are more appropriate as these individuals become focused on a common goal.

So then, those who are people of faith are blessed and made happy and favored by God [as partners in fellowship] with the believing and trusting Abraham, Lamentations 4:10.

Meanwhile, a fellowship is formed when multiple people form a friendly association based upon a shared interest. This joint venture often results in the establishment of a church, a safe place where people of faith can come together to reinforce their biblical beliefs. This is the context of the passage above as Jeremiah refers to the Jewish faith, partners in the fellowship due to their spiritual forefather Abraham.

Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

King Solomon illustrates the power of partners in the passage above. Solomon highlights the fact that there is power in numbers. Jehan Palsgrave was the first to record the expression “the more the merrier” in 1530. This mindset that the larger the number of participants, the greater the fun applies today in the context of a church. As one body with many parts, 1 Corinthians 12:1-7, with each possessing unique spiritual gifts, officially joining a church makes it possible to become partners in the Fellowship of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

When You’re the Fool

A foolish person is associated with silly, imprudent or unwisely actions. Observers of this behavior often label these individuals as buffoons, dunces, idiots or my personal favorite, ignoramus. Unfortunately, everyone plays the fool at some point in life. The sad part is when you’re the fool, pride can blind you the realization of past bonehead decisions that you’ve made.

He who willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment. A [self-confident] fool has no delight in understanding but only in revealing his personal opinions and himself, Proverbs 18:1-2.

King Solomon draws an interesting parallel in the passage above. Considered one of the wisest leaders of his era in history, people came from throughout the Middle East to hear Solomon speak. Solomon refers to foolishness as a spiritual condition. Anyone who denies God’s existence, Romans 1:20-21, misses the invisible and visible signs of the Creator of earth. A fool becomes so self absorbed that their understanding is limited.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself merrily. 20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night they [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be? – Luke 12:19-20

One of Jesus’ parables blames foolishness on complacency. After spending years of building up a successful business, the owner of this storehouse got too comfortable. Instead of retiring and spending the rest of his life living in luxury, Jesus suggests that this man will die of a heart attack before leaving a will. Subsequently, the wealth this man accumulated throughout life would be wasted due to a lack of planning. Thus, the sooner you acknowledge foolish behavior, the quicker you can turn your life around before it’s too late to change.

by Jay Mankus

A Season of Boldness

Boldness is often associated with audacity, bravery, courage, and dauntlessness. This intrepid spirit shows no signs of fear, willing to face whatever barrier, challenge or obstacle that is in their way. While teenagers who possess this trait may be labeled as a rebel for not conforming to the rigid standards in public schools, boldness is appreciated by other adults who are afraid of getting into trouble. In a sense, the bold speak what the meek are scared to verbalize.

The wicked flee when no man pursues them, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous are bold as a lion. When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but when the ruler is a man of discernment, understanding, and knowledge, its stability will long continue, Proverbs 28:1-2.

King Solomon uses an interesting analogy in the passage above. The bold are compared to a courageous lion who stands up for what is right. As cities and states prepare for a second lock down, some citizens have had enough of cowering in fear. With their businesses and life long dreams on the verge of collapsing, a spirit of boldness is empowering individuals to take a stand. Despite threats of fines and or jail, these people can no longer compromise what they believe to be right and true.

And now, Lord, observe their threats and grant to Your bond servants [full freedom] to declare Your message fearlessly, Acts 4:29.

During the first century, Jesus’ disciples were under attack, prohibited to publicly teach about their resurrected leader. John and Peter were arrested by religious leaders for preaching the resurrection of Christ. The next day Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit as he defended their position in front of magistrates, elders and scribes who assembled in Jerusalem. Upon their release, Peter was energized by the stand they took, encouraging more believers to embrace a season of boldness.

by Jay Mankus

Going to Extremes to Fulfill Your Promises

King Solomon is considered one of the wisest individuals to walk the face of the earth. One wise saying warns against making vows that you can’t keep, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5. From an Old Testament perspective, if you didn’t keep want you promised, your words were worthless and reputation ruined. This is the context and setting when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah who presided over Israel as a judge for a period of six years.

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, If You will indeed give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 Then whatever or whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it or him up as a burnt offering, Judges 11:30-31.

Following a victorious battle, Jephthah is overwhelmed by a spirit of thankfulness. Wanting to pay tribute to God, Jephthah is moved to make a vow in Judges 11:32. While in the wilderness with many miles to travel before reaching his home, Jephthah decided to offer up a burnt offering to the first creature that crossed his path. Unfortunately, the forests were barren and his daughter was the first to greet him. Instead of reneging, Jephthah goes to extreme measures to fulfill his promise to God.

But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? 41 And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable]. 42 Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! 43 And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise, Luke 23:40-43.

As John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, it was clear to first century scholars that the Messiah was living in their presence. When the time was right, Jesus began a three year earthly ministry. Using 12 disciples and an additional 72 according to Luke, these individuals planted spiritual seeds to form churches. When the appointed time arrived to fulfill Old Testament promises, the disciples were confused. Believing Jesus would become an earthly leader, rising up to become King of the Jews, Peter was ready to take up arms. Instead, God has another plan, sending his own son as a permanent sacrifice to die for mankind, John 3:16-17. This is how the Lord goes to extremes to fulfill biblical promises.

by Jay Mankus

Bouncing Back from Your Own Bathsheba Like Moment

Instead of using the term reputation, the Bible uses the expression “good name” to refer to an outstanding citizen. King Solomon sets this as a goal to aim for, Proverbs 22:1, better than a precious ointment, Ecclesiastes 7:1. Unfortunately, it only takes one emotional outburst, moment of weakness or subtle compromise to flush your reputation down the toilet. Every week there is breaking news of a shocking fall from grace, the byproduct of a secret sin or sins. When the sun rises on the next day, it’s time to bounce back from your own Bathsheba like moment.

One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, when from there he saw a woman bathing; and she was very lovely to behold. David sent and inquired about the woman. One said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers and took her. And she came in to him, and he lay with her—for she was purified from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house, 2 Samuel 11:2-4.

If you think that “this will never happen to me,” don’t be so sure. Check out what happened to a man after God’s own heart. One night David was unable to sleep, so he takes a stroll on top of his castle. While checking out the scenery, a beautiful woman is taking a bath outside in a hot tub. Eager to find out about her availability, David sends a servant who brings back the bad news, “she’s married.” On any other occasion, David would have accepted this and moved on. However, something changed as David was lured away by sexual fantasies as enticement and lust consumed him.

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.

While you may not have committed adultery, the internet has opened up entirely new avenues to ruin your reputation. A politically incorrect blog post, an inappropriate picture or expressing opinions that oppose secular worldviews can get you into hot water or worse. While I don’t want people to refrain from sharing what you believe, you have to do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:14-15. The earthly brother of Jesus explains at the end of his letter how to bounce back from your own Bathsheba moment, James 5:16. When you confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, restoring your name and reputation can occur.

by Jay Mankus

Risking Failure or Keeping It a Dream?

The etymology of the word dream has ties to an Anglo-Saxon word. Draugmas are illusions, deceptions in the mind linked to joy, merriment or music. Some dreams appear to be so realistic that when you wake up, you’re unsure if this actual happened or not. Action oriented individuals prefer living life the hard way, through a series of trials and errors. Others choose to live their life in a bubble, free from taking risks. Dreamers come alive when they go to sleep, reveling in a world of imagination.

For a dream comes with much business and painful effort, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow or make a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God has no pleasure in fools (those who witlessly mock Him). Pay what you vow, Ecclesiastes 5:3-4.

According to King Solomon, dreams occur following a busy day. Depending upon your thoughts, dreams can be inspirational, urging you to act. Thus, Solomon suggests that a dream may prompt you to make a commitment. However, instead of getting sentimental, make a decision quickly. Either pledge to do something or not. Consider the costs of living to a higher standard and act quickly. Unfortunately, dreamers often play if safe, waiting for further confirmation or another dream to respond.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams, Acts 2:17.

A disciple of Jesus eludes to a different kind of dream, Acts 2:17. Either Jesus had a private conversation with Peter or the Holy Spirit gave him a glimpse of the future. Just as the Day of Pentecost brought an outpouring of God’s Spirit, a similar movement will occur prior to Jesus’ second coming. In the last days, dreams will serve as a warning to future events. Unless you’re willing to share what God has revealed to you, you’re not helping anyone. Although you may face ridicule or skepticism, dreams are meant to be shared. However, it’s up to you if you risk failure or keep it to yourself.

by Jay Mankus

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