|Skateboarding competition in Shoreham, UK 2012.|
God said to Solomon, “ I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
1 Kings 3:10-14
A determined athlete herself, my mum used to say as long as I remember: ‘Do exercises, muscles have memory. This is the best thing you can do for your body.’ Exactly right. I’m so grateful to her for that. It appears that King Solomon’s parents, both believers in one and true God, installed a vital quality in him:’ Delight in the Lord and live!’ Little wonder they knew the price of sin after so much pain and suffering that they both had endured by putting their own desires first. I believe there is a lesson of great depth in that for contemporary believers. No one can discard the Bible saying that it is an ancient book, no longer relevant today. Can’t be further from the truth! Someone had said:’ Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay & cost you more than you are prepared to pay!’ This saying could have easily come from the lips of King David& Bashsheba.
In order to be good at skate boarding these qualities are needed: good balance, courage, dexterity & a high threshold of pain.
Those are crucial qualities & without their presence it will be a waste of time if someone wants to be really good at it. Often such qualities come in your gene. We only have to look at famous skateboarders around the world to be sure of that. The same is true for musicians: consider Mozart, Bach or Chopin. Solomon had inherited a lot of godly qualities from his father, a man after God’heart, perhaps not in his gene, but through the legacy that David built to pass on: he thrived to please God and when he failed, he made it right. (At times God had to speak really loud through the prophet, but compare to other wicked kings that Jewish people had, David stands out) Having such a great advantageous start in life, the Lord enabled Solomon to pray according to His will. Not surprisingly that blessings had followed. What is interesting in this verse is God’s promise ‘to lengthen his days.’
A friend of mine, who is double my age, inevitably comes to mind. He had ‘the qualities that a potentially good skateboarder would have’ naturally, but he also gave his life to the Lord. Now, almost 80 years old he prospers in everything that he does for the Lord, giving Him all the glory. Anywhere he goes he makes Jesus known: among high officials or waitresses; his deep love for the Lord is simply contagious. A true Christian must desire to leave a contagious legacy even after he/she is long gone. Listening to his stories, hanging out just for an hour with him makes you spiritually recharged and massively encouraged somehow. While diagnosed with cancer, he was at the doctor’s office for a check up. A doctor looked at him and said:’ You are a lucky man to be alive.’ My friend who has been not ashamed of Jesus for almost half a century turned around and said:’ ‘Lucky’ isn’t in my vocabulary. Everything I have has been given to me by God.’ That kind of faith and confidence in God no matter what is a real prosperity. When someone insists that you must be rich, famous and healthy to prosper, they’ve missed the essence of Christianity.
Fascinating how today a lot of young men are seeking riches, cool looks (half naked on the stage), lottery and loud music with shallow lyrics: girls like them for it! I can see how secular culture influences my children. That’s why knowing that Solomon didn’t become godly over night, I try to use every opportunity to shape my children’s heart, brain and soul, to help them form a character of integrity. When I feel really tired, I push myself to read them a Bible story, have a chat about things, and ask them about their day. Most parents want their children to excel academically, develop their talents which is perfectly justifiable, but where does building up character comes in? This is the core of a person, but the hardest area to build. And I think one child is just as hard as 5 or more to bring up right. John MacArthur in his book on parenting points out that a parent has to deal with a child’s attitude because that’s where it all starts, before forming into an action. I can’t tell enough how grateful I’m for this insight. Saved me a lot of grief.
There are many parents who think they are doing a splendid job raising their children. They are content to exclude God from their lives though. When things go wrong later in life, they wonder surprised: ‘Why?’ The Scripture strongly warns even a believer: ‘Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.’ 1 Peter 5:8. By excluding God there is no chance of escaping the powerful paws of Satan. It is rather presuming to assume that we, as humans, could stand up to Satan on our own strength. Let’s not be fooled, he has been deceiving for thousands of years; he is terribly good at it. He is a supernatural being, one of the finest that God ever created before the fall and exceedingly more powerful than any man. That’s why there is a Delilah in even every Samson’s life. Especially ‘Samsons’ must watch out because Satan loves to defeat those who fight the most, before he takes down anyone else.
I’ve tried to invite a young man from Skate Park to our church Youth Group. He seemed to be so busy: every day he was doing something after school. Another thing that caught my attention was that while he was on his own he was willing to listen, but once all his mates came over, he was embarrassed. He is very popular and physically able boy, one of the best in the park. This image already started to cost him because he is not confident in his choices – if others approve he is o’k, if not, he is embarrassed. He just joined High School, so what can I say about his character? I felt I could do nothing, but just to leave him alone.
Believers know that God will protect them, but Satan doesn’t easily give up. If he can’t destroy a believer ultimately, he will try to vex his/hers walk with the Lord. Often it is too easy because sinful humans are self- destructive: they tend to dig their heels and often exclude God from major decision making points or possibly let God in, but on their own terms.
The knowledge that there are 50 million abortions every year around the glob, says that not many ‘Solomon’ are walking around. Yes, we must remember how King Solomon got involved with too many foreign women and they turned his heart away from the Lord. That’s also a good lesson to learn from. Our relationships with the Lord must be fresh and vital, like manna – daily. After the Lord brings multiple blessings in our lives, it is important to remember the source. This is a picture of modern England. The country was so blessed in the past by the Lord, with outstanding men and women of God, but today the new generation prefers the gifts rather than the Giver.
It is shocking to watch Youtube videos of multitudes of gullible people who flock to the prosperity churches in huge numbers. Do they ever read these portions of the Scriptures? They are hoping that God will make them rich, prosperous and healthy. The Scripture above is so clear: ‘I give you also what you have not asked..’ Solomon has not asked for riches. I remember at one point one of my son’s used to say: ‘When I grow up I will be a bank manager.’ In his little mind he connected two things together: surely bank managers make a lot of money! Well, it is o.k. to think like that when you are growing up, but hopefully you will grow out of it. Some never do, sadly.
When someone desires sincere wisdom, discernment, integrity in his/her life, it is not because of the desire to be great, but primarily because everyone around will be blessed. Outstanding skills are used for the benefit of others. How much more the Lord can use them when they are submitted to His will? Before my husband became a Christian he was travelling the world to pursue his selfish ambitions. Now this ability turned into a blessing for so many.
A friend that I had mentioned often says:’ The Lord had told me…’ To have this intimacy with the Lord takes many hours spent in His presence. How can this precious bond between you and the Lord be replaced with anything that the world can offer? The reason why people pursue the world is because they have no idea how surprisingly pleasant it is to belong to the Lord. The Bible says: ‘Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!’ Psalm 34:8.
All males in our family are crazy about Vans. They don’t one pair, but several. Since I do not skateboard, I didn’t think too much about vans shoes. I’ve never owned a pair. At last I was given one by my generous husband. They probably are the only pair that I put on and walked out comfortably. A vivid memory from my childhood pops up about my mum pouring a glass of vodka into her new high heels to stretch and soften them.
This illustration is also true concerning the Lord. Father&Son&Holy Spirit desire to reveal that they are ultimately the best thing in this life. Triune God is the only one who can make anyone walk victoriously in good old age.
But let all who take refuge in God rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favour as with a shield.