Tag Archives: Solomon

A “Perfect” Role Model?

Sermon Prep

Not long ago I was doing some research for a sermon on Jonah. In the process I came across a Muslim website that made an interesting observation (and I will paraphrase):

“The Bible proves it is not true because God would not allow the prophets’ reputations to be smeared.”

The Muslim website went on to say (paraphrasing, again):

“What kind of role model would a prophet be if we read of him making mistakes?”

What kind of role model? That’s a good question! Was the Muslim author trying to say that role models had to be perfect in order to be real? Here’s a shocker – in one way or another, everybody is a role model.

If the defining characteristic of a role model is “perfection,” that would rule out King David, Solomon, Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, Paul, Sarah, Mary (all of them), the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and many, many others…

…especially Jonah.

Jonah

Now, Jonah wasn’t exactly the type of person after which I would want to pattern my life, but he was a prophet of God. He had some serious character flaws, though. He was angry, disobedient, and was a racist who constantly talked suicide. He even spouted off to the Lord for being too forgiving!

No, Jonah’s not the type of person I would want to emulate. But hold the whale puke! I am more like him than I thought!

  • I have run from God.
  • I have harbored racist feelings in the past, I’m ashamed to admit.
  • I have been angry and disobedient.
  • I have wondered if life was worth living.
  • I have even wanted to see whole cities destroyed, innocent people and all, after September 11, 2001.

I have been more like Jonah more than I care to admit.

The Encouraging Part

The fact is that the Bible is not only full of role models, but models of the people we already are: flawed, broken, and human. But here’s the encouraging part: even when we are not perfect, God can still use us – and change us.

  • Jonah ran from God, but God pursued.
  • Jonah disobeyed God, but it didn’t derail God’s plan.
  • Jonah got angry with God, but God responded to him with the understanding kindness of a wise Father.
  • Jonah even wanted to die, but God never belittled him. He only focused Jonah’s attention on the bigger picture: 120,000 souls, not to mention animals, whose lives were spared (Jonah 4).

I thank God that the Bible doesn’t white-wash humanity. There are so many examples of how people, just like me, can find hope, even when we’re not perfect.

The Perfect One

It is not hard to come to the conclusion that there were some really dysfunctional people in the Bible. But you know what? That’s what adds to the authenticity of Scripture. There are no “perfect” role models in the Bible, except for one – Jesus.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” – 1 Peter 2:21-22 ESV

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV

I want to be more like HIM!

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Struggles and Trials

A “Perfect” Role Model

Sermon Prep

Not long ago I was doing some research for a sermon on Jonah. In the process I came across a Muslim website that made an interesting observation (and I will paraphrase), “The Bible proves it is not true because God would not allow the prophets’ reputations to be smeared.”

It went on to say (paraphrasing, again), “What kind of role model would a prophet be if we read of him making mistakes?”

What kind of role model? That’s a good question! Was the Muslim author trying to say that role models had to be perfect in order to be real? Here’s a shocker – in one way or another, everybody is a role model.

If the defining characteristic of a role model is “perfection,” that would rule out King David, Solomon, Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, Paul, Sarah, Mary (all of them), the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and many, many others…

…especially Jonah.

Jonah

Now, Jonah wasn’t exactly the type of person after which I would want to pattern my life, but he was a prophet of God. He had some serious character flaws, though. He was angry, disobedient, and was a racist who constantly talked suicide. He even spouted off to the Lord for being too forgiving!

No, Jonah was not the type of person I would want to emulate. But hold the whale puke! I am more like him than I thought!

  • I have run from God.
  • I have harbored racism at times, as much as I am ashamed to admit.
  • I have been angry and disobedient.
  • I have wondered if life was worth living.
  • I have even wanted to see whole cities destroyed, innocent people and all, after September 11, 2001.

I have been more like Jonah more than I care to admit.

The Encouraging Part

The fact is that the Bible is not only full of role models, but models of the people we already are. Flawed, broken, and human. But here is the encouraging part: even when we are not perfect, God can still use us – and change us.

  • Jonah ran from God, but God pursued.
  • Jonah disobeyed God, but it didn’t derail God’s plan.
  • Jonah got angry with God, but God responded to him with the understanding kindness of a wise Father.
  • Jonah even wanted to die, but God never belittled him. He only focused Jonah’s attention on the bigger picture: 120,000 souls, not to mention animals, whose lives were spared (Jonah 4).

I thank God that the Bible doesn’t white-wash humanity. There are so many examples of how people, just like me, can find hope, even when we’re not perfect.

The Perfect One

It is not hard to come to the conclusion that there were some really dysfunctional people in the Bible. But you know what? That’s what adds to the authenticity of Scripture. There are no “perfect” role models in the Bible, except for one – Jesus.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” – 1 Peter 2:21-22 ESV

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV

I want to be more like HIM!

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Struggles and Trials

Giving Solomon Advice

Proverbs 21:19

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

1000 Women

Has anyone noticed that this is the second time Solomon has said something about angry women? It was only ten verses ago that he said it was better to “dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house (verse 9).” Do you think that Solomon could have been having marriage problems?

One of the great ironies in history is that the wisest man to ever live had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3)! One would think that with so much wisdom a man might have figured out a thing or two about the nature of women, but evidently he was either deficient in this one area, or a glutton for punishment. I am not as wise as Solomon, but even I could tell you that having more than one wife might be a bad idea, especially when you’re intending on sharing your life with a thousand! Good grief!

Solomon had a weakness for the opposite sex and all the money in the world to support his habit. 1 Kings 11:3 even says that his wives “turned away his heart” from God. In order to keep them happy, he built altars to other gods. As wise as he was, women were his downfall.

1000 Tempers

I tend to wonder what kind of “man cave” Solomon had. With all those wives and concubines, can you imagine how many tempers were constantly flaring? Can you imagine how many grudges were being held? When 2 or 3 women go to the ladies room together, rumor has it that they talk about us men. Can you imagine what emotional issues a harem full of women could talk about? And don’t you think they constantly blamed Solomon for everything?

It should come as no surprise that both times Solomon mentions women in this chapter he references emotion. After nearly 20 years of marriage and three daughters to my credit, I can speak from experience that women know how to get angry and stay angry. Women are different than men (duh!). It takes a wife that is filled with the Spirit to overcome her tendency to seethe over something stupid her husband did 10-15 years ago.

Advice for Solomon

It may be a little late, but if I could go back in time I would give Solomon a bit of humble advice. I would say to him, “King Solomon, sir, I have a few suggestions that could help you maintain peace in your palace, should you choose, in your wise and awesome wisdomness, to listen.

  • Find that ruby of a woman and make her a solitaire. One rare one is far better than a chest full of imported cubic zirconia.
  • Treat your wife with humility, love, and respect. An unloved and disrespected woman is an angry woman.
  • Money is great, but time is priceless. Spend time with your wife doing things she wants to do. A lonely woman is a bitter woman.
  • Worship the True God with your wife, not the idols of the world. Don’t marry outside the faith expecting to change her. Find a woman that loves the Lord and love Him with her. A woman at odds with you is a contentious woman.

Then I would say, “Choose to do otherwise, dear king, and you might as well go live in the wilderness.”

 

The above post may also be found at ProverbialThought.com

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Filed under Bible Study, Christian Maturity, Marriage

Book Release!

Proverbial Thought

OK, when I say “my” book, it was my idea, but I’m just the editor and co-writer; I didn’t do all the work by myself. As a matter of fact, I had help from around the world. The full title of this voluminous work is Proverbial Thought: Your Daily Word of Wisdom from Proverbs.  We couldn’t put everything into one book, or it would be entirely too large – and expensive. That’s why this book is the first of several volumes.  At 318 pages, Volume One contains thoughts on chapters 1-10 of Proverbs. There’s 21 more chapters and a lot more detail to go!

book cover

Click Here to Purchase 🙂

I am very proud of what we have accomplished. Below is the preface that explains how all this came about.

Preface

What you are about to read is a work that came together over a period of two years. It first started out with an idea placed on my heart, I believe, by the Holy Spirit. Then it proceeded to be something that I tossed around to others, asking for advice, picking their brains. Finally, what it ended up being was a collection of personal commentary on one of the most famous collections of wisdom known to man – the book of Proverbs.

When the Lord impressed me to start a blog called Proverbial Thought, it wasn’t because I had a lot of time on my hands. As a matter of fact, in February of 2012, besides being a husband and a dad with two daughters still at home and being homeschooled, I was a pastor who had decide to finish a long-pursued seminary degree. In other words, I had plenty to do. However, I kept feeling led to start a daily devotional/commentary.

Since 2009, I had been publishing a blog called The Recovering Legalist.com, which introduced me to other bloggers, such as David Welford in Herefordshire, UK. After some prayer, I contacted David and asked him what he thought of co-contributing to another blog dealing with Proverbs. His immediate response was positive, even suggesting others who might want to get involved, such as his son, Nick. Ultimately, I approached over twenty individuals around the world and in my own community; eight came on board.

By the way, it was very important, I believe, to gather contributors from around the world and from different walks of life. By doing so, instead of relying on the limited life experiences and from one culture, the wisdom of Proverbs could be approached from various perspectives, lending insight that might not be available to another. For example, in one post a writer from England describes the wisdom from a proverb in light of the Iron-age fortress in his back yard. Seriously!? How many people can address a subject from that perspective? Not me!

So, in March of 2012, I put together a Google document that contained a list of dates with a corresponding proverb. Those who agreed to contribute to Proverbial Thought were asked to periodically go to that online community list and write in their names beside the verses on which they wanted to comment. Sometimes the selection was purposeful based on our knowledge of a particular Bible verse. But for the most part, each one of us went to that master list and wrote in our names, never knowing what the subject matter was going to be about. That led to a lot of “God moments.”

Eventually, nearly two years and almost 700 entries later, the project that enlisted writers from the United States, Canada, and England was complete. However, along the way a lot of “life” happened. Some of that “life” can be read in the following daily entries; more than a few words are dotted with tears. God knew what He was doing when He led us to “arbitrarily” choose which proverbs we would write about. He knew what we would be going through at the time we sat down to a computer to write. So, in one sense, what you are about to read is spiritual journey, almost a diary, of what God wanted these contributors to learn, and to share, about true Wisdom. -Anthony C. Baker

 

Special Thanks!

I just want to thank David Welford, Daniel Klem, Jason Sneed, Chris Jordan, Rev. Ken Welford, Nick Welford, and Katie Marie for lending their “thoughts” over the last couple of years. Without their help this would not have been possible.

I would also like to thank Dr. David Myers for referring David Tullock at Parson’s Porch Books (a publisher who’s profits go to take care of the needy).

It is also necessary that I thank my wife and daughters. They are the ones who put up with me as I sat for many hours in front of a computer screen. Maybe all this was worth it.

Last, but not least, I must thank my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the Wisdom that confounds the foolishness of men, and on Whom I totally rely (1 Cor. 1:23-25).

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Filed under blogging, book review, Life Lessons, wisdom

Playing on the Bridge

“Daddy, can I?”

Every time I hear those words I wince. One reason is because it should be “may I,” instead of “can I“. The other reason is because I don’t know what is coming next.

Usually, whenever I hear the words, “Daddy can I,” others words follow that demand I either exhibit my Superman-like powers and Solomon-like wisdom, or pretend to be Bill Gates.

  • “Daddy, can I get the new iPhone when it comes out?”
  • “Daddy, can I go on a mission trip around the world next week?”
  • “Daddy, can I go shoe shopping?”
  • “Daddy, can I hang a punching bag in my room?”
  • “Daddy, can I have a motorcycle?”

Unfortunately, many times I have to tell my girls, “No.” They’ve become accustomed to disappointment.

On the Bridge

However, this time one of my girls had a request that I couldn’t deny. Katie asked me, “Daddy, can I go play on the bridge?” It didn’t cost money…We didn’t need a permit…The weather wasn’t bad…How could I say, “no”?

So, while my wife took Pampered Chef orders from other parents as she waited for Haley (our youngest) to finish her Wing Chun class, Katie and I took the car a few block down the road to the Walnut Street bridge.

katie on the bridgeOnce we found a parking place fairly close, we unloaded the guitar and walked about a hundred yards out onto the bridge. We then found a nice little place to sit, unpacked the guitar, and Katie started playing.

Unashamed

What was really a blessing was to see my daughter doing what she loved to do without any fear. As total strangers walked or ran by, she kept playing and singing. But you see, she wasn’t just playing for others to hear; she just wanted to play on the bridge. If people heard her, and if they like what they heard, then that was just icing on the cake.

How often do we just get out and do what we love to do, no matter what others think of us? Just think, if we did, some might like what they hear. But as long as we keep to ourselves, strumming behind closed doors, we miss the joy of playing on bridges. And if you never play on any bridges, you probably won’t make any, either.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Life Lessons, music, Relationships and Family, Witnessing

A “Perfect” Role Model

Sermon Prep

Not long ago I was doing some research for a sermon on Jonah. In the process I came across a Muslim website that made an interesting observation (and I will paraphrase), “The Bible proves it is not true because God would not allow the prophets’ reputations to be smeared.”

It went on to say (paraphrasing, again), “What kind of role model would a prophet be if we read of him making mistakes?”

What kind of role model? That’s a good question! Was the Muslim author trying to say that role models had to be perfect in order to be real? Here’s a shocker – in one way or another, everybody is a role model.

If the defining characteristic of a role model is “perfection,” that would rule out King David, Solomon, Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, Paul, Sarah, Mary (all of them), the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and many, many others…

…especially Jonah.

Jonah

Now, Jonah wasn’t exactly the type of person after which I would want to pattern my life, but he was a prophet of God. He had some serious character flaws, though. He was angry, disobedient, and was a racist who constantly talked suicide. He even spouted off to the Lord for being too forgiving!

No, Jonah’s not the type of person I would want to emulate. But hold the whale puke! I am more like him than I thought!

  • I have run from God.
  • I have harbored racism at times, as much as I am ashamed to admit.
  • I have been angry and disobedient.
  • I have wondered if life was worth living.
  • I have even wanted to see whole cities destroyed, innocent people and all, after September 11, 2001.

I have been more like Jonah more than I care to admit.

The Encouraging Part

The fact is that the Bible is not only full of role models, but models of the people we already are. Flawed, broken, and human. But here is the encouraging part: even when we are not perfect, God can still use us – and change us.

  • Jonah ran from God, but God pursued.
  • Jonah disobeyed God, but it didn’t derail God’s plan.
  • Jonah got angry with God, but God responded to him with the understanding kindness of a wise Father.
  • Jonah even wanted to die, but God never belittled him. He only focused Jonah’s attention on the bigger picture: 120,000 souls, not to mention animals, whose lives were spared (Jonah 4).

I thank God that the Bible doesn’t white-wash humanity. There are so many examples of how people, just like me, can find hope, even when we’re not perfect.

The Perfect One

It is not hard to come to the conclusion that there were some really dysfunctional people in the Bible. But you know what? That’s what adds to the authenticity of Scripture. There are no “perfect” role models in the Bible, except for one – Jesus.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” – 1 Peter 2:21-22 ESV

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV

I want to be more like HIM!

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Struggles and Trials

Proverbial Thought

Hey, everybody! This will make two posts in the same day, but it’s worth it.

Many of you are not aware of Proverbial Thought, a new blog created as an online devotional and commentary on the book of Proverbs. If you have not seen it, I wish you would check it out, then tell others.

Wisdom, true wisdom, comes from God. Proverbs is full of wisdom. The problem is that too few people read Proverbs, much less think about how to apply the wisdom contained to modern life. Our goal is to get people back into the book, reading it from a fresh perspective, and putting what is learned to everyday use.

I have pulled together some great people who contribute to Proverbial Thought. Each one brings a different perspective to the scripture.

My hope is that this blog will catch on and be a source of inspiration for hundreds, if not thousands of people every day. Why not subscribe, then forward a link to a couple of friends. One day the seeds planted will result in a harvest, if not here, in heaven.

This is a screen shot from April 14. Notice the contributors. They are from all over the globe, and more are coming on board in the weeks ahead.

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