Colossians 2:8 says this: See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Philosophy according to the Greek dictionary means the love and pursuit of wisdom. When we think of philosophy today, it's considered the study of men and women and their ideologies. The passage above warns to not to be taken captive to it especially if it takes you away from Christ. I love reading bios of people but I also have to keep in mind, they are flawed, human and sinful, just like me. God is the ultimate Philosopher, which we will see as this blog progresses.
Some of you might be wondering now, what does that have to do with Jabez & Solomon. A lot. In fact, we emphasize the prayer of Jabez over Solomon's prayer (1 Kings 4) & the prayer of Jesus (in John 17). Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it should give you something to think about. Let's look into the prayers of Jabez & Solomon.
Jabez was a man of God according to 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. What I found interesting through all of this was that Jabez is only mentioned in 2 verses within the entire Bible. His prayer is one of those 2 verses: Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!" And God granted what he asked.
Now many of you can quote that verse back & forth and sing the song by Donald Lawrence back and forth. I have my thoughts & opinions on that, but I will say this: I'm not saying that monetary blessing should not be your desire (just don't let that be your idol), but I ask that you be careful and to not throw your fist at God because He chooses to bless you differently than you expected. Remember, His ways are not our ways; in fact, His ways are better than ours. One more thing: many people are praying for increase and are expecting God to drop it out of the sky. That creates a mentality of entitlement if not a spirit of laziness and/or complacency. Many times God is requiring us to do something in order to reap the increase, but I don't want to minimize what He can do supernaturally!
I found that my greatest blessing from God has not been monetary. My greatest blessing has been meeting people and communicating with people. Many people have blessed me in many capacities and I have been blessed to bless others in many capacities. No money in my opinion can compare to that. My prayer is probably more along the lines of Solomon.
Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 3:5-9: At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"
And Solomon's prayer pleased The Lord (actually, Jabez's prayer pleased The Lord as well, just wanted to clarify that - smile)
Now look at what God did for Solomon (and this blessed my spirit): verses 11-14: And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, 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.
Verses 13-14 are crucial: 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."
The wisdom that God gave Solomon was amazing. Sadly, Solomon ceased to use the wisdom that God gave him once you reach chapter 11. Anyway, on your own, look at verses 16-28 within chapter 3.
In chapter 4, it's recorded that Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. Many of us read Proverbs every day (a chapter per month - and I do it too). I don't know about you, but Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon are powerful books in itself.
But I just wanted to share my thoughts on these two prayers by two powerful men of God (Jabez & Solomon).
By the way, this wasn't a planned blog :)
The Mayne Man