“Something Greater Than Solomon Is Here.”

Solomon is one of the more intriguing people to study in the Bible. He was born to King David through Bathsheba. Since he was a man of peace, once he became king, God would use him to build His temple (1 Chronicles 22:8-10). He was a very wise man. In fact, Solomon’s wisdom was so great that people from all over the world would come and ask him difficult questions (1 Kings 10). A great example of his wise judgment is found in 1 Kings 3:16-28.

Solomon was also an extremely wealthy man (2 Chronicles 1:17). He had much gold, silver, and many palaces, and chariots. He also had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Unfortunately, it would many of his wives who would lead him away from God (1 Kings 11:3-6).

Solomon is said to have told over 3,000 proverbs. A proverb is a wise saying or precept. Many of them are found in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is a great book with much practical wisdom that can help people of any generation. It contains wisdom about parenting (13:24; 19:18), avoiding debt (22:7), how to pick good friends (17:17), the dangers of alcohol (23:29-35), and host of other things. When reading Proverbs, it is always important to remember that the source of Solomon’s great wisdom was God.  Like all of the other great Bible writers, the things written by Solomon in the Proverbs were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

While Solomon was indeed a great man who did much good in the cause of God, it is important to note that “something greater than Solomon is here.” These words were spoken by Jesus in Matthew 12:42 to the scribes and Pharisees while rebuking them for rejecting His wonderful work. With this statement, Jesus is expressing frustration because the Queen of the South traveled a great distance to hear Solomon’s great wisdom, but they had the Messiah right there in front of them and they constantly rejected Him. The Queen of the South knew there was something special about Solomon. Many of the scribes and Pharisees intentionally failed to see that in Jesus.

What makes Jesus “greater than Solomon?”

  • Solomon was wise, but Jesus is the source from which all wisdom flows. He was the full embodiment of God’s word (John 1:1). He contained perfect knowledge of the will of God because He came from God.
  • Solomon was a man of peace, but Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He is the source of peace between God and men (Romans 5:10). He is the King over a spiritual kingdom that doesn’t fight with guns and swords, but with the “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).
  • Solomon was led away from God through his many wives, but Jesus always remained true and faithful to God. He was perfectly holy and sinless (1 Peter 2:21-22). He was determined to do the will of God no matter what obstacles came His way (Matthew 4:1-11; 26:39).

Unfortunately, many of the religious leaders in the first century failed to see the contrasts that existed between Jesus and Solomon. What about you? Do you see them? If so, will you allow them to change your life?

It would be a shame if we read and applied the teaching of Proverbs but rejected the words of the gospel because with Jesus, “something greater than Solomon is here.”

– Shawn Jeffries

Are you smarter than salmon?

Three years ago, my family and I were able to visit the wonderful state of Washington for the first time. Among the many amazing things to see there, are the famous Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Mount Saint Helens, and the Ballard Locks. The Ballard Locks was especially interesting. These locks sit at the west end of Salmon Bay, Seattle. Their purpose is to prevent the mixing of sea water with the fresh water of the lakes. They also serve as an elevator for boats travelling from the fresh water to the salt water (and vice versa).

Integrated in the locks is a fish ladder. This fish ladder helps with the migration of anadromous fish, notably salmon. The salmon hatch in lakes, rivers or streams; they then migrate to the sea, and then towards the end of their lives they return to the fresh water (where they were born) to spawn. Simply put, the fish ladder allows a way of passage for adult salmon to move from salt water to fresh water so they can continue their life cycle. If it wasn’t for the fish ladder, these salmon would eventually die off because they wouldn’t be able to go back home to reproduce.

At the Ballard Locks there is actually a place where you can view these fish as they pass through the ladder (the months of July and August are said to be the prime months to witness this). After spending much of their life in the sea, amazingly they are able to find their way to the ladder, pass through it, and return to where they were born. These salmon are so intelligent that they are able to remember their true home and even find their way back there before attempting to reproduce.

What about us? Are we as smart as salmon? Like salmon,  do we understand where we come from and where we are going? These are things that God expects us know.

1.   God expects us to know where we come from. He expects us to know that we are His creation. In fact, we are His greatest creation. Unlike salmon or any other animal, God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).

Part of being made in the image of God means that we have eternity within us. It means that we have an eternal soul that will live on in eternity somewhere once it departs from this earthly body (Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10).

It also means that we have free-moral agency. Unlike animals we have the ability to choose right from wrong. We can either choose to serve God and enjoy His blessings or choose to rebel against God and experience terrible consequences (Joshua 24:14-15). The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed in the Garden of Eden so that the very first man and woman (Adam and Eve) could exercise this marvelous ability (Genesis 2:15-17).

All of this means that God made us special. He made us unique and superior to anything else. Do we appreciate this? If so, then we need to acknowledge it by living our lives everyday serving our Creator and bringing Him glory (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). God being our Creator means He has the inherent right to tell us what to do and we have an obligation to obey the instructions He has given.

2.  God also expects us to know where we are going after this life. Do you know this? The Bible says you can!

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).

Notice how the Apostle John knew where he was going after this life. We can as well! When we obey the gospel we can KNOW that we are right with God and on the path to be with Him for eternity. Unlike salmon we are going to live on after this life. Unlike salmon we are pursuing something more than an earthly home (John 14:1-6).

While it was fascinating to see salmon travel through the fish ladder back to where they were born, unfortunately only a few ever make it that far. Of the hundreds and hundreds that spent their adult lives at sea, only a relatively small number make it back home. Most are eaten by predators or fall for the bait of fishermen. But hopefully we can learn from those who do make it back. Hopefully we can be at least as smart as they are and always remember who we are and where we are going.

– Shawn Jeffries

The Right Use of Social Media

Are you an active user of social media? If so, you are not alone. Over 2 billion people in the world use social media. Facebook is the most popular social media site. Currently there are 1.8 billion active users of Facebook (that is about a fourth of the world’s population!). Social media has certainly taken the world by storm. But like with everything else in life, it too can become a corrupted tool of Satan.

This is why it is extremely important that we use social media in an appropriate and righteous way. Like with any device or medium, God has expectations for how use it. While there is no sin in having a social media account (s), if we are not careful, social media can be an avenue we use to sin.

Here is a list of questions we need to ask ourselves before posting something on Facebook, tweeting something on Twitter, or putting a picture on Instagram.

  • Is what I am about to put out going to cause unnecessary strife and division? This is something that goes on far too much on social media (especially Facebook) and it can become very discouraging to all parties involved. Disciples of Jesus are peaceful people (Romans 12:18; 14:19).  Instead of falling into the trap of getting into heated debates about politics and court decisions on social media, we need to use it to point people to the Bible and unite them for the cause of Christ.  2 Timothy 2:24 is a good verse to always keep in mind before posting anything!
  • Is what I am about to put out going to create fertile soil for adultery? Unfortunately, many people are using social media to reconnect with their old boyfriends and girlfriends from high school or college (which in some cases has led to many affairs and divorces). This is not the will of God! God desires that the marriage bed be sexually pure (Hebrews 13:4). He wants us to have strong healthy marriages that last a lifetime (Matthew 19:6). My wife and I have some rules for each other when it comes to this: we never send or accept friend requests from people we were in past relationships with. We also give one another complete access to the each other’s social media accounts. We do these things in order to give Satan no opportunity to destroy our marriage. We want our hearts to only long to be with one another.
  • Does this post include immodest pictures, filthy language, and gossip? God’s people are to strive to be holy (1 Peter (1:15-16). They are to strive to be holy in their words (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6), in the way that they dress (1 Timothy 2:9-10), and they are to always avoid gossip (Proverbs 20:19). They are to make sure that their claim to be Christians lines up with the pictures they post and the comments they write on social media.
  • How much of my time is being consumed by doing this? Did you know that over 700 billion minutes a month are spent on Facebook? Add to that the fact that in just 20 minutes on Facebook over 1 million links are shared, 2 million friend requests are accepted, and almost 3 million messages are sent. How often are you on Facebook or other social media sites? If you are not careful, you can find yourself on them way more than you should be. You can find yourself neglecting Bible study, prayer, and meditating on the mercy and love of God. If you find yourself logging onto social media multiple times throughout the day it is time to admit that you have a problem (maybe even an addiction) and then start working diligently to correct it. It is time to start being a better steward of your time (Ephesians 5:15-17). Start putting some reasonable limits on how much time you will spend on social media each day. Challenge yourself to carve out time each day to absorb your mind in the the Bible and communicate with God through prayer. Make sure that you spend quality time with your family each day. Go outside and play with your kids. Talk with your family. Do fun things together. Don’t let social media absorb all your time and render each day fruitless.

Again, there is nothing wrong with having a social media account. Just make sure you use it correctly. Make sure you use it to glorify God and cause others to do the same (Matthew 5:16). How we all behave on Facebook can either damage or exalt our influence before others.

Let us all keep these things in mind as connect with others through this world changing medium.

– Shawn Jeffries

Wisdom: A Good Thing to Ask For

If God came to you today and said, “Ask me anything you want and I will give it to you.” What would you ask for? What would be the one thing you wanted above all else? Would it be to be healed of a sickness? Would it be 20 million dollars in your bank account? Would you ask to be taller or shorter? Would you ask for world peace and the end of terrorism?

Interestingly, there is a man in the Bible who found himself in this situation. At the beginning of his reign as the king of Israel, God appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said to him, “Ask what you wish Me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5).  Amazingly, Solomon did not ask for fame, riches, and a long reign as king. Instead he asked for wisdom! He asked for good judgment in order that he would lead God’s people fairly and righteously (1 Kings 3:6-9).

What an interesting request for Solomon to make. And yet, God was very pleased with it. In fact, God was so impressed with it that He not only gave Solomon wisdom like no one before or after him, but also promised to give him riches, honor, and a long life to reign as king if he followed the Lord with all his heart (1 Kings 3:10-15).

How often do you find yourself asking God for wisdom? Throughout the Bible we learn that wisdom is valuable and God is pleased when His children ask for it.

  • “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
  • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
  • “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.” (Proverbs 3:13)
  • “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will guard you.” (Proverbs 4:5-6)
  • “She (a reference to wisdom) is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.” (Proverbs 3:15)

Here is the challenge for the week: At least once a day spend some time talking with God about wisdom. Make at least one prayer each day asking God for wisdom and explain why you want it. Remember Solomon told God why he wanted wisdom (1 Kings 3:9). Don’t be afraid to tell God you want wisdom so you can be a better spouse, or parent, or student of the Bible, or worker on your job. Don’t shy away from asking for wisdom so you can be more conscious of the devil’s work and avoid the pitfalls he puts before you in life.

With all the things you will pray for this week, don’t forget about wisdom! God promises to give wisdom to you generously if you see the value of asking Him in prayer for it.

– Shawn Jeffries