First of All Pure

by Scarlett Stough

If you could ask for one thing from someone who could give you anything you asked him to give you, what one thing would it be? What if someone said to you, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you (I Kings 3:5),” what would your request be-- freedom, security, or maybe, the good life, however, you might define it?

Millennia ago, God asked a newly enthroned king that very question. This king, Solomon son of David, knew he had a big job to do and big shoes to fill as he took over from his father, and he felt overwhelmed by his new role. He asked for wisdom so he could do his job well. You don’t have to be a king to feel overwhelmed by the role you, and you alone, can fill. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and even school children can feel overwhelmed by life’s demands.

James, the brother of Jesus, counsels us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him (James 1:5.)” According to Proverbs 2:6, the Lord is the source of wisdom. But there is a catch. A double-minded, unstable person (James 1:7-8) is excluded from this promise. “This person lives one life for himself and lives another for God.”* How can we avoid being “double-minded? We have a good start in finding the answer by looking at James 3:13-18 which describes the wisdom God gives.

God was pleased with Solomon’s request for wisdom and he gave it. Yet Solomon did not follow through in pleasing God:

So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done (I Kings 11:6).

So what went wrong? We get a big clue from Deuteronomy 17:14-20 which gives instructions to Israelite kings in how to rule well God’s way. By reading the account of Solomon’s reign (I Kings 10:23-11:1-6), we learn he disobeyed every single instruction God gave. He was double-minded; he tried to serve God and other gods. As Christians, we can be warned against the path Solomon took in his pursuit of wisdom.

James tells us that wisdom from above is “first of all pure.” Pure is translated from a word* that “signifies (1) pure from every fault, immaculate, clear…or (2) pure from carnality, modest.” It’s synonym means “being free from admixture of evil.”

Jesus taught “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8.)” The word for pure in this passage is a different word which means the same thing-- “free from impure admixture, without blemish, spotless…”*

Purity is a quality essential to receiving and applying the wisdom given by God. This purity begins with our sole dedication to God and continues in our active pursuit of living a life free of doing evil “in the eyes of the LORD.”

*The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001.

 

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Purify Your Hearts.


Volume 11 Issue 7 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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