Joseph Prince - Hesed Wisdom to Live Skillfully
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Hesed wisdom is actually grace wisdom. Amen? Grace wisdom. Wisdom in Hebrew, there are a number of words. The number one word for wisdom in Hebrew is hokmah, hokmah, from where you get words like hakam. You know, when they say as a judge in Hebrew, let's say a person is a judge, you will say he is a hakam. You're a judge. You make wise decisions. Hokmah is the general word. Hokmah is in the Greek, sophia. Now in Hebrew, the most frequently used word for wisdom is hokmah, and what translates hokmah, in the Greek would be sophia. So if your name is Sophia, that means your name is wisdom. Amen? The Bible says when you embrace wisdom, wisdom is personified as a woman. When you embrace wisdom, you get five things.
Number one, in her right hand... come on, people. Y'all know this by now. Is length of days. That is your health. Amen? In her right hand. Right hand is always a priority hand in the Scriptures. Amen. In her left hand, you have riches and honor. So these are the things that everyone pursues in life. You know, they're not actually looking for a certain job, they're not actually looking for that investment to pay off, they're not actually looking for a... they call it lucky strike, you know, in the lottery or whatever. They're actually looking for these things that life can give. They believe that those things can give them these five things.
So the Bible says in all her paths are pleasantness or pleasure, right? And all her ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are shalom, peace. So wisdom gives you five things. Let's say it. Length of days, riches, honor, pleasure, peace. The Bible says we embrace her, notice when you embrace someone, her two hands are behind you. Amen? So you don't look for those hands. The Bible says turn not to the right hand nor to the left. Pursue the Lord and these things will pursue you. If any of you lack wisdom, look at this verse here. James chapter 1, "If any of you lacks wisdom". And, you know, when you read this, if you are a wise man or a wise woman, you will always say, "I lack wisdom".
I don't seem to get to the root of the matter. I don't seem to get it. You know, so if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. When I read this verse, I always see my need for this verse. Amen? I look at this church and I always feel like, "Lord, I'm so desperate for that wisdom. I know you have that wisdom for your people". When you're faced with a... or seems to be in insurmountable odds against you, there is a wisdom for it. Amen. Every challenge occurs so that you can find that key from the Lord and see if that key fits the lock. Amen. So we look at Solomon because Solomon is a great example of wisdom.
In 1 Kings 3... by the way, when you ask God, go back to that again, James 1. When you ask God, "Let him ask of God, who"... Look at this, the nature of God. He gives to all liberally and without reproach. He once called you without reproach. God once called you. And how does God give? Liberally and reproach not. He reproacheth not, and it'll be given to him. It will be given to him. "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind". When you ask God for wisdom, don't after that say, "I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do". You might not know in your mind, in your heart right at that moment what to do, but keep on thanking God you have asked God for wisdom and you have received. Amen.
Say, "I believe the solution will come". Amen. "I believe God has given me the wisdom. I've asked the wisdom, and it will be there". So Solomon when he was a young man, his father David had just died and he's supposed to fill in his position as king, king of the only theocratic nation on earth, God's nation. He has a big pair of shoes to fill. And the Bible says, you all know this, "The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar". In fact, he's only required to offer one burnt offering, okay? Now, he didn't have to offer 1,000. It shows his heart of appreciation for Christ. He has a large appreciation for Christ, I said.
So he appreciate the Lord Jesus. Nothing is too big for me to give up for him. Amen. I cannot give him enough. He has given me everything. So before he ask God for wisdom, he actually starts off with a great appreciation for Christ. And then the Bible says, "At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, 'Ask. What shall I give you?'" You all know the story. He told God, "I'm a young man". He used the word, "I'm a little child. I don't even know how to come in and how to go out". It's an Hebrew expression for, "I really need your help. I need your wisdom". They say God give me in the Hebrew a wise hearing; a hearing heart, a heart that will hear you.
And you'll find later on that this heart of hearing God actually translates as well in hearing people because immediately after this the story tells us about the two prostitutes that came to him. A king hearing two prostitutes, two harlots? That's interesting. Most people won't give them the time of day, but he did. A hearing heart translates into, many at times when you are wise and you have a hearing heart, you will listen to what people are actually saying. We assume people are saying things, right, but a hearing heart will cause you to even hear people. Can I have a good amen?
Back to 1 Kings 3. So he asked God for a wise understanding heart, and the Bible says Solomon woke up. Don't forget where he was. In Gibeon. Now, I've shared before Gibeon has the structure of the tabernacle. It has the altar of burnt offering. It has the lever. It has all the furniture. It has the menorah. It has the off of incense. It has the table of showbread. The only thing glaringly missing is the Ark of the Covenant because his father David brought the ark to the City of David in Jerusalem. It is not in Gibeon. So the very presence of God, so it's a picture of religion, getting involved in religion. You're, "What kind of Christian are you"? "I'm a Christian. I'm a".... "What kind religion are you"? "I'm a Christian". But are you in touch with the ark? Who is the ark?
I'm going to teach you on the ark today. Ark is the picture of Jesus Christ. The gold that covers the Ark of the Covenant speaks of his deity. Amen. The wood inside speaks of his humanity. The blood on the mercy seat speaks of his work at the cross. Are y'all listening? So when Solomon woke up, the first thing he did, he came to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants. There was like a party. Amen? Notice he woke up and said, "What am I doing in the place of religion"? The outward trappings of religion, it makes you feel good in your flesh, you know, when you're in church and all that, but am I in connection with Jesus Christ? Am I in connection with the King of kings and the Lord of lords? Am I in connection with the wonderful shepherd of the flock? Amen.
Second thing the Bible says that happened, drop down the, "Now two women who were harlots came to the king". This is the first story right after he was at the Ark of the Covenant, first story that the Holy Spirit saw fit to tell us are these two prostitutes, two harlots that came. Y'all know the story. It's a very famous story. Even our Chinese annals of history, they have this story of a wise king. It's actually Solomon. And this two prostitutes came, and they live in the same brothel, the same building and all that, and one of them gave birth to a baby. Three days later, another one gave birth to a baby. And what happened is that in those days they sleep very close to their baby, and one of them turn over. The baby's dead. She slept on the baby. And in the middle of the night she got up and she exchanged her dead baby for the live baby of the other woman.
So now they are before the king, and one is saying, "This is my baby". The other one says, "No. The dead one is her baby. This is my baby". And on and on. And King Solomon, very young man at the time, probably 18 or 20 years old, he look at the entire thing. All right? And then he says to the speaker of the house, "Take over". Or he look at one of his pastors and say, "Hey, Pastor Joe, take over". Like some pastors do. No. He listened to them. He listened to the entire conversation and all. And what comes out of his mouth, I want you all to write down, is the answer of wisdom. After he heard the entire thing, he says, "Okay. All right. I heard y'all. Bring me a sword". That is a solution.
The sword in the Bible is a picture of the Word of God. The Word of God is a sword that divideth asunder soul and spirit. No doctor can do that. And of the joints and marrow none is physical, physical and spiritual; and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart. It brings out even the thoughts and intents of the heart. The gospel can reach that deep. It can purify. It can touch. It can heal. It can cut away what is not necessary. Amen? And it can even create a miracle in those areas no side effects. "Bring me a sword". How does that solve everything? Then he says to his man, "Okay, I'm going to cut this child in two". Drop down. "The king says, 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.'" Drop down again. "Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king. She yearned with compassion for her son, and she said, 'O my lord, give her the living child. By no means kill him.'"
The other by now was very angry already. "Let him be neither mine nor yours. Divide him. Yes, good. Obey the king," she said. Now she was angry already. "And the king answered and said, 'Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She's his mother.'" Go on. "And all Israel heard the judgment which the king had rendered, and they feared the king for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice".
Now, I knew there was something more to just a story. Everyone knows the story. So I asked the Lord for it. I said, "Lord, give me wisdom about this". And it took me a few weeks, but when the Lord showed me this, it was amazing because it came from the word, "Divide the living child," all right? "Divide the living child in two. Give half to one and half to the other". There are three parts to this. "Divide the living child. Half to the one, half to the other". And it sounds gross and all that, but I know there's something there. So I look it up in the Hebrew, and in the Hebrew it's very beautiful because I knew that this whole thing has something to do with Jesus. It has something to do with Jesus.
In the Hebrew, it says like this. Reading from right to left, "Wayo'mer hamelek," said the king, "Divide". Guess what? Divide what? Aleph tav. If you're here for some time, y'all know that aleph tav is a signature of Jesus. So in the book of Revelation, he told John, a fellow Hebrew, he has spoken in Aramaic Hebrew. You has said things like, "I am the Alpha and Omega". Our English Bible says that our final word, omega, is the A and Z of the Greek alphabet. But obviously Jesus would not speak Greek to his fellow Jew. He was saying this: "I am the aleph, and I am the tav". The first letter and the last letter, his signature. There are three aleph tav, just like divide the living child. Three portions, and there's an aleph tav, divide the living child.
Now, living child, yalet, you thought divide the baby, right? But in the Hebrew, the word yalet is a generic word used for the young. It can also be used for, in the Old Testament young man. Jesus died as a young man, 33 years old. He died as a young man. He qualifies as a yalet. Yalet is from infant all the way to that age, young man. The word for age itself as for young man, a youth, a teenager is the word naar, and that's why the Bible says and God renews your youth in Psalms 103 doesn't use yalet, it uses naar. God renews your youth like a teenager. That's in the Bible, naar. But here is not naar. It's a generic word. God has his son in mind. "Divide the living child". Where was he divided? At the cross.
When we divide him, there's, one half of him it... dops down to drop down, and give aleph tav again. Half to the one, and aleph tav again to the other. The verb down there is actually a conjunction like your and, and, A-N-D. All right? So forget about that. It's aleph tav. There are three aleph tav in one verse. So it's about the cross, and it's about finding the true nature of things and what is really important. The way to judge things many at times we go by our brains, our reasoning. When there's a problem, we go by our reasoning. All right?
Listen carefully. Solomon went for the heart. He revealed the hearts of the women by saying, "Bring me a sword". It's more important to go for the heart than for the brain. Many at times you reason with people. You talk to them. You reason with them. That's a problem. You're reasoning with them. When they tell you, "I don't believe that". They can quote to you this scientist, that scientist, and what the scientist say, that scientist says. And of course we can also bring our creation scientist as well, but the thing is this. It's brain to brain. Jesus always goes for the heart. Business people go for the heart. The heart is nearer to the wallet. This one is too far away. So even business people got to learn. Amen?
Don't do it for money. You'll be lost. The whole idea here is that love is the paramount thing. Hesed wisdom. It's not just wisdom, it's hesed wisdom, and the true nature of things is revealed when you see love being expressed. Love will lead and guide you. Amen? It's amazing a woman will not let her child die, and there's a love that's greater than the love of mothers. For God so loved the world that he gave. He gave his only begotten son, and some of us slap his hand and say, "I don't need it. I can save myself. I'm good enough. I'm not a sinner. I'm not bad. I'm not that bad". We slap his hand. But God so loved the world that he gave. "Therefore doth my Father loved me because I lay down my life". Are you with me so far?
Now let's go right now to Matthew 10. Wisdom is it for today? Jesus taught us that we'll live in a dangerous world. So he says it like this: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves". Do you know that as believers we are like sheep in the midst of wolves? Do you know that today in the world we live in people will be, like, looking for everything you say, scrutinize everything you do, live almost every stone in your life turned, and they will look for everything they can? They're waiting to pounce. One wrong word... It's the world we live in. The whole world is like that. "That wasn't very politically correct". It's not PC, right? So how do we live in this world? Jesus says, "You are still sheep, but I send you".
You see, it's no accident. We are sent. Send means assignment. Send means there's a purpose. We're not just walking on our own, we are sent in the midst of wolves. Be wise. In your workplace and all that, if you invite people to come to church, make sure it's with wisdom, it's with tact. Make sure it's an invite, and make sure there's someone else to hear your invite so if anything, they force me to go, you can always tell the third person who was there. Use wisdom. "I sent you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves". Jesus actually said be wise like snakes.
Christians need to hear that. Jesus himself said, the first mention of snake wasn't very good. It's because a snake talk. The woman preferred snake talk to God talk and all the earth is fallen because of that. All men, decay, disease, die before their time. Why? Because of snake talk. But the Bible says the snake is the most subtle of all the animals. Now, he's not telling you to lie, he's telling you be subtle, be wise. Be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. What does that mean? You look at a dove, you always sense peaceful. It's not injurious to have a dove. Now, to have an owl, it can turn its head 360 degrees. The last time I watched that, I don't have to tell you. I mean, to have an eagle, he can always claw you. But a dove is always peaceful. It's not injurious.
We are not out to destroy, we are out to love. Be loving as that. But Christians sometimes, you know, they're loving, loving, loving, but they're not wise. Parents, loving, loving, loving, loving, but they're not wise. They're not helping their children. Sometimes the older ones, especially the older ones to face the consequences of your actions. They're always covering up. You cannot do that. They won't grow thanks to you. Sometimes you got to let them have the consequence. The worst thing you can do for the prodigal son was when he was in the pigpen and God was dealing with him and you give him some food. That's the worst thing you can do. He won't return home. The Bible says Paul himself prays this prayer for believers.
Philippians 1:9, "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment". God doesn't want y'all to be loving. He wants your love to abound more and more in knowledge and in all discernment. You got to have hesed wisdom. Not just hesed but wisdom, and wisdom and hesed going together. God wants you to be that way. Amen. Lending money is not a problem, right? People want to borrow money. Always tell yourself, "Am I willing to lose this money"? Don't tell the person, okay? But in your heart, "Am I willing to lose this money"? If you're not willing to lose that money, don't lend. It will destroy relationships. It will destroy close friends. It will destroy relationships for relatives, family members. It's not worth it. If you're not willing to, just say, "I love you, and I treasure our friendship. That's why I won't be lending you because I treasure our friendship". "What friendship? Now we won't have a friendship". Well, that shows you have...
Let me tell you this. Lending money must be done, the Bible says about the blessed man in Psalms 112, it says this, "A good man deals graciously and lends". But notice this. "He will guide his affairs with discretion," With discretion. Don't forget that word. If you are lending, lend with discretion. Look at the entire background. Make sure that when you lend, it's with discretion. Are you listening, people? Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves. Christ has made unto us wisdom from God. Last verse, Christ made unto us what? Wisdom from God, then righteousness, then holiness, then redemption. So anyone boast, let him boast in the Lord.