THINK: What do you really need? And what could you live without? There are lots of things people are convinced they have to have to be happy, healthy, successful and popular. At least that's what the advertising executives try to tell us. Yet, there are very few things we have to have to survive-food and water among them. But do you want to do more than simply survive? Do you want to thrive in the purpose for which you were created? Then you need knowledge, insight, discernment, discretion and the discipline to apply these things. That's what godly wisdom will do for you. To get it, all you have to do is ask God (James 1:5), feed on His Word, and put into practice what He shows you.
RESPOND: How was Solomon able to establish himself firmly over his kingdom (1:1)? How would you have responded if God appeared to you and said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you" (1:7), and why? Why did Solomon ask for wisdom and knowledge (1:10)? Why is wisdom so valuable for God's followers? (See 1:10 note.) How do we gain godly wisdom? Does having wisdom guarantee faithfulness to God? Why or why not? (See 1:12 note.) What do you need to do in order for wisdom to make a real difference in your life? What did Solomon recognize about God's presence regarding the temple (2:6)? Is it necessary to have obvious skills to be involved in the church? Why or why not? (See article on Campus Missions Commitment to Serve, p. 1276 in the FBSE.) How does Solomon's Temple in the Old Testament compare with Christ's temple - the church - of the New Testament? (See 3:1 note.) How does the church fulfill the real purpose of the Old Testament temple? (See 3:1 note, subpoint 8.)
PRAY: Ask God for wisdom to serve Him faithfully and accomplish His plans day by day. Pray for the discipline to put that wisdom into practice. Give God thanks for your church and for making you part of His eternal church.
ACT: Throughout the day, give serious thought to what you would ask God for if you were in Solomon's position. Before bed tonight, or during your prayer time tomorrow, ask God for this thing, and trust Him to give you what's best. Do your best to make wise decisions and to behave wisely in all situations.
THINK: How can a God that's everywhere at all times sometimes feel so far away? When you're feeling down and desperate does it ever seem that He's nowhere to be found - like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Regardless of feelings, God is not off in a far corner of the universe. Whether He answers your prayers the way you expect, He's still developing your character so you can become all He intends you to be. How can you know this? The fact is that God has created for himself a resting place (6:41) - but not in structures built by human hands. If you've accepted God's forgiveness and entrusted your life to Jesus Christ, then "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you" (1 Corinthians 6:19). His powerful presence is always with you, and the peace it brings is yours for the taking.
RESPOND: What are some temples mentioned throughout the history of God's people, relating to His plan of salvation? (See 6:10 note.) What stands out to you about Solomon's temple dedication prayer? With whom does God keep His covenant - His relational life - agreement (6:11)? How do you think Solomon felt as he prayed, "But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!"? (See 6:18 note.) What did Solomon recognize about God's presence? (See 1 Kings 8:13 note.) What requests did Solomon make in his prayer, and why (6:17,19,21,23-25,39)? (See 1 Kings 8:39 note.) What happened after Solomon finished praying, and what was the significance of this occurrence? (See 7:1 note.) How did the people respond to the Lord's presence, and what did they acknowledge about His character (7:3)? When God's people suffer the consequences of abandoning or defying Him, what do they need to do in order to return to God and experience spiritual renewal? (See 7:14 first note.) What does it mean to seek God's face and turn from wicked ways? (See 7:14 first note, subpoints 3 & 4.) What will God do if people humble themselves and turn to Him in this way? (See 7:14 second note.) What kind of healing will God bring in this case? (See 7:14 second note, subpoint 3.)
PRAY: Give thanks for God's constant presence and ask Him to keep you aware of His presence in all situations. Thank Jesus for providing forgiveness for sin. Pray for a powerful spiritual awakening in your school or workplace.
ACT: Go through the day with an intense awareness of God's presence - watching, guiding and empowering all you do. If you've been defying or neglecting God, humble yourself, ask for forgiveness, and commit to pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. Thank Him for spiritual renewal and healing in your life. Make a prayer walk around your school or workplace, praying silently, yet intensely, that God would awaken people to His love and purpose for them.