1 Kings 8:61

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1Kings 8:61

“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” – 1Kings 8:61  

1 Kings 8 is an account of the ark of the covenant being placed into the temple which had just been completed.  In the following verses we read,

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the city of David, which is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.”  1 Kings 8:1-2.

After this, an enormous number of sacrifices were made to God, so many that they could not be adequately counted.

And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered.” 1 Kings 8:5.

After this, the priests alone brought these into the inner sanctuary of the tempe, also known as the Holy of Holies. And it is important to note that there was nothing in the Ark except the two stones which Moses placed at Horeb when they came out of Egypt.

Next, he offered a prayer to the Lord asking that any requests given earnestly and humbly by Israelites or strangers would be accepted by God.  This is a prayer of dedication, which is found in 1 Kings 8:22-53. At the end of this prayer, Solomon asks for God’s blessing over the people of Israel plus an exhortation for them as well.  This exhortation is the focus of our verse today, which is as relevant to us today as it was for the Israelites back then.

First, let us look at verses 57-60.

May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers. And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:57-60.

The first part asks of God that He would be with them, as He was with their fathers. God promised to be with Israel, but Solomon knew it was important to ask God to fulfill His promise. He comes pleading the promises of God. And he made this plea so that not only the Israelites, but all the people of the earth may know and understand that the Lord their God is the true God, and that there is no other God but the true God of Israel. Solomon shows the missionary desire that was often neglected and desired in Israel. Blessing to Israel wasn’t meant to end with Israel; God wanted to bless the world through Israel.

Next, we come to our focus verse.

Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61.

Solomon was asking that His people would walk in God’s statutes, always striving to keep His commandments. He urges them to let their hearts be fully committed to the Lord. And this should be our focus and desire as well. Our obedience should be universal such that we keep all of His commandments and not just those we choose to. With this, I say His desires should take infinite precedence over our own.   All that we do, or think should follow the idea that He is supreme, and we are not.  We should not be divided in our loyalties.  We should be totally devoted to God in our ways and submissive to His commands. Jesus takes these two points in Solomon’s prayer and merges them into one concise statement.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

As always with Jesus, His position on this could not be clearer. If we love God, our goal will be to keep His commandment and follow His ways. And if we do not keep His commandments, then we must ask ourselves, do we truly love Him?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Proverbs 9:10

Verse of the Day: Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10

I want to start this by letting Solomon himself declare why these writings are so important. “To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice, and integrity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise person will hear and increase in learning, And a person of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a saying, The words of the wise and their riddles.” Proverbs 1:2-6. And then he wraps up these verses into one. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.

Now, one more thing we need to understand is the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge, in itself, is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts. An example of this would be a list of holidays or family members or how much money we currently have. But wisdom goes well beyond this, being the ability to see people, events, things, and situations as God sees them. Throughout this book, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations as well. As we read it, we see no topic escaped King Solomon’s attention. These include, but not limited to,  personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and Godliness.

Now let’s look at what the Psalmist says about this. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; All those who follow His commandments have a good understanding; His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10. The verses before this in Psalm 111 speak of the great works of the Lord. “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them. Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonders to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and compassionate. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are trustworthy. They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. Psalm 111:1-9.

Now, the theme of wisdom and its necessity in our lives finds its fulfillment in Christ. We are continually exhorted in Proverbs to seek wisdom, get wisdom, and understand wisdom. It also tells us several times that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our fear of the Lord’s wrath and justice is what drives us to Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s wisdom as expressed in His glorious plan of redemption for mankind. We read in Colossians that  “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have in your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and that they would attain to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3. We receive a full understanding of true knowledge and wisdom, which is found in Christ. And in another verse we read,  “But it is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written: “LET THE ONE WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

The wisdom that is found only in Christ is in contrast to the foolishness of the world which encourages us to be wise in our own eyes. But Proverbs also tells us that the world’s wisdom is not God’s way. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7. but actually leads only to death “There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12. Wisdom comes to us when we fear the Lord, not in being afraid in a phobic way, but an awe and reverential fear as we really think about God; His greatness, His power, who He is, just that awe that comes over us when we desire to do what God would have us do. As Pastor Chuck Smith once said, “Love what God loves. Hate what God hates. Have that desire recognizing who God is. To seek to please Him, that’s what the fear of the Lord is about. That’s the beginning of wisdom.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Proverbs 9:10

Verse of the Day: Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10

This verse in Proverbs tells us where true wisdom and knowledge come from.  Many think wisdom comes from the very wisest in our society, and that knowledge comes from schooling.  This may be true; however, they are not the ultimate sources.  Let’s look at what this verse says from one of the wisest and most knowledgeable men that ever lived, Solomon.

First, wisdom starts by fearing the Lord.  The word fear in this context means respect and reverence. True wisdom comes through the reverence of the true God, honoring and praising Him for who He truly is, not who or what we think or what Him to be, such as a figment of our imagination.  For true wisdom comes through belief and the holding firm in real reality, not in trying to create a false reality.

Understanding comes through knowing and seeking the source of this actual reality, one who knows the end from the beginning, who is infinite and has never not existed, and who knows everything.  When we seek knowledge, do we go to someone who might know, or do we choose someone who truly knows?  I go to the latter, God. He will provide wisdom and the knowledge that leads to understanding to anyone who seeks Him.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Verse of the Day: Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

This is a crucial verse to practice on a moment-by-moment basis.  The question it brings up is, do you trust in God regarding everything?  And if you say yes, the next question is, are there times when you revert to trusting yourself or anything else besides God?

God knows all things, understands all situations, knows the end from the beginning, has only our best in mind.  He loves us with an everlasting love, He never leaves our side, in fact, as Christians he is in us by way of the Holy Spirit.  He is everywhere throughout the entire universe at once, so there is no place we can go where God is absent.  Moreover, He can speak and interact with everyone and everything at the same time.  Can you say the same about anyone or anything else?  I cannot, and I would guess you cannot either.

This is the reason Solomon said that we must trust God with our whole heart and not trust in ours or any other’s judgement or advise.  If we do, then He will guide and lead us where He knows it is best for us and others.   To trust another is not wisdom and shows a lack of knowledge of the reality of God and His great and eternal love.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Nahum 1:7

Verse of the Day: Nahum 1:7

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” – Nahum 1:7

This is another verse that speaks of the Lord watching out for His own.  However, those who are enemies of His or His own He will address.  Look at verses 2-3.  “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.  The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. “These verses show that He will not quickly become angry, however, if they do not turn to Him, they will suffer great consequences.

We who are His children, will be protected.  He watches over us and when we find ourselves in trouble, He is our stronghold.  Think of a great fortress where evil people are doing all they can to get to us, yet we are inside with no fear; knowing they cannot get to us.  When the enemy comes against us, having placed our whole life in His hands, he will never reach us for the Lord is our stronghold and fortress.  Always remember, when the enemy comes against us, we will overcome through the power of God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 113:2-3

Verse of the Day: Psalm 113:2-3

“Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting.  The name of the LORD is to be praised.” – Psalm 113:2-3 

I absolutely love these verses.  They cover times and places regarding the praises of God.  We are to praise Him without ceasing.  Verse two says we are to praise God starting now and continue forever.  Note the wording ‘from this time forth and forever.’  We are always to praise God.   We can praise Him with our voice, we can praise Him by our deeds. We can praise Him in our sharing of Him to the lost, we can praise Him in our encouraging of the brethren.  We praise Him when we trust in Him completely.  Living our lives in complete and total submission to God is an act of praise and worship.

Verse three addresses where we are to praise Him.  In the Hebrew, the intent of the phrase ‘from the rising of the sun’ denotes anything to the east of our position, for the sun rises in the east.  In the same way, the intent of the phrase ‘to its setting’ denotes anything to the west of our position, for the sun sets in the west.  And because the earth is round and if you continue to travel to the east, you will arrive at the same place from the west, and vice-versa, it covers our current position as well.

The main idea of these two verses is clear.  God is to be praised always and in all places.  The apostle Paul said it as clearly as it can be.  “Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.  By giving God the glory, we are giving Him our praise as well.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 34:18

Verse of the Day: Psalm 34:18

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – 34:18

This is an encouraging verse.  The Lord will always be by our side when we are heartbroken.  We all experience these times.  And they are difficult times.

The idea of broken hearted is pressed and weighed down with afflictions, by intense sorrow.  So, during these times, we can trust that we are never alone.  The language is figurative.  As an omnipresent being, God is always equally near to all persons.  In fact, He is everywhere at the same time.  So, the idea is He is always with us.  Jeremiah put it like this, “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?  Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:23-24.

We serve a God who is always near and attentive to us.  He knows everything we do, think, and what we are going through.  And He loves us with a love that is so great it is incomprehensible.  Take comfort in this, for we can always cry out to Him and He is there to comfort us and help us through.  And trust Him that he is faithful to us.

Two more verses that is a comfort to me.  “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 and “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.” Psalm 46:11

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Genesis 15:6

Verse of the Day: Genesis 15:6

“Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:6

Abram was told by God not to be afraid for He would shield Him.  Moreover, Abram would be given a great reward.  However, Abram responded to God with by asking “What will you give me, for I am childless, and my heir will be Eliezer my servant.  (In nomadic tribes, if a man was childless, his heir was his chief servant).  Then we read in verse 4, “Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, ‘This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.’”  Then He tells Abram that if He could count the stars, that would be the number of his descendants.

What is amazing about this story is that Abram was somewhere between 75 and 85 years old, while Sara would have been between 65 and 75 years old, long after the age of childbearing.  However, as we see in our focus verse, Abram believed God, and because he believed, God declared Abram righteous.

There are two things we can glean from this.  First, God can do anything no matter how impossible it may look to be.  If God promises us something, it will come to pass.  There is no doubt.  So, you can look at the promises of God throughout the scriptures and know that they can and will be done.   And second, this is a beautiful picture of the gospel.  If we truly believe that Christ died, was buried and then rose again for us, then our salvation is sure.  Note Jesus’ words in John’s gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16  Do you truly believe?  If so, then God has declared you righteous.  Rejoice!

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Philippians 4:4

Verse of the Day: Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4 

Of all people, we Christians have the most to rejoice in.  Paul, in this letter to the Philippians lays out one, and the most important reason.  That being the Lord Jesus Himself.

Everything that happens to us and for us is a reason to rejoice.  When we are blessed with something wonderful, or we are going through afflictions that He brings us through.  When our needs are met, when we have a want fulfilled, when we are in good health, it is a time to rejoice.  Every moment of every day, we have a reason.

However, let us never forget the greatest thing that ever happened to us.  Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ the Son of God came down in the form of a man and died for us that the penalty for our sins could be paid and we could be declared righteous.  And this happens when we accept this work and devote our lives completely to Him.

Due to this finished work of Christ and our acceptance of it, we have a wonderful, loving, glorious and intimate relationship with the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6).  This relationship is beyond anything we can experience with anyone else.  And the beauty of this is, this incredible relationship will never end.  And when these days are over and the new heaven and earth have come, we shall hear these words, “… Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3b-4.

There is no greater reason to rejoice then our great God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

2 Peter 3:9

Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9 

Peter here is answering a question coming from those who are mocking the Christians, in this case focusing on those who state the following, “and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:4.  You can hear the mocking attitude in these statements.  ‘You keep saying He’s coming, but where is He?’ they might say.

However, Peter answers this with verse 8.  “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” 2 Peter 3:8.  Time has no effect on God.  He is eternal, both past and future.  Because of this, a day is like a millennium and vice-versa.  In fact, He resides outside of time, for time does not exist outside of this created universe.

In the focus verse, Peter is saying that God is not slow concerning His promises.  He is not delaying anything.  He will come back at the appointed time.  He is patient toward us.  He is slow to bring the punishment because this shows proof that He desires all to come to repentance.  He is not rushing His return but giving enough time for all to be saved.  Men will not have any excuse.  This shows His loving kindness.  He knows the end from the beginning, but His slowness is a sign to us.

God does not want any to be condemned and thereby perish.  He loves us too much.  He gives everyone the opportunity.  It is up to us to accept Jesus’s work providing justification.  He gives us all the time we need.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.