We have all heard of the wisdom of Solomon, such as the method used to determine the parent of a child (1 Kings 3:16-27). Solomon had received this wisdom when the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The Lord told Solomon to ask what should be given to him. Solomon told the Lord that he was like a little child. He said that he did not even know how to go out or come in (1 Kings 3:5-9). It is interesting that the wisdom that Solomon asked for was related to judging between good and evil (1 Kings 3:9). God was pleased with Solomon’s request and gave him wisdom so that there were none like him either before or after (1 Kings 3:12).
Surprisingly, even with all his wisdom Solomon still made foolish decisions. Perhaps it is partly because he had started down that road before God appeared to him in the dream. In 1 Kings 3:1 we read that Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh King of Egypt and married his daughter. In 3:3 we read that he sacrificed and burned incense in the high places. However, Solomon continued to do these things long after he was given wisdom. In 1 Kings 11:1-8 we read of Solomon’s many wives and how they turned his heart after other gods. Solomon had all that wisdom, but still made poor choices.
Is it possible for us to be wiser than Solomon? Jesus said that the wise man is the one that hears his sayings and does them (Matt. 7:24). Therefore, we have the opportunity to choose more wisely than Solomon. We have the mystery of the gospel made known to us in the Scriptures (Rom. 16:25-27). All we have to do is let God’s word guide our lives (Psalm 119:105).
Everyone wants to know what heaven will be like. It is one of those questions that sparks our thoughts and imagination. Countless books, movies, and television shows have tried to answer this question with their own spin. Many times heaven has been pictured with people walking on clouds, and men in white robes. At other times it has been depicted as a place where the pleasure of our imagination is fulfilled. In this case heaven becomes a place where each individual’s thoughts of pleasure come to life. For a long time this was one of my personal favorites. After all, the Bible seems to describe heaven as a place just beyond the imagination.
Heaven is described as a place of rest (Heb. 4:9-11). It is described as a place where there will be no more tears, pain, sorrow, or death (Rev. 21:1-4). John physically described it as a place where the gates were twelve pearls, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass (Rev. 21:21). There was a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). There was no need for lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light (Rev. 22:5). We know that the Book of Revelation is full of signs, and symbols, but I believe that we are supposed to understand heaven as a place of unimaginable beauty.
I have given you the common things that are considered when giving a Biblical description of heaven. Now I want to give you a few to think about that are not so commonly considered. John gives several other pictures of heaven that are found throughout the Book of Revelation. For instance in chapter four John gives us a throne room scene where the living creatures and the twenty-four elders are pictured offering constant worship to God (Rev. 4:6-11). In chapter five the same are pictured again this time offering worship to the Lamb (Rev. 5:8-10). In verse eleven the voice of many angels joins in the praise and in verse thirteen every creature in heaven and on earth join. In chapter seven a great multitude is pictured offering praise to God and to the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-12). Again in chapter fourteen, praise is being offered through a new song (Rev. 14:3). John pictures praise being offered to God again in Revelation 15:3-4; 16:5-7; and 19:1-8.
If we are going to make anything of what is said of heaven in the Book of Revelation it is hard to miss all the worship that is taking place. Perhaps, that is exactly what heaven will be like, a place where people are found in the presence of God worshipping him for eternity. If this place does not sound like heaven to you then you probably need to take an evaluation of your life. What is most important to you? Are you really living your life for God? Is the reward of being with God enough for you, or are you hoping for something else? If you have difficulty worshipping God in this life how will you be prepared for heaven? Jesus said that the thing that God wants the most is for us to love him with all our heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37). If this is true of you then being in God’s presence will be enough.
Moses and Joshua were two great leaders during the Old Testament days. Moses led and interceded for the Israelites for over forty years. Moses death is recorded near the end of the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 34). He led the people out of Egypt and during their years of wilderness wandering, but now he is gone. The late Johnny Ramsey said that one of the saddest statements in the Bible is found in Joshua chapter one, “Moses my servant is dead (Josh. 1:2a).” Moses had done a great deal for Israel, and he would be missed. However, Joshua is their leader now, and his passing proved to be even sadder.
Joshua was such a great leader that it is said that the children of Israel served God all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which he had done for Israel (Josh. 24:31). What other man in the Old Testament had such a great influence? In the book of Judges we find out how serious this loss was. The conclusion is given in Judges Chapter two. Judges 2:7-10 retells the death of Joshua, and verses 11-23 tell us that the Israelites turned away from God and worshipped false gods and provoked God to anger against them. It would be about 450 years before another great leader would arise in Israel (Acts 13:20). Truly, the work that Joshua did was missed.
We probably are not going to be a leader on the level of Joshua or Moses, but there is work that each of us can do (1 Cor. 12:15-26). Ask yourself this question, “If I was to die today, or to simply leave the church, would the work that I do be missed?” Would someone need to be recruited to pick up the load that you carry? Would a Bible class be missing a teacher or a correspondence course left in need of being returned. If the honest answer is no, then you have some work to do (pun intended).
God has given us his absolute best by giving his son to die in our place (John 3:16). He must truly love us with all of his heart. That is what he asks of us in return (Matt. 22:37). If you claim to love God, yet you don’t even do enough work to be missed you need to make some changes. If you go to work for God out of love it will not be a burden. It will truly be a blessing.
I think just about every radio station in the country has some type of spot where they tell about dumb crooks or crimes. If I am not mistaken there is even a television show called America’s Dumbest Criminals. These shows and stories are usually based on the actions of criminals who were either bound to get caught, or they did something to harm themselves in the process of their crime. I just heard one this week where the man stole a radio, and was arrested when he returned thirty minutes later to get the remote that he forgot. Many of these criminals will look directly at a camera, or do a very poor job of concealing their identity.
This “dumb crook” mentality is something that is also found in small children. Children assume that when their parents are not looking they can do things of which they know that their parents would not approve. The smallest of children can often be easily caught in their transgression. I have a clear picture in my mind of a child peeping out from their hiding place to see if their parents are watching. Much to the surprise of the child the parents are usually able to figure out what is happening.
God must think that many of us are “dumb crooks,” or perhaps he wonders if we will ever grow up. An honest person will admit that at times in their life they have acted in ways that they should not have because “no one” was watching. In fact there are some who likely follow this path on a regular basis. This person puts on the disguise of a Christian on Sunday and Wednesday, but when “no one” is looking they behave in a completely different manner. Much to our surprise, “someone” is always looking.
The Bible describes God in ways that are nearly beyond our imagination. He is eternal, all powerful, all knowing, and always present. At least two of these attributes should tell us that he always knows what we are doing. There is no curtain big enough for us to hide behind to prevent God from seeing. The Hebrew’s writer describes it this way, “And there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Heb. 4:13).” Near the end of his life the aged King David warned Solomon that God is able to search the heart and understand the intent of the thoughts (1 Chron. 28:9).
We can be certain that every transgression we commit will be recorded. It may not be our face in a picture or on a surveillance video, but it will be recorded. In the Book of Revelation John records that he saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and they were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books (Rev. 20:12). Therefore, we can be certain that our actions are recorded. Yes, God is forgiving and merciful, but we should remind ourselves that he is always watching. If we wear the name of his son we should live accordingly.