My friend was having a time of devotion and Bible reading the other day while longing for ways to pray for a particular loved one. During the course of reading the scriptures that she studies in a pre-determined manner, not just thumbing through and picking out a daily read, she came upon the answer in First Chronicles.
She knew it was perfect for the person and situation. In several verses in chapter 22 David is preparing his son Solomon to build the temple. He gives reasons why he cannot do this job and how his son should proceed. David reminded Solomon that God had chosen him to do the job and while at it, he would rule in peace, and so David told Solomon to be confident, determined, and not to be afraid, to use the wisdom and understanding God provides.
The scripture that grabbed my friend’s attention was chapter 22 verse 12a. The “Living Word” jumped off the pages and into her heart, as it so often does when you are reading with a searching mind. So, her prayer was started and concluded in this short phrase, “May the LORD give you discretion and understanding” as read in NIV. It is a prayer I have prayed almost daily for my family and myself. This is scripture, in part, portraying the act of intimate intercession, and countless children of God have prayed these words through the millenniums since God put it in David’s heart and passed it through his lips to bless his son, Solomon.
I have a fondness for words. To me, they are not just flat letters, or squiggles, they have layers of sound, meaning and emotions. They are fleshed out and reflect hurts, healing, joy and so much more within the arrangement of vowels and constants. I love to study scriptures in the many trusted versions that exist today. A nuance (the use or awareness of subtle shades of meaning or feeling) in the use of a word that keeps the true and original meaning may expand my thinking about the subject and provide me a time of deep study. It takes me on a journey to dig into the full and complete meaning of the precious and holy word.
Here are several versions of the reading in First Chronicles and the way in which they speak to me:
In the Holman Christian Standard, it is stated this way, “Above all, may the Lord give you insight and understanding.” “Above all,” of most importance… “Insight, and understanding,” speaks to me of the ability to look deep within a person, situation, or qualities and see with clarity through God’s eyes.
Reading King James I find this: “Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding.” I will go “only” to the Lord concerning this need in my life.
New International Readers says, “May the LORD give you good sense. May he give you understanding.” This seems to imply that there is secondary emphasis on the word “may,” that even in this request we are expected to ask God’s permission. He certainly wants us to have wisdom, but even more, He wants us to recognize His preeminence.
Then there is the Message, it states: “And may God also give you discernment and understanding.” “Discernment,” the thought I have concerning this is “purposely” thinking through, and “recognizing” truth because it has been confirmed with that inner sure sight God gives to His own who ask for it.
I think this is my favorite, I found it in the English Standard Version: “Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding.” I love the word “grant”, it has the connotation of “bestowing” a “gift”, a “blessing”, a “special” thing. Being gifted by my Heavenly Father with His wisdom and understanding brings me desire for others to know and experience this holy characteristic of God.
The desire to know God fully and love Him completely is to gain wisdom and understanding. Do I have it every day? No! Do I have it available every day? Yes! These words in this section of Chronicles could be world changing if prayed personally for Christians daily. Imagine the faith that would result… mountains would move!