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The Gift of Discernment

(1 Kings 3:5-10)

Discern: to perceive (be aware of and come to understand with the mind)
to dissect (cut through many layers and examine closely)
to comprehend with insight (to mentally grasp the inner/real nature or character)

Man’s discernment vs. God’s discernment

Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7, John 7:24)

Receiving God’s gift of discernment requires a humble and obedient heart

Solomon’s request was that God give

his servant
a discerning/obedient/(literally ”hearing”) heart
to govern/judge God’s people
and to distinguish between right and wrong/good and bad (1 Kings 3:9)

(Note: 1 Chron. 1:10 describes the request as one for wisdom and knowledge)

God granted Solomon a “wise and understanding heart” and much more besides (1
Kings 3:12-14)

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds
in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your
heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes
down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition
exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then
peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without
hypocrisy. (James 3:13-17)

Why should we seek discernment?

As a safeguard (Proverbs 2:10-11, Ephesians 5:15-17)

For the sake of our families (Proverbs 24:3)

To find joy, peace and prosperity in life (Proverbs 3:13-18)

How can we obtain discernment?

God Himself gives discernment


“For Jehovah Himself gives wisdom, out of his mouth there is knowledge and
discernment.”(Proverbs 2:6) (Contrast: Deut. 29:2-4, Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:10-17,
God can also withhold discernment)

Through Prayer

“So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God for he gives
generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him.”(James 1:5, see also
Colossians 1:9-10)

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his
will, he heareth us:" (1 John 5:14) God delights in giving us things He wants us to have!

Through God’s Word

By giving “constant thought” to the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:7) and using it as a
“sword” to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12-13)

The very purpose of the Book of Proverbs is to give wisdom, understanding, discipline
and discernment (Proverbs 1:1-4)

Through God’s Holy Spirit

Jesus said to his disciples, "I will not leave you orphans; I will not leave you alone. If I go away I
will send another Comforter to you and he will guide you into all the truth. He will take of the
things of mine and show them unto you, and he will say to you the things that I have not been able
to say," (John 14:16-18)

God has revealed to us [these things] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the
depths of God. For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in
him. So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have
received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the
gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom, but taught
by the Spirit, interpreting (literally “fitting together”) spiritual truths to those who possess the
Spirit. (1 Cor 2:10-13)