The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 6:20-35

We complete chapter 6 today by reading Proverbs 6:20-35

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light…

Proverbs 6:23

Think about a lamp for a moment. Take a look at one in your home or on your desk. Turn it off. Let’s compare the symbolism in this proverb to the real thing.

An unlit lamp doesn’t do us much good. It simply sits catching dust. But when we flip the switch allowing the circuit to be opened, a lamp gives light. Helps us to see in dark places.

The law or commandments alone are like a lamp lacking electricity. Alone it can do nothing. When the Holy Spirit switch is turned on in us, the power circuit becomes complete. What was once black and white on a page in a book is now living water, a lamp to our feet, a light to our path.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

Jesus promised the twelve disciples the Holy Spirit would be their teacher after He left.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26

Paul told the church the Spirit teaches us too.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

It is a dangerous thing to approach God’s Word without the Spirit, without His teaching. Because alone it is just law with no power to change, reveal, transform. Let us not forget this as we continue these next few weeks here on the blog.

May we always seek His teaching when we read and study His law.

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The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 6:1-19

Proverbs 6:1-19 reveals seven things the Lord hates. (Click on the link to read the verses.)

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 6:16-19

We begin this week with a list of seven things the Lord hates, considers an abomination.

Haughty eyesA quick search reveals haughty means  blatantly and disdainfully proud: having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior (Merriam-Webster).

A lying tongue…

Hands that shed innocent blood…

A heart that devises wicked plans…

Feet that make haste to run to evil…

A false witness who breathes out lies…

One who sows discord among brothers…

I read the words and find myself convicted. Because I’m guilty of pride and lies and sowing discord at times. The very things God hates, I’ve done.

Don’t get confused. God doesn’t hate the doer, He hates what it does to others… to ourselves. So if you’re like me, feeling convicted by the list, repent. Turn now and choose His way.

For He is humble, truth-full, life giving, and encouraging. He sows peace in the midst of turmoil and runs quickly to all that is good. This is who He is, who He calls us to be.

We can’t do it alone, but in Christ all things are possible.

Lord, thank You for loving me enough to die for the things I’ve done that You hate. Fill me with a love for the same things You love. Amen.

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The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 5

Read the warning in Proverbs 5. (Click on the link to read today’s verses.)

The Hebrew word translated “proverb” is also translated “message” (Nu 23:718), “taunt” (Isa 14:4) and “parable” (Eze 17:2), so its meaning is considerably broader than the English term. Most proverbs are short, compact statements that express truths about human behavior. Often there is repetition of a word or sound that aids memorization. –NIV Study Bible Notes

As we read through Proverbs we must take time to look at each from a literal angle as well as what it says about general human behavior. Proverbs 5 gives us a clear opportunity of how God’s Word still applies to us and our lives whether we are literally committing adultery or not.

Adultery seems to be the focus of this chapter in Proverbs. The consequences of committing adultery, and by the end the instruction is somewhat graphic and very clear.

Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
    be intoxicated always in her love.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
    and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?

Proverbs 5:18-20

We might be tempted to look at this proverb and decide it doesn’t really apply to us. After all we are a faithful spouse. But when we look past the literal meaning of the words, we see a bigger picture.

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
    incline your ear to my understanding,  that you may keep discretion,
    and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil…

Proverbs 5:1-3

We are all sons/daughters of the Most High and His Word warns us. Those things we idolize, put in a place of worship, spend too much time doing… this might just be a “forbidden woman” luring us away and keeping us from making an even deeper commitment to the Holy One.

Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,
 lest you give your honor to others…

Proverbs 5:8-9

Wise counsel is given. Stay far, far away. Don’t go near, because if you don’t go near the door you’ll never get into adultery’s house. The end result of adultery, choosing something other than God, is to give your honor to that something or someone. Ugh! No thank you!

You know how I feel about it. What about you? Are you repulsed by the idea of something or someone getting the honor that belongs to God?

Lord Jesus, as we read through Proverbs, convict me when my heart wanders. I don’t want to give honor to any but You. 

The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 4

Today, we read Proverbs 4. (Click on the link to read the verses.)

My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:20-23

Did you notice where the life springs forth from us?

Keep your heart with all vigilance…

Vigilance. To be alertly watchful especially to avoid danger. (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary) There are many things we humans are vigilant about. Our physical safety for one, our youth to name another. We snap on our seat belts, pass laws about life jackets and speed limits. We apply face creams, change our diets, and sometimes have surgery to remain youthful.

Vigilance is a good thing. I wonder, are we vigilant when it comes to our hearts? Not our physical heart, but our spiritual heart. The combination of our mind, will, and emotion. Are we watching out for anything that might endanger our spiritual hearts’ well being? Do we take precautionary measures to make sure the life flowing from our heart never dries up?

for from it flow the springs of life…

Imagine a spring. Water bubbling up from places down deep, feeding streams and rivers. Providing refreshment for those who would drink from it.

When we are vigilant with our hearts, our souls, keeping watch we too are like a spring offering life to others.

Father God, teach me to be vigilant when it comes to my heart. May nothing hinder the living waters of Your Holy Spirit from flowing within my hear.

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The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 3

More on wisdom in Proverbs 3. (Click on the link to read the chapter.)

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 straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8

It is so easy to trust our own knowledge and understanding. We make assumptions. We presume to know things and our actions reflect what we think we know.

I’m often like my teenage son who looks at me and sometimes says out loud, though not in these exact words, Mom, you just don’t get it or understand. And my favorite, I got this! 

All the while I’m thinking, You don’t have a clue. You’re young, immature, inexperienced. But you will get it. It’s a stage all kids travel through much to the chagrin of their parents.

I wonder if God is thinking the same thing about me when I trust my own knowledge and understanding more than His. When I set my own course of action, do it my way, meander along some curving path which leads right back to where I started. Yeah… I think God just might be rolling His eyes thinking, One day she’ll get it.

One of the wisest decisions I can make is to trust in the Lord more than myself, to lean on His understanding and not my own. It takes humility, the laying down of all I think I know. But when I do, the path is sure to be straight and lead me directly to Him.

What about you? Do you trust yourself more than God? Your education? Your understanding? Where has it led you in the past?

Lord, all understanding and knowledge belong to You. Mine is faulty and full of assumptions based on my own imagination and not on truth. I want to follow Your Way. Direct me with Your infallible understanding and knowledge.

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The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 2

Find out the blessings for those who seek wisdom by reading Proverbs 2. (Click on the link to read the verses.)

I imagine or at least hope you’ve read the words found in Proverbs 2 by now. Here’s your assignment. Go back, read it again, this time making a list or highlighting the blessings those who seek wisdom receive.

Guidance, deliverance, and protection are just a few. Look at your list.

Is there some area you come up short? A word you think, I need more of it!

Guidance, deliverance, protection, understanding, and knowledge are the direct blessings of seeking wisdom from God. So if you want more of this, there’s only one thing left to do.

Ask God for wisdom!

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5 ESV

Father God, bless me with Your wisdom.

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The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 1:20-33

We complete the first chapter of Proverbs today by reading Proverbs 1:20-33. (Click on the link to read the Scriptures.)

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks…

Proverbs 1:20-21

In our culture we’ve created a measuring system for intelligence called intelligence quotient or IQ. Our intelligence quotient changes some during our teen years, but stabilizes as we get older and some studies say it decreases with age.

Wisdom according to these verses is different. Being wise is not a matter of heredity or cultural influence. Wisdom is a gift from God. These verses reveal wisdom is available to all who seek.

Did you notice where wisdom personified calls in these verses?

In the street and market. The city gates.

The street and market represent public places where life is lived and business pursued. The city gates were where legal matters were handled. In other words if we want to make wise choices in life, in business, and legal issues, all we have to do is listen.

How often do we trade God’s wisdom for intelligence or knowledge? With information as close as our fingertips it is easy to rely on research and understanding and forget to simply ask for wisdom.

As we begin this week, let’s consider asking God for wisdom in our homes, businesses, and even legal matters. All we have to do… is listen.

Lord, open my ears to Your wisdom. Teach me to make wise choices in my life.

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The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 1:1-19

Today begins a new season in our journey. We’ve walked together through the Gospels and traveled Beyond the Gospels to complete our reading of the New Testament. From Revelation we went Back to the Beginning and rediscovered Genesis, we Wandered through the Wilderness in Exodus, and sang every Song of Praise in the book of Psalms.

We’re finishing off this season by exploring The Way of Wisdom found in Proverbs, and before we know it Advent will be upon us.

Come on! Let’s get going by reading Proverbs 1:1-19. (Click on the link to read these verses.)

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:2-7

Wisdom… What is it exactly? Merriam-Webster defines wisdom as

  • accumulated philosophical or scientific learning: knowledge
  • ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: insight
  • good sense: judgment
  • a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
  • the teachings of the ancient wise men

Do you consider yourself wise? Are you willing to increase learning, to understand and obtain guidance?

As we begin Proverbs, let’s ask God to reveal His wisdom and understanding to us. Let’s open our hearts wide to the Way of Wisdom.

Lord, prepare my heart to receive Your wisdom.

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 148-150

Today we complete our reading of Psalms with Psalm 148-150. (Click on the link to read God’s Word.)

As we near the end of Psalms the writer continues to use one phrase more and more. It’s as if he wants to make sure all who read know exactly how to end a book, or a season, or even a single day. Praise is the best way to finish what we start.

It’s Wednesday evening as I write this. One of my last official work days as a staff member of this church. I’ll still be around helping those who are continuing the ministry, teaching, and singing, worshiping with my church family. As this day and season come to a close, I feel compelled to write my song of praise.

Praise the Lord!

Praise Him for the preacher who gave me a chance so long ago. For the grace of a congregation who allowed me to take risks and try new things and fail.

Praise the Lord!

Praise Him for those who have given their time to teach and invest in the youth and children in our church and congregation. For kids and youth to teach.

Praise Him all You People!

For the facility we worshiped in for many years and the new one we worship in now. For the leadership of those who worked diligently to get us to this new place.

Praise the Lord!

For the seven plus preachers who I have served under and the staff I’ve been blessed to walk along side. For the times when all seemed right, and the times nothing was going my way.

Praise Him Church!

For love and laughter and babies crying in the sanctuary. For the breaking of bread and wine with the ones I call my church family.

Praise the Lord!

For the setting of the sun and the closing of a season.  For the beautiful opportunity to work and grow and love. For new beginnings and new leaders.

Praise Him all you People! Praise the Lord!

Amen!

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 146-147

Read Psalm 146-147. (Click on the link to read the Scripture.)

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Psalm 147:10-11

Merriam-Webster defines delight as a high degree of satisfaction or pleasure, joy, extreme satisfaction.

God does not find delight, pleasure or satisfaction in the strength of man or beast.

His delight and joy is found in those who fear Him who hope in His steadfast love.

Have you given it any thought? Have you considered if God delights in you? The psalmist spells it out loud and clear. When we fear, revere, worship the One true God, He takes pleasure, extreme satisfaction in us.

When is the last time you dared to hope in nothing but His steadfast love? Now is the time to place your hope in Him and Him alone.

Almighty God: Father, Son, Spirit. I have no hope apart from You. No strength in and of myself with which to please You. Work in me a proper attitude toward You. Fill my heart with delight for You alone. Lord, I want You to delight in me.

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