Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The kind of wisdom The
Proverbs speaks to from the beginning of the book is not a human wisdom
apart from someone who does not know God or who does not live in what is called
“the fear of God”—for “The fear of
the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7a). The book introduces a
wisdom completely different from one who is just simply “worldly-wise”. The introduction makes it clear that the
wisdom it speaks to is first a wisdom from above, making it a wisdom that
responds and acts like God in matters of behavior, righteousness, justice and
equity (1:3), but in human skin. This
person, knowing full well their human limitations, does not treat this divine
wisdom with a self-righteous attitude or as a “know-it-all”, but with a spirit
of humility as a learner: “A wise man will hear and increase in
learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a
proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles” (1:5-6). This person has chosen the path less traveled
and has determined that this wisdom from above would be their constant compass
in life, permeating everything they are and do, spilling out in the clear,
living colors of God’s character in this dark world. Only a “fool”, as the Proverbs mostly
describe such a person, would resist this kind of character, for “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7b). This contrast, between the wise and the fool,
is a theme contrast throughout the book. What a contrast! They are completely opposite,
and diametrically opposed to each other in life and death and, though we may not
care for labels, this is the way God has chosen to label us throughout the book
of Proverbs. “FOOL” is not something I
would want to carry around both in life or in death. But I can live (really live) with the word “WISE,
and, in fact, I can die with it. It
looks good on a person, both in life and death.
And wouldn’t that look good on a tombstone? Even in death, it would speak volumes. But only because “Wisdom” made you look good. It always will. That’s a promise!
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
The Song of Solomon is not a book that is discussed much in church settings. If we were to read it in a group gathering, it has portions that might make one blush. But isn't it interesting that such a book, with expressions of deep sexual intimacy between a man and a woman, would be found, not only smack-dab in the middle of our Bible, but in the Bible at all? Why would this be? Might I suggest that, though it certainly can, more than speaking to a type of intimacy we can have with Christ (as some point to), this is speaking quite plainly to an intimacy God planned for man and woman to have in the safe and satisfying experience of a husband and wife relationship. The Song of Solomon is God's song of delightful, pure love, as he intended it to be. Verse one of chapter one speaks of this as "The Song of Songs". Love beats lust every time. No matter how much one tries to satisfy the flesh, without real love, it’s sick and sad. It doesn't hold a candle to the joy, delight and thrill of one true, sacred love. This is just like God, to bring into our lives the greatest delight of life—the pure love of one man for one woman, and one woman for one man. Consider the language of this love between a bride and groom: “We will rejoice in you and be glad; we will extol your love more than wine” (1:4b). “He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love… Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me” (2:4, 6). In the secret place…let me see your form, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your form is lovely… My beloved is mine, and I am his” (2:14, 16). “You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes… How beautiful is your love…my bride” (4:9, 10). “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (6:3). “How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms! …I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me” (7:6, 10). “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” (8:6-7). We all know it ought to be this way! Oh! That we would know it can be this way! In a world gone amuck with sexual promiscuity and perversion, the Christian couple is a striking testimony of a better promise! Christian husband and wife, this kind of language, this kind of song, should arouse in us all of the love firmly expressed in our commitment to one another from the beginning, pouring out into all of the love tenderly expressed in our intimacy with one another in the present. Renew the delight!
Monday, October 28, 2013
Can anyone deny that peace is the most sought after experience in the world yet the most elusive experience in the world? One of the strongest drives known to humanity is the desire for peace in the inner being. What this peace is in each of our minds, and what we consider to bring peace, has been either the making or undoing of peace in our lives.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
As I travel to various places, one thing I try not to forget is a flashlight. I've gotten caught in situations where there was no power for light and, in some of these places, the utter darkness in a house or on a path, can be overwhelming, smothering and frightening. It actually doesn't have to be a very big flashlight. In the darkness, light is alive no matter the size. Sometimes, as you walk down a dark and lonesome path of life's difficulties, that want to overwhelm, smother and frighten, one little promise from God's word can be the light you need to take another step forward. As with the comfort of a small flashlight in my pocket, I am thankful for the comfort of the small promises of God's word in my soul. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." These promises aren't to be treated like a good luck charm, such a rabbit's foot in the pocket. If that's what they become to us, we are no different than the pagan lost in his own superstitions, believing that everything has to do with fortune, and that , if we play our cards right, we have a better chance with life's twists and turns. God's promises have nothing to do with fortune. They have everything to do with favor. The man or woman walking with God with all their heart is like a little child who depends and delights in his parents joyful and present care. This child responds to his parents in loving obedience, which keeps the child close and covered. This parent doesn't have to scream at the child to keep him from wandering onto the street. All the parent has to do is speak to the child, and the child quickly and quietly responds, thus protecting him from the dangers of the street. It's in this sense that the Psalmist says, "I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances." This wasn't something forced on him. This, he knew, was the safety of God's favor toward him and he responds to it. There is nothing like the favor of God on your life. This is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Walk in it with all your heart. It will lead you home safely.