Wednesday, July 7, 2010
It's 8 a.m. and guess what? I'm the only one up. That's right, after our children woke up early and crawled into the queen sized bed thereby crowding me out, they fell back asleep. I opened my Bible to read today's chapter in Proverbs, but I wanted to go back and reflect a little bit on what I have read so far, especially in chapters 3 and 4.
Proverbs 3 begins "My son, do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity." God tells me that if I listen to His teachings and keep them in my heart, a very personal and special part of me, I will live longer. My study notes tell me fear of the Lord brings health to your body.
Verse 3 "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." This made me think of making them into a beautiful necklace, perhaps a locket that you wear around your neck to remember something or Someone important and beautiful.
Verses 5 & 6 are among old favorites of mine, quoted often, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." If I serve God willingly, with a faithful heart, He will remove the obtacles from my paths and clear the way for me to continue serving Him. When things seem impossible, He will be there to make them possible. I think that sometimes, God makes things seem hopeless and we feel frustrated and defeated because He wants us to remember that we can't do it by our own power and might, but only through Him and His grace. That is where the trust comes in. Trusting God with all my heart is sometimes difficult when all seems lost, but God and I have a pretty good track record if I will wait and allow Him to work things out for His good.
7-10 "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the Lord with the firstfruits of all our crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine." We are called to give the Lord what is His, through tithes and offerings, the firstfruits ~ we give to Him right off the top, from the best of what we have. When we do that, God will bless us beyond measure and our cups will overflow.
11-12 "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father the son he delights in." This became easier to understand once I had my own children. God disciplines us for our own good. There are times that we have to discipline our children because face it, I don't want my chidren to grow up to be brats or worse, bad people. Sometimes my own behavior must seem pretty bratty to God as I clench my fists and cry out for my own way. I have thrown my share of hissy fits in my time and I'm not proud of them. I also don't like the discipline that can come with them. It's painful, but God is my Abba, my Daddy God and He loves me enough to discipline me and make me straighten up my attitude ~ a little attitude adjustment, if you will.
There is so much good in this chapter, he talks about the importance of having wisdom and understanding. He says "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her (v. 13-15).
I am going to skip down to v 21-26 "My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared." When we keep God's wisdom in our heart we gain understanding and are able to exercise good judgement and discernment in our lives. These are all gifts from the Lord if we will keep our hearts in tune with Him and His will for our lives.
How do we do that? By continuing to do all of the things that bring us closer to God's heart...reading the scriptures, praying, asking God to help bring our lives in line with His plan for us.