Archive for November 22nd, 2012

Proverbs 3

Proverbs 3 is full of wisdom and promises.  Solomon starts by reminding us that God’s truth is so very important.  “Do not forget my teaching….let your heart keep my commandments”.  We need to know God’s truth, but then we need to live it.  Why?  He tells us:

–       “length of days

–       years of life

–       peace

Not a bad set of outcomes.  Living God’s way yields some significant outcomes.

But it is more than head knowledge that Solomon talks about here.  “Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart”.  God’s Word needs to be part of us.  It needs to be tied to us.  We need to carry it with us wherever we go.  Now we can get a small Bible and always have it with us.  We can have scripture loaded on our smartphone or tablet so it is always at our fingertips.  But that is not like having it bound to us or written on our heart.  We need to memorize God’s Word and meditate on it.  We need it near us all the time.

Solomon pens a couple of the greatest verses in all of scripture about God and His direction for our lives in this 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”.  Read that again, and think about what it says.  Straight paths begin with trusting God.  Not a little bit, but with all our heart.  Do you really trust Him?  With all your heart?  Then it moves to putting aside our own thinking and leaning on His.  This is where we often fall down.  I’ll trust God, but will lean on what I think is the right course of action.  I’ll ask God to bless what I want to do.  That isn’t the key to straight paths.  It comes down to doing what He says and going where He leads without regard to what I think.  Third key is to always acknowledge Him.  When things go well, we don’t take credit but give it to God.  When we have a great day or do something awesome – it isn’t about us but Him.  When we hear His whisper we don’t shun it because we have things under control.  We acknowledge Him in everything we do.  He is with us all the way.  IF those three things are in place, THEN scripture says He will make straight your paths.  Trust….lean…..acknowledge – then comes straight.

There is another promise not far behind the straight paths.  “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine”.  Struggle with giving?  This promise should take care of that.  If we give, then He gives more, lots more.  Not just in return but plenty….bursting at the seams.  God wants us to share from the bounty He provides to us.  It is part of God’s economy.  When we give, then He is able to open the goodness of heaven to us so we can give more!

Solomon reminds us that not everything will be perfect.  God will need to correct us because we will go astray.  But that is not a bad thing, even though it doesn’t feel very good going through it.  “Do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof….the Lord reproves him whom he loves”.  Reminds me of the line I heard from my parents when I was out of line.  This is for your own good.  If God isn’t working on you – maybe you’ve stepped away from His love?  He is in the business of making us holy and godly.  That means He has to clean some things out of our lives.  But with the disciple comes a promise, and these are the kinds of things that result:

–       “wisdom

–       Understanding

–       Long life

–       riches and honor

–       pleasantness

–       peace

–       tree of life

–       blessed

We often try to run when we are punished.  But God has to clean the dross out of our lives.  He is in the business of making us like Himself.  We need to cling to the goodness that will result after we endure His correction!

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