Today I started my devotional study of the OT book of Proverbs, and I’ve decided to post what the Lord has placed on my heart regarding the matters in the scripture.
Proverbs Chapter 1 Notes
v. 10-19 — A Warning Against Peer-Pressure —
These nine verses warn against the temptations of our sinful peers. The example mugging someone (which is a bit of an extreme example in my opinion) is used here to illustrate the ways in which we may be tempted by our friends in order to gain indulgences for ourselves; “we will get all sorts of valuable things for ourselves and fill our houses with plunder…” [v. 13 NIV]. However the principle behind this parable is quite simple: Don’t give into those who attempt to drag you into sin; instead, resist, for you a child of God and are called to be pure and righteous in all things, and those who tempt you are agents of the Enemy.
v. 20-33 — Do Not Reject Wisdom —
Solomon writes of how the Lord calls to his foolish people who prefer to remain complacent and idle, not hearing the very voice of God crying out to bless them [v. 23 NIV] (this also is an example of God’s CONSISTENT love throughout both Old and New Testaments, but that’s another issue for another day). While these proverbs were written for the pre/postexilic Israelites and Jews these verses reflect, strongly, the Church. God calls us to maturity in heart, mind, and spirit [Hebrews 6:1-3] but we remain, stubbornly, in our own filth rather than allowing God to bestow upon us the fifts and skills we need to fulfill our purposes in this world.
How many times do we pray to God, asking (more like demanding) Him to give us what we want or what we feel we need. He’s flippin’ God! He knows what we need, and yes he wants us to pray to him, but prayer is conversing with the Almighty. This said we need to re-evaluate our relationship with God. Maturity is not a choice but a command. The Church is the bride of Christ, and how many married couples do you know of who don’t grow together and mature in their relationship together? It seems to me that too often we tend to view our relationship with God as somehow different from any other relationship in our lives. In a way it is; God by His very nature is different from us, but he is our Father, Lover, and Friend, and so what is stopping us from growing deeper in our relationship? Answer: Our own selfish desires to enjoy the things we’ve always enjoyed. I believe we don’t grow with God because we feel like it’s too hard, or time-consuming (which it is because it involves sacrificing a most precious commodity), or we recognize that it means giving up things that we like and we don’t want to so we settle for a lesser relationship. The hard thing to acknowledge is that God has called us to the uttermost extent of our lives, and that requires the sacrifice of our old loves.
Growing up I loved to watch TV and it became so much a part of my life that I found myself watching it for hours on end. I actually felt myself becoming slightly depressed and stressed out from the non-stop coverage of the economic downturn (such a cute term) and the killings going on throughout the world, and God hailed me and my family to remove the box from our home. I resisted at first, but now I recognize the blessing it has been. We have drawn closer in our relationship which has strengthened the relationship with my wife and son because we talk more, read more, pray more, and play more. I challenge all of you reading this to give up TV for a week, and spend the time normally dedicated to entertainment with God and your family/friends. For seven days turn off the influx of sex and greed that is amplified into our minds and spend time in the scripture (just one chapter a day, contemplatively) and in prayer. If TV isn’t your poison, then choose something that takes up a large portion of your time.
The purpose of this challenge is not to get you to get rid of your TV or things you enjoy, but to prioritize and recognize the blessings God has for those who are truly faithful.