Friday, August 28, 2009

Sight & Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6
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.

In every instance of life we have two option; to see things as they appear or to see God. There is very little else. We will either focus on this imperfect world through the lenses of our own sin-stained emotions, ambitions and impressions or we will focus on the unchanging, perfect character of God. Either we will trust in our own limited understanding of life or we will trust in the power and wisdom of the eternally perfect Creator. This choice determines our path.

Lord, blind me from my own understanding and cause me to acknowledge You. Do not let me trust in my own understanding but instead trust fully in your goodness and sovereignty in my life. Keep my foot on Your path and do not let me stumble. Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Firstfruits & "so"

Proverbs 3:9-10
Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

In this passage I am most intrigued by the word "so." I wonder exactly what Solomon is trying to teach here. On the one hand, he could be saying that our motivation for giving God our firstfruits or "tithing" should be our own blessing. It is possible that God in His wisdom leverages our natural human hungers and desires to establish in us His Holy habits. We don't have to start our pattern of giving with high and lofty ideas; we can be very human and still honor God. On the other hand, Solomon may be saying that God cannot or will not bless us until we learn to give to Him the firstfruits of our lives. Giving to the Lord may be the avenue God has chosen for our blessing. Selfishness and hording then become the roadblock to God's best for us.
Either way, giving to the Lord is the critical link between our natural human desires and God's natural desire to bless His children. When we give, we bring out God's best for our best.

God - make me more generous toward Your work. Let me give to You so that I may be blessed and so that I may display to the world around me what a life surrendered to You looks like. amen

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:23
If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.
Proverbs 2:6-9
For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.

All wisdom, knowledge, security and provision is founded on the fear of the Lord. To fear the Lord begins with a right, healthy, holy and overwhelming sense of God's character and is critical for hearing his rebuke and turning from evil. It is significant to notice that rebuke follows the fear of the Lord, not righteousness. This passage presumes that we all sin and are tempted into sin. The fear of the Lord enables us to respond to God's rebuke and receive His Spirit, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. When we respond in reverence and repentance these blessings are the result; righteousness is the ultimate outcome. Then, and only then, will we be able to discern justice, equity and every good path.
So, how much do I fear the Lord? How right, healthy, holy and overwhelming is my sense of God's character? How well do I respond to His rebuke?

Most Holy God, deepen my understanding of who You are that I may learn to fear You. May I tremble and turn at Your rebuke. Humble me and let me come to know wisdom, righteousness, justice, equity and every good path. Amen.