Sunday, July 9, 2017

When a Book of Scripture Particularly Teaches Us

Today I begin a second read-through of Proverbs, after having pored over the book the past several weeks. I’m going to stay in it as long as it continues to feed me the way it has this last month.

About six years ago, during the lowest point since becoming a Christian, I spent about three months in Psalms. Not that I didn’t ever read any other parts of Scripture. But I stayed in Psalms because I couldn’t stay away. That’s how it is now with Proverbs.

When a particular book of the Bible reveals, teaches, admonishes, encourages, comforts, guides and answers in extraordinary clarity and abundance due to the particular condition of our heart and the place God currently has us, we do well to stay there.

And just as Psalms imparted strength and healing beyond measure, Proverbs is now accomplishing the same, on a different level.

Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states,

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Jesus says,

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).

When I sought solace in the Psalms, it was to answer the question,

“Do I believe what I say I believe?”

It was to seek permanent alleviation from a sudden and unexpected state of sad desperation. It was to find God, truly, along with an honest yet merciful assessment that I could not find among humans, even loving and kind men and women.

The reward for that months-long commune with the Psalms, and David in particular, was that I came out of it in joyous surety, able to say then, and to this day still,

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16

“He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19

"Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, 'Who am I, O LORD GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?'" 2 Samuel 7:18

Anyone fighting an enemy, and by enemy I mean anything that is attacking: fear of death (fear of anything), regret, sorrow, loneliness, depression (a broken spirit), grief, whatever it is, can find resolution in the Psalms.

Proverbs speaks to me today in similar fashion, only the circumstances are different.

In an entirely different place now, I am soaking up Proverbs in the same manner.

And it is not just for me in my holy huddle. Secular New Age teaching implores folks

“To thine own self be true.”

Now that’s a huddle, an unholy one at that!

Proverbs is about life with others. It is the guidance that, if absorbed and lived out, makes people not only right with God, but also right with others—even if others don’t see it that way, and resent or mock it.

Proverbs is God’s training in the way we should go, following His very own plan that He espouses for earthly parents in Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I am a child of God, not man. Even though I’ve been a Christian going on seventeen years, I am but a child. And in this season of life, I sit at His feet open to His continued training.

copyright Barb Harwood

“My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
To deliver you from the way of evil,” Proverbs 2:1-12a

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.” 2 Peter 3:18

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