Friday, April 01, 2011

Pondering Proverbs Day 1

I will be using the month of April to write some thoughts from Proverbs. One chapter a day ending on May 1

You could literally spend your whole life in Proverbs and never quite squeeze all the treasure out of it. I heard once that Billy Graham has read a chapter in Proverbs and a Psalm everyday for 50 years or more- pretty amazing!

Thoughts and Comments on Proverbs Chapter 1

Proverbs begins with the PURPOSE of the Book:
to know- to understand- to receive- to give- to hear- to increase
wisdom, instruction, insight, discretion
wide dealing- righteousness- justice-

Aren't these things that we would all like to have? Wouldn't we yearn for our children to walk in this path?

A second thing that stands out in Ch 1 is the PERSISTENT PULL OF THE PATHS. It is a real tug of war- a lifelong wrestling match. Why does the alternate path have so much magnetic power? What draws us? What is so appealing to the choices that we know deep down are not God's desire for us?

The chapter hints to one reason- there are people there who want us to join them. They are often the strong and handsome and popular. It makes us feel good to be wanted! We all want to be in a group- "US"- and there are promises from those who follow the dark paths. They entice us with action, fun, goods, plunder, power, there is a promise to share wealth, their actions are immediate- they run in haste so there is no boring patience required- our hearts are empty and this way seems to be an instant fulfillment of all we desire.

Counter to that pull, however there is a PERVASIVE CALL OF WISDOM. I love how the writer here personifies this as a woman- "SHE" calls aloud and you find her in the streets, market, the gate (halls of influence)- we often act like God is hiding....NO- he is all around- but we are blind, and deaf to His call. That is why Chapter 2 will call us to an active search and posture to receive what is, and has always been, there.

Finally, there is a sad and PAINFUL PROMISE of the consequences of those who continually reject the graciousness and mercy of the Father. Again, this will be further elaborated in CH 2- but here it is beginning in vs 22.  The language is very reminiscent of how God speaks in the prophets -

"HOW LONG will you reject me? I call- I reach out- I counsel- I correct- I even persevered through your continuous rejection... but you just would not turn- you just kept despising me in word, and deed, and thought, and action.
SO now- it is too late- my face is no longer MERCY- it is now WRATH as you begin to bear the fruit of your darkness.
Calamity- terror- distress-anguish- and I am no longer at your beckon call- you now have to eat the result of your rejection- your manipulation is now your own undoing- you became so callous in your complacency- you thought you were so powerful and wise.... but now the storm of destruction suddenly sweeps you away."

This is a point where many turn away from God. I have always wondered why and where? Why turn away from pure love and mercy? And where? Whether you like the idea of a point of no return- Who will protect you from the wrath to come? Where else can one find peace and freedom?

The wise man will heed this teaching...
The fool will shake a fist of contempt at God...

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