Wisdom Seeker: Day 3

Proverbs 3

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. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7

Proverbs 3:5-6 are among the earliest verses I memorized as a new Christian. Perhaps because of their familiarity or perhaps because the Lord has been dealing with me specifically in the frailty of my trust, they definitely caught my eye in today’s reading.

But I wonder why I never tucked verse 7 into my memory along with it? It seems to be sort of a “how-to” guide for the other parts. How do I show my trust and acknowledge Him in all my ways? By taking note of my own lack of wisdom, by truly fearing Him, and by choosing to turn away from evil.

Which brings me to another potent passage:

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Proverbs 3:11-12

Like I said, He’s been dealing with me in my little trust. I won’t lie – it’s been a full-on discipline session. For years, I’ve prayed the father’s prayer from Mark 9:24: “I do believe! Help my unbelief!”

And He has been helping, just as a loving Father would. Not by waving a magic wand and giving me a miraculous faith boost, but by pointing out the little momentary choices I make to give more credence to my anxiety or fear than to His faithfulness.

He’s been reminding me not only to present my requests to Him, but to do so with thanksgiving.

He’s been showing me that my anxiety for my children to know and love the Lord and walk uprightly before Him has done more to show them how little I trust God to bring about their salvation than it has to show them how much I love and trust the Lord myself.

Ironic, isn’t it? That the enemy can use a thing like a powerful desire for one’s offspring to have an eternal viewpoint and twist it until it’s a sinful mistrust of the God I so want them to trust.

So yeah. Today I will add verse 7 to my memory. And I will continue through the painful process of having my sinful choices revealed little by little without growing weary of my Father’s discipline, hopeful of the promise given in verse 8:

It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:8

Oh Father, thank You for being patient with such a slow student as myself. You are good and faithful, and You are so gentle in exposing my sin and guiding me to true repentance. Help me to continue in this new joy You have provided and my my children and husband come to bask in the joy of Your love as well! Amen!

So what about you? What verses did God speak to you through in today’s reading?

Wisdom Seeker: Day 1

After a month of bloggy silence, I’m back in action. My plan? To blog through the Proverbs. One brief post a day for the next 31 days. Not a bad way to start the school year, huh? Well, we shall see. Migraine still steals far too many days from me, but I’m giving it a go!

But before I get into today’s meditation, I want to mark this day as an odd one for me. As is my habit for the last 13 years, today – August 1 – is my new year.

But for the first time in that 13 year period, I’m not actually homeschooling anyone. My youngest is entering her 3rd year of private school, and my part-time blonde daughter graduated in May. So it’s a new year in several ways.

Enough about me: on to the Word!

Proverbs 1

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance… The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:5, 7

So let’s begin with the fear of the Lord. What a perfect way to begin a year – or a month, or a day, or even a new moment! That proper fear of the One who made you and who could unmake you, if He chose – that is the beginning of knowledge.

As I read through this first chapter today, I can’t help but note the heavy implication that underlying the pursuit of wisdom is the inclination to be teachable.

Trust a former homeschool mom in this: if a person already believes they know it all, there’s little you can do for them. Any engaged parent can tell you the same. Perhaps for this reason, the last portion of the chapter – verses 20-33 – really grabbed me this morning.

Note the frequency of some form of the word reproof. If we are very honest, not many of us enjoy being reproved. It stings the old pride, doesn’t it? However, by not accepting the reproof of God, we are only managing to be mulish fools, stubbornly set on our own way.

Note the similarity between the words of two of my favorite authors:

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.”

C. S. Lewis

Certainly, Solomon says as much, though in different words:

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.

Proverbs 1:29-31

If we reject the fear of God and the wisdom and knowledge that comes of surrendering to Him as the only One who really does know what He is doing, then all that is left is for us to have our own way.

And if I’ve learned nothing else in my 45 trips around the sun, I’ve learned that my own way is all too often misinformed by my tricky emotions or selfish inclinations. To be honest, I’ve had my fill of my own way, and I’d rather not, thanks. I’ll take the Way of the Lord instead.

Before I go, I need to note that some may point out the last verse of Proverbs 1 as contradictory to the truth:

“…but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Proverbs 1:33

I’ve heard the argument. What about those who are martyred for the cause of Christ? Or what about Christians who are poor, who are sick and don’t get well, who suffer horribly through their lives?

A slick person could even point to my chronic migraine as a situation which gives lie to that promise. So what gives?

Perspective.

For those of you who haven’t yet tasted and seen that my Lord is good, I can only offer you my perspective. You see, the promises of security and safety are not necessarily applied to the 80-odd years spent on this ball of rock in a constantly aging body of animated meat.

The promise for those who trust in the Lord – in the sufficiency of the sacrifice of His Son, Yeshua and in the new life offered through His death and resurrection- that promise is not just for a handful of decades.

It’s forever. For eternity. Time so long that the worst of your troubles today will only be recalled as a dim and distant memory before you’re even a fraction of the way in.

It’s eternity with Him, and His presence is what makes it good. Because He is good. And this girl? Well, I love this creation and all my people, but I honestly can’t wait to begin my real life after this bag of bones has returned to dust…

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11