Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tuesday - Proverbs 1 - Uncommon Sense

od knows wisdom and wisdom knows God.  They are the same age (Proverbs 8:22-23).  And, they always agree.  However, God is a person and wisdom is not.  Wisdom is a body of truth, so to speak; a set of facts that are simultaneously generous and trustworthy as well as being immovable and insensitive.  Wisdom is an inanimate view of reality.  It is rigid and merciless.  While the use of wisdom will include a generous broadcast of mercy and love, those of us who lack wisdom will find negative consequences that greatly supersede our fears.  It is indeed “the principal thing..." (Prov. 4:7).

Wisdom is of prime importance and fearing God is the way to find it (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10 & James 1:5).  This book (Proverbs) is full of wise sayings that should help us onward in our quest to live wisely, godly and successfully... rather than foolishly, selfishly and evilly.

There are a relatively small number of primary themes and central characters in Proverbs.  One of the most prominent characters is the simple man.  A simple man might be described as inexperienced, naive, uneducated, uninstructed and therefore in danger.  God has never placed a premium on ignorance.  Ignorance might be blissful, but it can also be fatal.  Of course, we are all born as absolute simpletons, needing constant care and protection... knowing nothing except the most basic of instincts.  This relatively innocent and helpless state may be beautiful at first, but it is hardly appealing if it continues to prevail. 

According to Solomon, the greatest obstruction to wisdom is evil.  Even an individual with little intelligence can be wise if he is willing to be righteous.  Wisdom is not so much about the quantity of knowledge you have as it is about the application of that knowledge.  Solomon warns anyone who aspires to wisdom to do several things.  Start up the path of wisdom by refusing to follow sinners, by obeying one's parents and by refusing to worship money (Proverbs 1:19).

Now suddenly, things are coming into focus here.  Common sense should be the equivalent of wisdom, but it turns out that common sense is not as common as we might imagine.  Wisdom is actually rare.  Common sense is actually uncommon sense.  It might be nearly universal in presence, but it is an endangered species in action because most of us commonly ignore it (Proverbs 1:24).  Such foolishness is deadly.  Easy Street feels so friendly, but death lurks in the shadow of every doorway there (Proverbs 1:32).

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday - Psalm 150 - Our God is Great!

od is so good. He is so patient with us... and loving and kind. He forgives us, over and over again. He knows about our failures before they even happen, and yet He gives us opportunities anyway. His compassion is wonderful. His love is incomprehensible. His perfection is unrivaled. His wisdom is infinite. His power is unlimited. His mercy is extravagant. His grace is unsurpassed. His creativity is endless. His sovereignty is absolute. His worth is immeasurable. His presence is invaluable.  His holiness is immovable. Worship God today. Just spend some time praising Him. Psalm 150 concludes this great book of poetry with a simple and imperative demand: if you can do anything at all, then do it for God's glory. Praise God now with what you have. God is great. He is worthy of our praise.  Praise the Lord!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Saturday - Psalm 149 - Sing Aloud on Your Bed

ell, {chuckle, chuckle} I can't say that I ever remember singing aloud in bed. Maybe I have. Maybe I'll try it tonight. It is for sure that if people are singing praises while their feet are under the covers and their head is on a pillow, God has gotten thorough to them. A song or a whistle go a long way indicating joy. And of course, we have a reason to be joyful, "For the LORD takes pleasure in His people..." (Psalm 149:4). So, go ahead, sing yourself to sleep tonight.

Sing a new song. Sing with the saints... or to the saints. Sing and dance; and play some music while you praise the God of heaven. Honor God with a song of truth. In the words of this psalmist, "Let the high praises of God be in your mouth, and a two edged sword in your hand ..." (Psalm 149:6).  Oh, if we as God's people would just live by this verse, how much more effective would our lives be for God's glory?! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition... the ammunition being truth from the ol' two edged sword known as the word of God… the Bible.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday - Psalm 148 - If Dragons Can Praise God

hen I think of praise, I think of a holy and pious devotee with his head and knees bowed and his hands raised in adoration. I think of children singing simple choruses loudly with wide mouths and knit brows indicating their intense effort. I think of an elderly grandmother with tears on her cheeks, a smile on her face and a hankie clutched tightly. I don't envision a komodo dragon, a dinosaur, a crocodile or an alligator. Yet, in this psalm, among the many other animate and inanimate objects that are supposed to bring praise to God, the ancient poet included... dragons.

It's certainly hard to imagine the mythological dragons of lore using their "evil power" to praise God.  And indeed, that great red dragon, the devil is not likely to willingly offer any praise to God. Yet some dragons must... or should. As should (according to this psalm) angels, armies, the sun, the moon, the stars, space, waters, oceans, fire, hail, snow, fog, wind, mountains, trees; beasts and birds; kings, princes and judges; men, women, boys and girls; young and old; saints and sinners... we all owe God a debt of praise because of who He is. So, let's all praise Him. Come on, don't let the dragons outdo you. If we don't praise Him, someone or something else will. Even if God has to resort to using the rocks on the ground, He will be honored by His creation (Luke 19:40).  Praise Him! Do it now. Do it voluntarily. Do it while there are benefits. Don't wait until it is involuntary; when you will worship but reap no blessing from it (Philippians 2:10-11).