Well I haven’t posted on the chronological study since June 6 and that was for Psalms. For those actually doing the chronological study I don’t want to just jump to the New Testament but I’ll grab a Proverb on the way.
One important thing to note about Proverbs is they are just that…they are proverbs NOT promises (being very black and white, this has been a struggle for me…for over 30 years). So yes, “bad company does corrupt good morals” (Prov 1-2, 1 Cor 5:6; 15:33) as a rule of thumb and yes “every word of God proves true, he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar”.(Prov 30:5-6) As you wrestle through the Proverbs let them mold and shape your heart, (see Heb 4:12) taking much needed instruction through all of life and it’s struggles.
I think there is one overarching theme to Proverbs that I continue to reflect on. I’m sure most of you know this proverb, but it is one at least worth thinking about and if you haven’t memorized it, there is no better time:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.
This proverb seems fairly straight forward as an absolute truth or merely a proverb. What does it mean to be saved? It means to trust in God. Trust God with what? You fill in the blank: Salvation, relationships, employment, children’s salvation, hope. Whatever requires trust. Think about this for a second. The opposite of trusting is fear. Scripture has a lot to say about fear but it is no more revealing than in the child of God. Remember Jesus words to John in Revelation 1:17 “do not be afraid”. Now think for a second, not only about what John has gone through to be hearing what he is about to hear but actually what He is going to reveal to the 7 churches. Most revealing is what he charges to Smyrna the suffering church in Rev 2:10:”Do not fear what you are about to suffer.” Think back to Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount, Matt 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Think about Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Tim 3:12 “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”. This does not sound like a message that is all that appealing to the current church at large. I’ve been doing a study through the book of Revelation and one of the people I’ve been learning a lot from is Dr. John Barnett. I’ve included the 5th youtube in a series of 22 on the book of Revelation. (It would be more than worth your time to watch the whole series. I’ve never been taught so much practical theology on the book of Revelation from any other teacher)
In this youtube he is teaching on the church in Smyrna and he makes a few observations that I think are worth our time in light of what it means to trust. He states (this is close to his quote) “Today we are not willing to suffer so our children become less and less.” His point is in wanting the best for our children we protect them from any kind of difficulty. This in fact inoculates them from the gospel, because when someone explains that the gospel calls us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23) we are by practice and instruction calling them to deny the gospel that calls us to deny ourselves. He explains it with simple analogies like not going to church or reading the word. To bring this back around to trust, we have to understand that to live by faith, to live by trusting God we have to understand that difficulty is a part of what it means to be a Christian. When difficulty comes your way, trusting God does not mean He will just make the dilemma go away it means He promises to carry us through it as we look to Him and trust Him (think Phil 4:13).
So what does it mean to trust God? It means to not trust yourself (Jer 17:9) or your desperately wicked heart, but to acknowledge God in all your ways and He will make our path straight. How do you know what to trust…search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). For a quick study for confirmation (remember scripture proves scripture, you need no commentaries only to know the word of God.) look at the pattern of the Gospel in Romans 1:16 revealed to those who rejected it in verse 18-23. They would not honor him as God or give thanks to him (vs21). Proverbs 3:5-6 is the answer to this dilemma. 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.
We may grab a little Isaiah and Daniel before we get caught up in the New Testament. I hope as you are meditating on these verses you are falling more and more in Love with the One who gave them to us. See you here in a few weeks. Alan