Today’s Reading: Proverbs 3:3-4; 6:12-15; 10:10-12; 11:2-3 & 16-17; 12:9 -10 & 25; 13:7 & 10; 14:30; 15:8 & 11 & 17 & 25 & 29; 16:2 & 5-6 &18-19 & 30; 17::3 &5; 18:1 & 12; 19:10; 20:6 & 9 &11 & 14 &27; 21:2-4 & 10 & 24 &27; 22:4; 23:6-8; 24:17-20; 25:16-17 & 19 & & 21-22 & 27; 26:16 & 23-26; 27:2 & 4 &19 &21; 28:25; 29:23
A thought which keeps rising in the back of my mind, is that beginning with the Psalms, the readings are very fragmented. By that I mean the verses change topics with somewhat of a bewildering speed and sometimes verses don’t seem to connect together. If it’s a story, I can follow the plot, but now sometimes the verses don’t seem to have any connection. I’m glad the person who arranged this Bible has pulled verses together and given us a title or subtitle to show the direction of his thoughts as he (or they?) pulls the verses together of somewhat the same topic, and so as we comb through Proverbs a number of times, LaGard Smith (and anyone who has helped him) has pulled together verses which fit a particular topic. It is also for me difficult to follow verse after verse, because sometimes the verses seem unrelated! So I like to remind myself, that actually the author of what I read is God Himself, and His ideas on a certain topic. And so for me, as I read, I look to find the verse that seems to jump out at me, or seems very meaningful to me, or that draws a response from me, either positive or negative. I am thinking that why a verse jumps out at me (I particularly notice that verse, that wise saying), is because God through His Holy Spirit, knows I need in life to think about that verse – so it is a message from God, giving me direction, warning, encouragement in other words, the verse is just what I need! My mind is not big enough to absorb everything, but I can pay careful attention to some verse that particularly seems meaningful to me as I read!
The verse that jumps out at me in the first section “Motive and The Heart” is probably the second last one, reminding me that I might think I am on the right track of life, but God is carefully looking instead me to see the real reason why I do things and the thought occurs to me, “So why did I really do that?” Can I be honest enough to see things with God’s insight?
And the last verse in the next section challenges me to search my heart for the real reason, I give to the Lord of my resources (time, money, service etc.) – do I think to bribe God into giving me a good life?
Duplicity is one that makes me uneasy. Am I taken in by others? Or do I act one thing but are really being a different person on the inside. I can understand why the strong language in this section because God is always “the truth” and when Jesus was challenged about Who He was, He said, “Altogether what you see is Who I am!” (my paraphrase of the verse!)
Love and faithfulness is also what God is. How true the verse that “MANY claim unfailing love,” but remove all advantages from the situation, and look for faithfulness in a person (or in me?) – is there any in me is the question that ‘dogs’ my thinking?
I can remember in our family, the verse being mentioned a number of times, that “better a meal of vegetables where there is love!” And Marg wasn’t talking about how good vegetables are for you to eat, although that is true too!
I am tempted to stay thinking about overstaying welcome, because I am uncomfortable about getting into the next section about “pride and humility” – and look at all the verses! It probably proves that I need this section! So many things to be said about the effects of pride and none of them good! And in case I should think I had arrived, Proverbs 20:9 challenges me, “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? Is the Lord calling me to more humility personally, and more compassion for those around me, less conflict and quarrels?
Who can deny that selfishness, jealousy, envy and greed are all deeds of the flesh and I hear 1 Corinthians 13 assuring me that love does not have these characteristics and they are most certainly not godly characteristics. I think to myself (humbly, I hope), do these things need to be weeded out of the flower gardens of my life?
These may well not be things which you noticed, but I encourage all of us to pay attention to the particular verses which God causes us to notice as we read. Better to have noticed two or three meaningful verses, than to have ploughed through all of the verses and not noticed any particular verse! Let’s make our reading time a talking time with God (and I can feel my Sweetheart’s hand on mine, and hear her loving voice, “Rob, let Him DO THE TALKING!”)