Lord, I long for You to be more real to me and fill me with Your passion. Mold me through Your Word.
Read Proverbs 26:1-28
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his ﾅ he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning” (Dan. 2:20,21).
Today’s precepts are grouped thematically! They mainly target foolish people (1-12), lazy people (13-16) and troublemakers (17-28). These are surely all descriptions that make us uncomfortable if we believe they ever describe us. Isn’t wisdom talking here about other people? Well, if our reflection on God’s Word is going to make any difference to the way we live, we need to recall Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s recommendation to always read Scripture “over-against” ourselves, rather than “for” ourselves. As we look into this particular mirror of Scripture, do we find a face we recognize (Jas. 1:22-24)?
The foolish person is impervious to anything but the roughest discipline (3), is unreliable (6) and tends to say inappropriate, even hurtful things (7,9). Foolish people don’t learn from experience (11,12). Peter quoted v. 11 to warn those who had learned the truth about Jesus and then turned back “from the holy commandment that was passed on to them” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). The lazy person is adept at finding excuses to procrastinate. She’s attached to her bed as tightly as a door to its hinges (13,14), and brilliant at kidding herself that this really isn’t laziness (16)! Perhaps most searching of all is the portrait of the specialist in stirring up trouble. He distorts truth (25,26,28) and gets a kick out of dropping that malicious word that prolongs a quarrel (17,20-24).
Writing on Ephesians 4:25-5:2, N. T. Wright encourages us to “identify your own moods and behavior patterns, to see which ones are going in the right direction and which ones in the wrong direction,” and then to “learn consciously to choose to follow the first and reject the second.”
Read again the words of N. T. Wright. Confess those moods and behavior patterns that are leading you in a wrong direction and embrace those leading you in a right direction.
Father, it is in the daily grind of life that I let You down. Forgive my relational imperfections, my pettiness, my confused priorities.
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