I have off from work the next two days, and I cannot tell you what a good night’s rest has done for me after a few weeks of little sleep, a fair amount of stress and struggles with not feeling well for various reasons.
This morning, I was able to read my Bible with “untired” eyes. I hate when I try to read and can’t absorb anything. Studying the Bible shouldn’t be that way…at least that is my humble opinion.
So, now I will attempt to continue my study of Proverbs. Each chapter has so much to offer…at times overwhelmingly so. It is hard to just focus on one spot, but today, I reigned myself in a bit to do so.
Proverbs 3:1-10 (CLICK HERE for the full text.)
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
Comforting, huh? This is one of those conditional covenants we see throughout the Bible. Often, I wonder (me included) if we see God as a “giver” without condition all of the time? He does require our obedience and that we seek Him. Both of which, I confess, are not as consistent as they should be. I think that is why the next section of the Proverbs 3 is important.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
If we do things to please God, not that our salvation is rooted and based on our works, but if we obey and seek Him, we will reap the benefits of a blessed life, and when we are blessed by God, it is only natural that God work through others to bless us. Thus, as the verse extols, we will find favor with God and man. Of course, we should care most about God’s favor, as He is our ultimate judge. What others think or believe about us needs to take a backseat. God should be first and foremost. Again, though, don’t we get caught up in our fears of fitting in and worrying about acceptance? If you think about it, doesn’t that worry put others before God? It is something I struggle with, and that I am working on.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
When I was choosing the verses to focus on for this post, these four were the ones upon which I had decided. I have been trying really hard since about February or March to discern when I am over-thinking things, or to discern when I am trying to be wise beyond my depth to do so…you know “leaning on my own understanding”. In the past eight or nine months it has been my desire to know God’s will versus mine, to know when He is prodding me to move or stay, even so far as to discern how to handle things within my family, that fall at my feet.
It can all be very overwhelming. I don’t always trust my ability to make descisions or to say, “God has called me to do this, that or the other.” At the same time, I can’t be some lump taking up oxygen. I can remember when there was a time that I would have thoughts of, “By the time I am 30, I will be or do such and such, and then by time I am 40, everything will be in its place, because of what I’ve been able to do, because I decided on those things.” I imagine those of you reading this just got a chuckle out of what you just read. It is utter foolishness, isn’t it? I can almost hear God saying, “Good luck with that one.” Heh.
One of the things I have realized in the years between 25-42…God has everything set up for me. It doesn’t mean I quit thinking and choosing what I believe, based on God’s commands and precepts. It means that I should not rely on my own understanding of things in life and rely on my own wisdom. I think it would be rather foolish to think I am wiser than God and that I know what is best for me. When I look back on my past, I have evidence enough that I can be quite misguided by my own desires.
Thank God for His mercy and grace…In my mind, I was never good enough for college, would never have a house and that I would never get beyond the mistakes I made in my past; however, God is the one who knows absolutely everything, and He deemed, otherwise. Had I relied on my own beliefs and understanding about who I am, who I am in God would have never come forth. He did everything in spite of my nearsightedness.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
The final two verses are something I am working on. No, I am not wealthy, but we all have talents and other areas that we can give God, to honor Him and to bless others.
When we choose to honor God and bless others with our talents and the other blessings God gives us, He will multiply our blessings…He will, as Psalm 37 states, give us the desires of our hearts.
I hope you all have a blessed day. Thank you for reading this.