Proverbs 9 8-9-19

We all follow someone. Who are you following? If you are not following anyone, then you are being led…where?

(9) Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

(16) To those who have no sense, she [Folly] says, (17) “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious [in it for the thrill]!” (18) But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Day 20 of 21 Days of Deep

“Hansel and Gretel” is a dark story, but a great illustration of Satan and his “plan” for us. For a synopsis of the story, see Hansel and Gretel – Plot at Wikipedia.

He “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour [kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10)].” 1 Peter 5:8. We must be alert and sober-minded. What does sober-minded mean? It means “rational, sensible.” Add sober-minded to alert and we get: PAY ATTENTION!

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. Hebrews 2:1

This week at WACK (Worship Arts Camp for Kids–it’s the old Young Musicians Camp), Mark Jones gave a great illustration from his own life concerning who we follow. He said that several years ago, he and his young daughter were walking back to the car after watching a fireworks display one Fourth of July. As they were walking, he began to talk to some friends on his left. Somewhere along the way, the daughter began to follow the wrong set of parents. After several tense and gut-wrenching minutes with lots of people searching, the couple brought his daughter to him. She said that she thought she was following him, but somehow followed the wrong person. WOW! How thankful Mark and his wife were that the couple brought her to him! It could have ended so badly…we parents were right there with him [I’m tearing up again just writing about it].

This illustration is perfect for showing us what happens when we look away from Jesus. The writer of Hebrews understood both our tendency to wander and Satan’s purpose and plan for us. He tells us in 12:2 to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” Peter knew the danger of looking away from Jesus:

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind [and waves], he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith [My little faithless one],” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-21

Now, the fun part! I asked you yesterday to read some passages beginning with Romans 12:10-21. Let’s look at that passage:

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Let’s begin with the last verse first. How do we overcome evil with good? It’s a matter of intent. What do you WANT to do? Part of me wants to be lazy, to complain, to fight, and/or to hide–this would be my flesh, my “old man.” The other part of me wants to please my heavenly Father, to obey Jesus, and walk in the Spirit–this would be my new self, the one that was made alive when Jesus came into my heart and life. I now WANT to overcome evil with good. Paul gives a pretty good list of how to overcome evil.

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. In Philippians 2:3, Paul said to “consider others better (before) yourself.” How do we honor one another? By realizing that they are beloved children of God, too; also, know that Daddy will discipline us if we mistreat them. His Spirit within us loves them; let’s let that love pour out through us to them. In this way we are most like Christ. When doing so, 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord. 

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. I love this little list. Joy comes from our connection with God. Patience comes from the hope we have in our future. Faithfulness in prayer keeps our connection pure and strong.

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. God gives to us and expects us to share with others, especially our siblings in Christ. Let’s take care of each other. Don’t look too far ahead because it’s difficult for us to picture the future with God presiding. HE makes His will to succeed; HE will take care of our future, so go ahead and give. These verses go along with this theme. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Share everything, even pain and suffering. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited. Living in a society built on a caste system, this idea was mind-blowing. Our conceit is much more subtle…

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone [concerning righteousness]. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]

 

Here Paul quotes Proverbs 3:11-12. For this phrase, “heap burning coals on his head,” I found this explanation:  “the expression may reflect an Egyptian expiation ritual, in which a guilty person, as a sign of repentance, carried a basin of glowing coals on his head.” [from NIV Study Bible]. It basically means to make them be ashamed and want to change, and maybe to want what we have in our relationship with Jesus.

Our lights shine brightest when times and circumstances are dark. Don’t be afraid of wind and waves. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, our hope in His future for us, our faith in His plan to get us there, and enjoy the love, peace, joy, hope and grace that pour from His throne through us to others. We are never more like Christ than when He is flowing through us. 

Abba, I want You to flow through me. Help me to keep my eyes fixed solely and firmly on You today. May I pay attention to the tension of the Holy Spirit when making decisions; may I see with your eyes the needs that are around me; may I increase in knowledge so that You will have more in me with which to work. May I be an extension of You to the people around me. I look forward to the day because of You. Amen.

SOAP

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