Day 154 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Proverbs and Psalms.
Proverbs 4 – Surprisingly, God is nowhere mentioned in chapter 4. But He is everywhere present, speaking through the wise father as he introduces his son to their family tradition of sacred wisdom.
In the Old Testament, the priests taught the law of God, and the prophets declared the word of God (Jeremiah 18:18). But the fathers and mothers gave their children the wisdom of God (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20). Their tone is urgent: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” The strong expressions “hold fast,” “keep,” “get,” “love,” “prize,” and “embrace” set the tone of the section. We grow wise not by brains but by bold decisiveness. Do we want the mind of God, ultimately revealed in Jesus? We may, we must, receive His wisdom through the gospel. Getting it will cost us, but not getting it would cost us infinitely more (Matthew 13:44–46).
Verses 10–19 locate us at a fork in the road, with two paths before us. “The path of the wicked” leads away from the Father and into compulsive cravings, which the wicked cannot explain even to themselves. “The path of the righteous” may be, for now, only a glimmer of dawn; but the glory of full day is coming (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:6; Revelation 22:5). All who by God’s grace follow the path of wisdom are in the early morning of their lives. All who take the other path are already in the lengthening shadows of their afternoon.
We make progress toward wisdom by staying intensely focused: “Let your eyes look directly forward.” Many distractions in this world would draw us away. How can we remain loyal to God through it all? “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Jesus may have been thinking of verse 23b in John 7:38: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” True life does not flow into us from external circumstances; true life flows out of us from the internal fullness of the Holy Spirit.
How do you see the evidence of the “living water” flowing from your life?
Proverbs 5 – The Father warns us against sexual sin, pointing out its surface appeal but its hidden destruction. “Keep your way far from her” is decisive and safe. Sexual sin carries unforeseeable but inevitable impact, painfully felt. God, in grace, redeems the consequences of our sins; but, by the same grace, He also warns us against sinning in the first place (1 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 5:19–21; Hebrews 13:4). Warning is part of the ministry of the gospel.
The wise alternative to sexual chaos outside marriage is sexual satisfaction within marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2). “Drink water from your own cistern” means to satisfy your sexual thirst within the privacy of marriage. Our sexuality is not public property, but within marriage the Father blesses uninhibited sexual joys. The words “at all times” and “always” remove limits from a married couple’s sexual enjoyment of each other (1 Corinthians 7:3–5). The gospel highly honors marriage as a picture of Jesus and His church in love together (Ephesians 5:31–32).
After the positive affirmation of married sex in 5:15–19, to violate it would be shocking. Human sexuality is very personal, but not off-limits to the Lord (Luke 12:2). He who created us male and female (Genesis 1:27) has every right to guide us by His Word. His judgments of sin, moreover, are not arbitrary additions. Sinful folly works with its own dark powers: The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him. May God enable us to say, “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). However foolish we have been, we still have a Father who will receive us and rejoice over us in our repentance (Luke 15:20).
How do you maintain your sexual purity?
Proverbs 6 – With down-to-earth practicality, the gracious wisdom of the Father guides us away from three forms of folly.
One, “if you have put up security for your neighbor”, that is, if we have guaranteed someone else’s debt, we should swallow our pride, take immediate action, and get free. Why would we put our financial future in the control of another? The grace of financial integrity keeps us available to serve God. We want to be in His hand only, not at all in the hand of our neighbor.
Two, “Go to the ant, O sluggard” warns us against laziness. The opportunity of life can slip through our fingers a little at a time, but the accumulated losses are not little. Jesus worked hard (John 9:4), His grace makes us hard workers (1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 4:28), and our labors in Him will matter forever (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Three, “sowing discord” and “one who sows discord” warn us not to violate the grace of divinely provided fellowship. The folly of sowing discord among brothers is so serious, the warning is repeated. The strong word “abomination” sets a troublemaker apart with the same moral stigma as a prostitute (Deuteronomy 23:17–18). But “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
The Father then returns to the subject of our sexuality. Here the Father bases his appeal on the practical impact of sexual sin: the pain is personally inescapable, and the anger and jealousy it can cause may find no remedy. The world glorifies sexual adventurism. Only God our Father loves us enough to tell us the hard truth about the actual cost of sexual sin. Even while we stand, let us take heed lest we fall, trusting in our faithful Lord to keep us in His grace (1 Corinthians 10:12–13; Jude 24–25).
The Father addresses our sexuality repeatedly because sexual sin betrays His grace and sexual faithfulness displays the greatness of His love, finally revealed in Jesus and the church (1 Corinthians 6:12–20; Ephesians 5:22–33). The gospel is the ultimate reason why our sexual integrity matters.
How does this wisdom help you in your daily life?
Psalm 149 – Two aspects of the praise of God are highlighted here. First, the people of God who express praise to their God should do so with great passion, intensity, zeal, and emotion. That they sing a “new song” indicates awareness of fresh bestowments of God’s blessing, for which they now offer enthusiastic praise. They are to be glad and rejoice, to dance and exult, showing the depth of their heart’s delight in bringing praise to their great, gracious, and saving God. For indeed, “the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” There is no place, then, for apathy or merely formalistic worship. No, this God is worthy of heart-felt praise and joyous singing!
Second, cause for the praise of God is shown in the coming judgment that God’s people will execute on the nations. Verse 6 is the hinge of these two themes: “Let the high praises of God be in their throats [strong, emotional praise of God] and two–edged swords in their hands [preparedness for retributive judgment].” Amazingly, then, the praise of God here is associated with the day, not only when God will judge the wicked of the nations, but when He will execute this judgment through His own people. That God has designed this judgment to be carried out in this fashion is an “honor” for His people and a basis for praising Him.
The good news of salvation that God’s people receive, then, implies also the corresponding harsh news of judgment for all who reject God and His ways. God is exalted in saving those who deserve judgment (His people) and in bringing that very judgment on others who oppose His purposes, oppress His people, and reject His offer of mercy. Let us look to Jesus, at whose cross God’s judgment was poured out for all who trust in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
How does this Psalm reassure you about the future?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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