Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 17 August 19:
Palm 94:11-13 — “The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile. Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law. Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.”
Throughout the Bible, God points out that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Isaiah 55:8) So, Proverbs counsels: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil…… Do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:5-12)
How important is prayerful Bible study in our daily walk with the Lord? Here are just a few thoughts from Psalm 119: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Never have Christians had such access to God’s word along with so many resources and tools with which to study His Word. I pray that more and more Christians would return to God’s Word.
Today, the Psalmist reminds us of the convicting power of God’s word and that God uses His word along with circumstances to teach us, rebuke us, correct us, train us, and discipline us that we would grow up, or mature, in His word and our relationship with Him — “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Better to be wise and respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit through God’s word and to obey God’s word than to learn the hard way by experiencing the consequence of disobedience and sin – “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10) No need to experience a hundred needless blows. “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
As a perfect, loving Father, God applies discipline when needed. God’s discipline is often painful but is intended to be a blessing to teach you how to live in the fullness of joy while growing closer to God each day. Those who don’t despise God’s blessings and who are willing to learn will be blessed. Those who defy God’s discipline and insist on repeating their folly will continue to suffer needlessly.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 August 19: If you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit today concerning a particular sin in your life, repent. Don’t delay. Don’t rob yourself of the blessings God has intended for you any further.