Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 29 May 2022:
Numbers 30:1, 2 — “Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, ‘This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.'”
God takes your promises to Him very seriously.
Numbers 30:5 — “But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the Lord will forgive her, because her father opposed her.”
Parents have authority over their children in God’s eyes along with a responsibility to protect them and guide them. Parents will be held accountable by God.
Numbers 30:8 — “But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the Lord will forgive her.”
In a marriage, promises made to God are a joint decision — “The two shall become one.”
Psalm 62:1 — “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”
Wait for God in silence before just acting on your own knowledge and perceived wisdom. True wisdom is a spiritual discernment, not just an intellectual exercise.
Psalm 63:3 — “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”
Do you treasure the love of God more than life itself? Ironically, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6),” and “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) John reiterates, “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11) The love of God is life, and Jesus’ prayer for us is that we would be “one” with Him in this life and into eternity. (John 17) When God’s love is more important to us than life itself, we then experience true life and the fullness of joy.
Therefore, God’s greatest commandment for us is to love Him wholeheartedly. (Matthew 22:36-38) The next greatest commandment is to love others as ourselves, and our “Great Commission” is to tell others about Jesus because of our love for both God and them (Matthew 28:18-20). Notice, that Jesus directly tied loving others with loving God – they are inseparable – you can’t do one without doing the other. Jesus went on to say, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 14:15, John 15:12) Before enduring the cross, Jesus prayed earnestly that we would be united in Him, in His love, and that our love for Him and others would spread the knowledge (not just intellectual but experiential) of Him across the world that the unity in Him would spread across the earth – “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:17-26)
Sharing Jesus with others should come naturally. What we love most is what we are excited to tell others about the most, and when we love others, we are compelled to want the very best for them – the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Psalm 63:3 naturally links the Great Commandment with the Great Commission – “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” The person who has truly experienced the love of God through Christ can’t help but “proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)
“Your steadfast love is better than life.” During COVID 19, people across the globe took great precautions to guard their lives against the treat of virus, and it was hard to have a conversation with someone without COVID 19 coming up, though one hardly needed to say anything since our behavior (social distancing) and our apparel (masks) left no doubt about what was preeminent in most people’s minds. What if we guarded our hearts and our relationship with Jesus as much as we guarded our lives? How might our words and behavior change? And what if everyone’s relationship with Jesus was as important to us as their physical health? What if we were as serious about sharing Christ with others as we were about preventing the spread of COVID 19? How many people did you shared Jesus Christ with during the COVID 19 crisis? During that historic time, did you proclaim His Name? If you found it more difficult to share the Gospel with others than remaining largely isolated and wearing a mask everywhere you went, if sharing Jesus felt more awkward or unnatural than what you did for sake of COVID precautions and mandates, draw closer to Jesus and abide more fully in His love. When Jesus is your true passion, you won’t have a problem talking about Him with others.
Psalm 62:9 — “Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion.”
Personal power is a very strong delusion.
Psalm 62:11 — “Power belongs to God.”
Remind yourself of this daily, hourly!
Proverbs 29:1 – “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”
Safety investigators point out that most catastrophic mishaps were the result of unsafe practices that had become habits long before the mishap, and that there had often been previous near misses or close calls (warnings). Ninety-nine times out of 100, a person might get away with carelessness, but the 100th time is devastating. What is true with physical mishaps is also true with moral failures.
Don’t take God’s patience for granted, and don’t be presumptuous with grace.
Proverbs 29:4 – “By justice a king builds up the land.”
God is the God of mercy and grace, but never forget that He is also the God of justice. Imagine one day on earth with no justice, and you can start to understand that injustice is and evil that our loving, righteous, holy God cannot tolerate. We have to stand up for justice and Ambassadors for Jesus Christ (who physically attacked the money changers in the Temple).
Proverbs 29:6 — “An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.”
Sinners claim to have freedom in sin, unshackled by God’s commands. They don’t know the freedom they are missing in Christ. Jesus teaches us that obedience to God allows us to enjoy the fullness of life without unneeded pain and sorrow. Fences on playgrounds keep the children from running out into the highway traffic, enabling them to enjoy the whole playground without fear. Obey God and enjoy His blessings without curses.
Proverbs 29:8 — “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.”
Have we not witnessed this?
Proverbs 29:9 — “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.”
Wise people don’t argue. Arguments occur with people who really don’t want to hear what you are saying anyway. You can disagree without arguing and, in the process, even build relationship.
Proverbs 29:10 — “Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.”
People who live in darkness hate bright lights.
Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
The law reflects the perfect will of God and restrains us where we have yet been perfected in love to protect us and others from ourselves. Obeying the law out of duty is not the same as obeying the law out of genuine love, but obedience at least helps bridle our worldly passions while we grow in love. Even those who don’t believe in God receive good consequences from conforming to God’s laws.
God’s word is used by the Holy Spirit like a coach that makes you do what you often don’t feel like doing so you can win the big game. Good coaches make you run laps you don’t really want to run, pushing you out of your comfort zone to increase your capabilities. No matter how fast you run, the goal is to run faster. The Holy Spirit will run you too.
“The world operates on vision. God’s people live by revelation. The world seeks grand and noble purposes and goals to achieve. People dream up the greatest and most satisfying things in which they can invest their lives. Institutions establish goals and objectives and then organize themselves to achieve them. God’s people function in a radically different way. Christians arrange their lives based on the revelation of God, regardless of whether it makes sense to them. God does not ask for our opinion about what is best for our future, our family, our church, or our country. He already knows! What God wants is to get the attention of His people and reveal to us what is on His heart and what is His will, for God’s ways are not our ways! (Isa. 55:8-9).
Whenever people do not base their lives on God’s revelation, they “cast off restraint.” That is, they do what is right in their own eyes. They set their goals, arrange their agendas, and then pray for God’s blessings. Some Christians are living far outside the will of God, yet they have the audacity to pray and ask God to bless their efforts!
The only way for you to know God’s will is for Him to reveal it to you. You will never discover it on your own. When you hear from the Father, you have an immediate agenda for your life: obedience. As the writer of Proverbs observed: “Happy is he who keeps the law.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Proverbs 29:21 — “Whoever pampers his servant from childhood will in the end find him his heir.”
God knows better than to pamper you.
Proverbs 29:23 — One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
“Pride is the great enemy of the Christian. Pride is an overly high opinion of yourself. It motivates you to do things that you know are not Christlike, and it hinders you from doing what brings glory to God. Pride influenced Adam and Eve to try to become like God (Gen. 3:5). Pride motivated Cain to murder his brother (Gen. 4:5). Pride provoked Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery (Gen. 37:8). Pride caused King Saul to resent David so deeply that he tried to murder him (1 Sam. 18:8). Pride led King Hezekiah to foolishly reveal his nation’s wealth to his enemies (Isa. 39:2). Pride was at the root of the Pharisees’ anger toward Jesus. Pride was the reason the disciples argued over rank in the kingdom (Luke 9:46).
Pride is your relentless enemy. If you succumb to its influence, there will be consequences. You may know that you have offended someone, but pride holds you back from asking forgiveness. You may realize you need to reconcile a broken relationship, but pride will lead you to deny that need. The Spirit may convict you that you are living a sinful lifestyle, but pride will discourage your admitting it. Pride will convince you that you deserve better treatment. Pride will impede your serving others. Instead, pride will have you striving for places of prominence. Pride will have you listen to flatterers and ignore honest counselors. Pride will lead you to isolate yourself so that you are not accountable to others.
Humility, on the other hand, is pleasing to God and places your life in a position where God will honor you. If pride has crept into some areas of your life, ask God to give you victory over it before it robs you of God’s will for you.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Proverbs 29:25 — “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”
Worrying about what other people will think of us or do to us is one of the primary reasons we fail to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.
Proverbs 29:26 — “Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.”
This is such an important truth for us to understand. Too often we turn to human leaders or government for ‘salvation’ or ‘justice’. Too often we look to others for what only God can give us. God is Almighty and Lord of all. Turn to Him.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 May 22: Wait in silence for The Lord today. Wait on Him. Cast your cares upon Him, and trust Him with your issues. The world would say, “Don’t just stand there; do something!” God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 62:1; Psalm 37:7; Psalm 46:10)