Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 7 January 2023:
2 Chronicles 7:1 – As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
God responds to prayer.
2 Chronicles 7:14 — If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The sins of God’s people affect the land as does repentance. God has provided us with the prescription to heal our nation
2 Chronicles 7:22 — Then they will say, “Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.”
God deals with you in a way that both reveals His character to you but also glorifies Himself before a watching world. God will glorify Himself to the world through your life either through positive example or negative example. God will not be mocked. God punishes even those He has saved through grace. A loving Father disciplines His children. Better for the children though to simply obey.
Psalm 1:1-3 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Where do you go for advice? Who or what has the most influence on your daily decision-making? When you have to make a decision, even a seemingly small or insignificant decision, do you start your thinking guided by the counsel of the Holy Spirit through God’s word? Would you say that God’s word is so important to you that it is your “delight”?
“It is possible to spend your whole life knowing about the truths of God and never experiencing any of them. Simply knowing about the truths of God does not mean that they have become a part of your life. Here is the important question: What are you doing with the word of God? Some people allow themselves to come under the influence of ungodly thinking to the point that God’s Word makes no difference to them. If you seek your counsel from ungodly persons, you will find yourself moving away from the direction God’s Word commands. If you intentionally seek out sinners as your companions, they will lead you down paths that take you far from God. If you choose to join those who are scornful, you will eventually become cynical.
The righteous man does not find encouragement in the opinions of others but in God’s Word. He is not content with a surface knowledge of Scripture but meditates on it day and night until he is satisfied that what he reads reflects his own experience. He becomes like a fruit tree standing firmly on the bank of the river. The tree is well nourished and produces delicious fruit and bountiful leaves. People come from miles around to sit in its shade and eat its fruit.
If you allow God to implement His Word in your life, others will draw encouragement from you. The more you grow in God’s righteousness, the stronger you will become. Some people would look in vain to find anyone they were encouraging, but not so the righteous person. A constant stream of people will seek you out because they know that your life will be a blessing.
“…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Meditation means ‘to think deeply and continuously about something.’ For a Christian, this means remaining in the presence of God and pondering each truth He reveals about Himself until it becomes real and personal in your life. This takes time. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus accused certain would-be followers of calling Him ‘Lord’ and yet never doing what He told them (Luke 6:46). They had the correct truth in their heads, but it had never translated into obedience. When you meditate on Scriptures, the truth moves from your head to your heart and results in obedience. As the Psalmist said: ‘Your word have I hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You’ (Ps. 119:11).
When you know God’s Word in your mind but not in your heart, it means that you have learned the principles and concepts and doctrines of God, but you have not come to know Jesus personally. You can reject a doctrine, or ignore a concept, or challenge a principle, but it is much more difficult to ignore a Person. You can have Scripture in your mind and still sin against God. There are those who can recite long passages of Scripture and yet live ungodly lives. However, you cannot have Scripture fill your heart and continue to sin against God. When God’s truth is allowed to touch the deepest corner of your soul, the Holy Spirit will transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. Don’t just read your Bible, meditate on God’s Word and ask Him to change your heart. (Henry T. Blackaby)
Psalm 1:6 – …for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Again, Proverbs 1 talks about the two paths people take: the path of eternal life and path eternal death. Everyone takes one of the two paths. Jesus said, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14) Are you willing to take the hard road to eternal life? Interestingly, Jesus described the way to life as “hard”, but Jesus also says, “I am the Way,” and “Come to me, all who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28, 29) Seek to be so yoked to Jesus that the “hard” way may become “easy.”
Proverbs 7 – As stated earlier, God describes sin against Him as adultery. Read Proverbs 7 with this perspective.
Proverbs 7:1-3 — My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Only the Spirit can give us any real discernment. If we could maintain perfect union with the Spirit through perfect love for God, we would need not the law. However, God gives us His word and His grace knowing our imperfections. He uses it to protect us, to reveal His holy nature to us, and to reveal our sinful nature to us that we might rely upon His grace, remain in repentant transformation, and be guided in sanctification. As we walk in God’s word we grow in Christ-like character. As we walk in the word, we become more attuned to the counsel of the Holy Spirit. If you are not hearing from God or seeing the clear activity of God in your life, consider how you treat God’s word and the quality of your prayer life.
God’s invitation to wisdom is offered to every person.
Proverbs 7:6-9 – For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.
As we remain in God’s word and under the daily teaching of the Holy Spirit, God will enable us to see life events from His perspective. We will notice what other people don’t notice and will see truth to which others are blind.
Truth is self-evident and can be observed in life’s circumstances.
God’s people come from all nations and places. Again, Christians don’t deal in man-made divisive notions of race, color, or national origin. These concepts are meaningless in the Spiritual realm.
Proverbs 7:7, 8, 25 — I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner.
If we choose to walk along the same paths as the wicked, to the street corners of sin, we are setting ourselves up for failure and distancing ourselves from the Source of Love, Peace, Security, Wisdom, and Justice — Jesus. In honor of our LORD, we must preemptively choose a completely different path, not going where everyone else goes. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” (Matthew 7:13)
Proverbs 7:10-13 – And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him….
The sinful person is loud, showy, busily wandering, and driven by passions and emotion rather than by the Spirit.
Proverbs 7:16 – I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen….
The sinful crave luxuries and comfort rather than God’s presence in their lives.
Proverbs 7:18 – Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.
Worldly ‘love’ is really self-centered desire for personal satisfaction. Though, the worldly still call it love.
Proverbs 7:19 – For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey….
With worldly ‘love,’ there is always a victim, someone being used by someone else. We may romanticize it, but it is still just selfishness.
Proverbs 7:22-27 – All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
Real sex education teaches that love waits for marriage, that sex is for marriage between one man and one woman, and that there are eternal dangers to illicit lust and sex. Most children in America are taught sex education in public institutions that start with the mandated premise that God is not part of the equation. Christians in America have allowed this to happen in general silence.
“…till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.” An arrow to the liver is an inevitable death, but it is slow and painful. So is sin.
Proverbs 7:27 — Where does immorality lead?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 January 2023: Consider carefully today who/what is influencing you in life. Who or what are you listening to on a daily basis that is not godly or that isn’t from God. Resolve to not “sit in the seat of scoffers” by removing negative influences from your life, even those that ‘scoff’ in the name of righteousness. Remember that any teacher that doesn’t point to Jesus as the answer is a false teacher. For many, moralism has become a ‘noble’ substitute for the Gospel. Consider what ‘good ideas’ you have allowed to influence your thinking rather than the purity of God’s word. Consider where you have been drinking out of man-made cisterns rather than straight from the Living Water of Jesus. (Jeremiah 2:13) Resolve to fill your mind with Jesus Christ, seeking an ever-increasing relationship with Him. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” (Psalm 1:1)