Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 8 April 2023:
Job 28:18, 20, 23, 28 — The price of wisdom is above pearls…. From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding…? God understands the way to it, and he knows its place…. Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.
In his tremendous pain, Job could not understand why God was allowing him to suffer – it made no sense to him and seemed unfair. But Job did not trust in his own understanding but rather “waited upon the Lord.” Job describes the incredible efforts men commit to pulling precious metals and stones from the earth to obtain wealth, and he points out that even if men valued wisdom enough to search for it with the same level of commitment (which they don’t), true wisdom could not be found through human capabilities alone – it must be given by God. “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place…. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” (vs. 23, 28)
Job understood that true wisdom can only come from God; it cannot be found by man’s efforts apart from God’s word and His enabling. The Bible tells us to diligently seek wisdom, but not from our own intellect but from God Himself. A big part of wisdom is simply remaining faithful and obedient to God’s clear word when you don’t understand the why behind it – trusting and obeying. Proverbs 18:2, 4 reminds us that everyone thinks they have wisdom, and everyone has an opinion about what is true, but among the oceans of words that have been spoken in the name of truth, words of wisdom are but a bubbling brook. Wisdom can be found from God’s word through the Holy Spirit, and today’s Psalms warn, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Psalm 95:8).” Concerning those who don’t live by God’s word, but rather substitute it for the “wisdom” of men, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways (Psalm 95:10).”
- Proverbs 3:1-8 — My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Psalm 40:3– He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
A real relationship with God changes your perspective on everything and changes your attitude. A changed life gets everyone’s attention and brings glory to God.
Psalm 40:6-8 — In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
God doesn’t want your empty sacrifices; He wants your loyalty, love, and obedience. Become a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1)
Psalm 40:9, 10 — I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
God expects you to proclaim His salvation to everyone. How many times a day to you proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ to those with whom you come in contact? How many conversion experiences have you witnessed this week?
Psalm 40:16 — May those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
It is an amazing and incredibly powerful thing when God saves a person and the Holy Spirit transforms them. That person is “a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God gives them a new heart – “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).” Having received the unmerited gift of grace from God through faith in Jesus Christ, that person is truly humbled, gracious, and joyful to the point of being uncontrollably merry (Psalm 40:16, 17). Bought with the price of the blood of Jesus, that person is no longer a slave to sin but rather a servant of Christ putting off the “works of the flesh” (see Galatians 5:19-21 below) and displaying the “fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23 below). That person is not just “religious;” that person walks with the Lord in continual, natural worship and obedience, delighting in God’s word which is written on their hearts (Psalm 40:6-8; also see 2 Corinthians 3:3 below). Having been saved, he or she simply cannot shut up about his or her love relationship with Almighty God who they can now call “Abba”, “Daddy” – “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation (Psalm 40:9, 10).” Though this person faces the same life challenges as others, their confidence in their God, their persistent joy, their strength and courage, and God’s provision in their life stands out like a beacon in the darkness. The power of God in that person’s life will be so remarkably evident and real that “many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord (Psalm 40:3).” How is the awesome power of Almighty God revealed in your life?
- Galatians 5:19-21 — Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Galatians 5:22-23 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- 2 Corinthians 3:3 — And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
- 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
- Matthew 5:14 — You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Psalm 40:16– May those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
How much you proclaim God’s salvation reveals how much you really love Him.
Proverbs 8:2 – At the crossroads she takes her stand.
At the crossroads of life, you will choose to listen to wisdom or folly. Both are available to anyone and everyone.
Proverbs 8:12, 13 — I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Wisdom is greater than knowledge – wisdom is knowledge rightly applied, which requires the Holy Spirit’s counsel. Wisdom involves not only knowing what is right but doing what is right; it involves self-control, self-discipline, and willing obedience. Many know what is right, but don’t have the heart to do what is right. You will only be willing to do what is right when God Himself is your goal, your prize, your crown, your greatest love, your life aim. Pride and arrogance are the product of a heart that places self over God, and your mouth reveals whether you love God and others most or yourself the most. God hates perverted speech, yes, hates.
Anyone with a right understanding of the Holiness of God, must hate evil. You cannot love God without hating evil, the thing He hates most. All sin hurts, destroys, and separates from the Holy God. Out of love, God cannot tolerate sin. If you tolerate sin, you lack true love. Today, our twisted world says that tolerance (of sin) is somehow a loving thing to do, and Christians are accepting that lie more and more.
In pride, people twist God’s words in order to accommodate sin. This is the same trick used by Satan in the Garden of Eden – “Did God really say…?” Today churches are doing what the Bible expressly condemns, arguing that modern times require a new interpretation of God’s truth. God will not tolerate that.
Proverbs 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
If love for Jesus is not your motivation today, you won’t see what God wants you to see today. Your goal, whatever it is, influences how you see and judge everything else. For example, a parent who has lost a small child in a large crowd, will frantically search for the child, paying little attention to anyone or anything else, with the exception of those they think might be able to help them find the child. When you are seeking a closer relationship with Jesus, worldly distractions become irrelevant.
You will get what you are really looking for. What are you looking for in life?
Proverbs 8:34-36 – Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.
Spiritual growth requires daily, wholehearted diligence and includes watching and waiting.
You must learn to see life from God’s perspective, to be guided by His word, and to be of one mind with Him. We must learn to do what God would have us do rather than what we would desire to do. Often, we must dutifully obey God’s word until our desires more and more become His desires, until our heart truly desires to do what He desires us to do. This is a daily growth process. If we refuse to do what we know God has told us to do, our hearts will harden, and we will lose the desire to obey more and more.
God expects you to put forth the effort to diligently study His word to understand His truths. The wisdom of God is given by the Holy Spirit through God’s word as you diligently study it, meditate upon it all day and night, apply it, proclaim it, and teach it; it is not just magically revealed to you.
- Joshua 1:8 — This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
- Ezra 7:10 — For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 April 2023: Seek God’s wisdom through His word and obey, regardless of how much it might seem to conflict with human wisdom, your experiences, or your feelings. If it is clear from God’s word, everything else is wrong. “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”