Contrasts and Chasms

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 14:34 (day five)

“Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Have you noticed the stark contrasts that  Proverbs clearly depicts?  One that fears God and one who despises God. The wise and the foolish. And in our text this week, the righteous and the sinful. The exalted and the disgraced. The chasm seems to grow wider and wider between the two sides. Is there no middle ground?  Kinda this or mostly this. No, there is no room for half hearted devotion. No place for mediocre obedience. The options are either righteousness or sinfulness. And the results and consequences of each, are clearly spelled out so that the choices and decisions of individuals and nations are evident. The good news is that we can still find righteousness personally and corporately when we fear the Lord, love His Word, turn to Him in humble repentance, and trust His promises.

Wisdom and Relationships

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 9:1-18 (day five)  When you think about the banquet spoken of in the first few verses of chapter 9, can you picture others at the table and in the room with you?  It describes community. At the banquet there is conversation and interaction- instruction, encouragement, confrontation, correction. All are necessary. All are invaluable. All require humility and honesty. Where do those kind of interpersonal relationships begin and come from?  Answer- A relationship with the Lord (fear of the Lord, trust in the Lord, loving the Lord and His commands) creates a humility and hunger for wisdom (among other things) that can only be found first in our relationship with Him, and then in our relationships with other believers. A lack of wisdom is not a character flaw, it is a spiritual problem.

Inside Out

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:9-10 (day five) “Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;” There is a familiar pattern found in these opening chapters of Proverbs. Godly Wisdom must form and grow from the inside out- the exhortations and instructions for wisdom to begin in the heart. Love, fear, and trust for the Lord start there. Then, they move outward- evidenced by our attitudes and actions. In the rhythm of these verses is a natural and logical progression From the heart and mind to action and decision. From faith to finances (a presumed easy and effortless application of wisdom). Notice with what and when we are to honor the LORD- first fruits. We are to give first- before any other business is done. We are to give our best. Even this action is a mental and visible reminder of God’s sovereignty and generosity- another way to worship God for His goodness, kindness, and power.

Worship Test

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:5-7 (day five) In our Re:verse text this week, we see two contradictory options: Trust in the Lord versus our own understanding; and fearing the Lord versus wisdom in our own eyes. Solomon sets these up in direct opposition. So the question for me is, How do I know when I am fearing and trusting as apposed to leaning on my own wisdom and understanding?  One of the places I check, is my worship- both personal and corporate. When I take matters into my own hands I typically tend to settle in the perceived comfort of having life and its choices all figured out. The sense of wonder and awe for God and His wisdom becomes less in my heart and mind. Worship becomes more mechanical than personal. Worship is less intense in that my desire to praise and thank God isn’t as strong or urgent.  I must then repent and seek forgiveness from the Lord. I can then marvel and praise Him for His unending grace and patience towards me. I am reminded and thankful of the times He has protected and guided me. I again desire His wisdom and insight more than my own. I am moving again towards fearing and trusting- then real worship begins.

The Heart

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:1-4 (day five)

“Write them on the tablet of your heart.”

It is not enough to just know and understand the scriptures. Something deeper must happen as we learn and live. The truth and power of the scriptures must ultimately find their way and influence on our hearts- the place of priority, preference, valuation, and commitment.
The law was written/given to Moses on stone tablets and for most, it remained as an external tool for behavior modification. What Solomon is describing is an internal work or transformation. The “teaching” and “commands” create the need and desire for the invisible internal work of the Lord (new heart/new creation) that leads to loyalty and service to Him. Wisdom is about right relationship with God and others.

Proverbs = Progress

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 1:1-7 (day five)

“To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;”

Are you excited about this study in Proverbs?  Are you ready for this study of Proverbs? How can you tell?  Maybe a hint is found in these opening verses. Several similar words appear in these introductory verses. Learning. Instruction. Understanding. Knowledge. Sounds like a classroom doesn’t it?  So, are we teachable?  Are we desperate to learn and grow?  Are we humble (honest) enough to admit that we don’t know it all?  Are our hearts soft enough to confess we need help and guidance to live and think more like Jesus?  The book of Proverbs gives us opportunity for progress- in all areas of our lives. Ready to learn?  Ready to grow?  Ready to think, live, and love others more like Jesus?  Proverbs = Progress


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:24-29(day five) Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them…”

It’s the end of the sermon and Jesus is calling for a response.  There are acts of obedience that must ensue. He has just contrasted the difference between saying and doing. In these last four verses, He is contrasting the difference between hearing and doing. When we hear the Lord, we must respond- repair, renovation, demolition, construction. We must find eternal truth and start there (foundation). If the Lord continues to speak to us, then there is a call to obedience.

“We need to consider that the Bible is a dangerous book to read, and the church is a dangerous society to join. For in reading the Bible we hear the words of Christ, and in joining the church we say we believe in Christ. As a result, we belong to the company described by Jesus as both hearing his teaching and calling him, Lord. Our membership, therefore lays upon us the serious responsibility of ensuring that what we know, and what we say is translated into what we do.“ – John Stott



Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:15-23 (day five)

“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

These are the four most dreaded words in scripture. “I never knew you.”  Yet, there is hope and comfort in them. Jesus is mandating that what is absolutely essential for eternal life, is a relationship with God through Him. God desires a relationship with us- a relationship that shapes our minds, hearts, and wills. Interaction. Engagement. Speaking and listening. Learning and growing. Serving and sharing. If this relationship is real it must be vibrant- producing fruit. There must be a connection to what we profess and our actions. You evilDOERS (emphasis mine). Verbal and moral. Lips and life. Attitudes and Actions. All/both are evidence and affirmation of a relationship with the Lord. (See James chapter 2)

Eternal Perspective

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:13-14 (day five) “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
There’s not much of a sales pitch in our text this week. Jesus doesn’t make the Christian life seem desirable at all- narrow, hard, few.  From  a human perspective, not a good marketing or advertising campaign. I’m always curious how much the commercials cost for “the big game”. This Sunday evening, advertisers will pay around seven million dollars for thirty seconds to make their products seem fun, adventurous, and widely known and used. What you won’t  hear too much this Sunday afternoon, is the “long game”. Jesus always has this in mind. In other words, the economy of the Kingdom of God is best understood and appreciated from an eternal perspective. Patience. Discipline. Courage. Endurance. That’s why He says through the small gate and on the narrow path there is life, and through the wide gate and broad path is destruction.

Like a Child

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:7-11 (day five)  

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” The Greek tense of the verbs in our ReVerse passage carry the meaning of a continual action. Ask, and then keep on asking (seek, knock).  The English language leaves that out. The original readers would have picked up on this verb tense. With it, comes the idea of urgency, intensity, and frequency. Jesus then illustrates His point by depicting a child engaging with his dad, asking for bread then fish. Jesus will later say “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.“ (Matthew 18) Oh, that our relationship with God would be described like that. Am I determined and desperate (like a child) to understand, hear from, and trust my Heavenly Father?