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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Walking For God

Proverbs 3 is perhaps best known for these verses:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Reading this chapter today, I noticed the verses that come after verse 6.

"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."

Other than the rather amazing note that yes, the ancients did know about bone marrow, if not all the health ramifications, I found these two verses interesting.

The first 4 verses of Proverbs 3 are talking about listening to God- his commandments, his wisdom. Verse 2 tells us that there are benefits to doing this. Verse 3 and 4 tell us we should make mercy and truth our constant companions, and we will find favor with God.

Verses 5 and 6 are two of the most well-known verses in Proverbs. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine own understanding. We are supposed to trust God with everything we have. Our heart is the most intimate thing we have- what we think with, where all those crazy ideas we humans are prone to come from. If we yield the entirety of that to God, then we've truly given him everything we own, with no reservations, no fine-print.

Further, we are not supposed to lean, or rely, on our own understanding or knowledge. We shouldn't get to thinking we're so big and great that we forget who really matters- God, and his wisdom, his knowledge, his understanding. Because, let's face it. God knows way more than we, in our limited life's experience, could ever begin to fathom.

Verse 6 tells us to acknowledge him in all our ways. This goes along with the first part of verse 5. We are supposed to trust God with our whole hearts- which of course means we'll also be trusting him with our ways- how we walk, how we appear to the world. To acknowledge God means we are supposed to live like he would want to us to. That worldly music has no place in our lives. Ditto for movies, books, etc. etc. that don't please him. Of course, that doesn't mean that we should never read anything but the Bible. I might very well die, because there is a lot of knowledge that one can't get out of the Bible. But people should be able to note a difference between us and the world.

Verse 6 continues and wraps up by telling us that, if we yield our entire being to God, if we trust him and rely on his judgment and understanding, he will direct our paths. And God will never lead you astray. He knows so much more than we can imagine, that it is impossible that he could lead us off the path we need to walk.

Verse 7 starts out by telling us to not be wise in our own eyes. This goes back to verse 5's "lean not unto thine own understanding." When we're trusting in what we know (or what we think we know), then we're being wise in our own eyes. We think we know how we should walk, what our life should look like. This verse continues and tells us to fear the Lord, and to depart from evil. These two go together. If we're fearing the Lord- which means having reverence for him, respecting him, and following him- then we will not do evil.

We can see the fruits of this style of living and the consequences for not living like this in different Bible stories.

Remember Ruth? Ruth was a Moabitess, an hereditary enemy of Israel. Yet she married an Israelite when his family moved to Moab because of a famine in his homeland (this is an excellent example of something bad that reaped to something good). When Naomi, her mother-in-law, was heading back to Israel in the wake of her family's death, Ruth and Orpah, her sister-in-law, were going to go with her. When Naomi urged them to go back to their father's homes, Orpah instantly left. However, Ruth wouldn't leave Naomi. She entreated Naomi to let Ruth come with her. I believe all of us know how the story ends- Ruth goes to Israel, meets a nice man, settles down, and ends up being in the line of Jesus.

Ruth's is a story of a young woman who completely gave herself to God. She was leaving everything she knew- her family, her homeland, her gods, her culture, her food, her clothes...everything that was follow God. As we know, it came out to good. And I imagine she was glad she did follow!

However, we have another woman who also came to live in Israel, but didn't do half as well. She was Jezebel, queen of Israel. Jezebel was chosen as the wife for the King of Israel, Ahab. She also left everything she knew...but she handled it in a much different way from her earlier counterpart. Where Ruth was thankful and compliant, Jezebel was spoiled and bratty. She got her husband under her thumb and started making rules. Where she could have done great things for God, instead she brought her own foreign gods into Israel, ruining the culture in that country, bringing a famine down upon the land, and eventually dying in a gruesome way and having her body eaten by dogs.

All of this came about because she didn't give herself to God and follow him. She didn't trust the Lord with all her heart, nor did she depart from evil or acknowledge him.

Proverbs 3:5-8 give us a blueprint for a life surrendered to God- and one that is joyful and happy- not to mention more pleasant!

See the original post HERE. :)


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