1 – Proverbs 21:1 (ESV) 1The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
RAF: Troubled by leadership – civil or ecclesiastical? Pray. It is not an idle exercise like complaining is. Go to where something can actually be done. Pray.
I am struck by how timely this is, given the inauguration of President Obama yesterday. But whether or not he was (or is) “your man” – he is our President, and these words apply.
2 – Proverbs 21:3 (ESV) 3To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
RAF: Phariseeism isn’t dead. It is still tempting for us to imagine that as long as we are in the right Church, believe the right things, sing the right songs, hold the right opinions and serve in the Church – what is summed up here as “sacrifice” – then whether or not we walk in true righteousness and justice, i.e. in the character and disposition of Christ – we’re fine. It is a lie. Many a man has entered upon ministry and been elevated to great places, whose arrogant, biting, harsh, sinful ways with people go unchallenged because of their giftedness and service. They are doing their “sacrifices” well, but their hearts are far from being subdued by the Holy Spirit. They can treat others like dirt, and bully and bluster and pout and all sorts of things, and then imagine they are fine before God. Heavenly Father deliver us from these deceptions – deliver ME from such deceptions. Help me see that if whatever I do is not done in the SPIRIT of Christ, it is not acceptable to you regardless of how much it may be done in the NAME of Christ. Make me like my Redeemer. Fill me with the Spirit of Christ. Fill me with your love.
3 – Proverbs 21:4 (ESV) 4Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
RAF: Oh, how we need to understand the lenses through which we view things. Father, so often I have no idea of my own presuppositions, prejudices, constructs, experiences, cultures and slants. I have no idea that the light I am shining on things is one that has the filter of my haughtiness over it. Let me see things through your eyes – through your truth, through your word. Do this, lest I color everything with the film of my sin, and assume that that is truth.
4 – Proverbs 21:5 (ESV) 5The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
RAF: This is as much true in the spiritual as it is in the natural. One does not gain spiritual maturity by bestowal – it is by growth. One learns the Word by study, not osmosis. Faith grows in testing, not ease. Age, even in Christ comes by way of time, not sudden leaps forward. Diligence is what leads to abundance. Faithfulness is what perseveres long enough to reap the harvest. Yearning for Heaven makes a man order his steps to get there. Those who imagine they have it all now, or can get it all in a flash are fooling themselves. Such hastiness will only come to poverty. Walk WITH Christ, do not try to cross the finish line while you are still in the starting gate.
5 – Proverbs 21:9 (ESV) 9It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
RAF: Sometimes, men withdraw for this very reason. Many a wife would do well to consider whether or not the distance that has grown between she and her husband may not be owing directly to this. See: Verse 19. Nor is this restricted to the wife. A quarrelsome and contentious husband drives his wife and children from him as well. Oh, they may not leave “the house” – but to be sure, they are looking for corners in it where they do not have to confront you.
And too, precious Jesus, are there times when you seem to withdraw, because your people have become the contentious and quarrelsome Bride? Does the dew of your Spirit’s presence lay far from us because we are a churning people, at rest neither with your truth, your people, your providence or your agenda. Forgive us. Please return in the fullest intimacy. We are lonely for your closeness. You’ve not left the house – but we’ve stopped seeking you out.
6 – Proverbs 21:21 (ESV) 21Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
RAF: Righteousness sought apart from kindness will result in hardness, legalism, intractability, and frustrated anger with self and others. Father, never let me separate the two. Never let me think that there is a true righteousness apart from kindness. How I fail at this so often.
7 – Proverbs 21:27 (ESV) 27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.
RAF: Woe to us when we try to bribe God. When we enter into the right duties of religion in an effort to manipulate Him or buy His favors. He will treat it as an abomination.
A poem. Without reference to the above.
would she like a ride?
in the freezing cold
with such a long way to go
carrying her bag.
Such a pleasant face.
She looked ahead
then back at me
“No” she said
“I think I’m OK.”