Back to my silly roots! So many things in scripture remind me of movies I’ve seen. This passage reminds me of that elderly gremlin from Hotel Transylvania. If you’ve seen this wacky movie, you’ll know see seems old and feeble, but in a quick moment…she’ll eat something larger than herself and then give a sly look all around. She’ll then proclaim, “I didn’t do that!”
The clip from the film, the scripture point out our real life excuses. We are prepared to sin, make the wrong choice. When we do it, the first thing we do is deny doing it. We might point the blame on others.
Why? Because taking responsibility for our actions is the first step to reconciliation. As long as as a person denies they did nothing wrong, relationships stay broke and forgiveness and healing can’t take place.
“Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.”
Proverbs 29:26 NIV
First of all, mad props to you if you have a blog and are able to keep a consistent posting schedule. in a couple days I will post about my 31 day experience blogging about the book of Proverbs. But for today I’m going to talk about this verse.
What comes to mind when you think about this verse? For me, I think of contacting governmental leaders to let them know what I stand for and how I would encourage them to vote a particular way on a bill.
No matter what legislation is passed, what budgets get vetoed, or who goes before a judiciary committee, we only receive justice when it comes from the Lord.
“Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back.”
Proverbs 28:17 NIV
I was considering a few other verses to write on until I came across this one. The thing I like most about proverbs is that most of them are “common sense” commentary. However when we say some of these things out loud, some might be taken aback! We know these things happen…but we don’t talk about such things in polite society.
This verse is like so on the nose. It’s in your face. It’s an observation that the writer may have had personal experience with.
People who are guilty, especially of murder…find no relief from their guilt until they find their way to their grave.
The good news for us is that we can be free of sin, shame and guilt. Jesus can provide that freedoms for the liar, the thief, and even the murderer. Earthly consequences still stand, however the guilt that drives people to kill themselves…doesn’t have to stick around or lead them to a self imposed ending.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 NIV
Have you ever worked with a dull knife? The Deli I worked in had a rule: a dull knife is an unsafe knife. You tend to chop or push harder when you knife is dull. This can lead to accidents. If you lose control over the item you’re cutting and you’re pushing down real hard with you dull knife…you might soon lose a part of you.
The deli I worked in had a knife sharpening service. All of our knives would be collected every 2-4 weeks and the service would bring us freshly sharpened and polished knives to work with. We could all tell how smooth and easy it was to cut a loaf of bread or dice vegetables after receiving these freshly sharpened knives.
As I understand it, sharpening any metal tool takes a took of a denser toughness. You scrape the blade along side the harder tool and it shaves away bits of imperfections in the blade. You may have seen butchers or deli workers use a honing rod. In between knife sharpening, we would need to smooth out those bumps on our own by using the honing rod.
What does this have to say about people “sharpening” each other? Mad props to God’s Chemistry Set blog. I was looking for some insight and scientific info on what happens in this process of metal sharpening and they pointed me in the right direction.
Mentoring frequently comes to mind when we talk about helping others grow. Mentors challenge their mentees to try new things. They use their own experience to shave off some of the bumps and nicks in the person they are mentoring. They then also rely on someone else, stronger, tougher and more experienced than themselves to do the same for them.
Ultimately we need to let God’s word and his Holy Spirit correct and shave off those bits in our life that are displeasing to him (or at least not as useful as they could be if they were sharpened.) But we need fellowship with others to guide and help us discern these things. I hope you find that here in this blog. I also find that doing a YouVersion bible study with others is beneficial. You can join me there. “What If” Reading Plan by Matthew West.
“Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.”
Proverbs 26:10 NIV
Have you ever hired an employee before? More likely you’ve been an employee. Perhaps you’ve worked with someone that you just wonder why was that person hired?
I can imagine being Human Resources at a business is a hard job. But, sometimes you just need people who might not be the best skilled or experienced at the job they are hired for (but hey, you got to get experience somewhere and sometime.)
This passage stresses the importance of hiring the right person for the job. Don’t hire fools. (Hopefully the interview process weeds out the fools) and passerby’s just might not be faithful.
I think as a person who has been hired for jobs (you probably can relate) I want to be the kind of person who isn’t a fool. And I want to be wise (and not harm my team) when I hire new people.
Question for you: have you ever worked with a person and felt, “did HR fire at random?” What was your experience?
“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”
Proverbs 25:25 NIV
Have you noticed that we live in a world saturated and obsessed with bad news? When I was a kid, I always wondered why my parents read the newspaper at night or bothered to watch the evening news. Now I’m an adult with a family of my own and I find myself drawn to news and info. And 99% of it is bad or at least sassy news. YouTube news videos and news article frequently have “so and so destroyed this person who has bad ideas and does bad stuff!”
If we start to drown in all that bad news, it can make us weary. We need to be refreshed. Enter: Good news. Good news from afar doesn’t care about your cynicism. It just is good.
I felt at church we were focusing on negative and sad news. We needed a counter balance. I found some by looking at Nazarene News. I found news stories there of encouragement. People and churches who were learning to care for their community in new an desperately needed ways all across the globe.
Perhaps you need some good news today. Here is a link to their site so you can see for yourself how God is refreshing people with His good news all over the world.
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV
We recently had “some” work done on our house. Air quotes on the “some” because it was actually many major things that needed updated and it was decided to go ahead and take care of them all now. Our immediate issue was a leaky basement, however the updates started on the outside and worked their way into the house.
I didn’t tell the contractor what he had to work on. His experience, his expertise far out weighed my own. He did a fabulous job. It reminded me of how little I personally know about updating or repairing things the best way possible. A few years ago I installed a new sink and vanity in our main bathroom. Google and YouTube videos helped me install a functioning sink, but it wasn’t a “quite right.”
The wisdom and experience of our contractor proved there were areas of improvement (like having the sink flush up against the wall…I guess that’s important). So now I know the sink is secure, working properly and will be there for years to come. I’m thankful for his wisdom that established these actual repairs to my home.
In our own hearts and lives we can try to “do it ourselves” and we can even get by with our versions of “good enough.” However, for our lives to be established we’ve got to trust the wisdom of the Lord. We need his word to be our foundation. Otherwise all we are doing is trying to get by through patch-work.
“Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.”
Proverbs 23:6-8 NIV
Have you ever had this happen to you? (I know I sound like an infomercial). You are invited for dinner or a party, but the host only talks about how much it is costing them?
I can picture this being something the father of the bride who is paying for a wedding reception might say. They love their daughter, but begrudgingly fork over the cash to pay for various guests at the wedding meal.
Only advice I have: don’t be like that guy. If you give something away out of love (or any reason, really) it’s not longer yours to control or be upset with how it’s spent. Essentially, if you’re going to be generous, don’t attach strings. If you’re not going to be generous, don’t pretend like you are. Or your guests will sarcastically reply, “sorry to inconvenience you…”
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.”
Proverbs 22:3, 5 NIV
Alrighty! We’re back to movie inspired devotional thoughts! Have you ever seen “Twister?” Yes, the movie about tornado chasers, not the party game with colored dots.
In Twister (spoiler warning) there are of course the main crew of chasers who we are suppose to relate to, care about most and root for. The there is a groups of chasers who are trying to beat our heroes to collecting the scientific data first…making the breakthrough discovery on tornadoes first. (Sounds childish if you think about it that way, but competitive adults can be childish.)
In the film there is a time where our heroes sense that a tornado will easily shift directions, so they don’t choose the obvious route to the tornado. They turn off a different road. The leader of the competing team sees this and decides to stay on course with the tornado, pushing to make the scientific breakthrough first, no matter the cost.
Our heroes do the right thing and try to warn the other team of the impending danger but the leader of “team corporate” doesn’t listen and tells his driver to keep going. It ends up getting the two of them impaled and exploded.
When we are cautious about something, that’s not a bad thing. But it is very unwise to not heed the wisdom of others. You might be taking others along with you up into a tornado.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.
Recently my daughter started taking horse riding lessons. She’s learning a lot and so am I. Horses can be stubborn. They want to be the boss in any situation. If the rider has not gotten confidence in handling the horse, the horse will know it and control the rider.
These horses are not battle horses, but the horses referenced in this passage would have been put through rigorous training to not only listen to their rider’s directions, but also not fear the noises of battle.
The verse reassures us that even through all this battle training, the victory rests in the Lord. You can train and prepare a horse (or a rider) as much as you want, but the victory belongs to God.