Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Listen to your Father

Read Proverbs 3.

The wisest man who ever lived passed godly wisdom to the next generation and ultimately to us.  Throughout Proverbs the term "my son" is used to give direct fatherly advice.  The principles, though written nearly 3,000 year ago are timeless and as needed today as never before.

The overarching message of this chapter are all the benefits of listening to and practicing these principles.  But, as we were first instructed in 1:7, success in life begins with a holy reverence for who God is.  So, if we are to be truly wise, what are those practical action steps that demonstrate our commitment to God.

1. Trust in the LORD. (vv.3-8)
Whom do you trust?  One is the Creator, Controller, and has all power, who designed each life with a plan and purpose.  The other is a human who is guessing.  There is an internal struggle to give into what seems right to us, or feels good at the moment, versus what is right according to God.  The admonition here is to not trust in yourself.  Self-reliance will lead to egoism and selfish decisions that will hurt everyone around them.  But wholehearted trust in God, leads to true success in life and will prove helpful to others.

2. Honor the LORD. (vv.9-10)
The black and white, clear and quantitative evidence of one's trust in the LORD is the surrender of their money.  Jesus spoke to this issue more than prayer or any other subject.  From the time of Cain and Abel, through the Old Testament sacrificial system to this very day, giving to God according to His Word is not optional.  We are not allowed to "lean on your own understanding."  Giving is an outward sign of surrender to God and my trust in Him to take care of my needs.  Notice, left overs are not acceptable.  This is the first thing on the budget list before anything else.  God demands priority in our lives.  As a result, He will be faithful to us.

3. Do not despise the LORD's discipline. (vv.11-12)
Because we are human, it is not a matter of if we will receive discipline; we will.  The difference in being wise is learning from our mistakes, or sin.  Some people waste their lives making the same foolish decisions over and over.  When God steps in to correct us, it is a proof of His love for us.  Negligence is worse than hatred.  A parent does not discipline the neighbor kids.  When we are reproved by God, it is another evidence that we belong to Him.

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