Proverbs 2-3 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He desires to give wisdom to all those who follow after Him

Everyone wants to be wise.  No one has ever said to me, “I can’t wait to be foolish today!”  Most of us have a natural curiosity about how things are made, where they come from and how they affect us.  When I was a teenager, I was asked what my favorite book was, and without hesitation, I replied, “The Encyclopedia.”  I know this sounds strange coming from a young person, and of course, my answer should have been the Bible, but I’ve always loved moments of random learning.

We couldn’t afford the coveted set of World Book Encyclopedia, and the internet was not available back in the dark ages; but every chance I got, I paged through the volume of knowledge held between the pages of the encyclopedia at the library. However, possessing all this knowledge does not a wise person make.  Wisdom is the ability to apply the knowledge we have, and this is what Solomon was addressing in our reading today. 

@ Proverbs 2
Proverbs 2 is a tutorial on how to find wisdom, where to find it, who it is for and what we receive once we obtain it.  All this in 22 little verses!  Only a very wise man could accomplish this in so few words. 

How:  Listen for wisdom, concentrate on it, ask for it with fervor and search for it like one who is digging deep in a mine for silver.  This proves to the Lord that we respect Him and what He has to say. (2-5)

Where:  Wisdom comes from the Lord. “For the Lord grants wisdom!” (6) 

Who:  God responds with wisdom (knowledge, understanding, common sense, protection) to those who are honest, walk with integrity, are just and faithful. (6-8) 

What:  We will understand what is right, just and fair; we find the right path to walk; we are filled with joy; we are kept safe; we are protected from evil people, including immoral woman and men; and we make right choices. (9-16)

The process is like a chain reaction.  We ask for wisdom and diligently search for it > through His Word we learn how to live a life of integrity and righteousness > He grants wisdom in response to our life of integrity > we are blessed with understanding, guidance, joy and protection.  What a deal!  All of this is ours today for the low, low start-up cost of asking. 

@ Proverbs 3
The mark of a truly wise person is one who follows this advice from Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.  Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.”(5-7) It’s difficult to trust with all my heart in someone I don’t know very well, risky at best.  Trust develops through relationship and time spent together – enough said.

We may say that we have faith in God, but it is trust that applies the action to our faith.  Faith is the noun, and trust is the verb that demonstrates our faith.  Faith without trust is like knowledge without wisdom – great to possess but not always useful.  When I depend on my own understanding, there’s really only one person to trust in, and that’s me – not very wise when the wisdom of heaven is mine for the asking.

Moving Forward: “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her.” (18)  Today I seek His wisdom in what I do and say.  And I trust His wisdom to guide and direct my steps. 

Tomorrow @ Lamentations

Job 13-14 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: The all-knowing God directs our lives according to His knowledge

We’ve all heard the sayings, ignorance is bliss and what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but it’s difficult to not know or be ignorant in this information age. There are times, usually about midday, when my brain just hurts from too much input, but thankfully it’s nothing that a good cup of coffee doesn’t cure.  Most often knowledge on just about any subject is invaluable and helps to protect us. It enriches our lives, although sometimes not knowing does offer momentary bliss.  However, in Job’s situation, not knowing was almost killing him. 

@ Job 13
After much discussion, Job’s dialogue with his visitors became, well, cranky to say the least, and I really don’t blame him.  “As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks.  If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.” (4-5) Job also questioned their audacity to speak for God without His permission.

“Listen closely to what I am about to say. Hear me out. I have prepared my case; I will be proved innocent.” (17-18) No longer filled with the earlier lofty questions to his friends about God and His actions, Job took matters into his own hands and decided to take his case to court before God—and became his own lawyer!

He personally wanted to ask God what the charges were against him, why had God turned from him.  But in the closing remarks of his trial, this broken man, filled with sorrow over loss, covered with sores, acquiesced, “You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” (14:5)  Job lost all hope for the future.

It’s important to remember here that we know some things that Job was not privy to. We are aware of Satan’s challenge in Chapter 1, but Job had no knowledge of it.  He had no idea of the purpose behind all his pain, and while Job felt he was being wrongfully punished, we know he was being tested.  Walking through difficult times in the past, nothing comparable to Job’s trials I might add, I often wondered if I had done something to cause it – why this pain?  After examining my heart for a cause, I came to realize that there are just some things I am not privy to. God has a plan and a purpose that I may or may not someday understand, and that’s okay because I have hope.

Where Job had little to no knowledge of eternal life, we are well aware that we are simply sojourners through this life on our way to heaven.  It makes me smile to read Job’s hopeful question, “Can the dead live again?  If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle.” (14:14)  Job was brave to even ask the question in his day.  Can the dead live again?  Yes, Job, yes!

We are blessed to live on this side of Calvary with a Bible to read, where we learn about God’s purpose for us and the knowledge that we will one day live again to spend eternity with Him. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18NKJ)  Where Job sat in despair, uncertain of his future, we have hope of an eternal future with God.  Be comforted! 

Moving forward: Because God is in control of today’s challenges, I have hope for the future and the assurance of eternal life with Him. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 34-39

Job 11-12 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He responds to our trust in Him with deliverance

When the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? started airing on television, I’d watch it whenever I could because I loved the title and enjoyed having my knowledge put to the test.  After all, who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?  As one who has been known to pick up an Encyclopedia book, say H-I, and read it for pure enjoyment, I find discovering what I really know to be entertaining and obviously thousands of others who watch the program do as well.

While watching the program one night, I discovered that I knew the answer to every question up to the $500,000 question without phoning a friend, asking the audience or eliminating half the answers.  Amazing, yet true!  Then, the buzzer rang and the show was continued to the following evening.  I wasn’t home to watch the next program, but I seemed to walk with my head held a little higher.  That is until a few days later when I watched the show again and missed a $1,000 question.  Job was surrounded with friends who thought they had all the answers to life, but none of that knowledge was helpful to poor Job. Sometimes we just don’t know as much as we think we do. 

@ Job 11
“Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job: ‘Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words?  Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? Should I remain silent while you babble on?  When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?’” (1-3)  Well, the old saying comes to mind, With friends like that, who needs enemies? Evidently, tension had been mounting for Job’s third friend as he listened to the discussions, and he must have felt that someone had to stop the polite discussion and straighten out sinful Job.

Zophar said to this man who had lost all his wealth, all his children and most of his health, “Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!” (6)  Or, “Here Job, here’s a little salt for your wounds.”   What Zophar knew about Job was based on fallacy, yet he thought he knew everything and judged Job accordingly.  May our hearts always be sensitive to the hurts of others, putting judgment in the hands of God where it belongs.

@ Job 12
“Then Job spoke again:  ‘You people really know everything, don’t you?  And when you die, wisdom will die with you!  Well, I know a few things myself—and you’re no better than I am.  Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?’” (1-3)  I’m not sure how Job had the strength to respond to Zophar and his friends with this pithy counter, but it certainly made me feel better.

Job went on to talk about the magnitude of God’s knowledge and power, “But true wisdom and power are found in God…He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom.” (13,22)  We think, in all our brilliance, that we have discovered the cure for diseases, space travel and our endless inventions, but did He not know it all first?  Do our breakthroughs surprise Him?  No, He is the One who uncovers all the answers for which we are given credit, and it is He who places them in the hearts and minds of men.

All this knowledge spouted by Job’s friends was not impressive to him because he knew that it came from the Source of all knowledge.  Job’s greatest concern was not about what he knew about God.  Job’s greatest concern was about what he did not know about God – why was God punishing him?  As we will learn, deliverance came to Job when he finally turned his focus back to his knowledge of who God was regardless of what God did. Deliverance from the trials we face is certain for us as well when we focus on who we know God to be and put our trust in Him. 

Moving Forward:   Because I know Him to be all wisdom and faithfulness, I will trust Him in all that I may face today, assured of His power to deliver. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 29-33

Proverbs 2-3 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He desires to give wisdom to all those who follow after Him

Everyone wants to be wise.  No one has ever said to me, “I can’t wait to be foolish today!”  Most of us have a natural curiosity about how things are made, where they come from and how they affect us.  When I was a teenager, I was asked what my favorite book was and without hesitation I replied, “The Encyclopedia.”  I know this sounds strange coming from a young person, and of course my answer should have been the Bible, but I’ve always loved moments of random learning.

We couldn’t afford the coveted set of World Book Encyclopedia and the internet was not available back in the dark ages; but every chance I got, I paged through the volume of knowledge held between the pages of the encyclopedia at the library. However, possessing all this knowledge does not a wise person make.  Wisdom is the ability to apply the knowledge we have, and this is what Solomon was addressing in our reading today. 

@ Proverbs 2
Proverbs 2 is a tutorial on how to find wisdom, where to find it, who it is for and what we receive once we obtain it.  All this in 22 little verses!  Only a very wise man could accomplish this in so few words. 

How:  Listen for wisdom, concentrate on it, ask for it with fervor and search for it like one who is digging deep in a mine for silver.  This proves to the Lord that we respect Him and what He has to say. (2-5)

Where:  Wisdom comes from the Lord. “For the Lord grants wisdom!” (6) 

Who:  God responds with wisdom (knowledge, understanding, common sense, protection) to those who are honest, walk with integrity, are just and faithful. (6-8) 

What:  We will understand what is right, just and fair; we find the right path to walk; we are filled with joy; we are kept safe; we are protected from evil people, including immoral woman and men; and we make right choices. (9-16)

The process is like a chain reaction.  We ask for wisdom and diligently search for it>through His Word we learn how to live a life of integrity and righteousness>He grants wisdom in response to our life of integrity>we are blessed with understanding, guidance, joy and protection.  What a deal!  All of this is ours today for the low, low start-up cost of asking. 

@ Proverbs 3
The mark of a truly wise person is one who follows this advice from Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.  Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.”(5-7)  It’s difficult to trust with all my heart in someone I don’t know very well, risky at best.  Trust develops through relationship and time spent together – enough said.

We may say that we have faith in God, but it is trust that applies action to our faith.  Faith is the noun, and trust is the verb that demonstrates our faith.  Faith without trust is like knowledge without wisdom – great to possess but not always useful.  When I depend on my own understanding, there’s really only one person to trust in and that’s me – not very wise when the wisdom of heaven is mine for the asking.

Moving Forward: “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her.” (18)  Today I seek His wisdom in what I do and say.  And I trust His wisdom to guide and direct my steps. 

Tomorrow @ Lamentations

Job 13-14 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: The all-knowing God directs our lives according to His knowledge

We’ve all heard the sayings, ignorance is bliss and what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but it’s difficult to not know or be ignorant in this information age. There are times, usually about midday, when my brain just hurts from too much input, but thankfully it’s nothing that a good cup of coffee doesn’t cure.  Most often knowledge on just about any subject is invaluable and helps to protect us. It enriches our lives, although sometimes not knowing does offer momentary bliss.  However, in Job’s situation not knowing was almost killing him. 

@ Job 13
After much discussion, Job’s dialogue with his visitors became, well, cranky to say the least, and I really don’t blame him.  “As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks.  If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.” (4-5) Job also questioned their audacity to speak for God without His permission.

“Listen closely to what I am about to say. Hear me out. I have prepared my case; I will be proved innocent.” (17-18) No longer filled with the earlier lofty questions to his friends about God and His actions, Job took matters into his own hands and decided to take his case to court before God—and became his own lawyer!

He personally wanted to ask God what the charges were against him, why had God turned from him.  But in the closing remarks of his trial, this broken man, filled with sorrow over loss, covered with sores, acquiesced, “You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” (14:5)  Job lost all hope for the  future.

It’s important to remember here that we know some things that Job was not privy to. We are aware of Satan’s challenge in Chapter 1, but Job had no knowledge of it.  He had no idea of the purpose behind all his pain, and while Job felt he was being wrongfully punished, we know he was being tested.  Walking through difficult times in the past, nothing comparable to Job’s trials I might add, I often wondered if I had done something to cause it – why this pain?  After examining my heart for a cause, I came to realize that there are just some things I am not privy to. God has a plan and a purpose that I may or may not someday understand, and that’s okay because I have hope.

Where Job had little to no knowledge of eternal life, we are well aware that we are simply sojourners through this life on our way to heaven.  It makes me smile to read Job’s hopeful question, “Can the dead live again?  If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle.” (14:14)  Job was brave to even ask the question in his day.  Can the dead live again?  Yes, Job, yes!

We are blessed to live on this side of Calvary with a Bible to read, where we learn about God’s purpose for us and the knowledge that we will one day live again to spend eternity with Him. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18NKJ)  Where Job sat in despair, uncertain of his future, we have hope of an eternal future with God.  Be comforted! 

Moving forward: Because God is in control of today’s challenges, I have hope for the future and the assurance of eternal life with Him. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 34-39

Job 11-12 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He responds to our trust in Him with deliverance

When the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? started airing on television, I’d watch it whenever I could because I loved the title and enjoyed having my knowledge put to the test.  After all, who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?  As one who has been known to pick up an Encyclopedia book, say H-I, and read it for pure enjoyment, I find discovering what I really know to be entertaining and obviously thousands of others who watch the program do as well.

While watching the program one night, I discovered that I knew the answer to every question up to the $500,000 question without phoning a friend, asking the audience or eliminating half the answers.  Amazing, yet true!  Then, the buzzer rang and the show was continued to the following evening.  I wasn’t home to watch the next program, but I seemed to walk with my head held a little higher.  That is until a few days later when I watched the show again and missed a $1,000 question.  Job was surrounded with friends who thought they had all the answers to life, but none of that knowledge was helpful to poor Job. Sometimes we just don’t know as much as we think we do. 

@ Job 11
“Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job: ‘Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words?  Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? Should I remain silent while you babble on?  When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?’” (1-3)  Well, the old saying comes to mind, With friends like that, who needs enemies? Evidently, tension had been mounting for Job’s third friend as he listened to the discussions, and he must have felt that someone had to stop the polite discussion and straighten out sinful Job.

Zophar said to this man who had lost all his wealth, all his children and most of his health, “Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!” (6)  Or, “Here Job, here’s a little salt for your wounds.”   What Zophar knew about Job was based on fallacy, yet he thought he knew everything and judged Job accordingly.  May our hearts always be sensitive to the hurts of others, putting judgment in the hands of God where it belongs.

@ Job 12
“Then Job spoke again:  ‘You people really know everything, don’t you?  And when you die, wisdom will die with you!  Well, I know a few things myself—and you’re no better than I am.  Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?’” (1-3)  I’m not sure how Job had the strength to respond to Zophar and his friends with this pithy counter, but it certainly made me feel better.

Job went on to talk about the magnitude of God’s knowledge and power, “But true wisdom and power are found in God…He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom.” (13,22)  We think, in all our brilliance, that we have discovered the cure for diseases, space travel and our endless inventions, but did He not know it all first?  Do our breakthroughs surprise Him?  No, He is the One who uncovers all the answers for which we are given credit, and it is He who places them in the hearts and minds of men.

All this knowledge spouted by Job’s friends was not impressive to him because he knew that it came from the Source of all knowledge.  Job’s greatest concern was not about what he knew about God.  Job’s greatest concern was about what he did not know about God – why was God punishing him?  As we will learn, deliverance came to Job when he finally turned his focus back to his knowledge of who God was regardless of what God did. Deliverance from the trials we face is certain for us as well when we focus on who we know God to be and put our trust in Him. 

Moving Forward:   Because I know Him to be all wisdom and faithfulness, I will trust Him in all that I may face today, assured of His power to deliver. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 29-33