Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17

Genesis 35:1-36:43; Matthew 12:1-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 3:21-26

"The Lord will be your confidence..." (Prov. 3:26).

What a possibility! What a promise! Living wisely - with "sound judgment and discernment" (3:21) - will bring safety and security and freedom from fear.  Too good to be true; I'm all for it; sign me up!
And if we just look at the benefits from wisdom, it's easy to get carried away by the results.  This passage in Proverbs details out the logical (although not absolute) outcomes of living well.  Who doesn't want feet that don't stumble?  Who doesn't want sweet sleep? 

It's all too tempting, though, to just look at the promises, and not recall what is required beforehand.  I'd rather think about the rewards of my work than the work itself.  I'd rather sit in these verses from Proverbs than look at the psalm just preceding them.

Psalm 15 is a FAQ - it asks a question and then provides an answer.  "Who is able to come into God's presence?" verse 1 poses, and the rest of the psalm responds.  But such difficult answers!  

Who is holy?  Well, the man who lends money freely and does not accept a bribe (vs. 5).  Check, and check.  Doing good!   The man who has a blameless walk and does what is righteous (vs. 2).  Those descriptions are vague enough that I might finesse them to fit myself.   The man who does his neighbor no wrong (vs. 3).  Oh, my neighbors love me.  It's the people in my house whom I wrong.  The man who speaks truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue and casts no slur on his fellowman (vs. 2-3).  Hmmm...what did I say about that driver on the freeway yesterday?  The man who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord (vs. 4).  Oh, ouch.  I remember going along with the conversation at work when we envied the promiscuous starlet and poked fun at the John 3:16 man behind the uprights.  The man who keeps his oath even when it hurts (vs. 4).  I give up.  

This is the man who will never be shaken (vs. 5), who sleeps sweetly, who is not afraid (Prov. 3:24-25).  That description is a hard one.  Nothing in it is easy.  There is work and self-denial.  Living that way will make us look weird; it will definitely set us apart from the rest of the world.  I'm so far from meeting the standards of Psalm 15, but the gains of our passage in Proverbs today are so weighty, so attractive, that I'm encouraged to try again. 

Jesus, I want to set my face like flint in the direction of Psalm 15.  I want to live on your holy hill, to never be shaken.  Show me where I need to see my sin.  Bring me to confession and repentance as I fall short of your desire for me.  Remind me, even as I fail (drat those freeway drivers!), of the beautiful rewards of Proverbs 3:21-26.  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 


  1. In my reading through the Bible this year I want transformation, not just knowledge. The Psalm and Proverb today is exactly what I need to keep before me every day. Thank you Sarah

  2. Yes! I want to be changed, not just reassured in complacency. Change is kind of terrifying, though, so I'm continually grateful that our God is so good.