Persian Empire

Persian Empire

Monday, May 20, 2019

Daily Bread for Jul 15, Pro 7-9

Today’s readings are Pro 7-9.

In today's chapters, wisdom is elevated into a godly attribute. We see that the practical application of godly insight and behavior nets blessing, peace, and joy.

This is all great and filled with sensible things we should do as the people of God. But, how do we achieve this kind of wisdom? Where can we start? What makes the wisdom described in this remarkable book any better or more effective than worldly wisdom and experience?

Pro 9:10 holds the key to true, godly wisdom, wisdom that has eternal consequences, not just temporal impact. 
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."

The reverential awe of God and who He is, is the beginning of wisdom. It is the seed in which the practical application of wisdom will bear fruit in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Pro 8:32-33 tells us where we can find this wisdom, "And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”

Wisdom is found in heeding instruction. Putting Prov 8-9 together, we see this instruction begins with the fear of the Lord. It is the pursuit of His ways, His word and His character and nature in how we live our lives. That's where we find life and the favor of the Lord. Anything else we pursue can injure us and even lead to death. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Daily Bread for Jul 14, Pro 4-6

Today’s readings are Pro 4-6.

Keeping in mind that Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that, if adhered to, put God on display in the way we live our lives. They are also pragmatic and helpful guidelines for living a life of balance and peace. 

You can think of Proverbs as a father trying to pass on to his son those things he has learned about life as a faithful believer and how to live it in peace and joy. 

In Prov 4:10-13, the father says, 
 "Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life."
These are neither imperatives nor commandments nor promises. But, they are ways to avoid stumbling and being hampered by poor decisions or ungodly behavior. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Daily Bread for Jul 13, Pro 1-3

Today’s readings are Pro 1-3.

Proverbs is a collection of sayings attributed to Solomon. There are probably multiple authors or editors of the sayings, and there are a variety of ways to view the groupings. There is, throughout, a strong emphasis on gaining wisdom. It is the predominant theme of the entire book. But there are other frequently stated themes as well. Speech is mentioned frequently, in a positive and negative way. Obviously, our wisdom, or lack of it, is connected in many ways to our speech (the things we talk about, the things we focus on). Righteousness is another theme that pops up repeatedly, linking godly wisdom with righteous living. Justice, discipline, diligence, character, and conduct are all prominent. Clearly, all these attributes reflect godly wisdom, all supposedly coming from the wisest man ever to exist. 

With that in mind, Proverbs should not be read like a list of commandments. The truths proclaimed in this book are neither guarantees nor imperatives such as those found in the Mosaic Law. In other words, the tenets expressed in Proverbs are not promises. They are intended to be expressions of practical wisdom for God's people in leading lives that put God on display. As believers, we are to be set apart. Proverbs helps us to understand exactly what that looks like on a day-to-day basis.

Pro 1:1-7 acts as an introduction to the Book of Proverbs. It sets the tone and states the primary message of the book, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;" The authors will develop this theme throughout the book.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Daily Bread for Jul 12, Psa 146-150

Today’s readings are Psa 146-150.

Psa 146 - Praise (The Psalmist exalts God's goodness)
Psa 147 - Praise (The Psalmist exalts God's restoration)
Psa 148 - Praise (The Psalmist exalts God's creation)
Psa 149 - Praise (The Psalmist exalts God's vengeance)
Psa 150 - Praise (The Psalmist exalts God's greatness)

Daily Bread for Jul 11, Psa 140-145

Today’s readings are Psa 140-145.

Psa 140 - Lament (David prays for God's protection)
Psa 141 - Lament (David prays for God's sanctification)
Psa 142 - Lament (David prays for God's help)

Psalm 142 is labeled a "Maskil" of David. We don't have a clear definition of this word. Some think it may be a liturgical label, denoting a song or poem of wisdom and understanding to a certain situation. Some think it may be a musical label, giving the singers a sense of speed and timing. It is most probably a combination of the two, like the way we might label a dirge or a requiem.

Notice David's distress, his sense of being unsettled and unsure. Also, notice, he keeps turning back to the Lord, stating his trust in Him, even though he fears his situation and the people around him. This is one of the great lessons David teaches us. Even when it seems the situation is about to overwhelm him, David trusts in the Lord, enough to pause, meditate and record his thoughts. This is not merely a passing "Yes, I know the Lord is still good." This is a serious meditation on the goodness of God at a time when it would be far easier to be consumed with the circumstances.  

Psa 143 - Lament (David prays for God's deliverance)
Psa 144 - Imprecatory (David prays for God's victory)
Psa 145 - Praise (David extols God's goodness)

Note the progression from 143-145. In Psalm 143, David cries out to God to quench the thirst of his soul. In Psalm 144, he confesses that God is his only foundation. In Psalm 145, David sings to the glory of God.

David's life is certainly not a testimony to getting it right nor of being problem free. However, it is a wonderful example of how to handle our stumbles, failures and blatant sins. David never fails to humble himself before the Lord asking for forgiveness and mercy. He knows without God's grace, he is doomed.