WE ARE TOLD THAT PROVERBS AND PARABLES ARE “RIDDLES” (PVBS. 1:6)
OFTEN THEY CAN PERPLEX AND CHALLENGE
THE CONUNDRUM I FACE IS THAT I KNOW GOD LONGS FOR IS A BRIDE WHO LOVES HIM FOR HIM, AND NOT FOR WHAT HE CAN GIVE HER. THAT’S WHAT WE WILL SEE IN THE PARABLE THIS WEEK. OUR HEARTS ARE SO EVIL WE WANT TO USE GOD TO GET WHAT WE WANT, AND WE DON’T LOVE HIM FOR HIM.
AND YET SO OFTEN PROVERBS SEEM TO TEACH THAT OBEYING THE RULES WILL LEAD TO US GETTING WHAT WE WANT FROM GOD.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce,
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
ISN’T THAT THE HEALTH AND WEALTH GOSPEL THAT MAKES US CRINGE?
ISN’T THAT IN DIRECT OPPOSITION OF GIVING JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE GOD?
HOW SHALL WE SOLVE THIS RIDDLE, THIS CONDUNDRUM?
WHEN STEVE AND I WOULD FACE A CONDUNDRUM WE WOULD PRAY SEPARATELY AND THEN COME TOGETHER, AND FIND THAT THE SAME SPIRIT SAID THE SAME THING. MAY WE PRAY AND SEEK GOD’S WISDOM.
SO PRAY BEFORE YOU READ MY THOUGHTS, AND MY SOLUTION TO THIS RIDDLE.
MAY THE MIND OF CHRIST OUR SAVIOR
GIVE US WISDOM AND UNITY.
A SPECIAL WELCOME TO OUR NEW SUMMER PARTICIPANTS — ALREADY YOU HAVE ADDED RICHNESS TO OUR FELLOWSHIP! THIS MORNING I APPROVED THREE MORE NEW SISTERS FOR LAST WEEK’S BLOG — SO HOPE TO SEE YOU HERE!
PREPARE YOUR HEARTS WITH THIS:
1. What thoughts do you have about the above and why?
2. How do you solve the conundrum that sometimes Proverbs seem to feel like a works-oriented religion, saying, “God will bless me if I…” when we know He blesses us simply because we are His? Do Proverbs oppose the Gospel?
MONDAY-FRIDAY BIBLE STUDY AND KELLER VIDEO
2. Read Luke 15:1-3 and explain the context of the parable of the prodigal sons.
3. Read Luke 15:11-32 and comment on anything that stands out to you and why?
4. Watch this ten minute video from Tim Keller and share your notes and comments.
Rembrandt portrays both sons in this painting.
5. Which one do you think is the older son, and why?
6. How was each son trying to be his own Savior? How do you try to be your own Savior?
I run to my idols when I am trying to be my own Savior. David Powlison says: Our desire for good things seize the throne, becoming idols that replace the king. Here is the wisdom that has helped me solve the condundrum. So often for me running to idols has to do with fear — fear that God will not meet me. Is it possible that the maxims of Proverbs that seem to tell us that God will bless our obedience are His way of letting us know He will meet us, and that we do not need to fear abandoning ourselves to Him? If, for example, I tithe, not to get health and wealth, but out of love for God, is it possible that God encourages me by saying, “Don’t be afraid you won’t have enough, for I will take care of you.”
This is the pattern I see in Proverbs. Just as the Gospel teaches us to love and trust God for He is good, so do the Proverbs. We do not follow these proverbs (caring for the poor, giving sacrificially, guarding our tongue) to make God bless us, but because we love Him. But, when we are afraid to obey, He gives usencouragement following the command in order to help us overcome the fears. The error comes when we twist the proverbs in a Pharisaical fashion thinking, I want God to do this so I will do this. Or Unless I do this, God will get me.”
The health and wealth gospel preys on the desperate — it has permeated Africa and the prisons. It is so wrong, twisting God’s Word. (The Gospel Coalition is running a series of articles this month on what we can do about it — if you are interested: Africa Infested by Health and Wealth Teaching)
If we come to God just to get it will backfire. But if we love God for God, it is true that He often protects us from pits and showers us with blessings. That doesn’t mean we won’t suffer, for we will — but God will use our suffering for good.
7. Do you agree or disagree with my solution to the condundrum? Explain.
8. Read Proverbs 3 and slow down if anything quickens you. Contemplate. Comment.
9. If you were to apply the following proverb to your life today, what would it be, and how might this take faith in the goodness of God?
10. How does Proverbs 3:8 encourage you to apply the above?
11. See if you can see this pattern of a command followed by an encouragement in:
A. Proverbs 3:9 (command) 3:10 (encouragement)
B. Proverbs 3:11 (command) 3:12 (encouragement)
C. Proverbs 3:21 (command) 3:24-26 (encouragement)
12. Read Proverbs 4 and stop at anything that quickens you. Contemplate. Comment.
13. The heart of proverbs 4 is verse 23. Ponder and consider how you might better do this.
14. What is your take-a-way and why?