June 7, Sunday

UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, prepared by Pastor Jason Sato who is currently serving in Japan as a missionary, is an updated version of his blog first posted on November 2, 2014.  Jason is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“I Am a Fool!”

Proverbs 1:10-16

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. [11] If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; [12] like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; [13] we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; [14] throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”—[15] my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, [16] for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.

bryce-koebel-eQ1cVhBQlZ0-unsplashIntroduction: As our nation is reeling from a double-edge sword of COVID-19 (its toll on human lives and economy) and intense racial conflicts, we need to envelop ourselves with God’s wisdom.  We need to be part of the real solution, which starts with our relationship with God, not problem.  Keep that in mind as you read today’s blog.

Following the introduction to the book of Proverbs, the author dives straight into his first piece of wisdom: do not join a gang of murdering thieves.  I find myself hard pressed to argue with that, though I am tempted to ask, “How stupid do you think I am?”

Before we jump to conclusions, let’s follow the author’s argument.  In verse 11, the sinners attempt to entice the reader to lie in wait for blood.  The promised reward is precious goods and plunder (v. 12).  In short, commit sin and gain an immediate benefit for yourself.

From elementary school through high school, my go-to move was to lie if I thought I could avoid displeasing my parents, teachers, or friends.  My lying wasn’t very frequent; it generally seemed harmless, and there was an immediate benefit that appeared to outweigh the harm in lying.

Perhaps we’ve doubled or tripled (or more!) in age since our days as students, but all of us face moments when a “white lie” seems far more prudent than the truth.  And what our spouse, friend, or pastor doesn’t know won’t hurt them, right?  We don’t cut corners because we enjoy evil; we’re just trying to be efficient.  We’re peaceful people.  It’s better to just ignore someone than stir up trouble and try to reconcile.  Essentially, we’re masters of rationalization.  And that’s very dangerous.

The author of Proverbs does not simply think I’m foolish: He knows I am.  I’m tempted to sell my integrity for convenience, damage my relationship with my children for five minutes of peace and quiet, and lie to my small group rather than admit I need their prayers.

The Word of God warns us today to avoid immediate gain and death and pursue immediate obedience and everlasting life.  How are you tempted to pursue immediate “blessing” by disobeying God?  Ask the Lord to give you courage to seek His kingdom first and trust that He will add all things to you.  That is the wise way to live.  Be committed to it because difficult days lie ahead for many of us in which we will be tempted to take the shortcuts in life.

Prayer: Lord, what I am is not a mystery to You—I am a weak-willed person whose faith easily wilts when facing difficulties or temptations.  I am doomed apart from Your mercy!  I need You.  I depend on You.  I can do nothing apart from You.  Amen.    

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 48

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