The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 2:1-10 My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
A friend once told me a story of his brief stint working in a coal mine. He told me about riding on a motorized sled lying flat on his back, travelling several miles underground. Respirators, air filters, and other such equipment were needed to keep his lungs from filling with coal dust. He said at the end of a shift your body from head to toe would be covered in a black soot. Treacherous conditions, long hours, and back breaking work are the norm in this type of environment. Most people have a notion that treasure or something of value can be found as easy as a pot of gold sitting at the end of a rainbow, but the truth is, true treasures, whether coal or diamonds, must be mined, and it is hard work which demands the sweat of your brow. When you flip on your lightswitch today, just know that the electrical current that flows through it and causes your light to turn on, is not happening by magic: someone searched for and worked very hard to mine coal that was converted into electricity so that you could reap the benefits.
The Proverb today equates understanding, discernment, and wisdom with hidden treasures meant to be sought after. Proverbs 8:11 says that “For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her.”
Attaining wisdom, which makes one wise in regards to salvation (2 Tim 3:15), is something which demands toil, perseverance, and is difficult work. We are frequently content with the milk of God’s Word, and shy away from the hard work of getting to the meat. The temptation for us is to seek a short cut. For instance, scrolling through facebook reading all the one-liners that hint at scripture and walking away feeling woke, is NOT a substitute for you cracking open your bible every day and feeding from the meat. Listening to a lineup of sermons or your favorite podcasts each week is fine, but CANNOT be a replacement for you sitting under the faithful preaching of a Pastor, one who knows you intimately and will feed you with an all you can eat buffet of meat treasures from God’s Word week in and week out.
Eve took a shortcut. She saw the fruit that God had forbidden, that it was good for food, delightful to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, so she ate. She did not trust that God would provide. She did not believe Him when He said, “You will surely die”. She was wise in her own eyes, and became a fool. Rather than trusting God, we seek the easy route as well. “Just give me Jesus” many are apt to say. Translation: “Mining God’s Word is too difficult, takes too much time, isn’t interesting, or fun, so I will skip church, put down my sword, spiritualize everything, and talk about Jesus as if he is my best buddy or boyfriend, and suddenly, He looks just like me, and is ok with whatever I want to do.” The wisdom from God gives discernment to know righteousness, justice, equity, and every good course. In other words, it teaches you how to love God, love your neighbor, and how to recognize the path which leads to eternal life.
God’s Word says we must STRIVE to enter through the narrow gate. Having a right relationship with Christ demands digging. How can you know Him without searching the scriptures? Hidden is Christ Jesus, the one called the Word, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Little children, put down the Pokemon cards and comic books, and pick up your bibles. There isn’t anything wrong with play, and fun, and using your imagination, however, you are called to warfare. You are called to follow after Jesus. You are called to put your sins to death. This isn’t just a call for grown ups, it is a call for you. How will you know good from evil, light from dark, the straight gate, versus the broad road of destruction, if God’s Word is not hidden in your hearts?
Perhaps you are easily distracted. Life always seems to get in the way of you digging deeper into the Word of God. The Proverb says to make your ear attentive, incline your heart to understanding, and you say “Easier said than done”. Brother and sister, strive, STRIVE to enter through the narrow gate.
Maybe you are saying to yourself today “Studying the Word of God is difficult”: Cry for discernment. “But if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
If you are able, let us kneel at this time and confess how we often choose ease and comfort over the hard work of mining for the treasures that God supplies, and let us cry out for discernment.
Dear Gracious Heavenly Father, we are a prideful people. We believe that we can take shortcuts in our relationship with You. We want all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge handed to us in soundbites and one liners, because we are too lazy to dig, and mine. This is hard work, and we frequently prefer ease and comfort. We do not enjoy the hard work of digging for wisdom, understanding, and discernment, because we fail to recognize that these are true treasures. Father, because we frequently take our eyes off Your Son, we drift, and seek to satisfy our craving from the things of this world, which are passing away. Please forgive us for our sins against You, our pride, our laziness. Give us an appetite for the battle, that we might relish digging into Your Word. Father, help us to fear You, so that we can discern good from evil, recognizing the narrow gate which leads to life. It’s in Jesus’s Name we pray, amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Psalm 103:10-14 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(from the 7-14-19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)