Solomon Sacrificing to Idols. Sébastien Bourdon (1646-47) was also a prolific history painter. Louvre. 1 Kings 11:8-10
1 Be not envious of evil men,
nor desire to be with them,
2 for their hearts devise violence,
and their lips talk of trouble.
3 By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the gate he does not open his mouth.
8 Whoever plans to do evil
will be called a schemer.
9 The devising [scheming] of folly is sin,
and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?
13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
if you find it, there will be a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
do no violence to his home;
16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from him.
19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
and be not envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord and the king,
and do not join with those who do otherwise,
22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
23 These also are sayings of the wise.
Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 Whoever gives an honest answer
kisses the lips.
27 Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house.
28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
Envy, desire, violence, trouble, evil, war, victory, fool, adversity, sloth, poverty - Perfect words for the tabloids at the grocery store check out.
This week I've signed Hospice papers for my 94 year old cousin, she is semi-comatose. My cousin is my ward, I have been her legal guardian for 10.5 years due to many strokes she has had. Well of course, Hospice, we are all civilized. On television this would be easy, it is not and the people around react to it. 3 doctors have told us this is the end of life. As I signed the papers, I realized I would want the same considerations for myself. So this is the fulfilling of Jesus' command to love one another . It provokes reactions for all the family & people involved with Maxine. It is both great and unfortunate this is not an easy thing. Scripture for Today Blogspot does not seek to be about me and my life, but death is something we all encounter in our end and around us in the people we love.
What a turbulent week this is. Proverbs suits it just fine. Proverbs is uncomfortable. We had a Bible Study years ago, we were supposed to read aloud several of the Proverbs verses, then change readers, in order, and by chapter. By the end of the reading of a couple of chapters, some people were truly miffed. Which is precisely why Scripture finds itself - in each generation - in a perpetual game of disdain, rejection, ignorance, study, love, adoration, and fascination. And this has gone on for 3,000 years.
I read Proverbs 24 and it pinches. On different days, I will be pinched in different aspects. Is God pleased with my sins showing up? No, He is a Holy and Righteous God. Not that signing the papers for Hospice was a sin, but it makes one mindful of who they are. Thanks be to God, for Jesus Christ. I do not have to live in an unforgiven state. In my weakness, God is strong. Paul said God intertwines all things for His glory and for good. Life is anticipation just what adventure He will provide.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Who has felt this?
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament.
We experience trauma in life and wonder if God has suddenly found our secret selfishness leading into sin. We have wonder if cancer, if death, if divorce, if bankruptcy of if job loss is a direct result of our sin from a vengeful God. The answer is clear. Jesus took our sin from us, at one time, on the cross. Trouble will come in life, sometimes we earn it. Neglect our spouse, we are left. Other times, trouble finds us. We live in God's plan, with joy, knowing God does not provide circumstance to merely grieve us.
I am grateful for the pinch of Proverbs 24. I am not left to wonder what God thinks from on high and from far away, as an absent landlord - Deist philosophy. Instead, we have God who writes to us, what He says is not brushed away as a remark merely to overcome. Not an opinion to think upon and decide for ourselves. The sting of Scripture is that of our Father, parenting us. No loving Father leaves His children without direction. The response is up to us. Solomon experienced God, but wanted God to speak to Him in a manner Solomon chose. If Solomon is to be remembered for his wisdom, it is Solomon's return to God's plan as he looks for real meaning in his life, not just temporal values.
God chose to live with us and chooses so today.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.