Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Proverbs 16:1-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
16 The plans of the mind belong to mortals,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All one’s ways may be pure in one’s own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5 All those who are arrogant are an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, they will not go unpunished.
6 By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one avoids evil.
7 When the ways of people please the Lord,
he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them.
8 Better is a little with righteousness
than large income with injustice.
9 The human mind plans the way,
but the Lord directs the steps.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
The book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings. The goal is to pass on important understanding for the practical living of life to succeeding generations. It’s not so much knowledge, but what might be called “practical wisdom.” The definition of wisdom in the Oxford Dictionary is: “Experience and knowledge together with the power of applying them critically or practically.” You see that wisdom goes way beyond knowledge. They’re not the same thing; they’re quite different.
Again, it’s hard to express what that difference is, but let me give this a try: Wisdom is not so much knowing how to make a living as it is knowing how to make a life. You see the difference? Or how about this: Wisdom is not so much knowing how to build a house as it is knowing how to create a home. Or wisdom is not so much knowing how to repair a clock as it is knowing how to make the best use of time. Our scripture reading for today, the introduction to Proverbs, holds wisdom up as critically important to the life of faith. The Bible, especially the wisdom literature in the Bible, speak of wisdom not only as a goal to be attained but as a gift given to us from God.
Some of the Proverbs are really quite colorful. For example, “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a lazy person in bed.” Here’s another one: “Like somebody who takes a passing dog by the ears is one who meddles in the quarrel of another.”
Proverbs 1:7 says that wisdom begins with a deep reverence for God. Wisdom is grounded in a relationship with God. That relationship is the source of wisdom.
Here we are almost a week into the new year and today’s reading from Proverbs is full of wisdom to ponder as we think about what lies ahead in our lives. What plans do we have? How will we live? What will we cherish and hold onto and what will we let go of?
I invite you to read this section from Proverbs one verse at a time, pausing to think about the meaning of each one for the direction of your own life.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster