Happy Fall, Ladies! Yes, this is a second post for Sunday, Sept. 27, but it's so important we don't want you to miss it in the busyness of this back-to-school, leaves-are-falling season. We miss seeing you, and we hope you will sign up for "Believing God in Unwanted Circumstances." This gathering in God's Word will span the five Thursdays of October with in-person and online options at three different times. Choose your time and place! Click to sign up for this weekly look at the lives of four Old Testament women.
I coined the phrase “There’s no growth in easy” when I was a young mom and faced refining challenges in my life. I came to see that when God tests my heart and allows challenges to enter my story, He gives me opportunities to grow in Christlikeness (Proverbs 17:3). Challenges are a gift to embrace rather than to hold at arm’s length, even though they are often uncomfortable. Today’s key verse from Proverbs 27 describes one way we are given growth opportunities — through how we respond to praise. Just like precious metals are refined through heat, we experience a refining as we are tested with a seemingly good thing — praise (vs. 21).
Proverbs 26 continues the theme of our words, and I immediately spot in verse 17 the chaos of my life with little ones — and our world. The Message says it this way: “You grab a mad dog by the ears when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.” Oh, how true, and how painful. Engaging in political, social, and religious arguments often accomplishes little more than stirring up a mad dog. In my own home, I’m often heard telling a child who is meddling with a sibling, “Stay out of it! Worry about yourself!” Or, “Mind your own business! Stay in your own lane!”
Proverbs 25 begins a string of proverbs that were first part of Israel’s oral tradition and then copied down under the direction of Judah’s King Hezekiah. He was eager — almost anxious — to have them written down, so future generations wouldn’t miss the wise words first spoken by King Solomon. I Kings 4:32 tells how Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 psalms. The wisest man was also a prolific author who speaks to us all these years later in 2020 with proverbs about how to run a home and kingdom. Many of the words of wisdom are political in nature, and so many of them tell us how to speak to others. Oh, how we need these words today!
As we continue our march through Proverbs, I’m asking God to put a roadblock in your place here in Proverbs 24 to cause you to slow and to wrestle with a verse or grouping of verses. I’m praying that you’ll be changed by something you read today from God’s Word — and not by my words. When I opened to this proverb, I expected the Lord as usual to quickly give me a prompt for you to study, but I kept getting stuck on two words in one of the verses. My own words wouldn’t flow onto the page, and I came to understand that those two words were a blessed roadblock.