Saturday, December 31, 2016

THE LORD LOVES OUR FELLOWSHIP

Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. (Malachi 3:16)

As I finish my reading of God's Word for another year, I'm thrilled again by the concluding words of Malachi.  One of the chief characteristics of God's people -- His genuine sons and daughters who have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ -- is that they love to share with one another the blessings of their heavenly Father. That fellowship in the things of God is precious to Him. He observes it with delight! And a "Book of Remembrance" is recorded for us!

I look forward to the opportunities we will have in 2017 to share what God reveals to us in His Word. Our Wisdom Class each Sunday at 11:30 is a spiritual banquet for me, and I trust it is for you, as we share God's riches with one another.

See you Sunday!

(Wisdom Class, Calvary Baptist Church, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan)

Friday, December 9, 2016

COME, LET US RETURN TO THE LORD

"Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD . . . (Hosea 6:1-3)
We who have, by God's grace, trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, have been united with Him in his death for their sins and in His resurrection. As Christ was raised on the third day, we too, when we received Him as Lord and Savior, were raised with Him. That day became our "Resurrection Day," our "third day". We were raised to "newness of life" (Romans 6:4) "so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin" (Romans 6:6).

But God's people today, as in Hosea's day, have a tendency to drift away from Him. And though our "idolatry" is more subtle today, it is no less deadly! The Apostle John, writing to believers in Christ, concludes his First Epistle with this warning: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (1 John 5:21). The Apostle Paul, likewise, exhorted the Corinthian Christians: "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10:14)

What are the idols that seek our worship today? Has something taken the place of Christ in our love and loyalty? Is there any activity in our lives that cannot be legitimately offered to God in gratitude? Is He shut out of any part of our lives? Or perhaps we have perverted the worship of the one true God to conform to our desires - as the Israelites did in Hosea's day. All this is idolatry.

"Come let us return to the LORD!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Approaching a Fool

"Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction."

(Courtesy of MikeysFunnies.com)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wisdom Personified in Proverbs 8

Proverbs 8 – Wisdom Personified
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."  (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

A completed circle on “Wisdom” –

Prov. 1:20-21 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks . . .

Prov. 8:1-2 Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand;

Why is wisdom “she”? The Hebrew word, Chokmah (כמה), is a feminine noun.

Wisdom is the voice of Heaven calling to the young man in contrast to the brazen adulteress in the street – See 7:4-5. (Charles Bridges)

Start the Search!
Where is wisdom to be found? (8:1-3)
Who is wisdom trying to reach? (8:4-5)
What are the characteristics of wisdom? (8:6-16)
What are the rewards of wisdom? (8:17-21)

Christ, the Embodiment of Wisdom -- Proverbs 8:22-31

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . .     First Corinthians 1:30

Final Exhortation of Wisdom -- Proverbs 8:32-36
"And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death."  

Wisdom and Poetry

Wisdom and Poetry – Overview

“Words to the Wise”
First Kings (Solomon)
Song of Songs of Solomon
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes

“Poetry with a Purpose”
Job
Psalms
Lamentations

PROBING THE PROVERBS
Structure & Composition of Proverbs
        Author & Purpose – 1:1-6
        The Cry of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding – 1:7 through 9:18
        Proverbs of Solomon & Wisdom of the Wise – Chapters 10-24
        Solomon’s Proverbs Transcribed by “Men of Hezekiah” – Chs. 25-29
        Words & Counsel of Others – Chs. 30, 31

Types of Teaching in Proverbs
Straightforward instruction (e.g. 1-6)
Types of Teaching in Proverbs
Straightforward instruction (e.g. 1-6)
Parable (7:6-27)
Types of Teaching in Proverbs
Straightforward instruction (e.g. 1-6)
Parable (7:6-27)
Personification (Chapters 8 & 9)

Types of Couplets
1. Identity or Equivalence:
            A man who flatters his neighbor
            Is spreading a net for his steps. 29:5
2. Non-Identity or Contrast:
            A sated man loathes honey
            But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet.  27:7
3. Contrariety to indicate absurdity:
            Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom?” 17:16
4. Classification of persons, actions, or situations:
            The naïve believes everything,
            But the prudent man considers his steps. 14:15
5. Valuation or priority of one thing over another:
            A good name is more to be desired than great riches,
            Favor is better than silver and gold.” 22:1
6. Consequences of human character or behavior:
            The sluggard does not plow after the autumn,

            So he begs during the harvest and has nothing. 20:4

(Couplets points from An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books by C Hassell Bullock. Chicago: Moody Press, 1979)