Tag Archives: nurturing a relationship with God

Proverbs 21-24; Poverty-Stricken

It’s kind of hard to read these proverbs and not think about people other than myself. I mean, I don’t drink so you couldn’t say I’m a drunkard. I worked for 37 years, and am busy these days serving at my church so I wouldn’t be described as a sluggard. I’m honest most of the time. I’m not a jealous person, and my friends are upstanding, God-fearing people. So these proverbs must be talking to someone else, not me. Right?

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

“So read it again, Connie,” God seems to be saying. “I’m talking to you.”

So I read these chapters a second time. And a third. I looked at what a couple of people had to say about these proverbs, but mostly I just let God do the teaching about my walk with my Savior.

Which leads me to share my thoughts on the end of chapter 24. At first glimpse it seems to be talking about farming, about making a living. And if that’s all you get out of it, it’s still a good lesson. But when Solomon says he applied his heart to what he observed, I did the same.

What does this passage have to do with me? How can this passage be profitable to me, to correct and instruct me in righteousness so that I can be better equipped to do the good work God has for me to do?

When I take a good look at my relationship with my Savior, I wonder if it is well manicured, or if there are thorns and weeds allowed to grow. Have I neglected to root out sin in my life, am I ignoring the signs? One thing I know about gardening, if you don’t take care of the weed problem the minute it raises its ugly head, the harder it is to get rid of. Once those roots have taken hold, once it spreads, it’s a nightmare, and can take over your whole landscaping.

The same can be said of sin. If I allow sin to exist in my life, even just one more day, it doesn’t stay stagnate. It digs its roots in, and can take over my life. I don’t want Solomon’s vineyard in these verses to be a picture of my relationship with God.

The walls around the vineyard Solomon describes are tumbling. And God would have me look at the wall I’ve built around my heart. Am I really guarding my heart against the enemy? Or have I allowed it to crumble one thought, one TV show, one sin at at time? Is my heart exposed to the enemy due to my lack of care?

I’ve looked today at the land God has given me, this thing called salvation, and considered my care of this precious gift that is mine through the blood of Jesus. God would have me consider the time I spend in His Word, not just reading the verses, but letting the verses speak to me, to meditate on it, memorize it, ingest it so it becomes a part of me and crowds out any of the weeds Satan would try to plant before they take root.

God would have me consider how important is guarding my heart, taking a look at the wall that would keep out my enemy. Is it strong and healthy because I’m praying, being intentional about my walk with the Lord?

Or, and this is what convicted me this morning, am I too lazy to make an effort to make this relationship with God something really beautiful and fruitful?

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (24:33-34)

The picture of a poverty-stricken soul makes me sad. If I’m thinking my walk with the Lord isn’t what it could be, if I feel a bit removed from Him, if I’ve allowed sin to grow like a weed, I need to get up and get to work.

August 31 – Don’t Squander The Gift

Ezekiel 16-17

The analogy in chapter 16 spoke to me today as if I read it for the first time. A baby is born, unloved, uncared for, discarded, thrown into the open field to die, abhorred. It’s a picture of a helpless one without hope.

But God came along. He saw the newborn squirming in its own blood, and said, “Live!”

That’s a picture of me. I was dying in my own filth, abhorrent to my God. But He looked at me who was without hope, and gave me hope. He gave me life. He gave me Himself.

In the analogy, God nurtures the one He saved. “Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments…” (16:7) I relate to that. I have also enjoyed the benefits of growing in the Lord, of getting stronger, of becoming the woman He wants me to be, and I am blessed because of Him.

But, sadly, the analogy does not end well. That baby saved by grace, grew up to become a harlot. She used the beautiful jewels given to her by God, and made idols from them. She used the embroidered cloth, and the bread and honey, for her idols. She even became a harlot who paid her lovers instead of receiving payment for her favors. How degrading. How deplorable. How can that even happen?

I’m just reminded not to get too comfortable in my relationship with God, not to get too confident in my position as His child. I don’t want to neglect to recognize Satan’s attacks, his subtle attempt to lure me away from the One who saved me. And I never want to squander the precious gift Jesus has given me.

Ezekiel’s analogy has me wanting to protect what is mine through grace, by protecting my relationship with the One who saved me.