Do you sometimes learn things the hard way? Me too! In Proverbs 6:1-19, the Lord uses negative examples to teach us positive wisdom. God speaks into three areas of our lives – how we handle money (1-5), how we discipline ourselves (6-11), and how we build community (12-19). God our Father is calling us to take new steps of faith and repentance into responsibility, opportunity, and unity, for the sake of Christ and our neighbor.
Every day we are being told that, if we want to live, we need to be young, thin, attractive, rich, smart, and so on. This is our cultural ideal, the wisdom of our age. Just one question – Is it working? Every day you wake up, you have a choice to make – will you follow the proven way of Christ or the defunct way of man? Will you follow the way of man which never gives rest, or the way of Christ which crowns you with grace?
In all the noise of our culture, what are you listening to? Is it working for you or is it a mirage, leading you on with false promises? Be honest, we’re all chasing after something. The question is, does it lead you to peace? Trusting in the Lord’s teaching and commandments, listening to Him, and chasing after Him is the path toward true peace.
In Proverbs 2, our Heavenly Father has written us a letter to share His wisdom. He says, “If you will seek newness of life in Christ (1-4), you will go deep with Him (5-8), and you will have the mind of Christ (9-11). Then you’ll be prepared for life in the real world (12-22).” Your Father shares His wisdom not for you to become His child but because you already are His child.
Wisdom pays attention to the realities built into us by God our Creator. A wise person notices, picks up on the clues, cuts with the grain, tears along the perforated line. Unwise people can be gifted, but they are trying to be healthy on junk food, or run high RPMs on low octane gas, or swim against the stream of the universe. Ultimately, sin is an attempt to reengineer creation to fit our own way. But the book of Proverbs is where the Lord guides us into the only real success there is.
Wisdom is the Law and Gospel of Jesus Christ reshaping us into His image, as God places us on His anvil, and we trust Him enough to stay there until His work is done. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Contrary to popular belief, life is not about making your way or finding your way, as if there were an infinite number of ways. Rather, there are only two ways – The Way of Wisdom or the Way of Folly. Proverbs 9 imagines two houses, one on either side of the road. On one side, a house stands open, with an elegant lady named Wisdom inviting us in. On the other side of the road, another house stands open, with a seductive lady named Folly inviting us in. Proverbs describes life in practical ways, but it goes way beyond helpful tips and self-help. All of God’s Word is about leading us to the one who IS The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
What Kingdom are you pursuing? It seems so obvious that the kingdom of this world offers so much. Fame, wealth, security, but in the end, they are all empty promises. Seeking the Upside-down Kingdom of God can seem strange in this life, but the promises of Jesus are not empty but real and eternal.
This parable has been called, “The Hardest Parable.” That is, the hardest parable to understand and apply. Many questions come up. Why did the Lord, “commend the dishonest manager for his shrewdness?” Is the Lord condoning “unrighteous wealth?” Join us this Sunday as we reflect on the surprising ways Jesus works through His Upside-down Kingdom.
God’s grace and forgiveness in His Upside-down Kingdom is extravagant. But that might not be the most surprising thing we witness in His Kingdom. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of His Kingdom is when people do not reflect His extravagant grace.