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Saturday, February 22, 2014
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 15:30–33
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the body.
The ear that heeds wholesome admonition
will lodge among the wise.
Those who ignore instruction despise themselves,
but those who heed admonition gain understanding.
The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility goes before honor. (NRSV)
The book of Proverbs states that its purpose is to teach wisdom and discipline. This book was foundational as a guide for the Jewish people. Children memorized and recited these words. Today we are in need of its wisdom more than ever.
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.” Now fear of the Lord strikes many as an outdated idea. It conjures up images of a wrathful God, which many reject. It is hard for us to understand this phrase as it was intended—fear of the Lord might be better understood as a way to correctly view ourselves in relation to God.
We get in trouble in life when we become too focused on ourselves. It is easy to become consumed with our problems, our desires, our needs. We become the center of the universe and don’t even realize it. Then we lose an accurate perspective. This is where the humility part comes in. Fear of the Lord involves putting God in God’s rightful place, with God, not ourselves, at the center of all. God first and ourselves second, that is the right order; that produces humility. If we envision life as God’s garden, we are each a flower in it. We are each planted, nourished, and sustained by God. Our life is as the flower, not the garden; every flower in it is not something we choose and control. This indeed is wise instruction as we understand our lives as a part of the larger life of God.
Loving God, you have planted, nourished, and sustained me. Help me to focus on your love and service first and myself second. Even when times are tough, you let me feel your caring presence, and trust that you are always working for good. Help me to focus on doing your work in the world, rather than my own. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Written by Liz Nickerson, Family Ministry Coordinator
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