Scriptures and Reflections for April 23 – April 28
Most of us love exploring wisdom made simple. We are prone to read bumper stickers to see what someone else is thinking. We want slogans (When the going gets tough, the tough get going) to give us clarity for our lives. The Book of Proverbs is an accumulation of ancient wisdom that still has contemporary significance. So we begin an exploration for the reason for Proverbs and in the coming weeks from time to time we will explore on occasions themes and on other occasions a segment of the Book of Proverbs.
Monday, April 23
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
There it is – our need is for wisdom, instruction, understanding and insight. God does not want us to plunge through life ignorant, foolish, lacking an ability to reflect on our lives, actions and thoughts. Flip through the various forms of media (television, radio, movies, the Internet, etc.) and one finds few really profound sources to help us with our lives. Mostly it is sound bytes, emotionally charged declarations, even slander. One reason we turn to Hebrew and Christian Scriptures is so that we CAN mature. Seek wisdom and instruction and understanding and insight this week.
Tuesday, April 24
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;
This is a very hard-hitting bit of wisdom. Too many people post something foolish on various social media that they cannot take back. Or we shoot off our mouths not realizing that we failed the tests of rightness, justice, and fairness. In short we do not apply a brake to words and actions that can cause damage. Like a tube of toothpaste, once out, it is hard to put it back into the tube. God cares about what we say and what we do.
Wednesday, April 25
for giving prudence to those who are without moral direction, knowledge and discretion to the young—
We are not born with natural instincts for doing the right thing. We are born. We receive nurture. We have bundles of feelings and thoughts. But at times we ALL wander off course, say or do what is indiscreet, act or speak as if we have no particular moral direction. In our youth, we have all said and done some very stupid things. In the 23rd Psalm, David says, “Your rod and your staff will guide me.” These were used by the shepherd to rescue and to direct the sheep when they strayed. Proverbs are guidance. God-given, and often in our lives critically necessary. Lest we think that this is help for the young, be ready for tomorrow, all of us who are no longer young.
Thursday, April 26
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
We have heard the phrase, “you are shouting so loud I cannot hear what you are saying.” Sometimes as we grow older we are so full of ourselves that we do not take the time to listen to the young – patiently to listen. The author of this proverb did not say “let the wise speak and add to their learning.” Our best way to help others is most often just to listen.
Friday, April 27
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
One does not learn from those one does not respect. “Fear” is the recognition that God is not stupid, the Lord is not careless. Fools merrily stroll along with no regard for what has passed on before us, what others observe about life, about deep and thoughtful living.
Saturday, April 28
Today it is a poem by T. S. Eliot. Written in 1928, these opening words from Choruses from the Rock reach back to Proverbs and forward to our own over-congested and data-stuffed lives. Read it and think about what the opening lines of the Book of Proverbs says.
The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God .
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.