Fall in Illinois is beautiful foliage…for the trees are ablaze with red, yellow and orange leaves. Fall is also harvest time for the farmers…bringing in the crops of corn and soybeans out of the fields. As I look at the beauty around me, I can only thank God for His majesty and creative work. And as I stand in awe and reverence of His faithfulness and love for His people, it reminds me it’s this reverence…this fear of the Lord that is crucial in our Christian walk. For it tells us in Isaiah 33:6, “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Being in awe of God’s creation and thanking Him for it is not groveling at His feet…it’s simply admitting there is Someone a whole lot bigger than me in control!
God wants only the very best for us…the most excellent, most productive life we can live…filled with the greatest satisfaction we can ever experience. Just like the old TV show, “Father Knows Best”, our Heavenly Father really does know what’s best for us. And we will discover it also as we allow God to teach, lead, and guide us.
For many, God is this tyrant sitting up in heaven taking great delight in causing good people grief and suffering. But this Scripture tells us quite the opposite. God’s desire is that no one perish…but with this Scripture also comes responsibility and accountability on our part. II Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” So what’s God promise in this verse? His promise is the Day of the Lord…or Judgement Day. God gives each one of us ample opportunity to turn our lives around… but it’s our decision though whether we respond or not.
What does God hate? The short list is right here in this proverb. God tells us over and over again not to have a relationship with any kind of unethical or immoral activity. But our pride and arrogance makes us think we know more than Him, so off we go, dabbling in things that confuse and slowly draw us in. And before you know it, we’re snared by the grip of sin. But even then, our willful and obstinate nature refuses to accept responsibility and turn away from the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. Our corrupt human nature is constantly pulling us away from what is right and good…when God is telling us to shun evil and put away all our wicked ways.
There’s been many times when I think I know more than the Lord. I’ve foolishly and smugly concluded that God didn’t have all the facts…or that He just didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. But who am I to advise or give guidance to the Lord? I can no where grasp or begin to comprehend the mind of God as a gold-fish can care for itself in its bowl. It is totally beyond my capabilities to understand God and His works. So again I must humbly confess, “You are God and I am not!”
I look at the unethical and immoral activity in the world today and I think to myself, “God, don’t You see this and aren’t You going to do something?” It’s then that He gently reminds me that, #1…God doesn’t see as we do. (Job 10:4) and #2…His eyes are on the ways of men, He sees their every step. (Job 34:21) The wicked of this world may think they’re getting away with their evilness…but God is still watching. And in the end, Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” There is coming a day of reckoning for all of us…the good as well as the bad…the righteous as well as the unrighteous.
I praise You Lord. For when I am weak, You are my source of power. When I am frail in mind and spirit, You support me and give me endurance. When I feel feeble and ready to give up, You reinforce my backbone and give me toughness to move ahead. In Exodus 15:2 it says, “The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.” I will make music in my heart, for You have given me victory on all sides. Amen.
Can you echo these same words that John the Baptist declared about Jesus and himself? What then is it that hinders us from making such a sweeping statement? In a single word – pride. Our selfish agenda pushes us to plunge ahead without God’s direction first. Our willful pride orchestrates our own plans, devoid of the Lord’s guidance. We want to remain on the throne of our life, rather than yielding to God. So what are we so afraid of? Are we fearful that as God increases in our life, our own personal identity will diminish to the point we’ll disappear? In a single word -Yes! But isn’t that what becoming a Christ Follower is all about? Our goal is to become less, as God becomes more. So how can we do this? It takes a conscious act of our Will and a yielding of our pride to allow the Lord to increase within us. And it also takes these words…”Yes, Lord. I ask for more of You and less of me.”
So many times our humanness gets in the way of a right relationship with the Lord. In a twisted form of arrogance, we place our wretched past up on a pedestal and proclaim it to be “too terrible” for the Lord to forgive. Yes, your past may be riddled with bad choices…but nothing God hasn’t forgiven beforehand. Murder, adultery, rape…the list goes on in the Bible of deplorable actions done by people in difficult situations. But when they took responsibility for their sins and asked forgiveness…God forgave them. For there’s nothing so serious, so vile, that God’s redemptive power can’t forgive.
You are the Lord Almighty. The mightiest Warrior…the all-powerful King of Israel. Your Rulership is over the entire universe. By Your power, You have created all things, and You stand ever ready to preserve their existence. We thank You Lord for Your faithfulness, and stand in awe of Your total authority.