Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on Proverbs 12:27 and Jeremiah 29

I'm going to use two examples to illustrate an unstructured and more structured way to study/examine a passage of Scripture. The unstructured method is basically a stream of consciousness response. The second method uses three questions:

What does this say? What does this mean to me? What is my response to God?

Unstructured Response Example
The first passage is Proverbs 12:27:

"A lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence."

My Thoughts
If the man is lazy, how did he get the prey unless God graciously led him to it or plopped it in front of him? Or was the hunt the fun part and cooking the tiresome part? If you only do what is fun and skip the responsibility and don't follow through, then you'll be left hungry and unsatisfied and plus you'll have some rotten meat that might stink and attract scavengers and vermin.

Or, perhaps he did cook the prey but too quickly. Roasting yields the most flavorful and tender way to cook meat. Maybe he made God's gift less desirable and/or gave himself extra work by not waiting for God's timing. Shortcuts aren't really short.

Is this a good extended analogy for the consequences of disobedience/incomplete obedience in my life? Of unconscious living? Of inertia and do-nothingism? Of rushing ahead of God and looking for quick fixes?

Example of the Three Questions Method
I recommend that you read Jeremiah 29 in its entirety. The most well known verse from this passage is 29:11:

"... For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What does it say?

You will wait a long time for God's next move, so settle in and put down roots where you are. Get involved in your community while you wait. Beware of false prophets who say only what youw ant to hear. Consequences for false prophets are serious.

Even in the midst of chastening, God still loves me and has a beneficial plan for my life, and he longs for me to seek time with him.

What does this mean to me?

Don't wait for the next phase of life for obedience or to live an abundant life. We may want to someday move out of Southern California and closer to Papabear's family, but this condo ties us here for now. We don't know how long God has us here, so we should make the most of the time we do have in this community and in Southern California. Wait on the Lord and don't rush toward quick fixes, easy answers or feel-good messages. God can use and is using this situation for our long-term good. No matter my circumstances, God is always available for a relationship with me.

Response to God

God, please show me ways I can seek the welfare of the communities I am currently in. Thank you for your plan and grant us patience to watch it unfold and act only when you call.

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