Friday, June 15, 2012

Proverbs 24:30–34

"I walked by the field of a lazy person,
        the vineyard of one with no common sense.
      I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
        It was covered with weeds,
        and its walls were broken down.
      Then, as I looked and thought about it,
        I learned this lesson:
      A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
        a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
        scarcity will attack you like an armed robber."


What a graphic picture of laziness! The effects seem to creep up on the lazy person. While the sluggard is focused on ease, on not pushing himself, poverty sneaks in. But do these verses apply only to laziness per se, or might they apply to misplaced priorities in general? What if verses 30–34 were phrased differently? "A little more time online, one more email responded to—and my relationship with my children and spouse will disintegrate, my relationships in the community will erode …"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Psalm 118:4–9

"Let all who fear the LORD repeat:
'His faithful love endures forever.'

In my distress I prayed to the LORD,
and the LORD answered me and set me free.
The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me.
I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in people.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes."

If we truly believed that God is for us and that we can take refuge in his faithful, everlasting love, would we ever feel afraid again? Here the psalmist reminds himself that because God is "for him," he has no need to fear. What can a mere human do to him, if God himself is on the psalmist's side? God frees us from fear of human scorn and hatred when we take refuge in him rather than in any form of human power. In what—or whom—are you trusting?