Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Name of the Lord is a Fortified Tower

 Read Proverbs 18

Solomon takes time to put us on our guard against many things—topics that we have visited at least once before, likely more.

The fool is displeased by knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Wickedness keeps company with contempt, shame, and disgrace.

Are you picking sides?  Don’t choose wickedness.  It doesn’t end well.

The lips of a fool mock and bring him to strife, his undoing, and are a snare for his very soul.

Gossip is like calorie-free chocolate.  You eat all you want and then find out you gained 5 pounds anyway.  Oh, but it tasted good going down.

Laziness is kin to destruction.  Not to produce good fruit with the gifts that God gave us is the same as destroying something.

These are familiar topics:

Work and Laziness.

Right and Wrong.

Righteous and Wicked.

Wise and Foolish.

Solomon’s counsel could be regarded as practical, pragmatic, and possible.  It’s all good, put to use now stuff.  It’s tangible. It’s shop class, not algebra, right?

Then we come to verse 10.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;

    the righteous run to it and are safe.

It is as if we jumped out of the Proverbs and into the Psalms.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Solomon’s dad had introduced godly people to the concept of refuge in the Lord before Solomon was born.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;

    my salvation comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;

    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Probably David’s most well know psalm is Psalm 23.  This psalm tells us that we are totally in the care of our Shepherd.

It’s a subtle shift from God’s wisdom to knowing God himself, even knowing that the Name of the Lord is powerful.  We know something about that from one of Paul’s letters.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

We call him Lamb of God, Messiah, the Christ, but mostly Jesus.

In Solomon’s time, Jehovah, Elohim, El-Shaddai were used where appropriate, if the people thought they could speak the name of the Lord at all.

We should have holy reverence for the name of God, but we should also see the power, authority, and hope that accompanies it.

We are reminded by the psalmist speaking in the first person for God, to be still and know that I am God.

We are embarked on a course of study that daily reminds us that there is God’s way and there is everything else.  Let us not forget how important our relationship with the God in God’s ways is.

Our relationships began when we repented of the ways of the world.  In its full context, repenting is more that just turning away or turning around.  It is a wholesale exchange of the world’s ways for God’s ways. 

That’s heart, soul, body, mind, and spirit.  We leave the old behind and we don’t get a receipt for it so we can pick it up later. 

We think of our salvation as an event, but our repentance seems to be a process.  We say that we are done with the old self and won’t go back, but that old self follows you and begs for you to take it back.

Sometimes the temptation seems too great and you are ready to surrender.  Call upon the name of the Lord.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;

    the righteous run to it and are safe.

We know where our help comes from—it comes from the Lord.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

    where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.

As we proceed through this wisdom study, we must not let our hearts and minds reduce God’s wisdom to:

·       A set of rules.

·       Mechanical formulas.

·       A set of equations.

·       Formula-based directives

God is love and there is strength in his name.  His wisdom like his directives comes out of his love and is for our own good.

We should not follow a set of rules hoping to obtain the favor of God.  We should follow his directives and his wisdom and his counsel because he first loved us. We who proclaim Jesus is Lord live in his favor now. He took care of our sin without our help. Our obedience to his directives, wisdom, and counsel is in response to his love.

Our entire lives are to be lived in response to God’s love. Part of that response is to live as the wise, not the unwise, because the age we live in is evil.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

What does it mean that the days are evil?  We cannot count on godly direction from those who have power or influence.  Does that mean that there are no good people left who get elected or own big companies?

No.  It means that you should seek and acquire God’s wisdom, because you can’t count on godly instruction from the world as a matter of course.

It would be nice if your local schools, elected officials, and business owners all followed God’s word and his wisdom, but that’s not the case.

We are blessed that things are better here than they are in the rest of the country and the rest of the world, but the forces that oppose God and his wisdom are reaching into this part of the country hoping to gain a foothold.

We are better off than most of the country and the world but we had better seek refuge in the Lord and start internalizing his wisdom.

We must know the power of his name.

We must trust that his directives are for our own good.

We must know that his wisdom keeps us on the right path.

We must live our entire lives in response to God’s great love that we know in Christ Jesus.

We must know that there is power in the name of Jesus.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;

    the righteous run to it and are safe.


No comments:

Post a Comment