Wednesday 26 March 2014

Bible Reading Thoughts for March 26th


     We “hear” by reading what God has caused to be written preserved and translated – the challenge to all of us is to read and then “accept” into our hearts what we read, so that they become a real influence on the principles by which we guide our lives..
     Solomon writes (Proverbs ch. 4)  “Let your heart hold fast my words” - this is the vital next stage after we accept them.   The first verse tells us that these are “a father’s instruction”  on what the acceptance of his words should lead to - “Keep my commandments and live” [v.4] “and whatever you get, get insight” [v.7]    We must develop inward vision  so that we can reflect on what we have accepted, comparing scripture with scripture so that our understanding becomes increasingly greater.  
      After saying, “Get insight” Solomon adds, “Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honour you, if you embrace her.  She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown” [v.8,9] This poetic language has substantial literal meaning!  Recall the thoughts we developed 2 days ago on “the eyes of our hearts.”
      In our Luke (ch. 18) reading, Jesus makes the point that his followers must have the attitude of children – for when his disciples tried to stop adults bringing children too him “that he might touch them,” Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” [v.15-17]
     As we read God’s word we must have a child-like attitude to “hear” and then “accept” (the) words” we read and then “we will have treasure in heaven” Jesus told a ruler, adding, “and come,follow me.” [v.18,22] The very last chapter in the Bible, the final message of Jesus, tells us that, when Jesus returns, this treasure will be revealed, for I will be “bringing my reward (or recompense)with me to repay everyone for what he has done” [Rev.22 v.12]
     So we start by hearing (through reading), then we “accept”  and then we “do” what God desires in the way we live using our individual abilities and opportunities to serve God and his Son, our Saviour every day – and then the wonder of the time to come – which is getting ever closer – the time of divine repayment with life in his kingdom on earth , for “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” [Matt. 5 v.5]  Will you be there?  You make the answer now!

Prov 3:18 we read:
"She (wisdom) is a tree of life to them that LAY HOLD upon her: and happy is every one that RETAINETH her"

Wisdom is a tree of life to those who lay hold upon her.  "Lay hold" lit means to be strong, to hold fast, and when we consider the tree of life looking forward to eternal life, our minds are taken to Paul's words, which show this being strong is not passive but active:

"Fight the good fight of faith, LAY HOLD on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1 Tim 6:12)

Prov 3:18 exhorts that happy is everyone who retaineth her (wisdom).  The Heb for "retaineth" means to hold fast / uphold. It is also used in the acc in Ex 17 where Moses held his arms up for the children of Israel to prevail over Amalek, and Aaron and Hur "STAYED UP (same Heb)" (supported his arms) his arms.

We must never forget that sometimes we need to support our Brothers and Sisters (and sometimes we need help) to overcome, and to keep hold of wisdom, that by God's grace and mercy she truly is a tree of life to us.

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