Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within…
Over the past 15 days I have become entrenched in the Scriptures, and what a difference it has made in my outlook. Has my life changed? No. Have my circumstances changed? No. What has changed is my response to my circumstances. When I am in pain and just want to stay home I try to get up and get moving and most times find I feel better for it. I am learning to praise God in all things. There is a joy bubbling up from deep within that I want to share with others.
Today we look at Proverbs 13 and find so many nuggets of wisdom and strength. Again the chapter makes use of the comparison of good vs evil and the rewards/punishments that each choice brings. V2 says “from the fruit of their words good persons eat good things.” What a great word picture that is! Our words bear fruit. This is one thing I love about the Bible. It does not matter how many times we read it, we will always find something we have never seen before. It is this one characteristic that makes the Bible the LIVING word of God, the ability to bring new life to the words and new life to your heart.
Fruit has many facets–it is good to look at, it has a pleasant aroma, it is sweet, and it is good for you. Think of a fruit tree. The first thing you notice are the pretty flowers that bud in the springtime, and soon after the fruit begins to grow. When the season is right the fruit is picked and consumed. When we break down the verse in this manner, we see that our words have an effect long after they are spoken. If the words are good they bear fruit in their own season. This is yet another reminder that words, once spoken, take on a life of their own. May our word bear sweet smelling fruit and not be crowded out by the thorns of unbelief.
V6 says that righteousness guards the upright, but I have to admit that there have been times in my life where I felt the righteous were punished while the wicked prospered. We must remember that the word of God is eternal, and the things of this world are temporal. Justice is not always of this world, but it will always prevail in the world to come.
V8 says wealth is a ransom for a person’s life. Is God against the righteous having wealth? No. But wealth can create entanglements that prevent us from living godly lives and that keep us tethered to the things of this world. I think of “A Christmas Carol” and Bob Marley who came to visit his partner Scrooge. Marley was wrapped in chains which he dragged along the floor behind him, chains of his own making because he cared more for money than for people. Our treasure is, indeed, where our heart is. (Matt 6:21)
V12 has always been poignant to me–“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Hope is a wonderful thing. However, if hope gives way to despair we do become heartsick. We all know that not all of our desires will be fulfilled. Can I give you a hint as to actualizing your desires? Ps 37:4 says if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. You might be saying that can’t be true–He has not given me the desires of my heart. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, and only the Lord, He will place the right desires in our heart, and they will be fulfilled.
V20 has good advice for companionship–“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” Choose your friends well, for they can impact the choices you make. Make all of your choices godly choices, and you will reap the rewards.
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