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This, Too, Is Wisdom

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December 7, 2023

Proverbs 29:19-27 continues its discussion of various classes of people - including servants, fools, young people, angry people, thieves, rulers, the righteous, and the wicked. At some point in our lives, we all find ourselves in one or more of these classifications, for which reason verse 25 applies: “whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” God’s love and His goodness are for “whomever” – and that obtains for everyone. God is “not willing that any should perish” (Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9). Because Proverbs is a book of wisdom, it encourages all men and women everywhere to practice the supreme act of wisdom - to trust the LORD” (verse 25). Trusting in the Lord is the wisest thing any man or woman can do.

In his brief letter of 2 John, the aging apostle addresses an assembly of believers as “the chosen lady” (verse 1), which is an appropriate title of respect for the church - the bride of Christ. John reminds believers there to “love one another” and to “continue in the teachings of Christ” (verses 5-9) because “many deceivers have gone out” (verse 7). We are instructed not to “share in their wickedness” by “welcoming or receiving anyone who does not bring this teaching” (verses 10-11). As Christians, we have a special responsibility to maintain the integrity and the purity of the church by guarding its teachings.

In the book of Haggai, we observe how wrong priorities can gradually creep into our lives and our practices to cause defilement. The people of Israel had grown complacent - “living in paneled houses while [God’s] house remained a ruin” (1:4). No less than five times, the prophet cautioned the Israelites to “give careful thought to their ways” (cf., 1:5-7; 2:15-18). Habitual actions can lead us to physical, mental, and/or spiritual dullness and then to a state of moral decay. Decay breeds impurity. Our spiritual lives constantly need to be renewed and washed from the daily dirt that we pick up just by living in a defiled world. Haggai says that people need to think before they act. The people’s priorities were wrong - focused on the physical rather than the spiritual - they were actually investing all their resources in a “purse with holes in it” (1:6). As Christians, we need to set our priorities straight, avoid wasting all our time, efforts, and resources in the here and now, and invest them in eternal things that really matter and will last. This, too, is wisdom.

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