Today's Devotions

Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire +

    It is doubtful if, in 1972, those attending one of Jim Cymbala's worship services in a run-down Brooklyn church imagined Read More
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Don__Carson

Leviticus 6; Psalms 5-6; Proverbs 21; Colossians 4

HERE I SHALL FOCUS ON THREE of the several themes that surface in Proverbs 21:

(a) "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice" (Prov. 21:3).

The prophets say something similar (e.g., Hosea 6:6), and so does the LORD Jesus (Matt. 9:1312:7). Every generation must remember that integrity and righteousness are more important than religious ritual. It should come as no surprise that religious people may sometimes cheat on their income tax, abuse their children, covet their neighbor's car, and love nothing so much as personal pleasure. Their religion may actually serve as a cloak to cover their sin with a veneer of respectability. This chapter includes another relevant proverb: "The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable-how much more so when brought with evil intent!" (Prov. 21:27). The religious observance of wicked people is simply detestable in God's sight; it is unimaginably revolting to him when the wicked person is less a wicked dupe than a self-conscious charlatan using his religion to deceive people. Implicitly, of course, this means that the religion of the Bible is more about character than choirs, more about real transformation than religious tradition, more about God and the Gospel than about leadership and glitz.

(b) Poverty may come about because of abuse and oppression by the strong and powerful. But it may also come about because of a character flaw such as laziness or love of self-indulgence. So it is in this chapter: "He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich" (Prov. 21:17). "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has" (Prov. 21:20). "The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work" (Prov. 21:25). "All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing" (Prov. 21:26). By contrast, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty" (Prov. 21:5). The wise will not pursue pleasure as one of the great goals of life, but will prove provident, generous, hard-working, faithful, and just-precisely the kind of qualities that make good employers and good employees.

(c) "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!" (Prov. 21:4). "The proud and arrogant man-'Mocker' is his name; he behaves with overweening pride" (Prov. 21:24). The heart of all wickedness is this vaulting self-focus that deludes itself into thinking we are self-determining, such that God himself can never be more than an accessory. Small wonder that gospel transformation begins with repentance.

 

Reflections to Consider

  • Corporate Spirituality

    Encouragement, Accountability, and Worship Solitude, community and ministry are three areas requiring balance and integration in the Christian walk. The Read More
  • Companion of the Souls

    When the two disciples recognised Jesus as he broke the bread for them in their house in Emmaus, he "vanished Read More
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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Warfare Spirituality +

    The Trinity function as farmers of our souls, actively caring for God’s creation: an ongoing, radical reclamation of His creation. Read More
  • You are free +

    The Jesus who calmed a sea of deadly, stormy waves, whose arrival sent thousands of demons cringing and cowering to Read More
  • Deliver us from Evil +

    Spiritual warfare is something that few Christians, regardless of their denomination, are accustomed to thinking about, let alone engaging in. Read More
  • Baby, you're a rich man! +

    The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is Read More
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