On Wednesday I finished my pilgrimage through Psalms which has taken about 6 months, including a month in Psalm 119. It has been a delightful and challenging journey and fittingly ends in the 5 praise Psalms from 145-150. Yesterday on my birthday as I paused before my next journey the Lord seemed to be giving Psalm 23 as the Psalm for me for this coming year.
I share one startling picture from it, since I believe you have all read this Psalm many times. Reading a book by Joni Eareckson-Tada, recently, she was speaking about getting a new perspective in the midst of suffering. She called it “Don’t look at the Wall”. Speaking to a friend who is an F1 racing driver she asked him if he was never scared while driving at these high speeds, especially since one of their members had been killed, crashing into the boundary wall. His reply was that they are trained that when they are spinning out of control directly towards the wall, they should not focus on the wall but rather look at the track. The thinking is that they are trained to act spontaneously to drive their cars out of the worst spins etc. However if they focus on the wall rushing towards them their bodies freeze and they lose control.
So taking from that story she is suggesting that in the midst of suffering, not to focus on the wall of pain (let your present dilemma freeze you), but to see past it the larger picture of of the open space, the opportunities the Lord is giving you (steer for the open space).
Reading Psalm 23 I was meditating on the dark valley that David speaks of and one which lies in the center of the Psalm. The comfort God gives through His presence. Then it suddenly hit me. Whenever I think of this vs I am focussing on this dark valley, that is the wall, I must steer for the open space , the light at the end of the valley. The light of hope and the promise of our eternal home and of course the pathway of whatever opportunities God is still giving me. What a thought for the coming year.
So today I started on a slow, in depth walk through Proverbs. Two things struck me immediately, which link into the theme of my blog. Ch 1:3 “Let the wise LISTEN and add to their learning. So how do we know when we are listening to the teaching of God? It shows in our actions and attitudes vs 3. Doing what is right and just and fair. Cf Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a WHAT? a WISE man who built his house on the rock.
Of course there is much more . Vs 5 and 6 (Prov) tell us that wisdom gives us discernment and the ability to understand proverbs, parables and the sayings of the wise.If you look at Mark 4:9-12 you see that Jesus specifically spoke in parables so that only those who have the ability to listen will understand them. Whew.
Then there is that well-known vs Prov 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. I was asking myself “Do I really know what it means to fear the Lord, I mean know in my heart? and I was led to Psalm 1 which has much in common with this passage up to vs 19,, there the blessed one, walks in the ways of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.
So we come back to “how do we know when we are really listening?” Well we will be distinguished by our hearing God speak and putting it into practice, by our attitudes and delight in God’s Word and will be called blessed and wise.
Lots to chew on. I am still struggling to get the comments activated but please stay with us and be patient.
- Fruit, the Sign of a Healthy Vine.
- Baptised into One Body by One Spirit.
- Wisdom and Faithfulness
- Future Grace, Living a Life that gives God All the Glory.
- Are We Living in True Freedom?
- Tongues of Fire Herald the Arrival of the Holy Spirit.
- God’s Word in Redemption.
- A Servant to Save the Whole World
- More on Love and Wisdom.
- God's Steadfast Love.