The books we have navigated so far in this series have dealt with justice: when there is righteousness, there is blessing. When there is wickedness, there is punishment. That is black and white and everyone understands it. However, life is not always black and white. In fact, its’s rarely ever all black or all white. That is where the wisdom and poetry books come in. They help us with life application and bring in elements of truth and learning that are a bit different from black and white cognitive logic and hard facts we have studied thus far in our series.
Wisdom means knowing God’s will and being able to see from God’s perspective. Many people think God plays “hard to get,” but he wants us to know wisdom. It is NOT a secret. The main theme in these books is to fear God. The word “fear” does mean to be afraid of God. It is to RESPECT him.
INVITATION: Join in our study this week to see just how wisdom, song and poetry fit into our lives with God and how they play out in scripture.
MONDAY: James 1:5 & Ephesians 5:15-17: Do you ask for wisdom in your prayer life? As you reflect on the fact “he gives generously without finding fault,” does that give you confidence in your position with God and being able to ask for wisdom? Once you ask for wisdom, be sure you are ready to listen and obey because often “his ways are not our ways.” (Isaiah 55.8).
TUESDAY: Job 38:1-18: Job continues to praise and honor God in spite of severe suffering and hardship in his life. However, he finally begins to ask the inevitable “why me” type of questions. God doesn’t explain the situation or give insight into his methods, but basically challenges Job to consider how little Job knows of what God has made. Have you ever sat in nature and pondered God and what he has made? Perhaps you can take a morning this week and go outside as dark becomes light. Consider how the landscape changes as morning comes. What feelings rise up in you? Give thanks for God’s love that is renewed with each day. Perhaps you can consider the miracle of each new day and the bigness of God. How do you feel about not being in a position to question God and who He is and what he does and does not do?
WEDNESDAY: Psalm 23: God wants us to bring all our pain and grief as well as our joy to him and trust him with it all. He wants to be involved in our lives. He is a personal God. The Psalms can be categorized as those of a) orientation (Praising God for who he is); b) disorientation (frustration and confusion when faith is shaken); c) reorientation (giving glory to God). Today’s Psalm has a rhythm of all three orientations. Can you see them? How might you apply this Psalm in your life this week? Pastor Adam shared a few favorite Psalms for certain situations: Psalm 8 for praise, Psalm 51 for a time of repentance, and Psalm 100 for thanksgiving. You are invited to pray and meditate on these Psalms as your life situations dictate.
THURSDAY: Proverbs 3:5-7: The Proverbs were written by Solomon, considered the wisest person who ever lived. Jean Pierre De Caussade wrote: “If a faithful soul accepts God’s will and purpose in all simplicity, he will reach perfection without ever realizing it, just as a sick person who swallows his medicine obediently will be cured, although he neither knows nor cares about medicine.” Trust and obey. How might you trust and obey during the course of your day today? If you feel you lack trust in God, have you thought to pray for it? Do you ask lots of “why me” questions like Job started to ask?
FRIDAY: Ecclesiastes 1:2-4: Ecclesiastes has a rather downer and “woe is me” tone to it, written between a teacher and author. Your first response to these verses might be to think the Teacher should have developed a rosier outlook on life. Take some time today to reflect on your life with some one-word summaries. What one word would you use in place of “meaningless” or “vanity” to summarize your life at present? What words best describe your search for meaning and purpose? What sort of picture do those words suggest?
SATURDAY: Ecclesiastes 12:8-14: Nothing matters or lasts but the things of God. How are you striving to become the person God has called you to be? How are you challenged from this week’s study to “fear” (respect) God and keep his commandments in your daily life? In Mark it states, “for what does it profit to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” How might you orient your days, weeks and years more toward God? Nothing else lasts.