PROVERBS DEVOTIONALSSeptember 26–30
Monday, September 261 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:1-2 (ESV)
A Simple Reminder: God Controls Your Future
According to a story in the Grand Rapids Press, the owner of a small foreign car had begun to irritate his friends by bragging incessantly about his gas mileage. So they decided on a way to get some humor out of his tireless boasting, as well as bring it to an end. Every day one of them would sneak into the parking lot where the man kept his car and pour a few gallons of gas into the tank. Soon the braggart was recording absolutely phenomenal mileage. He was boasting of getting as much as 90 miles per gallon, and the pranksters took secret delight in his exasperation as he tried to convince people of the truthfulness of his claims. It was even more fun to watch his reaction when they stopped refilling the tank. The poor fellow couldn’t figure out what had happened to his car.
The author of Proverbs warns his readers of the dangers of boasting. Proverbs 27:1 warns about praising yourself for what you are doing to do and Proverbs 27:2 warns about praising yourself for what you have already done. Pastor Jim reminded us in the sermon that only God knows what the future holds and ultimately God is in control of the future.
Read James 4:13-17. How does this passage describe the length of our lives? What should we say instead of what we are going to do in the future?
Praise God for His knowledge and control of your future. Ask God to give you His perspective on the days to come and your planning process.
Tuesday, September 27
21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and a man is tested by his praise.
Proverbs 27:21 (ESV)
A Simple Reminder: God Knows Your Heart
A woman made an appointment to come and watch a silversmith work. She saw him hold a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, you need to hold the silver in the middle of the fire. That’s where the flames were hottest. That’s where you burn away all the impurities. She asked the silversmith if he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time. The man answered “Yes.” He not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver. If the silver was left too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s easy–I know it is fully refined when I see my image in it.”
Refining silver and gold over the heat shows them to be what they are and also removes impurities. How a person reacts when someone praises him/her also shows what they are like. If a person gloats over praise, he shows himself to be arrogant; he “knows” he is good. But if he accepts the praise modestly, he shows his humility.
Pastor Jim reminded us that God already knows what’s in our heart. Spiritual tests reveal to us what’s in our own heart. What was the last lesson you learned from a spiritual test?
Thank God for using tests to purify your faith and to grow you spiritually. Ask God to help you recognize areas of pride in your life and other areas where He wants to grow you.
Wednesday, September 28
5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
Proverbs 28:5 (ESV)
A Simple Reminder: Understanding
An atheist was spending a quiet day fishing when suddenly the Loch Ness monster attacked his boat. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat at least a hundred feet into the air. It then opened its mouth, waiting below to swallow them both. As the man sailed head over heels and started to fall towards the open jaws of the ferocious beast, he cried out, “Oh, my God! Help me!” Suddenly, the scene froze in place and as the atheist hung in midair, a booming voice came out of the clouds and said, “I thought you didn’t believe in Me!” “God, come on, give me a break!” the man pleaded, “Just seconds ago, I didn’t believe in the Loch Ness monster either!” “Well,” said God, “now that you are a believer you must understand that I won’t work miracles to snatch you from certain death in the jaws of the monster, but I can change hearts. What would you have me do?” The atheist thinks for a minute, then says, “God, please have the Loch Ness Monster believe in You, also.” All of a sudden the Loch Ness monster bowed its head and spoke, “Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.
Seriously, when a person turns their heart to the Lord, things begin to make sense. People who don’t have things right with God will have a hard time understanding a lot of things that are spiritual in nature. The more we seek God the more we understand his ways. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.”
Who do you know that struggles to understand God’s truth because they are an unbeliever? Who have you seen change their perspective after they became a Christian?
Thank God for helping you understand spiritual truth. Pray for the salvation of people you know that aren’t saved.
Thursday, September 29
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. 14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Proverbs 28:13-14 (ESV)
A Simple Reminder: God Forgives Your Sin
An Indianapolis patrolman ran into trouble while he was investigating a routine traffic mishap. He had interviewed witnesses, arrested one of the drivers, and written up the accident report. Then he noticed that the offending motorist was chewing on something that wasn’t gum. He was eating the report! Despite the officer’s efforts to retrieve the report, it was destroyed. But the delay was only temporary. The patrolman tracked down the witnesses again and recompiled the evidence.
The resistance and cover-up that this Indiana officer encountered is similar to what Isaiah saw in the people of Israel centuries ago. The prophet was grieved as he watched his countrymen try to ignore and conceal the evidence of their sin. They, in effect, stuck their fingers in their ears while the Lord spoke (Isa. 30:9), and they encouraged their prophets to tell them only what they wanted to hear (Isa 30:10). They would rather hide than seek the mercy of God. Consequently, the Lord sent judgment on them (Isa 30:12-17). (Our Daily Bread)
Why would one conceal sin if it clearly is not spiritually profitable? One reason is because of the failure to realize the destructive nature of sin. Other reasons might be because one feels it is too painful to face the dishonor and shame or there is too much pleasure for one to give it up or there is too much pride to admit sin as sin.
Thank God for the price Jesus paid to purchase the forgiveness of your sin. Confess any sins to God that you have been trying to cover up.
Friday, September 30
26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26 (ESV)
A Simple Reminder: Walk in Wisdom
Pastor Bob Beasley shares a true story told by a father in his church: “Our three-year-old daughter, Rena, sat with us during the baptismal service…which was a new experience for her. She exclaimed in surprise, ‘Why did he push that guy in the water?’ My wife tried to explain briefly and quietly, but Rena just wouldn’t be satisfied. Later that night we tried to provide an answer that a child’s mind could comprehend. We talked about sin and told Rena that when people decide to live for Jesus and ‘do good’ they want everyone to know. We then explained that water symbolizes Jesus’ washing people from sin; when they come out ‘clean,’ they are going to try to be ‘good.’ A moment later, we realized we’d have to work on our explanation a bit after Rena immediately responded with this question, ‘Why didn’t the Pastor just spank him?’” (Brian Bill)
The Bible teaches that baptism symbolizes the cleaning work God does on our soul. It’s foolish to think we can find forgiveness and cleansing apart from God. The writer of Proverbs teaches that it’s wise to seek God for the deliverance of our sins. J.S. Baxter taught, “What God chooses, He cleanses. What God cleanses, He molds. What God molds, He fills. What God fills, He uses.”
Have you ever looked in the mirror, and seen how filthy you were? You can’t wait to get in the shower and wash yourself off with soap and water. God’s Word is a mirror but it also tells us how to get clean. What do you see today when you look in a spiritual mirror?
Thank God for delivering you from the penalty and power of sin. Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to make good choices today.