Honour the Lord

Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)

Read : Proverbs 3:1-10

Consider: Proverbs is full of wisdom and guidance for those who wish to live God’s way.  It is designed for younger people to assist them in avoiding the many pitfalls that will present themselves during life.  While many of the proverbs are attributed to Solomon, the book also contains some proverbs ‘from the wise’ (unnamed individuals), as well as proverbs attributed to Agur and Lemuel.

Today’s reading from Proverbs 3 contains much sound advice.  We read: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).  This recognises something said in Isaiah 55:9 – As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  This advice is sound in that if we rely only on ourselves we will inevitably make mistakes.  While there are many twists and turns in life, some of these can be avoided if only we sought God’s wisdom and insight into the situations we face.

Further advice is: Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil (Proverbs 3:7).  Interestingly this is something Paul picks up in his letter to the church in Rome: For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you; do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3).  In Paul ’s second letter to the Corinthians he says: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12).  Why did Solomon and Paul speak this way?  Is it not because human pride can be easily inflated by the opinions of those around us?  If we are honest we can all be prone to pride, especially if others are telling us how great we are.  Let the compliments from others boost your confidence, not your pride.

The last piece of advice I would like to concentrate upon is: Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10).  Some people use texts like this to justify the ‘health and wealth gospel’, saying that if we do ‘such and such’ then the outcome is guaranteed.  There is a flaw in this thinking and it is contained in the words ‘… the firstfruits of all your crops’.  Although you may be generous with giving to God’s work, is it the firstfruits or the residue you give to God?  Have you noticed that some people think they are honouring God in their financial giving, yet are poor in their giving of time in his service (or vice versa)?  The word ‘all’ in this context must mean a fitting proportion of our time, our talents and our money.

Pray: Father, when we read Proverbs we see much wisdom contained in its pages.  Help us to see clearly the challenges you present us with about how we choose to live in the world.  May our lives truly honour you in all respects.  Amen

Every blessing

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