Friday, August 11, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 74, Jesus Loves Us

Solomon reminds us that our good name is more important than anything else we can achieve in this life. Riches can't buy back a lost reputation, and they can't buy our way into heaven. We get into heaven on faith alone, by trusting in the One who loves us.

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." (Proverbs 22:1) If we lose our good name, money can't buy it back. A good name is something we can leave behind that's far more valuable than wealth. I'd rather have my family remember me as a woman of the Lord than to have them remember me as the person who left them some money.

"Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all." (Proverbs 22:2) The same Creator made us all, and He "does not show favoritism". (Romans 2:11) God is not like a mortal man who might be tempted to show partiality to the wealthy. We all will stand before God to give an accounting for our lives, and money will be no help to us then. We won't bribe our way into heaven. We can't entice God to turn a blind eye to sin because of our wealth or social standing. On that day God will be concerned with only one thing: did we trust in His Son and obtain the salvation that comes by faith? Christ alone is our righteousness. We will either stand before God with Christ or without Him.

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." (Proverbs 22:3) I think this verse is very practical and also very spiritual. The wise person spots a trap in time to avoid falling into it, while the foolish person happily steps right into a pit. The wise person is led by the Holy Spirit and therefore possesses discernment, but the one who does not follow the Lord follows the ways of the world.

"Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4) Pride is an attitude the Lord hates, but He rewards the one who humbles himself and acknowledges His sovereignty.

"In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them." (Proverbs 22:5) This verse repeats the principle of verse 3. The wise are able to see a pit from a far distance, in plenty of time to change direction.

Next we look at one of the most familiar verses from the book of Proverbs. "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6) It is the duty of parents to begin moral and religious instruction while the child is still very small. We don't forget the lessons of early childhood. They become ingrained in our character. One of the earliest memories I have is of my mother singing "Jesus Loves Me" as she rocked me in the rocking chair in preparation for my afternoon nap. I was probably only about 3 years old, but that memory is still quite clear in my mind. Because she began my instruction at such an early age, I've always known that Jesus loves me. I have a feeling that, even if I end up someday with a dementia so powerful I don't know my name or the names of my loved ones, I will still know Jesus loves me.

After all, what more do we really need to know than "Jesus loves me"? That's the gospel! Jesus loves us so much He wasn't willing to part with us, sinful though we were. He was willing instead to lower Himself, to take on our image, and to suffer the punishment that should have fallen on us. The Apostle Paul said he didn't speak with eloquent and lofty words when he shared the gospel; he simply shared the fact that Jesus loves us, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) Paul took no chances that he might confuse anyone by using big words or by delving so deeply into spiritual matters that his discussion went over people's heads. He preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He preached "Jesus loves me". That's the whole gospel. That's enough to save souls.

I don't know what you might be facing today, but there's one thing you can say to yourself without any doubts at all, "Jesus loves me." This truth will stand. Nothing can ever change it. No matter what storms may come into our lives, no matter how uncertain the future looks, we can hold fast to the one solid thing in a world gone mad: Jesus loves me!

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