I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. Proverbs 4:11
Downhill skiing racecourses are often marked by swaths of blue paint sprayed across the white, snowy surface. The crude arcs might be a visual distraction for spectators but prove to be vital to both the success and safety of the competitors. The paint serves as a guide for the racers to visualize the fastest line to the bottom of the hill. Additionally, the contrast of the paint against the snow offers racers depth perception, which is critical to their safety when traveling at such high rates of speed.
Solomon begs his sons to seek wisdom in hopes of keeping them safe on the racecourse of life. Like the blue lines, wisdom, he says, will “lead [them] along straight paths” and keep them from stumbling (Proverbs 4:11–12). His deepest hope as a father is for his sons to enjoy a rich life, free from the damaging effects of living apart from the wisdom of God.
God, as our loving Father, offers us “blue-line” guidance in the Bible. While He’s given us the freedom to “ski” wherever we like, the wisdom He offers in the Scriptures, like racecourse markers, are “life to those who find them” (v. 22). When we turn from evil and walk instead with Him, our path will be lit with His righteousness, keeping our feet from stumbling and guiding us onward each day (vv. 12, 18).
Reflect & Pray
How has reflecting on the wisdom of God kept you from stumbling? In what ways are you becoming more like Jesus?
God, thank You for Your Word. Help me to hold fast to the wisdom You offer. To learn more about how to get the most out of your Bible study time, visit christianuniversity.org/SF106.
Jonah 1, Jonah 2:1-10
We all experience what could be called storms of life. They come in various forms, such as relational, financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Sometimes they are even the result of our own foolish choices. The trouble that comes to us may be the harvest of what we have sown in the past. And that was certainly the case with Jonah.
When Jonah tried to run away from God’s assignment, the Lord brought a corrective storm into his life. And because He loves us, He will similarly disrupt our plans when we insist on going our own way instead of submitting to His will. God’s storms …
Get our attention. Storms disrupt our normal routine in such a way that we stop to consider what God is doing in our lives.
Humble us. The Lord challenges our pride and self-reliance so we realize that we are not in charge and can do nothing apart from Him.
Lead us to repentance. Sometimes the consequences of our sin and rebellion are so painful and troublesome that we come to our senses and turn back to God in humble obedience.
Align our life with His plans. Storms cause us to let go of our stubbornly held plans and yield to His will no matter what it costs us.
Crying out to the Lord is the best response in a storm. Like Jonah, we should humble ourselves in the midst of our circumstances, submit to God’s dealings with us, turn from our rebellion to obedience, and yield to His will. Only then will we become a useful servant in His mighty hand.
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8)
After His resurrection, the Lord acknowledged the legitimate need for evidence of such a mighty miracle, honoring the request of Thomas to see for himself that He had, indeed, returned from the grave. Nevertheless, Thomas could and should have believed the evidence from the other disciples when they testified of the empty tomb and the previous appearances of Christ. Consequently, the Lord Jesus gave a mild but loving rebuke to His doubting disciple. “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
It is not that the Lord wants us to be credulous, believing something with no basis except blind faith. Today we have an abundance of solid evidence, more even than the disciples themselves had, and there is no excuse not to believe. Nevertheless, we must believe; “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:24-25).
We cannot yet see Him with our eyes, as Thomas did, but we see Him with our hearts, and that is enough. As we read of Him in the Word, we see Him on the cross, taking “our sins in his own body” (1 Peter 2:24) and it breaks our hearts. Then we read of the empty tomb and the linen clothes, and are like John, who “saw, and believed” (John 20:8). Then we “rejoice with joy” (literally, “exult with exceeding gladness”), which cannot be told vocally any more than He can be seen visually. One day soon we shall really see Him in His glory, and “when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). HMM
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
In what I have to say I may not be joined by any ground swell of public opinion, but I have a charge to make against the church. We are not consciously aware of God in our midst. We do not seem to sense the tragedy of having almost completely lost the awareness of His presence….
Revival and blessing come to the church when we stop looking at a picture of God and look at God Himself. Revival comes when, no longer satisfied just to know about a God in history, we meet the conditions of finding Him in living, personal experience….
Modern mankind can go everywhere, do everything and be completely curious about the universe. But only a rare person now and then is curious enough to want to know God. MMG121-122, 127
Oh Lord, show me Your glory. I don’t want to be satisfied with just a second-hand picture of You; I want to sense Your living presence with me. I long to know You. Amen.
Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.—Psalm 30:4.
Glad with Thy light, and glowing with Thy love,
So let me ever speak and think and move
As fits a soul new-touched with life from heaven,
That seeks but so to order all her course
As most to show the glory of that
Source By whom alone her strength, her life are given.
C. J. P. Spitta.
Our Christianity is apt to be of a very “dutiful” kind. We mean to do our duty; we attend church and go to our communions. But, our hearts are full of the difficulties, the hardships, the obstacles which the situation presents, and we go on our way sadly, downhearted and despondent. We need to learn that true Christianity is inseparable from deep joy; and the secret of that joy lies in a continual looking away from all else—away from sin and its ways, and from the manifold hindrances to the good we would do—up to God, His love, His purpose, His will. In proportion as we do look up to Him we shall rejoice, and in proportion as we rejoice in the Lord will our religion have tone and power and attractiveness.
“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.” Isa. 42:3
Then I may reckon upon tender treatment from my Lord. Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, as pliant, as worthless as a reed. Someone said, “I don’t care a rush for you”; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue. Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised, sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if he will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate Lord, I nestle down beneath thy protection, and forget my bruises!
Truly I am also fit to be likened to “the smoking flax,” whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains. I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit. My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light, and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my Lord will soon put an extinguisher upon me. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers; and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. Lord, kindle me anew, and cause me to shine forth to thy glory, and to the extolling of thy tenderness.