Who is discerning? They will understand that God’s path is the right path and they will walk in it.
The book of Hosea ends with this truth – But those who rebel stumble.
How do they stumble? They spend many hours on things with little or no ultimate value. They spend a lot of money on things that provide little or no satisfaction. They spend much energy looking for something that will complete them and give them a purpose when the Provider of these does not live on this earth.
Those who refuse to acknowledge God as Creator and Savior will stumble. And they will continue to stumble until they submit to God and get on his path.
Meanwhile, God opens the eyes of the wise so they can walk with him. There are still small stumbles but they know how to get back on the right path.
How do we walk right with God? By loving God with our whole heart, mind and soul and loving others. Simple……..yet profound.
When we walk with God, he completes us and gives us a purpose.
Saying something that’s not right or should not be said.
I do it.
You do it.
We stumble. It happens.
The big question that makes a significant difference in my life is – how often do I stumble?
Is making a bad choice a rare thing in my life? Or does it happen pretty regularly?
Do I learn from my mistakes so I don’t do it again?
Or do I keep doing the same thing over and over?
There’s a big difference between an occasional stumble and being a regular ‘stumbler’. And that difference will be pretty obvious in the amount of negative consequences we have to deal with in our lives.
God points out this truth to us very directly in Hosea 14 – “The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”
Doing what we want.
Not obeying God.
Putting ourselves on the throne of our lives.
Rebellion is a mindset that will cause us to stumble – regularly.
So, in reality, I choose how much I’m going to stumble when I choose my level of obedience to God.
Please help us obey so we can avoid being a regular ‘stumbler’, Abba Father.
In the beginning, there were two people in the Garden of Eden and they were both named Adam.
It wasn’t until after sin entered the garden that Adam named the woman ‘Eve’. (Gen. 3:20).
How different would marriages be today if husbands and wives had the same first name? It might help us get closer to how God views marriage.
In God’s eyes, when we take our vows of marriage, we become one person. We are male and female parts of one person – just like Adam was in the beginning.
We are meant to go through life together, loving and caring for each other just like are one person. It’s not ‘my wife has a problem’ or ‘my husband has an issue”. It’s always our problem and our issue.
If we were both called by the same first name, this might be more evident. It doesn’t mean we have to do everything together and go everywhere together. In a good marriage, the man and woman are emotionally and physically and spiritually one person.
When the sins of rebellion and selfishness and independence enter a marriage, they create division. We split into two separate people – sometimes permanently.
But that’s not how God designed marriage. That’s not what he wants for us.
In the beginning, we were both Adam.
Please help us strengthen our marriages, Abba Father.
As we go over and over the words of Proverbs 2, we are realizing that a supernatural thing is happening. God is writing his words onto our minds and into our hearts!
We used to say that the reason we didn’t memorize scripture was that we didn’t have a very good memory. Well, we still don’t have a great memory – except when it comes to scripture. We’ve got whole chapters of the Bible memorized! Because God is faithfully doing it. We’re doing our part and he is doing the amazing part that we can’t do.
God is blessing our obedience to the words he used as he started out Proverbs 2:
My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless. He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair, every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose ways are perverse.”
Great job! Here’s the next verse:
“Who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,”
Jesus is the light of the world. He brought light into a dark and broken world.
When we choose to think and act like Jesus wants us to, we are walking in the light.
When we choose to rebel and disobey, we are choosing to walk a dark and crooked path.
This path just leads us farther and farther away from the light.
The Good News is Jesus will always accept us back. We just need to repent and turn around. We must choose to come back into the light. Get back on the straight path.
This is the path God has prepared in advance for us through his love and grace.
Not really wanting to hear anything that could change the direction we want to go.
Because we know where we want to go.
We have big plans……this is going to be great!
So we march out to the hill country just like the Israelites did in Deuteronomy 1.
Without God’s direction.
Without God’s protection.
And we are chased back down the hill of failure – defeated by our own arrogance and rebellion.
How we wish we had listened! The consequences of our own choices can be very severe – beating us down.
Unlike the Israelites, those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior have been redeemed and the Spirit of God lives within us. He is always available – we just need to confess our rebellion and turn away from our sin.
I really enjoy reading this chronological Bible – it reads more like the continuous historical story is was rather than skipping back and forth over hundreds of years.
Right after the recounting of Job’s suffering and restoration, this Bible inserts Psalms which were written by Israelites who were exiled and in captivity. These psalms are full of ‘whys’ and ‘get us out of here’ along with confessions of the sins that brought them to this place.
How often do we experience this same thing? We make bad decisions, we make wrong choices, we do what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do and our actions take us to a place in our lives that we don’t like. This is not where we want to be. We don’t want to stay here. Why am I here, God? Get me out of here!
Just like the Israelites, we need to confess our disobedience and turn back to God. We need to stop the rebelling and let God help us start moving in the right direction. It won’t happen overnight….but it will happen. God has promised that he will work it all out for those who love him. But we need to listen and obey – that’s our part.
When we really trust God, our hearts can be full of praise – in any situation. We see that with the Israelites as praise to God sometimes broke through all of the questioning and complaining – like this part of Psalm 44.
Let’s join them in praising our Father God today!
You are our King and God who has given us victory from generation to generation!
You give us strength to push back our enemies!
Because of your power in our lives, we can trample the darkness all around us.
We don’t put our trust in our own strength or in our own wisdom – they will not bring us victory.
Only you, dear Father, can win the battles for us.
Only you can beat out the forces that we fight each day – both seen and unseen.
We want to boast about you all day long! To everyone!
The God who created all of the universe holds it in his hand right now. It all stays together giving us light and breath because he wants it to.
He created the gravity that keeps us walking upon this earth. We know why the sun is just the right distance from the earth. God made it that way so we have heat and light but we don’t become a big ball of fire.
He is a God of order and reason. The sciences and mathematics were created by him – that’s how he works.
There are no mysteries to him – he knows it all.
And this all-powerful God wants to have a personal relationship with us. With me. With you. That’s why we were created.
He wants to lavish his love on us. He desires to give us the best this life has to offer.
So why do we rebel? Why do we choose to do our own thing while turning away from the best the God of All Things has for us?
It must be temporary insanity. That’s the only thing that makes any sense at all.
In the 4th chapter of Daniel, we read about King Nebuchadnezzar going temporarily insane.
But when he lifted his eyes toward heaven, his sanity was restored.
This sounds like a very wise idea. When we’re lost in confusion, doubt or despair. When we don’t like the place we’re at or the road we’re on. Let’s life our eyes to God and ask him to restore our sanity. Ask him to be our light. He promises he will always be there for us.
That is the restoration God promises to each of us just as he promised the Israelites in Jeremiah 32.
When we decide to stop fulfilling our personal will and desires and start listening to and living out the Words of Truth God has for us, we move from the land of God’s great wrath to the land overflowing with God’s goodness.
He will bring health and healing.
We will enjoy abundant peace and security.
Joy will return.
Prosperity will return.
We will dance again.
Our lives will be a well-watered garden – beautiful, fruitful, purposeful.