Welcome! This is my space for postings in English. As an extension of our Portuguese original [coramdeocomentario.blogspot.com.br] this will bring musings, commentaries and short articles, as well as some translations from the posts of our collaborators in our original Portuguese blog. Blessings and good reads! [Beth Gomes]
PROVERBS AND PRECIOUS PROMISES
A garland of grace for your head (Prov. 1:9).
Over the last couple of weeks I had a translation
deadline that forced me to ignore simple pleasures like checking my emails or posting comments on various things
that were happening in the lives of friends and family. Once when I began a
posting, my computer went beserk and so I went on to other activities, only to
discover two days later that that unfinished comment “graced” my timeline and
several people “answered” my unfinished incomplete non-thought. Talking to a friend, I had affirmed that one of the
reasons we are involved in Christian counseling is that we have seen and felt
more than skin-deep the need for wisdom in the body
of believers who so often set off for “ministry” with the best of intentions
but total lack of wisdom in practical life, even though they (we) believe the
Word of God and serve the living Word with heart and mind. The Bible is full of
guidelines for our path, from Genesis to Revelation. This early morning I made
a pit-stop at an old favorite, Proverbs, whose God-breathed words of wisdom
were collected by the wisest of men who was a total fool when it came to
marriage and involvement with the idols of his culture.
introduction delineates the raison d’etre
for the book that at first glance seems to be a potpourri of antithetical
sayings: attaining wisdom and discipline;understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent
life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young. When I mentioned to the friend my desire
to help women in ministry deal with their
being as redeemed Christians with fallen worldviews in a decadent world, I
felt guilty of being like a blind person trying to lead the blind. I am
certainly no better than the women and men we have observed over the years – stumbling,
bungling, banging their heads and breaking
their hearts while trying to love God over all and love their (our) neighbor as
(our) themselves (Matthew 22:36-39 rehashing Deuteronomy 6:5).
deem ourselves wise, we must learn to listen and add to our learning (Prov. 1:5),
and if discerning, get further guidance for understanding proverbs and
parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. It’s not the understanding of
ancient clichés, though the name of the game is “proverbs, parables, sayings
and riddles of the wise”. It starts with the fear of the LORD –without which we
will fear what man can do to us, fear our very stepping into the arena of true
knowledge. This fear of the Lord goes with us at every stage of life – unless
we are fools enough to despise wisdom and discipline.
of the Lord touches even on our ambivalence to our forefather’s instructions:
though our memory listens to the instruction and teaching of our father and
mother, we often forget the garland of grace for our head and chain for our
neck – we remember instead the goads to our self-esteem and fear they instilled
on “what will other people think?”
way I was a Christian “flowerchild” wearing a crown of daisies and wishing a
gold necklace of rubies, but too often I neglected Peter’s reminder that:
divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness
our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
these he has given us his very great and precious promises,
that through them you may participate in the divine nature
escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
this very reason, make every effort
add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance;
to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness,
kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
if you possess these qualities in increasing measure,
will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind,
has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
my brothers, be all the more eager
to make your calling and election sure.
if you do these things, you will never fall,
you will receive a rich welcome
the eternal kingdom of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.
will always remind you of these things,
though you know them and
firmly established in the truth you now have.
think it is right to refresh your memory
long as I live in the tent of this body,
I forget that wisdom calls out from the streets and plazas of life and think
that “nobody knows anything worth knowing.” But they do! Somebody does! He
says: “If you had listened to my rebuke I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you...” (Prov. 1:23). I remember the lament of
Wisdom Incarnate over Jerusalem:
“How often I would have gathered you under my wings...”
wisdom is not an intellectual assent – it is essentially a conjunction of mind,
heart, gut feelings and action. From the injunctions to the Law in Deuteronomy
(see, for example, Deut. 32:47: They are not just idle words for you-- they are
your life. By them you will live long in the land...”) to the petrine, joannine
and pauline injunctions to Christian living (example: Eph 1:17-18). Every son
of Adam or Daughter of Eve is admonished in Proverbs 7:1-4 to use wisdom as
safeguard for moral purity:
Keep my words and store up my commands
Keep my commands and you will live;
(Living according to God’s word is a matter
of life and death!)
guard my teachings as the apple of your
(Look at God’s teachings as the most
precious of gifts)
Bind them on your fingers;
(That is why my fingers, though sluggish,
are anxious to write!)
write them on the tablet of your heart
(this tablet is affectionate and written in
Say to wisdom, "You are my
and call understanding your kinsman
(if I want to be keen in wisdom I must make
Wisdom my kin!)
The story of Wisdom began in eternity, and the Proverbs
narrative (7-8) reminds one of what John narrates in the beginning of the
Gospel when the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and glory
(and sends us back to the beginning of time narrated by Moses in Genesis one).
The entire story of learning and understanding from God in love which encircles
and inspires (in spirals of involvement from the Lord of Life to human creature
created in his image) is a true story that gives hope for me and any other
person who realizes we have only begun to scratch the surface of learning – but
He promises that we will know Him! That will be sufficient to learn and proceed
to know throughout eternity!