NUGGETS OF WISDOM
Several years ago I was on an airplane flying to Pakistan to visit the churches there. During the previous week, back in Manila, some events had taken place that made me feel like I was under attack because of some actions I had taken. As I sat on the plane, suddenly I felt the urge to get out my Bible. So I got up and retrieved my Bible from the overhead bin. After I sat down, I pulled down the tray in front of me, opened my Bible, ready to read what was on the pages. My eyes fell immediately on Psalm 24. As I read it, I felt a warm feeling spread over my heart.
Since Psalms was one of the classes I taught at the Seminary in Mania, it struck me how hard it would be for someone for whom English is a second language to understand what David meant about gates and doors being lifted up so a glorious king could come in. And immediately I sensed the urge to paraphrase the words so that they would be not only easier to comprehend but make the message of the Psalm even clearer.
That began a labor of love that lasted almost 16 years before it was published. Some years ago I shared excerpts from my book on Facebook. But now, many years later, I have a lot of new friends and followers on Facebook and on my blog Down and Unfamiliar Road. So I feel led to share them again. I’ve read the Psalms many, many times and never get tired of the wisdom they bring me. I hope you enjoy them too.
A WORD TO THE WISE
After David crowned his son Solomon as king, and before the LORD lowered the curtain on his life, he offered young Solomon a quick course on spiritual virtues and ethics. David knew from experience that bad analysis, biased counseling, and self-serving ideas were all too plentiful from people who wanted be noticed and gain influence. His advice to Solomon is just a relevant now as it was back then.
This, perhaps, inspired Solomon to ask God for more wisdom when he became king. He wanted to learn how to use God’s wisdom in assessing life’s situations. Before a person makes a choice, they must be aware of all the options available to them. God may have given mankind a free-will to decide, but He also gave him clear guidelines to follow.
“The person who does not allow evil-minded people to influence their thinking; permit corrupt individuals to dictate their lifestyle, or grant conceited groups sway over their attitude, can count their blessings. Instead, they delight in living by the Teachings outlined in the Word of the LORD Eternal and recite those guidelines daily. They are deeply rooted like a tree growing next to a river; always producing good fruit without growing tired and weary, and are successful in all their endeavors. But the God-haters are a different story; they are like the husk on an ear of corn that you throw away. That’s why these evil-minded people and immoral sinners will never pass judgment like those who live right. The LORD Eternal keeps His eye on those who live right, but the evil-minded are destined for complete ruin.” Psalm 1:1-6
Reflection: There was an old fisherman who kept getting disoriented and lost every time he went out to sea. So his concerned friends bought him a compass to use so they wouldn’t have to worry so much. In gratitude, the next time he went out to fish he took the compass along but got lost again. After his friends finally found and rescued him, they asked why he didn’t use the compass. “I tried,” he replied with frustration, “but I couldn’t get the needle to aim in the direction I wanted to go.” The old sailor felt so confident that he knew which direction was right he tried to force his personal will on the compass. When it didn’t respond the way he wanted it to, he threw it away as worthless and lost any benefit its guidance offered.
In the same way, our spiritual choices become crucial because first, we need to know in what direction we are headed and compare it to the way God wants us to go. Remember, any frustration or disappointments we experience in trying to follow God’s guidelines cannot be compared to the grief and sorrow awaiting those who get rid of God’s compass and go their own way. God’s directives were not given to keep us from enjoying things in life, but make sure we enjoy them correctly and thoroughly. – Dr. Robert R Seyda