Song of the Drunkards


JESUS FACED A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF OPPOSITION FOR HIS HARD WORDS AND UNFLINCHING DEVOTION TO YAHWEH. NO SURPRISE THEN IF WE FIND OUR NAME FESTOONED IN BARROOM BALLADS (CF. PS 69:12).


An Excellent Wife

August 21, 2022 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Marriage, Meditations

Proverbs 12:4 

4An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. 

The Proverbs direct us in the way of wisdom and teach us what it is to imitate the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Even as Proverbs 12 has contrasted those who love instruction with those who hate correction and the good man with the wicked man, so today it contrasts an excellent wife with a shameful wife. 

The Scriptures extol marriage as one of the greatest gifts that God has given to humanity and an excellent wife as one of the greatest gifts that God gives to an individual man. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov 18:22). “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (19:14). Marriage is among God’s greatest gifts to humanity because it is “a great mystery” (Eph 5:32) that symbolizes the relationship between Christ and His Church. The husband images Christ while the wife images the Church. Wives, therefore, are called to reveal in their lives the way that the Church relates to Christ Himself. As Paul writes to the Ephesians:

22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 

An important biblical distinction is between indicatives and imperatives. Indicatives are statements of fact while imperatives are commands. “Christ died for sinners” is an indicative. “Believe in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” is an imperative. So note in Paul’s instructions that we have both an indicative and an imperative.

The indicative is “the husband is the head of the wife.” This is the way that God has structured the marriage relationship. God created the woman to be a helper comparable to the man – to assist the man in fulfilling his calling to fill the earth and subdue it. So if you are a wife this is your identity. It is not an imperative, it is an indicative: your husband is your head. Hence, God united you with him to be a helper comparable to him – to assist him in fulfilling his calling to fill the earth and subdue it. That is his calling; your calling is to help him achieve it.

So what is the imperative that emerges from this indicative? Paul is very clear. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Now the Greek behind this word “submit” means “submit.” Paul clarifies later, “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” So how does the Church submit to Christ? By listening to Him, honoring Him, obeying Him, praising Him, respecting Him. If you are a wife, it is in this way that you are to relate to your husband – you are to submit to him as to the Lord, and to be subject to him in everything. Listen to him about the finances, training the children, relating to your friends, cleaning the house, working outside the home, etc. Now all this entails, husbands, an immense responsibility on your part to rule your household as would Christ Himself who is the head and Savior of the body – sacrificing for the protection and blessing of His bride. But our text today speaks to wives not husbands.

So, wives, you are to extol the beauty of the Church in the way you relate to your husband. Such a wife, a wife who clearly honors and respects and submits to her husband, is an excellent wife and, Proverbs declares, the crown of her husband. She demonstrates that her husband is a true king, capable of ruling his family and the world under God.

But, Proverbs insists, a shameful wife is rottenness to the bones. A wife who disrespects her husband, who scorns him in public and in private, who manipulates and cajoles him, who nags and berates him, who refuses to listen to his voice is rottenness to the bones – wearing him down, increasing his stress level, and undermining his ability to accomplish the tasks to which God has called him. He is weakened – and when a storm comes he will likely break just like a rotten branch or tree.

So what of you? If you are a wife, are you striving to be an excellent wife, a crown of glory on your husband’s head, enabling him to fulfill his calling? Or are you a shameful wife, rottenness to his bones, inhibiting his ability to do what God has called him to do? Reminded that our marriages are to extol the relationship between Christ and His Church and that many of us husbands and wives have failed to live up to our callings, let us confess our sin to the Lord.

A Good Man

August 14, 2022 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 12:2–3 

2A good man obtains favor from the Lord, But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. 3A man is not established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous cannot be moved. 

The Proverbs direct us in the way of wisdom and teach us what it is to imitate the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Last week Solomon contrasted those who love instruction with those who hate correction. This week he contrasts a “good” or “righteous” man with a “wicked” man. 

Now, on one level, the Scriptures tell us that “there is none righteous, no, not one… There is none who does good, no, not one” (Rom 3:10b, 12b). We have all turned aside and by nature both our actions and our motives are corrupt. Apart from God’s grace, we all have, in Solomon’s words, wicked intentions. The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Hence, we are to do everything we do – changing diapers, building houses, fixing cars, teaching children, managing investments, running electrical wire – we are to do everything we do with good intentions – out of love for God and neighbor. 

However, by nature, we none of us live that way. We worship idols and love ourselves more than our neighbors. We justify lying or cheating or stealing; we break our vows, mistreat our children, and dishonor our parents; we do shoddy work, use foul language, and commit adultery because we do not live from love of God and neighbor. Hence, we endure God’s condemnation in this life and the next – our conscience afflicts us, our bodies betray us, God’s moral law condemns us, and Jesus Christ will judge us when we die and appear before His judgment seat. A man is not established by wickedness.

Nevertheless, the Scriptures also teach that when God saves us and delivers us from our natural corruption through faith in Jesus, when He turns us from the worship of idols to the worship of His Name, He begins to transform our character. As we have been emphasizing recently, we become like what we worship. And so, because the God we worship is a good God who upholds righteousness, those who worship Him become good men who likewise uphold righteousness. 

As we learn to live this way, as we learn to become good men who uphold righteousness, we obtain favor from the Lord (12:2). God is pleased with us. So Paul prayed for the Colossians that they “may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10). As we learn to fulfill the two greatest commandments – to live out of love for God and neighbor – we please God. And because we trust in the Lord and walk in obedience to His Word, Solomon insists that we cannot be moved. Even if we suffer for righteousness’ sake, we are blessed (cf. 1 Pet 4:16). And when we die and enter into the presence of our Lord, He will say to us, “Well done thou good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your Master” (Mt 25:21). The root of the righteous cannot be moved. 

This contrast between the good man and the wicked man recalls Psalm 1. The good man is like a tree planted by streams of water whose leaf does not wither and in whatever he does he prospers. He meditates on God’s law and lives out of love for Him. His roots absorb water from the everlasting fountain of God’s grace and so he flourishes even in times of drought or trial. But the wicked are not so. They are like the chaff which the wind drives away; therefore, the wicked shall not stand in the day of judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

So what of you? Are you sinking your roots deep in our Triune God and in His word so that you can stand firm in prosperity and trial? Are you being intentional about living out of love for God and your neighbor? Or have your loves become disordered? Are you loving self more than your neighbor and loving your neighbor more than God? 

Reminded that we are to be good men who live righteously out of love for God and neighbor, not wicked men with wicked intentions whose loves are disordered, let us confess that our intentions are often corrupt and that we need God to forgive us and transform into His image, into the image of our good God who upholds righteousness

Instruction & Correction

August 7, 2022 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations, Wisdom

Proverbs 12:1 

1Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid. 

The Proverbs direct us in the way of wisdom and teach us what it is to imitate the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Today we begin a series of exhorations through Proverbs 12. In v. 1, Solomon contrasts two types of men, men who are characterized by their loves and hates.

It is important to emphasize that love and hate are not, in themselves, virtues or vices. Though we often think of love as inherently virtuous and hate as vicious, the truth is that their praiseworthiness is determined by their object. To love Jesus; to love your wife and children; to love Scripture; to love truthfulness – all these loves are virtuous. However, to love wickedness, to love deceit, to love cruelty – these loves are perverse. Similarly, while it is vile to hate God, to hate the righteous, to hate truth and goodness and beauty, it is praiseworthy to hate deceitfulness, murder, covetousness, and sushi. God summons us, therefore, to be men and women and children who both love and hate – who love what is lovely and hate what is vile. 

So, on the one hand, Solomon lauds the man who loves instruction. So what does it mean to love instruction? I think we know. Kids, if you have a friend who loves pizza or loves soccer or loves Xbox, what does that mean? It means that your friend can’t get enough pizza, that he eagerly plays or watches or studies soccer games and scores, that he regularly seeks opportunities to play Xbox with his friends. So what would it mean to love instruction? It means he is eager to learn more and more. He readily listens to those wiser and more knowledgable than him. He cultivates a listening ear and an inquisitive heart. He wants to learn more of God’s Word, more of God’s world, more of his occupation. So he reads, he listens, he watches, he asks questions all in order to learn. This person, the one who loves instruction, likewise, Solomon tells us, loves knowledge. He grows in knowledge because he loves instruction. Tell me more; give me more; I want to grow.

On the other hand is the man who hates correction. This man thinks he knows it all. He is proud and unteachable. He refuses to listen to those wiser than himself. He closes his ears. “Yes, I know, I know,” he says even though it is evident that he does not. This man, Solomon tells us, is stupid. He is like a beast not a man. 

So what of you? Do you love instruction? Do you look for opportunities to learn? Let’s say you don’t know much about the Bible – are you striving to learn more, reading more, listening more? Let’s say you’re a new parent – are you asking seasoned parents for wisdom, reading good books, listening to good teaching? Let’s say you’re married – do you love to learn more about what makes a good marriage and how to make your marriage grow and flourish? Let’s say you’re an employee – do you strive to learn more about your job so that you can bless your employer more and more? Do you love instruction or do you hate it?

Do you hate correction? When your parents correct you, do you listen and repent or do you become sullen and angry? When your boss criticizes your work, do you listen and strive to get better or do you think you know it all? When your husband exhorts you, do you listen or do you become bitter and resentful? When your elders correct you, do you listen or do you just pack up your bags and find another church? Do you love correction or do you hate it?

Reminded that we are to love what is lovely and hate what is vile, let us confess to the Lord that our loves and hates are often disordered and distorted. Let us acknowlege, in particular, that we often hate instruction and correction, that we are stupid creatures. And as we confess our sin to the Lord, let us kneel as we are able. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin.