Song of the Drunkards


The Wise Son

May 14, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations, Wisdom

Proverbs 13:1 (NKJV) 

1A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to heed our father’s instruction.

Solomon contrasts the wise son with the scoffer. The wise son heeds – listens to and follows – his father’s instruction – his commands, admonitions, and exhortations. A scoffer, however, does not listen to rebuke – he believes that he knows better than his father and so casts his father’s counsel aside.

So, children, especially teens, how are you doing? Are you a wise son, a wise daughter, or are you a scoffer? Does your heart incline to honor your father and so to heed his instruction? Not just to listen without interrupting while he speaks to you, but to listen attentively, striving to understand and appropriate the command or instruction that is being offered? Do you heed your father’s instruction? Do you say to yourself, “I want to be a wise man, a wise woman, and God tells me that the pathway to wisdom is listening to my father, so I want to listen.” Or do you scoff? Do you close your ears, roll your eyes? Oh, you may sit there and hear your father’s voice. But to you is sounds like, “Waw, waw, waw…” Or perhaps you cut your father short, “I know, I know, I don’t need to hear what you have to say.” If that describes you, then beware. “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of fools” (Pr 19:29).

But the words today apply not only to children but to adults. For Paul writes to the Corinthians:

14I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you, imitate me. (1 Cor 4:14–16) 

Paul was a father to the Corinthian congregation – and pastors and elders serve in a similar role. So do you give heed to the instruction of your spiritual fathers? Are you listening now? Or are my words just thrumming in your head while you are thinking about all those projects at home or that movie you watched this week or that problem at work? Are you heeding instruction or are you rejecting rebuke? If you’re doing the latter, then it’s no wonder your children are imitating you.

Finally, if you are in Christ, then you are a son and God is your Heavenly Father. So are you giving heed to His instruction? Do you devote yourself to reading His Word and praying that He would help you understand it? Do you incline Your heart to His ways, or do you harden your heart to rebuke? Do you cast His word aside like our first parents and like Israel, God’s disobedient son? Or are you a wise son?

Reminded that we are called to listen to our father’s instruction in order that we might be wise sons and daughters, let us confess that we are often scoffers instead, that we often fail to listen to rebuke. And as we confess our sin to the Lord, let us kneel as we are able.

The Good Life

May 7, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 12:28 (NKJV) 

28In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to walk in the way of righteousness.

What is the good life? And who has the capacity to define it? Is it a can of Michelob beer on a camping trip? Is it a good cigar? Is it fast cars and fast women? Massive biceps? A full head of hair? Smoking dope? The cheer of the crowd? What is the good life?

Among no class of men are these questions more urgently and ardently asked than among those who are young. Children and young adults are gifted by God with an appetite to have their questions answered, a desire to find and secure the good life. As they gaze out over the future, they want to know, “What will bring me joy and pleasure in the course of my life? What is the pathway to life?”

Unfortunately, at no time in history have the brokers of the good life been more prolific and skilled in their marketing, leading generations of men and women in the way of death. Professing to be wise, we have become fools, exchanging the glory of God for idols made in the likeness of men. Hence, though we go on one craze after another, we finite creatures are unable to identify what is genuinely good for us. How do we know, infallibly, that some trend we have jumped on today will bring joy and happiness tomorrow? As Solomon reminds us elsewhere,“There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death.” We are not omniscient and so we are unable, as humans, to identify the good life. 

The most that we can identify on our own is what brings momentary happiness or pleasure. But we can never be sure that these momentary pleasures won’t bring devastating consequences in the future. One thinks of the radical reversal that has come in the last century over smoking cigarretes. Once admired as the mark of the debutant, the rich and famous, the discovery of its ill effects has relegated it to the down and out. So how do you know that that microwave popcorn you’ve been sneaking after the kids go to bed won’t prove your undoing? 

Do we then have no hope in the world? Must we live our lives in constant uncertainty, blown about by every scheme for the good life? Are you youth unable to answer the questions which you most hunger to know? Are we left without a sure foundation? May it never be! For God has defined the good life for us: “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.” And because our Lord is omniscient, He knows all the end roads, all the results of various actions. He knows that homosexuality is destructive; knows that sexual immorality saps one of character and strength; knows that life is more than the multitude of one’s possessions; knows that humans can have no greater pleasure than when we find our satisfaction in Him. And the glorious thing is that He has revealed all of this to us in His Word. We can know what the good life is – for the Creator of all has revealed it to us and makes life understandable and meaningful as a result.

Despite the clarity of God’s revelation, however, we often spurn His revelation. Attempting to run our lives on our own sense of what is good and right, we find ourselves repeating the sin of our First Mother who, judging for herself, saw that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was pleasant to the eyes and desireable to make one wise. She spurned God’s Word in favor of her own judgment. So what of you? Are you walking in the way of righteousness and reveling in the abundant life that Jesus gives? Or are you walking in your own way and careening toward death or perhaps tasting it even now?

Reminded of our failure to walk in the way of righteousness and our tendency to trust in our own wisdom and wit rather than God’s Word, let us confess our sins together. And as we confess, let us kneel before the Lord.

The Strong City of Wealth

April 30, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 10:15 (NKJV)

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

In the text before us today, Solomon highlights the blessing of wealth and the danger of poverty. On the one hand, we have the blessing of wealth. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city… In the ancient world, a strong city was a place of refuge and protection from the ravages of war. Walled cities, or strong cities as Solomon calls them, were havens of security in an insecure world. Like the walls of these strong cities is the wealth of the rich man. His wealth enables him to hide himself, his family, and his friends in times of hardship or difficulty. His wealth is a source of security and protection. It is a blessing from God.

On the other hand, we have the danger of poverty. The destruction of the poor is their poverty. Whereas marauders, thieves, and foreign armies often left strong cities alone, they frequently laid waste small villages and unwalled cities, plundering property, slaying the populace, and devastating the surrounding countryside. These unwalled cities were constantly exposed to danger and oppression. Likewise, the poor man. When hardship arrives, the poor man has no resources to protect himself or his family. His poverty is his destruction.

Solomon’s words remind us, first, of the blessings of material wealth. Living hand to mouth is sometimes necessary but rarely wise. It is always better to save for a rainy day and to build one’s wealth so that in times of hardship you have a strong city to which you can flee. In Scripture, it is commendable to acquire wealth. While it is sinful to have a lust for wealth, or to use your wealth to promote wickedness, or to steal from others to gain wealth, it is not sinful to acquire wealth. The rich man’s wealth is his strong cityand is, therefore, a blessing from God.

Solomon’s words also remind us, second, of the blessings of spiritual wealth. It is the man or woman who knows the character and promises of God who will be able to endure times of hardship and suffering in faith. And this type of wealth, spiritual wealth, is a wealth that any child of God can acquire whether he be materially rich or poor. So Paul writes of the rich: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim 6:17-19). And James writes of the poor, “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (2:5) Spiritual wealth is a strong city which any child of God may acquire by the grace of God.

So what of you? On the one hand, are you endeavoring to store up material wealth in order that you may have a strong city in times of trouble? Are you avoiding debt and endeavoring to save or are you perpetually living hand to mouth? On the other hand, are you endeavoring to store up spiritual wealth? Are you growing in your knowledge of God’s character and promises so that you may be able to weather the tribulations that will come your way in this life? Remember the words of Solomon: “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty.”

Reminded of our calling to think of tomorrow and to store up wealth for times of trouble, let us acknowledge that we often fail to do so. And as we confess, let us kneel before the Lord.