The book of Proverbs always intrigues and challenges me. Proverbs are, by definition, short pithy statements that pack a punch. They are principles at work (if this, then that) rather than promises (provision based on God’s character). Let me illustrate.
3But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.Psalm 3:3
This is a promise of God’s faithful continued presence in the life of his children. It is provision based on the character of God.
28“When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. 29For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. 30They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. 31Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. 32For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. 33But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”Proverbs 1:28-33
These verses are filled with principles. If this happens, then this follows – it’s a principle. When I read these verses in my daily reading, I was instantly alert. I have been meditating on blamelessness and these verses seemed to point in the exact opposite direction. The “therefore” in verse 31 catches me. What is it there for?
Here is the principle at work, as I read it — those who reject God’s power and presence, will suffer the consequences of their choices. Choosing to ignore God, these folks will choke on their own ideas. Choking is a vivid description of life without God’s gaze. It is a principle at work, not a promise.
And that’s plenty to think about for the weekend!