September 10, 2018

"Then there will be a future"

Article 2 of 2

13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
14 Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;
If you find it, then there will be a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:13-14

Wisdom, “if you find it”, will ensure you “a future” and maintain “your hope” (v.14b-c). Surely these are among the reasons why wisdom is so sweet! How could something that provides “a future” and protects “hope” not be sweet, right?

But how does this work? How does wisdom work for those who find it, so that “there will be a future” and so that their “hope will not be cut off”?

Well, let us first note that the word of God is true wisdom. If we want to gather the honey of wisdom, we must open the Bible! And, with that said (and with the question of ‘how’ from v.14b-c in our minds), listen to how the apostle Paul spoke to Timothy about biblical wisdom in 2 Timothy 3:15 –
from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
It is “the wisdom” of the Bible “that leads to salvation” in Christ! And it is by this salvation that sinners gain “a future” with God in eternity. And it is by this salvation that this eternal “hope will not be cut off”! Therefore, “if you find” the biblical “wisdom that leads to [this] salvation”; if, in other words, you hear and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ …
then there will be a future,And your hope will not be cut off.
And that is sweet indeed!

So … have you found wisdom? Have you heard and, by faith, eaten the sweet honey wisdom of the good news? “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures … and … He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), and “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That is good, sweet news! It ensures “a future” to, and maintains “hope” of, all who take it in, by faith! And so I urge you – “eat [this] honey, for it is good”!

September 5, 2018

"Sweet to your taste"

Article 1 of 2*

13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
14 Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;
If you find it, then there will be a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:13-14

I’m glad Solomon says what he says in verse 13. It’s a reminder that food is good – and that good food is good! And so I feel just a little bit better about my enjoyment of sweet tea (my own personal honey, as it were), and m a y b e even about fried chicken (not sweet, but still delicious)! There is something to be said, according to Solomon, about enjoying that which is “sweet to your taste” – and for that I am thankful.

But Solomon extols the sweetness of honey, of course, not mainly to teach his son about physical eating, but in order to say something about his spiritual diet! And the Holy Spirit, of course, inspired these things for us, as well as for Solomon’s son! And what we are told is that, in the same way that “honey … is sweet to your taste” (v.13), “wisdom is thus for your soul” (v.14).

Wisdom is sweet to the soul! Wisdom delights the palate of the inner-most being! Haven’t you discovered that to be true, Christian? Haven’t you found that the word of God (which is true wisdom) is “sweet to your taste”? Haven’t you experienced the Scriptures – read personally, read publically, and preached – delighting your spiritual taste buds?

The psalmist put it like this in Psalm 119:103:
How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
God’s word is a delight! Would that I craved it like I sometimes have a hankering for sweet tea! And would that I would remember, when a perfect glass of sweet tea stimulates and satisfies my taste buds, that the wisdom of the Bible will do the same (and even better, Psalm 119:103), if I will drink it in!

And, oh, this wise word of God will be sweet to you, as well, my friend … if you will “taste and see” (Psalm 34:8)! Think of this reality when you crave – and when you are privileged to enjoy – whatever it is that peculiarly delights your palate.
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
Know that wisdom is thus for your soul

________________________

*I hope to come back, in the next article, and consider v.14b-c – where we are told that wisdom ensures “a future” to, and maintains the “hope” of, those who “find it” (blessings which, when we consider v.14b-c in connection with the three lines prior, must surely be seen as among the reasons wisdom is so sweet!).

August 31, 2018

His Feet

Part 6 in a series on Jesus’ Body

We conclude our look at Jesus’ body by gazing down at His feet. And I remind you of three wonderful truths concerning those feet:

First, Jesus' feet are “lovely”. In Isaiah 52:7 we read this memorable exclamation:
How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
And, oh, does that ever describe the feet of our Lord Jesus as He proclaimed good news to sinners! “How lovely” were Jesus’ feet as He trekked across Galilee and Judea, “announc[ing] salvation” to the people there! And, though that earthly task is now complete, “how lovely” the feet that performed it remain! And “how lovely … are the feet of” those, today, who carry on in Jesus’ mission! Let us be among them! And let us praise God for Jesus’ own “lovely”, gospel-carrying feet!

And then, secondly, let us remember that, at Golgotha, Jesus' feet were pierced. “They pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16). Why? “He was pierced through for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). The same feet that carried Jesus from place to place “bring[ing] good news” were eventually staked to a Roman cross in the event that is the very centerpiece of the good news! His feet were pierced in order to pay the penalty for all the sins of all His people for all time! That is good news, indeed! Praise God that He loves sinners that much!

Finally, let us remember that Jesus’ feet will return (along, of course, with the rest of His body!). Seeing into the future, the apostle John wrote that he “looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion” (Revelation 14:1). And Job said of Jesus that “at the last He will take His stand on the earth” (Job 19:25). Jesus will, “at the last”, plant His feet, once again, “on the earth”! May you be ready for His second coming by repenting of your sins and believing in this same Jesus whose feet, at His first coming, were “pierced through for our transgressions”!

August 25, 2018

His Hands

Part 5 in a series on Jesus’ Body

What a wonderful thing it is to consider Jesus’ hands!

With His hands Jesus healed the sick (Luke 4:40). With His hands He blessed the children (Mark 10:16). And with His hands He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:5). And, oh, let us “sing for joy at the works of [His] hands” (Psalm 92:4)! And let us remember that Jesus is still healing the sick, and blessing children, and serving His people even today! And let us imitate the hands of Jesus by using our hands to serve one another (John 13:14)!

And then there is this wonderful account of the use of one of Jesus’ hands, in Matthew 14:28-31 (emphasis added):
Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
What a strong and merciful hand that was! And praise God that, still today, Jesus reaches out to His people in our doubts and, with great strength and mercy, keeps us from drowning by them!

Then, of course, we must never forget that Jesus’ hands were “pierced through for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5) … “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Do you believe in Him? Have you trusted in the Savior whose hands were pierced for sinners?

Note also that, in His resurrected body, those hands carried “the imprint of the nails” – such that His disciples were certain that the One whom they encountered in those days after Golgotha was none other than the Lord Jesus Himself, risen from the dead (John 20:19-29)!

Oh, the marvelous hands of our Lord Jesus! Let us love those hands! And let us love Him whose hands they are!

August 17, 2018

His Mouth

Part 4 in a series on Jesus’ Body

“His mouth is full of sweetness.” So said that famous woman of Solomon’s song, regarding her beloved (Song of Solomon 5:16)! And so we can say of our Lord Jesus (although for different reasons than hers) – “His mouth is full of sweetness.”

One reason is because Jesus’ mouth reminds us that He really did take on our nature; that the Word really did become flesh. For, with His mouth, Jesus ate (Matthew 9:11). He needed bodily sustenance just like we do! Because He really is one of us!

And not only did He eat, but Jesus ate “with the tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:11) – so that this particular use of His mouth not only reminds us of His humanity, but also of His grace! He came to minister to those who were spiritually sick – and eating with them was an entry point to such ministry!

Further, not only did Jesus eat before His death, but also after His resurrection (Luke 24:36-43), demonstrating Himself to be no mere spirit, but bodily risen from the dead!

But then it’s not just what went into Jesus mouth that makes that mouth “full of sweetness” – but also what came out!

On more than one occasion, the physically impaired had reason to praise the Lord for even the very saliva that came from Jesus’ mouth (Mark 7:31-37; Mark 8:22-26; John 9:1-7). Did Jesus need to use His spit to perform these healings? No. He could have “just [said] the word” (Matthew 8:8) and the miracles would have been effective. But He chose to use the very secretions of His mouth to grant these healings. And the people who received them could surely never think of His mouth, again, without recognizing it as “full of sweetness”!

But, oh, it’s not just (or even mainly) the physical drippings from His lips that make Jesus’ mouth “full of sweetness” … but the verbal drops, as well! In Luke 4:22 “all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips.” Do you ever find yourself doing the same? Jesus’ mouth is what Solomon calls “a fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14)! And we drink from that fountain, still, as we take in His word today! Drink from it, my friends! And as you do so, may God enable you truly to say that “His mouth is filled with sweetness.”