A Fork In The Road 

Proverbs 8:2
“She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet.”

Have you ever been following someone’s directions to a place you have never been, and encountered an unexpected fork in the road? When that happens, we are forced to stop, study the map again, ask for help, and make a decision as to which way to go. Solomon tells us, that in life, when we encounter the unexpected fork in the road, wisdom is there to meet us, and provide direction for our lives. While wisdom is always available to us, there are times when it may be more difficult to know the right path to take. Solomon gives a description of wisdom so we will be able to recognize it the next time we are in need.

Proverbs 8:7 “For my mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”

God’s wisdom will always lead us away from wickedness and sin. Later, Solomon defines the fear of the Lord as hating evil (Proverbs 8:13). Any direction that leads you closer to sin, or away from fellowship with God, is not the way of wisdom. If you are trying to decide whether to go out with the guy from work, look at his life. Has he been showing evidence that he wants to walk with, serve and please God? If you are trying to decide about a move. Is there a healthy church nearby where you will be able to continue to grow in Christ and raise your family around the things of the Lord? The way of wisdom always leads us toward the Lord.

Proverbs 8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion.

Wisdom does not travel alone, she has a partner named Prudence. Prudence is defined as the ability to govern oneself, especially as it related to being circumspect in times of peril. We are able to recognize the way of wisdom when we realize that God’s way will always lead us to denying the flesh, and to personal growth in Christ. We were all taught about adrenaline and the body’s “fight or flight” reaction to danger. It is natural for all of us to want to avoid danger or difficulty; to choose the easy road over the difficult one. There are times, however, when God wants us to take the more challenging road, because He desires to do a work within us. That work will always involve the cutting away of the flesh. While that may be difficult, the end of that road, is our becoming the persons God created us to be, in Christ.

Proverbs 8:20 “I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice”

Righteousness, like holiness, is a word we sometimes struggle to define. I recently saw a sign that referred to a location as a holy site, and stated “no smoking, bare feet or loud talking.” Apparently, their definition of holy was to be quiet, not smoke and have covered toes. Biblical righteousness is best defined as becoming more like Jesus, and the path of wisdom always leads us to Christ.

Proverbs 8:23 “I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.”

Solomon takes us back to the very beginning, when all things were created, and reminds us that wisdom was there. We learn true godly wisdom does not change when culture does. The things that will lead us toward or away from God, do not change like the tide. Cultural mores may be different now than they were back in the “good old days”, but the wisdom of God has not changed. Regardless of what Hollywood says, or what new laws are passed in Washington, the wisdom of God will never change. Sin will always be sin, and righteousness will always be righteousness. Wisdom and prudence lead us to knowledge and discretion.

Let’s be sure, as we face a fork in the road, that we are looking for signs that point to heaven’s wisdom.

Pastor Jim

 

Curse Or Choice

Genesis 26:7
“And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, ‘She is my sister’; for he was afraid to say, ‘ She is my wife,’ because he thought, ‘lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.’”

2015/01/img_1326.jpgA few years back, an interesting term began to circulate through the church. The term I am referring to is “generational curse.” It meant families were cursed by the sins committed in generations passed. Once this diagnosis was given, an elaborate system was developed to rid the families of this curse. The basis for the curse was a poor understanding, and improper application of the idea that the sins of the fathers will be upon their children (Exodus 20:5). The encounter between Isaac and Abimelech serves as a much better example of how sins are repeated from generation to generation.

Earlier in Genesis, we read of Abraham and Sarah traveling to Egypt. As they approach the city, Abraham tells his wife of a plan he had developed to keep himself safe. That plan was to lie to the people, and claim Sarah is his sister. Knowing the danger to a foreigner in the land, Abraham saw his scheme as the only way to protect himself and his wife. A few years later, Abraham would repeat this same act. Now his son is grown and facing a similar threat, and he naturally acts as he has been taught by his father. There was no generational curse on Isaac. Instead, we have a young man behaving after the example set by his father.

This is an all too common problem. When a child grows up in an abusive home, he learns by example, that the way to deal with conflict is by force; he often treats his children as he was treated. The same is true with substance use and abuse. When children grow up in a home where alcohol is the solution to problems, they too, learn to escape in a bottle. It is not a curse that is passed on, it is a pattern, and the pattern is broken when an individual decides they will not follow in the sins of the past, but will live a life that is well-pleasing to the Lord.

The example the Christian is to follow, is the example of Christ. Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1); John wrote, we are to walk as Jesus walked (1John 1:7). It is very easy to slip back into the behaviors we grew up with, rather than looking to the Word of God to determine how God would have us live.

It is time we break the “curse” and start living lives that honor Christ.

Pastor Jim