Jeremiah, say to the people, "This is what the Lord says: 'When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back? .... Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the Lord’s laws.'" Jeremiah 8:4, 7
My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12
So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. Proverbs 9:8-9
A small child suddenly hears the loud, sharp command of his parent from across the room. A small child suddenly feels his arm in the uncomfortable grip of his parent at his side. In both instances the small child has been kept from a harmful action and in both instances it is not a "delightful" experience for the child.Yesterday we said that as relational people who routinely experience the words (and actions) of other people, we long for the delightful and shun the unpleasant. What is not known by the small child but is clear to us is this: the intervention of a loving parent to keep him from harm and the pain and suffering that goes with it, is a "delightful" thing. The small child doesn't know what he doesn't know.
This is what is our Jeremiah passage is dealing with. God's people don't know what they don't know. Even our feathered friends keep in step with the order of things God has for them. God's people need to delight in his ways (laws) and in the help (words and actions) he brings to them directly and through others for staying on track (encouragement) and getting back on track (admonishment) when we get off track. The good words (and actions) of God and others are "delightful" if we have the right perspective. This is the message of our two Proverbs passages.
Our world today does not know what is good for them. Ignorance in the long run is not bliss. We are pulled by the world toward a twisted view of what is "delightful." The world's view of "delightful" is all about finding pleasure, enjoyment, and delight in anything and everything one can find it in. This is why it is socially unacceptable to say or do anything that interferes with another person's pursuit of personal "delight." Be that as it may, we can "delight" in God's ways and the help he brings to us directly and through others for living right. The more this becomes our approach to life the more God can use us to help others live right through our good words (and actions).
Lord, my prayer today is twofold: first, help me hear whatever I need to hear from you and from others that will help my life be more on track and then help me to become one who routinely hears such words as "delightful" words. Second, help me have a nurturing spirit that cares deeply about the welfare of other people so I can do the part you give me in nurturing others toward the good and away from the bad through encouragement and admonishment. Grant that the core desire of my being is wrapped up in you and your ways. May I live for your good pleasure and not my own. Amen!
Posted on Tue, July 28, 2015
by Alan Porter