Summary: Life and God are not two unrelated subjects. For the believer, the way we live honors or dishonors God.
Sharpening Our Respect for God
1. I have long respected aspirin. I take a baby aspirin every day to keep my blood thin because I have a stent.
2. But I have developed an even greater respect for aspirin after reading an article that surfaced in Forbes Magazine this week. It said that regular aspirin or ibuprofen users decrease their chances of skin cancer by about 14%. The article adds,
“But skin cancer is only the beginning of aspirin’s anti-cancer benefits. Three other recent studies, published in the Lancet, found that people who take a daily aspirin have as much as a 46% lower risk of colon, lung and prostate cancer compared with people who rarely or never take aspirin. In addition to preventing new cancers, aspirin was also found to reduce the risk of cancer recurring.”
3. Aspirin is a simple well-known drug.
4. The Christian life is complex, but it comes down to God; we need to honor him.
Main Idea: Life and God are not two unrelated subjects. For the believer, the way we live honors or dishonors God.
I. We Honor God by Believing that He is WORKING Around Us (24)
A. Men are often OBLIVIOUS to God’s Providence
1. Providence in judgment: the 9th of Av
2. Providence for Israel’s future: The Nation of Israel’s formation, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin
B. God is amazingly INDIVIDUALISTIC
• The individual man’s steps
• God does not revolve around you, but active in our lives; we need to be alert
C. God does move in MYSTERIOUS ways (it’s not just you!)
II. We Honor God by Being Careful About Making PROMISES to Him (25)
A. The Law and Proverbs: Be CAREFUL making vows
When Saul’s men were fighting, he made avow: they should not eat anything until the battle was over; foolish; Jonathan, his son, had not hear it. Ate honey. (I Sam. 14)
B. Jesus: WHY Make Vows in the First Place?
Matthew 5:33, “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.”
C. We must learn to think FIRST and then act, not the reverse
• This does not just apply to vows, but anything that is important
• Some people think first about the unimportant (chess) but do not think about the important (major in college, who to marry, where to live…)
• Honoring God is tops in the important list!
III. We Honor God by Remembering He SEARCHES Our Hearts (27)
A. MAN’S Spirit
1. The LXX reads, “The spirit of man is a light of the Lord, who searches the inmost parts of the belly.”
2. Many take this to include the conscience, and it probably does
Example: David and Abigail: I Samuel 25:31, “ my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause…”
3. In Romans, the Law of God written on our hearts is the conscience, but, under the New Covenant, that Law is written more deeply and on heart of flesh, not stone.
4. On sign of coming to know the Lord is an intensification of conscience, I believe
B. Paul’s MIDRASHIM on this text (he explains, develops, and adds to it)
He combines this proverb with Psalm 139 (you have searched me....where can I flee from your Spirit?)
I Corinthians 2:10-13, “… these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person