Wise Worship


Wise Worship

Proverbs 8:32-9:6

“And now, my children, listen to me:

happy are those who keep my ways.

Hear instruction and be wise,

and do not neglect it.

Happy is the one who listens to me,

watching daily at my gates,

waiting beside my doors.

For whoever finds me finds life

and obtains favor from the Lord;

but those who miss me injure themselves;

all who hate me love death.”

Wisdom’s Feast

Wisdom has built her house,

she has hewn her seven pillars.

She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,

she has also set her table.

She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls

from the highest places in the town,

“You that are simple, turn in here!”

To those without sense she says,

“Come, eat of my bread

and drink of the wine I have mixed.

Lay aside immaturity, and live,

and walk in the way of insight.”

Proverbs begins with a statement of truth: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This fear, or awe and reverence is a significant part of what we all are commanded to do, so there is a sense that wisdom brings us to worship and worship brings us to true wisdom.

Wisdom brings us to worship. If we seek truth honestly and earnestly, we may first discover our limitations in understanding the world around us. The deeper we dig into even the simple things around us, the more mysteries and questions we discover… and God invites us to bring our wonder to worship.

Wait… what? Isn’t worship all about repeating doctrine statements in chants and in song and sitting through long explanations of what you are supposed to believe blindly? No, it really is not. You can come with your questions and pondering minds, hear real life accounts of the work of God from other Christians, and discover the long history of that wisdom passed down the ages in scripture. God offers real answers for you to consider carefully and thoughtfully. However, if you have already made your mind up about God and do not have honest questions and consideration, do not be surprised by a disappointment you have set yourself up for.

God not only brings us some, and I emphasize some of the answers we seek in life, He also asks us questions. A major part of growing in true wisdom is not just getting answers that sound good, it is refining our questions. We cannot find proper answers if we are not even asking the right questions. God helps us ask the right questions, and He often does that by reminding us of our own responsibility and part in life around us. Our actions, our words, our thoughts and feelings… they all matter and they do make a difference around us for good or for ill. Sometimes it is hard to see that when we are stuck in ourselves and cannot get an outside perspective. Coming into the presence of God and listening to His Spirit speak to us is one way that we can get a better, clearer, or at the very least different perspective.

Worship is not primarily about making us feel better. It is an act of aligning ourselves with the Creator of the universe so that we can actually be better. It is wise to worship and worship brings us true wisdom.

2 Eyes and 1 Mouth


2 Eyes and 1 Mouth

Matthew 9:27-34

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.

Jesus Heals One Who Was Mute

After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”

Most of the time Jesus touched people, they were changed. We often focus on the healing and restoration and in doing so, we sometimes miss the way people change into something new. Two blind men cry out for help and Jesus gives them sight. He only asks one thing of them.

Don’t tell anyone about this.

It reminds me of the very beginning of this wild story called life, when Adam and Eve were given a wonderful gift and only asked one thing in return.

Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

We do not have a very good track record of following God’s wishes, even after being blessed by Him first. Something in us tells us that we know better than God.

This passage does not tell us why Jesus wanted to keep these healing miracles a secret, and the only speculation I can offer is that perhaps the kind of popular attention this would bring was more than Jesus wanted to deal with at the time. Perhaps, as in Nazareth, the whole town would have gathered and then become incredibly upset when Jesus did not offer the same miracles for everyone to see. At some point, I’m sure it moved even beyond the restoration of life into pure spectacle. Can you imagine people going so far as to wound themselves just to show everyone how awesome the healing power of Jesus was? There are no such accounts in the scriptures, but I can imagine people doing things like that… charging admission for healing and making sure everyone gets a good show. The very fact that Jesus did not heal everyone He came across may have prevented that from ever occurring.

But Jesus may have had other reasons for asking them to keep quiet… things beyond my ability to grasp. Everyone He touched had a new story to tell though, and in that way, the compassion of Jesus to help others was the enemy of His anonymity in our world. The one thing Jesus couldn’t do was just be a nobody and fade into the crowd. People believed He was either God or the devil, and there was nothing in-between. His very presence changed lives around Him.

We may find ourselves at fault though, if we use this as an excuse to shout out everything that we hear from God. It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we should speak. He gave us two eyes to watch as well. As a preacher, I have learned that some lessons are just for me, and as much as I would like to make a sermon about them, God would much rather people see the change in my actions rather than through my words. Indeed, I think it takes longer for those lessons to sink into our behavior than it does for us to articulate something catchy related to them. It is easy to speak out against issues like abortion or immigration in the name of Jesus. It takes a little more effort to adopt at risk babies and to house immigrants in your own home.

I don’t believe it is just about time though. I think that God’s word, like a seed, needs time to take root in us, sprout and bloom, so that it can bear fruit as we share it then with others. Seeds without good soil, water, and sunshine, are typically not long for this world. I believe Jesus told a story about that.

What is God speaking to you today?

Are you living it enough to share it with others?