A Preachers Plea: The End Of The Matter
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Call To Worship Scripture:
Call To Worship Scripture:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
I don't know where you lay your head Or where you call your home I don't know where you eat your meals Or where you talk on the phone I don't know if you got a cook A butler or a maid I don't know if you got a yard With a hammock in the shade
I don't know if you got some shelter Say a place to hide I don't know if you live with friends In whom you can confide I don't know if you got a family Say a mom or dad I don't know if you feel love at all But I bet you wish you had
Come and go with me To my Father's house It's a big big house With lots and lots a room A big big table With lots and lots of food A big big yard Where we can play football A big big house - Its my Father's house
It's a big big house With lots and lots a room A big big table With lots and lots of food A big big yard Where we can play football A big big house Its my Father's house
A Preachers Plea:
A Preachers Plea:
For these next three weeks we are going to walk through some the heart of Bible Wisdom literature in attempt to have our eyes open to some practical, revolutionary and essential theology that is waiting as a lost treasure for some passer by to stop, take heed of, apply and know the riches for themselves.
Here is what the wisdom of scripture will be addressing:
How do we escape a life that is enslaved to the vain patterns of the world when before our eyes they all appear so necessary?
How does one rightly establish themselves and/or build there house?
What is the path of the Christian? How is the Christians life revolutionized by the Word of God?
How do avoid living our lives with regret? How do we avoid giving life our all only to look back and say we wasted it all?
Where do we place our fear, invest in wisdom and know the fulness of love?
Let me begin with a theological note and passage from what we will be covering next week:
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
The Word of God - the commands and teachings of the good Shepherd are in a class of their own. Many a wearisome night you can spend collecting all of the books and resources that you want, but from the wisest man that ever has lived, know this - it will simply make you weary. The end of the matter is FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.
Now that we know the end of the matter let us look at the building and some possible pit falls and in week three we will see our way to the fruits and blessings.
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
You can build a house - but it will be in vain.
You can put in place securities - but it is vain security
If God is not the builder and God not the protector then vanity, emptiness, want, and/or empty pride is your pursuit, anxiety your diet and death your end.
Last week we discussed a Psalmist that knew from where his help came (the Lord God Almighty)
Today let me ask, from where does your anxiety come?
You rise up early, and you go to bed late while you dine on anxious toil.
Notice that what is spoken of here is the very heart of health and peace: shelter, security, sleep/rest and nourishment.
Sleep you cannot get because you are building your house and the anxiety that drives you is eating away at you rather than you being nourished. You live fearful of not obtaining and of loosing what you have obtained.
THE SHEPHERDS PLEA - PRACTICAL THEOLOGY 1:
IT IS THE LORD WHO PROVIDES SHELTER, SECURITY, FOOD/NOURISHMENT & REST.
Next, God speaks of as a blessing what the world so often views as a curse or at the very least a burden or extra to be juggled.
Of all the reasons that I am often told as to why a child would not be a blessing to someone or why certain parenting decisions have to be made, I find that all of the reasons and their proper response are listed just prior to this verse:
Think on it, a child is often seen as not being a blessing because:
A place to live - the current dwelling is not adequate. We must reach a certain position or status before a child would be exceptable. You know, before three people can make up a family the parents need a six bedroom, 4 bathroom home.
Security - In two areas I see this. The world seems incrisingly dangerous is #1. But also the child can be viewed as a threat to the parents security in their current way of life, dreams and pursuits. The child can threaten what a parent has worked so hard to obtain. As such the child is acceptable when the parent has reached the position where the dream can be maintained and the child cared for.
Sleep - From dawn to dusk the day is already packed - there simply is not room in the scheduele for parenting.
Nourishment - For one who is already dining on anxiety a child is but a overwhelming mouth full.
Yet the Bible says, let God build your house, be your security, give you rest and nourishment and a child is a blessing from the same God who has blessed you with a home, security, sleep and nourishment.
This truth could also have had a deeper understanding for Israel. For them the place that they lived, the security, rest and nourishment that they knew was often found in God in the land that God had promised. As such children would mean further possession of the land for generations to come and protection against the enemy (; …Gen. 15...Abraham had many sons…). This meaning however does not make this passage unique in how we would understand it today but rather unifies us to it, for we also are trusting in a land of promise, a land that is our home, in which our security lies, and our nourishment and rest come in full. As such child to join us in such promises and in our pilgrimage unto them is indeed a blessing, a sanctifying work to keep our eyes upon that which is true and of lasting importance.
Here is what is true about the rearing of a child - they will pick up on your good and bad. The man who spends his youth investing in his children rather than investing in himself and the world will not be put to shame but will have a strong testament even before his enemies.
Let me go a little deeper here. Just as we noted Israel and the promised Land and the children which would inherit it. So here are we talking of the promises and provision of God. The children then of which we are speaking are not merely biological, but are spiritual. In this your aim is that your children become not merely children by blood by children by the blood of Christ and as such that you seek the blessing of God that the children that you know as blessing of God will be many through the faithfulness of your Christ like faithful living.
THE SHEPHERDS PLEA - PRACTICAL THEOLOGY 2:
CHILDREN (biological/spiritual) ARE A BLESSING FROM THE LORD AND A GOOD WITNESS AND TESTAMENT OF THE FAITHFUL FATHER.
Now, these are truths, and as such the only question here is, do you believe them? With that you only have two answers, yes or no. Either God builds your house or he doesn’t, either He is your security, nourishment and rest or he is not. How do you know…simple…are you anxious? Has the Lord blessed you with anyone espessially in your own home who has looked to Christ because of you? Does your home rest in the provision, security, nourishment and rest that is only in Christ? Or are you building your home, seeking another security, are you given nourishment by finally obtaining that thing that you have been so anxious to get, is your rest lacking?
A Song of Ascents. Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!
Friends, you will either labor in the Lord and be blessed or labor in the world and be anxious. The path that you choose demonstrates what you fear and what you fear testifies to what you worship. If you fear the Lord then you walk in His ways, and if you walk in His ways then you will eat the fruit of your labor and it will be well with you.
Note what is most greatly impacted here, is your home. To many man and far to many pastors wear a religious title or appearance while their homes testify to just the opposite. The man who fears the Lord fears the Lord in his home and on his travels. As such his family becomes a reward of his investments in the Lord.
THE SHEPHERDS PLEA - PRACTICAL THEOLOGY 3:
THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE PATHWAY TO BLESSING.
The fear of the Lord is that your life pursuit becomes the Lord. You are free to have this pursuit because of the Lord and free to know it in all of your endevours by exersisning obedience to the Word of the Lord.
Yet you will note as you venture into the book of proverbs that there are plenty of pitfalls to be avoided in this pursuit. There are numerous enticements to lur you away and as such the book of Proverbs rest as a book to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge, and discrection, and to make the wise wiser.
As such Proverbs contrast the path of wisdom with that of violence and immorality. A strong warning is given to man against the lure of a seductive woman and immorality is made known as the antithesis of wisdom.
Diligence and work is strongly encouraged in Proverbs while the sluggard is held in contempt for his laziness. Riches and poverty are linked both to the righteous and the wicked. Quarrelsome ways of quick tempered men are denounced as well as the quarrelsome ways of the unbearable wife. Gossip is made known as a source of great trouble and the held tounge as the way of the knowlegable. Honesty and justice are held in high esteem. Yet in this practical work what is most notably held up is God’s work as creator and his wisdom made known there in.
Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed 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 he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
Verse 23 - “From everlasting I was established. From the beginning from the earliest times of the earth.” -
From everlasting is descriptive also of Christ, but note here speaking of the wisdom of God, it was before the earth was. The understanding, the knowing and the application there of was already put in place by God before the ground that you stand on. To trust in God for the working out of all things is by no means impracticle, foolish or blind but is just the opposite. God already knows the out working and already has worked it out and those who trust him know the goodness of His favor, while those who don’t trust him, they injure themselves.
Listen, God has worked all things in the possession and exersise of wisdom. Wisdom is God’s posession. If you operate on your own, you opperate in vain folly. You cannot posess what God posesses unless God gives it to you, and friends, He has, if you would only trust Him.
Wisdom is calling to you as a gospel ringing through the streets. Do not harden your hearts and turn away, but come and seek the favor of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep the ways of the Lord, blessed is the one who does not neglect the wisdom of God, for whoever finds it finds life.
THE SHEPHERDS PLEA - PRACTICAL THEOLOGY 4:
GOD HAS POSESSED WISDOM FROM BEFORE TIME AND FOR THE WISDOM WHICH LEADS TO LIFE ONE MUST SEEK GOD IN ALL OF HIS WAYS. GOD HAS INVITED YOU.
The wisdom of God, lived in, is as a house build on solid ground. If one is to have his house, his home, his family built by the Lord then he must trust in, walk in, seek out, exersise, know and live by the wisdom of God.
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it. The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Foolishness is loud, seductive and knows nothing. Look at the world and you will find her. Spend time in the world and you will want her. Obtain the her and you will find hell and prove yourself simple.
THE SHEPHERDS PLEA - PRACTICAL THEOLOGY 4:
The ways of the world are simple and lead to empty death, but the wisdom of God holds true insight and leads to full life.
THE SHEPHERDS PLEA - PRACTICAL THEOLOGY 5:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight
Dearly beloved, wisdom is calling. This morning we have heard her from the mountain top. Do not be decieved by the voicturous seduction of foolishness descised as worldly wisdom. They who call the simple practicle and avoid the true insight of God will not know a lasting home, nor rest in security or be truly nourished.
God must build our homes - our home is in God- we reside in God.
God must be our security.
God must be our nourishment.
God must be our rest.
We must fear God.
We must trust God.
We must obey God.
We must love God.