Reading through the Bible together

Saturday, January 18, 2014

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As you meditated on the passages of Proverbs 14 today, which verse was most familiar to you? Let me guess. Was it verse 12? “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

Or maybe for you as a farmer it is the humorous passage that suggests if you have an ox in your stall, you will have to shovel out manure (verse 4). With the strength of an ox, a farmer can get so much more done, but then there are consequences that need to be shoveled out. This reminds me of the saying that decisions in life are not always clean and right, but my job is to clean my life up.

I am struggling to learn to always thank God for the choices in my life that need cleaning up. In nearly every case where wrong things happened it was because I had choices and there were decisions that needed to be made. Do I do this, or do I do that, or even the other thing. Every choice has its consequences, some of which are not very good. With an ox I get more land plowed but there are more piles of manure to shovel and the ox certainly needs to eat more hay. Simply having the freedom to choose is an amazing blessing, a reason to thank God. Consider the alternative.

A life locked into the solitary confinement of a small prison cell with no choices is decision free. A life struggling for the next breath on a hospital bed, totally dependent on the skills and resources of the medical staff, has far fewer choices. So I thank God for the choices I have even though I don’t always make the right ones. However, by God’s grace I am still free to make choices.  

For EVERY decision that I make in life, Proverbs 14:12 is, I believe, one of the most important life or death guides. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, is saying that what seems right only to me leads to eternal death. Proverbs 3:6 states the same idea in a positive way, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

“Lord, today, in every decision that I make, may my choices be Spirit-led. Amen.”

David A. Steen
Professor Emeritus
Andrews University