Daily Reflections April 12, 2017
This Proverb comes to us from Agur, an otherwise unmentioned character in Biblical history. The name “Agur” means “collector.” This is an appropriate title for a man who brings forth the wisdom that he has amassed from godly teachers.
He uses the opening verses of the proverb to defame himself, intentionally drawing attention to the fact that he is not the source of wisdom. He is merely a man. He has nothing of his own to offer, but he points the reader to the place where wisdom is found. He writes:
5 Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)
Agur points us to a recurring theme that is found throughout scripture: man’s “wisdom” is foolishness, but God’s Word is truth. Man’s “wisdom” will ultimately fail but God’s Word stands forever. The North American church would be transformed over night if its leaders recommitted themselves to this truth.
He goes on to make two requests of the Lord.
7 Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:5-9 ESV)
He asks for the removal of that which displeases God. He then goes on to ask for his needs to be supplied. It is noteworthy that he is very intentional in specifying that he does not want more than his daily needs require. Agur is keenly aware that a surplus of riches would more than likely lead him away from a dependence upon God. Reflect on that. How many of us pray that God would withhold excessive wealth from us? It would be wise of us to adopt Agur’s mindset.
His two-fold request sounds similar to an excerpt from another familiar prayer taught to us by the source of wisdom himself. Jesus told us that we should pray to this effect:
Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matt. 6:11-12 ESV)
Forgive us and provide for us this day. Amen.
Pastor Levi denBok
1 Timothy 1
Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy who was serving in Ephesus. Timothy was perhaps Paul’s most trusted assistant and very dear to him. Paul refers to Timothy as “my true child in the faith” (1 Tim 1:2), “my son” (1 Tim 1:18), “my beloved child” (2 Tim 1:2). For Timothy this was no doubt a vote of confidence for this timid young leader faced a difficult task before him in Ephesus.
Are you in the midst of a difficult assignment or season of life? Do you need encouragement today? God’s power and rich resources are yours today in Christ. In the opening verses Paul reminded Timothy that God is one who saves. The Lord will save him in the battle he is facing. God will save those in Ephesus who are lost or wandering from the faith. Hope, real sustaining hope is God’s promise to us in Jesus. God will pour grace, mercy and peace upon us in the difficulties and pour grace out upon the church and upon the lost.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:1-2 ESV)
Timothy, who may have otherwise packed up and left town, was reminded of his God-ordained calling. He was told to stay put, wage the good warfare and fight on for the faith. Paul’s words are a combination of encouragement, exhortation, instruction and testimony. These were purposed to help Timothy stand in the battle.
Aren’t we like that as well? At times we wonder if we can keep going. We lose strength; hope dims and we just want to give up. Today, God’s word reminds us of his all-sufficient grace and charges us to stand.
Timothy faced the challenge of false teachers, their destructive false teaching and its influence in undermining the gospel. In addition to that which threatened sound doctrine, Timothy ministered in a city that was replete with all manner of ungodliness (verses 8-10).
With a stirring word of testimony, Paul reminded Timothy of his own background. In spite of the heinous things he had done, God rescued Paul and called him to his service. If God could save Paul the worst of sinners, Paul argues, he can save anyone.
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. (1 Timothy 1:12-13 ESV)
The life of Christ in us empowers us to do what we could not do apart from him. In him is our strength and grace (Philippians 4:13, Hebrews 4:16). In the battle for souls when hearts seem so hardened to the gospel, God’s mercy still breaks through to save sinners for eternal life.
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16 ESV)
To the God who calls us, sets us apart, commissions us, empowers us and keeps us, we worship him with these words of praise,
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jody Cross