Daily Reflections March 31, 2017
We live in a digital age where opinions can be spread immediately and widely. And instead of being carefully thought-out, these opinions are often thrown out quickly without consideration. In this chapter, there are three notes on hasty opinions.
In verse 2, we read:
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:2)
To the fool, ensuring that truth is known and proclaimed is not important. He is content with his voice being meaningless or in error as long as he gets a say in the matter. He wants to provide another voice in the crowd rather than a contribution to the conversation.
In verse 13, we read:
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13)
To answer before listening means that the question or clarifying information does not matter. The fool has already settled an answer in his mind and has determined himself already wise. By doing this, one commentator says, “To “answer before listening” (v. 13) implies an arrogant (and indeed rude) spirit. It indicates that one is unwilling to be instructed or, in the case of interpersonal dealings, that one is prejudiced and unwilling to hear contrary opinions.” We often do not consider that how we answer someone reveals our character. This verse shows that to quickly answer before listening shows arrogance, prejudice, and unteachableness.
In verse 17 we read:
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)
Having the first opinion in a matter will often look like it is correct unless it is scrutinized by another. A fool will quickly state his case to appear right and offer no opportunity for others to come against him or look too closely at his argument. He would rather appear to be right as a lone-ranger than surround himself with wise counselors and be found to have erred.
These three verses should give us some help in our interactions with people both in the digital world as well as our everyday encounters. We ought to first desire for truth and understanding before we speak a word. We ought to humbly listen to other people before we provide an answer. We ought to surround ourselves with people willing to analyze and correct our opinions if necessary. This will help us be wise, honor God, and be at peace with others. It may even redeem much of how we engage with our phones, our computers, and the news.
Yours in Christ,
Assistant Pastor Evan Webster
Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 165.
The first chapter in the book of Colossians is loaded with content. As you read through it, you can’t help but notice the lofty tone that this chapter presents. After the introduction Paul shares his prayer for the readers, and wow is it encouraging, I want to draw your attention to verse ten:
….so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:10 ESV)
What I find extraordinary with this verse is that it states exactly what we need to hear today. It IS possible to live a life that pleases God. Now, we may not be able to live a perfect life in our fallen state, but we can live a life that pleases God. The life of a Christian is a life of progressive sanctification. As this verse tells us that as we grow in Christ we are to bear fruit in every good work and to increase in our knowledge of God. Verse 11 goes on to tell the reader that God’s children will be empowered to endure with joy because of our promised inheritance. Paul continues with an amazingly exalted view of Jesus. None of the what happens in the first part of this chapter happen without Jesus. Christ is the anchor of our faith and the lofty ideal on which we focus. I won’t focus too much on this section as Pastor Paul wrote a great RMM Roundup on it last year. You can find that HERE.
Lastly, Paul talks about his own sufferings for the church. He makes an interesting statement in verse 24.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, (Colossians 1:24 ESV)
This is an interesting statement, and maybe I can help shed some light on this for you. What Paul is definitely not doing is claiming any sort of equality with Jesus, for only Jesus could suffer for the sins of the world. What Paul is saying is that Jesus laid out a pattern and this is the obvious outworking of that pattern. Matthew Henry stated it this way:
But He suffered for the redemption of the church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God allots to him.
Christ did the work, we are to follow His example for the glory of God and our eternal good.
Associate Pastor Jonathan Welch