School starts in two weeks.
To celebrate, I began this morning reading through Proverbs. Again.
“Really? Didn’t Solomon write that?”
Yes. And unsquinch your face. You look silly. You do know that microwaved this-or-that and instant messaging from-here-to-wherever has us all leaning toward a seriously whacked-out philosophy, right?
Old is useless, outdated, untenable, unreliable. Here is where it’s at and what’s happening. Now is of greatest importance. 15 minutes ago is hopelessly out of date. Last year is ancient. You must dispose of anything old. Old standards, old ways, old witnesses and old books. Especially distrust old books. If the people who wrote them are dead, destroy or rewrite those books. If the authors are not yet dead, discredit them and ruin their reputation. Old cannot be trusted. Nowthink is all. You must comply.
“Clearly an exaggeration. Nobody thinks that way! Do they?” Want an eye-0pener? Volunteer to serve on your local committee that screens public school textbooks. Read it for yourself.
“Surely you’re not going Orwellian on me, are you?”
I don’t need to. Just slow down a little, take a good look around and, above all, listen.
“Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That’s right–if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you’ll have come upon the knowledge of God.
“And here’s why: God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.” (from Proverbs 2)
“Well, what’s so scary about that? That sounds pretty good to me.”
Eggs-ZACKLY. During the last century, Mortimer J. Adler wrote a book entitled, ‘HOW TO READ A BOOK’. No-no… don’t laugh. I did enough sniggering for both of us. Since it was part of a bibliography for grad school, I heaved a huge sigh and—
You guessed it. Suddenly found I didn’t know all I thought I did. I won’t spoil it. Find the book; order it if you need to. But read it. Pay special attention to the index in the back of all the books from Earth history the author deems basic for the reader to be satisfied he or she is considered well-read.
It’s an exhausting list. Yes, since it itself is dated, there won’t be recent volumes listed there. One assumes a reader having the temerity to absorb all the rest of that list would be wise enough to use discretion in setting eye in newer, less-known works.
To the chase: the ultimate Author of the Bible is God Himself. Both/And. From everlasting to everlasting. Both Ancient (to us) and Above-&-Beyond Time. In other words, He’s both Way Past and Way Future. Therefore, anything God has said cannot be considered Old without being at the same time considered brand new. Like here. Now.
Another consideration as regards the shocking naivete of youth is that every generation seems to think itself the pinnacle of smarts.
Once again, to the chase . . . Bishop Denney once remarked, “You cannot at the same time say Jesus is Lord and you are clever.” I’ve lived long enough to personally know people and read the accounts of many others who saw themselves sharp enough to game God’s system and win.
They’re the ones who curl their upper lip and offer half-smiles at simpletons like me who think God means what He says in the Bible. The same ones who have sharpened, sarcastic one-liners loaded in their shoulder-rig just waiting for the chance to shoot one at, well, pathetic Christians.
Problem: I’m cheerfully antipathetic. Happily so. I love taking God at His Word. You know why, don’t you? It’s because He’s never broken His Word; Curly and his crowd make it a habit.
Proof’s in the puddin’, folks. God’s wisdom always trumps people’s egos.
Always. And His wisdom isn’t hard to read nor understand. Therein lies the real issue. Mark Twain once wrote, “It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me.”
So. Next time you’re around somebody who gives the impression he’s got a system where he can game God while writing his own rules for life?
Get away. Sure, keep praying for him; you must keep your own spirit pliant and your heart soft toward God. But stay away. It’s been my experience people who are practicing Pharisees – telling everyone else how to live while ignoring God in their own lives – usually look around for the nearest friends to grab on the way down.
It serves no purpose to try to warn them; they all believe themselves brighter and sharper than you – and you to be only a couple IQ points higher than landscaping timber.
Just stay in the Word. Everything there was written to help and encourage you in your walk of faith in God through Jesus. Keep it up, now. Keep it up.
Gaming God, hunh? How’s that working out for ya?
© D. Dean Boone, August 2014