Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: Responsibility, Opportunity, and Unity
Preacher: Dena King
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Proverbs 6:1-19 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
I’m kind of glad that the Lord “hates” some things. I really am. I feel like these are some things I need to hate also. Of the deadly six in today’s text, one stands out to me.
What stands out for me is the last sin listed in the deadly six—a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
A couple of churches ago I had a contingent of church members that had all the CDs/DVDs from a popular “Adventist” independent preacher who, toward the beginning of his presentations, gave a great Gospel/creation-themed set of talks. Unfortunately, as one progresses through his presentations he starts getting into conspiracy theories about the illuminati and government or religious conspiracies that whip folks into a frenzy.
One man would come to my office about once a month all upset. He’d be sweating and his heart rate would be elevated about all the secret things going on behind closed doors in the church hierarchy (Adventist and Catholic) and in the government. He had all kinds of wild theories he’d read online about presidents and other dignitaries sacrificing children and giving their souls to the devil, secret Sunday law legislations and about how the Adventist church was secretly run by Jesuits. He’d always conclude by reminding me how urgent it was to tell all our church members about this stuff. “Pastor! Everyone needs to know this stuff!”
I always let him talk for a while, just because the fantasies were so entertaining to hear. But then, just before he’d blow a gasket and need CPR, I’d say, “Vern, [made up name] tell me, so what?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, so what? What if everything you told me is true? So what? What can you do about it? Are you going to report them to the police? Are you going to go and make a citizen’s arrest?”
“Well, no. I guess there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“So Vern, how about this—how about instead of listening to all this stuff that gets you all wound up and that you can’t control you spend that time reading about and serving Jesus? Learn the Gospel and then figure out ways to share Jesus with the people you encounter?”
Each time, Vern would agree and calm down until the next time he came into my office with a whole slew of new and exciting information.
We are not called to rile up a crown into a fearful frenzy. When pastors start to do this, there are scads of fearful people who will line their pockets with CD sales and fill their congregations to hear the scandal. And the Lord hates this.
We are called to share the Gospel of peace. This Gospel should quell fear, instill a confidence that come what may, we stand with Jesus in the midst of any storm.
Recalibrate: Have you ever found yourself riled up about something “churchy” that you could do nothing about? How did you resolve it?
Respond: Pray these words: “Father in heaven, help me to live by love and not fear. Let Your Holy Spirit douse me with the Spirit of the Gospel, and not the bad news of fear.”
Research: Read Choosing Love Not Fear by Nancy Colier.
Remember: “For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light and the corrections of disciplines are the way to life” (Proverbs 6:23, NIV).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.
Do you have a see-saw in your local playground? A see-saw is no fun at all if you don’t have anyone on the other end to balance out the bar. It’s not something we can use by ourselves although we often try.
We are designed to do life with Jesus. He balances out all our stuff—the stuff that scares us, that worries us, and makes us a little (or a lot) crazy. Get on the see-saw with Jesus. Know that no matter how heavy our stuff is, He can balance it out with His goodness, kindness, love, and peace. Focus on Jesus’ love for us on the other end of the see-saw and get playing on the adventure He has for us.
Get out your piece of paper from yesterday. Proverbs 6 tells us that there are six things God hates and seven that he cannot stand. Let’s see if you guessed any right:
1. A proud look
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that hurt or kill innocent people
4. A mind that thinks up evil plans
5. Feet that are quick to do evil
6. A witness that tells lies
7. A person who causes trouble among others
Did you guess any of those? Did you notice that these are all things that hurt other people? God hates things that hurt you and hurt others. God doesn’t hate random things; He hates the things that cause pain. He loves the things that make you happy and full of joy!
One of the hardest things to do is remembering how to do something once the tutorial time is over. In video games, or an after school study session at school, it’s always simple to recall the steps when you know you can look back up to the white board and read the instructions, raise your hand, and ask for help, or press “Select” and review the button configuration chart. But when it comes time to take the test, those instructions have been erased and your muscle memory takes over. It’s pretty frustrating to have studied for so long, and practiced over and over in earlier stages of the game for the final boss, but find yourself mashing the buttons tirelessly or trying in vain to recall the formula for the equation and coming up empty handed. It always seems to be the case that as soon as you leave the classroom or exit out of the game that you look up the right answer and get frustrated all over again because you definitely did know the answer but lost it in the moment and can’t go back and fill in the blank you left on the test now that you’ve turned it in.
Over ten weeks you have read along as we have studied the first six books of Proverbs and learned lessons on how to be wise from our proverbial pop, Solomon. As we close this series, what have you learned that you’ve put into action in your own life? Do you find that you are feeling more wise now that you’ve prayed about these things as they come at you? How might you go about making a plan so that you are continually wise even after we stop focusing as much on wisdom in our daily walks together?
In these moments of confusion or unsurity, there is always an outlet that wisdom will point you to when in doubt; prayer. Prayer is your go-to, cheat sheet, memory-refresher, wisdom-replenisher whenever you can’t come up with the right answer. Even as these Daily Walk entries end at the end of the year, don’t ever forget that God is with you always and that you can find Him in prayer whenever you need to take a daily walk with the Lord. Until we meet again, be wise!
When I was growing up I was told I could not use the word hate. When I asked why, I was told that God calls us not to hate. I believe that God calls us to love, but I am happy He hates a few things.
When we look at this list of things He hates, they all are centered around harming others or yourself. I believe that is why when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He replied by saying we should love Him and our fellow man.
Yesterday we talked about how you should always go to Jesus first because there are people who don’t have your best interests in mind. Today I want to challenge you to be someone people can trust. It is easy to gossip, be selfish, only consider your needs, and cheat others. It is hard to be loving and selfless.
Jesus always calls us to the path less traveled. People need people they can trust. The joy you will find in being the type of person other people can trust and depend on will give you a life worth living. That is a gift many are desperately longing for.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Kyle Smith is the associate pastor of youth and family ministries at New Haven Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas.