Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Hard Candy of the Bible

Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3

I listen to Dr. Timothy Keller - the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.  He both confounds and enlightens me.  I can't get enough of the guy.  Here's why:

In a sermon entitled Your plans; God's plans, Dr. Keller introduces the book of Proverbs with these words:

"You've heard of the meat of the word, and the milk of the word.  Proverbs are the hard candy of the word.  You don't just swallow it.  You don't just bite into it.  You have to dissolve it very, very, very slowly on your tongue.  You have to meditate on it.  You have to think about it."

He goes on to expose a common misconception.  You think you know what Proverbs 16:3 suggests.  You think it states, "Commit your plans to the Lord and then He will bless your deeds."  As if you could pray something like, "Oh Lord, bless my plans" and then your deeds would surely succeed.  
But it's not like that at all!  In fact it's quite the opposite.  When you think about it; when you meditate on it and dissolve it very, very, very slowly on your tongue you begin sample the core of the message.  Proverbs 16:3 is not a grocery store gumball to flippantly chew as you go about your day as if saying, "Whatever you do today, just toss it up to the Lord and He will surely bless you."

This Proverb is more like a Willie Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper.  If you try to bite into it, your teeth unexpectedly crash into the hard core.  If you hastily swallow it you may get a taste of the outer coating, but you totally bypass the whole purpose of an Everlasting Gobstobber - the slowly revealing flavors of each successive inner coating. 

Proverbs 16:3 smacks of committing your deeds, not your plans, to the Lord.  When you approach God with your deeds first, you will become more and more a person who makes smart plans.  Instead of waking up in the morning and soliciting God's blessing on your to-do list ("Oh Lord, bless my plans"), I wonder what your day would look like if you sampled the flavor of Proverbs 16:3 – sacrificing your checklist on the altar of His will.  "Oh Lord, I commit to You all that I will do today.  Prepare me to follow You, no matter what you give or take away."  In other words, commit whatever you do to the Lord, and your plans (which you devise after submitting to the Lord) will succeed.

See?  Confounding and enlightening.  I can't get enough of him.  Here's hoping I whetted your appetite for more hard candy.

Q4U: How often do you stop to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalms 34:8)?  Where has Proverbs delivered you an Everlasting Gobstopper when you expected to merely find a grocery store gumball?

May I Pray for You?
Lord you provide the meat, the milk, and the sweet hard candy for our spirit's appetite.  May you develop in us a taste for your Word and a willingness to savor the flavor of Your Truth.  Thank you for providing more than we could ever ask for or imagine.  In Jesus name - Amen!

More of Dr. Timothy Keller @ Redeemer's Free Sermon Resource

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