Christmastime Day Two
December 27, 2018
By Elaine Friedrich
Written by Karen Mosteller
32“Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”- Proverbs 8:32-36
Today’s verses admonish us to listen, and to heed God’s instructions. Why? Scripture teaches us that listening to instruction and following in obedience will bring blessings, life, and God’s favor, while failing to listen and disobedience to God will bring injuries upon ourselves, and even death. These are sobering thoughts, yes?
From the very beginning, God spoke, and it was. God’s word reports that it was good; indeed, it was very good. God made humanity in His own image, the crown of all creation, providing everything that we would need in order to live well, to have dominion over the entire earth, to be fruitful and to multiply, to become fully all that God intended. Divine instructions and warnings were given for humanity’s best good, to flourish, and to bring God glory (Gen. 1 – 2; Isaiah 43:7).
So, what happened? Well, in His great love and wisdom, God also gifted us with free will — the will to either love God, to listen to and obediently follow His instructions, or to go our own way, to fulfill our own desires, to make decisions independently of God, to be our own god. We know the rest of this story, right?
The first man and woman decided to go their own way, to not listen to God’s instructions, to do what they thought was right in their own eyes, thereby allowing sin, death, and the power of the devil to enter the paradise that God had lovingly created. Intimate relationship with God was lost. Willful disobedience to God’s instructions and warnings (i.e., sin) brought immediate shame, fear, deceit, accusation, bitterness, hardships, and death into the world. Instead of experiencing blessings, immortal life, and God’s favor, Adam and Eve experienced curses, spiritual and physical death, and disunity with God. They were driven from Eden and the beautiful life and future God had planned for them (Genesis 3).
Knowing everything that would happen, our infinitely loving and merciful God had put a plan of restoration in motion: Jesus (Genesis 3:15). God’s own beloved Son chose to be born into our human condition, in order to show us a better way to live — to rescue us and bring us back to the Father. Jesus came to live the perfect life that we will never achieve this side of heaven. He came to die a blameless, human death on our behalf, atoning for all of our sins (past, present, and future), covering us with His blood.
He did this so that all who, by faith alone, believe in His sacrificial life and death in our stead, may stand forgiven, redeemed, whole, and justified before a holy God (Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11; Isaiah 53; John 3:16-17; Romans 5:6-10; 10:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:5-11).
Yes, Jesus’ ability to listen to and heed God’s instructions and warnings, to walk in His will, to obey God even unto death on a cross for sinful mankind, brought blessings, life, and God’s favor into the world for us (Matthew 3:17; John 1:1-4; 10:10; 14:6-7; Romans 5:18-19).
It is God’s desire that we, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit at work within us (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:5-15; Philippians 2:13), may grow up into Jesus’ likeness (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18), allowing His light to shine from within our hearts (Matthew 5:13-16), living our lives to reflect God’s glory in the world. In this, we can partner with God to bring many sons and daughters to repentance and eternal life in Christ Jesus (Matthew 4:17; Luke 17:20-21; John 17:3, 20-26; Colossians 1:27).
Soli Deo Gloria.