Scriptural Miscellanies

January 12, 2014Filed under theology#devotionsMarkdown source

I have made it my goal to write short posts reflecting on my devotional reading every day. These posts are composed off the cuff, in 30 minutes or less. The following is one such post. Before writing this post, I read: 1 Chronicles 11–15, Psalm 12, Proverbs 12.

Tonight, rather than doing a single, longer, extended piece, I am simply going to respond to a number of indidivual verses or passages, and more briefly than usual. Sleep is calling, but diligence in seeking God is a good I will not be quick to overlook.

Whoever loves discipline hates knowledge
    but he who hates reproof is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1, ESV)

It strikes me that this verse could serve as a heading for much of Proverbs, and unfortunately for much of many of our lives. It is easy to hate reproof, because it is easy to hate being wrong, because it is easy to be prideful and resistant to correction.

Deceit is in the heart of the wicked,
    but those who plan peace have joy. (Proverbs 12:20, ESV)

This verse—and many like it throughout the Psalms—makes it clear that the many things may contrast with wickedness. Though wickedness has a relatively short list of characteristics in the Proverbs (murder and deception above all), the things contrasted with the behavior of the wicked is nearly infinite. The list includes wisdom, righteousness, peace, joy, and life, to name but a few.

Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    “I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the saftey for which he longs.”

Though I do not buy into “liberation theology”, thinking as I do that its proponents tend to dramatically oversell their own case while ignoring entirely the Biblical witness toward the individual nature of redemption and the salvific work of Christ at Calvary, verses like this (and indeed: Psalms like this) remind us that the liberation position does have something going for it. Namely, it takes seriously something that Scripture takes seriously: God’s particular and especial concern for the poor and needy, not least those abused by people with more power than them. We would do well to integrate this thread more thoroughly into our evangelical conception of the world and our responsibilities thereto. We need not diminish our clear proclamation of the gospel nor mute our insistence on the centrality, supremacy, and sufficiency of Christ in order to set our hands to work diligently for the good of the poor and needy. We need not throw out penal substitutionary atonement to acknowledge that God does show particular concern for the poor and downtrodden.