Proverbs 16-18: Faithfulness

It was bound to happen. Seeing as the Proverbs don’t have a whole lot of cohesion within specific chapters, it was bound to happen that I would comment on a single Proverb. That’s what I’m going to do now.

But let me ask you a question first: are you faithful? Faithfulness is being steadfast, staying true to something at all times, in all circumstances and, perhaps, at all costs. A faithful friend is someone who will always be there for you when you call, even if it is inconvenient. That’s the hard part really. Answering the call when it is inconvenient.

God is described all through the Bible as faithful. Psalm 26:3 “I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” Psalm 36:5 “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Lamentations 3:23 “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

People, on the other hand do not have such a great track-record of faithfulness. You don’t need me or the Bible to tell you that. Each of you have your own personalized evidence that people are not faithful. There is a whole discussion there about how that affects our ability and willingness to trust other people and even God. But that’s not where I’m going today.

Instead, I want to ask you how your faithfulness to God is lately. That may seem like a strange question, but it is one that is critical for our ongoing relationship with God. Consider the parable of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25. The nations will be divided into two camps: those who fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, visited the sick and those in prison, gave clothes to the naked and showed hospitality to strangers; and those who did none of those things. Why does any of that matter? Because those things reflect God’s heart and care for humanity. Those who truly love him, follow him, and are faithful to him, will chase after those things that stir the heart of God.

In light of that, consider Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved.” Does that mean simply asking God to bless your activities, and by doing that your plans will come to fruition? I don’t think so. I think Solomon is saying that when we allow God to direct our activities, our plans will be achieved because they won’t really be our plans, they will be God’s plans. When God directs our activities, he will direct us to accomplish the things that he desires.

But in order for any of that to happen, we have to be faithful to live our lives by God’s direction, even when it is inconvenient. It means starting every morning by asking God where he is working today and how he wants us to join him in the task. It means being willing to sacrifice our schedules for God’s direction. It means listening to the Holy Spirit as he directs our moments. Above all of that, it means being obedient. COMMIT your activities to the Lord. It means to submit, to give over, to allow him to make changes or additions or cancellations.

Here’s a radical thought: how about you fill your schedule 80% full for the next week, and ask God how he would like you to spend the other 20%. You will be surprised by how God fills in the rest of your time.

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Proverbs 19-21

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