Jesus said, "Come Follow Me."
Discipleship in Mark's Gospel
Jesus said, "Come Follow Me."
Discipleship in Mark's Gospel
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10a)
The American theologian, John McKenzie stated in his address to the Society of Bible Literature that the book of Proverbs was, in essence, a book hardly touched upon, and somewhat ignored. He concluded that “The wisdom books attract readers from the general public which reads the Bible, whoever they may be, no more than they attract scholars” (John L. McKenzie, "Reflections on Wisdom," 1967.) Despite this, the subject matter of Proverbs continues to inspire but only a few sermons. This has been alluded to many factors, but most strikingly, is the fact that there exists today, a “crisis of relevance, which confronts any preacher who tries to bring to life a two-thousand year old scripture, …in books like Proverbs” (John J. Collins, “Proverbs,” 1980 p.1).
What makes a further impact on this issue is that even today; bits and pieces of the Bible is taken out of context, and abusively applied. (Gordon Fee and Douglas D. Stuart, “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth,”1981 p.188) As a result, the Bible stops having application in the lives of the younger generation, who live in a ‘secular world’, which is why there exists a struggle of relevancy. However, it is not the fault of secularism that makes the Bible ‘less important’, that it should be. Even the secular world, for all its focus on the pursuit of intelligence over ‘blind faith’, lacks a fondness for wisdom. Biblically, Proverbs 9:10 reminds us that man needs wisdom, not just mental intelligence. The evangelist Carl Henry summarized the state of the world by saying “…despite its pursuit of knowledge, our generation, snared in relativities, is a stranger to wisdom. Wisdom - which Saint Augustine viewed as the 'unum necessarium' (‘the one necessary’) is no longer considered as the mind's indispensable acquisition, even by most intellectuals.” (Carl F. H. Henry, “God, Revelation and Authority,” 1979, 3:306.)
Approaching Proverbs: The book of Proverbs is not intended to be digested in one sitting. Rather, it is meant to be taken in slowly, and to be discussed one verse or related verses at a time, and reflected with further readings from the Bible. In this approach, wisdom, as prescribed in Proverbs becomes clearer.
One who has ‘the fear of the Lord’ is one whose walk with God is authentic, accountable with an attitude of selfless love. This is echoed in Deuteronomy 10:12, “And now, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees.” One who fears the Lord will not walk in the way of evil, pride and arrogance (Proverbs 8:13). He will endeavour to keep God’s commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Jesus reminds us to fear God who is ‘able to destroy both soul and body’ (Matthew 10:28).
To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn. (Proverbs 1:7, GNB)
Begin the week with the aim to be authentic in your relationship with the Lord. A helpful way forward is to work on a daily scheduled Quiet Moments with God. Choose an unhurried time where you read the scripture, pray and practice God’s instructions daily.
Lord, work in us that fear of you, which is the beginning of wisdom, which is instruction in wisdom, and which is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. [Matthew Henry]
Article by Joash Nicholas Ong
The Lord knows the way of the righteous
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. (Psalm 2:7)
The world is full of great human suffering mostly due to man’s greediness, selfishness, power struggle, exploitation and corruption, sometimes even in the name of religion. Unfortunately, we have seen this over and over again through history. Human beings never seem to learn from such mistakes. The psalmist has repeatedly reminded us that the Sovereign God is laughing at the terrorists (v.4), rebuking the predators (v.5), reprimanding the intruders (v.9), and warning the aggressors (v.10) who are going against his Will and afflicting his creation. In fact, he has already ordained and anointed his Son to rule over the world as a Servant King. The rule of this King is firm and powerful however, it is not with coercing force rather with grace and service. The invitation to all is to draw near to him with love, trust, confidence and reverential fear (vs.11-12).
The lessons we can learn are:
* Human beings will never ever be cleverer, wiser or stronger than the Sovereign God.
* Without God, the ways of human beings are futile and fruitless.
* Everything has its consequence: the aggressors will live in aggression, the terrorists will live in terror; however, the peace-makers will live in peace, the one who serves will live in joy.
* God’s way is always true and safe but narrow and challenging.
* Seek God, serve him and yield to his way for prosperity and posterity.
* The Lord always watches out for his children and leads those who walk in his way.
* His Son is the King. The way to him is worship through faith, devotion and service.
We need to ask ourselves, how much of God do we have in us. Have we been constantly seeking to adopt or implant this slogan by John the Baptist – “Christ must increase and I must decrease” in us? (John 3:30) Why not? Are we still pre-occupying ourselves with the futility of selfish and self-glorifying human’s plans and programmes? When will the Sovereign God be given a chance to lead our lives? Have we experienced the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ in us? Christ is risen! Alleluia!!
Blessed are all those who put their trust in him (Psalm 2:12).
Almighty God, we thank you for your love and grace upon us. Help us to constantly look at Jesus as the perfecter and pioneer of our faith. The whole world belongs to you, the universe too. Lead us away from the futile acts of human reasoning and planning into your presence with trust, hope and confidence. Prepare us to meet with God the Father daily in worship, God the Son Jesus Christ in service, and God the Holy Spirit in fellowship. Amen.
Collect for Easter Day
Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.
Article by the Most Reverend Datuk Ng Moon Hing, Archbishop of the Province of South-east Asia and the Bishop of the Diocese of West Malaysia.