Song of the Drunkards


JESUS FACED A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF OPPOSITION FOR HIS HARD WORDS AND UNFLINCHING DEVOTION TO YAHWEH. NO SURPRISE THEN IF WE FIND OUR NAME FESTOONED IN BARROOM BALLADS (CF. PS 69:12).


Diligence & Laziness

March 19, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 12:27 (NKJV) 

27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed once again to be diligent not lazy.

A few weeks ago we considered Solomon’s adage, “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor” (12:24). So important is diligence that Solomon reiterates it in our text today, “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is a man’s precious possession.” So let us expand what we learned last time about diligence.

Webster defines “diligent” as “steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; assiduous; attentive; industrious; not idle or negligent…” The man of diligence is not afraid of hard work and exertion. He remembers that God created man to work. We were designed to fill the earth and subdue it and to exercise dominion over it (Gen 1:28). God did not put mankind in the garden so that he would sit back and eat grapes all week; God put mankind in the garden to work. Adam was to take the order of the garden and extend it to the rest of creation. And though the Fall introduced toil into the world, often causing our work to be frustrating or foiled, work itself remains good and noble and right, a holy calling. Consequently, the righteous man is diligent. Such diligence is his precious possession, more valuable than wealth itself because diligence is the pathway to wealth.

The lazy man, on the other hand, does not roast what he took in hunting. He fails to complete his tasks. Oh, he sets out industriously. He grabs his gun, heads out in the woods, and takes a deer. But having done all this work, having pushed himself this far, he gives up. He can’t bring himself to roast the deer for dinner. The result? He starves or steals from others.

Solomon’s words remind us that diligence is characterized by perseverance. We all grow tired in our work. We set out with great ambitions and desires and goals. We are going to change the world. But we didn’t think that changing the world entailed changing quite that many diapers or correcting quite that many papers or writing quite that many reports or stocking quite that many shelves or plumbing quite that many buildings or forgiving quite that many sins. You get the idea. We grow tired. The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. So we scrap our work and set out for something new – not because that new opportunity is truly better; rather because we are lazy and don’t want to finish the work that God has given us to do.

So what of you? Are you diligent or lazy? When you are given a task, do you complete it? Or do you regularly leave things half done? Do you start jobs and rarely finish them? Start reading your Bible but rarely follow through with your plan? Start cleaning your room but leave that mess in the closet? Start praying with your family but cease after a week? Start your homework but give excuses to your teacher for why it’s not finished? Are you diligent or are you lazy?

Reminded that we are called to be diligent men and women and children who are “steady in application to business, constant in effort or exertion,” let us acknowledge that we are often lazy, that we often leave jobs half done and make excuses for our laziness. And as we confess our sin to the Lord and seek His forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us kneel as we are able.

Choose Your Friends Carefully

March 12, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Friendship, Meditations

Proverbs 12:26 

26The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to choose our friends carefully.

Friendship is one of God’s good gifts to us as human beings. C.S. Lewis writes in his book The Four Loves, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” Friendship reveals that we humans are more than just material beings; we were created in the very image of the Triune God and, therefore, we were made to befriend others and to be befriended in turn. Such friendships provide comfort, stimulate good character, and inspire self-sacrifice. So our Lord Jesus proclaimed to the disciples: 13Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends… 15No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:13,15). Friendship is a gift; and friendship with God in Christ is the greatest gift of all.

Like all other aspects of creation, however, friendship has been tainted by the Fall. At times, we find ourselves lonely, longing for a friend; at other times, we harbor sinful desires, looking for friends who will justify our bad choices. Such loneliness and sinfulness tempt us to befriend those who draw us away from God, from truth, and from virtue. And it is this temptation to which our Proverb points us today, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Choose your friends carefully. For, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor 15:33).

So Proverbs is filled with warnings about befriending certain types of people:

  • 2:12, 16 – Promises us that if we will but treasure wisdom, then she will guard us from befriending violent men and immoral women.
  • 20:19 – Warns us lest we befriend a flatterer, a gossip, a talebearer. “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.”
  • 22:24–25 – Warns us lest we befriend a man who lacks self-control. “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.”
  • 29:24 – Warns us lest we befriend a thief. “Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.”

So what of you? Teens, are you choosing your friends carefully? Or are you permitting your loneliness or your sinfulness to tempt you to befriend those who are drawing you away from God, from truth, and from goodness? And these friends can be “in the flesh” friends but they can also be online friends, movie characters, and even books. Whom are you choosing to let shape your longings and loves? Adults, are you choosing your friends carefully? Or are you permitting your loneliness or your sinfulness to tempt you to befriend those who would draw you away from God, from truth, and from goodness? “For friendship with the world”, James warns us, “is enmity with God. Therefore, he who desires to be a friend with the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jas 4:4).

Reminded of God’s call to choose our friends carefully lest we be led astray from God, from truth, and from goodness, let us confess that we often choose friends foolishly; that we are tempted by our loneliness and sinfulness to befriend those we should not. And, as we confess, let kneel as we are able.

Anxiety & Depression

March 5, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 12:25 

25Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to relieve others’ anxiety and depression through good words.

Anxiety is a common temptation for us as fallen creatures. Satan takes advantage of our finitude and our inability to control the circumstances of our lives to move us to anxiety. Webster defines anxiety as “concern or solicitude respecting some event, future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness.” So we can be anxious about the weather, anxious about our appearance, anxious about our health, anxious about a strained relationship, anxious about some gossip that we have heard, anxious about the political situation, anxious about how we will provide for our family or solve a problem or complete all our assignments or shepherd our children. In short, we can become anxious about just about anything.

This anxiety in the heart, Proverbs tells us, causes depression. If we do not cut this anxiety out of our lives and entrust ourselves to the loving care of Almighty God who controls all the uncertainties of life and has promised to cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, then it will cause our heart to be cast down and overwhelmed. 

In such times, when we are anxious and cast down, how helpful it is to hear a good word from another: “But a good word makes [the heart] glad.” God uses good words, true words, encouraging words, to break our anxieties and relieve our heaviness of heart. So Isaiah exhorts us:

3Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. 4Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” 

Isaiah urges us not to be distant from those who are anxious and fearful-hearted but to remind them of the truth: God is good and He promises to do good for all those who are in Christ Jesus. He will not abandon us to our fears. So do not grow weary, do not grow faint, God shall rescue you just at the breaking of the dawn.

So what of you? Is your heart full of anxiety today? Are you downcast and depressed? Then hear today a good word. God our Creator is the Lord of heaven and earth. He has so loved us that He sent His Son to bear our burdens that through faith in Him we might know that God loves us and is on our side. So our Lord Jesus reminds us:

25“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:25-26)

You are of much more value than the birds of the air. So do not be anxious. Your heavenly Father will care for you.

Reminded that we are often tempted to anxiety and depression and that we often neglect to speak good words to one another so as to relieve anxiety and instead feed others’ anxieties with negative and fearful words, let us confess our lack of faith to our Father in heaven. And as we confess, let us kneel as we are able.