So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
(James 1:16-17, New Living Translation)
Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth,
but only Yahweh can give an understanding wife.
(Proverbs 19:14, New Living Translation)
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Every husband knows that “happiness is impossible without domestic tranquility, and the wife is the anchor of that tranquility” (Garrett). Husbands, can I get a witness? Well did the other wisdom writer say, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
I was eighteen years old when I met my bride, Susan. I’m sure if my eighteen year-old self were here to testify, he would speak as most men that age would. Namely, he would be fairly confident that he knew quite a bit, when, in fact, he knew very little, if anything at all (there just are not very many wise eighteen year-olds). But that wouldn’t have stopped him from sharing how smart he was to pursue, and win, one Susan Ann Reko.
My forty-nine year old self is able to look back, and see much more clearly. Only Yahweh can give an understanding, kind, selfless, patient, loving, supportive, encouraging bride like Susan to a knucklehead like me. The only reason for a good and complete gift like that to fall into this man’s lap (or any woman to any man) is because the gift came from God our Father (see above). I can testify that I have been given a good thing, and received great favor from Yahweh (Proverbs 18:22).
Listen men. I’m under no illusions that my bride, or your bride, is perfect. That’s not what these texts are about—her perfections or imperfections. They are simply stating plainly what is true, and should be true of you. That you should be thankful today for the bride that God has blessed you with. For if a man have a wife,
“…let him not ascribe it to the wisdom of his own choice or his own management (for the wisest have been deceived both in and by a woman), but let him ascribe it to the goodness of God, who made him a help meet for him, and perhaps by some hits and turns of providence that seemed casual brought her to him. Every creature is what he makes it. Happy marriages, we are sure, are made in heaven…
“It is a more valuable gift than house and riches, contributes more to the comfort and credit of a man’s life and the welfare of his family, is a greater token of God’s favour, and about which the divine providence is in a more especial manner conversant. A good estate may be the inheritance of fathers, which, by the common direction of Providence, comes in course to a man; but no man has a good wife by descent or entail.
Let God have the glory.” (Matthew Henry)
He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, and obtains your favor. Thank you for the favor of marriage, and the beauty of this most intimate human relationship. Thank you, Father, for ordaining that my wife and I should meet, should fall in love, and should share all these years of life together. While marriage has not always been easy—especially for her!—I can clearly see that it has always been for my/our good. Father, bless my bride today: fill her heart with joy in all you have made her and called her to be, anoint her with your Spirit and dress her with strength, make her arms strong and give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the community.
Yes, and very amen, in Jesus’ name.
Pursuing the wise and good life with you,
Proverbs Thirty-One Day Reading Plan
August 14: Proverbs ch. 1
Aug. 15: ch. 2
Aug. 16: ch. 3
Aug. 17: ch. 4
Aug. 18: ch. 5
Aug. 19: Grace Day
Aug. 20: ch. 6
Aug. 21: ch. 7
Aug. 22: ch. 8
Aug. 23: ch. 9
Aug. 24: ch. 10
Aug. 25: ch. 11
Aug. 26: Grace Day
Aug. 27: ch. 12
Aug. 28: ch. 13
Aug. 29: ch. 14
Aug. 30: ch. 15
Aug. 31: ch. 16
Sept. 1: ch. 17
Sept. 2: Grace Day
Sept. 3: ch. 18
Sept. 4: ch. 19
Sept. 5: ch. 20
Sept. 6: ch. 21
Sept. 7: ch. 22
Sept. 8: ch. 23
Sept. 9: Grace Day
Sept. 10: ch. 24
Sept. 11: ch. 25
Sept. 12: ch. 26
Sept. 13: ch. 27
Sept. 14: ch. 28
Sept. 15: ch. 29
Sept. 16: Grace Day
Sept. 17: ch. 30
Sept. 18: ch. 31
In the book of James, we meet a follower of Jesus who is going to sit us down for a little chat. And fair warning here: James isn’t really too concerned about your feelings, or how comfortable you are with someone you don’t know nor have ever met getting pretty personal with you.
Sunday's Comin' (July 7, 2019)
I think all of us want to be wise. The question is, how do we get there?
Preparing For May 26, 2019
Do you know why the church exists? Do you know who formed the church, and how it was formed?
Just a brief reminder that a great way to prepare for the service this coming Sunday is to read the text we will be studying together.
Preparing For Sunday May 12, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
This last Sunday, I preached the first of two sermons on Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Here was the sentence I began unpacking, which is my summary of both letters:
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.