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
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.