Daily Verse – Good Life and Deeds.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3:13 NIVUK

If we were in a classroom and I asked for a show of hands of who considered themselves wise and knowledgable, I am not sure how many would raise them.

Sure, most of us would probably think we should be raising our hands, and a few would be confident and do it.

For those that did raise their hands my follow up question would be to prove it. At this point the rest of you who breathe a sigh of relief that you kept your hands down and didn’t fall into the trap.

In this verse James, Jesus’ brother, poses the same question, but before any hands go up he tells you how you can prove it.

Who is wisesophos – literally wise in its most general application – and understandingepistémón – this is the only occurrence in the NT – intelligent or filled with knowledge – among you?

The proof of your wisdom and intelligence is in how you show it – deiknumi – again this is the only occurrence of this word in the NT – to show literally or figuratively.

James is clear that you show you wisdom and intelligence, not through debates or winning quizzes, by impressing others with your encyclopaedic knowledge on any topic they care to mention, but through living a ‘good life’ and your ‘deeds’.

A goodkalos – valuable or virtuous, fair, honest, worthy – lifeanastrophé – conduct or behaviour.

By deeds done – ergon – an act, doing work or labour.

James declares if you have knowledge and understanding then there will be a physical ‘something’ which comes from that wisdom and knowledge and everyone can see it.

He had seen this in action through his brother.

At the age of twelve, Jesus had astonished the teachers in the Temple at his knowledge of the Torah. He continued to amaze and challenge those teachers and the Temple authorities during his ministry years.

Jesus was clear – knowledge and wisdom in the Torah was worthless if it was not displayed in actions.

It was taught that God was filled with mercy and compassion. Jesus proved it by ministering to the needs of the people through healing, feeding, emotional support, and allowing them to understand God better.

So use your wisdom and understanding living a good life with deeds done.

Daily Verse – Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11 NIVUK

When we hide something we normally do so to keep it a secret.

Good or bad.

We don’t want others to know, so we can surprise them or because we understand they would think poorly of us.

The Psalmist hides God’s Word.

In the New Testament we are encouraged to take God’s Word to the ends of the Earth.

The Hebrew word ‘hidden’ (to hide) is tsaphan and it only occurs three times.

It has also been translated as treasured, esteemed, or saved.

So to hide God’s Word in our hearts – our intellect and emotions – is to value it so much we keep it close. We keep it in our hearts figuratively and literally. It is the most important thing to us.

God’s ‘Word’ is imrah – His commandment and speech.

God’s Word is not something upon a page, but something which is voiced to us.

When we read scripture from the Bible, the words are active, alive, communicating with us.

These ‘words’ support us in not sinning against the Lord – chata – we will not speak words, or commit actions, which are contrary to God.

We won’t blame, or cause harm, or lead astray.

We hide away God’s Word not just because it is valuable but so it cannot be easily taken away from us.

We keep the good things of the Lord close to us.

If God’s Word – the good things of the Lord – are at arms length, then there is space in which we can become seperated from it.

It was common, even in the time of Jesus, to bring what was valuable into your house overnight. The ground floor of houses were more like our garages, places to put not cars but animals. Things outside the house could easily fall prey to thieves or predators.

Our hearts are like those houses.

The Daily Verse – Proverbs 8:34

“ Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.” -MSG

Proverbs 8:34

Are you ready for God each morning?

Do you listen and look for God?

The Hebrew word translated as ‘proverb’ occurs in Numbers (23:7,18) as ‘message’ and Ezekiel (17:2) as ‘parable’.

The book of Proverbs is generally referred to as the book of wisdom, and this wisdom generally take the form of short statements which are easily to remembered by the reader.

Many of the proverbs show a result of actions taken and often are written as command.

Others are given in metaphors, and others use direct comparisons.

The sequence which Proverbs 8 falls into is generally regarded as a Father’s invitation to make wisdom, and the pursuit of it, central to your everyday life.

It asserts that wisdom is for everyone – blessed the man, blessed the woman.

As in many other places in the Bible, the reader is encouraged to listen to God and be alert and responsive.

Just as we rise and begin work, so does God – as I start my day’s work.

You may have said this yourself, but I am sure you will have heard this phrase said if not, ‘I’m not really a morning person’?

This verse in Proverbs 8 sets the beginning of each day as the most important time of the day to be with God.

A lot of modern living advice encourages you to leave your mobile phone in another room when you go to be, so it isn’t a distraction as you go to sleep, or the first thing you grab when you wake up.

Personally, I use my mobile for an alarm and I use YouVersion Bible app, and a couple of meditation prayer apps, like Presence and Pray as You Go.

So when the alarm goes I switch onto God’s word or pray first thing – I also then check the news and have been know to doze back off during prayer – which are the less intended consequences of having everything on my Mobile.

God tells us, through Solomon, that we should be awake and ready, but more importantly alert and responsive.

We need to wake up and be ready for me – be ready for God.

Often morning rituals are to prepare us for the day ahead.

God tells us our morning ritual should be about focusing ourselves on Him.

We should listen for Him – He may be with us as a voice, or as music, or in the chatter of the birds, or the blowing of the wind.

Get awake and ready, to hear God’s voice.

Be alert and responsive – pay attention and act upon that which we hear from God.

As God starts His day’s work.

This phrasing is reminiscent of the beginning of Genesis, but importantly it reminds us that God didn’t stop when he got to the Sabbath day.

God still works everyday, just as we work each day.

We need to be ready to listen and be reactive, acting upon God’s words and signs for our lives and the lives of others we come into contact with.