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Entries in Ortlund (2)

Tuesday
Jan212014

It will cost you

In his book Proverbs: Wisdom that Works, Ray Ortlund comments on Proverbs 4, highlighting that the only path to life is Christ.

Ortlund breaks the entire chapter into three sections: verses 1-9, how to get going; verses 10-19, how to keep going; and verses 20-27, how not to get lost along the way.

In verses 1-9, there are some powerful imperatives: get wisdom, get insight. The writer says, "whatever you get, get insight." There is an urgency in these verses.

Ortlund points out that the NIV translates v. 7 this way:

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding.

Ortlund continues:

If you want God's wisdom, it will cost you. It will cost you all your preconceived ideas about how life is supposed to work. Why pay that price? Because God's wisdom will make you alive (v.4), his wisdom will "keep" you and "guard" you (v.6), his wisdom will "exalt" you and "honor" you and crown you with beauty (vv.8-9). This is how life really works, and that is a life worth living! Who else can promise you that? Every day we are being told that, if we want to live, we need to be young, thin, tanned, sexually active, rich, and smart-mouthed. There is our cultural ideal, the wisdom of our age. Just one question. Is it working? If you actually got a hold of all that, would you walk away from it a complete human being? 

Jesus is so gracious. To follow him, you do not need to measure up to a cultural ideal of youth and cool. But you do need to become decisive.

I've never thought of wisdom as being something that will cost me. It's something I want very much, but more often than not, I've assumed that it just comes to me, as if just rubbing shoulders with Scripture is enough. The urgency of those verses indicate that it is a decisive action to get wisdom and insight, and in order to get it hard choices will be involved.

To be decisive about seeking wisdom means leaving things behind. It means choosing to be silent when I want to speak; choosing to focus on Christ rather than myself; choosing a path of righteousness, not a path of self-indulgence. It will often cost me my preferences, my privileges, or getting my own way.

If I want to live -- and I do -- I need to choose wisdom. I need to feel the sense of urgency that the writer does. Christ became wisdom for us. In Christ, through His Spirit, I can get wisdom; I can get insight. There are some things I cannot choose for myself. Wisdom is one thing I can choose to get.

Tuesday
Jan072014

"I am being measured."

From Ray Ortlund, Jr.'s book Proverbs: Wisdom That Works:

What then is the fear of the Lord? It is not a cringing dread of the Lord. It is not a guilty "Oh no, here comes God. I'm in for it now." The fear of the Lord is openness to him, eagerness to please him, humility to be instructed by him (Proverbs 15:33). The fear of the Lord is a willingness to turn from evil and change (Job 28:28). the fear of the Lord is surrender to his will (Genesis 22:12). The fear of the Lord is one way we love him (Deuteronomy 6:2, 5). The fear of Christ is meekly fitting in with one another (Ephesians 5:21, literally translated). The fear of the Lord is when we realize, "I am not the measure of all things. I am being measured."

Ouchie moments.