Destruction and rewards

I came across this verse in my morning Bible reading today and it caught my attention:

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
(Proverbs 13:13, ESV)

One can never go wrong by maintaining a discipline of daily Bible reading and prayer.  I have been thoroughly blessed by God through reading God’s Word each and every day.  But don’t get me wrong:
–It doesn’t keep me from pain and suffering.
–It hasn’t shown me the secret location of a pot of gold.
–It hasn’t increased my territory.
–It doesn’t give me special protection.
–It hasn’t straightened out my checkbook.
–It hasn’t done the things that the world wants to happen.

But rather…what does God’s Word do (at least for me):
–Gives me a peace like the world can not give.
–Reminds me of what God continues to do for me.
–Show me stories of God’s amazing faithfulness despite our sin.
–I feel a joy that goes beyond happiness.
–I have felt more bold in my witness.
–I have hope within this messed up world.
–It gives me guidance in my roles as pastor, husband, friend, leader, etc.

I have indeed felt rewarded…not because of MY effort in maintaining this discipline but because GOD is faithful.  This is God’s doing, not mine.  I don’t celebrate my effort.

The temptation is to think that if you are more faithful in your spiritual disciplines that God will bless you because you’re being more faithful, but it just doesn’t work that way.  We are “rewarded” because it is the nature of God’s Word.  You aren’t rewarded because of YOUR strict discipline of eating fruits and vegetables but because that is just what they do…it’s their nature to be good for you despite the kind of person you are.

The “reward” of God’s Word is there, you just need to open your eyes to what God has done FOR YOU through Jesus Christ.

The “destruction” that comes into play when we stray from God’s Word is:
–Focus on our strength ~ which is never strong enough.
–Looking to the world for happiness ~ which is always fleeting.
–Our outlook on life extends only as far as THIS life will bring you ~ death.
–Hopelessness when times get tough.

So go to God’s Word for GOD is faithful!  Seek God and He WILL be found.  Dwell in God’s presence for that is pure joy.

Hallelujah and Amen!

edh -|—