Some folks find it just too dull and repetitive. We do a lot of things at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church that go against all the current “wisdom.” Yes, we are a small flock, and I imagine a number of folks would say that we are so because we refuse to “get with it.” But I just have to wonder why so many want their churches full of folks who are there to be entertained (we aren’t good at the entertainment part anyway). I’d rather have a flock of folks who are there because of a common confession, a koinwni,a (fellowship) based upon truth (1 John 1:3-4).
One of the odd things we do is we read through Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and if we are feeling brave, the Song of Solomon, one chapter at a time, consecutively, as our opening exercises before Bible Study on Sunday mornings. I haven’t figured out how many times in the past fifteen years that means I’ve heard Proverbs read, but its probably close to twenty times now. And every time we go through the text I “see” something new, “hear” something I had forgotten. This morning we were in chapter 28 of Proverbs, and my attention was captured by these words:
`~b'( WrG”Ã¯t.yI hr”ÂªAtÃ· yrEÃ®m.vow> [v’_r” WlÃ¥l.h;(y> hr”AtÃ¢ ybeÃ¤z>[
Or, if you prefer English,
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.
The ones forsaking torah give praise to the wicked;
The ones keeping torah stir themselves up to strive against them!
What caught my eye was how very relevant this is in our culture today. People speak of the “Culture Wars,” and it is quite true that those who hate God’s law (torah), hate the truth about God, hate His ways and therefore hate his people, know this is a war and are more than happy to engage in war-like activities to “win.” And sadly, unbiblical views of law have infected such a wide spectrum of “evangelicalism” that very, very few in our churches today could possibly say with the Psalmist (119:136),
My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law.
Surely we could argue that if we love our fellow men, we will be stirred up by their violation of God’s law, for all such violations are, inherently, destructive of true life. But that is not the ground the Psalmist gives. The glory and honor of God, the law-giver, should be more than sufficient for us to stir ourselves up and contend with those who overthrow God’s law. But how often is it true enough for modern Christians?
I get tired of striving, don’t you? May we ask God today to strengthen us for the task to which we have been appointed. If you live in a godless society that spits upon His law, you have been appointed a watchman, a witness, no matter how lonely the job.