An important aid for navigating our “track” in life is to figure out what we don’t know. So, how do we do that? How do we discover, what we don’t know, that we don’t know, so that we avoid, the potholes, and pitfalls, we never saw coming?
Genesis 25 v19-34
Genesis 27 v1-40
Most of us are probably familiar with the story of Esau and Jacob where Jacob’s mother Rebekah tricked her husband Abraham into giving the family birthright to the second son Jacob.
She did this by providing what is called in the NIV bible either red stew or lentil stew to Jacob to give to the near blind Abraham on the pretext that it was being given by his older brother Esau so that Jacob might receive the family birthright.
Esau had previously said, at Jacob’s instigation, that he was prepared to give up his birthright if only he could have some of that red stew.
And so it happened and Esau gave up his birthright.
In the King James version of the bible the stew is called a pottage.
So we can say that Esau gave up the long term prize for a bowl of pottage; short term gain for long term pain.
Have we ever been tempted or succumbed to the lure of the “quick fix” rather than considering the long term consequence; of accepting the pottage rather than the prize?
Jesus didn’t and neither should we.
When it comes to geography, it’s true that our direction determines our destination. And much the same is true for our lives. Even more than our hopes, dreams and even intentions, our direction in life determines our destination.
In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, Solomon says - “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going, and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 22:3). Both the ‘prudent’ and the ‘simple’ see danger - one responds by changing course, the other keeps going, and hopes that the danger, will never arrive.
Solomon’s wisdom is - if we’re on a wrong track, a track in life that won’t lead to our destination, then “take action”. Step off that track and get on another who’s direction will ensure we reach our destination.
The track of our lives is filled with many twists and turns and it’s not an easy course to navigate on our own.
Which is why God has not left us to ourselves. He’s provided us with the wisdom we need for the journey ahead. The wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs gives us principles that will keep our heads, our hearts, and our lives on the right track.
Proverbs encourages us –
to remember that it’s not enough to have good intentions alone, and
to take intentional steps, in our lives, that will bring those intentions and desires to fruition.
There is power in the words we speak. In the book of James our tongues are compared to the rudder of a large ship which can steer the ship wherever the pilot wants to go. We need to be wise in the words to choose and we need to be encouraging to one another and realise we are all in this together. We are family.
Message by: Paul Mulroney
Some people say the Bible is a rule book for living. Some rules get special attention. Christians regard the 10 Commandments as pretty important. The 4th Commandment starts by saying “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Jesus disciples were criticised by the Pharisees for picking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Picking grain was seen by them as work and not in keeping with the holiness of the day. Jesus stood up for his followers. He saw God’s commandments as quite different from a set of rules to follow.
We often assume that there are rules of behaviour that everyone, or at least all Christians, must follow. Most of the time that may be so but is it the approach that Jesus had to rules? Sometimes we are at our most un-Christlike when we want others to follow what we think are the rules.