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Directions (Proverbs 3)

January 11, 2014 | PB | From the series: Game Plan

This is the second of a series of messages on God’s “Game Plan”, better known as the Book of Proverbs. Today we focus on chapter three which reveals the two reasons people go their own way, to their detriment!

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Sermon Notes

Today we’re going to answer the age old question: Why don’t men like to ask for directions?
Robin and I were driving to Joel and Katelyn’s wedding in late November on a Friday afternoon. Neither one of us had ever been to Kate’s hometown before. I had carefully looked up directions before we started and loaded said directions to my tablet. We did pretty well, but there were a few moments of doubt as to exactly where the church was at the end of the directions. I was sure of one thing, though. I was not going to stop and ask for directions. I would find it.
Psychologists have ventured into this area and here’s some of what they say. Men trust their own sense of reckoning more than outside sources. If a man has to ask for directions he feels anxious and incompetent. I should know this, but I don’t, so asking is like admitting I’m stupid, in front of this person, or my wife or girlfriend. So I’d rather wander around lost, hoping I’ll figure it out rather than admit I’m stupid. It has more to do with pride, respect and self image than anything else.
Some of you ladies are like, get over it, but you have your own things that go on when you’re trying to get somewhere. Just not this.
Proverbs in general is a book of directions in the form of a chocolate chip cookie. And Proverbs 3 tells us a great deal of specific and important direction for how to live out your life. And it tells us what the end of the path looks like if you follow the directions.
Verses 1-2. My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.
And here’s what’s scattered through the chapter like cookie dough in a chocolate chip cookie (yes, I’m bringing that up during the fast)…
vs. 4 favor and high esteem
vs. 8 health to your flesh and strength to your bones.
vs. 10 your barns will be filled with plenty
vs. 12 personal, Fatherly attention from God
vs. 17 pleasantness and peace and life and happiness
vs. 23-26 safety and security
vs. 32-33 benefit of God’s secret counsel and a blessed home
The end of the wisdom path includes those things. Who wouldn’t want that?
But here’s the problem. Many don’t want to walk God’s path. Two reasons.
1. You need a heart attitude that sets myself aside and puts God first, embracing Him and reverencing Him. Verse 1, “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep My commands…
2. True humility is required. vs. 34 “Surely he scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.
So many won’t ask for directions. Even if the destination is what you would love, you still have to find your own way of getting there, except you won’t find this one..
Scattered through this chapter are the chocolate chips. Some principles you need to embrace if you’ve made the heart decision to follow Him and are humble enough to receive it.
Here’s the first one:
Vs. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
There needs to be a pair of lenses through which you see all of life. Let’s start with truth. Truth is absolute and raw. You smell bad. You failed the test. Your shoes are not the same color. Truth is powerful and necessary to being free. But alone it just cuts. You need the other lens. You need mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. So if you’re merciful, you work with people. You’re able to understand someone’s circumstances and help change them. So I get you some deodorant, pull you aside and help you know how to use it.
The instruction? Let mercy and truth always be together everywhere you go (on your neck) and in your heart. You’ll find favor and high esteem in the sight of God (Who is always like that) and man.
Here’s another one:
Vs. 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Do you go to God for everything? Or do you lean on your own understanding? Limited. God directs the paths of those who lean on Him in complete trust. Those that, from the heart, trust in God, get God’s smooth and straight direction. But you have to actually submit your perspective to Him. Prayer and the Word.
Here’s a third one:
Vs. 9-10 Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
So many people struggle with finances. And the struggle is, I never seem to have enough. It’s not how much you’re making. It’s, are you giving God the firstfruits? Tithing isn’t a sometimes we do, sometimes we pay credit cards. Honoring the Lord involves giving God the first ten percent, off the top, and trusting Him with the rest. His promise? Your barns will be full. Your vats will be full.
People who don’t tithe say, I can’t afford to tithe. I don’t have enough.
People that do tithe say, God has blessed my finances and I’ve always ended up with more than enough.
Some years ago, I Robin and I and the girls were in North Carolina at Kitty Hawk. Great day. On the monument and the phone rings. It’s one of our sons, who, at home, fell asleep at the wheel of our Subaru, totalled the car and ran into another one. It should have been a financial disaster. But in the end we had a car given to us and a settlement from the insurance company for more than we paid for the car when we bought it years previous. Following that logic, we should have sleep deprived our kids on a weekly basis and sent them out in cars to gain a second income! Because of honoring God with our firstfruits for many years, the Lord filled our barn with plenty. He rebuked the devourer.
And the last one:
Vs.27-28 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, Go, and come back and tomorrow I will gift, when you have it with you.
Pay your bills, on time. Pay your taxes. If you’ve borrowed something, return it in good condition. If your neighbor comes along and needs what you have, and you have it, don’t delay out of selfishness. In other words, don’t be so attached to things that you hoard, cheat or default. Even my student loans?
We owe certain people certain things at times. But we always owe the Gospel to everyone who doesn’t have it working in their lives. Paul said, I’m a debtor.
So are you on the path of God? Are you living along His guidelines? The end result of being on God’s path is long life and length of days. Cultivate a heart to trust the Lord.