Formations lesson for August 4: Becoming wise
July 12 2002 by Haven Parrott , Proverbs 1:7; 3:1-10

Formations lesson for August 4: Becoming wise | Friday, July 12, 2002

Friday, July 12, 2002

Formations lesson for August 4: Becoming wise

By Haven Parrott Proverbs 1:7; 3:1-10

We have a little pond in front of our house. Several winters ago the temperature dropped low enough and long enough that it froze. Not solid, of course, but frozen enough to attract the interest of my cabin-fevered children. They begged for permission to slide on the ice.

Lean not on your own understanding

"Not in a million years," I responded.

"But it will hold us ... we're sure!"

"Nope. Sorry. Case closed." Or so I thought.

Dylan, whose rebellious, "prove-it" streak bears a striking similarity to his mother's, sneaked down to the pond anyway ... not so much out of a desire to disobey as out of his supreme confidence in his own understanding of "frozen."

I wasn't surprised. If I hadn't been the mom, I might've tried it myself.

So I watched him from the window ... watched as he tested the edges, glanced up at the house, and tested some more.

He didn't see me watching, so he got a little bolder. He walked a little further out onto the ice, grinned and slid. Grinned. Slid. Grinned again. Slid again - closer to the center of the pond this time. Laughed out loud. Slid again ... and then his left foot punctured the ice.

An expression of horror and disbelief replaced his cocky grin. He pulled his wet foot out, shook it all about, and hokey-pokeyed back to the shore.

He looked so cold and miserable, so incredibly forlorn, so absolutely betrayed by what he'd been sure would hold him, that I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

Dylan learned something that day about the limits of his own understanding; about how it doesn't matter how much faith you have if you have faith in the wrong thing; about how there are some absolutes that remain absolute regardless of whether or not people respect them; and about how disobedience always brings consequences.

The punishment Dylan received that day must've really stung, because not long after, when he overheard his older brother's tongue-in-cheek, "You can't make me!" response to my command to do some chore or other, Dylan wisely counseled: "Yeah, but she can make you wish you had!"

The beginning of wisdom Dylan took my word seriously after that ... I think he was scared not to!

Fear may not be the noblest reason to respect authority, but it's a great place to start.

Reminds me of myself: there have been times when I've obeyed God's word not because I wanted to, and not because I loved Him enough, but because I was scared not to. He is, after all, God. And, there've been times when I've failed to acknowledge His authority. I was so wise in my own eyes, so convinced that my own understanding was somehow greater than His.

The consequences that accompanied those unwise choices still sting. They make me wish I had obeyed Him.

I wonder how many cocky grins will melt into expressions of horror and disbelief when, at the juncture between death and beyond, folks who leaned on their own understanding realize they were sliding on thin ice. Folks who fear God less than they fear traffic cop, and so insist that the natural world has some origin other than the Creator. Folks whose attitude toward God is so casual that they'd, without so much as a tremble, strike the phrase "one nation under God" from our pledge. As if not saying so would make it true; as if man's arrogance could alter the reality of God's authority. Folks who refuse to respect God are like sandcastle sentries who bear arms against the assault of the incoming tide ... an exercise in both foolishness and futility. Because it's not a matter of if God's authority will be recognized and revered, it's just a matter of when.

"For it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God'" (Rom. 14:11).

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7/12/2002 12:00:00 AM by Haven Parrott , Proverbs 1:7; 3:1-10 | with 0 comments
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