First Things First

Reading the Word

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.(Proverbs 24:27, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Preparation is important. We must always do things in the proper order if we are going to have success. One mistake that seems to be popular in our world today is people biting off more than they can chew. When I say this, I am speaking primarily of financial commitments, but it could be applied to areas of responsibility and other ways as well. The proverb teaches that we must first take care of our work, which is our source of income, before we can provide for our personal comfort.

So many today want all of the comforts of life before having the means to support those comforts. We want a big, fancy house, fine furniture, technological gadgets, and so many other things, but we do not want to wait until we can actually afford them. We do not want to wait to put in the necessary work and effort. Instead, many accumulate great debt that they cannot keep up with and ultimately lose it all in the end. Wisdom knows how to prioritize.


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Beware of Rulers’ Delicacies

Reading the Word

Proverbs 23:1–3 (NRSV)
1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite.
3 Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies, for they are deceptive food.

Understanding and Applying the Word

To receive an invitation to a dinner with a ruler would be quite an honor. Imagine the atmosphere and the wealth and power on display. Imagine also the food. There would be much of it and likely things you and I have never had or only on rare and special occasions. Of course, it would be prepared just right and would be delicious. Wouldn’t it be tempting to dig in?

This proverb tells us to be on guard with our appetites in such a setting. We should “put a knife to your throat” we are told. This means we should curb our appetite. Why is this? It seems like such a great time to feast!

The third verse tells us the risk of such a setting. The ruler’s delicacies are “deceptive food.” There is likely an agenda behind such an invitation. The ruler likely wants something in return. Be careful lest you put yourself into his debt.

This proverb reminds me of so many sales scams today. While they do not involve a ruler, we are often promised free things, but when we read the fine print, we find that there are strings attached. We must always be on our toes about these kinds of things and seek to indebt ourselves to no one.


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Going into Debt

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Proverbs 22:26–27 (ESV)
26 Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?


Forgiving as We Have Been Forgiven

col3-13

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Matthew 18:23–35 (ESV)

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”