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The rewards of obedience
This week I found myself humming an old chorus we sang in my Sunday School days; part of it goes like this: "Happiness is ...having a change in my behaviour, happiness is the Lord." That, in turn, caused me to muse on the articles I've been submitting on the Book of Proverbs. By embracing so many of those true and solid exhortations, it's also important to remember that in following the admonitions of Solomon and other writers, we are not destined to a life of dreary subservience. Yes, there is a cost to following Christ but there are benefits beyond the difficult and sometimes painful consequences of sticking to our convictions.
First, Proverbs 1:9... "What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honour around your neck" (NTL Translation). In another part of the book, Solomon writes: "Happy is the man/woman who finds wisdom and the man/woman who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her." (3:13-15) Those sound like pretty impressive rewards to me!
But there's more. As we share our blessings with others, there is another layer of happiness that reaches beyond material things: "But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he." Trust, as well as action, has its own level of joy according to the writer of Proverbs: "He who heeds the word wisely will find good and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he."
Perhaps the thing we most often forget, however, is that God also delights in us. "Those who deal truthfully are His delight? (12:22).
"He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast." Can't really beat that, I'd say.
March 12, 2018