“The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil” - Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)
In many old traditional African homesteads a father had a special seating place at the family meal that children grew up revering. In his presence children learnt early to act with respect, lest they provoke him. Of course this relationship could degenerate where the father was looked at as a distant object of terror, with him having no relationship with his children other than issuing commands. However, there was a good reason for it also.
Come the modern household, modeled largely around Western households, it is often difficult to notice who the head of the household is. There is no place reserved for the father at the head of the table, with children casually talking back to the parents as their equal. For some this is one way of exhibiting love.
In the Bible there was a relationship between one father and his children that degenerated to a point where this “love” went a bit far. Eli, a priest of God, had sons who “were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:12). These children would apparently gorge themselves with meat meant to be sacrificed to the Lord oblivious of the agreed holy practices. ‘This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt” (vv 17).
How had this all come about. The Father, Eli, needed a visit from a man of God who brought to his attention, “Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’” (vv 28). The Lord’s anger was visible: “Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained” (vv 31).
A great tragedy would befall the household of Eli. He later lost his sons in battle, news which took Eli’s life too (1 Samuel 4: 17-22). Eli had clearly failed to establish leadership, perhaps because he could not distinguish between his type of love for his children and at the same time the fear of the Almighty God. “For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them” (I Samuel 3:13).
That our God loves us and longs for a relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ there is no doubt. But when this love abandons any form of fear of Him clearly we see the consequences that befell Eli and his household.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that as I experience and dwell in your love I am not blinded of the fear of you, through which comes your many blessings, this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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23/02/2024 - 24/02/2024 All day
“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” – (Deuteronomy 28:2).
Every now and then one chances upon someone despising the importance of being enterprising. To some being enterprising can be equated to the love of money and it’s pitfalls (1 Tim 6:10). Others see it as being overtly worldly. Yet, far from it, being enterprising is clearly an avenue God has given believers to raise resources for their well-being and promotion of the rich Gospel.
The Bible is full of enterprising characters who were used mightily of God. Abraham was apparently a good rancher that he “become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Gen 13:2). Job was hated by Satan who sought to destroy him because “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was born and raised in the house of Joseph, the carpenter (Mathew 13:55). Carpenters do not create works of beauty to donate for free. To prosper they must run sustainable enterprises which pay taxes and make profit. The Apostle Paul would often rely on enterprising people to support him in his ministry. One of his worthy converts “was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God (Acts 16:14).
Though Paul was a law don once he went to the mission field, other than cling to his titles by burdening his hosts he often dabbled in tent making to support himself. In Corinth he teamed up with an amazing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, and “because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). This couple run a successful tent making business that enabled them support mission work.
And then of course, there is the noble woman of character, as told in Proverbs 31, who “selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings.. She sees that her trading is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (vv 13-25).
When the body of believers is filled with such enterprising people it generates resources important to sustain God’s work. Further, the work of God is then supported without being dependent on sources that might compromise the mission, as sometimes we see! Be enterprising!
Prayer for today: Lord father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you who has given us the gift of enterprise, today I pray to use this gift to take care of my needs and support the expansion of your kingdom on earth, this I pray in Jesus’ Name.