Unfinished Business
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This blog post might sound a little political in the beginning, but keep reading to get to my real point. I think it will be good food for thought. I’ve changed a few study habits as a result!

I used to watch the news too often; now I don’t watch it very much. I used to feel like I was getting the facts that would keep me informed; now it’s tough to the discern the facts from the opinions. I used to watch a few commercials during the evening news, now I watch fourteen minutes of commercials and sixteen minutes of news. Television news isn’t worth the time, unless you can record the program and fast-forward the ads.

But it isn’t just the television that is letting us down. The president tweeted: “Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?”

I don’t normally pay very much attention to our president’s tweets, but this one shared my own sentiments. I don’t think we are given facts so we can form an opinion as often as I think we are offered opinions someone is hoping we will accept as factual.

A news program isn’t helpful unless we get the full story. So, what is my real point in writing this blog? I think we do the same thing to some of our Bible verses that the media is doing to its reports. We have memorized a lot of great verses, but we often think of them out of context, so we don’t know what those words fully meant. Some of our theology is unfinished business as a result.

Recently I was taping a few more podcasts for our ChristianParenting.org ministry. (By the way, “thank you” to all of you who visited the Pardon the Mess page on iTunes and left us a positive review.)  I spoke about Proverbs 3:1–4 before I spoke about the well-known words from verses 5–6, and the entire passage made better sense.

I think King Solomon probably wrote these words to his sons. He was a brilliant king and wanted to pass his wisdom on to his children. He begins the Proverb by saying, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you” (Proverbs 3:1–2). Solomon wanted his children to have a successful life. He told them, and us, to remember his teaching. When he said, “let your heart keep my commandments” he was saying let your motivation and passion for life be born from a desire to obey. Obedience produces a peaceful, successful life.

Next he wrote, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3–4). In addition to knowledge of God’s word, Solomon wanted his children to live with love and faithfulness. He told them to always have those qualities near and inscribed on their hearts (their motivations and passions).

Why did Solomon believe obedience, love, and faithfulness were essential to his children’s lives? Because he wanted them to find favor and good success with both God and others. These words were used to describe Jesus when he was twelve years old and had just been to the temple. After staying behind and amazing all the temple rabbis with his questions, Jesus returned home. The only thing we know about his life from that time until he began his public ministry was that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

If we don’t fully understand Solomon’s purpose and context for writing this Proverb, we can’t fully understand the importance of Proverbs 3:5–6. Those verses say, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

The way to trust God is to remember his commandments and obey them. The way to stay motivated and passionate about God’s laws are to reap the blessings from an obedient life. That is a life that will find favor with both God and others. How is it possible to have that blessed life? Trust him before we trust ourselves or others. Give him full control of our lives and he will steer our choices along his perfect path.

Some of the unfinished business with Proverbs 3:5–6 is found in the preceding four verses. The “why” is the motivation for the “how.”

I wish I could trust the news media, but I don’t. Very little in our media culture reflects the values and commands of Scripture. I wish I could trust our politicians, but only a few of them chose that business because the Lord directed their path. But I am happy to trust the God who reigns over every aspect of this culture.

God wants us to have a blessed life. He made sure King Solomon taught us how! The only unfinished business now is what we choose to do with the teaching of a very wise King.