My twelve year old and I were having a conversation a few weeks ago about his daily devotionals. This is a habit he started a few months back, and this proud dad has been very impressed with his commitment to get up earlier than his brothers so he can squeeze in a few quiet moments before the morning chaos begins.
In comparison, my commitment isn’t quite as good. Yes, I read my Bible nearly every day, but the getting up early part still eludes me some days. If I were a World Famous Inventor, I’d invent an ESV that had strobe lights, an air horn, and a taser to get me awake, and then scratch-n-sniff paper that smelled like waffles and bacon to keep me awake. Although the bacon part could be a conflict of interest with Leviticus, so maybe its best not to carry this idea too far.
Back to our conversation…Jacob has hit the snag that derails many would-be Bible students: the tabernacle. He asked me why it mattered what the ephod was made out of or the big deal about goats’ hair or the number of cubits long it should be and on and on. I sympathized, and then told him that this is a time of his life where immediate application is more important that historical fact. (You might disagree with me, but I would tell you to take a fifteen-cubit walk off a fourteen-cubit bridge.)
I pointed him to Proverbs, and explained the whole “Proverb a day” practice of Bible reading. Since I was just finishing working through the Gospel of John, I decided that Proverbs would be my next study track. Here’s what I saw with fresh eyes a couple of days ago…
“A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.” (Proverbs 18:6)
Now I don’t care who you are, that’s funny and that’s true. Growing up in Tennessee, we had a saying whenever somebody was screwing up their lives: “What that guy needs is a good beating.” Many times, our lifestyle and our words invite that beating.
As one who is given to many words, I have a feeling that God is going to bring this verse to mind quite often: “Is what you’re about to say going to invite somebody to take you down a notch? Are your lips walking into a fight?”
I know children who have fool’s lips. I know adults that invite a beating. I know married couples who spend their days just trying to walk into a fight. The Bible is clear that our words have consequences, so we’d better choose them carefully. For more practical wisdom on this subject, check out all of Proverbs 18.
But make your own waffles and bacon. I haven’t perfected my scratch-n-sniff pages yet.