Lessons Learned About God In Sixty Years
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: Psychology seeks to teach us lessons about man. Theology - once called the prince of sciences - seeks to teach us about God. If I live a few more days then I will reach my 60th birthday. For most of those years I have read and studied the Book of Proverbs on a regular basis.
There are 31 Proverbs and it has been my habit to read one of them each day as it corresponds to the day of the month. Today is the 4th of July and so I read the 4th Proverb. Over the years I have learned some principles about God based upon this study of Proverbs. This message is made up of 12 principles I have learned about God.
1. God Owns Everything, I Own Nothing (3:9-10)
Many today try to "corner the Lord" with their substance rather than "honor the Lord." We are stewards and not owners. Everything we have comes from the good hand of God. Sticky fingers are often a sure sign of a dirty heart.
2. God Chastens Us Because He Loves Us (3:11-12)
The Puritans would often speak of "kissing the rod" of correction. A sure sign that God is your father, and that He really does love you, is when He corrects you. The Book of Hebrews says that if you be without chastisement whereof all are partakers then are you bastards and not sons.
We tend to like the loving but hate the licking. He licks you because He loves you. God will not leave any of His children to a rebellious life and cold heart for very long.
3. God Sees Everything You Do (5:21)
Sometimes we sink into a practical atheism when we willingly do that which grieves the Lord. The believer never has to wait on getting caught because he is already caught. The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. The old timers used to talk about practicing the presence of Christ. The question is not "what would Jesus do?", but rather, "what would I do if Jesus were here?"
4. God Hates Some Things More Than Others (6:16-19)
Most of the things mentioned in this text are not on the "twenty taboo" list of many churches and Christian schools. You may not smoke and chew and run with those who do but what about "sowing discord among the brethren."
Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity . . .for there the Lord commands the blessing (Psalm 133). When a preacher becomes more concerned about uniformity than unity then he is doing something God really does hate.
5. God Should Be Sought Early and Daily (8:17, 34)
Most of the obvious things in the Bible are often the most neglected. For many people going to the Lord is a last resort, when it should be the first. Years ago as I visited a man in the hospital I asked him if I could pray for him. His response was "O my, has it come to that?"
Those who seek God early and daily will not find it necessary to reintroduce themselves to the Almighty. You neglect this great source of comfort, wisdom, and direction at your own peril.
6. God Can Promote You Better Than You Can Promote Yourself (13:7)
When you find a paradoxical statement like this in the Bible then pull over and park a while. The text is speaking about poverty of spirit, or biblical humility. Refer to the Beatitudes and the concept of meekness (or power under control). Self-promotion will only lead to ruin and regret. Let the Lord promote you when He knows you are ready, willing and able.
Fred Brown used to remind me that he never had to spend money on brochures or business cards yet he stayed busy for 50 years constantly preaching. The Bible says promotion comes from the Lord. If you use a crow bar to open a door then don't blame God for it. The steps (and the stops) of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
7. God Has Made Everything For Himself (16:4)
The God who made the roses is also the God who made the thorns. The God who created your sense of smell is also the God who created the skunk. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
8. God's Will Cannot Be Changed (19:21)
When we go against His counsel, His will stands. When we go without His counsel, His will stands. When we go unlike His counsel, His will stands. We need to get with the program of a sovereign God.
9. God Can Exact Vengeance Better Than We Can (20:22)
The wheels of Divine Justice grind exceedingly slow but they do grind exceedingly fine! You will never find it a waste of time to wait on God.
10. God Does Not Promise Tomorrow (27:1)
People are always asking "if I die will you do my funeral?" My reply is "what do you mean if?" The death rate in the human race is running right at 100%. Never put off until tomorrow what you ought to do today.
11. God's Word Is Pure - All Others Are Suspect (30:5)
A.T. Robertson said, "our preaching and teaching of God's Word is always less true than God's Word." If you find yourself reading more things about the Bible than reading the Bible itself, then beware. Lester Roloff would always say, "We don't need to rewrite the Bible, we need to reread it!"
12. God's Second Greatest Gift To A Man Is A Godly Wife (31)
Proverbs teaches us that the greatest curse is an ungodly wife and the greatest blessing is a godly one. Love your wife even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. There is only one other person who should claim your attention and affection more than your wife and that is the Lord Himself. By the way, if you love your ministry more than you love your wife then you no longer have a ministry - you have idolatry.
Conclusion: Many well-meaning Christians seem to be supremely concerned about discovering who they are. The Bible teaches us to be supremely concerned about discovering who God is. Proverbs is one of the best places to start that learning process.
"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding . . . Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." (2:1-5)