Christ is Our Reward
“Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.” (Proverbs 13:13-15)
The Book of Proverbs frequently draws us to make comparisons and contrasts, which I find quite helpful when I am moving through my day. Will I choose something healthy to eat or junk food? Will I be negative and fretful or positive and hopeful in my assessment of the services I receive or the results of my efforts? Will I be more of a consumer or a giver? We have the opportunities to make choices about how we will approach and respond in most of our circumstances and relationships. By remembering that we are continually making decisions, we are more conscious of the fact that we are accountable and responsible for our them, and for becoming better at making good choices.
“Every individual is ultimately accountable to God to be a learner. This principle of educational accountability is so often assumed that it is seldom explicitly stated. However, it needs to be articulated because it is the most foundational and most frequently declared educational accountability relationship in Scripture. God expects every individual in every stage of life to actively and thoughtfully seek to learn from every formal and informal educational opportunity…In fact, one of the key characteristics that distinguishes a wise man from a fool is his/her willingness to pursue wisdom or receive instruction.” (1)
Our passage today contrasts the dangerous person who hates God’s Word and becomes entrapped in snares of death leading to his or her personal ruin with the one who reveres Scripture as the teaching of the wise, that is a fountain of life. Obedience to God’s commandments leads to rewards and good sense, through his favor. Christians cannot hear the phrase “fountain of life” without thinking about Jesus Christ, the source of eternal life, through the Holy Spirit’s work in us, through the gospel. But God has always given his people the opportunity to learn from him, as David wrote in Psalm 36:9 “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.”
When we love someone or something we want to spend time with him or her or it. We plan time with our families and friends during the holidays, play with our pets, watch our favorite Netflix series, and eat our favorite foods. Unfortunately, our love for Scripture often falls flat, perhaps because we think of it as homework rather than as spending time with God. What makes a wise person wise is personally knowing the first author of the Bible—Jesus Christ. Intimacy with Jesus is the best reward. How will you approach your time in the Bible over the holiday that celebrates the humble incarnation of Jesus? Will you study to check it off your list like an errand done or look forward to meeting him in the pages of Scripture?
* MacArthur, John (General Editor), “Think Biblically!” (page 247), Crossway, Kindle Edition, 2003.