I got an email today and printed it out. It was a 31 day reading plan for Psalms and Proverbs. Basically, as Billy Graham’s organization explained it, Psalms will help your spiritual life while Proverbs will help your relationships.
Today, I read Psalms 1-5 and Proverbs 1. These are 3 quotes that stood out from the rest:
“Let all those that put their trust in God rejoice.”
I don’t know about you but trust is a hard thing for me personally. I really don’t like at all those team-building corporate exercises where you gotta close your eyes and fall back and hope your co-workers will catch you (especially Sarah that can’t seem to stand you for some reason and makes your work day a living hell sometimes…you all know what I’m talkin’ about. Don’t act like you don’t.). Or how about going to the bar, a smooth cutie pie charmer asks you to dance. You step on out to the floor looking all doe-eyed and sauve for him and then proceed to step all over his feet and get tangled up when he asks you to follow his lead dancing.
It’s been years honestly since I danced and nobody wants to see that. They just don’t.
But trust is good. I can do that, right? I can try to be a little more trusting and give everyone, including God, more of a benefit of the doubt. Slower to anger and less overthinking the behaviors of others …even Sarah……be more child-like. I can try this and I’m certain it will make me happier…….although I do wonder if ignorance is bliss technically. Ok, just shut up and go with the flow. Be trusting. Be joyful. I can do this….maybe.
“Give us a fear of the Lord, the very beginning of wisdom, even if others reject it.”
I guess all wisdom when you really truly think deeply about it, does derive from….well, folly to put it bluntly.
You watch Steve go down the skater ramp at warp, break neck speed and see him do a total wipe out and bust his butt painfully. The kind of painful that the whole audience goes, “Oh!” and averts their eyes from the tangled up limbs.
This folly leads you to the fear of ending up like Steve. Rightly so. So you choose to wisely go at a slower pace.
Likewise, the wise know that, if God really does exist and we don’t try to follow at least some of the rules, well there might be some consequence in the future such as “the wages of sin are death”. Boy, that’s ominous sounding. This is like St. Ambrose’s argument that God does exist. If he does, well good thing you followed the rules. If he doesn’t, well at least you didn’t get into trouble or sent to nether regions eternally or smited (Or smitten, heck what is the past tense of smite? I honestly don’t know.) So what do you have to lose logically? I’m certain St. Ambrose would pose this in a more tactful, graceful, or teleological way like Socrates but hey, this is good enough paraphrasing.
And what does that mean anyway…..”the wages of sin?” So does that mean actually getting paid money like a um, lady of the night, or is it in a more ambiguous way of saying to receive profit or good things out of the misuse or mistreatment of others is to commit yourself to a path of early demise?
I suppose that is often true as karmic retribution does come back eventually down the road 10, 20, or even 50 years later. You go robbing Peter to pay Paul, eventually Peter or his goons gonna come knockin’ and looking a little peeved to say the least. Unless Peter is a devout Christian that turns the other cheek meaning you’ve got 76 some more opportunities to rob Peter before he comes after you like a steaming bull seeing red. Better start running.
By the way, why do you always owe Paul money? One of life’s great mysteries. Is Paul the kingpin or mafia don? Is Paul the Godfather? Why does everybody have to pay Paul?
“Never seek to defraud or cheat anyone.”
So according to Webster online, defraud means to “take money or goods illegally” and then we all know what cheat means I guess. That show Cheaters by the way is pretty entertaining. This line and the second one, reminds me of a story a coworker told me once.
When she was in her 20s, she got married to a man. They had a family together and they both worked. He was a bit wild and kinda for the streets but she loved him and looked the other way on a lot of stuff. Eventually, years and years later, it came to a head. There were too many questionable events and questionable behaviors and no doubt, questionable STD tests that she had to take…and then the latest “Shaggy wasn’t me moment” was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They divorced and he moved in quickly with some younger naive woman (ignorance is bliss at least during the honeymoon period). This coworker moved on with her kids and life and later developed a love relationship for another woman.
Years went by. Years and years went by. Decades actually. One day after years of running the streets when he was quite old in his 60s, and his plumbing didn’t work so great no more, he came back and asked to live with her. She was not unkind but just said no, I can’t do that. Sorry, Charlie. No can do.
Turns out, he was struggling and just wanted a place to stay. After years of running around after this and that, chasing everything, with not much loyalty to one person, place, or thing, he was low on cash and looking to “rekindle things”. Meanwhile, for years and years and years, she’d been providing for everyone else. He went off then and ended up in some homeless shelter down the road. She wasn’t smug or vengeful about it but she just couldn’t trust him.
That stuff does catch up. It may not be 10 years or 20 years or 30 or 40 even….but eventually it does.
So that’s what I learned so far from reading the Psalms 1-5 and Proverbs 1 and reflecting on them sorta stream of conscious. If you want to read along with me, tomorrow, the readings are Psalms 6-10 and Proverbs 2. To be truthful, I just use YouTube to play the readings….way easier and more interesting to listen to a voice.