January 21: Psalmic Endings, Proverbial Beginnings

This week we end those last few months we’ve spend luxuriating in and/or struggling with the Psalms, and begin reading Proverbs. I don’t know about you, but I wrap up this time with a new appreciation for the Psalms. I am hoping that Proverbs (the word that, after all, brought us “proverbial”) will provide us with new insight and understanding on similar levels. Proverbs, as one of the Bible’s great sources of “conventional wisdom,” is good as we consider and adjust our “rule of life.”

Daily Bible readings:

January 21 – Psalm 149
January 22 – Psalm 150
January 23 – Proverbs 1
January 24 – Proverbs 2
January 25 – Proverbs 3
January 26 – Proverbs 4
January 27 – Proverbs 5

Think:

As we leave the Psalms, how has your understanding of them changed in the past few months? What have they impressed upon you? In short, I used to think of the Psalms as a book full of pious platitudes – but in this reading of them I have been impressed by their sheer variety. It now seems to me like there is a psalm for any possible situation one might bring to God in prayer – which is especially important since we may not always have the words to express to God just what we’re feeling. If I ever feel stuck in my prayer life, I have learned that I can always go to the Psalms for inspiration.

What does the book of Proverbs mean to you? Raymond C. Van Leeuwen summarizes Proverbs, “Every human needs wisdom for living, and every healthy society hands its wisdom on to the next generation. Proverbs is a literary anthology of Israel’s traditional wisdom, gathered from diverse spheres of life. The book’s purpose is to help people become wise and godly.” At the same time he points out the contextual limitations of Proverbs, especially that it particularly addresses men, rather than men and women. We can read and glean the wisdom from this book while acknowledging such limitations, as well as consider the differences and similarities between its wisdom and the radical, countercultural wisdom of Jesus.

Pray:

How is your Rule of Life coming on? Have you completed it? If you haven’t, a reminder that the CS Lewis Institute, “A Personal Rule of Life” is helpful in its creation. I am finding that mine is very short – having to do with prioritizing certain things (daily Bible reading, prayer, creative, and intellectual time), and limiting time spent on social media (Facebook is something I struggle with – the ease of going there to do one particular thing and having that thing turn into 15 minutes or an hour of aimless scrolling is entirely too real!). I am writing mine in such a way to help me to make time for the things that are important to me, and to help me to live as much in the present moment as possible, rather than being tossed to and fro by an unmanageable schedule.

Take time to pray about your Rule of Life. What in it is working for you, and what do you discern that God would have you change about it to grow this year?

Act:

Check the Think! Pray! Act! calendar for ideas and things to do.

Check out the new Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate!

What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.

References:

“Instructions for Developing a Personal Rule of Life.” CS Lewis Institute, n.d. http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/338

Benedict of Nursia. Benedict’s Rule. Worcester, PA: Christian History Institute, 2017. https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/study/module/benedicts-rule

 

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