Monday, February 29, 2016

Devotion 3.1.16

What is the greatest male weakness?  For Norm on "Cheers," it was beer and the opportunity to stay at the bar away from his wife Vera.  "Women," he was once heard to proclaim, "Can't live with them and can't live with them." Perhaps we deceive ourselves as men when we limit the desires of the flesh to the sensual, but it is probably the greatest male weakness.  Solomon likens wisdom to a fine woman as he speaks in Proverbs, "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.  She is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire can compare with her." (3:13 - 15)  He turns right around then to warn of the adulteress in the same gender reference.  "My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge, for the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword." (5:1 - 4)  She can tell you what you want to hear, and it sounds so good.

Yet, much like the weakness of the attention from a woman, we should remember our desires stretch beyond the adulteress to other fields.  Power and influence are relative as men seek both in their own corner of life, regardless of station or status. So we seek power and influence, each in our own way, which is a desire that can leave us as vulnerable as a woman.  You don't have to be wealthy and pursue wealth to have desires for the trappings they contain.  If love of money, desires of the flesh, and other such sins were exclusively for the wealthy, there would be no country music.

Solomon talks of hearing his father's words, "Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.  Do not forsake her, and she will keep you, love her and she will guard you." (4:4 - 5).  Yet, we each seem to need to learn on our own despite Solomon's pleas to the contrary.

Like Eve in the Garden, we dabble our toe just for a second in the warm spring of our own knowledge, understanding, and desires and turn away from God's.  We build ourselves up and really believe in another god, ourselves and our own knowledge and wisdom, and turn from God's insight and understanding.  As Eve turned away from God, we turn away from the cross, and we leave ourselves vulnerable to our own ways which can be treacherous.  The sin may not be adultery, but it is a grievous sin in God's eyes.  We have forgotten Him and turned to our own devices.

Should we find ourselves in a moment of weakness and temptation, know that as Luther teaches in "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," one "little word can felled him (Satan)."  That word is Christ, God's true Word.  "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)  We seek that Word daily, in bad times and especially in good times, when we begin to believe in ourselves and rely on our own wisdom and forget the source of all that we have is Christ.

Pray for that strength that can only come through Christ to overcome the temptations we face in our daily walk.

Hope Men's Ministry

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