Proverbs Devotional 3.21.20

I. Prayer to enter the Lord’s presence:

Be still for a moment. “Lord, I give the day that is now past to you.  It is yours.  I give the day that is to come to you; help me to see where you are working and to join you there.  Speak to me during these moments.  I commit them and myself to you.”

 II. Prayer of Confession:

“Lord, you are faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin when I confess it to you.  I confess my sin(s) of ______________.  Thank you for forgiveness.” (1 John 1:9)

III. Prayer of Thanksgiving:

Choose to be thankful, speak out loud of what God has done.
“Thank you, Father, for _________________.  Fill my heart and my mouth with gratitude throughout this day.”

IV. Scripture Reflection

Read: Proverbs Chapter 21

Reflect:

Proverbs 21:3.

The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just
than when we offer him sacrifices.

Reflection: The Lord is pleased when we do what is right and just. Let’s read that again—the Lord is pleased when people do what is right and just! Are you hearing that? Many people listen to it, but then they turn around and start looking at all kinds of rituals and acts of sacrifice they can do to please the Lord. The thing we tend to forget is that God is not interested in us doing stuff to earn His favor, He’s interested in capturing our hearts! In other words, He has no patience for acts that are just going through the motions—it doesn’t win favor with God. What He’s after is an upright and honest heart! He wants us to be honest and turn to Him with our circumstances, trusting and leaning on Him alone—sometimes, it’s just a simple and honest prayer that pleases God. 

Evidently, this is a hard lesson for us to grasp. The scriptures are full of examples of people thinking that some type of act or sacrifice is what will please the Lord. Saul was guilty of doing this when he thought to win God’s favor by making an offering. Do you remember what Samuel’s response was? He said, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” Then there is Hosea, he tells the people what God wants, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Micah says the same thing, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” We even find Jesus challenging the Pharisees when He said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 

What’s valued in this proverb is a life that’s lived for the Lord. The virtues of humility and honesty are at its core. We must be honest with where we are with God and humble enough to admit it. When we don’t live this way, we can tend to want to fiddle and manipulate the circumstances. All this does is drive a wedge between our relationship with God. God is calling us to authenticity—both with Him and others. Do this, and we’ll move closer to grasping what God is really wanting from us—a heart devoted to Him!

Respond:

Be honest with God right now. If you’ve been trying to earn His love and acceptance through ritualistic means, then stop! Tune everything else out and listen to what He has repeatedly said—I’m pleased when you do what is right and just! Loving God with all our heart, strength, minds, soul, and loving others as ourselves. Determine to walk in obedience to Him.

V. Prayer for others:

Pray specifically for the concerns of your life and the lives of others. 

VI. Prayer of commitment:

Lord God, I commit to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbor as myself.  Empower me today to love you and others with everything that I am.”  (Luke 10:27)

This Week’s Scripture Memory:

Proverbs 3:9
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.

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