Since the Garden of Eden, marriage has been identified as a strategic blessing from God and thus has been under siege by the enemy. He relentlessly seeks to marginalize, redefine, poison, and destroy it. Worst of all, our own faithlessness toward one another proceeds from, and contributes to, our faithlessness toward God. We need a Savior who can break the siege and have one in Jesus Christ. God’s prefect Bridegroom is able to redeem His faithless bride for His Father’s glory and our eternal good.
Anything we encounter frequently runs the risk of becoming undervalued, taken for granted, and even disrespected. From good health to material blessings to long-time spouses, familiarity breeds complacency. Sadly, our relationship with God is not exempt. The priests in Malachi’s day had grown indifferent to God’s majesty and thus negligent in their responsibilities. We face the same danger and are presented with the same hope: redemption through the perfect Priest whose lips preserved knowledge, whose feet walked in righteousness, and whose blood atoned for all who trust in Him.
Our words have tremendous potential for good or ill. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a harsh invective, you know how powerful they can be. The book of Proverbs recognized this power and our potential to misuse it, so Solomon gives us a number of important norms that must govern our use of words.
Immediate departures from the faith are rare. Far more often, we experience a gradual decline, or slipping, that we barely notice. Over time, we find ourselves far from the Lord, having forgotten our first love. But God seeks us in our apathy and draws us back to Himself through His steadfast love, centered in Christ.
World War I was called “the war to end all wars” yet human strife and misery have continued ever since. The reason is because our ultimate enemies are sin and death, and they can only be defeated by God Himself. Zechariah 14 gives us a glorious picture of the future when God will vanquish evil and save His people to sin no more through our sinless Savior, Jesus Christ.
The death of a leader sends shockwaves through a community. How much more so the death of God’s own Son? Yet God had a purpose in striking His Shepherd and scattering His people: so that His Church might be purified and used for His greater glory. By His grace, God’s striking and scattering always leads to a greater reunion in Christ.
Sometimes we are haunted by the things we have said and done. Other times we are not even aware of our ongoing disobedience to God’s commands. What can wash away our sin? What can enable us to grow in godliness? Only the blood of Jesus, given for us. The cross opened a fountain of grace and cleansing for all who look to the Son in faith. The One who was defiled continues to purify a people for Himself until the day when defilement will be no more.
Who would have predicted that God would secure the greatest victory of all time through the greatest suffering of all time? Yet that is exactly what He did on the cross. Zechariah 12 anticipates the final victory of God’s people, secured through the suffering of the One who was pierced for us. Jesus’ suffering secures our salvation and establishes a pattern of victory through suffering in our daily Christian lives.
The last sermon on Proverbs looked at wisdom and wealth, and we learned that ultimately, our wealth is not ours; it is a gift from God, and we are to steward it on his behalf. In this sermon we will look in more detail as to how we can discharge our stewardship of God’s wealth with wisdom.