|10-11-2022 Grace Notes – Pastoral Letter Monthly memory verse: “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Ps 135:6).”|
Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I was blessed and greatly encouraged by our time learning and worshiping together this past Lord’s Day. It is always a joy to get to see one another and catch up on the things that the Lord has been doing in our lives, and especially to hear what the Lord has to say to us from His Word. In a world that is full of chattering lips and the ceaseless noise of people posting every thought that comes to their mind online, it is a great gift to be granted time to be silent before the Lord, listening and learning to that wisdom that is always sound and never fails. This is something that has stood out to me as my family has been working through the book of Proverbs during family worship lately.Proverbs consistently teaches that it is the role of the fool to be always talking. Take two examples, one from the end of chapter 17 and another from the beginning of chapter 18. “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent… A fool takes in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Prov 17:28; 18:2). The point is rather blunt in order that even the person who tends toward foolishness might be struck by it, close his or her mouth for a moment, and consider what the Lord is saying. And, what He is saying packs quite a punch for a culture full of people who seem to have a great deal of trouble restraining their lips, and who love to let every opinion, however baseless and misguided, spill out onto this or that social networking platform. It is apparently rather easy to gain a large following by always having something to say. Indeed, it is essential to keep talking and posting if one wishes to feed the algorithms, remain visible, and so keep the clicks and money coming. But, while always having something to say about every hot-button issue may make a person popular today, the Word warns us that it isn’t to be mistaken as indicating the presence of any kind of real wisdom. Rather, it is quite possibly an indication that wisdom is utterly lacking, as restraint is thrown aside and unexamined and unfounded opinions flow forth like so much sewage, not aiding but further poisoning public discourse. To put it simply, to be always talking is to be never listening, and to never be listening is to never be growing in the knowledge and wisdom that can only come through careful consideration of one’s views in light of the Word of God. This means that we do well to show care when deciding to whom we listen, and when deciding whether we really have anything to contribute to matter before rushing to add more sound to interactions often already drowning in so much of the white noise of foolish speech. In a world that loves to talk and in which one’s visibility is often tied to how much one seems to have to say, we do well to heed the wisdom of Proverbs. It is the role of the fool to be always talking.Conversely, Proverbs consistently teaches that it is the role of the wise to be ever-ready to listen. Consider a few further examples. “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight” (Prov 4:1). As wisdom personified speaks, we’re told, “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me” (Prov 8:32-33a). Later, we read that, “a wise man listens to advice” (Prov 12:15). “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise” (Prov 15:31). Many more instances could be cited, but you see the point. Repeatedly, the Lord commends those who hear, are attentive, and listen. It can seem counter-intuitive when we almost feel pushed to keep up with the latest news and banter, which makes it all the more significant that we note and pay heed to what the Lord is saying here. While so much of society is busy promoting and enriching those who talk the most and the loudest, the Lord says His eyes are toward those who quiet themselves in HIs presence and consider their ways in light of His Word, to look upon them with favor and enrich them with something far greater than any earthly treasure, the wisdom that comes from above. So, when the threat of irrelevance seems to loom over us if we step away from the endless sounding-off and typing that surrounds us, we need to remind ourselves to fear the Lord more than man, and so to turn off our screens, put down our headphones, open our Bibles, and bow our heads – asking the Lord to give that knowledge that don’t have in ourselves and can gain only by listening carefully to Him. Only then will we gain the wisdom that truly matters, which is wisdom indeed. And what’s more, we may begin to find that when we do feel the need to open our mouths and speak up about a given matter we’ll actually have something of value to say. We may discover, to our joy and others’ benefit, that our lips are pouring forth not so much refuse but words that contain life and healing, because they are shaped by the life-giving Lord of our God. In this, we will not only show ourselves wise and do good to those who hear us, but we will bring glory to the God who instructs us. To this end, it is well-worth heeding the teaching of Proverbs that it is the role of the wise to be ever-ready to listen.So, in a world full of people talking without thinking, and so saying nothing while speaking an awful lot, let us be those who show the discernment of the godly but spending more time listening to the Lord, and by speaking only when, by His grace, we’re prepared to bring forth wisdom fashioned by His Word. May He grant us quickness to listen and learn, slowness to open our lips, and boldness and wisdom to speak, when the occasion calls for it, with lips like our Savior’s, anointed with grace (cf. Ps 45:2).In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30. Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room. · Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity. It is widely available – here is one link:
‘Vision Statement’ Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself
= Love God. Love people.
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