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A WORD FOR TODAY, February 28, 2023
“By mercy and truth iniquity is atoned for. By the fear of Yahweh men depart from evil.” Proverbs 16:6, WEB
I spent a lot of time in Internet chat rooms when I was new to the Internet. I’m not sure that they are even a thing anymore, as there are so many other forms of communication, like Zoom. Now, I never really liked Zoom, and have only used it a few times. However, I spent time nearly every day in a chat. I don’t know why I liked one format over the other, although I doubt that I would enjoy those chat rooms anymore. There is something about the disjointed nature of the conversation that bothers me. As a meme I saw recently said, “Virtual meetings are like seances.” You spend half your time trying to connect or helping others get connected. It is impossible to understand one another when everyone is trying to talk at once.
I suppose that is why I wouldn’t like the chat rooms anymore; everyone talks at once and you can never be quite sure who is answering who. It was interesting to see the small talk and learn about people’s lives. Sometimes we were even lucky to hear a big of wisdom, too. I tended toward Christian chat rooms which hosted a diversity of people. Most people simply enjoyed the fellowship of other believers. The conversation generally revolved around faith and Jesus, most of the people just wanted a safe place to chat without bad language and an overwhelming amount of porn mail.
There was always someone who was there to preach or teach. It really wasn’t the best forum to do so, since it was more like a party than a lecture hall. There were always too many conversations going on at once. A few of the regulars made it an art to ignore all the other discussions that happened around them as they posted long messages about some subject. Others visited with an agenda, always determined to convert someone in the room to their point of view. There were those who became very disturbed if they could not control the conversation. Some reacted negatively or even violently.
Chat rooms are better suited for one-liners, for short bits of information. Though I saw good studies occur in some rooms, most of the time they were better used for fellowship. There are more appropriate times and places for lectures. When we study the scriptures with a group of people in person, we are more cognizant of the others in the room, allowing them to speak in turn. It is difficult to converse when there are 20 people talking at the same time. The room simply moves too fast for lengthy thoughts or scripture readings.
Not everyone learns well with that type of learning anyway. Even God recognized the need for different types of teaching, providing us with many different forms of literature in the Holy Bible. There are long lists of genealogies, detailed histories of the people, and other stories designed to teach a lesson. There are hymns and poems, as well as lists of laws. Our Father even recognized the need for a book filled with one-liners.
When people ask what they should read when first approaching the Bible, I generally recommend beginning with the Gospels, but also suggest Proverbs. I am currently preparing a study on Proverbs for our Sunday school class which will begin next January. There is great wisdom in those one-liners, and it is provided in a way that it is easy to take a little at a time, to ponder it and apply it to our lives. The book of Proverbs provides us with God’s view on just about everything we might experience during our days. It would do us well to listen to the words of our teacher daily.
Today’s one-liner sums up the life of a Christian. Our Lord Jesus loved us so much and was faithful to the promise set by God long before the creation of the world: He died to atone for our sin. We rest in the salvation that comes from this atonement and walk in the light that comes from life in Christ. In that light, we know our true selves, and know what we are in Christ, walking in reverent fear of God and living as He has designed and called us to live. When we listen to the Teacher's one-liners in Proverbs and are obedient to His Word, living in His love, we avoid falling into the traps that are set by the world. Though evil things may still try to touch our lives to put a halt on our work in Christ’s name, we will avoid falling into the evil if we remain faithful to God’s promises.
Isn’t it funny how my last paragraph rambled on about our lives as Christians, but it didn’t say anything more than the one line provided by God that is our text for today. We don’t need lengthy lectures to understand God’s promises. We just need to listen to what He has to say, and He’ll move and work in our hearts to make us right with Him.
A WORD FOR TODAY is posted five days a week – Monday through Friday. The devotional on Wednesday takes a look at the scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday. A WORD FOR TODAY is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Word-for-Today-Devotional/339428839418276. Like the page to receive the devotion through Facebook. For information and to access our archives, visit http://www.awordfortoday.org