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  • Writer's pictureVicar Matt Doebler

Matins Devotion: June 12, 2023


One of the blessings to be gained by reading through the Proverbs is that we are taught by God the Holy Spirit to make the necessary distinctions between wisdom and folly—between righteousness and wickedness. Distinctions are good. God is a God of order—not chaos. The author of distinctions—not confusion. He built distinctions into the very fabric of his creation. He divided—distinguished—light from darkness, evening from morning, the heavens from the earth, water from land, plants from the animals, and male from female. In the beginning, God’s Spirit hovered over the chaotic waters of the deep and, through his Word, created a world which reflected the beauty of God’s wisdom in all its manifold distinctions.


That’s why the original sin—and all sin—is bound up in rejecting God’s good order. Satan’s sin was to reject his status as a servant and messenger of God in order to ascend above his created place and establish his own throne. Adam’s sin was to reject his distinctive humanity and his calling to be God’s image bearer. Why? To be like God. We could go on and on. Israel’s sin as a nation was always bound up in rejecting their special status as God’s chosen people—their calling to be a people reflecting God’s holiness. Time and again, we see them wanting to be just like every other nation. In their worship, in their government, and in their conduct.


And what about us? Don’t we in our hearts and with our actions display the same sinful inclinations? We don’t want to seem peculiar, so out of cowardice we remain silent when we should make a good confession. We don’t want to let go of power so, just like the rest of the world, we strike back at those who wrong us and take revenge on those who we should forgive. Above all, the lust of our eyes drives us to make an idol of prosperity, so we bend the truth, cheat our neighbors, and neglect our family just so we can revel in earthly treasures rather than treasure the cross of suffering.


So repent. Hear again what God the Holy Spirit is speaking through the wisdom of Proverbs:


Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. (vs. 2)

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. (vs. 11)

The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense. (vs. 21)


Through these words, God the Holy Spirit—the same Spirit of Truth that Christ promised to send—is once again going about His work of creating distinctions—this time amid the chaos of your own heart. Dividing light from darkness. Truth from lie. Wisdom from folly. Through these words the Holy Spirit is revealing your shortcomings and pointing you to a distinctive righteousness. It is an alien righteousness. It is not your own. It comes not from the vain pride of your sinful heart, but from Christ—the distinct and definitive image of the Father—the way, the truth, the life. Christ is the righteousness that delivers from death. His mouth is a fountain of life. Through his gracious words, those who hunger are fed.


Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your earthly pilgrimage—your enemy, the devil, will never stop trying to fill your heart and mind with confusion. He hates God’s good order. He hates Christ’s name because it is a name above all names—including his own. He hates you—because Christ has set you apart for life and not death—for salvation and not destruction—for hope and not for wrath. But don’t grow weary. Don’t tire of being peculiar in the eyes of the world. Don’t shrink back from making a good confession. Resist the devil by letting the Holy Spirit fill your mind with the true wisdom from God that divides truth from lie, light from darkness, and righteousness from evil. Take up these wise sayings of Proverbs. In them, you find Christ—in him, and in him alone, you have life.

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