Why Nothing We Say and Do is Insignificant (Wed. March 24)

The word of the day is “eyes.”  We attribute importance to the events which advance the course of the world’s history.  And we count the occasions of births, graduations, weddings, and funerals as having special meaning.  But do the seemingly trivial moments of our lives have any lasting significance?  Does what we say and do on ordinary days count for anything?  In our reading of Proverbs 5:15-6:3, the wise poet  teaches that the Almighty sees all we do from day to day.  Nothing escapes His scrutiny.  The sage writes, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths” (NKJV vs. 2).  Today we consider what it means for God to see…

Water from Our Own Wells: Healing Envy and Covetousness (Tues. March 23)

The word of the day is “cistern.”[i]  In today’s reading of Proverbs 5:1-15, the sage warns against the seduction of loose women and urges the chastity of a faithful marriage.  But to picture his counsel, he uses a striking image, “Drink water from your own cisterns and running water from your own well” (NKJV vs. 15).  There is no reason to draw water from someone else’s supply when we have our own. Of course, that applies to sexual relationships. But like so many folk sayings the maxim  has a wider application.   Today we will look at covetousness and envy as overweening desires for the possessions of others. The Social Context of Covetousness and Envy Covetousness is such a serious a…

How To Read Proverbs as Poetry (Mon. March 22)

The word of the day is “but.”  Almost all people thrive when there is order in society, but hardly anyone can prosper when chaos rules.  We naturally seek balance and equilibrium and consider harmony to be beautiful, right, and true.   Today in our reading of Proverbs 3:21-4:7  we find that symmetry is built into the structure of the sayings of wisdom.  For example, our reading begins, “Surely He [God] scorns the scornful” (vs. 3:34).  Here we discover a basic underlying sense of justice.  It is only right that those who scoff at others will themselves be scoffed (Strong’s #3887, 191).  Today we will analyze some selected sayings of our reading to illustrate this sense of righteousness.  Then we will reflect…

Leaving Pharaoh’s Palace: The Example of Moses (Sun. March 21)

The word of the day is “choose.”  What way of life do we choose?  Is it the way of the pleasures of this world or the way of the promises of God?  In today’s reading of Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-12:2, we focus on Moses, who had a choice to make between his Egyptian upbringing and His lineage as a member of the People of God.  The apostle writes, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the People of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…” (NKJV vs. 24-25).  Today we will explore that choice and apply it to ourselves. Today’s reading recalls that…

“Light of Light:” the Bible and the Creed (Sat. March 20)

The Word of the Day (Saturday, March 20) “Light of Light:” The Biblical Basis of the Creed Most of the time, we fix our gaze downward on the challenges and struggles of the fleeting moment and tiny space we occupy in this life.  But today’s reading invites us to lift our eyes to the heavens and to consider the majesty of the Eternal God and the equal splendor of the Son of God, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our reading proclaims that the Son of God is far greater than the angels in authority,[i] dominion,[ii] eternity,[iii] agency in creation,[iv] and divine status.  In the Creed, we profess that the Son of God, the Only-begotten of the Father, is “Light of Light”…

Almsgiving: Medicine for the Soul and the Right of the Poor (Fri. March 19)

The word of the day is “give.”  We naturally think that our possessions are ours to do with as we choose.  Accordingly, if we should give some of them to those in need, well, that is our choice.  If not, that is our right as well.  But in today’s reading of Proverbs 3:19-34, we discover a striking insight.  The writer of Proverbs teaches, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is the power of your hand to do so” (vs. 27).  Today we will draw out the meaning of this wisdom for our stewardship of what we possess. On first reading, this verse sounds like the commonplace advice that we should pay our debts…

On Trusting the Lord and Relying on His Wisdom (Thurs. March 18)

The word of the day is “trust .”  Our society values self-reliance.  We teach that maturity means that we no longer depend on others for direction or support.  When we are fully grown, we should take our own  path in life.  However, our reading of Proverbs 3:1-18 teaches us the opposite.  The wise teacher of Proverbs says, “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight (OAB vs. 5).  Today we will consider what it means to trust the Lord for wisdom.  We will also find that reliance on God’s wisdom should apply to everything we do. Our key verse (vs. 5) is a favorite of many.  It is  worth memorizing so that we…

Four Things Necessary for Seeking Wisdom (Wed. March 17)

The word of the day is “seek .”  We would like to think that gaining spiritual understanding comes from the sudden unveiling of a revelation, a quick flash of insight.  But our reading of Provers 2:1-22 teaches us we must search diligently for wisdom.  And it assures us that this earnest search will be rewarded.  Solomon writes, “If you seek perception with a strong voice, and if you seek her as silver and search for her as treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (OSB vs. 4-5).  What, then,  is necessary for our search? Knowing What We Seek When we search for something, we need to know what we are looking…

Three Ways of Closing Our Ears to Wisdom and How to Open Them (Tues. March 16)

The word of the day is “reject.”  Many think that the ways of God are hidden and only known to a select few who have the time and resources to probe into them.  However, in our reading of Proverbs 1:20-33, we hear Wisdom herself speaking in urgent cries in every public place.  Thus, we read, “Wisdom sings in the streets.  She moves boldly in the squares.  She preaches on high city walls.  And sits at the gates of lords.  At the gates of a city, she boldly says…” (vs. 20-21).  But do we hear her when she calls to us?  Today’s reading describes several ways of closing our ears to the teaching of Wisdom and the corresponding ways of opening…

The Wisdom of Proverbs in Hebrew and Greek (LXX) Texts (Mon. March 15)

The word of the day is “wisdom”  As we begin the Lenten fast in the Orthodox Church, we turn to the books of Genesis and Proverbs for our daily readings.  As we seek to return to the Lord and His ways, the Book of Proverbs offers us practical wisdom to guide us.  In today’s reading of Proverbs 1:1-20,  we hear, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and there is a good understanding in all who practice it (OSB Proverbs 1:7 from the Septuagint).  This principal maxim is the foundation of the book of Proverbs and is the key to understanding the counsel that the Church provides for the 40 days of Lent. The Orthodox Church uses…