November 13

Proverbs 13:3 (NIV) 3He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

17:27-28 (NIV) 27A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. 28Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

Today there seems to be an effort to speak the most words and dominate any conversation. I have often listened to conversations in which two people speak at the same time, as if they were vying for airtime. Does our society consider the silent one to be the wise one? It seems the one who gets his point across the clearest and most convincingly is considered the winner. But does it matter how it seems? Ultimately, for you to come to a correct conclusion, an understanding of God's view is really the important thing.

Do you find yourself falling into our cultural norm of saying too much and then wishing you'd shown more restraint? The proverbs we are considering today teach that guarding our lips is guarding our very life. It is the man of knowledge who shows restraint. One appropriate word can demolish an edifice built by a thousand rash words. Restraint gives you time to consider the validity of what is said and to search out any faults in an argument.

One of my most valuable college classes was a class in rhetoric. Language has a number of patterns that are designed to build a case. Many of them have flaws that are easily pointed out. The Holy Spirit can show them to you if you are listening. If you are trying to speak just to make your point, you will miss that quiet voice of the Spirit. There is nothing wrong with saying nothing and speaking another day after considering the matter. You don't have to win every discussion.

Consider: We have two ears and one mouth. Does that tell us something about the ratio in which they should be used?

November 13

Hebrews 7:25-27 (NIV) 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26Such a high priest meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

The author of Hebrews was comparing the old order with the new. In the old, the priests had to come every day, morning and evening, to offer a sacrifice. At special times of the year there were additional sacrifices. On the Day of Atonement, one priest would take the blood of the lamb into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it before the Ark of the Covenant.

All of that was a picture of the heavenly reality. Unlike the copy on earth, the heavenly priest, Jesus Christ, never dies. He serves forever. The blood He sprinkled before God was not that of animals, but His own. It is not as if He needs to present a sacrifice for Himself, for He is sinless. He doesn't have to do it over and over again, for His sacrifice was sufficient for all and for all time.

If anyone came to the high priest and had a sacrifice offered, he would soon have to come again with another because of his weakness. But Jesus' great sacrifice covered all sin for all time. When we come to Him and accept His sacrifice in our place, we do not need to come again and again. He saves completely all who come to God through Him. He lives to forever present the proof of our redemption.

Are you living in the conviction that all your sins have been dealt with? You should confess any that appear in your life today, but you should also know that they are dealt with already. There is no need for another sacrifice. There is no need to sprinkle more blood. Your holy, blameless, and pure Priest, who is exalted above the heavens, took care of it. Confess and repent, yes, but offer a sacrifice of praise for His finished work.

Meditation: ALL my sin has been paid for in full. What should be my response?