The Golden Sieve

IDOK DEVOTION FOR MONDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2008

Nine of twenty five – a Great Recipe:
9- Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

Proverbs 20:24 A man’s steps are of the LORD;
How then can a man understand his own way?
25 It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy,
And afterward to reconsider his vows.
26 A wise king sifts out the wicked,
And brings the threshing wheel over them.
27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
28 Mercy and truth preserve the king,
And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
And the splendor of old men is their gray head.
30 Blows that hurt cleanse away evil,
As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.

I cannot say as I begin placing these words on the screen that I have a full understanding of them or even why they seem to be right for us in this moment. But those of you have been with me for awhile know that I often begin not knowing why or where an IDOK piece will end.
So, A man’s steps are of the LORD; How then can a man understand his own way?
How in deed! Do you have to look far to see a soul following his own steps to see what God means here? How long does it take to step into a mess when we fail to follow Jesus? Not long at all. And these days it seems quicker than soon. Have we not heard of or even know little ones as young as 12 and 13 years who are already accomplished alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes? That’s too sad to think on long, isn’t it?
And verse 25, how today is that? It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.
How deep a pit can we dig for ourselves when we act too quickly? How much hurt can we heap upon ourselves and others by embracing a plan as good, even holy, before we KNOW it is? How foolish of us to say YES before we have had time to pray and think. I have a rule of thumb I use often for questionable decisions, especially with ‘act now’ offers: If you cannot wait 24 hours for my answer, my answer is NO.
And then verse 26. A wise king sifts out the wicked, And brings the threshing wheel over them.
And you know, if this bit of wisdom is good enough for a king, isn’t it good for Everyday Joe or even a presidential candidate? Read it again. Lets look at the word sifts. FreeDictionary. Com describes it this way: To put (flour, for example) through a sieve or other straining device in order to separate the fine from the coarse particles. And To examine and sort carefully: sift the evidence. And To make a careful examination. This reminds me of that old adage: You are known by the company you keep. If we are wise we will place all of the ends and outs and pieces and fabrics and personalities presented to us into the Golden Sieve (The Bible made alive within us by the Holy Spirit) and give it a spin and when the spin reveals coarse particles, we will set those coarse particles aside. We won’t incorporate them into ‘bread’ for our ‘bosom’. That is we won’t feed upon or take into confidence or become intimate with the unholy. Does that seem harsh? 2 Corinthians 6: 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? But there is more than sifting offered in the verse. There’s ‘threshing’. So when that ‘coarse particle’ is a personality, rather than a God-less thought, concept, doctrine, or deed; what do we do? We wait. We pray. We stand ready for any call from the Lord to participate with Him on the ‘threshing floor’. And in time, if those coarse particles are made ‘fine’ by the Threshing Wheel of the Lord, then we offer them the intimacy of home and hearth.
Verse 27 is a comfort to me. The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart. Even more than just comfort but security too. I rest in knowing that ABBA searches the inner depths of my heart. I am SO GLAD I cannot hide anything from HIM!! In this moment I can think of no adjective that adequately describes the comfort and safety I feel knowing that He knows ALL about me, all that has been before and all that will ever be, and He STILL loves me. HE IS TRUELY AWESOME!
One more comment and we are finished for today. Verse 30. Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart. When ABBA brings to my attention those inner depths of my heart and the fire of judgment blows on that evil, it’s gonna HURT and it’s gonna cause some ‘stripes’ like a trip to the ‘wood shed’ . But even then I know He loves me and when that particular hurt is finished, my heart is one step cleaner. One step closer to being conformed to the image of Jesus. Hallelujah! I love it! Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
ABBA, this ends sweetly for me. Thank You. Thank You for the warmth and comfort, security and peace You bring to me and not to me alone but to every daughter and every son who calls You DADDY by the Blood of You Lord Jesus. Thank You. And for today strength enough to lean on You is all we ask. As I think about it what a perfect thing to ask for us all; every IDOK; every IDOK Soldier and family member; every name on our list here and even every unspoken request – strength enough to lean on You today Lord is what we ask. Amen and amen.
As I post this it is 74°F and clear in Al Asad, IQ & the time there is 8:39 AM AST – on October 6, 2008.
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