Our reading from Proverbs today continues to contrast folly and wisdom. The wise person is portrayed as one who works hard, is a good steward of their resources and deals honestly with those around them. By contrast the fool is lazy, gets into debt and deals deceptively with his/her neighbours. I find reading Proverbs to be immensely helpful and sobering as I reflect on my day to day decisions … I need to spend more time mimicking the work ethic of the ant!
Paul also provides us with a contrast in today’s readings as he continues to reason with the Galatians regarding their legalistic interpretation of the gospel (which is no gospel at all! Gal 1:6-7). Here, in chapter 4 he points to Hagar and Sarah to outline two covenants – one of law and slavery, the other of freedom and promise. It is important to remember that the Mosaic covenant (provision of the law) represented in this illustration by Hagar was also a covenant of grace… Matthew Henry puts it far better than I
though it [Mosaic covenant] was a dispensation of grace, yet, in comparison of the gospel state, was a dispensation of bondage, and became more so to the Jews, through their mistake of the design of it, and expecting to be justified by the works of it
Paul points to the two covenants and encourages the Galatians to see that they (and we) are children of promise (further expounded in Rom 1-8 if you are looking for a great way to spend Saturday morning!). The answer to knowing God is not found in rules and regulations but in relationship. Like the Galatians I sometimes find myself forgetting that I don’t have to earn the favour of God – it is freely given to underserving sinners
God shows his love for us in that while were were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).
It is all too easy to steam ahead in my own world; using rituals as a substitute for relationship… and a poor substitute at that. Perhaps today is a good day to remember that we are no more acceptable to God on our ‘best’ day than we are on our ‘worst’? Perhaps today is a good day to remember what it means to be a child of promise and to be thankful for grace freely given!