Are You Disappointed?

I’ve realized that disappointment comes when my present reality doesn’t live up to my expectations.  It creeps in, and sometimes drops, like a brick when my life, my marriage, my children, my career, or my plan is headed in a different direction (By “different,” I mean “worse,” and by worse, I admit a value judgment – my opinion.) than I imagined.

Think of it like this.  Somewhere in the past I, and maybe you too, have dreamed and hoped for certain things or for people or life to be a certain way.  I have written a mental play so to speak and have happily been playing with my created characters in this glittery imaginary future world constructed by me for me.  Then, opening night finally arrives.   I hold my breath.  “Da dah!”  The curtains open.  My heart sinks.  The stage, the actors, the dialogue, the lighting, the music, the wardrobe, the props – everything – is different.  There is no glitter.  I can’t even find a sequin.  The awesomeness I expected has vanished in one sure swift pull of the curtain cord.

Shift with me.  For Christians, I think one factor that contributes to this kind of disappointment is that we often read the Bible thinking it is mainly about us – our comfort, our convenience, our happiness, our relationships, our life, our future.  Of course, it does include these things (and in a more profound way that we typically assume) but “I” am definitely not the main point.  Jesus is.  I come to this conclusion in the following way.

Jesus did not see the Scriptures as mainly about us:  “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,” John 5:39 (ESV).

Jesus believed all the Scriptures had something to say about him:  “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” Luke 24:27 (ESV).  “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me” John 5:46 (ESV).

In fact, Jesus believed he is “The Key” – the means to understanding – the Scriptures.  After his resurrection, Jesus explained: … “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms (meaning the wisdom books) must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and thatrepentance andforgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem”  Luke 24:44-47 (ESV; parenthesis added).

I think the books I’m most inclined to make about me are “Psalms” and “Proverbs.”  I am the “Righteous One” in Psalms and the “Wise One” in Proverbs.  I see myself in Proverbs, wise and knowledgeable, and assume I will have long life, riches, honor, and a pleasant and peaceful life (Proverbs 3:15-17).  I am, after all, the Wise One – the one who deserves, and is therefore guaranteed, all God’s blessing and protection.  And I’m thinking, “now – in this life.”

So of course, when I read these books this way believing I am the key to understanding the Scriptures, I  assume the promises, rewards of righteousness, and wisdom belong to me because of me.  I am exalted and Christ is not.

But when I get to a passage like Proverbs 8, my whole theory blows apart.  Here we read of wisdom:

The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth,
before he had made the earth with its fields,
or the first of the dust of the world.
When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the children of man (vv. 22-31, ESV).

Now, without a doubt (I’m not that old), I know, this passage is not talking about “Wise Me.  It is rather a description of the wisdom of God later revealed to be Christ (1 Cor. 1:30) where we find all the promised treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).

Nancy Guthrie put it beautifully in her Bible study, “The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms & Wisdom Books,”1

Clearly, to listen to wisdom is to hear the word of Christ.  To find wisdom is to believe in Christ.  To be wise is to have the mind of Christ.  The favor from the Lord that is obtained by those who find wisdom is “the grace of God … given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:4).1

With this understanding I can go back and read Proverbs 8:1-21, and the other proverbs for that matter, and understand that to listen to wisdom is to listen to Jesus.  To have wisdom, is to have Jesus and to have Jesus is to have something better than silver, choice gold, and jewels.  Nothing I have compares to him.  To have Jesus is to have enduring (verses temporary; see v. 18) wealth and righteousness.  I know that, if I love him and seek him who first loved and sought me, (1 John 4: 7, 19), because Jesus walked in the way of righteousness and in the paths of justice, I am granted his right standing before God and an inheritance filled with treasures of every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3).  Why? So that I will be “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12). And if I read the Scriptures this way and adjust my mental play accordingly, I know that I will never ultimately be disappointed.

Endnote

[1] Guthrie, Nancy, “The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms & Wisdom Books,” Wheaten, IL, Crossway, 2012, p. 205.


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