First Monday of Lent

Proverbs 3:33–4:27, Genesis 3:21–4:7, Luke 3:4–18

(Grand)Parents can pass on wisdom to their (biological, mentored, or spiritual) children and grandchildren. Sometimes the wisdom is things learned, sometimes it is pain survived. In Proverbs, we see a collection of wisdom sayings. Living a good life has been twisted in our culture to be a life of collecting stuff and wealth. The proverbs gathered in the book of Proverbs, if actually read, can be an antidote/counterbalance to that. For a number of years, some Christians have taken to reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. At least chapters 1-28 are read every month. Wisdom can be passed on, even habituated, but both the person doing the passing and the person doing the taking must be working together. Often we can pass on knowledge and wisdom (think of all the hours students sit in classrooms). We can even test for knowledge. Ultimately, however, each person must choose to exercise the wisdom they’ve been given. The goal of passing on Godly wisdom is to silence the “wisdom” of the world, and the world is loud.

Cain, only the second generation(!), succumbed to the world. The first murder happens in the second generation. Let that sink in. It was only the second generation. There is an important lesson in this. The next generation can lose it all. There is a modern proverb, “the Church (thus Christianity) is only one generation away from dying out.” We who pass the faith and our wisdom on to the next generation (and the generation that follows) can only do our best. However, if we understand God’s story, our small story in the middle of God’s story, and give that to those who follow, we increase the likelihood that the Gospel will pass to the next generation. There is a dark side to being the recipient, too.

The Jews had had the faith passed on to them. They carried it proudly. While they were indeed God’s people, there was an arrogance in many that because their forefathers had passed on the faith and traditions to them, that they were still blessed and protected. John the Baptist wanted them to understand that while the faith was passed down, it wasn’t the rules and rituals that saved and preserved them, it was the grace of God. This grace-filled God wanted a relationship, not empty rituals. While the Israelites had successfully talked to their children in their going and sitting, they had not (apparently) passed on a relationship. The church is often guilty of this same thing. There was a time where as long as the right words were spoken and the right doctrine passed on that all will be well. Except it wasn’t well at all. In response, generations turned to an entirely relational view of God, which made new rules and often disregarded doctrine. Both were (and still are) extremes that the church—to pass on the wisdom and faith—must strive to overcome and find a balance between the two.

1) What Bible story (or stories) can you remember? What Bible stories do you think non-believers know?

2) What did the stories teach you about God? What do you think those bible stories teach non-believers?

3) In those stories, do you see relation, doctrine, or both? Are you able to share those differences with others?

FD) If you know what is right, do you do it? If not, why not?