October 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

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(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Life Lines by Les Turvey

GO TO THE ANT

Education is not a matter of trying to cram a year’s book work into your head a couple nights before exams. It takes daily diligence. So does growing in God’s way of life.

“Hi ho. Hi ho. It’s off to work we go. We work all day, and then we play. Hi ho. Hi ho.”

Snow White’s seven dwarfs had it right, didn’t they? Work comes first; play comes afterward. But a signboard outside a high school, at the end of the school year, had the concept backward. It read, “Exams. Prepare well.”

Preparation for exams doesn’t mean cramming at the last minute. No one learns anything that way. Preparation for exams means studying day by day, absorbing the information, and even challenging it if necessary. Then, when exam time rolls around the student can get a good night’s sleep, and be up to answering the questions presented to him.

King Solomon has words of wisdom for students. He wrote, “Go to the ant you sluggard. Consider her ways, and be wise. She has no teacher, no one to ensure she has done her homework, nor anyone to tell her what to do, yet she stores up her food in the summer, and continues gathering it in the harvest seasons (Proverbs 6:6-8 paraphrased).”

The wise king continued, “How long will you sleep you lazy fellow? When will you wake up? You say you’ll just take a short nap. You’ll just fold your hands and rest in your easy chair. Then when exam time comes your education will be gone, as though it had been stolen by a thief (vss 9-11).”

We’re not told much about Jesus’ childhood years, but God tells us, when Jesus was twelve he was found having a profound discussion with wise men schooled in the Jewish religion. Everyone was astonished at his understanding of the scriptures, and his responses to the learned men (Luke 2:46-47). Is it reasonable to believe he burned the midnight oil, cramming for the discussion?

Verse 40 tells us Jesus grew. Physical growth is a day-by-day process. An infant doesn’t go to bed one night, and wake up full-grown in the morning.

Jesus also grew in other ways. He developed a strong spiritual life, became filled with knowledge, and increased in the graciousness of God.

But it didn’t all stop there. After Mary and Joseph found him he returned home with them. His wisdom continued to grow, as did his body. He also increased in favour with God, and with the people around him (vs 52). This didn’t come by cramming for a couple nights; it was a day-by-day process.

As though to show us this was not unique to Jesus, God told us John the Baptist went through the same process (Luke 1:80).

The process was not lost on the apostle Paul. He wrote to Timothy, “Study diligently so you won’t be ashamed by lack of understanding when you teach the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).” Paul did not tell Timothy to go bleary-eyed from last-minute cramming, but to study diligently day-by-day.

The day is coming when we will each face our final exam. It won’t determine whether we can prove the Pythagorean Theory, nor how well we can compose a logical and meaningful sentence in language class, nor whether we know how long the Hundred Year War lasted. Our final exam will determine how much we grew in the knowledge of God’s word, and in favour with God and humanity.

Are you preparing, every day, for your final exam, or are you telling God you’ll cram for it at the last minute?

“Go to the ant you sluggard. Consider her ways, and be wise.”

Leslie A Turvey
A servant of the only true and living God

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