Thursday, February 28, 2013

Don't just kill it - roast it!

One of the verses that jumped out at me today is not one you’d see in a Hallmark card, but it may just become one of my new favorites!

The lazy man does not roast his game,

    but the diligent man prizes his possessions. (Proverbs 12:27 NIV 1984)

I wanted to look at it in a couple of other versions:

Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,

    but the diligent man will get precious wealth. (ESV)

A lazy life is an empty life,

    but “early to rise” gets the job done. (The Message)

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. (KJV)

You may wonder why I bothered... However, I just thought this was such a weird verse, and I wanted to see how on earth it could apply to my life! I don’t hunt, so it’s not an allusion with which I can identify. Jon Courson to the rescue! I looked in his commentary to see what he had gleaned from this (other than the fact that we should be diligent, not lazy). Here’s what he had to offer:

The slothful man stalks his game. He fires his shot. He likes the chase, the excitement, the adventure. But he doesn’t like dressing the animal or building a fire to roast it because those jobs are tedious. In the same way, many preachers spend hours in preparation but only moments in prayer. In the Word, prayer is often symbolized by fire. Therefore, in your own Bible study, make sure you “cook” what you find in the fire of prayer. We can be intrigued by theology, interested in systematic study, amazed by God’s truths practically. But if the Word of God isn’t cooked in our own hearts by the passion of prayer, our study and our preparation is only half-baked. Anyone can hunt and make the kill. Only the committed will bother to do the real work of roasting it. May God give us substance by making us diligent in all we do. (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Old Testament, Vol 2, P. 213)

Ouch! I hear you, LORD!! I needed that! The cooking is in the prayer time! I can spend hours studying His Word, and being blessed out of my socks by the encouragement, comfort, and practical applications I find in it. But if I’m not baking my study in prayer - seeking what it is He wants to tell me, what He wants me to DO about it, and asking for the strength and courage to actually do it - I am never going to truly be changed or help change my world. And it isn’t the kind of two-minute, “show me what You want me to know” prayer. In order to roast something, it needs slow turning over the fire. It requires heat (passion) and time.

And, even more important than looking for strength and guidance from God, is the seeking of His face! This is the kind of prayer that Jesus prayed when He would get away from the crowds. He wasn’t just trying to determine God’s will - He was seeking time with His Father. He wanted intimate communion. He needed as much of His Father’s presence as He could get to face the tasks the Father had given Him. Jesus not only knew completely God’s Word, He is the Word! So, it wasn’t more knowledge that He sought - it was more of God the Father!

So, this silly verse, that seemed so random to me at first glance, has now become so much more to me. God is showing me that there is a spiritual laziness in my life. I’m all over the excitement of reading His Word - the adventure of finding new treasures. But I don’t want to do the truly hard work of devoting LOTS of time in prayer seeking my Father. I’ve always been willing to leave that truly intense prayer time to those with the “gift” of intercession - to turn my prayer requests into the prayer chain, let the elders pray over that. That’s their job! Not that I don’t pray, “cuz I do - and I love praying for the needs of others. But if I’m going to be truly transformed, I need to spend that personal time not only talking to but listening to my Father.

LORD, help me with this commitment! The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!  

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