The Bible is the Living Word of God and it does surprise us time and time again. Sometimes I wonder who has added a story there because I have missed it before. But the Word of God speaks to us when we are ready to listen. We pass things that puzzle us or are somehow irrelevant to us and later on we cherish exactly those verses like new gifts.
The key into reading the Bible is prayer. We need to approach the Bible with prayer. We need the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes to see. We need guidance to enable us to act on what we read. All and all, the Bible is a fascinating book. I’m totally hooked on it. Or should I say I am totally hooked on God who desires to communicate with us through the Bible?
Here’s one of those verses that used to puzzle me. Don’t be too righteous or too wise, or you may be dumbfounded. (Ecc.7:16, CEB) And, yes, I did choose to share this on purpose right after yesterday’s “How to become righteous” post. Are you with me? How can we be told not to be too righteous? Isn’t it a good thing?
The point here, however, is not that righteousness would be a bad thing. Not at all. Righteousness by God’s grace is indeed the best thing ever. But there are other types of righteousness that are not that healthy. And that’s what the verse is talking about. Read the same verse from the Amplified Bible and you will see what I mean:
Be not [morbidly exacting and externally] righteous overmuch, neither strive to make yourself [pretentiously appear] overwise—why should you [get puffed up and] destroy yourself [with presumptuous self-sufficiency]? (Ecc. 7:16, AMP, emphasis added)
And suddenly the verse makes perfect sense. It talks about self-righteousness! We should not go back into living under the law. If God has redeemed us by grace, we should live under the gospel. Not under the law. We are not supposed to try to earn our way to heaven. We are to rest in God’s grace. And let God change us according to his will.
Righteousness is a beautiful thing. Self-righteousness is not.
Righteousness is Christ-likeness. Self-righteousness is selfishness.
Righteousness is God-focused. Self-righteousness is self-focused.
You see the difference.
Choose your side.
Thank you for the Bible.
Thank you for teaching us,
speaking to us, and
interacting with us.
Thank you for the gift of grace,
that we can’t earn our way to heaven.
That it’s all grace.
You have redeemed us.
We don’t want to go back to slavery.
Keep us from self-righteousness.
Enable us to always live in your grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you have some Bible verses that puzzle/used to puzzle you?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you keep on studying the Word of God!