A whining Schnauzer woke me up a little before 4:00am this morning. Grumbling, I took her to the sliding glass door leading to the backyard, had her sit, then stepped outside to check the yard with my phone flashlight. It’s not necessarily something I enjoy doing at that early hour, nor, considering the state of my attire, is it something the neighbors would enjoy witnessing if they happened to be up. However, it is a ritual that I now find necessary following some very loud Schnauzer/raccoon fisticuffs a few weeks ago which saw the Schnauzer tapping out in the first round due to a rear naked chokehold. This morning, the coast was clear. The dog did her business, then came back inside and promptly fell back asleep. I, however, did not. Early morning barefoot, backyard raccoon hunting tends to pump just enough adrenaline into my system to make going back to sleep out of the question.
Stretching out on the couch, I decided to get a hurricane update. Turned out, the stubborn storm still hadn’t left the Bahamas. I can’t blame it – the Bahamas isn’t the kind of tropical paradise that I’d want to quickly pass through either. The Fox & Friends main team had started before their usual time in order to give added gravity to the crisis the eastern seaboard is facing. After passing it off to three field reporters who each ensured us by holding onto their hats and getting rained on in the face that, Yes, there really is a hurricane out there, they began an interview with Graeme Davis. Davis is the CEO of Baha Mar Resort in Nassau on the island of New Providence.
The Foxers began by asking him to describe the devastation around him. Davis replied that there wasn’t any. In fact, the hurricane had pretty much missed the island. He said that Grand Bahama island is where most of the devastation has occurred. But on New Providence island where he is at, the resort is open, the international airport is fully operational, and the city of Nassau is operating as usual. This seemed to take the two Foxes and the Foxette a little off-guard. They asked a couple more questions about the terrible state of the island nation, but Davis kept his optimistic demeanor.
Here is where I must slip into impressions and speculations. It seemed to me that Fox couldn’t get the guy off fast enough, because he was totally raining on their storm. He was the inadvertently invited pooper to their Hurricane Devastation Party. Admittedly, it could have just been that they were up against a hard break or something, which is why they cut into him mid-sentence and shut him down. What I do know is that while I had them on in the background for the next hour, they never once mentioned the positive news that only a portion of the Bahamas was devastated and not the entire country.
Who do we believe? Is Fox hyping the devastation in order to keep people tuned in? is Davis down-playing the situation, because he’s a businessman and doesn’t want people canceling their reservations? The reason that I bring this up is that we are about to start a series in Proverbs called Blind Spots. Bookstores, daytime TV, and places of worship are all stuffed full of sages claiming to provide wisdom and truth. How do we know who or what to believe? It’s an important question because there are a lot of authors, television personalities, and pastors who claim to be purveyors of truth but are really heralds of heresy (don’t know if that phrase exactly fits here, but it‘s hard to pass up good alliteration).
What we will find in Proverbs is that there is one foundation for truth and wisdom – the fear of the Lord; and there is one standard by which they must be measured – the Word of the Lord. In the Bible we find all the how-tos for doing the wise and avoiding the foolish. While much of Scripture is rifle-shot in its truth-telling, i.e., Jesus tells an entire parable in order to communicate one point, reading Proverbs is like taking a full load of wisdom buckshot. There are so many pellets of truth hitting one right after another that it is difficult to keep them straight. Reading through a chapter in Proverbs is like reading through a book of Aesop’s Fables, but skipping all the stories and just reading the morals – “So don’t ignore discipline, but learn from it”, “So don’t run with schemers, but follow righteousness”, “So work hard in the good times so you won’t be hungry in the bad”. It can get overwhelming, and the quality of each individual point can be lost in the quantity of the whole.
Starting Sunday and lasting through the end of November, we’re going to look at the major subjects that Proverbs deals with. This will allow us to learn what the Lord teaches us in this Wisdom book about money and pride and parenting and anger and justice and laziness and a number of other subjects. It’s as practical as it gets. So, please plan on making Sunday mornings a high priority. I’m expecting that all of us are going to be encouraged by much of what we’re doing right and challenged to do better in some of those blind spots where we may be allowing the world’s foolishness to overtake the wisdom of the Lord.