A Craftsman at His Best

“Then Moses said to the people of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach… He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer…'”

“And all the craftsmen among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains. They were made of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns, with cherubim skillfully worked. The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. All the curtains were the same size.

“He coupled five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he coupled to one another.  He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain of the first set. Likewise… of the second set. He made fifty loops on the one curtain, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set. The loops were opposite one another. And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains one to the other with clasps. So the tabernacle was a single whole.” Exodus 35:30-35; 36:8-13

All the best ingredients, adorned with the image of God, filled with His breath. Fearfully and wonderfully made above all creatures, a little lower than angels. Such are the makings of man, the Creator’s crown jewel, a living temple on earth that He indwells. It was he God chose and gifted to fashion His portable tabernacle with nature’s most exquisite materials. The Supreme Craftsman at His best endows His people to do and give their best in His kingdom work. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; Psalm 8:3-8; 139:13-16; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)

Just as the tabernacle was crafted to represent the presence of God among His people along their journey, so the LORD has designed us to carry and reflect His presence along our way. Whether it be in our conversation or demeanor, an embrace or our work, our behind-the scenes planning or our very public service, in the measure we exemplify Christ Jesus and His beauty, those we know and interact with can be touched by His Spirit.

How clearly am I reflecting His image of holiness, love, grace, and truth? How carefully am I employing my Maker’s design for relationships, discipline, accountability, personal responsibility, godly order? How generously am I extending mercy and compassion to the broken? How heartily am I fulfilling what He has created me to do? How robustly do I serve His will and the needs of others? How well can others sense His spirit of peace in my reactions to trials and current events, in my countenance? (Ephesians 2:10)

Father, cause every aspect of my life to reflect the beauty, wisdom, and excellencies of my Master Craftsman. Mark me, as I mark all I touch, with Your indelible grace and splendor.

Stepping into the Story

“You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus… We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-7,10

For most, we live life, determine next steps, go our own way, unaware of our distance from God. If we are His, at a point in time, He steps in to save us, and we step into the story He’s been writing for us all along. What was lifeless rises with vitality. Our direction changes and affections are transformed. Natural passions become spiritual, and temporal sight takes on an eternal perspective.

Once made alive with Christ, we are captured by heavenly purpose. Our old self fades as we increasingly know God, and find ourselves in His glorious, pulsing flow of eternal life in the present. Captivated by this new and benevolent Master, we proceed with holy passion and focus previously unknown. Stepping into the story our Lord is writing means taking up His identity, and exemplifying and implementing His gracious workmanship. It means investing our energy and efforts, with holy enthusiasm, into the work He has marked out for us. (Romans 6:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24)

When our Lord has saved us, our story takes on a whole new dimension. Our spirits awaken to new and beautiful meaning, and our sanctified impulse is to hold out our hands and say, “Here am I” to every good work He has planned. We delight in His plot, we engage with His characters, we are captivated by His storyline that holds tension and resolve and meaning every day we live. What an inspiration, what a comfort, to be part of God’s story! (1 Samuel 3:4; Isaiah 6:8)

What fleeting charms of this world, what flesh passions, have a stronghold on us? Have we allowed habitual sin attitudes and practices to callous our hearts and blind our eyes? Where are we avoiding, or resisting, by inaction or alternate action, Jesus’s beckoning of grace? Ultimately His love call is irresistible… do we hear it? It is also irrevocable, so the sooner we step out of our old inclinations into step with Him, the more quickly we can be about His good work for us. (Romans 11:29)

Perfect Father, thank You for Your grace. May I keep Your pace through every page of the story You are writing of my life in Christ. Teach me Your ways, and help me do Your works, that I may know and reflect Your glory. (Exodus 33:13-18)

The Start of the Story

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption… as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time…

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we… might be to the praise of his glory. In him you… were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” Ephesians 1:3-14

In the beginning, God created form from chaos, and light from void, but man was different. It is an attention-grabbing, life-altering realization that from before the foundation of the world, we were known and loved, and to eternity future we will live out a heavenly inheritance now kept for us. For those who live for only this life, there is nothing more startling, more consequential, than to grasp this eternal purpose. To hum along with limited hope, and to think physical death ends it all, robs us of the richness of living that God always intended. Our present is not meaningless, but in Christ throbs with spiritual riches that infuse all we are, and see, and do. Every day is an integral part of our ongoing sanctification that will culminate one day in glory. (Genesis 1:1-4; Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 15:19)

In times when our lives are shaped by posted snippets, both selected and received, and identities are defined by our prescription or others’ opinions, would we pause to consider who really started our story? What a blast of invigorating hope and purpose, to know that from eternity past Christ knew us by name, and we own every spiritual blessing in Him! If I trust my life’s Author, I will seek Him, His word, His ways. If He has determined my chief end, and given talents and resources to fulfill it, how does this deepen my worship and spiritual resolve? How does it elevate my daily and long-term goals?

If the start of our story- of days, of faith, of unique commingling with and contribution to society- began in the mind and heart of Almighty God, what zeal for work and service does that inspire? If the Lord has written our names in His book and numbered our days, can we help but wonder at His love, grace, and will? If He’s made us to live for Him and not ourselves, are we not bolstered with holy drive to discover and fulfill His purposes? (Malachi 3:16; Psalm 139:13-16; Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:1-2)

Author of my story, grant me wisdom to grasp, and enlighten the eyes of my heart to know, the hope to which You have called me, the riches of Your glorious inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of Your resurrection power. (Ephesians 1:17-20)

Gifts Ignited

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do… Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.'” Exodus 31:1-11,13

Called, filled, appointed, given. The LORD who imagines supplies for the making, the Designer determines those who devise and accomplish His plans. Such is the artistry of God Almighty, that He would make the makers and infuse them with the makings required. He could work solo, as He did (within the Trinity) in the beginning , but He has instilled in man glorious purpose, and the equipping to carry it out. We glorify Him when we employ His gifts for His beautiful plan, and develop as the individuals He’s created us to be.

The Lord God has crafted us each with specific ability and intelligence, to do work to reflect His beauty. He’s called us to take our part in exalting Him, and making a place for others to also. He’s given us tools to adorn His reputation, words and talents and activities that exalt His name. He gives opportunity to support and bless those who lead us in worship, instruction, and shepherding, to assist those who bring us His word. He’s created us to obey, igniting a proper fear of and desire for Him, and to rest for renewal.

Someone may question that we have ‘a story,’ a testimony that propels a life aim, not realizing that God has designed a providential plan, not recognizing there even is a supreme Sovereign who authors our life and faith. But He writes and perfects each one, and we participate by fanning into flame the gifts He’s instilled, and utilizing them in His service according to His schedule and strength, not our own. How yielded to Him, and how well invested are we as His servants? (2 Timothy 1:6-7; Hebrews 12:2)

What specific gifts, and what specific tasks, has my Lord assigned to me in the church? How am I particularly involved in His larger, magnificent purpose? (Psalm 57:2; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 43:7)

Holy Spirit, ignite in me the gifts You’ve bestowed to fulfill Your intent with excellence, adorn Your renown with beauty, and bring glory to Your holy name.

The Composition of Consecrated Fragrance

“Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil.  Make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the basin and its stand. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will become holy. You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. You shall say to the people, ‘This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.’

“Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you. The incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord.  Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.'” Exodus 30:22-25,34-38

“Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,..
says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

There was a very specific composition of the fragrant oil used to consecrate Israel’s priests, and there is a very specific consecration for the children of God today. The Old Testament recipe for sacred oil was measured in spices and fragrances, blended carefully for application on all things holy and pertaining to the priests’ work and worship. The New Testament recipe is a separate consecration from the world, and the sprinkling of the saving blood of Christ applies to every part of our life and work and worship.

For our ministry to be fragrant to Jesus, we must go about it His way, with love, thoughtfulness, reverence, and grace. With what care do we consecrate our tools of trade, our hours and weeks, our efforts and expenditures, in earnest prayer and surrender? Is there a pull from the world, or a reluctance or sloth, that keeps us from doing all we do as unto the Lord and for His glory, not for ourselves or our agenda? (Colossians 3:23)

“Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.” ~Frances Ridley Havergal (1874)

Amen and amen.

What About Aroma?

“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. And with the first lamb a tenth measure of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests. I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them.” Exodus 29:38-46

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

The sense of smell opens its nose in fascinating ways in Scripture. After detailed descriptions of cut and flayed animal sacrifices, thrown and applied blood, we are told the regular morning and evening offerings emit a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The gory is required before the pleasant arrives to permeate and please, and the Lord is present and glorified in that place.

It couldn’t be the actual smell of death in the offerings that brought pleasure to God, but the honor and obedience and looking forward in offering the sacrifice prescribed. He was giving illustration, in all its horror, of a perfect lamb being killed to atone for sin. Life was in the blood, and blood spilled and applied brings eternal life in Christ. His presence at the altar, in the offering, among and within His people, is a loveliness and glory we cannot describe. (Leviticus 17:11; John 1:29)

Paul explains the dichotomy of the aroma of Christ- to rebels the stench of death, to believers a fragrance of life. The crucifixion was ugly and horrible, and to those who reject its balm of grace, it remains a putrid horror. But to those who are, by God’s mercy, plunged beneath Calvary’s blood, it emits the scent of resurrection life that infuses our whole being. Christ’s love makes the cross bloom.

How do we respond to Christ’s sacrifice for us? Do we view the wounds, the blood, the agony and suffocation, and become repulsed? Or do we embrace the excruciating gift of God on the cross as His beautiful flowing grace to our sin, emitting the fragrance of eternal life?

Lord, my Beloved, may Your perfume anoint my coming and going, the words of my mouth and the love of my hands, that others will be drawn to Your fragrance of life. (Song of Solomon 1:3)

The Agony and Ecstasy of Waiting

“Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness… The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.’ So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and went up into the mountain of God. He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we return to you. Aaron and Hur are with you.’

“Then Moses went up the mountain… The glory of the Lord… and the cloud covered it six days. On the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud… and was on the mountain forty days and forty nights…

“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves to Aaron and said, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses,.. we do not know what has become of him.’  So Aaron said, ‘Take off the rings of gold… and bring them to me…’ He received the gold and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it.” Exodus 24:9-10,12-18; 32:1-2,4-5

All God says, He will do. Moses believed this, and by faith ascended Mount Sinai and waited in the cloud with what we imagine was hushed anticipation. His glimpse of God’s indescribable glory was enough to captivate his soul for all God would present in His way and time.

But not so for Aaron. He’d witnessed the same splendor of the clear-as-heaven sapphire under God’s feet, but restless flesh overshadowed its radiance. He’d heard the instructions, but impatience and whining swallowed his will to obey. Rather than doing his assigned job, he succumbed to the rabble, elevating restless complaint over reverence for the Almighty who’d faithfully delivered and provided for them.

Moses spent forty days unlike man ever would, humbled in the divine presence of the LORD who spoke holy words and supernaturally engraved His law on stone tablets. Aaron spent his time pacing and restless at crowd speak, and took to tooling himself a heathen idol per his untamed impulses. Moses experienced an ecstasy of communion that changed him forever and marked him God’s friend and servant, but Aaron an agony of judgment and shame, and a strain of willful rebellion that would be detrimental for generations. (Exodus 32:7-10,16,19-21,35; 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:5; 1 Samuel 2:12-17,27-34)

Wherever the Lord has me waiting, what attitude toward His word determines my mindset and actions? Do I chafe restlessly at perceived delays, or still myself to listen more closely for His whisper, believing He is never late? Would I choose the ecstasy of knowing Him better while waiting, than the agony of missing out on what I’ll never know? (1 Kings 19:11-12)

Father, attune my ears to Your voice, and my heart to Your holy time table. May I daily tarry, for as long as You determine, in trusting, joyful expectancy, like a watchman waits for the morning. (Psalm 27:14; 130:6)

Real Equality

“God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

“Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs… an offering to the Lord. All… are to give… The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. Receive the atonement money… and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.” Exodus 30:13-16

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect… as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life.” 1 Peter 3:7

Much of the talk about equality today revolves around exemplifying differences. It seems an inverted way of defining. The Scriptures embody equality by stating what is the same in every person. As the crowning glory of all God made, humans were fashioned as the only creatures made in God’s image and commanded to exercise dominion over all creation. He made us able to live in relationship with Him, with eternity in our hearts and a unique will. He designed us male and female, our bodies corresponding to each other to be fruitful and multiply, our souls to be suitable helpers to one another. (Genesis 2:7-9,15-24; Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Throughout the Scriptures, He does not distinguish in any prejudicial way between varying nationalities or abilities or hierarchies or social strata, except to differentiate between those who would seek after Him and receive His gift of eternal life, and those who would reject Him, follow after other gods, and live estranged from Him. He makes reference to our equality time and again: He came for all, He breaks down barriers between factions and makes enemies friends, and there is to be no favoritism. (John 3:16; Romans 2:11; 5:10; James 2:1-4)

When we take our eyes off what the Lord made us all to be, our call to glorify Him and serve His purposes, we can easily get tangled in messages and circumstances that knock us off kilter. When we turn from His voice, and let feelings rule our faith, we confuse the simplicity and beauty of the distinctiveness we each bring to the Body. We look different, sound different, and offer different gifts, but each is equal in standing, value, importance, and inheritance. (Isaiah 43:7; 1 Corinthians 12:4-27)

Am I secure in my identity in Christ? How does the equality God has assigned to every person shape my perception of others?

Creator God, help me do what I can to promote, with grace and Christ-like love, the reality of Your unity in my world.

Watch First, Then Help

“Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. Then Moses told [him] all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. Jethro said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you…  Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods…’

“The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and they stood around Moses from morning till evening. When [Jethro] saw all that he was doing.., he said, ‘What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?’ Moses said, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide…’ [Jethro] said, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone… I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes.., and make them know… what they must do. Moreover, look for able men who fear God, who are trustworthy.., and place [them] over the people as chiefs…  Let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So they will bear the burden with you.  If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people will go to their place in peace.’

“So Moses listened to [Jethro] and did all he said. Moses chose able men and made them heads over the people… Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. Then [Jethro] went away to his own country.” Exodus 18:7-11,13-27

When Jethro visited Moses, his intention was to return his wife and sons. But God made the short visit count for much good in Moses’s and others’ lives. Once Jethro had heard all God has done, he realized how mightily God was using his son-in-law as Israel’s leader. He listened, he watched, and the Lord directed his objective observation into wise counsel for His man. The advice he gave enabled Moses to thrive in his strengths, and other leaders to develop theirs. (Exodus 18:1-6)

Are we prone to haste? How often do we jump right into a circumstance laden with ideas, opinions, and advice without first seeking God’s wisdom, or considering the big picture and specific needs of those we are ‘helping’? Do we esteem our own experiences above the ones of those we serve, or our smarts more than omniscient God’s? What difference would it make for individuals in our community, or under our care or supervision, if we watched, waited on the Lord, and consider all aspects of a situation before acting?

Father, help me be measured and discerning as I observe and advise. Grant me spiritual insight, wisdom, and graciousness for every situation and friend.

My Friend Wisdom

“My son, keep my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you;
 keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’
    and call insight your intimate friend,
to keep you from the forbidden woman,
    from the adulteress with her smooth words…

‘Now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek you eagerly, and I have found you…’

And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths.” Proverbs 7:1-5,15,24-25

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
    but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“How much better to get wisdom than gold!
    To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” Proverbs 16:16

“Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Wise King Solomon had wise words for his sons. He knew the importance and impression of companions, that their character and charms influenced both attitude and action. The best friend he commended was wisdom herself. She was to be valued, she would warn and make wise, her companionship would sharpen heart and mindset toward the fear of God. (Proverbs 9:10)

At the ancient library in Ephesus, Turkey, Lady Wisdom stands tall alongside Virtue, Knowledge, and Intelligence. Certainly all are worthy companions, but it is she alone the Lord says will bring proper reverence for God and understanding of His ways. Without spiritual wisdom, the others cannot contribute, or effectuate, their beauty and benefit.

Friendship with wisdom brings a humble chiding and careful correction, like stone tumbling with stone to soften rough edges and strengthen our core. Friendship with the wise is mutually encouraging in spiritual growth, maturity in godliness, perseverance in ministry. Developing good friendships with the wise results in good relationships, endeavors, marriages, movements. It draws each in the relationship to deeper understanding, broader love, and higher worship. (Galatians 6:1-3; Hebrews 10:24-25)

Who are our favorite friends, and why do we seek their camaraderie and confidence? Those we walk alongside, and in whom we invest our energy, attention, and affection, will help determine our course of life. If we choose ambition, a never ending push to get and gain, we will expend ourselves for treasure that in the end comes up empty. If we choose to surround ourselves with people who flatter us, but fail to point us to Jesus, we will have an inflated view of ourselves that time will pop and deflate. But friendship with the wise makes for meaningful, fruitful living, and benefits us, our allies, and all those we serve. (Isaiah 55:2-3)

“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
Born of thy love, thy child may I be,  
thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.” ~St. Dallán Forgaill (530-598)

Father, may I treasure Your wisdom above all companions, for in it I learn to fear and praise You aright. And of that You are supremely worthy.