Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful. ~ Proverbs 16:20 (NLT)
Have you ever tried to assemble something that came with horrible instructions? Yeah. It is a royal pain. The layout doesn’t make sense and the screws they send with it never seem to fit any of the pre-drilled holes perfectly. Nothing seems to fit together properly. Let’s just say that having to put stuff together has nearly ruined many a Christmas day for me and my brother as we tried to piece together the gifts our kids were given. In fact, it was getting so bad that my whole family passed a rule together. The rule goes like this: If we purchased a gift for any child the gift-giver was obligated to put it together.
Maybe you’ve never had to assemble a kid’s toy, but I’m guessing that you can relate in one way or another. Maybe it’s getting lost in a maze of streets in some downtown area. Maybe it’s not being able to figure out how turn on the TV. Or, just maybe, following the directions to solve that ridiculous math problem just isn’t working out. (That was certainly my case in high school. The directions looked worse than the problem itself).
In our faith, God gives us some instructions to follow in order to have a good Christian life. In addition to the 10 Commandments there are others sprinkled throughout the Old and New Testaments. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes struggle to follow those instructions too. I try really hard, but it doesn’t seem to help me obey.
This is why King Solomon helps identify the missing ingredient to following instructions. We need to seek out the instruction-giver so that He can clarify things, help us understand, and lead us through the problem. In our verse today, Solomon wrote, “Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.” Notice that last part. We can have some prosperity if we just try to keep the Lord’s commands. But, when our hope, our trust, our power is securely found in Him, we experience joy!
So today, and every day, don’t just try to do good, put your trust, your hope, in Jesus who is truly good. He will direct your steps. He will give you perfect instructions. And, when you follow His lead, He will flood your life with joy as a result.