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I am currently reading Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (Thomas Nelson, 2006).  I will probably share a blog post or two after completing the book, but I am already finding its contents to be extremely challenging and enlightening.  Buchanan calls us to greater attentiveness to God and the things of Spirit in the midst of a culture, sometimes even a religious one, in which “busyness is a fetish,” stillness is considered laziness, and rest is viewed as sloth.

One of the serendipitous jewels that I encountered early in the book was Buchanan’s hypothetical consideration of how a modern publisher might have responded to Solomon after receiving a draft submission of the book of Proverbs.  After commending Solomon for his “gems of insight” and his ability to cover diverse topics with great brevity, the publisher writes:

“But I need to be frank with you, Sol: this is an editorial nightmare.  It is all over the place.  One minute you’re talking about nattering wives, the next about kings’ hearts, and then suddenly you’re on about table manners, lazy people, poor men, whatever.  You repeat yourself in many places, contradict yourself in others.  I’m intrigued but confused.  I wish you would take one theme per chapter and develop it fully.”

The imaginary publisher also suggests that Solomon consider a title change from The Proverbs to something catchier like Zingers: One-Liners to Delight Your Friends and Humiliate Your Enemies.

Buchanan has Solomon respond to the publisher’s request for a “thesis statement” for his manuscript with a quote lifted from the book itself (14:8): “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

Buchanan’s immediate point is that we need to wisely “give thought to our ways” rather than travel life’s pathway in foolish disregard of where we are heading.  But, in making this point so cleverly and creatively, Buchanan also succeeded in reminding me of just how abundantly evident it is that Scripture is the result of the mind of God and the working of the Holy Spirit rather than the will and the words of man.

Man would have never put Scripture together like God did; and I am eternally grateful for that. 

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January 2023