This just so happened to be the “verse of the day” that I get on my IPhone every day. The “verse of the day” comes to me by way of an app called “youversion”. If you don’t have youversion on your phone and/or tablet then I would highly recommend it. Just go to your app store and get it (it’s not just for Apple by the way); it’s free and once you start exploring you will see why I use it so much because it is really good. By gosh it will even read the bible to you in most any version you choose.
Anyhow, this verse from Proverbs pops up the other day and it gets me thinking about the words. I am first drawn to the word “pursue”. This seems different from words like, “seek” or “search” or “look for”. There is a higher level of intentionality in the word “pursue”, wouldn’t you agree? I looked it up in the Hebrew; rather than typing it all out I just cut and pasted:
To be behind, follow after, pursue, persecute, run after
1. to pursue, put to flight, chase, dog, attend closely upon
2. to persecute, harass (fig)
3. to follow after, aim to secure (fig)
4. to run after (a bribe) (fig)
1. to be pursued
2. one pursued (participle)
c. (Piel) to pursue ardently, aim eagerly to secure, pursue
d. (Pual) to be pursued, be chased away
e. (Hiphil) to pursue, chase
Look at the words up there. To pursue ardently, eagerly, to chase or to ‘dog’.” Apparently to “pursue” in the sense that it is used in the Hebrew connotes some heavy action and initiative on the part of the believer.
There is another word in the verse that needs some attention. The word is “righteousness” which, simply put, means “rightness” with God. This is like forgetting your anniversary (hang with me here for a second). You honestly forgot your anniversary and you feel horrible about it so, in order to make it right (or as right as you can), you shower your wife with roses and dinners and diamonds and cruises. She smiles and says, “why don’t you forget every year!!!!!” You know, in that moment, that you have made it right, although, you are not going to risk the forgetting every year. If nothing else, you’d go broke.
Same with God, sort of. We mess up. We want to make it right. So, we try our best to make it right (it’s called repentance).
Add into all of this the pursuit of kindness and presto, you will find righteousness and life and even honor.
Now, here’s the question that this verse brought up for me. If I take my life as a whole, as I am living it right now, am I pursuing a right standing with God with the kind of dogged determination that the Hebrew text implies? Am I pursuing a life of holiness that would most certainly be “right” in the eyes of God? Or, is my “pursuit” more part time, you know, when it’s convenient, or easy, or appropriate, or, when it doesn’t change the things that I do not want to change?
In other words, when it’s easy or when it best suits my needs.
Although I already know the answer, it makes me wonder why I don’t PURSUE this with the same dogged determination that I pursue a tennis shot that logic tells me I should not be able to get to. Why isn’t the “Proverbs Pursuit” the most important thing in my life that gets top priority over and above all things? Why do I try so hard to please everyone and to make everyone happy and to not “upset anyone” and yet, rarely if ever have those same thoughts in regards to God? Why do I doggedly pursue my goals in the gym and then give my goals with my life with God only a passing glance most of the time?
Shouldn’t this be my life pursuit? Shouldn’t the “Proverbs Pursuit” take priority over everything and everyone? The short answer of course is “yes”.
Have I got you thinking? I hope so because if you are reading these words then you are most certainly seeking “life” in the dozens of ways that it can be defined. You are pursuing life. So am I.
Now we know how to find it; right?
The Proverbs Pursuit.