Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Proverbs, Chapter Three

1 ¶ My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
This isn’t the only time God warns us not to forget His law just as Solomon is warning his son not to forget his own. Read Psalm 119 when you get the chance.
Remember this memory verse?
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
And this one?
Psalm 119:129 PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
Listen to what your parents have told you. Don’t forget the rules that God has laid out for us, His standard of righteousness for the Christian. Here are some by way of example.
Romans 13:1 ¶ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 ¶ Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 ¶ And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
God promises the Hebrew and also you Christians by the way, that honoring your parents will give you success, as Solomon is doing here. Notice these two verses in two different dispensations;
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Now with regard to God’s law;
Psalm 119:77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
Romans 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
This is about success in life. No Christian has salvation by following the Law. But, if you want to have peace and success in life you had better look to God’s standard of righteousness, which is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Make note here. The Christian is not promised a long life and he is promised tribulation. The Jew under the Law was promised physical long life and success by following the law. Make special note of the spiritual and internal qualities of the promises to the Christian compared to the physical and earthly promises made to the ancient Hebrew, if he and his people would follow God’s law.
Finally, though, remember, that if you use God’s law to the Jews as a yardstick by which to measure your actions and if you compare to and use as a guide the rules that Paul has laid down for a Christian inasmuch as they repeat the precepts of the Law, you will do well. Just stay on the path from your earliest days. Young people, read Paul’s letters and take them to heart.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
Here are some further verses of note. Keep in mind that truth is synonymous with judgment in;
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Psalm 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
Isaiah 16:5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Isaiah 59:14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Isaiah 59:15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
Isaiah 61:8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Jeremiah 4:2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
Jeremiah 5:1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.
Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
Romans 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
Mercy and truth are linked in this verse in Proverbs, as well.
Genesis 24:27 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.
2Samuel 15:20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
1Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 57:3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
Psalm 57:10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
Psalm 61:7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
Psalm 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Psalm 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
Psalm 98:3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 108:4 For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.
Psalm 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth‘s sake.
Proverbs 14:22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Proverbs 20:28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.
Isaiah 16:5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Micah 7:20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
2John 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Notice Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, the fundamentalists of His day.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Finally, make note of what was said about the words of the Law, after we read over this verse again to keep it fresh in our mind.
Deuteronomy 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
Keep this also in mind as you judge the social controversies of this day and age.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Mercy and truth will usually not put you in bad stead with other people and certainly aren’t in opposition to God. Remember, the real fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5 and the statement after they are listed.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
To find favour and good understanding in the sight of men is a goal of the Christian as well although I know a lot of the Brethren think that the only way to know they are spiritual is if people can’t stand the sight of them. But, God has said;
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
2Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Our character, our honesty, our integrity, and our compassion for the lost should stand out so abundantly clearly that people can not find a reason to hate us other than that they hate Christ. There should be nothing we do that brings shame on Christ’s name. Or, as Paul puts it, let not the name of God be blasphemed among the Gentiles because of us.
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
This great memory verse stands alone, not part of a larger sentence. This thought should be foremost even in a Christian’s mind and heart if they are to weather the storms of life and to appreciate its blessings in their proper perspective. Every Christian is a type of the entire nation of Israel. How were they to trust?
2Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
Completely. There are many verses regarding trusting God in the Old Testament. The Israelites were to put all of their trust in Him. So are you. Trust and believing are linked in this verse.
1Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Even as faith and belief are linked here.
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
So, trust, faith, and belief are all parts of each other. If you say you have faith, you must trust. If you trust, you must believe. There is no way a man or woman comes to saving faith if they neither truly believe or trust. They are all essential.
In this context trusting is about following a certain path. Follow the Lord’s understanding of a matter through His words in this Book not your own. Too many Christians make it up as they go along and say its God that has placed something on their heart. Oftentimes it is the “god of this world” who has done that. We have to turn to God and trust Him and not act on our own opinion of a thing first. Follow the ways God has laid out for us, not the ways our flesh desires. If we lean on our own understanding we are lost and confused. There are only two ways to understand a matter and what should be done regarding it; God’s way and the wrong way.
You are to trust God as you are to love Him; with all your heart.
Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. (Deuteronomy 11:13) 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Leviticus 19:18) 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Examine yourself and see where your affections lie and there you’ll find out what you trust in. I’m not talking about the outward appearance; how often you come to church, how you dress, or the image you put out to other people but what’s in your heart. God knows that, not me or anyone else here. Do you love and trust in God or are you like the sermon by John Wesley, The Almost Christian?
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We are to acknowledge God’s authority and rightful possession of us over every aspect of our lives, every plan, every effort, every thought, and then He, as a result, SHALL direct our paths. Why would you ask for God’s guidance on one thing that troubles you while you ignore Him on everything else and make it up as you go along? The question isn’t “which way should I go” but “which way does God want me to go”. The only way you’ll have a clue is by reading His words and letting Him speak to you through them. I wouldn’t give a dime for even the most spiritual and seemingly Godly person saying God has laid something on their heart apart from the Bible.
The way you were raised means nothing. What good people are doing in your culture means nothing. All that matters is what God has said in His Book. This, not fundamentalist tradition or extraBiblical Christian activities, is the key to acknowledging God and, as a consequence, having Him direct your paths.
7 ¶ Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
The key to failing in life, personally, if not professionally, is to take yourself too seriously, to be overwhelmed with your own wisdom and self importance. We have a saying, “He’s a legend in his own mind” a play on a cliché’ that ends in “time”. Don’t assume you know everything or are the fount of all wisdom and spirituality. In fact, if I’m looking for a person to help me with my walk with Christ I’m looking for someone who has the fruit of the Spirit shining out from them as listed in Galatians 5. What glorifies God are Christians who display those fruit of the Spirit, not religious, self righteous, paranoid fruitcakes.
Three things are said here. Don’t think yourself wise, fear the Lord which we know is the beginning of wisdom, and turn away from maliciousness and sin. If you can understand that you have no true wisdom apart from God as revealed in His Bible, then you are not likely to get tied up in the pain of self righteous defeat and disgrace in life.
Be in awe and respect the God who created you and who is your Saviour. Acknowledge His authority over you. And walk away from sin and every bad thing.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Being wise in your own eyes has destroyed countries and cultures. Germany paid for a century of the heresy of so called “Higher Criticism” of the Bible by being crushed in two world wars. Great Britain lost its empire as a direct result of its foreign missions society turning its back on the Authorized Version of the Bible in the early 1900’s and then trying to doublecross the Jews with regards to promises made about Palestine. The United States began its great moral decline upon the acceptance by the mass of Christians of apostate Bibles and the rapid growth of Bible illiteracy with the modern Christian adult knowing far less about the Bible than the average eight year old of the 1800’s. Christian churches became an arm of the government in World War One as they had become during the Civil War, nothing more than a propaganda department for the government, and by their political action gave us the Income Tax, World War One, and feminism in order to get the Prohibition Amendment passed. Decades later, The United States Army and the Communist Chinese noticed a huge difference between the quality of soldiers who served in the Second World War and those who served in Korea, a five year difference, so much so that the communists ignored those over 30 when they tried to turn them into collaborators in prison camps. I have the documentation to back up what I’m saying.
While America’s military might and standing were going up, she was rotting on the inside. The country fought a Cold War with Soviet Russia, who would not have existed without our help, in a confused and self defeating manner. The country was torn apart in the 1960’s by social strife and violence, including several prominent assassinations. Spiraling downward, we have, not homosexuals and abortionists to thank for our decline, but apostate Christianity, self righteous and wise in its own eyes, political not spiritual in its intent, almost demanding that a holy God withdraw His blessing.
Even modern fundamentalists will say from the pulpit, “it’s important that you read the Bible”, when, in fact, it is the principal way in which God speaks to His people, through His written words in the Authorized Version known in Madison Avenue parlance as the KJV or King James Version. If you aren’t reading or hearing His word then God is not speaking to you. Period. I don’t care what you think God has laid on your heart, as the saying goes.
We have such monstrosities as that Westboro Baptist Church bunch that denigrates our fallen soldiers, our dead sons and daughters, because we were wise in our own eyes and turned our back on the Bible, manipulative cults, and preachers who think that the fruit of the Spirit I mentioned before is evidenced by your screaming Bible verses through a bullhorn at so called “Gay Pride Rallies” or locking arms with Roman Catholic priests at abortion clinics. Find me one verse in the Bible where Paul advocated picketing the Coliseum with signs to protest the violence or how he tried to effect changes in Roman law. Tell me, in the Bible, how the Christians tried to influence Imperial policy towards the barbarians. Didn’t they rather try to change individual hearts through the gospel of Christ?
America is sliding down because American Christianity is apostate, self serving, self righteous, and wise in its own eyes. The word “evil” in the Bible is used for maliciousness and violence more than merely sinful iniquity. Depart from it. Turn your back on it. Walk away from it. Fear the Lord.
8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
God has used this Book to save my life. He has changed my affections, my desires, my interests, and the value I place on things through this Book. This Book has been used to sustain me, to help me focus, and to cleanse me. I have trusted God to use this Book to keep me from sin and to help me identify sin in my life. I count on God, the Lord Jesus Christ, to use this Book, His Bible, to save me from my flesh, the world, and the Devil. He has already saved me from Hell and the lake of fire.
As one reformer put it and I am paraphrasing, back in the 1500’s, referring to an earlier version of the Bible we here use today, a half hour a day of reading this Book will keep you from gambling, blasphemy, vulgar speech, and nasty entertainments, without you using your will or discipline for a thing. If you come to this Bible and place everything about yourself on the table; your personality, your mannerisms, even your sexuality, God will change you in His way for you without anyone screaming at you. I may not believe all the things you believe are necessary to regard yourself as a Christian or live in exactly the way you think I should live because we often mix in our personal preferences and self worship with our feelings about what is spiritual or righteous but I am confident that God will do with me as He will. I will never be perfect on this earth, however, and you will have plenty of things to criticize me about while I’m alive, I’m sure.
A famous preacher once said that when he became the Pastor of a church in the early 1960’s the Deacons even smoked in the church. He didn’t preach on smoking but preached on reading THIS Bible daily and to a great length. He reports that in two years he only knew of one family in the church who smoked at home. God will do with you as He will if you let Him speak to you through His words in a Book. This Book. Repeat verse 8.
9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
“Katie, bar the door!” as the old timers used to say. Here is a statement that could use some comparisons. The Hebrews should give the firstfruits of their increase, their profit, what is produced from what they have. God warns them, later.
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
There was an elaborate set of rules on giving to God under the Law. But what about us? Many a preacher goes back to the Law to prove a point about giving to the church organization. In fact, Dr. Ruckman says one of the greatest weaknesses of most fundamentalist preaching is that there is too much time spent on attendance and giving. He rarely has to preach on either.
I have been guilty myself of using the word “tithes” in referring to Christian giving, but that word isn’t found in the letters addressed to us. In fact, if you want to start somewhere, that’s a beginning but certainly not an end. Here are some pertinent verses on giving to God for us.
2 Corinthians 9:6 ¶ But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Let me read verse 7 again. Give as you purpose in your heart, consistently. A tithe is, as I said, as good a place to begin as any. Personally, I believe there has to be a standard of giving to the church organization but you should also be prepared to give to others who are truly in need beyond giving to the church. Be prepared to give money to God’s work wherever you find it but not to feel guilty if you can’t. Remember, you have a testimony before the world of honesty and responsibility. If you can’t pay your bills and give liberally to God’s work as you find it or as you participate in it then get rid of some of your bills.
It’s one thing to say, “well, I can’t give as much to God’s work because I have so many obligations”. The problem with that is that you have too much stuff, all of which will be discarded not long after your demise. Its garbage, even great grandpa’s lucky left shoe. And in the end it’s all going to burn. Only what’s done for Christ, by His will, from His Book, will last.
If you are living responsibly and not recklessly, impulsively, or pridefully, you will never go broke giving to God. But you never, ever have an excuse to pay a bill you have agreed to pay, late, so you can pop an extra twenty in the offering plate or send a fiver to the missionary you personally help support in Bora Bora. Young people, purpose in your heart now, to live frugally, not extravagantly, and to give consistently, not only to your church, but to God’s work wherever you find it. You, too, should have a ministry, even if it’s buying gospel tracts to hand out everywhere or helping a poor family or child, or someone who is elderly and infirm, which things are better than tracts, by the way, as they give you a very personal testimony. We’re not selling Avon, here, folks. This is salvation and its free. Tracts are great for when you can’t have a personal witness, such as door hangers, with the tip at a restaurant, etc. but not as a substitute for having a relationship with someone who can see Christ in you.
By the way, Christian giving is not just about money but about time. Don’t sit there like an idiot and calculate how much time you have and how much you must give to God. He should have ALL your time. Give cheerfully, as you purpose in your heart, and don’t neglect your family, your first mission field, or your work responsibilities which promise a rich mission field all its own.
As Bob Jones, Sr. said, “Duties never conflict”. It is possible to meet all of your timely responsibilities unless you’ve taken on unnecessary ones and all of your financial obligations unless you’ve done the same. As a Christian you never have an excuse NOT to pay your mortgage, rent, power bill, car payment, credit card payments, etc. etc. and if YOU have been crushed by something unexpected then the church should help YOU.
The Jews giving was laid out very clearly, as a physical kingdom in a physical world. Your giving is on a spiritual plane and should come from the abundance in your heart for Christ.
Remember, Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
Here is a physical promise to physical Jews that, if a Christian claims, can be a faith killer. Our calling is different than the Jews’ calling was. They were promised physical wealth and success in a material world that God had ordained that they dominate. We, on the other hand, have to realize that our home is in Heaven and our riches are not of this world. If some TV preacher tells you that God wants to make you physically, monetarily wealthy and free from disease, any tribulation, or strife then you better turn him off and….
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Even though Jesus was talking to beard wearing, pork abstaining, temple going, Sabbath observing Jews here the principal is the same for us. God will bless you if you follow His laws and precepts, however, He might bless the Christian with persecution, trouble, and pain because the Jews were to be a lighthouse that drew the world to it while we are to go out in a hostile world and draw people out of it. The Jews were to be a fortress, an example to the Gentiles, called the Nations, while we are a special forces commando team infiltrating Satan’s territory and stealing His goods for Christ. Be careful how many Old Testament promises under the Law you claim.
The garrison soldier can expect three hot meals a day, a warm place to sleep, medical care, and good equipment to work with plus some R&R. Just read the Law and see exactly how things like the Tithe are applied. The commando might have to eat roots and berries to get by, drink water out of a jungle leaf, and bind his own wounds. I know the typology runs amuck at a certain point. My point is for the Christian to be careful of not claiming promises made to a physical kingdom of Jews that are spiritual in application to us.
Having a preacher promise you that you will be rich and free from disease if you are a faithful Christian can lead to disappointment and a loss of faith.
Having said all that, though, if you follow God’s wisdom and His precepts you will most likely have a much better life here on earth than if you ignore them. I’d go even further and say that if you put in mind the things which you think the Bible says please God, your barns will most likely be full.
We need a more satisfying relationship with Christ, a fuller relationship, a more powerful relationship and that is the abundance we need. We need more God and less of ourselves. Follow God’s wisdom and His precepts and your presses will burst out with new wine. By the way, see where new wine comes from in Isaiah 65:8. Its freshly squeezed grape juice and the mocking made in Acts 2:13 is a joke, a sarcastic comment. Also notice how the butler functioned in Egypt in Genesis 40:11.
Once again, take these verses literally but be careful about saying, “I’ve been faithful in church attendance, I tithe faithfully, and I don’t drink, curse, or smoke so God owes me something. I’d like a Mercedes.” You’ll wind up in the disappointed pile. Riches don’t necessarily come from God. They could but they can also come from someone else and be a trap.
11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
Chastening and correction are linked here as synonyms.
Here’s an interesting, seemingly cross dispensational principle. The pagans had a saying that the gods torture those they love. The Creator God, the Trinity, corrects us and teaches us by sometimes hard chastisement and chastening, which are synonymous words in that they mean things alike.
Chastening here is correction as well;
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
Here, in Hebrews, the concept is more fully defined, as in rebuke.
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
In the following verse, the definition of chastisement is harsh punishment or discipline;
1Kings 12:11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
And here it means to correct someone who is turning from the right path and putting them back on the path they should be on.
Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.
Here it is correction as is shown by verse 12.
Psalm 94:10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?
Despise is to regard something with contempt or to hold it in low esteem, not to give it the preeminence and first position it should have.
1Samuel 2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
2Samuel 19:43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
Don’t hold God’s correction in low regard and don’t get tired of His correction is the principal spelled out here.
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Here is the complete thought found in Hebrews which quotes Proverbs and by word substitution defines correction as rebuke and weary as faint. Just compare the verses and look at the corresponding words. Here, in the following verses correction is chastening and scourging and delighting in is receiving by the rules of word substitution and synonyms.
Hebrews 12:4 ¶ Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
By the way, read John 1:12 and tell yourself if you delight in the Lord.
Okay, now I’m going to drop the hammer. These words are all written to Jews under the Law and to Hebrews in the Tribulation. Be careful of applying them literally to you. The Scriptures are given to us for correction. The Bible will correct you, of course, considering that you read it or hear it. God’s correction in this age of the Church is gentle unless you choose to follow Satan in practice, at which time the old pagan proverb holds true. “Satan tortures his own” would be my paraphrase of the old pagan statement.
God promises tribulation to the Christian for following Christ but that is executed by the world and the flesh and the Devil not by God. Be careful of saying some Christian sinned and God kicked his or her behind. All God has to do is to withdraw His blessing from us for a time for disaster to happen. He sees Christ when He sees you. He is not punishing you. Your sin, as Jonathan Edwards pointed out, carries enough pain and agony to give you plenty to think about. All God has to do is to let your sin run its course.
Christians who say, for example, she has arthritis because she has no faith, or she has cancer because God is punishing her, are Biblically illiterate buffoons who have done more to bring shame on the cause of Christ than a whole host of backslidden bar hopping so called Christians.
Now, correct me. Show me under the doctrines of grace where God or Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit chastens or chastises or rebukes or punishes or whips a Christian. That’s all I’m asking; chapters and verses.
Was it God who was punishing Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 or was it Satan because of Paul’s zeal for the Lord’s work? Was not Paul told three times not to go to Jersualem? Did he not suffer as a result, but did not God go with Him? His testimony did not have the power to save when he was imprisoned by the local governor. He suffered because He was not under the protection of God’s will. If you put your hand on the hot stove, don’t blame Mom because she warned you not to. God used Paul in Rome, which was supposed to be his destination, not Jerusalem.
Help me out here. I’m sure some of you have considered this when you lost a child or suffered a disease and wondered “why is God dealing with me so?” I’m not saying I’m correct and there is no argument. I’m asking you to show me wrong. Even at the Judgment Seat of Christ it is our works that will be burned up, not us.
We live in a fallen world and reside in a fallen body. Shall we not have calamity and suffering? If we serve Christ is not tribulation and pain reserved to us physically? Do you accuse God of injustice or inconsistency? Where does it say TO US that God chastens, whips, rebukes, corrects, punishes, apart from His word?
To conclude this point, it does say in the New Testament under the doctrines of grace that the Lord chastens us when we don’t judge ourselves, as in taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily.
1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
We can also be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh because it is God’s hand of blessing that keeps that from happening.
1Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
And for reasons God has, even His faithful servants can have Satan allowed to have some of his way with them, as in Job.
2Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Just be careful, Christian, about blaming God for your physical trouble.
13 ¶ Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Again, wisdom and understanding are linked here. Understanding was shown in Exodus to be God imparting knowledge on how to do specific things to a man and here and in other places it is also linked to wisdom. Happy is also an interesting word. In the first mention it is linked to blessed.
Genesis 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
All through the Bible the word “happy” is used to define the condition of a person who has been blessed by the Lord, not by mere circumstance. In Jeremiah 12:1 and Malachi 3:15, however, the wicked are sad to be happy and the Lord is asked why that is so.
Clearly, happy is not simply referred to as a “feel good” state. For in Peter’s letters people how suffer for Christ and in the gospel of John it is said that people who obey Christ are happy (1 Peter 3:14; 4:14; John 13:17).
I should think it is clear that you are blessed if you find wisdom and get understanding; God’s wisdom and His understanding.
14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
God places a high value on wisdom and understanding. This seems to be the point of Proverbs up to this verse. You and I need to pursue wisdom and to get understanding from it. Our lives will be longer, better, and more useful to God if we have wisdom and understanding, which, of course, the fear of the Lord is the foundation of.
Solomon speaking here makes it clear that it is more valuable than riches. The Psalmist loves God’s commandments more than fine gold and the Bible was purified like silver. God’s words are likened to great treasure.
Psalm 119:127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
This, like all of the verses in Proverbs, may have deeper, prophetic meanings. Wisdom and understanding are said to be better than buying and selling silver and the profit of them is better than the best gold. But, even without understanding some prophetic significance what it says in plain English is powerful enough for our lives.
15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
She here being wisdom personified is more valuable than precious stones and the point here is that there is nothing you could want on earth that could be compared to the value of wisdom. Now, this is certainly true under the Law for a Jew at the time God gave them this, not having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But, now, the Lord Jesus Christ is wisdom for us;
1 Corinthians 1:17 ¶ For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Once again, wisdom personified here, under the Law, holds a long life in one hand and riches and honour in the other. A wise man or woman will live long and be very successful in a temporal view, it is promised. Compare and contrast the promises under the Law to a physical kingdom on earth to the promises under grace to a spiritual kingdom that is not of this world. You may not necessarily live long or be wealthy if faithful to Christ. Your riches are in heaven and your life is eternal. Once again, the Jews were promised a physical kingdom on earth while you are promised a spiritual kingdom on earth.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
Again, a physical promise to a physical people of a physical kingdom of heaven on earth. However, if you young people spend your time seeking wisdom, understanding, discretion, and the other things that God holds as treasures your physical life will be much better than the unbeliever or carnal Christian who seeks his own flesh’s satisfaction. There is a way that seems right to a man but the end of that path is death. All of wisdom’s paths are peace and a pleasant life. You are not being guaranteed the safety and peace in this life that the Jew under the Law was if the nation obeyed because you are a spiritual being in a hostile world that hates Christ, and hates you, however your life, while not promised to be always peaceful and free of stress will be a more satisfying and happy one if you have wisdom.
Just be sure to rightly divide the word. So many Christians have had their faith shaken by physical troubles and calamities that they thought they were being promised immunity from and that is the fault of Christians not reading the Bible, who is being written to and what is being said, and preachers who are Judaizers and keep trying to push the Christian back under the Law.
I recently heard someone say to me, an older person, that she just couldn’t understand her trouble because she loved the Lord and was a good person. Why should bad things happen to her? I suggested she read Job and then spend some time in the books addressed to the Christian and stop reading other people’s mail and applying it to herself, referring of course to the books with the Jew under the Law.
Keep in mind that when you are trying to understand the Bible, 1) it is written in dispensational order but that significant points of dispensations overlap. For instance, this is the age of grace but grace is present all through the Bible. A dispensation is not a period of time but a way of dealing with people, of managing people that God has, 2) the Christian is a type of the people of Israel as a whole, not the individual Jew, 3) the promises to the Jew were physical promises for a physical people on a physical earth which they will have in eternity while the promises to the Christian, Jew or Gentile, are spiritual promises and we will reside in the New Jerusalem. The Jews as a whole were promised peace and prosperity if the people obeyed. The Christian is promised eternal life with the Saviour but is not promised monetary success, physical health, or guaranteed peace at all times. The Jews were to draw all nations to them. The Christian goes out amongst the nations. God makes the Jews a kingdom and a country, with an army, and a weapons or war. The Christian belongs to heaven and the weapons of his warfare are not carnal but spiritual. There was a Jewish kingdom but there are no Christian nations. Only a person can be a Christian. Christianity is NOT a political religion while Judaism and Hebraism were, and 4) the faithful Jew was characterized by what he did and didn’t do; ritual, service, and physical obedience while the faithful Christian is characterized by what he is and his fruit are what Christ has written on his heart not on tables of stone. Both were expected to do right by God’s standard but the motivation and origin of their obedience is different. The Jew did not have the Holy Spirit living in him but the Christian does. For the Jew, God’s laws were the laws of the land. The Christian often finds himself in lands where the law of the land is in opposition to God.
Many things are the same, all things are applicable in some way, but just consider each verse in its proper place.
18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
In eternity, the tree of life is for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
In the Garden of Eden eating of the tree of life could have granted eternal life.
Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
This is very powerful imagery. Wisdom would give one long life and using wisdom would lead to happiness. Notice how in this verse the righteous man is like a tree.
Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
God had promised the Jew that Wisdom, which He has personified in Proverbs in the feminine, would give long life and be LIKE a tree of life. Our wisdom is found in Jesus Christ. In this life, wisdom, understanding, and devotion to God’s standard of righteousness will keep you and protect you but it is Jesus Christ who gives eternal life by His perfect life, His death on the cross, but more importantly by His resurrection and our belief and trust in Him.
19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
Now, there are some who would say that God is merely using a literary device of personification and others that would say that wisdom is a feminine part of God’s personality since both male and female characteristics, notably the creative impulse, the nurturing impulse, and the compassionate impulse come from God. However you look at it, beware of taking a type too far and running off on a tangent that is not germane to what God, through Solomon, is trying to say here. If wisdom and understanding are tools that God used to create physical reality then why shouldn’t you desire to have those things yourself?
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
“The depths are broken up” is a very interesting phrase here. The depths are used to refer to the waters that cover Pharaoh’s army in Exodus 15:5.
Exodus 15:5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
God has a hand in every physical function of the earth, even what we would assume to be automatic and just stuff that happens on its own. This goes against scientific materialism and the watchmaker God who simply isn’t present and, if He exists, wound things up and let them run without interference. The supernatural reason for all physical processes and motions is God. The depths of the waters are divided and broken up (as we know there are different currents and pressures and that the sea at different depths has different components) by His knowledge. Even such a thing as the morning dew, which even Christians would assume to be automatic is performed by God.
21 ¶ My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
This is like saying don’t let the Bible out of your ears or your eyes. “He who will not answer to the rudder, will answer to the rocks”, was a saying that used to be on our old Pa. State Department building.
Another famous quote from the early years of this country goes something like, “a people who will not be ruled by the Bible must be ruled by the bayonet”. Do not let wisdom and discretion depart from your eyes, young people.
Remember what was said about discretion when I first started this study on Proverbs?
“One thing young men need, and women for that matter, is knowledge and discretion. Discretion is the ability to act responsibly by showing self restraint. Remember, Jesus Christ was discreet, He showed discretion in that He did not allow Himself to reveal the power He could have in order to prevent His crucifixion. The Amish person who is spit on or beaten and refuses to respond in kind shows discretion. A pretty young woman who chooses not to dress in a way to allure young men and to attract them shows discretion. A boy who says yes sir and no sir and doesn’t act foolishly or recklessly shows discretion. Discretion, it is said, is the better part of valor, to know when to be brave and what battles are worth winning.

On the other hand, if you need to win every argument or battle you find yourself engaged in you are not discreet, the word that discretion comes from. If you dress garishly and provocatively in order to attract men you are not discreet. If you are flamboyant and always need to be the center of attention you are not discreet. If you continually talk about how you’re the baddest, the strongest, the toughest, the handsomest, the meanest, the most faithful to Christ, the whatever you lack discretion.

In the Army we had a saying, keep a low profile. In other words, don’t draw so much attention to yourself. A Christian is supposed to be drawing attention to Christ, not to himself. Be discreet. Show discretion. “

And again about wisdom?
“Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

There are no wise, worldly men by God’s definition who do not first fear the Lord. Throughout Exodus wisdom is the knowledge of how to make something, given from God. But in Deuteronomy we find the definition of the wisdom spoken of here.

Deuteronomy 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

For you, Christians pulled from the Gentile world, it would be to follow the statutes give to you by the Lord Jesus Christ through Paul’s letters. We’ve been talking about them for many months. Keep them and do them. This is your wisdom.

Such admonitions as found in Galatians;

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Another example would be found here;

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 ¶ Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

This is evidence of wisdom for you and me. Why? Because Christ is our wisdom;
1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
And He has called us by His Spirit to live this way and to do those things.
22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
Wisdom and discretion will save you from a lot of things that strength and beauty will not. They’ll also get you more respect from others. Throughout the day, you’ll find more situations in which you’ll wish you had wisdom or in which discretion will serve you better than situations where having a Ph.D. or looking like a movie star would help. Sound wisdom and discretion are more valuable than the things that most people hold up as worthy.
23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
Joshua 1:8 makes another promise for the Jews who were faithful to God’s word walking in their way.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
Here is something that is worth mentioning about having no regrets. Young people; do right, live frugally, save your money, pay your bills, live morally, don’t follow your emotions, plan for the future, but most important obey God’s word. It is better to live a life of no regrets and to be a testimony to God’s power and love than to be one of us people who God had to turn around and straighten up. But, if you do choose to follow God’s word and obey His precepts just don’t let the sin of pride make you a stench in God’s nostrils. Pride and self righteousness are the only pitfalls of leading a sanctified life. I’d take the dangers of those any day over heartbreak, disease, bankruptcy, loneliness, desperation, and poverty, though.
Following God’s precepts and laws and the demands of wisdom carry a great benefit, obviously.
Psalm 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
6 ¶ There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Once again, this is a physical promise for physical Hebrews living in a Hebrew kingdom with Hebrew armies to defend them under God’s watchful eye. You might be living in Myanmar or Vietnam or Nigeria or Chile’ and you might not have the peace and safety the Hebrews were promised if they obeyed. The promises to the Hebrews and the promise to you were a little different. Be careful when applying their promises to yourself.
However, I think the spiritual application is clear. Your life will be much more satisfying and safe if you live under God’s precepts rather than following your insane impulses, pipe dreams, and fantasies. Do right, live right, and think right and although you may still have to deal with the past your future will be much brighter.
Who told you you didn’t have to pay your bills as a testimony to the world? Who told you you didn’t have to respect work and the value of it as a testimony and a mission field? Who told you that your family wasn’t your first mission responsibility and mission field? Whomever told you these weren’t important lied to you. Be responsible, be moral, be loving and compassionate. Follow God’s precepts and His standards and laws for a life from which you don’t have to hide.
25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
Neither are we in this age to fear the desolation of the wicked when it comes.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Having life forever with Christ, let’s abandon our fears of what is going to happen to this world.
26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
2Samurel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
1Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Christ has given us a promise for when destruction comes to the wicked.
1Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
When will this wrath come about? Once Christ returns and the kingdoms of the world are his.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
27 ¶ Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
This is the beginning of a different line of thought. Here in the New Testament book that, although a Tribulation letter to the Jews (just read the first verse of the book), has a great spiritual application to the Christian to put his money where his mouth is, it says;
James 2:14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
If you have the means to help someone and you refuse to do so, God can take what He’s given you from your hand. Help your brother’s and sister’s while it is in your power to do so. The evidence of the power of Christianity in the early days was not in church buildings, sporting events for Christ, or other such things. The evidence was that the Christians took care of each other. I read that one Roman senator was disgusted with his own people because not only did the Christians take care of their own poor but a great number of non-Christian poor.
In our country we have turned such things as unemployment insurance, medical care, etc. over to the government. I believe, personally, and this is just my opinion, that if a church were to be a true New Testament Church no elderly person’s lawn would go uncut or house uncleaned, no Christian who was unable to work would go hungry, and things like so called “youth group” activities would revolve around learning to assist other Christians and non-Christians to a point who were sincerely in need of help.
Showing love in action to each other, charity, was the primary function, after worship, of the Christian church physically in the first century.
28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
Let me repeat James 2:14 to 16 again. Remember, Christians are to be known by and identified with Christ by;
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Helping each other physically and financially, not “snowboarding for Christ” is the way we are to define ourselves in the world. All the doorknocking and church attendance in the world won’t make up for the fact that we have denied what a Christian brother or sister in our congregation needed when we had it in our hands to give. If we say, “oh we are saving our money for a special revival meeting” when we have Christian brothers or sisters who present a need to us we will answer to God at the Judgment Seat of Christ for denying that need.
Of course, the other side of being too proud to receive help is also a problem.
29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.
Evil is often synonymous with malice, maliciousness, calamity, disaster, and violence in the Bible. An evil beast is mentioned in Genesis 37:20. God creates evil in Isaiah 45:7. Today’s evil is more than enough to contend with in Matthew 6:34. This is a warning not to plan something against your neighbor, ostensibly to take his stuff as he dwells safely by you. As Christians we should extend this to any evil scheme, gossip, or plan against our neighbor, particularly due to our covetousness, envy, or competitive feelings. The old saying “keep up with the Joneses” doesn’t justify you in plotting their downfall.
30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
The warning is clear. Strive, as can be seen by Exodus 21:18, is to struggle in conflict. If the Hebrew had been done no harm he was not to start trouble.
John the Baptist even tells soldiers to do violence to no man. Strange instructions for soldiers, aren’t they, although it appears from the context that this is about extorting money from people over which you rule.
Luke 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Christ goes even further with the Jews under the Roman occupation telling them not to fight back.
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
We are told to live peaceably with all men in as much as we can.
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
We have a common moral problem of looking up to the biggest, the baddest, and the most powerful. Were it not for the rule of law in our culture and the influence of Christ we’d live much like our ancestors lived in Europe and like many less advanced peoples live today in Africa and Asia where the tough man with the guns and his friends with guns tend to wind up in charge. In political history the dictator was called “the man on horseback”. We are not to want to imitate the oppressor of our fellow man nor are we to do things as he does them.
James makes a good point in his letter.
James 5:1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
Because of oppression, extortion, and murder being a part of the job, early Christians said it was inconsistent with being a Christian to be an Emperor. It is very unlikely that you will wield power whether in business or in politics and be able to maintain a consistent Christian witness. It takes a very rooted and grounded, Bible believer to be able to do that. Of course, how many Bible believers do you think would pursue political power or the chairmanship of Exxon-Mobile?
Do not envy the powerful or the oppressor and they are commonly one and the same, and don’t choose their ways.
32 For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.
Froward is faithless.
Deuternomy 32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
Froward is unsavoury, the opposite of pure.
2Samuel 22:27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.
Ps 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
Froward is the opposite of wise.
Job 5:13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.
Froward is wicked.
Psalm 101:4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
A froward mouth is foul.
Proverbs 6:12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
Proverbs 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
We’ll meet froward again in Proverbs. In context, the oppressor whom we are not to emulate or envy, is froward. Hitler was froward, Mugabe is froward, Stalin was froward.
With regard to the word, “secret”, this must be a reference to something that only God and the righteous man can share.
He will show them his covenant, hide them in the secret of his tabernacle, and in the secret of his presence. Those that live with God in His secret place live under his shadow.
Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
Psalm 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalm 31:20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
33 The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.
34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. 35 The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.

God is a divider, separating the wicked from the just, the prideful scorners from the humble lowly, and the wise from fools. The determination of whether you are a fool or not is based on how you view and handle God’s words and admonitions.

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