Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Latest Reading

Not So! Popular Myths about America from Columbus to Clinton, by Paul F. Boller, Jr. Oxford University Press, New York, 1995. This is a fascinating book of American history and would have been even moreso had it not been so unapologetically liberal and left wing in its analysis. This could have been a primer, required reading for Democrat Party officials. But, still very good in many respects. ...More

Latest Reading

From Major Jordan's Diaries by George Racey Jordan, USAF ret., Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1952. A stirring account of how under the World War Two Lend-Lease program operated by Harry Hopkins under FDR's authority we permitted the Soviet Union to steal everything from atomic weapon secrets to information about the infrastructure of the country from every bridge, crossroads, and military depot on top of all of the military and non-military industrial aid we gave them. The book finishes with Harry Hopkins regret over being duped by Stalin. ...More

Monday, August 9, 2010

Latest Reading

Signature in the Cell, DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, by Stephen C. Meyer, Harper Collins, New York, 2009. This is a very thorough and easy to understand explanation of the theory of Intelligent Design. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Proverbs, Chapter Ten commentary

1 ¶ The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
I doubt there is a Christian father or mother that has ever lived who hasn’t been blessed and made glad by a wise and understanding child. By the same token I imagine there are few parents who haven’t been shamed by the realization that their child is a fool. The wonderful thing about God’s love is that there is always hope His glorious light will shine into a child’s soul. Many a young person has had their lives changed after many nights of their mother being on her knees in prayer to God on their behalf.
2 ¶ Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. 3 The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
All of the ill gotten gain of men who have cheated and defrauded the public and who manipulated the government to give them special tax benefits, a monopoly, or beneficial legislation will do them no good when they stand before God. Here, under the Law it is promised that their treasure will do them no good at the time. Righteousness does deliver many from death but many righteous people have died in the last two thousand years, under the hand of the wicked. All accounts in this age will be settled before Christ. Once again, although this verse is 100% true in principle, it is talking to a different time under a different set of doctrinal rules, in God’s physical kingdom on earth.
In fact, one could literally take this as being the way it will work on earth during the Millennial reign of Christ. When Christ is reigning physically on earth the things we are reading about will be instantly true. As it stands now, don’t hold your breath, waiting for the wicked to choke on their wicked treasures.
In this age, in places like Haiti, in China, and in India, it is possible for a Godly Christian to starve due to the wickedness of others. We must wait on Christ, the judge of this world, to settle all accounts when He comes. That is the hard part of our faith. The hard part of their faith was that they did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit residing and working in them. But, if they obeyed they were promised distinct physical and carnal rewards on earth. Our physical rewards will come when we are united with Christ. As for now, we have tremendous spiritual blessings if we immerse ourselves in His word and prayer, living by faith.
4 ¶ He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
Here is a common sense saying that is an important part of the American work ethic. America used to be a country where if you worked hard and were diligent you could become wealthy. Of course, there were things that got in the way of this such as the fraternity of rich people who came before you who pushed the government to enact legislation that made it harder for competition to arise. As it stands now, the extreme use of licensing and overregulation have made it very difficult for a diligent, hard working person to get far. An overtaxed middle class and an overregulated business environment is a plus for those who are already in position but makes it hard on the new person. Mammoth corporations can navigate the reams of government rules and taxes much better than the upwardly mobile person with a good idea.
Still, on our level of life, the person who deals with a slack hand, (the definition of slack is made obvious by Deuteronomy 7:10; 23:21; Joshua 10:6; 18:3; 2 Kings 4:24; Zephaniah 3:16; and 2 Peter 3:9), is most likely to need some type of welfare from the government to survive. The diligent, hard working person will usually make it just fine without a government subsidy.
Your Christian witness is better served by being a hard working, God sufficient worker than by being someone who deals with a slack hand.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
5 ¶ He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
There are many things to which this can be applied. There is a time for everything, the same writer says in Ecclesiastes. We, just as they did, need to know when the right time is to do something and to take advantage of that time. Work hard while you are young to provide for your own old age so that you are not a burden to others. Make provision for yourself. Be prudent, thrifty, and hardworking while you are healthy and have the energy. The time will come when it’s not so easy.
To sleep, either physically or mentally, when the time comes to reap what you’ve sewn, leads to poverty and poverty leads to shame when poverty is the result of laziness. The Puritans used to say that an afternoon’s idleness is like an afternoon’s drunkenness. I won’t go that far but most people are not taught the importance of applying yourself to work. We try to extend childhood and our society tries to make it easy for people not to make an effort to help themselves.
A preacher might make a sermon here also about leading people to Christ when the time is ripe and how most Christians are asleep when the harvest comes, and that this will lead to shame at the judgment seat of Christ. This is good but the promises to the Jew were mostly physical, temporal promises so while it makes for good preaching, it is sort of pulling the text like taffy. But, you can see, how in one verse there can be so many applications. Still, I like the sermon idea as a motivator to get moving, to mail out that tract or to press it someone’s hand, to talk to that person, or to give away that Bible, or best of all, to put yourself in a position with other people as in work or family where you can be an example to them of what a Christian should be.
Speaking to the Jews in a strictly Jewish context but applicable practically to us, in Luke, Jesus says:
Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

6 ¶ Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
Like ointment poured on the head of God’s anointed;
Exodus 29:7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
God’s blessings will pour down on the head of the just. Who is the just? Christ. Speaking to the Jewish rulers, Stephen said,
Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
The Just are also those who have faith in Christ, who live by faith in Christ.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
But, violence will cover the mouth of the wicked and stop his evil speech and behavior. We can think of the wicked as wicked men and women who reject the salvation offered by Christ as well as look forward to the Beast, who is the Wicked One, even as Christ is the Just One. This was a physical promise in the physical kingdom of heaven on earth, God’s kingdom, and a promise for the future kingdom of heaven when Christ Himself reigns for a thousand years. But, for now, don’t get too disappointed if the wicked seem to get away with so much. It is the nature of our world.
Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
Our culture lifts up vile men as heroes. They are heroes in religion, sports, in politics, business, and entertainment. They appear to be conquering heroes now. But, they will fall. Lord Acton, a writer of a couple of hundred years ago said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely but he went on to complete his thought with the statement that great men are almost always bad men.
7 ¶ The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
Even now, the memory of a good man or woman, while rarely famous, is left behind as a good thing for the people they leave behind. But, the wicked people of the world leave no good reputation. Obituaries have people in them that were loved, were kind, just, and sorely missed by those around them and also people that died alone, in regret and misery, because they chose to live only for themselves. A line from a profane movie that was famous not long ago said that what we do in life echoes in eternity. This is a true saying.
The saved shall go into eternity with countless eons ahead of them worshipping Christ but the very name of those who reject Him will rot and disappear, and be forgotten.
8 ¶ The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. 9 ¶ He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known. 10 ¶ He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.
God repeats things that He wants you to get very clearly. What is a prating fool? The Bible definition is someone who is very difficult for the brethren to get along with for specific reasons.
3John verse 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary goes on to define it as worthless talk, running on at the mouth. We would include trash talk as in the athlete who engages in trash talk is a prating fool. The person who receives God’s commandments in any age is wise and walketh upright surely while the prating fool who flaps his or her gums incessantly, particularly against the brethren, shall fall. We’ve mentioned the person who winks with the eyes before, the guy who acts like you and him or her are in on a secret that no one else is in on. Usually, this means trouble.
What does it mean he that walks upright walks surely? If you know God’s word and you have a deep and steady relationship with Him, day by day, hour by hour, then you can follow the doctrines laid down in Paul’s letters for the Christian today with certainty and confidence. When you do right and that is your standard way of operating in the world you can walk with confidence, knowing where you are going and what you are doing and why you are doing it. The fact that so many people live aimlessly and seemingly without purpose or any understanding of the consequences of their actions even shows that to be true. On another hand, if you are so busy for the Lord that you take no time to sit still and listen to Him, then you will run the risk of stepping off the path and not even realizing it.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Young person, do what you know is right, not what you feel or want, and you will probably never have to say regrets. Walk God’s way with confidence. Make a plan to do it now. Keep straight and never step away. Walk upright and walk with certainty and confidence, but not with arrogance or self righteousness, knowing that all great disasters in life usually begin with one small misplaced step, then another, and then another, until you find yourself up to your neck in quicksand.
11 ¶ The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
Again the phrase, “violence covereth the mouth of the wicked” is repeated. The mouth of the wicked will be stopped. But, what proceeds from the mouth of the righteous is a well of life. Just think of the person spreading the gospel. You are among your family, you are at work. You forsake gossip and put away vulgar speech. Your answers are simple, not filled with all kinds of churchspeak to draw attention to yourself but honest, kind, helpful, and full of the wisdom that comes from God. I knew a lady on the assembly line at a warehouse where I worked, a Christian whose witness spoke volumes in spite of her rarely speaking. Every word that did come out of her mouth was helpful and encouraging to her fellow workers. She never gossiped and when asked to give her opinion about a person who was causing trouble and being a problem she always managed to find something nice to say about them.
She didn’t start and end ever sentence with “Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord” to emphasize just how holy she was but quietly read her Bible at breaktime, prayed before eating, and never spoke a mean word to anyone or complained about anything. What comes out of our mouths should be thought through in how it affects others to draw closer to Christ, to salvation. Are we encouraging a young person or simply exerting our power over them by criticizing them? Are we revealing Christ to other people or simply acting like a paranoid, self righteous creep? What exactly is coming out of our mouths when we speak?
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
So, whether without, to the unsaved world or within to the household of faith, we are to have good words, beneficial words, coming out of our mouths, not by any means to avoid rebuking sin but, face it folks, most of the harsh words that come out of our mouth have nothing to do with rebuking sin but more because someone isn’t pleasing us or living to our own standards that we set for others.
Now, on the other hand, is your mouth a well of life? Do you speak of the gospel to others? Would people you’re around even know you’re a Christian?
Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
1Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
I know of a preacher online who thinks his only responsibility is to scream at unbelievers about how wicked they are and where they’re heading and to criticize people who claim to believe as being unworthy. That seems to be his only ministry to others by what he says. I’m asking the one person who knows who they are, is that why you’re mean and hateful and self righteous to people? Does it make you feel spiritual to tear down another Christian, even a younger one, or does it make you feel good to rail at an unbeliever like they were a dog that messed in the house?
Ask yourself, is your mouth a well of life? Think of that each time you speak to someone, particularly the unsaved or those believers in a weaker position of power to yourself.
12 ¶ Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
Stirring up strife is the life’s pleasure of certain people who aren’t happy unless someone is upset or discouraged. On the other hand, love forgives a lot and moves on. We Christians are given specific instructions on how our attitudes are to be with each other.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
13 ¶ In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
Our prisons are filled with people who are empty, void, of all understanding. In fact, one of the main cultural reasons that punishments are not meted out as harshly as they used to be in this country is that so many people would be in jail were it not so. Our society is becoming more and more morally degenerate each generation. The main reason is that our standard of ethics used to be the Bible so that no matter how bad we acted we always knew what was right. But, we, as a country, have abandoned the Bible as our guide and standard and lowered the ethical standards to which we aspire down to the sorry level of our moral behavior. We reach for nothing. We wallow in our own filth and remark how far we’ve come. While society attempts to become more fair and just in extreme ways the individual is nothing much more than an animal. My cats have higher standards than many people.
14 ¶ Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Have you noticed how much emphasis God places on what the fools say and how they use their mouths? Understand that James is referring to teachers here but the lesson applies to all of us. The term, Master, can apply to someone who has authority over you in work like an employer, or even your owner if you’re a slave or servant (1 Timothy 6:1), or to a teacher, just as a scholar used to be a student (see Malachi 2:12 and Matthew 23:8).
James 3:1 ¶ My brethren, be not many masters , knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

In the same way how could knowledge come out of a fool’s mouth, always near destruction? The wise man stores up knowledge like someone preparing for a famine lays up food. See Genesis 41:35. Those who follow Christ are to lay up treasures in heaven.
Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Where are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge found?
Colossians2: 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
15 ¶ The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
Here is a clear Old Testament line for the Jew. God promised them success and material wealth if they would obey. It is true that money can protect us from many things and that poverty can crush the poor. But, the rich man is warned not to depend on his riches.
Mark 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
We’ll see more of that in Proverbs. Our wealth, our treasure, is Christ. Remember this;
Psalm 49:6 ¶ They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: 8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
Trusting in riches to protect you now, like a strong city, is a trap.
1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
And keep this in mind.
Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
16 ¶ The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
Take a look at the life and labor of the church. The church tries to lead others closer to Christ, to help the Christian grow, to uphold wholesome and beneficial behavior and a lifestyle glorifying to God, to come together to worship Him. The world, however, tries to steal people away. It encourages immoral and destructive behavior, creates a counterfeit god who is a kind of celestial santa claus, teaches children to disobey and disrespect their parents, wives to treat their husbands like unruly housemates, and upholds almost anything that would lead you further away from the God of the Bible.
17 ¶ He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
How many times have Christians sat through sermons that God wanted them to hear, that spoke directly to them, trying to correct and to make them make a conscious choice to turn from wrong to God’s way, and yet refused the reproof? I have caught myself with arms crossed in front of me, leaning back in my chair, my body language showing my resistance, only to realize that the preacher was talking to ME! Yes, sometimes it often isn’t directed at you, but at someone in the congregation that God wants to change. Many times, as well, you read the same verses of the Bible you’ve read over and over and then a thought strikes you about how you’ve been walking away from what they are trying to tell you.
One of the things I really appreciate about the Bible correcting you as opposed to your own will is the power of it. You might quit smoking cigarettes or drinking or gluttony by your own will but under stress you always come back to it because the root causes for it are still there. But when the words of God remove something from your heart, it no longer fills its former purpose and when you do try to go back to it, it’s like you’ve tried to enjoy another person’s foolishness. You just don’t get it. There’s no more enjoyment. The cigarette tastes like you’re sucking on the exhaust pipe of a car, the booze tastes like sewer water, and the food makes you nauseous. God’s words in the Bible can remove sin from your heart like a surgeon removes a tumor with a scalpel. Of course, you have to be willing to hear God’s word preached and read God’s words to enjoy that experience.
18 ¶ He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
We’ve all known people who speak kindly to us but whom we know hate us or hold us in contempt or even look at us as being beneath them. They hide their hatred with lies. Slander is lies you tell someone else about me. Think of how disgusting and troublesome that person who speaks kindly to you, with hatred in their heart, and takes every opportunity to run you down. When they are in the church body it is very hurtful and even more so if they are in a position of respect and authority within that body.
If you hate your brother or sister or hold them in contempt, then pray to God that you can get right and abandon your bad attitude. Whatever you do, please don’t slander each other and talk each other down. God says you are a fool if you do so.
Psalm 31:13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
Most of the men sent into the Promised Land gave an evil report of that place.
Numbers 14:36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,

19 ¶ In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
The plain truth is that the more you flap your gums the more you sin. The stereotype is that women tend to be more guilty of this than men but that’s simply not true. Spending any length of time around a construction site without a strong Christian foreman and you’ll understand what I mean. We are too often careless with our words the more we talk.
Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
1Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Our speech is to be clear, concise, and sound and we are not to be verbose, garrulous, or full of hot air.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Titus 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
20 ¶ The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
But, the heart of the wicked has a very small value. Notice the contrast; the tongue of the just and the heart of the wicked. The saved, the redeemed are supposed to speak words that have value and meaning. Many people have been fed spiritual food by the words of those whose heart is right with God. Not only is the heart of the wicked of little worth but those fools die as a result of lacking wisdom. Wisdom gives life and fools don’t have access to that life.
Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
22 ¶ The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Here is one of the most undervalued verses in the Bible, with a great promise to it. When God blesses you, when a blessing really, really is from God, and not a trap from Satan or just something that pleases your flesh, or a boon from the world that wants to enslave you, it makes you wealthy in the way that God values and God adds no sorrow to it. This is a test of whether or not something has come from God. Does it make your spirit overflow with spiritual treasures; joy, peace, wisdom, understanding, and draw you closer to Christ? Does any sorrow come from it?
There have been many times I thought that something that made me happy came from God but success, money, people’s approval, and a sense of accomplishment can also be a trap. If the things that came to you also brought sorrow and pain with them they were not of God. God might allow you to have pain; say a broken leg to spend some time on your back to study His word or to pray and that can be considered a blessing. I understand this. Pain came come into your life and be a blessing but it is what comes after it that you should judge by verses like this. Did the thing that made you happy result in people being led closer to Christ, having a deeper relationship with Christ, or you having a greater testimony for Christ, or did it bring sorrow?
Many a young man or woman thought that someone who came into their life was a blessing from God only to find that they had overlooked, in their joy, that the person that was the “apple of their eye” did not regard God or Christ and was not headed in the same direction they wanted to go. Much sorrow came as a result. Others were filled with joy at parents giving them a car or being willing to pay for them to go to school far away and yet, that often comes to sorrow. Judge what happens to you by the Book. God’s blessings do not result in sorrow. The world’s blessings can result in nothing else.
23 ¶ It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
Here’s a good one. We all know a moron who loves to play practical jokes, to take every situation as if it was an opportunity for a good laugh. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being lighthearted in the proper circumstance but to the fool, doing mischief is a game, a sport. Each of the adults has known someone in their life who just couldn’t seem to avoid playing at sin. The world winks at the immoral young man or woman in the movies and TV and this bleeds over into daily lives. To the fool, sin is a game, a sport, even a calling. We have songs about rock stars who make a practice of destroying their lives and the lives of others. Examine yourself and your friends. Do you know someone who seems to be a professional sinner, someone who has made doing wrong a game or even an art form? You can watch them go downhill right in front of your eyes. Don’t go with them. Don’t let them drag you down.
Be a man or woman of understanding. Be the person who knows what’s really going on. Follow the Book. Obey God. Get wisdom.
24 ¶ The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. 25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
The great fear of all men and women is death. For the vast majority of mankind, even though claiming some kind of religious belief, it is a frightful uncertainty. An old movie line goes, “everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die”. The fear of the wicked will come upon them. Every great man, every powerful man, and every villain, will eventually have to face their own death. There is no tough guy, no gangster, and no thug so hard that he can’t be stopped by a bullet or a heart attack. But, in context, at least in the context of the physical promises to the ancient Hebrew under the Law, God is stating that not only will the fear of the wicked come upon them but that the desire of the righteous man or woman shall be granted. Shall be, it says, as a consequence of their righteousness when under the Law and I would go further to say, as a consequence of Christ’s righteousness, under grace.
A righteous man or woman is going to have a desire that is righteous. In our dispensation of the church, with no Kingdom of Heaven on earth and the Kingdom of God being a spiritual kingdom within each believer uniting us all, our righteous desires will be granted. When you pray for someone else that’s a good thing but remember you are entering into a relationship where God deals with an individual person and God’s will for that person may not be what you are praying for. We may not get what the Hebrew was promised if he faithfully obeyed the Law; a successful crop, long life, good health, many children, or defeat of his enemies. The Kingdom of God is within you, said Jesus, and does not appear as a physical thing yet. The righteous things you should desire are spiritual things; salvation, growing in God’s word, sanctification, obedience, prayer, a love for God and a love for others from God.
The unsaved person will one day disappear from view like a raging storm making a bold appearance and then vanishing as he or she writhes in agony in the Lake of Fire for eternity but the saved person will live forever with God. A righteous person, a saved person, is supposed to be a sure foundation upon which to build future generations of believers. Your first mission field is your children. If you pray a salvation prayer with a thousand unsaved people but don’t have a hand in saving your own children then you will have to answer for it. You were not given them to lose them for Christ by ignoring their spiritual education and growth. But, the first sure foundation is Christ Himself upon which the lives of all believers must be laid.
1Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
26 ¶ As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
This is pretty easy. Vinegar can make teeth sensitive due to its acidic nature and a famous song was written about smoke getting in your eyes. It’s a clever comparison between uncomfortable physical feelings and the frustration of employing a lazy, worthless person. You can also use it in reference to the lazy Christian who, when sent to witness to someone by the Holy Spirit, just can’t seem to muster the energy or drive to do it. Some of us have felt that compulsion to pass a gospel tract into a stranger’s hand at the gas pump but also remember the regret when you just couldn’t bring yourself to obey.
27 ¶ The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened. 28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
Remember earlier it was stated that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil which was then defined as pride, arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth. A physical promise to the Hebrew was given that the wicked person’s life would be shortened. In these two verses you can also find a reference to the Beast of Revelation whom we popularly call the Anti-Christ whose life will be cut off and whose expectations against God and God’s people shall perish. As far as between those two applications; the promise to the Hebrew under the Law and looking ahead to the end of the Beast in the Lake of Fire, the application to us is that those people who trust in the Righteous One and are made righteous by Him can look forward to eternal life while the wicked, those who outright reject His calling on their lives, shall find their lives shortened and all of their hopes extinguished in eternal agony and eternal flame.
29 ¶ The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity. 30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
What is an upright person?
Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Where can you find the way of the Lord?
2Samuel 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. (Psalm 18:30)
God’s word is very sure, very powerful, and very trustworthy, if you will just lean on it and look for Him to talk to you through it, to address you in particular, your situation, and to teach and admonish you. I’m really envious of you people who don’t feel the need to immerse yourself in His word in order to do right each day. But, maybe I don’t, really, envy you. I love being dependent on His way, His strength, and not my own. There is something eternal and powerful in the Lord Jesus Christ, God Almighty, that I could never find in myself and another person only sees in themselves when they are deluded and blinded by their flesh. By the way, we are only upright because we have Christ in us.
Here, in these verses, destruction is promised to them that work iniquity that Christ spoke of in Matthew 7:23 who say they are doing His work but were never His, and to the wicked, those who reject Christ and specifically the Beast himself, who will not inhabit the earth. This is our application although the promise is literal to the Hebrews if they had only obeyed God as a nation as they promised they would do in Joshua 24:24.
31 ¶ The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out. 32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
This verse is a repetition of what’s been repeated previously. Apparently, God has a lot to say about what kind of words come out of your mouth.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Proverbs, Chapter Nine Commentary

1 ¶ Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: 2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. 3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, 4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. 6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. 7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. 8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. 11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. 12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
The phrase, “seven pillars of wisdom”, is the title for Lawrence of Arabia’s memoir of the Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One. Here in the personification of wisdom she prepares a feast and invites people who have no wisdom or understanding to come. Remember the simple in Proverbs one were linked to scorners and fools. Verses seven and eight state that it is useless and even harmful to try to correct a fool and a scorner, even the wicked. It is better to ignore them and move on. Wisdom has invited them to partake of her table and that is found in God’s word. If they reject God’s word there is nothing you can say that will change them and you might even be harmed yourself. This sort of speaks against getting into an argument when street preaching or door knocking. You can tell if you are up against a person who is seeking or simply a fool who wants to have a verbal fight.
One of the tests of a wise person (do you consider yourself wise?) is how well they take criticism or correction. Do you get angry when someone disagrees with you? Do you get outraged that someone would dare question you? What about when God does it?
With each struggle or trial that you face do you grow in learning? Or do you simply grow bitter? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What was the last chapter’s definition of the fear of the Lord? See verse 13 in chapter 8 again. Whether you are a wise person or a scorner, it will affect your life and health. This was particularly true of the audience to whom Proverbs was written and I would think this crosses dispensation and applies also to the Christian. Remember, the knowledge of the holy is understanding. The more time you spend in the Book and prayer, and the more sermons from the Book you apply your mind to, the more you’ll know God. Don’t trust your emotions.
A wise person learns from rebuke and a just man from teaching. A fool hates knowledge and a scorner hates correction.
13 ¶ A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. 14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, 15 To call passengers who go right on their ways: 16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
A foolish woman is defined here as clamorous, NOT glamorous. Clamorous is defined in the verse by use of the colon as being simple. Remember, that in Proverbs 1 that is linked to a scorner and a fool. Here she is said to also know nothing. Passengers are people passing by or through, as in Ezekiel 39:15. Link the passengers there with here to see people who are passing by and enlisted to do something that was probably not originally in their plans.
The fools, the naive, the unknowing are turned aside by her speaking of sin. Notice verse 17. Sin always seems enticing to the fool. People often get a thrill out of doing something so that they think they are getting away with something. I’ve seen Christians do it, too, so its pretty universal. She entices the fool to do wrong with her but they have no idea that in her house are the dead and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
So it is with the woman as false religion. Unsaved people posing as saved, screaming for war, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, all that when the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. Saved people are deluded into thinking that Christ’s kingdom is slowly being brought in on earth by armies, councils, laws, and treaties. People are fooled into thinking that a ritual saves them, some mantra not connected to their actual belief but something they say over and over again. Some people are following a charismatic leader, practically worshipping him or her, and hanging on their every word. Some people hold to some outward practice of their faith that demands no inward devotion or some membership in a church organization to save them. An entire fundamentalist cult has been created out of ‘1-2-3 repeat after me’. All look to the government to save them, and some believe there is no salvation unless everyone is saved. It’s all just so much dung. It results in death and Hell, and at the very least makes you useless for God.