1 ¶ The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
For the Christian, God prepares the heart and provides the answer for the tongue that we need. We have, in His word, all of the building blocks we need to perform His will with our mouths. You, who know your Bible and speak to the Lord in prayer constantly, have your heart and your tongue already prepared to give the answers that people need to be drawn to Christ.
God said to Moses;
Ex 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
Psalm 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
God said to Jeremiah;
Jeremiah 1:7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
In the gospels we find;
Matthew 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
Luke 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
2 ¶ All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Just look around you at the world at large. Most people don’t think they need a savior. Sin isn’t an issue. They’re good enough. In fact, most people are trusting in their own righteousness or the lack of any need for righteousness not only to get themselves to any sort of heaven they can imagine in the hereafter but to get them through life. Humans spend a great deal of energy justifying themselves and declaring themselves righteous in their own eyes.
We have unconscious things; things we are not aware of, below the surface, that motivate us, move us, and give us excuses for all that we do. Call it what you want; issues, baggage, whatever. But God sees deeper than any psychoanalyst can see. He weighs your motives, your real intentions, and the reasons behind what you do. They are not blind forces like Freud believed. They are spirits. What kind of spirits are in you? Are you like the majority or like the few? Do you have Caleb’s spirit to obey God?
Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Or another spirit which Paul warned about;
2Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
The Hebrews were commanded;
Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
Deuteronomy 13:18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.
But, what did they do?
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Proverbs 16:25 ¶ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 21:2 ¶ Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
The Lord Jesus Christ knows what we hold dear, what values we are raised with, and what things on earth we uplift as worthy of praise and how we Christians mix in those worldly things with our worship and service to Him.
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Remember how God uses your spirit.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
And keep in mind the judgment seat of Christ.
1Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
Be careful, lest you justify error in the name of God. As one so aptly put it a long time ago, it is impossible to pursue righteousness when one is zealously clinging to error. God is weighing our intentions and our thoughts and the spirits inside of us. Mankind is clean in his own eyes but what about God’s eyes?
Deuteronomy 13:18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.
3 ¶ Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
If we dedicate our day to the Lord and decide that we will follow and obey Him, then he will secure and make sure our thoughts. See Joshua’s decision;
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Then, keep in mind the admonition of Paul;
2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
You have to decide who you will serve; yourself or the Lord. If you commit yourself, your works, and your life to Him, then He will establish your thoughts and be the foundation on which you build. But you can’t keep swinging in both directions.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Herman Goring, the Reichsmarshal and second in command to Adolf Hitler, did not want war. He pleaded with the Fuhrer not to attack Poland because he knew England and France would get involved. Ribbentrop, another high ranking Nazi official, scoffed at this and so did Hitler. Goring knew that if America got involved on England’s side Hitler’s Germany could not stand up to our potential industrial might. Remember, it was the United States who tipped the balance of power in World War One and gave an exhausted Europe motivation to keep fighting until Germany surrendered.
Goring also made contact with the British government through diplomats and businessmen trying to prevent war. But, in the end, Goring, who attended Roman style toga parties in makeup and wearing a toga and likened himself to a great person of classical times, was more in love with his position and power and the money and ease of living it gave him than he was in love with peace and a Germany he knew was doomed. Knowing in his heart that going to war in 1939 was going to eventually be a disaster for Germany he could not turn his back on his position and on his power. He was a double minded man. This led, eventually, not only to Germany’s defeat and destruction and the deaths of millions but even Goring’s own death at his own hands rather than be hanged by the victorious United Nations (which is what FDR and Churchill referred to the Allies in the first United Nations led and won conflict).
Remember, Jesus said, you can’t serve God and the financial system. Money and God, with money as a god, Mammon, are diametrically opposed to each other. You can’t serve two masters.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Commit your works to the Lord and let Him establish your thoughts or one day you may be looking back at a train wreck of a life and saying, I knew it was coming. I knew it. Why did I do things my way? Look at the examples in the Bible of men who just couldn’t seem to be sure of who they were going to follow and obey; God or their own flesh. Look at King Saul and Samson. Take their lives as a warning on your scale. Read the verse again and pray on it each day.
4 ¶ The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Why has God permitted people whom He knows will reject Him outright, in the end, to survive? Why don’t, if the Calvinists are right, just people who are going to be saved, live, grow up, and be evangelized and witnessed to by Christians until they get saved? What is the purpose of permitting the wicked to live?
Isaiah 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
Isaiah 43:21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Job 21:30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.
Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
1Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
2Peter 2:3 ¶ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Why did God make a person whom He knew would not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour? Perhaps, the answer to those questions is the same answer as the reason God will release Satan at the end of a thousand years in chains to lead the kings of the earth in one final rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ. In eternity, man will know that he is wicked and that the only reason he was saved at all was because of the mercy of Christ. God has allowed the wicked, yes even made them and given them life knowing that they will not receive Christ as their savior, and revealed the wicked heart of the kings of the earth prepared to turn against a visible, physical God on earth so that we know that even without Satan we would stand in opposition to God without His mercy and salvation.
He is saving them for the day of evil, remembering evil as malice, disaster, calamity; the day of judgment.
Jeremiah 17:15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. 17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
5 ¶ Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Now, here’s an interesting verse. I have talked to a lot of Christians, particularly online, and one of the most besetting sins that I think plagues Christians, particularly of the fundamental, King James Bible believing, washed in the blood type is pride.
Pride that they never miss a moment at church services, pride that they believe the King James is God’s word, pride in their salvation, pride that they wear long dresses, pride that they wear their best when they come to church, pride that the woman have long hair, pride that they’ve only been married by the state one time, pride that they don’t drink, pride that they don’t smoke, pride that they aren’t queer, ILLEGAL drug addicted, R-rated movie watching, bar going, skirt chasing reprobates. Pride is everywhere. It’s like a disease. The “I’m better than THEY are” and THEY might be in the world or in the next pew.
Pride, folks, is one of our worst handicaps when we try to serve Christ. As human beings we too often throughout the day forget that we ourselves are wicked and worthy of Hell and damnation and it is only by God’s grace that our church going, noncigarette smoking, nonswearing, nondrinking, sanctified selves aren’t burning in Hell right now.
This verse says that the proud in heart are going to be punished and that there is no way out of it. Now, the literal application of this verse to the Hebrews before the resurrection aside, l’m focusing on how it may apply to us now. I’m trying to think of how God is applying these verses to us. I note the following;
1 Corinthians 4: 6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 7 ¶ For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
What do we have that we did not receive from God? God has removed certain sins from my heart, taken away my enjoyment of them and interest in them. God saved me. God gave me His words in a Book, my life, peace, safety, health, money, home, wife, children, employment, ability to read, to see, to hear, and on and on. So what have I to be proud about? Why do we so often act as if we either deserved all of that or we made it happen ourselves? Why do we think we’re better than anyone else? Even the most degenerate drug addicted homosexual lying in a gutter in some part of New York City and I have one thing, one very important thing, in common. We both deserve Hell. We deserve it richly and fully. We’ve earned it. It’s our proper destination. But, God saved me. God did it and not myself. I just believed. No works saved me or could save me. I believed, obeyed in my feeble and weak human capacity, and followed in my lazy, self serving, haphazard manner. He changed me with His Bible. Why are we so proud?
Oh God, save that poor wretch like you saved me, please!!! I’m no better than he is. Please send your Holy Spirit to him. Let me be Philip to his Ethiopian eunuch. Let me be Paul to his Philippian jailer. But, don’t let me be proud. Don’t let me be an abomination to you, a saved abomination.
6 ¶ By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Now, here’s a recipe to fix one of our greatest problems. How do you counter the wickedness in the world and in your own heart? I mean, what personal behavior should you display in order to combat iniquity?
Iniquity is sin, particularly the attitude around it.
Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin………
34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
Leviticus 5:1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.
Remember how important mercy and truth are to the Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
Instead of letting sin reign in our lives we should give precedence to mercy and truth. By mercy and truth sin is purged from us. The colon gives us a clause that folds back on the first part. It is by the fear of the Lord, Godly fear, awe and reverence, by acknowledging who He is and what He is and submitting to His authority over our lives that we may depart from evil. Mercy, truth, and the fear of the Lord are the elements which purge us from sin and which cause us to depart from evil. All of these things can be found in the pages of the Bible, which you should be reading and hearing to a great extent.
You know, I can talk about ideas like mercy and truth and the fear of the Lord and to many it may sound just like talk, so much gibberish because they have no way to understand, to hear, and to apply these things to their lives. What we need is a how. Christians need to know the method God has provided for us to have victory over sin. Go back and read John 17:17. It is by the words of God in this Book that we are set apart from evil. Swim in them, live in them, and allow Him to change your heart through them. As the word of God strips away layer by layer of sin from your life you’ll find dark things that you never even knew existed. The reality of what we really are becomes apparent as God digs deeper and deeper into our wicked hearts through His words read, heard, or preached from diligently.
The best way to ditch that pride of heart mentioned previously is to let God show you the depth of your wickedness as He removes the dirt from the mirror of your soul so that you can as easily see who you are as He can see what He will make you. With each victory I am becoming more and more aware of how much more I need Christ and to have His words in front of my eyes and in my heart.
7 ¶ When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Here is one of the promises of the Bible that is amazing in our everyday lives. When you are doing right by God, when you walk closely with Christ, and when you are obeying His will for your life I have found that God can change the people around you in their attitude toward you. Even your enemies can treat you kindly. This particularly seems to work with unbelievers. I know my walk with Christ is not what it should be; talk about issues on top of more issues, but He has honored my love and joy of His Book and my not wanting, at least on one level, to disobey Him but to please Him by changing the minds of the people I have had to deal with.
Each of us have had times, even when we weren’t following Christ like we should where we got mercy from someone in authority that seemed totally out of character with all of their previous decisions. I’ve asked people about this and have heard from some. I heard from a new Christian once who was told they were going to receive 28 years in prison, that it was a sure thing and the only thing stopping it was a judge’s signature. But, that new Christian prayed fervently and in tears for mercy over and over and when they stood before the judge they were told 2 years probation as the gavel came down. There are stories of unbelieving bosses who always demanded Sunday work but when a Christian prayed fervently that they would not be required to work in place of church services that God touched the heart of the boss who seemed to gladly exempt them from work on the Lord’s Day for some unknown reason. I’ve heard from Christians whose bill collectors, banks, police, employers, neighbors, angry relatives, spouses, and acquaintances suddenly seemed to have a very temporary change of heart toward them in particular situations. What made these changes of heart stand out is that they were often one time events and the people involved went right back to treating them with disdain afterwards.
Then, I have heard of relationships being healed for good. Of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, reconciled, of lost friends returned, and this for good, as in permanently. Of course, the militant atheist or the philosophical Christian attributes our connecting of these events to God’s work as either our own projected fantasy on a situation or the effects of eating a cucumber sandwich before bedtime. The fact is, that when these things happen out of all reason and expectation to us, after much prayer, without our changing anything ourselves, the only thing we can conclude is God’s hand is involved, as He promises that very thing in His Book.
Romans 8:31 ¶ What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that an enemy’s plans will be thwarted or that something we deserve isn’t going to happen. It obviously can mean that God will change the very heart of our enemy, even if just for a time, and even an unbeliever. We read stories of Christians in foreign lands who are deliberately passed by, by their enemies, or given some sort of mercy at certain times. I have actually had a police officer say that he would give the benefit of the doubt to someone who had one of those decals of Bible verses plastered on their car like many of us do over someone with just some team logo or smart aleck saying on their bumper.
Israel would have had no problems with the Gentiles around them if they had lived to please God. Not only would God have gone to war for them but God could divert the intentions of their enemies. Don’t doubt God’s power to work in someone else’s heart, even an unbeliever.
Matthew Henry said, “God made Esau to be at peace with Jacob, Abimelech with Isaac, and David’s enemies to court his favour and desire a league with Israel. The image of God appearing upon the righteous, and his particular lovingkindness to them, are enough to recommend them to the respect of all, even of those that have been most prejudiced against them.”
8 ¶ Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
We’ve seen similar sentiment before in previous verses;
Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
This verse takes the thought a little higher as we realize that our own economy has been plagued by investment bankers who gladly agreed to manage other people’s money by investing it in mortgage backed securities they knew where corrupted by bad loans made with unrealistic appraisals to people with poor credit. Not only did these bankers peddle these loans but they bet against them. These bankers made billions of dollars for themselves by basically stealing other people’s money under false pretenses. There are people in this country who have made billions exploiting working people’s savings and their labor, evil people making a great deal of money without any justification or right who then have their own paid underlings in the media proclaiming how unjust it is if they are taxed at anything near the rates they were taxed from 1940 through the 1970’s when America was on its way to the top.
This select group of men and women are like an elite club that looks out for each other even as they try to savage each other through competition. They look upon those at the bottom as fodder for their schemes of control and wealth and as a piggy bank with an endless bottom that they can come back to for more from when their schemes fail with a Republican and a Democratic president bailing them out to the tune of 1.6 trillion dollars, a number you can’t even imagine, of our money again, after they had already stolen trillions of our money and played with it like so much monopoly money. Remember, tax money has the power of the government behind it so it appears you must either give these people your money voluntarily or you must give it to them at the point of a gun.
Clearly, God holds in higher esteem a humble home with few material benefits where righteousness lives than any of those wealthy people’s mansions obtained by lying, fraud, and outright theft. Again, God does not honor or respect any wealth gotten by dishonesty and fraud. Remember also, the old folk saying that the Devil takes care of his own. It is not necessarily so that because someone has a huge bankroll that they are experiencing God’s blessings. Only those who have gotten their wealth by honest work and Godly behavior are esteemed by God. The others are doing the Devil’s work and another old Colonial American saying goes, “when you sup with the devil you better use a long spoon”. Judgment is coming.
9 ¶ A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
There are many folk sayings that go along with this such as “Man proposes but God disposes” or “Man does the thinking but God does the driving”. John Gill believed this only refers to the actions of a good man, who, if he commits his works to the Lord then God will direct his steps.
But, there is another way of looking at this, as well. Robert Burns the great Scottish poet said in his poem ‘To A Mouse, On Turning Her up In Her Nest with The Plough’, “The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley,” which in our English means “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry”. (As an aside note, the word scheme in British and other English refers only to plans, not like in America to dirty, conniving). Anyway, we make all sorts of plans. We plot out how our life should be and even how our day is to go. But, God puts curves and bumps in the road and directs you, if you are a Christian, away from sin and disaster unless it is to teach you or correct you. He often thwarts evil purposes, knowing your intent and preventing the outcome that would have happened in spite of your thoughts.
So, the point here may be, as John Gill pointed out, that the Christian whose work is committed to the Lord will not only have his thoughts established, as was said in an earlier verse but will also have God direct his steps. Another way of looking at this may be that for all of our plans and plotting out our life, in the end, it is God who decides which way we will go either by His direct will or by His permission.
You may think you’re going to church that morning but the person whose car is in the ditch is an opportunity God has given you to glorify Him and to help your neighbor. In like manner, you may think that you’re going to the store but the flat tire God has given you gives you an opportunity to witness to the guy who lives across the street who came out for his mail. Or, in Gill’s interpretation of the verse, you feel you have been called to preach and you’ve done everything you know to prepare but it is God who will lead you to the doors He’s opened for you to preach and establish you as a preacher. The one thing for sure is that it’s not in us to direct our own steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
On a larger note, just look at mankind. At the end of the 19th century, intellectuals thought that mankind was on the verge of a scientific and moral revolution, that a golden age was coming where humanity would lock arms and march forward together into a bright new age of peace, brotherhood, and advancement. It was the intention of governments to have a stable, orderly world and for their nations to be wealthy and powerful, safe and secure. Then the whole world exploded in a century of warfare. The Great War, as it was called at first, did not officially end until 2010 when the last reparations were made by Germany as directed by treaty. Man devised his way but God directed his steps and once again we were taught that without God there is absolutely no hope for mankind; he is totally dominated by wickedness and violence.
Now, if I go back to Gill’s interpretation, let’s look at the other side of the possible explanations of that verse. If you who are called to preach will immerse yourself in that Bible, read it from cover to cover over again, set apart a separate time to study it and cross reference the verses, and pray over it, pleading for light and understanding, then watch God escort you to preaching opportunity after preaching opportunity. He will direct your steps. God opens the doors and you have only to walk through them.
10 ¶ A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
This is s standard that most human kings have always failed. If the kings of Israel had read the Bible intently and judged accordingly a divine sentence would have been in their lips and their mouth would not have transgressed in judgment. Although, this statement will be true in fact when Jesus Christ rules from Jerusalem for a thousand years it is a very rarely seen Proverb in this time.
Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
What should proceed from the mouth of a king, a president, or a prime minister should be words of grace and Godly judgment because that man should be well versed in God’s judgments through His word. But, how often does that happen? It is incumbent upon us to pray for our chief executive, that he will be drawn to the Bible, study it, read it diligently, and pray over it so that he may be equipped to judge a righteous judgment and glorify Jesus Christ in all he does. That’s our part. Pray that he does his.
11 ¶ A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.
God is the author of the standards of weights and measurements, Dr. Ruckman says in his commentary on Proverbs.
Isaiah 40:12 ¶ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
See also in Daniel 5 how the Babylonian kingdom is measured and found wanting. God gives a very clear command to the Hebrews in Leviticus.
Leviticus 19:35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Looking back at the previous verse it would seem clear that God has mandated that leaders judge fairly and evenly in all matters, not showing preference. This is a practical matter and one that is claimed for our government today in everything from your gas at the pump to the weight of your groceries. But, is it a true and just measurement we are getting? Are you yourself using a fair measurement when you judge others? We so often have one weight for ourselves and another entirely for another person. Christians are known to have standards for other people but make exceptions for themselves. Do you judge and measure the actions of others by the same standard you use for yourself?
12 ¶ It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
Certainly, while this verse applied directly to Israel and her kings, the application can be made to all nations at all times. The king, the chief executive of a country, will have his throne or office in our case established and secured under God’s protection by righteousness, particular today being a born again believer who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ and reads at least the books written to the Christians regularly if not daily. How can he know what true justice really is and true judgment without God’s word particularly that confirmed for us at the hand of Paul working under the direction of the Holy Spirit?
In particular, none of our recent presidents, because of their ignorance of the Bible and of history, seemed to understand a doctrine that our founders understood completely; that there are no civil rights without an accompanying duty. Modern presidents have been so filled with communist doctrine that they believe in the Marxist doctrine of “human rights” which are absolute and often mere lip service paid to some nebulous right a person is supposed to have philosophically. In other words, to our founders and the only way our Bill of Rights makes sense is if you, as a citizen, realize that to have the right to free speech you must agree not to scream “fire” in a crowded movie theater. To have the right to bear arms you must be willing to unite in a militia for the common defense. Every right given to you by God, to be confirmed as your individual right, must be accompanied by a corresponding duty.
To the Marxist and to all of our politicians save a very few on both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican, rights are an absolute to be fought for with no corresponding duty. I should just have the right to have a howitzer in my front yard but I have no responsibility except to myself? I should just have the right to dispose of my own private property and it’s my neighbor’s problem if I pollute his property? I have the right to walk down the street and shout four letter vulgarities and it’s the problem of the other people on the sidewalk if they don’t like it? I have the right to my body and if the consequences of my actions are an unwanted, by me, baby I should have the right to kill it? I should have the right to…you name it. That’s the modern Marxist way of thinking. How can our President, no matter which political party he belongs to, understand this without the wisdom God imparts through His words?
We have had Presidents commit fornication in office, to make wicked deals to get an agenda passed through, support the murder of the unborn, attack countries that had done nothing to us, support wicked dictators with money and arms, leave our true enemies untouched because of a special behind the door deal, approve invasions of other countries and then go to war against the party whose actions we had approved of, refuse to give persecuted Jews safe haven, get us into wars based on lies and doctored intelligence, support coups behind the scenes with money and aid and then denounce them publicly. In fact, our government has become our worst enemy and is soiling the image that the American flag should have around the world of peace, justice, and impartial judgment.
Our government has betrayed its allies like the Republic of Vietnam in 1975, betrayed those who begged and pleaded for its help like Hungary in 1956. Our Presidents have had affairs in office and shady business dealings and links to criminals and cutthroats outside of office. It is an abomination for leaders to do wickedness. The offices of a free country or a king are established and secured by righteousness, not fornication, murder, mendacity, and chicanery.
Here is a clear companion to the above verse.
2Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
I should think that this verse applies to all nations at all times. This president and all future presidents must do right and trust God or this nation is doomed like all the other nations. It is possible for a secular, impartial freedom loving Republic to succeed ONLY if its people and its elected leaders love God and honor Him. Otherwise, we must descend into tyranny and dictatorship.
13 ¶ Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
Rulers and chief executives should honor those advisors who speak truth and use good judgment. Once again, we have been plagued by Presidents who have surrounded themselves with criminals, perverts, fawning sycophants, and opportunists. We have radicals and Marxists surrounding our President today. Gone are the true statesmen and honest brokers. Our system of greed has brought not the cream to the top but people looking out to feather their own nests as lobbyists, richly paid public speakers, and businessmen once they leave office.
FDR, a man whose policies and actions I do not admire, it must be admitted, did give his life for his country, dying while in office struggling to defeat Hitler and Japan, all the while holding a serpent ready to strike named Stalin in his hands. FDR accomplished much of what he wanted to accomplish thanks to the help of one man, who also died in his efforts to serve his president and his country, gravely ill for much of his service, burying his own son who gave his life fighting the Japanese. This man’s name was Harry Hopkins. You won’t read much about him in history books because he served without looking to be wealthy, to run for future office, or to assure himself a place in the history books. I don’t agree with much of what he did but I am still trying to understand the immense pressures and restrictions that he dealt with as he faced overwhelming forces in a world gone mad.
Hopkins spoke the truth to “the boss” by all the notes and memos I’ve read. He knew what FDR meant when he gave a command and rarely did FDR need to explain much to him. He spoke the truth to Stalin and he spoke the truth to Churchill. He was so respected by all that after FDR died, President Truman sent a sick and dying Harry Hopkins to try to reason with Stalin and Hopkins was the only person Stalin would believe. Even Hopkins’ enemies among American conservatives had to admit that to his dying day, his country was first. A wise leader delights in truth, in hearing it, and in wisdom, in hearing it, and moral standards among his advisors and friends. We have not had too many wise leaders in our country of recent times.
In 2 Samuel 17 the rebellious Prince, son of David, Absalom, was so vain that he chose the council of the spy from his father, Hushai, over the wise council of his father’s former advisor, Ahithophel. The latter knew this would lead to disaster and he killed himself rather than face the consequences as many in the Third Reich of Germany did. Over and over again rulers in history have taken advice from wicked men, traitors, or opportunists and have not delighted in righteous lips or loved him that spoke right.
If you get in a position of responsibility, Christian young person, always remember, it is more important to surround yourself with Godly people who speak truth than it is with fawning bootlickers who want only the position, power, and opportunity that comes from being a “yes man” or woman.
14 ¶ The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. 15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
The answer to this verse can be found in verses like the last one. Speak the truth, speak rightly, speak righteously. Think of how it will be when the Lord Jesus Christ rules from Jerusalem physically. I imagine that to incur his wrath will be instant death and a wise man must speak righteous words and speak rightly. There will be no time for craft, lying, deceit, and the treachery that has always determined our current world system’s path. I daresay I would not want to be one of those people who tries to deceive our Lord when He rules on this earth. Do you think the following verses indicate that Jesus will be like a politician, wetting his finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind of popular opinion goes? Do you think He’ll be concerned about poll numbers after reading these verses?
Psalm 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Revelation 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Countenance is the appearance of the face. As an example but by no means the first;
Nehemiah 2:2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
The light of someone’s countenance would refer to approval or satisfaction. Just look at how we say a person’s face lights up.
Psalm 4:6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
We could see a prophetic meaning to this in reference to Christ’s absolute authoritarian rule on earth when the mere expression on his face could reveal life or death. This is not the suffering Saviour but the Creator of the universe who rules with a rod of iron.
The term latter rain refers to the final rain in Judea which revived the crops just before the harvest. We can make a link to Christ’s first appearance on earth and to His return with reference to the early and latter rain which you can see by typing in both phrases into a computer Bible and seeing the verses come up. But, here, the latter rain is a blessing just before the harvest and the expectation and joy the farmer feels at seeing the cloud of the latter rain, that something good is about to happen is what one will see at the approval on the King’s face.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see His approval and to hear;
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
Of course, that presumes that what you have done for Him and in His name wasn’t done out of envy, spite, self aggrandizement, pride, a perverse desire to exercise control over others, or self righteousness but then you’ll find out when He reveals it to you. Wouldn’t it be best to examine yourself now? Of course, we have no fear of death, either the first or the second, but we know our works for Him will be judged, of what sort they are. His approval won’t come just because you showed up to worship with the church but why you came is what’s important. Why did you go “soul winning”? Why did you read your Bible? I know why you prayed. You wanted something. How many times did you pray a prayer of praise and worship throughout the day? Why do you hand out tracts? What is your real motivation? Why do you look with disdain on a pretty, worldly girl or a handsome, worldly boy? Is it concern, a devotion to the Lord, compassion for the lost, or is it envy, pride, and covetousness?
Will the light of the king’s countenance reveal his approval or His disfavor?
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
16 ¶ How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
As Matthew Henry says, “Heavenly wisdom is better than worldly wealth, and is to be preferred before it.” I’ve met many worldly and very clever people in my life. They were clever operators, smooth and able to get money and handle it well but they were often godless reprobates who worshipped only themselves and their own needs and desires and wants. God is telling you very clearly here that you’re better off with wisdom and understanding than any material wealth.
In fact, Jesus goes further and says that you can’t serve God and wealth. Mammon is the Syriac personification of money, wealth, and the economic system.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Remember, this isn’t someone putting this to paper that didn’t know what it was like to have great wealth. Solomon was incredibly wealthy but he knew its value compared to wisdom and understanding. The question is, do you?
Wealth is a disloyal servant, always ready to run away and a horrible master who warps and manipulates its servant’s lives and minds, keeping many from the Kingdom of God.
17 ¶ The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Elsewhere it has been said;
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalm 37:27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Proverbs 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
The only way a person can be upright in God’s eyes is to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, the visible image of God, as his Saviour. Taking this verse into the Church Age where you can’t lose your salvation it becomes incumbent on the believer to walk a path on which he or she, guess what? Departs from evil. You are in no danger of losing your soul as in this age your salvation is set, however, even though your soul is cut away from the sins of the flesh as it explains in Colossians 2:11, you can harm your walk with Christ and prevent the blessings that He wants to bestow on you if you are carnal and as explained in Romans 8:13, to live by the flesh in that manner is death. The Christian’s soul longs for Christ. The flesh can hold back the soul’s hunger for a relationship with the Saviour of the soul.
There is an old saying among Baptist circles. It goes like this, if you sin God will correct you. If you insist on continuing in sin, God will chastise you. And if you still stubbornly refuse to walk the upright way a coffin is waiting for you. So, three C’s; correction, chastisement, or a coffin. How far does God have to go to get your attention?
Depart from evil. Evil, as we have seen by many verses before not only means sinful iniquity but violence loving, maliciousness. It’s not just what you don’t do such as drunkenness or adultery but loving violence, speaking malicious words, and other harmful things that God does not want in the life of a Christian.
There are root causes of evil, root things inside of us that lead to sin. I’ll give you some examples. If you are a girl and you like to dress up to try to provoke and attract boys that is evil. The only person you should want to please with your manner of dress besides God is your husband. A boy should be attracted not only to your beauty but more importantly or “rather” as the Bible often says, to your faith, your strength of character, and your devotion to Christ. Dressing provocatively does not reveal a devotion to Christ but to self worship. It’s important to look your best and to be feminine in your dress but I think we all know what I’m talking about.
If you boys watch a sporting event and you just really enjoy the violence and the hitting and you aren’t so much as interested in excellence and skill as you are a good hit because man, you like to play video games and watch the blood splatter, and wasn’t it cool how that linebacker nearly tore off the quarterback’s head, then you have an evil problem. I don’t care if it is good guys versus bad guys, if you get excited watching a movie in seeing Germans, Japanese, Vietnamese, White Southerners, or any “bad guys” getting mowed down, with the wounded twisted in agony then you have an evil problem. Hits home doesn’t it?
These root things can lead to sin; anger that becomes wrath and violence in your own lives or, in the first example, evil concupiscence, lasciviousness, and fornication.
Examine yourselves. “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.”
18 ¶ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
We’ve talked about pride before but it usually doesn’t sink in how proud we are. We often think of ourselves as humble, even pitiful, at times. We can’t imagine how we’d have pride and lift ourselves up against the God we love. Pride is evidence of a lack of gratitude. Many Christians will claim to be grateful when things are going well but when times are hard, when sickness comes, bankruptcy, they forget all about their gratitude.
Pride is lifting yourself up, taking claim for yourself what God has done for you, or for what God has allowed. It is the last step on that road from ingratitude to destruction. See what happened to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, chapter 4, when he proclaimed how great the things he had built were? He was driven into the field to live as an animal for seven years.
Pride, by the way this verse in Proverbs is written, is synonymous, meaning the same thing, as a haughty spirit. To be proud is to have a haughty spirit and many people who consider themselves to be faithful, Christ loving Christians have such a haughty spirit. We’re so humble. No you’re not. We’re so grateful. Nope. Not by a long shot. We know that everything we get comes from God. You don’t act like it. You say, but I’m a humble Christian. You may be humble before man as a badge of distinction and perhaps even as an expression of a submissive personality but you are proud and haughty toward God.
It shows itself when things go wrong. You cry out “why is this happening to me?” It shows itself when things are going great. You practically forget to pray or let God speak to you through His word. Oh, it’s easy enough to lift up His name at church but you were worshipping every day, filled with hymns and spiritual songs, but when things are going great you have so much to do. And you want and expect so much.
Pride goes before destruction. You say “I’ve raised my family right”, you say, “I’ve been faithful to God”. Really? What about your pride? “Oh, I’ve never missed church. I’m at every revival meeting” or “I read my Bible every day and pray often”. What about your haughty spirit?
Pride and ingratitude means your humble home isn’t good enough. You need something bigger and more expensive. Pride and ingratitude means that your car doesn’t show your success and isn’t comfortable enough for you to drive. You need something flashier. Covetousness comes in there, too, and there are many sermons that can be preached on that but it’s all intertwined. Pride, ingratitude, covetousness. I deserve more or look what I’ve gotten myself. It all comes down to “God, you owe me better than this” or “God, thanks for this food I worked hard for and bought for myself”.
And you don’t think it can get any worse than this? Watch. Keep being proud and haughty toward God. You think the good times will go on and on? Pay attention. Judgment and chastisement in your life are right around the corner. Try thanking God the next time you suffer some tribulation in your life. Try being grateful when things are not so good; the doctor or the bank give you some bad news. And take hold of yourself when things are going good. Pinch yourself and realize that you may not be permitted to enjoy these blessings for long if you are proud and haughty toward the one who gave it to you.
Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
1 Corinthians 4:7 ¶ For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
19 ¶ Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Again, this thought is repeated. Most recently it was in verse 8. You can easily see this would apply to those who do dishonest work. Take a Wall Street investment banker who ran accounts at some brokerage firm and under their supervision, without any responsibility to the results, they lost millions of dollars of other people’s money while getting huge commissions. Many of those same people are still at work doing the same thing and people with money to invest are still falling for their schemes.
20 ¶ He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
When you pick up the Bible and shutting out the world you come to it expecting to find something good from God in it. Don’t be bringing your own fears, doubts, paranoia, or need to justify what you’ve heard or what you feel, but just come to it pleading with God to give you something believing. You will find something good in the pages of the Book.
When you sit in front of a preacher and he’s preaching sound doctrine from the pages of the Bible, imparting what he sincerely feels that God has laid on his heart then hear what he has to say, think on it, roll it around in your mind, pray about it, discuss it, and be changed by it. God will give you something good.
Handle both these things wisely and most of all, trust that the Lord is the author of such things and that He wants to give you something good. Expect something from God, believe that He wants to give you something from His word and you will be blessed, happy in the Lord.
21 ¶ The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
Speaking of God, in Job 9:4 it says; He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
So, being wise in heart is one of God’s attributes. Being prudent is a good thing as well, having wisdom. The person that is wise in heart and prudent will speak to the benefit of others’ learning the word of God. The word of God is said to be sweet.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Speaking as a prudent man or woman who is wise in heart, an attribute of God Himself, you will give the sweet words of God to the hearer and increase their learning of God’s word. There is no greater learning than to learn of God’s words, how to understand them, and how to put them in your heart, and live by them. You may know how to build a house better than anyone else but your life will be a wreck without God’s word. You may understand history and philosophy and even theology but without God’s words you will be a ruin.
22 ¶ Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
When God gives you light from His words in this Book it is a wellspring of life. There is nothing to compare to what the power of the Bible can do to your spiritual heart and to your mind. The preacher who knows the Bible, who understands how the English sentences are put together, who knows about the cross referencing, the self defining properties of the Bible, and the way its constructed, is able to impart life giving knowledge to the hearer.
But fools who dispense worldly wisdom from the pulpit like some of the more famous megachurch celebrities give instruction that is pure folly and silliness. The Christians they preach to aren’t any better. Most of them, if not all, wouldn’t know what a Bible was if it hit them in the head, anyway.
23 ¶ The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
This verse is, of course, linked to those before it. The origin of wisdom coming from the mouth is wisdom being in the heart. For learning to come from a person’s lips it must have a home in his heart. Since;
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.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Do you know who the Lord is? Do you know what He is? Can you wrap your mind around what He’s done, and is doing? I know you say you love Him but do you realize what He is going to do? Have you thought about His power? Have you considered His sovereignty, that there is nothing that happens in the universe that He didn’t either cause to happen or permit to happen? Have you taken any time apart from reading the Bible and praying to think on the Lord?
This wisdom in the heart that comes from the fear of the Lord causes true knowledge and learning to proceed from your lips.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
I wonder how many Christians are actually in awe of God? Or how many just view Him as more of an idea than a real entity, with personhood, who like a father in the old days, you loved dearly but feared His wrath and power?
There is no “wise in heart” without the fear of the Lord. Even further, today, no one can really understand the fear of the Lord unless they belong to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
24 ¶ Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Many words are pleasant and sweet sounding but have no value beyond the moment they’re spoken. The words of the gospel of Christ, the doctrines given to the church in the New Testament letters that begin with the name “Paul” are pleasant and sweet and health, though, and those words have an eternal importance. They are the words of eternal life.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
What? No Law? No ritual observance of something in the flesh to show everyone how pious you are? What about all of those hundreds of rules in the Law God gave the Jews? Is that not sweet or what? No repeating of that Muslim chant five times a day, no washing in the Ganges River, no war to convert or kill the unbelievers, no priest dressed up swinging an incense burner in front of him, no allegiance to a guy wearing half a grapefruit on his head in Rome, and no doubt about the fact that you are saved, and no doubt about the power of a God who can keep you saved. Is that not sweet?
But back to our day to day experience. Our speech is to mean something very special, our words are important. We are commanded.
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.
We are warned.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
We have our orders.
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.
We are encouraged.
1Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
How pleasant are your words? Are they sweet? Are they the words of life and health? Remember.
Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
If you want to feel better, change the way you talk to people around you.
25 ¶ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Most of what unsaved mankind thinks of as good and right ends up in death. For instance, if you have an old Scofield Bible you can look at his notes in Revelation 13:8 on the Greek word for the world system, Kosmos, and see this interesting note;
“Kosmos, Summary: In the sense of the present world-system, the ethically bad sense of the word, refers to the "order," "arrangement," under which Satan has organized the world of unbelieving mankind upon his cosmic principle of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure. Matthew 4:8 Matthew 4:9 ; John 12:31 ; 14:30 ; 18:36 ; Ephesians 2:2 ; 6:12 ; 1 John 2:15-17 . This world- system is imposing and powerful with armies and fleets; is often outwardly religious, scientific, cultured, and elegant; but, seething with national and commercial rivalries and ambitions, is upheld in any real crisis only by armed force, and is dominated by Satanic principles. “
Man’s ways seem right, noble, and honorable to him but they end up in death and destruction. I’m amazed at how easily Christians buy into man’s ways. The unsaved conservatives in our political system come alongside the Christian and say, see, we are the same path, just follow me. The unsaved liberal says the same thing. We’ve got the answers. We’re trying to follow the Christian philosophy. The conservative will quote something under the Law when the Hebrews were supposed to claim the land God gave them like “God is a man of War” and “this is a Christian nation” mixed in with a little Ayn Rand and some godless country music and the liberal will throw a quote at you from the Sermon on the Mount mixed in with a little Karl Marx and some rock or rap, both all the while shaking their hips to the music and drinking some hooch eyeing up who they’d like to shack up with. Follow us. Both are dead wrong and just plain dead.
On our level, when we were unsaved we followed a path laid out by our culture, in the last few decades by our popular culture, which told us how to live, to love, to experience relationships with men and women, how to raise our children, and how to eat and play. It’s all wrong. It not only ends in death but in a lot of misery on the way.
Our own plans, our own schemes, our own devices without God can only lead to the graveyard and shame before the judgment seat of Christ while to the unsaved the final destination is a lake of unquenchable fire. You want to do it your way, young person, because it’s your life? Well, hang on, because the ride is going be bumpy and the end will either be an early death or an old age filled with sorrow and regret, if you have a mind at all with which to feel the regret.
The whole thing for a Christian starts out with the wrong intentions; glorifying yourself rather than God, then you find that this is your way, and on and on you go. All transgression for a Christian; fornication and the resultant pregnancy and/or disease, homosexuality, bankruptcy, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, a disordered family, and a wasted life result from self worship rather than Christ worship.
Your way may seem right and it may feel right but it leads to death. God’s way leads to an abundant life, a full life. Which way do you want to go?
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Why won’t you let God’s words show you the right way?
Psalm 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Now there’s a powerful contrast to the verse here in Proverbs. Of course, here’s where we’d have the discussion of what it means to live for Christ, to serve Christ, and to be filled with the Spirit because so many older Christians present the most miserable and confused face to young people and many young people are driven away from God because they look at their elders and say, why would I want that? There’s no joy, so assurance, no vision; only paranoia, anger, fear, and a feeling of self pity over the persecution they feel from the world. Why would I want to live like that? Well, not every way that seems like its Christ centered is actually Christ centered. There are many people who think they’re serving Christ but, once again, its self worship.
Our way, my way, your way, their way out there, seems right, but it leads to death.
26 ¶ He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
God understands that humans have a love for their bellies. In fact, in Genesis, chapter three, the word “eat” is used many times. Adam’s rebellion against God started with something for the mouth and the belly. The word “lust” often refers to a man’s desire for food.
Deuteronomy 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
Men will work very hard to fill their bellies and we don’t have a lot of choice about it. Throughout history our ancestors have usually had to work very hard to stay alive. But, the Christian is given another calling.
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.
We are not called to labor only for our own needs. Let me read to you a passage in 2 Corinthians about some of the work of the New Testament church.
2 Corinthians 8:1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
7 ¶ Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
The church that does not take care of its elderly, its sick, its handicapped, or those who are destitute in the congregation is not a New Testament church. Much of the work of Paul’s churches had to do with physically caring for each other. As the famous but incorrectly named “love” chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, says, charity, or the action of one Christian taking care of another, love in action, is superior to both faith and hope because it is the physical manifestation of Christ’s love, caring for each other as He cared for us. Jesus said to the apostles;
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Of course, this can be taken too far and Paul also says that if you won’t work you shouldn’t eat in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. But look here;
2Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
There is no case in the New Testament that I can think of right now where the churches were rich enough to raise money for pagan disaster relief. The New Testament churches had their hands full with their own needy and the pagan poor who came to them for help. Of course, since American Christians look to the government as being God’s instrument on earth we have surrendered our duty as churches to provide for those of our Christians in need to the government. We have rendered unto Caesar what is rightfully God’s and thus, we have transferred the work of the church to having softball games and rock concerts to reach the unsaved. Social security and unemployment insurance are simply more proofs at how the Christian church in America has left its first love. Welfare, at one time, was the work of the churches. Many hospitals were founded by churches and the unsaved poor and the brethren both were served by churches. In fact, the modern liberal agenda was the result of Christians who wanted government to do God’s work eventually forgetting about God completely and causing the secularization of faith. Now, what you once gave willingly is taken from you at the barrel of a gun to distribute to others. True communism, not Marx’s and Satan’s counterfeit, or to each according to his or her need with everyone doing their part was supposed to exist within the church not the pagan state.
The early church, before it was dispersed by persecution, practiced this in truth with;
Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Everything has become perverted and twisted now. Government wastefully attempts to do what Christian churches once did efficiently because the government leaders saw there was true power in the purse and they could distribute forced charity to the people who could benefit them.
And now, every Christian can labor for his own mouth and feel good about it because the poor in his church body can sign up for a government program and he can spend his money on Gaither Family CD’s. Now, that’s not saying that the church should pay your boat payment, your child’s college tuition, or the mortgage on your expensive house that goes way beyond modest accommodations, particularly if you have family to help. Paul makes it clear that if a widow, who really is a widow, has family then the church should not be burdened but no one in this church should go without heating oil, a place to live, or food while we send the teens on a ski trip. I hope you understand what I mean by comparing the modern American church with the New Testament church.
27 ¶ An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. 28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. 29 ¶ A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. 30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
Putting these verses together and comparing the sentence structure it appears we have three types of the wicked man or woman here. He is ungodly, he is froward, he’s a whisperer, and he’s violent. These are things God says elsewhere that He hates.
Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Proverbs 11:20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
These people dig up evil and talk vile things with lips burning to do wrong. They love to sew strife and separate friends. They entice their neighbor and lead him in a wrong direction. They even dream of and devise evil in their hearts and then speak it to make it happen. God forbid but there are many evil Christians. It’s hard to believe that they’re actually saved and I’m glad I can’t determine that. People in the pews of any given place where a church meets who gossip, deceive, control, dominate, lead astray, and just love to see how much power they can have by splitting people up with their lies and slander.
We have all known in our lives out in the world girls who like to use their beauty to entice, to drive boys who are friends to fight and split up friendships and these girls think of that as a triumph. There are boys who live to lead girls down a bad path resulting in a life of pain and regrets and often poverty. I know recently of one “Christian” young man shacking up with a “Christian” girl who had a cousin who was like a brother to him. He worked with him and they were very close. The girl became friendly with the cousin, and they became lovers. Now, because they are “Christians” they have married. She succeeded in destroying that close bond between the two young men and their own iniquity, lust, and carelessness participated in the wickedness . Now, they are enemies and can’t even be allowed to work together which has caused their employer harm, as well.
This is just one example of why the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I have known someone who encouraged a friend to offer a job to a rival in business with the intention of getting that person to quit their job in expectation of the better job offer, only to deliberately withdraw the offer once they had committed themselves in a plan to undo the rival. This is the way people are.
Believe me, God’s got your number. You may have fooled a person, enticed them, tricked them, and laid awake at night cooking up the deal but you haven’t put anything over on God. He knows you’re wicked.
31 ¶ The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
The hoary head refers to the grey head of age. Notice the sentence structure. God connects like things by the word “and” in most cases. Here is a statement containing three actions and a connection between the “hoary head” and the old man. We still have an unwritten rule about standing up when a person we respect enters the room although it isn’t much practiced, even in business, as it has progressively become the American way to eliminate distinctions of gender or status or rank in our day to day dealings.
Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
The “if” here is a pretty big if because there are many wicked seniors. Being old doesn’t make you wise particularly. Notice how the Bible is written. Just as God doesn’t need to add “with evil” in the second part of James 1:13 because he’s already said it in the first part, He doesn’t have to add always in the last part of the following verse but that’s what it means. I say this just so you don’t think this is a statement for all of the aged.
Job 32:9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
In fact, there is little more pathetic than an older person who has not realized their need for the Lord Jesus Christ. Older Christians are called to be certain things;
Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
So, if the grey head of old age be found in the righteousness of Christ, trusting in His righteousness and not their own to give them eternal life, then that grey head is a crown of glory. A carnal Christian who has reached a great age is really pathetic. He or she delights in their material possessions and has no interest at all in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. They are interested still only in worshipping themselves and they, not Christ, sit on the throne of their heart.
32 ¶ He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
A recent news item said that the three things that mainly help determine a child’s worldly success are their IQ, their socioeconomic status, and their self control or self discipline as revealed at an early age. Being able to control your impulses, your anger, and your desires are an essential part of one of the factors that make a mature person even seem mature, what is called emotional intelligence. Here, God confirms that the person who has a long fuse is mightier than Conan the Barbarian and the person who can control his own spirit, has power over it, which is what ruleth means in the Bible, is stronger than someone who can conquer a city.
Here is the definition of what the Bible means when it says “rule”;
Esther 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)
God values and extols self discipline and self control. If you meet someone who tends to come unglued, loses their temper easy, or seems to relish being out of control at times, avoid them like the plague. They can’t control their own spirit. They are dangerous.
Many cultures have sayings similar to this. Seneca, the great Roman philosopher of the 1st century AD, said, “most powerful is he who has himself in his own power”. Alfred Lord Tennyson, considered the greatest of the Victorian age poets said, “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
If you are impulsive and can’t seem to manage control of your own self, you will be poor, perhaps despised by your peers, and will spend your old age, should you reach that far, quite alone. I say this is most likely although there are some Christians who have managed that by God’s grace and the good temper of a loving spouse, but don’t count on it. One of the problems Christians have with this verse is that they are so spoiled and immature. What if God’s will for your life is to have it end in disease at an early age? We can’t accept that God may have had a purpose for us we can’t figure out and that we served that purpose and now He’s calling us home. We’re angry and hurt and confused. This can’t be it, we say. I’m not done. Yes you are, He says. I wanted you to say those words to that person at that time to further him or her in my will for them and you’ve accomplished that. But in our self centeredness and lack of self control we become angry at God and destroy our ability to have a testimony for Him to others as we get ready to take our journey.
Or maybe we’ve decided by our own will that we will find a spouse, have a family, the proverbial little house with the white picket fence, and live a long, happy life but God calls you to preach by opening many doors for you and giving you a talent for speaking His truths in a clear and concise manner. But, you lack self control and your spirit resists and you wind up selling cars or appliances, miserable and unhappy your whole life.
My point in bringing these two examples out which you might not associate with self control and the meaning of this verse is this, that meekness in the Bible is associated with accepting God’s will for your life and not stomping your feet and crying like a baby because you didn’t get what you thought was owed to you. We live in fallen bodies in a fallen world because of sin and our hope is in heaven, not in having an easy time of it here on earth. Self control is linked with accepting that it is what it is, changing what you can, and accepting what you can’t, while being thankful for what you have been given.
Our being overweight, having bad eyesight, coronary artery disease, a bad back, diabetes, and many cancers can come by two ways. We have no control over our heredity, whose genes we received and how those genes arranged to make us and determine the length of our lives and our health to a degree out of our control. But we do have control or should over our impulses; our lust for food, for sex, things that comfort and give pleasure, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sweet stuff, having plenty of light when we read, pushing away from the table when we feel the desire to eat too much. Those who don’t have self control make those who do but are dealing with inherited things a bad name. How do you know if my bad back is due to a birth defect or my unwillingness to spend five minutes a day exercising because I don’t LIKE exercise. We get the same excuse from people who won’t read their Bible because they don’t LIKE to read.
Well, you know what, some part of having self control is also realizing that life doesn’t care what you like or don’t like and there are consequences for your actions or lack of action and you can stomp your feet and scream at the heavens but your lack of self control didn’t do you any good to get you to the point where you are and won’t help you avoid going where you’re going. Get over it.
33 ¶ The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
While the Bible does mention chance but only from a human point of view as in an unforeseen event, something that wasn’t planned, as in Ruth 2:3 with the word, “hap”, while the “haply” used in the New Testament refers to something being an intended conclusion or one’s purpose in doing something one thing the Bible does make clear is that there is no such thing as luck. Luck is a pagan notion. The Vikings were drawn to a man who appeared to have luck on his side but the Devil takes care of his own, its been said.
For instance, for those of you who buy lottery tickets to, uh, help the elderly in our state. Yeah, that’s it. Let me just say this. If it is God’s will that you win any money then you will. If it is not His will then you won’t. You can buy all the tickets the store has but look at this verse again. Consider this, that if God does not want you to be wealthy without working for it then the only way He will permit you to obtain wealth by a chance drawing of the lottery would be to teach you a lesson. It could be a very painful one as I have seen by the tragic accounts of some lottery winners, not all, but some. I hope you are praying before you purchase and asking God to grant you some blessing rather than thinking you might get lucky today.
The stars do not control your fate so put away that horoscope. It is not determined by the “luck” of the draw. Man throws the dice but the Lord decides the outcome. Now, the ancient Hebrews would cast lots but understood that the results were up to God. There is so much in life that is not in our power to decide that we would best restrict our thinking to things we can control up to a point like disciplining our thought life and our actions.