Saturday, April 30, 2011

Proverbs 19:19 commentary

19 ¶ A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

Hot tempered people, people with no control over their anger, which abides and turns into wrath, the perpetually angry person, will again and again create situations from which he must be delivered. Wrath and anger are synonyms only with wrath being anger that continues. Only God is justified in His anger and His wrath at a continually cruel, rebellious, and disobedient world of men. You are not God (except maybe in your own heart you think you are.) Anger is a flash but wrath burns for a long time. Some people stay angry. In two verses I quoted in studying verse 18 both words are used in contrast.

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.

In the following verse, the nature of both anger, which is fierce, and wrath, which is cruel, are defined.

Genesis 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

The next verses hint at the time frame of both. Anger expresses itself as a response but when it lasts a time it becomes wrath. The verse in Hosea alludes to the demand from Israel for a human king just like the nations around them, rejecting God as their king (1 Samuel 8:7). Then, after giving them hundreds of years to do right He finally removed that last king.

Hosea 13:11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.

The second is written directly to us Christians.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

The Christian serves no purpose with either anger or wrath. He or she is to put both aside.

Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

The famous Calvinist preacher John Gill uses this verse in Proverbs in his commentary to denounce punishing a child in wrath just as much as it is a sin for a child to deliberately provoke a parent to wrath. (Come on, you know you did it deliberately. I did.) Some parents are perpetually angry. I know I was. This is a sin.

Are you headstrong, quarrelsome, always angry, full of wrath? Do you come close to getting into trouble each day as you feel disrespected by other motorists, clerks in stores, people walking down the street, friends, and relatives, as well as your own children? Is every inattention, discourtesy, or act of forgetfulness a personal insult against you? Do you believe that you alone are entitled to drive unhindered by the left turns into traffic of other people on a busy street (drives me nuts)? Does your teenager seem to be constantly looking to receive a rebuke from you in every word and deed? Is your toddler so clumsy beyond all normal expectations that they must be spilling drinks and turning over plates of food on purpose? Does it drive you to distraction that your pet doesn’t appreciate the importance of your departed Grandmother’s special plate you’ve sat on the top shelf of the cabinet where she likes to sit? Does your wife or husband’s preoccupation with the news, sports, a cooking show, or the lawn or garden feel like a very deliberate slight?

Does every act of government that doesn’t please you call for revolution? Do you feel constantly like suing your neighbor because he doesn’t keep his yard to your standards, tests his car engine, or has family get togethers too often and loud? Are you always angry at someone or something? Do you even kick inanimate objects that don’t bend to your will? Throw bolts that won’t fit? Break things that don’t work easily? When was the last time you swore at your computer? How long have you been angry at God for taking someone you loved or permitting a bad situation to continue when you felt helpless to resolve it?

Christian, you don’t have a personality problem, as in “that’s just me”. You have a sin problem. You need to get on your knees or on your face and plead with God to deliver you from it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You wrath is not pleasing to God. And you will spend your entire life apologizing, paying fines or going to jail, alienating people who want to love you, and destroying your health. You’ll need deliverance over and over again until you “get it” or you die from wrecking your heart.

One of the things a Christian parent must teach their child is how to deal with anger so that it doesn’t become wrath. They do this by personal example, by not putting wrath in front of their eyes on television and movies or in their ears by popular music, and by daily reading the Bible together and by family prayers.

There is nothing better to find out what is your child’s proclivity to wrath than by praying together as a family. Your child will know that bringing hurts and slights to God is the appropriate way to deal with anger, not in bluster, vanity, or wrath. Early in the morning or in the evening, get on your knees with your family, pray together, read the Bible aloud. Do it when your children are young and they want to hear what you have to say. Every single parent or child I’ve ever talked to who has done this daily has had a good outcome. Don’t make it a chore, make it a joy, something the child will look forward to, and when they are older they will look forward to it.

As for you, get over it and start reading your Bible. I’d recommend Ephesians every time you even feel annoyed but read the Bible through over and over. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Deal with your anger and your wrath now. You are poisoning your children, your marriage, and perhaps your friendships. You will have to be delivered from trouble over and over again by God because the wrathful person is not a tough guy or girl, he or she is simply a fool.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Proverbs 19:18 commentary

18 ¶ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

This verse written under the Law doesn’t specifically demand physical discipline such as spanking but other verses do recommend it which we’ll see later on in Proverbs. I would say, as I’ve said before, that if you do choose to use physical discipline you must never do it while you’re angry. Cool down, do it for the child’s benefit, and explain what you’re doing and why. Don’t do it for punishment or because you’re annoyed or embarrassed.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

It is important that a parent be consistent and not cruel or seeming to answer every problem with violence. This is not teaching a child anything good. I wish that the parents which cling so tightly to the permission to spank would cling as tightly to these verses given under the doctrines of grace specifically to the Christian.

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.

I do disagree with letting anyone other than the parent physically discipline the child. I’m not for letting some sick sadist beat your child mercilessly under the pretense of “Godly reproof” for some minor infringement.

With regard to those who will not discipline their child other than the time out chair, good luck with that. I hope you have a reasonably compliant child because you are in for a world of hurt when they are a teenager if your child has a rebellious streak in them.

At the very least, we can agree on this verse that people who don’t correct their children, however they choose to do it, will suffer for their irresponsibility as parents when that child gets beyond the age where, as this verse says, there is still hope. Children need boundaries. They crave limits. If you don’t put limits on your child’s behavior, if both parents aren’t on the same page, and if it’s done inconsistently there will be huge problems in the child’s life.

The biggest problem with raising children in today’s age is the marketing phenomenon called ‘teenager’. This word was invented in the early 20th century as a ploy to create and identify a market to sell products to, and had no real meaning before that. At one time, being an adult was better than being a child and the idea was to raise a child to want to be an adult. Now, parents have cluelessly been deceived into creating an artificial age called adolescence where these people whose minds are not fully formed are suspended in time, sharing some of the privileges and pleasures of adulthood but little of the responsibility. This unnatural and hideous situation is mirrored in so called church “youth groups”.

Instead of teaching children by example and reproof to be adults we treat them like pets until at a certain age we suddenly expect them to act like a responsible adult even though they’ve had almost no training in the subject. This is far more cruel and devastating than the occasional spanking. We have invented a new creature; the transition between a carefree child unencumbered with sexual desires and a sense of independent self apart from parents and siblings and a responsible adult who takes responsibility for themselves and others, as well as lives with the consequences of their actions. We’ve elevated this marketing based, transitory stage to the level where actual adults keep trying to turn back to it even when they’re old. It’s amazing how people are so brainwashed by the assumed “joys” of the state of being a teenager that the media and movies hype that they can’t seem to grow out of it.

There are teenagers in Christian families without any chores or responsibilities whom the parents bestow continual, expensive gifts on and expect nothing further from them than to “enjoy being a teenager”. This is insanity and irresponsibility and can only have a good outcome if the child has a superior character and God delivers them from themselves. Teaching a child to worship “self” is far more cruel and mean than a spanking or denial of privileges or temporarily confiscating a favorite possession.

So called Christian parents who don’t hold daily devotions with their children including prayer and Bible reading, and who don’t dare discipline their children consistently however they choose to do it or expect anything out of them other than not to embarrass Mom and Dad, are treating Christian parenting like a game of Blackjack in gambling casino. I know this is true. I’m paying a horrible price for not knowing it when it mattered.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Proverbs 19:17

17 ¶ He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Ayn Rand, the author and philosopher, an atheist, and we know what the Bible has to say about atheists, said that charity as we define it today, giving to help others, is neither a moral duty or a primary virtue.

“My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.”

Under the Law, God had many specific duties he placed on the Hebrews with regard to the poor. Here are two verses for an example.

Leviticus 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger (foreigner living in the land): I am the LORD your God.


Deuteronomy 15:11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Now, in the Church Age, we Christians are also given specific instructions. Here, in regard to honest work;

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.

Of course, the third verse of 1 Corinthians 13 shows that giving to the poor is a virtue. We’ve already seen how the church itself was supposed to operate, with each member’s physical needs being met that they were incapable of meeting. The assumption here is that everyone that can, works.

2Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Paul even stated that in disputes the church should appoint the “least esteemed” among them to make decisions.

1Corinthians 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

Christians, in the beginning, were often poor and many of them slaves, which were treated as no better than material objects.

Charity, by our modern definition or the Bible’s, is a duty and a virtue. Perhaps, for an atheist (see Psalm 14:1 and 53:1) charity is not a duty or a virtue but Ayn Rand was not a Christian. Now, these verses in the New Testament are directed at Christians on how to treat other Christians specifically but the Christians were known, at least in the beginning, for taking care of the faithful and the pagan alike. The modern so called New Testament church doesn’t even take care of its own poor but assumes the state will take that responsibility through welfare, social security, medicare, and unemployment benefits.

The difference between public charity today as well as in ancient Rome and Christian relief of the poor is that there is a condition in Christian charity and that is that you are willing to work. In Ancient Rome, for those on “grain relief” there were few instances where there was even a means test (under Julius Caesar and Augustus) to obtain the relief and eventually welfare even became hereditary (Emperor Aurelian). In Ancient Rome, as today, public charity made possible by taxes, is a means by which to procure the support of a certain portion of the masses, regardless of their ability to work. Our unemployment insurance, today, is different than that though as the assumption is that you are diligently looking for work. You are encouraged to do so. If you refuse work you can be denied benefits.

In any event, no Christian can align themselves with Ayn Rand’s dismissal of private charity. With Christ charity is a duty for the giver but not, as it is politically now and was in Ancient Rome, a right to be received by the poor. Still, I read one Roman politician complain that the Christians not only took care of their own poor but over a thousand poor pagans in Rome at that time.

I consider myself an old fashioned Baptist, from my understanding of history and what that means. I do not want government involvement in religion and, other than the personal commitment to Christ of a particular politician, I don’t want organized religious involvement in government. My God is not so weak that He needs government to enforce His will or doctrine any more than He needs me to kill someone. However, there is a long tradition in American history where Christians demand government act as God’s agent on earth. The inconsistency of expecting the nation to act as a church body with the three branches of government as pastor-executive, deacons – legislative, and trustees – judicial or some such relationship between church authority and government authority is that Christians expect people to be forced to live under Christian rules but the Christian is not be held to Christian responsibilities for giving and aiding the poor. You really can’t honestly have it both ways. If the nation is a church then tax supported welfare is a duty. So be careful what you demand of government. I would prefer they just leave us alone as the mixing of church and state always harms the spiritual strength of the church, it doesn’t make the state more spiritual. The government is based on force while our Christian association is voluntary. I refer you to the American Civil War if you think our association as a nation is voluntary or the tax code if you actually believe that the income tax is in any way voluntary.

So, the essence of Christian relief of the poor is voluntary. God referred to the Hebrews as lending to the Lord when they pitied the poor, and He promised them a return. We must be careful, as Christians, not to apply this very physical Proverb to a physical kingdom of the Hebrews too literally to Christians who have no visible kingdom on this earth. We are not lending to God. As far as we are concerned it was all God’s money to begin with. It is He who is generously allowing us to keep most of the money He gives us for our own needs.

We give to others because we love Christ and because;

2Corinthians 8:9 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.

We are not looking to have the money we give returned to us in full. We already have more than we need now, having eternal life. We invest in spiritual things and we expect to receive our reward in heaven. God certainly blesses us today but if you give money to God’s work or the service of the poor and needy expecting a return, although the blessing of giving is enough, then you are not giving with the right heart.

So, I’ll sum up with, it is a Christian’s responsibility to pity the poor out of a right heart and to give generously of God’s money to people, particularly within the church, who are willing to work but unable to sustain themselves, and who have no family to aid them.

It is the Christian’s duty to pay taxes as required by the state, but as a citizen to exert pressure on the government to spend the money wisely and responsibly. Personally, my problem is not with taxpayer funded help of others but with how it’s wastefully administered, much like Ancient Rome, as a right, and now in order to obtain the loyalty of a block of voters.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Proverbs 19:16 commentary

16 ¶ He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

The “his ways” indicate that this is regarding the rule of the Lord, all the words of His command. To the Hebrew this was specifically referring to the commands that God had given them through Moses in the establishment of a kingdom of heaven on earth, with God as the king. They rejected what God intended to establish by demanding a human king (1 Samuel 8:4-22). Constantly, all through the Old Testament the Hebrews, the Jews, rebelled against God’s commandments and there were many commandments whose violation thereof required the death penalty. Finally, given the opportunity of having God Himself come to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, pay the price for their sin, and receiving Him as their Saviour, and being forgiven, they rejected that as well. In 1 Thessalonians 2:16 Paul makes a chilling statement regarding the condition of the Jewish people for the last 2,000 years when he says, “….for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” In spite of that, God has a place for them in his plan for the earth and the world of people who inhabit it at the end of history.

For the Christian the question comes up, “what commandments must we keep?” Well, your salvation is contingent upon no commandment but upon your reliance upon Christ’s righteousness and belief in His resurrection in order for you to dwell with God forever and ever.

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.

And again, to the Philippian jailer, Paul makes it clear;

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Christians are to keep the commandments of God because they are saved, not in order to get saved, or to stay saved. But, which commandments of all of those hundreds of rules and regulations given to the physical kingdom of heaven on earth are to be followed by the dwellers of the spiritual and invisible kingdom of God in which Christians live?

Jesus boiled down the essence of all of the Old Testament for the Jews in one discussion.

Matthew 22:34 ¶ But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

For the Christian, the missionary to the Gentiles, Paul, gives many admonitions in the books written specifically to us from Romans to Philemon. Such admonitions provide the ethical standards by which we who have trusted Christ are supposed to live, such as for example;

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ¶ Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 ¶ Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 ¶ And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

And again in Romans Paul makes the commandments clear that we are to follow;

Romans 13:7 ¶ Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Jesus Himself gave all of His followers an additional commandment.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This is expounded on by Paul in his mini-sermon about the value of the Christian’s love toward other Christians, and by acts of kindness and benevolence to all mankind. (Peter defines charity in 1 Peter 4:8 and 2 Peter 1:7, Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:3). As you can see by verse 3, charity is not about our modern definition of throwing money at someone to appease our consciences.

1 Corinthians 13:1 ¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 ¶ Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Paul declares also that this charity is the essence of what makes a Christian complete.

Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

While a commandment requires obedience, there is little hope of having the capacity to follow the commandment without an attitude that is the foundation of obedience. That attitude for the Christian cannot be achieved without the Spirit of Christ, of God, dwelling in you. The evidence, what the fruit that Christ’s Spirit that dwells in the Christian produces, is clear.

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

Our commandment from God is to live in the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, and to obey His commandments for the Christian. Pray, read, and hear to speak to God and have Him speak to you. Keep His commandments and care for your soul. You can’t lose your salvation but that is for another lesson.

Now, this Proverb, was written specifically to the Hebrews under the Law. It requires a bit of a stretch to apply it to Christians. The nature of our governance is different. We have a lot more “home rule”, so to speak, than the Jews did as God intended to establish a kingdom on earth from which His blessings would flow, and He will still accomplish that in the future. However, in this age of the church, the body of Christ, of all believers on earth, with Christ, the head of the church, in heaven, we are under a different set of rules. Our commandments don’t require outward obedience first as outward obedience is not the essence of what God wants from us. Our commandment requires a spiritual change of heart first, a new creature, as our old man cannot obey. Didn’t the Hebrews prove that?

How is this change of attitude affected after one receives Christ as their very personal Saviour? By the scriptures themselves is this change effected. I keep saying it over and over again because you’re not listening.

John 17:17 Sanctify (set apart for God’s purpose) them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

God holds His words in very high regard as being very important.

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

He has preserved them for us;

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

And even under the Law given to Moses, the psalmist knew what was necessary for him not to sin against God, to keep God’s commandments.

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Christian, if you love God, if you have been saved by Him, then, in order to obey Him, get His word in your heart and keep it there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Latest Reading

A History of Messianic Speculation in Israel by Abba Hillel Silver, D.D., published in New York by the MacMillian Company in 1927. This book was the result of his doctoral thesis at Hebrew Union College in 1925. Dr. Silver traces the progress of messianic thought in Hebraism and Judaism. There are some very interesting things said in this book and some perplexing ones. First, the book doesn't reveal an expectation of two messiahs; Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David, the suffering messiah and the conquering messiah until after the beginning of Islam. I had always been told that that idea of two messiahs was prevalent in Old Testament times. It bears further investigation. In addition, the constant Jewish attempt to set a date for their messiah to come parallels Christian attempts to calculate the Second Coming of Christ. To many of the great Jewish sages of the past this was an exercise in occultism and wickedness. In addition all of the playing with numbers as having great meaning, hidden Bible codes, and secret messages within the scriptures are a way of avoiding the commands of God, or so it appears. On page 251 Silver says, "Jewish mysticism in general based its authority not upon vision or revelation, but upon an inspired and occult interpretation of the words of the Bible." Sadly, I have seen many Christians in the last forty years spending a great deal of time, not so much in trying to obey God's word, as in trying to figure out a hidden meaning in it. It is as sad an exercise for prophecy mongerers as it was for the Jewish kabbalists of the Middle Ages. This is a book worth reading, but if you're into setting dates and prophecy-end times conferences it will make you angry and possibly have you reevaluate what your Christian focus has been.

Book Review

An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by Charles A. Beard. New York: The Free Press, 1986. liii + 325pp. $26.02 paper. Review by Frederick Widdowson, 4/27/11.

Charles A. Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States:
A Thought Provoking History

I first became aware of Beard when I was studying the background of World War Two. I chanced upon Beard while reading Harry Elmer Barnes’ Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace and I became an avid student of what Beard called Revisionist History . Almost immediately I became entranced by his meticulous handling of the buildup to World War Two and the amazing scholarship and thoroughness he displayed. I became a fan of his writing and his thoroughness. In Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States he makes the controversial argument that the creators and proponents of our vaunted U.S. Constitution may have had an additional or overriding motivation in the creation of the document in that they had certain financial interests that required a strong national government in order to be reinforced and protected. I personally think he achieved just what he set out to do; raise the question that perhaps more than ideology and political philosophy were at play in the writing and ratification of our Constitution.

Beard uses the distribution of property holdings among those for and against the Constitution to suggest economic factors in supporting or rejecting it. He, very thoroughly, argues that people who lent money, merchants, holders of public securities, and holders of other personal property were instrumental in pushing the Constitution through. Those against the Constitution had an interest in farming, the agrarian lifestyle, were in debt, and favored paper money. As Beard presents the financial interests of delegate after delegate to the Constitutional Convention he asks the question, did these delegates break down into specific interest groups with money factors as the lynchpin around which they revolved or were they just working under abstract principles of political philosophy? His conclusion is that the Constitution was formulated and pushed through by people whose economic interests had been negatively affected by the weak national government under the Articles of Confederation.

Now, first, let me say that the critic of Beard’s thesis, such as the eminent legal scholar, Russell Kirk, in his Rights and Duties: Reflections on Our Conservative Constitution falsely maligns Beard when he implies that Beard is impugning the character of our founders by accusing them of avarice. The problem with this and one of the strengths of the book itself is that Beard says clearly in his introduction on page xiiv that “I called my volume “an economic interpretation of the constitution.” I did not call it “the” economic interpretation, or “the only” interpretation possible to thought. Nor did I pretend that it was “the history” of the formation and adoption of the Constitution.” Beard going down the list, name by name, provides evidence that may put forward reasoning that justifies his conclusion that there was adequate incentive financially to include personal financial interest as part of the reasoning behind the Constitution. He never attacks, mocks, or insinuates against the leadership that created the basic document of law in our country. The book’s primary strength is its thoroughness and its citation in footnotes of his copious sources.

The book’s weaknesses, other than the lack of a bibliography, forcing you to list the footnotes on a separate paper to run down, include a few small errors of fact which may be matters of interpretation, and the lack of an explanation within the book itself that he is simply providing an additional explanation for a very complicated document, and I am including the arguments for and against the Constitution when I say complicated. In addition, he brings in other statements by the founders with which he intends to buttress his case, such as Hamilton’s view of the army and navy as economic instruments designed to protect trade and commerce from Federalist no. 12, which really don’t seem like they have a bearing on his thesis (171). If he had made more of an emphasis on his purpose and less of an attempt to undergird his argument with implications that don’t seem to appear to be supportable, such as the Constitution wasn’t instituted because state governments were too weak, which is what I was taught, but that they were too strong in supporting debtors’ interests (179) then I think he would have been more successful. I think Beard’s biggest weakness in the book is a lack of clarity about the meaning of the book. His statement on page 188, “It was an economic document drawn with superb skill by men whose property interests were immediately at stake; and as such it appealed directly and unerringly to identical interests in the country at large,” flies in the face of the disclaimer in his introduction and although after reading the entire book I understand his point, it surely gives critics much ground for attack. However, I see a certain cynicism and disregard for a concern about expressing opinions that I gathered from Breisach’s explanation of Progressive Historians and Beard specifically as having abandoned the concept of objectivity in his essay entitled That Noble Dream.

In conclusion, I think this book makes a very good case, but a very specific and limited case, for the Constitution having had some economic motives behind it in addition to the motives of an idealistic political science. I think it errs when Professor Beard tries to apply modern 20th century concepts, as Progressives do, of property and wealth which had undergone extreme changes in the 1800’s, to the 1700’s. As Forrest McDonald points out in his part of the introduction to this edition of Beard’s book on page ix, one of the great plusses of this effort has been to open up dry political history to new avenues of thought. Even if Beard is just plain wrong and that economic motives were not involved in the shaping of the Constitution (and anyone who has lived long enough in business and politics would find that hard to believe even though modern historians seem to have rejected Beard’s hypothesis) he has created a situation where it is no longer acceptable to simply recite the history of famous men and their ideas, but it is important to look at other possibilities, including distasteful and controversial ones, for our understanding of the workings of the “great men” of our past.

Proverbs 19:15 commentary

15 ¶ Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

The literal application of this verse is very obvious. Laziness does not normally produce wealth or provide one with food. People who are lazy to the extreme spend a lot of time doing nothing. We are to work hard and work smart and the person who will not work should not eat.

2Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Since the New Testament church took care of each other this was a most valuable command to keep a sluggard from taking advantage of the church pantry. At a time when there was no government welfare and the church met the needs of its people as they were presented, it was important to keep individuals from being slothful. We are encouraged to work, not just to meet our own needs, as well.

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.

Now, let’s go beyond just food. We have another type of food; our spiritual food. The slothful person is too spiritually asleep to feed himself with the words of God in the Bible. He is idle and can never seem to find the time to take in God’s words. For we know that;

Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.

And the man or woman of God is given instructions to read.

1Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

And to study.

2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The lazy Christian might be a hard worker in worldly things. He may feed his own flesh and his family’s needs very well. But, he has no interest in the word of God and is idle, lazy, and slothful. You know how hard it is to be alert after a good meal. You hear but you don’t really hear. You see but you don’t really see. Most Christians are like that all the time when it comes to things of God. How often do you read the Bible? How many times have you read it through? Can you recite verses? Any verses? When you hear a sermon do you listen? Do you think about what was said and the Biblical foundation of it?

The idle soul shall suffer hunger, a hunger of God’s word. How will you stand before Christ at His judgment seat (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10) and tell Him that you disregarded or despised His words that He preserved, that martyrs died for, and that some people in other countries read under the threat of torture and death? You don’t think you need to read the Bible much, do you? You are a fool. You need God’s word desperately. It’s the principal means by which He makes a Christian set apart and useful to Him.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

You say, I go to church frequently, sometimes four times a week. I hear God’s word preached. It is enough. Really? Do you only eat food four times a week? Are you not hungry in the morning after you sleep, at noon after a morning in the world, in the evening after a long day, and perhaps even for a snack before bed? I bet some of you even get up in the middle of the night by the looks of you to eat a meal. But, you’re not hungry for God’s word? Are you a Christian? Is it just a political ideal for you? Something to identify with that makes you feel good about yourself?

The lazy Christian, the slothful Christian, will find that his idle soul is hungry, and that he is spiritually asleep and easily deceived by every false man of God, every political demagogue of a pagan religion that pretends to be a Christian, and by every speaker of lies and distortions who tries to lead him to the slaughter like an animal. He knows only of God what others tell him and does not permit God to speak to Him through God’s words. Our nation is in deep trouble because of slothful, lazy Christians who would rather wave banners at a rally for their favorite power hungry liar of the month than to eat God’s words.

To American Christians, on the right, and on the left, I say;

Proverbs 6:9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

To the right, “you can’t reconcile Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness and greed to the Gospel”. To the left, “charity at the point of a gun is not charity, it is theft and extortion”. To the fundamentalist, “blindly following people who prey on you and manipulate you is not what Christ calls you to do, no matter what their philosophy”. To the modernist, “watering down and changing the word of God to get along with people God has condemned is a fake Christianity.” To all I say, read the Book. Hear the sermons. Study the word. Eat, drink it, swim in it, let it change your heart and change your life. Feed yourself. Be filled. Stop being so spiritually slothful and lazy.

I, personally, recommend to the Christian who has not been in the habit of reading the Bible to start with Ephesians and read through Philemon to get his marching orders for how he is to live each day. Read Romans through Galatians to keep the spirit of self righteousness and phariseeism from taking over. Read the Gospel of John to experience who Christ is. Read ALL of the Bible to understand God’s standards, His plans, and the importance of His words. And the great thing is, you can start today, right now even.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Proverbs 19:14 commentary

14 ¶ House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

In this verse we have a contrast with the contentious wife of the previous. Here, it is said that fathers may pass down house and riches but a prudent wife is a gift from God. We need to define two words here. First, let’s look at how the preposition “of” is used for our meaning so that we don’t misunderstand the first part of the verse. “Of” can mean “by” or “from” based on context for meaning as well as some other ways there is no need to mention here. Here is an example of “by”.

Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Here is an example of “from”.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

So, to understand the context we see that material possessions (house in this case is linked with riches so it is referring to a physical structure, whereas in some contexts it refers to a dynasty or family) are an inheritance of fathers. But, God is the giver of the gift of a prudent wife. What is a prudent wife?

We’ve had the word, prudent, used about nine times in Proverbs so far so it is an important word. Prudent is first mentioned in 1 Samuel 16:18 in the phrase “prudent in matters”. In Proverbs 12:16 it refers to someone who has self control in their anger. In 12:23 the prudent person doesn’t reveal all they know and certainly not at the wrong time. In 14:8 they are very self aware; they knew themselves very well. In 14:15 they are not na├»ve and gullible. In 14:18 they aren’t foolish; they know what they’re talking about. In 15:5 they pay attention to being reproved. They can admit it when they’re wrong. In 16:21 they are wise in heart. In linking all of the definitions of prudent in the Bible we can see that being prudent is synonymous with being wise.

If you don’t have a prudent wife you probably didn’t pray for one anyway. If you don’t have a wife now, pray for one from God; the kind of person with which He wants you to be united for life. If your wife isn’t prudent pray for her. I’d have a hard time being a Pastor because my advice would never be very worldly or involve any such animal as “pastoral counseling” in the form of psychology tinged with Christian terms. My first questions to a struggling married couple would be “do you pray together every day?” and “do you both read your Bible every day?”. I wouldn’t be coming up with nifty little exercises to help them appreciate each other, first. I would be wanting to help them appreciate God in their lives daily, separately and alone, first.

Young men, thinking they might like to be married, first understand that a prudent wife is a gift from God. Pray diligently every day for God to place the right woman in front of you. Then, once you have the right woman, pray for her every day, pray with her every day, and both of you let God speak to you through His words in His Book. (You need to really memorize and meditate on Ephesians 5:21-33). If you still have problems then go to your Pastor. But, if you aren’t following the things of God then I doubt you’ll do what your Pastor suggests either.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Telling quote from T.S. Eliot to think about.

"The world is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapes; meanwhile redeeming the time; so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the world from suicide." From the essay, "Thoughts after Lambeth," in Selected Essays, 1917-1932,page 332.

Proverbs 19:13 commentary

13 ¶ A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

Now, here’s two items of unpleasantness for a husband and a father. He has a son who acts foolish and that is a grief to him.

Job 6:2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

In fact, a foolish son is a disaster.

Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

A contentious wife reminds me of the water torture where drop upon drop falls on your head until you are driven insane. She is a scorner, she is strife, and she is full of reproaches against him.

Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

I think we’ve all known someone like this, whose family life is an absolute misery. Christian men are called to a certain standard which can be difficult at times.

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Because it can get really bad.

Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

From a prophetic point of view, we have to understand God’s position. He called Israel his firstborn in Exodus 4:22. And there is no one who has acted more foolishly toward their Father than Israel. What a grief they have been. Just read the major and minor prophets to see His lamentation. Again, the church is the bride of Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:9, among others). Christians ignore God’s word, corrupt it, change it, delete it, and argue with it. Can you imagine a more disappointing scene for God, to have His son (lowercase ‘s’), the people He created from nasty, idol worshipping Gentiles act like an idiot and His bride whom He brought out from all the wretched of the nations of the earth act like a jerk?

What a merciful God we have. What a patient, longsuffering Creator. On this Easter morning while we observe the joy and celebration of Christ's resurrection, let's also remember God's mercy. Without His mercy, He would not have come to earth to live as one of us, to die, and to be resurrected. God's mercy is wonderful, anyone should agree.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Proverbs 19:12 commentary

12 ¶ The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.

Obviously, it’s clear that it’s better to have the approval of a monarch than to suffer his abiding anger. With regard to the Monarch of the universe in which we live it is said;

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

There are many other verses about God’s wrath but I thought this one showed the balance between His wrath and His favor.

You see, Jesus was very clear about who He was and is, in spite of the modernist, unbelieving scholar’s assertions, whether it be the foolishness of The Jesus Seminar or the monstrosity by Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest for the Historical Jesus.

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 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

So, those people who don’t believe what Jesus said about Himself have the wrath of God abiding on them and it is better to enjoy His favor than to experience His wrath.

Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Proverbs 19:11 commentary

11 ¶ The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
There are many men who view their ability to explode at the slightest provocation a sign of their manhood. You see it and hear about it all the time in daily life. On the internet some men can’t even have a civilized conversation with someone who disagrees with them without cursing, placing their responses in all caps, and name calling. This is just the sign of an immature, small minded little boy in an adult body. Flying off the handle at the least opposition reflects badly on your character and on your maturity. If you have a short fuse you have an ‘I haven’t grown up’ problem. You’ll probably even get angry reading or hearing this because you are so enamored of your righteous fury.
God honors discretion in your attitude as you hold back your anger. After all, if God gave us what we deserve and responded to everything that made Him angry we would have ceased to exist a long time ago and only the wild animals would rule the earth. It is your glory to pass over a transgression, to just let things pass that tick you off, and to move on. Take a chill pill, cool your jets, and go cut the grass or lift weights. Get it out of your system.
Proverbs 14:29 ¶ He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
Proverbs 16:32 ¶ He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
Its one thing to admit you have an anger problem and that you realize it’s a sin. It’s another to glory and revel in it. Are you a fool? Do you like being a fool? How has it helped you? I have some bad news for you. Neither God, nor I, nor the world for that matter, are particularly impressed with your bluster, swagger, hot temper, foul mouth, or vulgarities. I’ve seen families torn apart by tempers like yours, physically weaker people hurt and abused, and lives brought low. If you are quick to anger then get on your knees and pray for mercy and for deliverance. Your behavior is not pleasing to God.
Christians believe, though not all, that it is good for a child to receive physical discipline for deliberately wrong behavior. But, it is NEVER good for a child for this discipline to be meted out while you are angry. If you say, well, if I wait until I cool off I’d never spank my child. Then, if that is so, it wasn’t appropriate. Don’t take action while you’re “mad”. If an action shouldn’t be taken with a clear head and a clear heart then it is not a good action, in any event. You are never to teach your child that violence is an appropriate response to anger. Good parents will discipline a child and make it very clear why the discipline is necessary. I have heard of children who actually thank their parents for disciplining them later.
Proverbs 27:3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Proverbs 19:10 commentary

10 ¶ Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.

From the literal perspective for the ancient Hebrews there was much of good, sound advice in this Proverb about the injustice of servants ruling over princes and about how out of place it seemed that fools should enjoy the blessings of God.

Delight is defined as appreciation of, enjoyment with, and pleasure in. See verses like Genesis 34:19; Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 10:15; 21:14; 1 Samuel 15:22; 18:22.

A fool is defined most prominently in 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.

Now, we could not imagine the President of the United States going home to the White House and he and his staff and cabinet having to answer to the White House butler. It might make for a funny sitcom on TV but it would be ridiculous to imagine. It’s not even conceivable in normal terms. We would think absolutely goofy the idea of a group of Senators being ordered around by a Capitol Hill janitor (unless, of course, he had some unpleasant photographs he was blackmailing them with). To rule is to have power over as per Esther 9:1.

The very idea of a fool taking delight in the blessings of the Lord appears unreasonable, and Solomon, speaking with the understanding that God’s inspiration gave him, says that it is unseemly. In God’s commonwealth of Israel it was unseemly for an unbelieving person to receive the things of God that he would by virtue of his living in Israel that the Hebrews received and this is linked to the injustice and odd thought of a servant having rule over princes.

We find it unseemly and awkward that God’s blessings pour out on fools and God’s people alike, but that’s the way God would have it.

Matthew 5:43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

The prophets of old lamented this fact of God’s mercy toward the wicked.

Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

It riles some of us that the wicked don’t always seem to have the trouble that we think they deserve. But God’s mercy is longsuffering. His patience is enduring. The fools will never be able to say they didn’t have a chance to turn to the Living God. As unseemly as it appears, they have their delight in God’s blessings even though they refuse to acknowledge His grace in their lives. And, to some of us, this looks about as ridiculous and strange as the idea of the King of Saudi Arabia’s gardener having power over him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Proverbs 19:9 (chapter 19, verse 9) commentary

9 ¶ A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.
Several similar statements regarding the false witness have preceded this.
Proverbs 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Proverbs 12:17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
Proverbs 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
Proverbs 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
What we say and how we say it matters quite a bit to the God of the Bible. This is understandable as Genesis chapter One states that God spoke the universe into existence (see Quantum Physics on vibrations as the foundation of matter and energy), He spoke and light appeared (sonoluminescence, first understood in the 1930’s), He spoke the stars and all the heavens into existence (man is still trying to understand the theory of sonofusion). In the Bible what we do for people is represented by the verb ‘to communicate’ in specific contexts (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:18; Hebrews 13:16. Our behavior is defined as conversation in certain contexts (i.e.:Psalm 37:14; Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 2;3; Hebrews 13:7; James 3;13).
We are supposed to watch what vibrations come out of our mouths.
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.
Lying and being a false witness is condemned by God. As I said before, being a false witness in order to do harm is even worse than just plain lying. Buy lying and distorting the truth are not pleasing to God.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
God doesn’t want liars in the New Jerusalem that will come down to earth (Revelation 21:2). Satan is a liar (John 8:44). Some people define themselves by their lying. Their entire existence revolves around lying. I’ve met some in business and we know there are plenty in government. Lying to them is a tool, a way to attain a hoped for end. These people are evil, just plain wicked. We have them in the halls of power, in pulpits across America, in boardrooms, classrooms, and in every walk of life.
2Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
I’m reading a book from the very early 1900’s entitled Little Visits with Great Americans. One of the repeated pieces of advice from several of the successful inventors and businessmen for young people, the purpose of the book, was to always be honest, to tell the truth at all times. Now, whether or not you believe Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, Hiram Maxim, Marshall Field, John Wanamaker, etc. etc. were truthful men is not the point. The point is that the one thing that was common among many of them was to give advice to young people and that was to be honest and not to lie.
Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
2Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Most important, speak the truth with the right heart.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Proverbs 19:8

8 ¶ He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
Its rather easy to love and care for your own flesh. It commands you to do so. Hunger, cold, heat, and pain are felt and tug at you, as your flesh demands to be satisfied and every need met or there is no peace. It takes a strong individual to deny themselves and our self denial is usually rather inconsistent. In fact, we spend so much time trying to satisfy the flesh we deny the needs of the soul.
The first need of the soul is to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The soul needs to know the One who will keep it from the eternal torment of the Lake of Fire and who will unite it with a new body and the spirit in eternal communion with Christ, the Word by which they were created.
Sadly, we teach our children by our example and our permission that satisfying the flesh is the greatest good they can do. Hours are allowed to be spent in front of a television or computer screen, perhaps a game console of some kind, just occupying our time, in no semblance even thinking of drawing closer to Christ through reading, studying, or relating what we understand of His words to another. We drive our children to endless sports activities and wish for them, if possible, the best education they can get so that they will lack nothing as an adult and perhaps “make us proud”. But, very little time is given to teaching a child to love his own soul.
We go to church, the most of us, merely to be entertained or inspired, as we sit passively in sermon after sermon. Perhaps we focus on establishing relationships and friendships at church and engage in activities that we hope will give our children a “healthy outlet” for their energy and intelligence.
Is it any wonder when a child goes astray, winds up in a nightmare of a life of his own creation, or commits suicide to escape the hopelessness and pointlessness that they feel? For, you see, the flesh offers nothing but temporary respite from discomfort and the anesthetic of pleasure. It is a blackmailer on the one hand, merely promising pain if its demands aren’t met. On the other hand the pleasure it offers gives a diminishing return so that one day, if you live long enough you’ll experience all of the old age losses that Solomon talks about in Ecclesiastes 12. We play, we love, we laugh, we are entertained, well fed, clothed, drive a nice car, live in a nice house, perhaps have the respect of people who look up to us, but then one day, we are gone. The flesh dies. Within a generation or two unless we’ve accomplished some great thing we are forgotten. It’s as if we were never born. Our names will exist on some public record or on a grave marker, but in short time, after those who knew us are also gone, we will be blotted out of all memories. This is what the flesh offers because our flesh is temporary, only a temporary habitation.
The soul, however, lives forever. It will inhabit a new body one day, one that does not control our every movement nor one that extorts time and attention. It will be able to walk through walls (John 20:19), and move great distances instantaneously (Acts 8:39-40), accomplish feats of extraordinary ability like Elijah in 1 Kings 18:46 and Samson in Judges 14 through 16, never die, never have anything to grieve, and never experience pain as in Revelation 21:4. But, that’s if the soul’s need for Christ has been met. That’s only if the soul seeks and receives Christ, our wisdom, and our salvation.
1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek
(a reference to Gentiles; non-Jews).
But the soul that does not know Christ will also experience eternity, only not in the way of the first. In the beginning, after death, there is Hell, the natural destination of all human souls (Luke 16:23). Eventually, Hell itself will be cast into a lake of unquenchable fire (Revelation 20:14). There, reduced to absolute misery the soul that has rejected Christ will spend forever (Mark 9:42-48; Isaiah 66:24).
If you love your own soul, then get wisdom. Wisdom is Christ. There is no greater wisdom than Christ. For the Christian there is no wisdom apart from Christ. For any person there is no wisdom without Christ. You may be wise in this world but one day, without Christ, it will be as if you were never born to people here. But, for you there will be unimaginable pain, regret, and sorrow as ages and aeons stretch out before you with no hope of redemption and no way of changing your fate. God will not hear your pleas for salvation or mercy. Now, He will hear you. Now, He will lift you up. Now is the time for salvation through Christ.
Understanding is counsel from God (Deuteronomy 32:28). Understanding is that inspiration that God placed in Godly men to give us His words in a Book;
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

God, who knows every second of every minute of every hour that ever was, could have conceivably written a book that we could never read or hold in our hands but He chose to give us His counsel in about 1200 pages thereabouts. Every word is important, with layers of meanings, double and triple meanings, and statements that will last for eternity.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
It is the principal means by which a Christian is set apart for God’s use.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
God holds His word as being very important.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
There is no understanding apart from God’s word. Please hear me. There is absolutely no understanding apart from God’s word. If you think you don’t need the Bible but you walk and talk with Christ regularly, who walks and talks with you, let me give you a warning from the Bible.
2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Do you love your soul? What about your children? Are you depending on a visit to meet with the church once, twice, or three times per week to lift your child out of the muck and mire of life? If you love your soul get wisdom, first. There is no wisdom apart from Christ. If you have Christ’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, dwelling inside of you now then drink in His words. Consume them like food.
Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Surround your child with that “soul food” as well. Feed his or her soul. Teach them that the flesh can only be appeased and will one day betray them. Teach them to love their soul by loving Christ. Teach them to get understanding and to feed their soul by reading and hearing His words. Teach them to “keep” or guard that understanding with a strong, daily dose of those words. Let the Word enrich you and them with the words every day. There is nothing on the glass toilet; the monster in the living room, the rock n’ rap station on the radio, or the DVD player that will save. Get wisdom, keep understanding, and find good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Proverbs 19:7 commentary

7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.
Before I get into the Proverb let’s review some of the Biblical meanings of hate. Hate can mean to hold in lower regard than another, to not have the affection and respect for someone that is expected.
Genesis 26:27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
Exodus 23:5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
In context, it can also carry the further meaning of not only contempt or to despise, but to also wish to do harm to, to sin against, or to do evil upon. As we see in the case of Psalm 11:5 it can carry the meaning of not only holding in contempt but bringing judgment upon. For instance, to say the Lord hates sin is not to mean that God only holds sin in a lower regard than righteousness. It means much more than that. Here’s some more intense definitions, in context, of hatred.
Job 16:9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Psalm 25:19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
In the context of this Proverb one would think, using common sense, that the relations of the poor hold him in contempt, regard him as much lower than themselves, and hate him. There is no talk of violence in this context, though. So, the enmity doesn’t go so far as an intention to do violence against. The relatives of the poor hold him in contempt, his friends try to go far from him. He goes after them, pleading for help, but they don’t want to have anything to do with him.
The person who always has his hand out, pleading poverty, eventually does get a dose of contempt from his own family and his friends do get sick of him. This is a fact. We’ve all had a relative or an acquaintance who simply refuses to live in a way that is beneficial to his or her own survival and every time we turn around, it seems, they need help financially or are in some trouble with the law. Unfortunately, perhaps, some of us have been that person. This would be a statement of fact and make this Proverb literally one of those truths that was as evident in the Israel of the early first millennium BC as it is in America today.
In our society there are people that will always be poor, not because of disease or infirmity, but because of the choices that they insist on making. In fact, the way we celebrate “rights” that our forefathers never even imagined, some would say that they have a “right” to do the things they do that harm their health and their finances. So, therefore, as it is their right to live the way they do, it is their right to have the consequences of that lifestyle supported by the rest of us through taxes or private charity. This wickedness, I would hope, represents a minority of those on welfare and receiving foreign aid from the taxpaying public. But, a perfectly healthy person who always has his hand out, who spends almost his entire life on the public dole, or a country that can never seem to exploit its own resources or pull its own people up from the misery of poverty in which they live, eventually becomes a nuisance. Those related to them by blood or marriage, ethnicity or treaty, will eventually just turn their backs on them, and, obviously so will others in a position to help, only relenting for the sake of mercy. Of course, I exclude from this countries that are being manipulated and exploited by international, corporate neocolonialism or people who are simply prepped to always be poor and the perfect political football. But, I’m not arguing about welfare or foreign aid.
Are you one of those who always has their hand out either financially, emotionally, or spiritually? Do you always seem to find yourself in a situation where you just can’t make it? Why is that? Have you considered? Whether it be financial need or emotional need, do you always seem to be clinging to others for support and strength? It’s time for you to make a change. You may realize that family and friends have abandoned you and no one is listening to your supplications any more. I have a suggestion for you. Start depending on God. God is the only person in the entire universe who welcomes people to be completely and totally dependent upon Him.
Family will get sick of you, the constant suppliant. Friends will eventually turn their back on you. All of your pleading and begging will fall on deaf ears after you have used their kindness so much. But, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, as the Son (capital S) of God, or God in the flesh, who as God the Son, is the second part of the Trinity, the physical image of the invisible God, will not abandon you. Even if you come to Him over and over again with your hands out and your eyes filled with tears, He will never turn His back on you.
But, you must first come to Him. Do you find yourself all alone? Have you perhaps gone to the well too many times and have no one to help you. Turn to Christ. Believe on and trust in, and simply believe.
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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Christ will in no way, cast you out, or leave you, because you come to Him again and again for deliverance, mercy, and aid. There is no limitation to His charity or generosity.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Certainly, adjustments will have to be made to your attitude and the way you live but if you are willing to be changed God will Himself do the changing, if you submit yourself daily to His words. Remember, Jesus, in His human existence, prayed to God the Father in heaven;
John 17:17 Sanctify (to set apart for God) them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
My point is, to the poor man or woman physically, emotionally, or spiritually, is that if you turn to Christ, He will never be tired of hearing your pleas for help like the relatives and friends who have abandoned you. He will change your life so that you are stronger, but He welcomes a Christian’s complete and total dependence on Him. Talking to Paul, who was plagued with sickness, perhaps an eye ailment, throughout his ministry, Jesus said;
2Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
In His earthly ministry, Christ said;
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
God’s power is limitless. He doesn’t have to rob anyone through confiscatory taxes at the point of a gun to help you. He doesn’t have to get a consensus from a political body to help you and He doesn’t need anyone’s vote to approve of His effort on your behalf. He’s not a follower of Ayn Rand and will never tell you that if you can’t make it on your own you deserve to die. Now, is the time to turn to Christ and depend on Him for everything. I’m not just talking now about the person who is perpetually needy either in physical, emotional, or spiritual sense. I’m talking to all of you, even the strong. Even you people, who like the church at Laodicea in the book of Revelation, who think they are strong and rich. Maybe you think you’re all that and a bag of chips but don’t realize how wretched and miserable and impoverished you really are. The poor man you turn your back on has one up on you. At least he realizes his poverty. You, like the emperor with no clothes, prance around all proud and full of yourself. We’ll get to you later. Better turn to Christ, unbeliever and Christian alike, because judgment is coming, if not for the world system as yet, then certainly for you personally. There is only one hope.
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.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Proverbs 19:6 commentary

6 ¶ Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
In older days many a person who needed the power of a king or a prince to help them out in some way would line up to wait for the chance to speak to him, to plead with him, for help. Today, people might go to their Congressman’s office or even their Senator’s, state or federal, to ask for help on some matter of importance to them. For those who weren’t in poverty it may have been customary to bring some kind of token gift or something more valuable to soften the heart of the prince. Today, in our nation’s and state’s capital there are people we call “Lobbyists” who lobby and petition our government leaders for special favors. These “gifts” they bring are more along the lines of bribes.
With regard to our Christian faith, many Christians, most I would think, don’t so much as adore and praise the Lord Jesus Christ as they do seek some kind of help from Him in times of trouble. There may never be a prayer that leaves a person’s mouth but “Help me, Lord”, other than one of those non-prayers we would make before meals when I was growing up, “Thank you, Lord, for this food. Bless it to our bodies and our bodies to your service, Amen.” What a joke. That isn’t a prayer. It’s a mantra. You didn’t mean it, you weren’t speaking to anyone, and it was a total worthless ritual. The other one that was taught to children, teaching them a meaningless chant that did not come from the heart but from habit was “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take, Amen.” If you have taught your children that you haven’t taught them to pray but to chant. Prayer is a heartfelt speaking to the God who created you, who sustains you, and who has all authority over every function of the universe and your body and mind.
So, for most so called Evangelicals its either no prayer at all or a meaningless repetition or chant that doesn’t come from the heart and then the occasional plea for help. This is something Jesus condemned.
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Then, Jesus goes on to give a model prayer to His disciples. In verse 9 He begins with “After this manner…” showing that this prayer which we mistakenly call “The Lord’s Prayer” (it wasn’t a prayer for Him to make, it was for us. Jesus never called God the Father ‘Our Father’) is the structure and method He gave for His disciples to pray. It was not meant to be chanted or recited without feeling or meaning, as He said in verse 7 by His use of the phrase “vain repetitions”.
One of the many ways people have suggested we use as a format for prayer so that, as we speak out of our heart but not chanting, is the formula, A.C.T.S. First you offer up Adoration by praise and an admission that you understand who you’re praying to, then Confession where you admit openly that you know fully well what your sins have been, then Thanksgiving where you declare the things you are thankful for today, right now, and finally, Supplication where you “intreat”, as it says in the verse here in Proverbs, or plead your case, requesting the help you would like. Your prayer should never be formal or ritualistic. You are not a Hebrew under the Law. Upon the new birth, when you received Christ as your personal Saviour, God became your Father. Pray to Him. Talk to Him. Do it often and regularly at certain times if you need that kind of order. Be genuine, open and real. If you are a Christian you have the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of Christ as He was God in the flesh, living inside of you along with your spirit which He has made alive. Pray in conjunction with His Spirit, who knows already what you need.
Many will intreat a prince and everyone loves the gifts that flow from the seat of power, but our God craves a relationship with us. You don’t have a relationship with someone who you only speak to when you have a desperate need. The atheist will tell you that you are talking to yourself when you pray. Some when they pray are talking to other people and not God. This is a pet peeve of mine in public so called prayer. But, you should be talking to God daily and often and listening to Him speak to you through His word. Then, it is not so dishonest and selfish when you ask for a gift, for help. You would never do that to a flesh and blood person, only speak to them when you’re in trouble, if you loved that person. Also, God is not like some kind of human potentate for whom you must stand in line and hope for attention or a politician with whom you must make an appointment. You have 24/7 access to the throne of God and existing outside of time, He has eternity to hear all prayers and answer them according to His will. Why do you only speak to Him when you need to intreat Him for help?
Among the list of our daily marching orders given in 1 Thessalonians 5, we are told in verse 17;
Pray without ceasing.
That’s pretty simple to understand, isn’t it? Always to be in a prayerful state? There was a promise under the Dispensation of the Law that is applicable in all times for all people who belong to God.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
There is no better way to keep your mind focused on God than to be in constant prayer to Him. All who truly believe in God want His approval and His blessing. We appreciate, at least for the moment, the gifts of health, peace, and success He gives us in our daily lives. But, do we expect that our God will only hear from us when we need something? How would you handle that if you knew that someone would only acknowledge your existence or authority over their lives only if they needed something and the rest of the time they ignored you?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Proverbs 19:5 (chapter 19, verse 5) commentary

5 ¶ A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
A false witness tells lies but is more than just a liar or distorter of the truth.
Deuteronomy 19:16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
Deuteronomy 19:18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
Proverbs 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
A false witness tries to do people wrong and in that even drives friends, family, and business associates apart. Not bearing false witness is one of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Jezebel arranged for two false witnesses to slander Naboth so that his vineyard could be taken for wicked King Ahab to enjoy (I Kings 21) and two false witnesses slandered the Lord Jesus Christ as He stood before the Jewish leadership (Matthew 26:60). In Job, his friends are slammed by God for misrepresenting Him to Job (Job 42:7).
Have you spread some tale about someone to their hurt that either wasn’t true or was embellished to make them look bad? Or do you know someone who has? God knows the truth of what you’ve done. You shall not escape but will answer for it.
Bible translators refer to manuscripts as witnesses. There are often two false witnesses mentioned in the Bible referring to people. Two false manuscript witnesses like the two ships from Alexandria, Egypt that carried Paul, the Christian evangelist and church organizer, to his doom (Acts 27:6; 28:11) have their origin in Egypt; Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus ( a Codex is an ancient form of book). Vaticanus was “found” in the Vatican library in the late 1400’s and Sinaiticus was “found” being burnt as trash at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai in the 1800’s. Although the two books disagree with each other in many places and some scholars insist that the same person who wrote one penned at least a few leaves of the other, they are thought also by some to be two of the 50 Bibles ordered prepared by Eusebius for the Emperor Constantine who created the Roman Catholic Church as the authority in political Christianity. Details may vary depending on who you talk to but these are the general facts as I remember them.
Vaticanus was in perfect condition, obviously not having been used by Christians through the ages, which practice wore most of the older manuscripts out and it contains many things not found in the Bibles that have always been in use such as the Old Latin, Gothic, Syriac, and later English and German Bibles. Sinaiticus was claimed to have been a forgery perpetuated on the antiquities market by a successful forger of “antiquities” named Constantine Simonides.
Why do I bring up these two false witnesses? Because modern Bible scholars will overthrow many verses in the Bibles they create based often on the work of these two false witnesses. Many a Christian has had his or her Bible taken away from them, the power of God’s word on their lives, by the testimony of two false witnesses, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, having their origins probably in Alexandria, Egypt where worldly Greek philosophy, Jewish occultic mysticism, and corrupted Bible manuscripts were created. There are too many obvious errors in these two phony Bible manuscripts to go into in detail here but I would gladly argue my point with anyone in another venue.
Woe be it to the Bible translator or to the preacher who relies on modern unsaved scholarship to determine what is or isn’t supposed to be in the Bible and to depend on Lexicons written by unsaved men, even perverts, and based on definitions found in secular Greek works. For a neutral reference, someone who was a Christian scholar but not a promoter of the King James Bible, I would recommend reading, for those who are interested, Anglican college Dean of Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England John Burgon’s books, The Revision Revised and The Last Twelve Verses of Mark. Here you will find someone whose scholarship is beyond reproach, who will lay out the truth for you. I believe the man was a true Christian. You can find the latter book on for free. From my own perspective, I would also recommend Dr. Samuel Gipp’s book, An Understandable History of the Bible and Dr. Gail Riplinger’s In Awe of Thy Word and Hazardous Materials: Greek and Hebrew Study Dangers.
Those who would be false witnesses or promote false witnesses of God’s words will not get away with it, I am sure.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Paul warns us by way of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration;
2Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Now, back to a literal view of the verse. In the world, it is clear that the advent of the new DNA technology has proven many on death row to be innocent and called into question the guilt or innocence of some who have already been executed. The fact that false witnesses have been able to condemn so many shows a glaring weakness and injustice in our system. Under God’s standard of justice given to Moses for the Hebrews the fact is that if a prosecutor, a witness, or a police officer KNOWINGLY sends an innocent man to death then he or she should receive the same punishment when found out. This would apply even if the person were freed at the eleventh hour by DNA evidence.
Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. 16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; 18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; 19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. 20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. 21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Leaders have lied to get us into wars, witnesses and authorities have lied to have men and women condemned to death, and friends, relatives, and coworkers have lied to ruin lives. Judgment is coming on all false witnesses.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs (false male religious teachers, see Philippians 3:2 in comparison with chapter 2 of 2 Peter), and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Proverbs 19: 4 (chapter 19, verse 4) commentary

4 ¶ Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
Proverbs 14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
Take the case of two neighbors, both poor but both friends. One man’s increase in circumstance, the sudden acquiring of wealth or position, will lead him to have many new “friends” and often leads him away from his old friends from his poorer state. You just don’t hang around with the same crowd when things go well for you. In America everyone assumes they have the chance to be rich. Other than winning a lottery that’s simply not true for most. Most don’t have the energy, intellect, passion, genius, education, background, emotional intelligence, thrift, or connections to make it big. Most of us are average, by the definition of average. We aren’t going to found a multi-million dollar concern, invent something more popular than sliced bread, discover a cure for a horrible disease, or a way to accomplish some great technological marvel. It’s just not going to happen. Get over it. But, if you do manage to do well, to accomplish something unique, awesome, or fantastic, to acquire great wealth, or even just wealth, don’t forget the people you grew up with, relatives, friends, etc. The greatest men and women that I’ve known have made something important of themselves and then reached down and given a hand up to someone who couldn’t have done it themselves. I have been on the receiving end of such a gift, even recently, and I must say it will bring tears to your eyes when you realize that the friend or relative who has “done well” has a big enough heart to look back where he or she came from and help someone move forward. Don’t forget people if you become blessed enough to move up the socioeconomic ladder. You might not make the papers but I am pretty sure God will be pleased.
Now, for another turn for this Proverb. In America, we have come to expect certain things in the last eighty or ninety years with regard to the nature of our society. We still value wealth and success and we still admire or sometimes envy (Christians should never) people of renown. But, the bulk of us also expect a decent opportunity, a decent job, at a decent pay with the ability to purchase our own home, send a child to college, and maybe take a vacation to visit Uncle Buford in Ozark, Alabama in our own car. We would like the chance to grow old but to not have to eat pet food because we’re starving or to burn our furniture in the fireplace for heat. We hope to be able to go to the doctor when we inevitably get sick, not be a burden on our children, and to die with as little pain as possible. There are some who say those are unreasonable expectations, that the country can no longer afford those conditions of life. The common man, the poor man, is separated from his neighbor who has been blessed enough to rise above. We don’t talk about being responsible for each other anymore. We elevate the gospel of ‘me firstism’ and ‘what’s mine is mine and keep your paws off’. Sometimes it’s called the Free Market, or sometimes Objectivism, but whatever it is, the Proverbs stands at all times, that the wealthy makes many friends in powerful places, in government even, and the poor is separated from his neighbor.
America no longer thinks what America thought for that brief period of time in history, that we, as a nation, are our brother’s keeper, a Biblical response based on what went on between Cain and Abel. We’ve forgotten about Joseph’s reign over Egypt beginning in Genesis 41 in a desperate time. We don’t like to read how the early Jewish Christians lived in Jerusalem (Acts 2:44-45) or about Paul’s admonitions to the churches in 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. We, as Christians, have rejected the notion, far too often, the fact even, that all of our money is in actuality God’s money, not our own, and we think that my desire to get wealth is more important than my brother or sister’s or even the elderly brother or sister’s need.
Now, to the Christian specifically: you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, have believed Him and believed on Him, and now His Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, dwells inside you. You understand things that unsaved people do not. You know someone they don’t know. Maybe you have an advanced understanding of the Bible as you’ve read the true Bible over and over again. You have great spiritual wealth, a fantastic inheritance, and you’ll have an eternity to enjoy it. Don’t forget those people who are still poor; either the unsaved among your friends or relatives and acquaintances who haven’t been blessed with the salvation from God. Don’t forget those Christians who are still babies, poor in spirit, who maybe aren’t where you are spiritually but certainly are where you were. Don’t forget what it was like when you didn’t know Christ or when you did know Him but weren’t sure about things or didn’t understand the Bible or were naive and easily deceived by tricksters and manipulators. Reach back, reach down, take someone by the hand and lift them up, help them along. You have many new friends now, and many people have been added to your spiritual family, or rather you to theirs, but don’t separate yourself from those less fortunate, less blessed. Don’t forget the ones you left behind.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 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!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Proverbs, Chapter 19, verse 3 (19:3), commentary

3 ¶ The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
Most of our troubles we have brought on ourselves by our own foolish and wicked behavior. I know there are people who aren’t capable of admitting that the mess they’ve made of their lives, if it is indeed a mess, is their own fault. But, if most of us would just sit back and think about the decisions we’ve made and the ways we’ve chosen to live, and if we’re honest about it, we’d see that our stubbornness and insistence upon doing wrong has led us to many of our problems. Then, some of us will compound our misery by blaming God for what we’re not happy about. This is our foolishness, to do wrong, suffer for it, and then to blame God.
Here is a Book written by how many? Forty men? Under God’s inspiration, who gave them understanding (Job 32:8) that presents the Christian the attitude he or she is supposed to pursue and the way he or she is supposed to respond to every type of situation and we reject it, pursue our own twisted way, and then complain to God or about God, or even deny Him entirely. Here is the proof, the fruit of having Christ’s Spirit inside of you.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Yet, many of us choose not to live that way, to pursue that path, to pray for these fruits. It’s much more satisfying in the flesh to live along the paths of the sentences just before the “But”.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery (marital unfaithfulness including looking at porn), fornication (any sex outside of a lifelong commitment before God to one partner, i.e. Christian marriage, not the state’s), uncleanness (constantly focusing on sexual things, being obsessed by them), lasciviousness (acting and showing off, dressing immodest and suggestive sexually to attract attention), 20 Idolatry (placing anything on an equal par or higher plane than Christ including money, education, success, material possessions, a political philosophy or party), witchcraft (defined also as like rebellion towards God in 1 Samuel 15:23 with you trying to manipulate events and people without God, apart from Christ for your own purposes and not God’s, not just someone wearing black and chanting over a cauldron like in a movie), hatred (seems pretty obvious doesn’t it?), variance (I was told when I was young that I’d argue with a sign post. Are you argumentative and always against every decision made?), emulations (There is little more pathetic than someone trying to act like something or someone they are not, putting on airs, so to speak), wrath (Anger, when left unattended, grows into abiding wrath and wrath can kill you from the inside out, destroying your heart and body. Paul says not to let the sun go down on your wrath in Ephesians 4:26), strife (I know so many people who seem to love drama in their lives and if they don’t have any will start some and you know them, too, as you may be one.), seditions (At work and at church and in the family or among friends they aren’t satisfied unless they’re forming alliances, creating cliques, standing always opposed to everything those in responsibility decide, with every rule being an injustice, every law wrong.), heresies (Anything but the clear admonitions of the Bible, making it up as they go along, usually to suit some perverse desire for power, money, or self justification, constantly spreading lies about God and about His words), 21 Envyings (They are never happy for the person who gets the promotion, the pretty wife, the successful husband, the new car, the nice home because, after all, they deserved them more. If someone at work beats you out for a promotion, do you, Christian, congratulate them or do you just fume and vent at how you should have gotten it?), murders ( Even being angry without justification with someone in your heart is like murder. Do you foster bitterness in your mind and heart against someone? You don’t have to physically end someone’s life to have murder in your heart.), drunkenness (Alcohol was one of those vices that proved the limits of government’s ability to save us from ourselves. Are you a drinker? Do you drink alcohol apart from meals? Is drinking alcohol an end in and of itself? Many people kid themselves and say they don’t drink to get drunk when almost every time they do drink they get drunk. Alcohol is behind a great many episodes of child abuse and spousal abuse and crime in general. Is it worth it? Are you so owned by it that you can’t turn your back on it and walk away?), revellings (Party, party, party. How’d that work out for you? How’d the ecstasy, the coke, the pot, the booze, dancing that simulated sex, and sex totally without any meaning, like it was just something fun to do, work out for your life? Perhaps you have a little person you didn’t plan on as a result. Perhaps an STD that will never go away? Maybe a train wreck of a life.), and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Okay, so maybe you have wrecked your life, limited your opportunities, hurt your health, or exposed someone innocent to your wrongdoing. Now is the time not to blame God, not to demand an answer from Him for your pain because “I ain’t so bad.” Now is the time to turn to God. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour if you haven’t already and, if you are a Christian, seek the Fruit of the Spirit. Pray for God’s mercy and to be filled with the Spirit of God. And, and, and, READ THE BOOK! Pray over it. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and to teach you.