Thursday, June 30, 2011

Proverbs 21:19 commentary;

19 ¶ It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

We’ve had this thought presented to us before in;

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

There isn’t a man alive who has been married for any length of time who can’t tell a young man starting out in life that being married to woman with a sweet and kind spirit is far better than being married to what was once called in our language, a shrew.

Any young man who is attracted to a girl who is perpetually angry and always itching for a fight, while he might think that’s cute now, would be a stone cold fool to choose her for a mate and to be the mother of his children.

In the Bible, a wilderness is a desert place where there is very little that is useful to man. John Gill, the 18th century Calvinist Baptist commentator, points out that this verse could also have an application that it would be better to be with the church in the wilderness than with a harlot like the church of Rome, angry and lusting for gold and blood.

Christians are called to come out of this world system as some commentators use this verse to mean separating yourself from the world system before it is destroyed.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

You do realize, of course, that the world system on which you depend is about to be destroyed, annihilated? As a Christian you were not to serve that system in any event. Jesus said this about the economic system, giving it a personalized Syriac name. Mammon is the economic system and wordly wealth personified.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We serve mammon with our energies, our indebtedness, working to pay back debts at criminally high interest rates with money that is taxed many times by many different government entities, including the tax of inflation where money is printed and printed until its worth is less and less. This too is a type of taxation. As more and more of our efforts must go into earning more money to survive the demagogues will blame the poor, the elderly, and the sick for being a drain and the kool aid drinkers will all shout Amen. But government policies and corporate greed continuingly support globalism, to lower the standard of living our fathers built, raising the standard in other places, until we are all at some kind of mean that is easier for the global elite to control and manipulate.

The system that you and I are a part of where we are addicted to cheap, foreign made products that are still overpriced because we don’t need them and only want them because of the mind manipulation of advertising, the cheap food, and mindless entertainments is in the way of your relationship with the risen Saviour. Remembering that Satan operates this world as the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) should keep you thinking skeptically about everything from smarmy billboards to jingoistic, patriotic symbolism.

Each hour you listen to profane country music or rock or rap is an hour you are hearing from Satan’s mouth and not from God’s. Each minute that you are watching television or movies is a minute away from God’s blessings in His word. Each second that you choose to spend enriching the men and women of the global money elite is a second less you’ll spend in fellowship with Christ.

The world system is a contentious and angry woman, a harsh mistress, and a vicious paramour. You would be better off dwelling in a wilderness which has little to commend itself to you in the way of comforts and pleasures than to stay with her.

One of the biggest problems Christians have besides pride and self-righteousness is the innate willingness to kiss the hand of the human master that’s stealing us blind and whipping us bloody. As long as we get our little comforts and petty satisfactions we are happy to bow our shoulder under their yoke. And yet, we have little to offer a Saviour who has redeemed us out of all this and when ten million years have passed with you living in eternity with Him the cheap, plastic Chinese garbage you have filled your house with and the trip you took to the beach last summer on credit will have vanished from view.

Better we separate ourselves now from this contentious and angry woman and live in the wilderness than to continue bowing and scraping before her hoping to appease her wrath and like an abused pet whimpering and kowtowing hoping for a crumb or a kind word.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Proverbs 21:18 commentary

18 ¶ The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

For the Ancient Hebrews the application of this verse literally is clear. Just as Haman was caught in his subtlety trying to kill Mordecai and Sennacherib was thwarted in his attempt to conquer Jerusalem and then murdered by his own children so God can arrange it that those who come up against Israel shall themselves pay the price they were trying to exact from the Jews.

But for us today it is interesting to note here that the Lord Jesus Christ became sin for us.

2Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God is composed of three parts; God the Father, the soul of God, the locus of His Will. Then, there is God the Holy Spirit, which, of course, is His Spirit, actively pursuing His Will. Then, there is God the Son, the Son of God, who is God’s visible image, His physical body. God the Son, came to earth to be born of a woman and to live as a man, the Son of man, to pay the penalty for man’s sin against God, which man was not able to pay. On earth He was fully man and yet also fully God. The phrase “only begotten Son” refers to the fact that this only happened once in human history.

Alexander the Great had himself declared the Son of God in Egypt but he was a liar. Octavian, Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1), signed his official documents with initials stating that he was the Son of God after a comet was declared by him as being the spirit of Julius Caesar, his adopted father, rising to heaven, but he, too, was a liar. The simple Jewish virgin, Mary, in giving birth to the God/man in her obedience, accomplished something unique in history although many others had made the claim as Satan counterfeited the prophecy made in the Garden of Eden.

(We are also composed of three like parts, as per 1 Thessalonians 5:23, although, since we are not God our body, soul, and spirit cannot function separately. If our soul or spirit are disconnected from our flesh we will die a physical death.)

The ancient Hebrews were to give a ransom for their souls to God (Exodus 30:12). But no man can redeem his brother (Psalm 49:6-8). But, Jesus Christ, being God, was able to give Himself, His physical life, as a ransom to God the Father for us.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

What’s important to you is what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to wear, where you’re going to sleep tonight, and what kind of entertainment you’ll be entertained with today. You are concerned perhaps about finding a mate, having a job with some respect and self esteem, and being admired by your peers and family for some reason or the other. Many women want children and many men want a home to come to. But, what God is focused on is a relationship with the focal point of His creation, human beings.

However, since our first ancestor, we’ve been in rebellion against God. Very few people actually want to know anything about God or have anything to do with Him unless we are in trouble physically. It is in our nature since Adam’s day to sin against Him constantly. A quick perusal of the Law, which includes God’s standard of right and wrong, given to the ancient Hebrews, a people He had separated to be His people in a world run by Satan (2Corinthians 4:4) because of man’s sin, will show us that few of us would even attempt to live to the standard for which we were created. A Holy and Righteous God will not have sin in His presence. Something must be done about our sin.

So, in our natural selves, as we are born in the flesh, we are incapable of either pleasing God, having fellowship with Him, or obeying Him. Mankind is inherently, in his flesh, an evil and malicious being totally given over to wickedness. But our Creator loves us and wanted to save us from our natual destination, as we live without wanting anything to do with God, so we would spend eternity in suffering and agony without God’s mercy and blessings, first in a Hell that He had prepared for rebellious spiritual beings; Satan and the angels who followed him, and then finally in an eternal lake of unquenchable fire in a transformed body that would never die and experience endless suffering. He wants us with Him. It is His will that all men be saved. He had no desire that anyone perish.

So, rather than we, who are unwilling and unable to pay the penalty for our sin against our Creator, God Himself came and paid the price for us; a perfectly sinless man obedient in all things to God the Father, judged, tortured, and executed by us, dying for our sins, on the brutal Cross at Calvary. And it is only by our acknowledgement of what He has done for us and our trusting in its ability to save us from our natural destination that we can be saved. We must believe that Jesus Christ was who He said He was, God, and that He died for our sins, and that He rose from the dead, the only man in history to have the power to raise Himself from the dead. By looking at that, believing in it, and trusting in that we are saved. It is by Christ’s righteousness, perfect and complete, that we are saved, trusting in Him to get us to a Heaven with God for eternity. There is no other way.

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.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

So, He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He became, on the Cross, the wicked and the transgressor, something He had never been, so that we could become the righteous and upright, something we have never been, by virtue of His Spirit living in us after being born a second time, born again in the Spirit, when we believed and trusted in Him.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Proverbs 21:17 commentary

17 ¶ He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

As the Bible is written this way, notice that the second clause folds back on the first due to the colon. The second part of the verse helps to define what is meant by the first clause. Wine, we could say, refers to alcohol and so called adult beverages; the many gallons of beer and other booze that Americans consume each year, while less per person than in the era of our Founding Fathers, still way too much. Oil is a reference to the oil used in a rich diet and would be a reference to the high octane and expensive foods we eat.

This is something that most of us older people have seen in our lives. People who are addicted to pleasing the flesh usually spend their lives paying for it. While people who are disciplined and learn to tell themselves no seem to do well no matter how much they make. I know people who put themselves through school and have several homes, one they live in and a couple they rent out. I know someone who worked hard all his life and now owns a thriving hotel. The stories go on and on of frugal, thrifty people who are able to discipline their wants and control their needs to the point where they are comfortable.

But, those young people who spend many nights at the local sports bar or music emporium or night club, who use their credit cards to load up on the pleasures of life, and who can’t tell themselves no on the little doodads and geegaws they simply must have are going to spend their lives struggling. Now, none of these Proverbs promise you that if you don’t do these things you’ll by necessity have great success but they simply tell you that these missteps are the way to poverty and ruin.

Later on, we are told in Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

For over 65 years now, since the end of World War Two, Americans have lived large, rarely saying no to themselves, living on credit and being enslaved to banks and mortgage companies. We have bought houses with little or no down payment, ran up thousands of dollars of credit card debt, bought cars we didn’t absolutely need, and filled our houses and sheds with toys we just wanted to have but never actually needed. We go on vacations and pay for our pleasure with credit and drop our plastic at restaurants and stores enjoying our pleasures when we really, really don’t have the money to pay.

When the good times are here we act as if they’re never going to end. Our rate of savings is pathetic and our spending habits are foolish. As it is with us, so it is with our government. We don’t even teach our children the blessings of frugality and thrift because we can’t. We don’t know those ourselves.

It would rarely cross an American’s mind to pursue a simple diet, to have simple tastes, and to take his or her pleasures rarely and with careful attention to cost. It appears though, now, that our lust for pleasing the flesh, our government’s incompetence and manipulations, and the greed of those we gleefully give our money to who have used us and our money as if it was their own has caught up with us. I would venture to say from now on or at least for several years you will find it hard to survive unless you are willing to cut some of the ballast from your life and learn to deny yourself anything but the most simplest of pleasures.

Learning to love a quiet evening at home with those you love, taking in the peaceful pleasure of a sunset or a sunrise, and taking joy in doing things for those less fortunate than you or physically unable to do for themselves may have to be your pastimes rather than loving pleasure and enjoying paying close attention to your slightest desire or whim.

Let this be a clear warning to young people just starting out in life. Learn to want less, learn to do more with less, and learn to enjoy simpler things that don’t require you whipping out your credit cards. Practice saying no to yourself at least once a day. Seek to learn discipline in meeting your bodily needs and wants.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Proverbs 21:16; they wander in, they wander out

16 ¶ The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

Here is a similar verse to this one;

Proverbs 13:20 ¶ He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

God has given humans understanding; an ability to reason with the purpose of seeking out the things of God. The carnal person uses his reasoning ability to justify himself and to deny God’s very existence. But many people will inquire at the seat of God’s throne. They will ask questions, hear sermons, and even come to church or a small Bible study. Some will read the Bible to a certain degree but are unwilling to patiently devote the time needed to let God’s words soak into their heart of hearts.

They often seek a benefit. They want to be cured of an addiction to pornography or alcohol and drugs. They want their marriage fixed or they want their life to change in some positive way. Eventually, as they wandered in, they wander out. Many evangelical churches can recount the many people who have prayed a 1-2-3 repeat after me mantra that had no real belief behind it and to the detriment of many churches they are more interested in noting how many made that prayer so they can add to some kind of prideful calculator total of “decisions for Christ”. No one asks the person what they actually believe or questions a belief. Once these people come forward they are rarely seen again.

The carnal man doesn’t get what he wants immediately so he abandons God. He turns and walks away either seeking some self help guru or a treatment program that absolves him of all guilt for sin and calls whatever is plaguing him a disease. Or, he goes back to the pit of despair and drowns in alcohol or whatever else is eating him alive.

Sometimes the carnal man or woman seeks forgiveness for some sin they’ve committed. They can’t forgive themselves and they are hoping that God will make them feel better. But, they sit in spiritual agony among the church body filled with self loathing and at some point a part of them realizes they don’t want to be forgiven. Self hatred is actually such a part of their personality now they can’t bear to give up the devil that’s clinging so desperately to their spiritual heart.

They wander in and they wander out and most of them remain “outside the camp” in the congregation of the dead. Why? Well, it’s mostly their fault. They came for the wrong reason; not to submit themselves to God’s will but to get a benefit, like going to see a doctor to prescribe a painkiller to mask the symptoms of their disease. Most of them come in here for the wrong reason.

The carnal man doesn’t understand that what is gripping him isn’t a disease he has no control over or responsibility for. It is sin. He is mistakenly told he must repent of his sins; most of which he is completely clueless about. We don’t tell him he must repent of what he is; a sinner. Its not just what he has done that is filthy to God, its what he is; a vile, wicked sinner who, in his own filthy flesh, dead spirit, and perverted soul is totally incapable of pleasing or obeying the God who created him, the God of the Bible.

To be forgiven, to be changed, to have life, he must recieve Jesus Christ as his Saviour, his personal Saviour by calling on His name and surrendering every part of his life to Christ. Everything must be on the table; his personality, his sexuality, his ambition, his view of himself and others, and nothing, nothing must be held back. He must not just be told but he must believe in his heart of hearts that Christ died for his sins and rose from the dead and that by BELIEVING that and calling on Christ’s name, Christ will save him. He must understand that faith is not something he conjures up in himself but it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8,9.

Then, he must read God’s words in His Book constantly and hear them preached often to have God change him. He must spend as much time as he can with the people of God, who aren’t perfect, who aren’t even necessarily very intelligent sometimes, who may disagree with him on almost everything from politics to sports to even their personal convictions. In the body of Christ, the local church in which he may have been saved if it didn’t happen in his car or in his own bedroom as he contemplated what spiritual light he had, he must learn to love his brothers and sisters in Christ, in a Godly way, because Christ tells his disciples in John 13:34, 35 that that’s how they’ll be known by others as His disciples. It’s not always easy. We are not always easy to get along with and we often are inconsistent in our witness and testimony and different ones of us are at diffferent locations on our path to be like Christ, a destination that God alone lets us reach and makes happen by our reading and hearing His word plain and preached, prayer, and being a living sacrifice to Him or as the Holy Spirit drags us kicking and screaming to heaven.

He must learn to “rightly divide” God’s words so that when he reads something in Ezekiel that contradicts something in 1st Timothy that he isn’t perplexed. He must know what parts apply to him specifically and doctrinally and how to make a spiritual application with the others without twisting the Scriptures into knots.

He must learn that it isn’t about him. He must learn to stop focusing on his Self as the center of the universe and all his wants and needs. It isn’t about us. It’s about Christ.

But, most won’t get that far. They’ll wander in and wander out and remain in the congregation of the dead. It’s not the many people who will never, ever unite with other Christians in praise and worship, whether it be two or three in a Bible study or hundreds in an assembly of the saints, that mystify me. I know that most humans are bound for destruction and most of them by their own will and as they descend into Hell all they will be able to say is “AAAAAAAAMMMMEEEEENNNNNN!!!!!”. It is the people who reach for the bar of grace and yet fall from it because they will not hear. It is the people who made a false profession for the wrong reasons and never darkened the door of a church building again. It is the people who wandered in and wandered out, remaining in the congregation of the dead, after hearing the words of life that amaze me.

Jesus explained the parable of the sower in Mark;

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

When a person hears the way of understanding, learns of Christ’s perfect love for him, and sees the love that true Christians have for each other, and then walks away from it, unless God has mercy on him in some great way, he will most likely remain in the congregation of the dead. This is our greatest tragedy as the people of God, to see this happen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Proverbs 21:15 commentary

15 ¶ It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

A few verses ago, back in verse 7, the wicked refused to do judgment. Here, the just take joy in doing judgment. To discern between good and evil, to chose righteousness over sin, to help those weaker than oneself, to love one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, to have compassion for the lost, to obey God’s words in His Book, and to do those things which draw one closer in a relationship with Christ each and every day are a joy to the just. Literally, this verse would have been to the Hebrew under the Law which, while revealing God’s standard of righteousness doesn’t bind us because we are justified by Christ by faith, and not by observing ritual practices, ordinances, regulations, and the memorials of the Jews.

The workers of iniquity face destruction in Hell and the Lake of Fire. But, there is something interesting about that phrase. Initially, we think it would be a reference to those who have turned their backs on God, who reject Christ. But, in addition to that, notice who is called a worker of iniquity in another reference. Here, Jesus is talking to religious people, still under the Law, mind you, as He has not been crucified and resurrected and the Holy Spirit doesn’t indwell the believer yet.

Matthew 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Now, it would seem that religious people engaged in what they imagine is working for the Lord can work iniquity instead. Remember the warning that Jesus gave His disciples?

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

It is possible to do works that you believe are for God and from God and to actually be a worker of iniquity. How so, you ask? Well, if a preacher gets in front of a congregation and calls the women in the congregation whores if they wear women’s slacks at home or have shorter hair than he prefers he is certainly working iniquity. God has given no man a calling to demand anything other than modesty in dress AND demeanor from women. If you want to follow the Bible literally in regard to dress then we’d all be wearing robes. In any event, the breeches talked about in Exodus 28:42; 29:48; Leviticus 6:10, 16:4; & Ezekiel 44:18 are underwear for the priest sons of Aaron. (I’ve already discussed the short versus long hair by way of the head covering, no head covering issue.) If you have a conviction I will respect it. I will not respect you placing your conviction on someone else as a condition for their salvation.

A preacher who gets up in front of his congregation and tells women they are wicked if they have to work outside of the home and are anything but housewives is working iniquity by placing an economic burden on a family that God never placed on them. To some, they have a conviction that they should not work outside the home. That is good. There are some sound reasons for having that conviction. However, it may be necessary to meet basic obligations for both husband and wife to work outside the home. Just because you have been blessed with a well paying job and can afford that conviction, you should praise God rather than condemn families who have not been blessed with such.

The much abused phrase that some say means “housewife”, “keeper at home” in Titus 2:5 “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”, can easily be cross referenced to;

Habakkuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

...and compared to the problem young widows presented in the early church;

1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

A person who doesn’t keep at home is a gadabout, out and about looking for trouble and causing trouble; a drunkard or a gossip. If you want a verse that directs women to be responsible for the home it is wiser to use the next verse;

1Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

So, while your conviction and your wife’s conviction that she is to stay home and guide the house and that should be her employment is a good one and well justified to get up in front of the church body and condemn those women who are struggling in this economy to help keep the family alive outside of the home, as some do, is evil.

There are many workers of iniquity in churches who will knowingly give a church leader a pass when he abuses either physically or sexually a member of the congregation, even blaming the victim completely, and continue to extoll the virtue and merits of the offender all the while calling the victim, even a child, “a Jezebel” or a “temptress”. There are actually workers of iniquity who lay the blame for all of men’s sexual sins on a woman when we all know we own our own sin; whether it be the woman who flirts or dresses provocatively or the man who acts on his lust. We choose to do it. We have access to the grace to not do it and they are apparently ignorant of;

1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

There are those who believe in a form of Nicolaitanism where the preacher is a special class high above the laity and cannot be questioned and lives under a different set of rules than the rest of us, which he does, but they view his standard as lower than the one that applies to the rest of us, apparently. They will angrily denounce you if you question “the man o’ God”, who is, after all, a man, and not some anointed Hebrew priest or possessing of any more of the Spirit of God than the humblest congregant. The bishop, pastor, or elder is held to a higher standard morally than the rest of the congregation because of his position. Calling a member of the congregation evil because they privately and respectfully questioned the basis for something the Pastor has said is just wrong but I hear of it all the time in churches around the country.

If these judgmental, Bible twisting Pharisees I’ve been talking about, and I haven’t even scratched the surface, are even saved and won’t hear “depart from me” they will at least be ashamed at the judgment seat of Christ where all Christians will be judged for what they have done in the body. When you hear anyone in front of the congregation spewing hate toward the brethren who don’t share their convictions and twisting scripture to justify their hate then you have one worker of iniquity, among many.

Let me give you an example. I believe that a woman, a wife, in order to have her work blessed by God must only work under the authority of her own husband; say in a family business or activity. I think and am convicted that it is confusion for her to work under the authority of another man. That’s my belief. I think it’s Biblically based and sound. If I were to tell you that if you don’t agree with me and don’t quit your job at the school or the factory that you are wicked, crushing your spirit, laying a guilt trip on you, etc. etc. then I have engaged in a wrong action. That’s totally different than showing you from God’s word that God condemns adultery or profanity or commands for us that are clear as a bell. One’s a conviction; an interpretation, while the other is as obvious as the nose on your face.

Worker’s of iniquity have destroyed so many Christians’ faith and relationship with the risen Saviour by shutting them off to God’s truth in His word and laying burdens on them that God never intended that its sickening. It is a joy to the just to do judgment, a righteous, Biblical, and Godly judgment but destruction is what’s coming to the workers of iniquity.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Proverbs 21:14 commentary

14 ¶ A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

Abigail had the sense enough to send gifts to David to pacify his presumed anger in 1 Samuel 25 as did Jacob to Esau in Genesis 32. Notice how anger and wrath are at the end of each phrase of this Proverb showing that they are synonymous. In other places wrath is shown to be abiding anger and results in action.

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.

One of the things to stress about this verse is that the gift, the reward, is given without prior notice of intention to do so. It is a surprise. Many a husband has brought flowers home to his wife to pacify her anger as many a wife has made a man’s favorite meal to abate his. Parents have received a bouquet of dandelions from a small child and the thought ran through their heads; “what has he done?”

There are things that Christ has told His followers to do in secret without broadcasting their actions. He told the Jews, still under the Law, to give their alms to help the poor without identifying themselves for the glory of their kindness.

Matthew 6:1 ¶ Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

He warned them against phony, long winded, and very public prayers in the passage before He gave them a model of how to pray.

5¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 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. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Later on, he even tells them to not let other people know they are fasting by their appearance and behavior.

16 ¶ Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

There are principles in these passages that would benefit the Christian were he to follow them. Things that we do publicly for everyone to see have a reward in that public approval and acknowledgement. Things we do privately where no one can applaud us tend to be more meaningful. Certainly they are more meaningful to God.

As Christians with the Spirit of God living inside each of us we are not giving gifts to God in secret to pacify His anger or appease His wrath. We offer up prayers of blessing, extolling God, and praising Him because we love Him and are thankful for what He has done for us. Your giving of an extra healthy offering at church is not going to smooth over the fact that you are a violence loving idolater who worships entertainment personalities and who is addicted to pornography, if that happens to be the case.

So, while this verse might not apply to the Christian on the surface as he is not living under some kind of warped inherited nobility, the persons of which must be bought off to keep them from killing him or stealing his possessions, the principle of giving in secret and doing your works for God without blowing a trumpet before you, I think, is valid. Anything you do for God should be done privately and without fanfare. We have far too many peacocks among the men of the leadership in Christianity, strutting about in expensive suits and immaculately shined shoes, doing what they consider great works for Jesus Christ. I’m not so sure God is as impressed with them as they are with themselves, or as their fans are.

I believe that there is an accounting concept called “Goodwill” where a benefit is gained, not from the profit value of a particular item, but from the reputation gained by the peforming of it. So, I think, and tell me if I’m wrong, that a corporation that has an officer’s picture taken giving an oversized check to a charity is seeking to gain an advantage for its reputation by giving to some socially acceptable and worthy cause. So, Christian, you can do that from a personal standpoint to gain an advantage and a positive reputation or you can do something for God but you can’t do both. Some would even go so far as to say that if you give money to God’s service, such as your church organization, and deduct it from your income taxes at the end of the year, you have gotten your reward and your efforts were not for God, because you received an earthly reward. They were for you.

Keep this in mind the next time you are writing that check to go into the offering plate.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Proverbs 21:13; Should we help the poor?

13 ¶ Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

This is a warning from God to the ancient Hebrews under the Law not to turn their backs on the needs of the poor. No matter what the society, there are always poor people.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:11 “For ye have the poor always with you;”.

The ancient Hebrews, to whom the Law of God was given, were given specific instructions on how to take care of the poor. They were not to be completely efficent in their harvests and crop taking but to leave grain in the field and grapes on the vine so that the poor of the land could come behind and have food for themselves. It was admitted by God that they would always have poor people and that they were to be generous with them.

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.

God was seen as the champion of the poor.

Job 36:15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

Psalm 9:18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

Psalm 35:10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

While the Christian has no physical country like the ancient Hebrews did, in the New Testament there are references to how we should individually and as the church treat the poor.

First, in Luke Jesus said;

Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Paul took up collections from churches to help other churches that were suffering in want.

Romans 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

Charity, the word that denotes the love that a Christian is to feel for his or her brothers and sisters in Christ, an active love that doesn’t just speak but performs in deed, is considered an essential facet of giving in a way that God approves. If you don’t give in love but out of duty then your giving accomplishes nothing for you.

1Corinthians 13:3 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.

Again, to the Jewish believers the statement is made to “put your money where your mouth is.”

James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

The early Christians took care of their own poor and, as I read one Roman politician complained, of many non-Christian poor, as well, in Rome to the shame of the Romans. Modern churches that surrender the needs of their own poor to government programs can hardly call themselves New Testament churches. However, today’s church has given up some of its New Testament functions to the state as a matter of compromise.

Where then does the Christian doctrine fit in with the modern nation and its social programs to help the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled? In that, God has stated very clearly in both Testaments that He holds His people responsible for the poor, to care for them and to provide for their most basic needs, there is no excuse for Christians to take the approach that it is not their responsibility to help the poor, lest they be in conflict with God Himself and His words in the Bible.

The question, politically, can only be how are we to care for the poor, in what measure, and what can we do to make sure the money is spent wisely. The question, for the Christian, should never be, do I have any responsibility for the poor.

In America the poor have been made into a political football. Some would insist that you put no restrictions on the benefits given the poor. Others would say that if you don’t put conditions on welfare you encourage poverty and sloth rather than a desire to lift oneself up when able.

Whatever your belief in how aid should be administered there is no question of the need for it. This Proverb is a very clear warning to the Hebrew and to us that God takes our responsibility to help others less able than we are to provide for their basic needs very seriously. But, the best help for the poor is to create conditions where they can help themselves out of poverty. The old saying goes, “give a man a fish and he will eat today, but teach him to fish and he will always have food.” Even so, there are people who will never be able to help themselves in any given society.

A long time ago, we decided as a people that we would help those who could not help themselves. In the process some undeserving people exploit “the system” and use it. But we must never forget through cynicism and anger placed on the undeserving for taking advantage the responsibility that God has laid on us to help those who are truly in need. If we do, we do so at our own peril. None of us are ever very far from poverty.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Proverbs 21:12; Consider the house of the wicked

12 ¶ The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

Clear and simple, a wise man considers what the wicked man has acquired, knowing that God will destroy them for their wickedness. The news showed us that the infamous criminal and murderer “Whitey” Bulger was captured after 16 years on the run. He was in his 80’s. If he has the capacity for self reflection and many sociopaths don’t, the capacity for self pity, yes, but not for self examination, then he must be wondering what happened to all of his big plans. There are men in our own government and men in the banks and international corporations that run the government that are no better than Bulger. They just had an ‘Ivy League’ education and opportunity to steal and murder in a legal way, sometimes wrapping their crimes in patriotism for our deception. It’s hard for us to patiently wait for their overthrow.

The writers of the Bible often spoke of this frustration we have over the temporary triumph of wickedness.

Job 12:6 ¶ The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

Jeremiah 5:26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. 27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. 28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

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

Psalm 10:13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.

We often wonder why the wicked men in America seem to get a pass for such a long time. And there is a very good answer for that. The wicked men get by here because we exalt them. We praise them. We elect them or throw our money at their music, acting endeavors, or writings. We place our money under their control, in their banks, and seek employment from them, hoping to have a little of their “success” trickle down to us, or just looking for a better ride through life. Yet, we complain about helping the poor or the elderly as not being our responsibility.

Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

While we complain about our economy or the drop in our standard of living should we not also consider the house of the wicked, that were we not such willing sheep that house would not stand? Do you remember when poor, elderly people, mentally ill people, teachers, contractors, government employees, firemen, policemen, and just plain poor folks crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401K savings, took trillions in taxpayer funded bailouts, polluted the Gulf of Mexico with thousands of gallons of oil, gave themselves millions in bonuses, paid no taxes, started two, maybe three wars that cost a trillion and more, manipulated our currency, printed phoney money that made our working for a living more and more futile, and lied to get us into wars? I don’t either.

Consider the house of the wicked. Don’t be too worried. God’s judgment is coming and, is, in fact, already on us. You’ll have to share in it because you went along with their evil deeds like the shill in a 3 card monte game or you temporarily benefited while they robbed other’s blind. But, then it was your turn. So, hang on. It’s going to be a wild ride.

You have only one hope. Believe, believe on, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, because when this life is over, without Christ, its only going to get much worse for these people and their citizen auxiliary, which is you.

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.

It’s a very simple plan God has laid out for wicked humanity but the stakes are very high. This world system is under the operative control of Satan, the devil, our enemy (2 Corinthians 4:4). God came in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ to destroy Satan’s works (1 John 3:8) and to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), to give his human life a ransom for many (Exodus 30:12 with Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45).

So, consider the house of the wicked. Then think on your house.

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

Trust in Christ’s righteousness to get you to heaven and don’t trust in anything else but Him (Ephesians 1:12; Acts 4:12). He’ll send His Spirit to live inside of your body making your spirit alive and leading you (John 14:23). You speak to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and He’ll speak to you through His words in the Bible (Isaiah 55:11; Joshua 1:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2Timothy 3:16). He’ll change you (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26) and prepare you to one day leave the physical world either when the church is removed (1Thessalonians 4:14-17) or at the death of your flesh (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Judgment of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4), this house of the wicked, is coming. Are you ready?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Proverbs 21:11 commentary

11 ¶ When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

The Holy Spirit gave Solomon a lot of wisdom about scorners in the Proverbs.

Proverbs 9:7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

Proverbs 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

Proverbs 14:6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

Proverbs 15:12 A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

Proverbs 19:25 Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Again, when a scorner is punished the naive and inexperienced will be benefited as a deterrent. The scorner will probably get nothing out of it. However, when a wise person is punished he benefits. This is the difference between a scorner and a wise person. The scorner never learns. The wise person learns from every situation and is made the better person by honest rebuke or correction.

Are you a scorner? Are you one of those who have never learned from your mistakes and sins and probably never will? When God corrects you, Christian, do you seek to live better, to walk closer with Him? Or do you just keep banging your head against the same brick wall?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Proverbs 21:10 commentary; What the soul of the wicked wants is not the good of his neighbor

10 ¶ The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

The soul is the seat of our self identity, the ultimate decision maker in our free will. The flesh, the way in which we know the physical world around us, demands and pleads for whatever it wants and in the most quantities that it can have without any disctinction or understanding but pain or pleasure, but the soul makes the choice (Genesis 34:8; Psalm 63:1; 84:2; Job 7:15 as examples). In the Old Testament, as there is no permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the soul suffers the sins of the flesh as standard operating procedure (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) while under the doctrines of grace, Christ has circumcised our soul from our flesh so that we do not suffer the flesh’s fate (Colossians 2:11-13). Our spirit receives the bounty of what the soul chooses. If the soul chooses Christ the spirit is made alive or quickened as the Bible says (Ephesians 2). If the soul chooses to serve the flesh then it will be consigned to Hell and the eventual lake of fire that Hell itself is consigned to along with death, which is the natural state of all human beings who reject Christ (Revelation 20:14).

The soul of the wicked, the person who knowingly rejects salvation through Christ for our application to the Christian era, desires for evil, hungers for it, and lusts after it. He is not pleased with anything that does not serve Self. His neighbor, whom God has told us to love as he loves his own self, will receive no favor from him except in that the other person also submits to serve the first person’s Self.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

A carnal, flesh loving Christian and the wicked who are unsaved cannot love their neighbor as themselves because they are consumed with a love of Self. Many verses tell us what God wants from us, not only as He speaks to the Hebrews but to Christians as well (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:43; James 2:8).

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

There is a strain running through our political dialogue these days that says that worship of Self is the only just and noble aspiration of man. They disguise this belief of Ayn Rand’s and others with words like “freedom” and “liberty”. It is wickedness. Just as the foolishness and wickedness of thinking that the purpose of government is not only to level the playing field so everyone has a fair chance not impeded by tyranny or a deliberate denial of opportunity by the powerful but that government (the rest of us) is responsible for making all outcomes beneficial for everybody the wickedness of believing that while you live in this society and incur the benefits and privileges pursuant to it you have no obligation to anyone other than to your own Self, your own ambitions, and to the accumulation of your own material goods for yours and your family’s benefit is also evil.

If you want no government move to Somalia. If you want government to be your daddy find a country like Andorra or some place where there are few people. Both sides in our country are wicked and have nothing to do with God. In neither side is there freedom. One side is ruled by rich and powerful men working in collusion with power and money hungry politicians to enslave you. The others side is just the reverse of that. In others words, as the saying goes, “Under capitalism, man oppresses man. Under socialism, it’s the exact opposite.”

The soul of the wicked will do nothing for his neighbor that does not have to do with serving himself. God’s ways are perfect. Man’s ways, without the God of the Bible rather than their own imagination, are simply counterfeits and corruptions of something said in God’s word. Marx ripped off Acts 2:45 and 4:35 and context. Many on the right wing have focused on Matthew 20:15 by ripping it out of its context and the meaning of the parable. Neither one of them regard Matthew 22:36-40 in its entirety. Both the left and the right, on the street level, are just shills for the powerful in government and private industry, repeating the talking points they’ve been handed by the news media and demogogues on either side, and serving their masters. They may think of their motives as pure and their ideas as good but without the Holy Spirit’s guidance and the words of God as their guide and the source for their authority all they can do is create evil and tyranny, being enslaved themselves while proclaiming their freedom.

The ultimate justice that a government of men without Christ will dispense is injustice. The ultimate welfare that a government of men without Christ can offer will be poverty. The ultimate opportunity that a government of men without Christ can provide will be slavery. Americans have chosen their masters on the right and on the left and, in spite of the sound bites on TV, neither side has chosen the God of the Bible, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. The soul of the wicked desires only evil.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Proverbs 21:9 commentary; A brawling woman

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

I don’t think there is any problem understanding the literal value of this verse. This verse will be repeated in chapter 25. In ancient Israel the houses were constructed so you could use the roof. See Deuteronomy 22:8; Joshua 2:6; and 2 Samuel 11:2. A wide house can be understood as meaning the same thing as a large house. By using the cross referencing way of understanding the Bible’s self defining properties we can see it. In the following verse it is linked to large as a synonym.

Jeremiah 22:14 That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion.

In the next verse it is linked to broad.

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Young men, there are fewer tidbits of advice that I can give you than to avoid a girl who likes drama, enjoys fighting, and will eventually wind up making your life miserable if you foolishly choose to unite with her in marriage. When you are courting a girl, see her at church, around her family, and notice that she seems to have a penchant for over reaction, a hot temper, and a love of drama, run away from her like she was the devil himself.

She will ruin your life and destroy your children’s as well. You may think her emotional responses to everything are cute now but you won’t think so once you’ve set up a household with her as the spoke around which the wheel turns. Of course, the same goes for a girl getting to know a potential husband. If the person who you are thinking of loves to argue with you and even seems out of control at times they will not make a very good mate.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Proverbs 21:8 commentary

8 ¶ The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.

“The way of man”, spoken of here, would be the way of the natural man as compared to the man regenerated and reborn by the action of the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, in applying this Old Testament verse to the Christian.

1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The natural man without Christ has no capacity to either please or obey God because he does not have the Spirit of God dwelling in Him. He is a child of disobedience and a child of wrath, with God’s abiding anger resting on him waiting for the day of judgment.

Ephesisans 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

The way of this man is froward, which we have discussed many times previously. It is wicked, evil, and sinful; filled with violence, sexual sin, and even hatred against Christ and anyone who follows Him. It is foreign to the man of God, strange. But, the work of the one purified by God is right, not because of any righteousness that he has in himself but because the pure man has the Spirit of the perfect Lord Jesus Christ in him; the man-God who was without sin and perfectly obedient. With regard to righteousness God the Father, the soul of God, looks at the born again Christian and sees God the Son, the visible image of the invisible God, perfect and complete.

A great lesson for us is how the Holy Spirit views the heroes of the Old Testament in the New Testament. For example, Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was a terrible compromiser who went to live with his family in a wicked city named Sodom. He even got drunk and had intercourse with his daughters, being so drunk he didn’t know what he was doing. And yet, God looks at these characters through the lens of Christ and this Lot whom God chose to save from the destruction of Sodom is referred to differently than we would expect.

2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 ¶ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

In fact, even Samson, and they don’t come any more carnal and addicted to the flesh’s pleasures than him, although his awful behavior is laid out bare in the Old Testament, in the New, like the Christian who is born again, gets a new look listed as a great man of faith along with Gideon, David, and Samuel.

Hebrews 11:32 ¶ And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

So, as the Holy Spirit tells us in Proverbs 21:4 that even the plowing of the wicked is sin, so does He tell us here that the work of the pure is right. No one is pure without Christ’s Spirit, which is God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in him.

Father's Day

So here it is, Father’s Day again. The Bible has much to say about Christian fathers; particularly things they are to do for their children. Sadly, there are many men who claim to be Christians who don’t care much for being a Christian father. The Holy Spirit gives at least three things that Christian fathers should or shouldn’t do and I’d like to talk to you about them. Both Ephesians and Colossians have the verses I want to focus on.

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.

The first thing is a should not. They should not provoke their children to anger or to wrath which is abiding and ongoing anger. Wrath often becomes depression and violence. How is this done? How does a father provoke, provoke a child to wrath and anger? Well, all the studies I’ve seen say that it isn’t being an easygoing or a strict father that provokes a child’s wrath. It isn’t either one. It’s being an inconsistent father.

The inconsistent father doesn’t discipline his children to their benefit to make them strong, Godly adults. He punishes them because they annoy or embarrass him. The inconsistent father comes home from work and is emotionally unavailable. He needs to relax. So he watches TV, maybe drinks a beer or has a glass of wine, and reads the paper. He can’t be bothered with paying attention to his wife and children except to tell them to be quiet because the Golf Channel has something interesting on it. After all, he’s had a hard day and, as you should know, it’s all about him anyway.

The inconsistent father regards the church down the street as not good enough for him but certainly good enough for his wife and children. So rather than be the spiritual man of the house he is called to be by God he sends them off while he stays home and watches those taped UFC fights on the SPIKE network. He’s too proud to sit under a preacher whose not perfect like he is and too much of a spiritual coward and sluggard to be a leader and show his children the way. Anyway, the preacher might hit one of his pet sins; like cigs, alcohol, that glass toilet in the living room, his foul 7th grade locker room mouth, or his godless musical tastes. Can’t stand for that.

The inconsistent father says “do as I say not as I do” while he sucks on a cigarette and tells his children what they better not be caught doing. He has one set of rules for himself and one set for everyone else. That’s okay as long as he doesn’t have to appear weak to himself. That wouldn’t be good. He’s usually got a bit of a narcissistic streak in him so he must not only be admired for being “the man” but he cannot tolerate being questioned in anything he says, any opinion he has, or any demand he makes. You see the narcissist is really afraid; afraid that his false Self will be exposed for the fraud that it is. So, whenever someone questions his hypocrisy he gets really angry and verbally or physically attacks. But, then he says he loves them. Remember, he’s inconsistent.

The saddest thing about the inconsistent father is that they often claim to be born again Christians. You know the “I can get to heaven as easy as you” type? They even can know the Bible and even recite verses and, BLESS GOD, even tell you who Westcott and Hort were and why the churches around wherever they are, are going to ‘Hell in a handbasket.’ The inconsistent father doesn’t really take God very seriously. He doesn’t really regard the Lord Jesus Christ as a person to be contended with. His Self is such a big man that it blocks his view of the Lord. He’ll lower his head in prayer and beg for mercy if things come to that but a relationship with the Lord, well, that’s for sissies and women.

The inconsistent father finds no joy in reading the Bible, doesn’t have much time for prayer, and since he doesn’t attend church himself doesn’t really get into witnessing for Christ. He doesn’t have much of a heart for the lost because, well, if they’re lost, it’s their own fault, isn’t it? Anyway, he can’t allow a preacher to convict him of his sins. It might make him mad enough to hit someone. He doesn’t understand that dogs bite and fight but they aren’t men so that really proves nothing but his own reprobation. The inconsistent father doesn’t know what a man is.

The second and third things these verses say are for fathers to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. A wise father will look at their children and imagine in their head what kind of people he would like for them to be. He’ll think of what kind of people he’d pray for his children to be. And then he’ll be that person.

A wise, Christian father won’t just depend on osmosis to raise Godly children. There are certain things he’ll do each and every day that it’s physically possible to do them. First, he’s got his own precious time with the Lord; reading the Bible through many times and praying often, maybe doing a Bible Study of some kind each day. Second, he’s got prayer time with just he and his wife on their knees bringing their praise, their thanksgiving, and their mutual concerns before God. Third, he’s holding family devotions where the children hear him and/or their mother read the Bible, explain what they’ve read, and then the whole family prays.

This wise, Christian man of God knows that it’s in times of prayer like this that he knows what burdens and cares are on his wife’s and children’s hearts. He knows then, in fact, what is in their deepest heart. Raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is not a shallow, superficial thing. The wise, Christian father leads his family spiritually. He leaves Self outside and shows Jesus Christ to his family. Jesus Christ is who they see when they see their father, not some angry, burned out, frustrated couldabeensomebody who is mad at the world, and them. He doesn’t come home cursing about what some idiot driver or the boss did to him that day, but comes home praising God and telling them how God used him that day.

The wise, Christian father takes his family to church after diligently searching and finding a church that, while not perfect, as no organization consisting of people is, is a place where he feels that he can worship and serve the Lord and be an example to his family. The Christian father puts aside his ego and his desire to pick the imperfect things of the earth apart and humbles himself before God, glorifying and magnifying Christ, and showing his family an example to follow. He shows his sons how to be a man by how he loves their mother in front of them, never shouting and screaming, never hitting or threatening. He shows his daughters by how he treats their mother what a real man is like, not somebody who’s fast on the football field or tough in the boxing ring, but a real man of God who will love them as Christ loves the church, His bride.

So a Christian father does not provoke his children to anger and wrath, is not inconsistent, discouraging them and turning them from Christ, but raises them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, setting an example spiritually and physically of a man of God who loves God and has the Spirit of Christ, of God, dwelling in him. He loves the Lord and loves his family through that love for God.

I was not an example of a Christian father. I didn’t raise my children in a Godly manner. I went to church, yes, but had no day to day active and living relationship with a risen Saviour. I was saved or insisted I was, anyway. I believed. But pride and cowardice and laziness dominated me. Oh, and I mustn’t forget anger.

Finally, if you think what I’ve just said is offensive, unfair, or untrue, let me ask you something. I paid a terrible price for my willful failure as a Christian father. A child I loved dearly committed suicide. She hung herself with an extension cord from a tree in my backyard, playing a CD sound track from a godless movie with songs of hopelessness and the pointlessness of existence. My heart is shattered in a thousand pieces and will stay that way. Other of my children, whom I love and who have shown me love, not all, but some, regard Christ with indifference and disregard, perhaps not even believing in Him and certainly not trusting Him to get them to heaven.

What are you willing to give up? Look at your children and think, which one does God have to take from me to get me to look up at Him? Suicide? A car accident after a bout of drunken partying? AIDS? Prison? Drug overdose? What is it going to take for God to get you to look up at Him? Will you visit their grave like I do my teenage girl’s grave? Will you cry there as you pray for your other children to turn to God, your heart burning and tears flowing? Or will you one day write something like this, as I am and cry while you’re doing it, as I am.

It doesn’t have to be that way for you. Not now. Not ever. Pick up God’s Book. Start reading; let God speak to you through His words. Start praying; talk to God. Plead for guidance, for light, and for a changed heart and a changed life. Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Proverbs 21:7 commentary

7 ¶ The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

Matthew Henry points out that this verse has to do with wicked men who steal from others because they refuse to do justice, as justice and judgment are closely linked as synonymous in many verses. A civil magistrate who refuses to judge rightly causing the innocent to be robbed is an example of someone whom God says shall be destroyed by their slovenly view of justice.

Imagine in our society how a wicked person can enter a store and pretend to slip and fall down. Even with a videotape of the person sitting down deliberately on the floor many insurance companies will insist on paying out some type of small settlement to keep from going to court and spending more. So, when a person attempts to buy liability insurance for a business they are not only faced with the legitimate reasons for the cost of the insurance but also are paying for the fraud.

The wicked here would be the insurance company as well because they refuse to do judgment or perhaps the civil magistrates who, in the past, have refused to judge rightly.

There are people who will apply for a job and then sue the prospective employer because they say they were discriminated against due to age, sex, race, or sexual orientation. Again, when a person tries to buy insurance for a new business they are not only forced to pay the cost due to legitimate injustice done in the past but also due to fraud. Not only are the liars who sue wrongfully wicked but by this verse so are those who have the authority but turn their backs on judgment.

When our government refuses to consider fraud or to work to eliminate it when executing programs from Medicare or Social Security to the money dispersed to the military or intelligence agencies they refuse to do judgment and as wicked persons cause the rest of us, or permits the rest of us, to be robbed.

As this verse literally was applied to a theocracy based on the Law given to Moses by God it has a literal application in that time. But, how does it apply to us? We Christians have a kingdom, the Kingdom of God, that is invisible and inside of each of us that unites us as the body of Christ, the house of God. We do not at present have a physical stone and brick kingdom like others on the earth. So, how can we apply this verse to us literally? We see injustice in our government and judicial system often and no one of the perpetrators is destroyed. The malefactors seem to just grow and prosper.

But, we have seen this in churches where some leader has committed a gross breech of decency and exploited someone weaker than themselves and members of the congregation report it, but the Pastor or Deacon board says, “oh well, that’s not good enough evidence” or some excuse by which they can justify not doing judgment and justice. People are used, abused, and ignored and if they leave their church they are branded trouble makers. These people have been robbed by the wicked who refused to do judgment as well. Those Pastors or Deacons deserve to be brought down for refusing to acknowledge or address the issue, refusing to do judgment.

I can see many applications for this verse among Christians and I’m sure you can if you think about it. We have had so called scholars like Norman Geisler and Bruce Metzger who refused to treat the Bible as a book like no other, God’s own words, who refused to judge the manuscripts which Christians had almost universally rejected as Egyptian trash, and who stole the Bible through which Christians had been nourished for hundreds of years and the manuscript line they had been nourished by for nearly two thousand to please the Roman Catholic scholars who indoctrinated them into unbelief. You might think it’s a bit unfair to call them “wicked” but what else can you call a Baptist scholar who gets his PH.D. from a Jesuit university and applies jesuitry in his scholarship? He has stolen the Bible, the source of the Christian’s authority in faith, practice, and doctrine because he refused to discern between good and bad and just used “old” as his main criteria, denying the work of the Holy Spirit in the history of the Bible’s work on the earth.

When you refuse to discern between right and wrong, to judge between good and evil, and to establish a truth based on its merit you can be sure that someone will be cheated. Do we dare take the threat of destruction lightly and dismiss it as a condition of living under the Law? I wonder how many young lives have been destroyed by the consequences of their elders saying, “it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe in something”, or “no worries, its all good,” or “don’t be judgmental. After all, judge not lest ye be judged” or even “sin is such an old fashioned sentiment”? It would seem just if the person refusing to do judgment were judged and destroyed in these cases.

I wonder how many young people died in drunken car crashes because some idiot adult said, “well, they’re gonna drink anyway so they might as well do it under adult supervision”? I wonder how many unwanted children were conceived after a moronic parent refused to judge between right and wrong and said, “well, sex is a part of being a teenager. It just matters if they’re emotionally ready for it”? By this Proverb, those wicked fools have robbed someone of some part of their life by their refusal to do judgment and deserve to be destroyed themselves.

Finally, leaving Henry and other commentators for a moment, let’s look at the verse this way; when you choose to do wrong because you refuse to judge between right and wrong, you will destroy yourself. Think about it, the next time you have to make that choice. There is an old maxim called “the Doctrine of Peccability”. It says that when something is presented before our eyes it is not sin, its just there. This is called Presentation. But we see that choosing to do it or view it will be sin. That’s Illumination. Still, no sin has been committed. Something has crossed in front of your vision and you realize that to pursue it would be wicked. But, now comes Debate. Once you start to argue about whether or not you can get away with it you have sinned. You have chosen not to discern that something is good or bad, right or wrong. Many Christians when faced with the battle of temptation simply surrender immediately rather than make the right choice. Inevitably, this will be your destruction.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Proverbs 21:6 commentary

6 ¶ The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

Proverbs 10:2 has already told us;

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Proverbs 13:11 has said;

Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

In fact, in this age of Christ’s Church we Christians are warned of something even more explanatory of the time in which we live;

1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

This Proverb specifically talks about obtaining wealth by lies, deception, and fraud which, alas, appears to be one of the common ways in which such treasures are obtained. Investment bankers and traders use other people’s hard earned money which they naively placed at their disposal to engage in trades that relieve the investor of his cash and benefit the bankers and traders with great commissions on every transaction. It seems amazing to me that people still trust a system that appears to seek to impoverish them by playing and gambling with their hard earned money. In the end, though, such “success” on the part of the person doing the lying is simply the road to death. The person who finds such treasures in dishonesty and deception will think himself a success and very clever and neither in need of a Saviour nor feeling the need to repent of his wickedness. With each commission check the weeks and months tick off closer to the time of his death and the eventual facing of God in a fiery judgment for an eternity that knows no end to pain and humiliation. The road to his destruction is paved with the ruined finances of the people he decieved and the lives that had the potential to not suffer want that were led to poverty by his actions. Of course, we hope this represents a small minority of bankers and traders, don’t we?

This would apply to anyone who gains wealth, blind to his or her own need for repentance and salvation, dishonestly, by lying and fraud.

But there is a deeper meaning to this Proverb, perhaps. There are preachers and teachers who gain the treasures of souls won for Christ by lies and fraud. It is a common thing and has been since the days of the Bible’s writing, as Paul warns.

2Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Many of them would even be using what I would call the right Bible and still be engaged in lies, fraud, and deception.

These lying so called men of God, like the old prophet in 1 Kings 13 who lied to the man of God resulting in the younger man’s death, are deceivers and speak “great swelling words of vanity”. They will tell people that you get saved by trusting Christ and believing in and on and just believing Him, as the Bible says very clearly in Romans 10, and then add a laundry list of other things you must do, in their opinion, which they have heard from other liars they admire, in order to “make it stick”.

And yes, new converts to Christ are likened to treasures. As Jesus warns His disciples about false teachers;

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs (false male teachers; read 2 Peter chapter 2, Philippians 3:2; and Revelation 22:16) , neither cast ye your pearls (for believers and the people of God as precious stones see Exodus 28 with 1 Peter 4:5,6) before swine (false female teachers; again see 2 Peter, chapter 2 and pay close attention to verse 22), lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

These people will tell the new Christian that the most important thing once saved is that he or she come to church and go “soul winning” when, as Pastor David Peacock so aptly points out in his sermon “The Meaning of Revival” that is a lie. The most important thing is their relationship with Christ.

These lying so called men of God do not warn the new Christian that as soon as he received Christ as his Saviour he would be attacked by Satan and that the very first thing he or she must do is to start reading God’s word and praying for help and understanding. No, they’ll tell them at the end of a service to just be sure to be at church the next time the doors are open because if they’re in church they won’t be at the bars or in the street. Oft times, what happens is they never see the convert again unless they start banging on his door and shaming him into coming to church. The poor soul has been beaten, bruised, and battered by Satan and his own flesh and is more confused now than he was before he prayed for salvation.

These liars will tell the struggling convert to come to church, witness to the lost, and tithe in order to get close to Christ, a sort of religious “fake it to make it” process. But, you don’t do those things to get close to Christ. You do those things because you ARE close to Christ.

They’ll tell the convert that what he does and doesn’t do, his works and his separation from the world, will set him apart for God’s purpose. But, Christ says that God’s word sets us apart for Him.

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

The liars tell the new convert, the treasure to God, that the fruit, the proof of him or her having the Spirit of God in them is how close to 100% they attend church and how many souls they win for Christ. But, the Bible says that the Fruit of the Spirit is something the liar can’t control in Galatians 5:22-23;

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:

The liars will take this treasure for God, this new creature, and tell him or her that church meetings are about anything BUT coming together as the body of Christ, the church, the house of God to worship God in spirit and truth with them speaking to God as a body in prayer and God speaking to them through the Pastor’s sermon from God’s word. Political agendas, control, pop psychology, and financial matters take precedence in the lying Pastor’s services over spiritual growth and worship.

Some of these liars will tell the new Christian that he or she doesn’t even need to unite with other believers to worship God. They’ll tell them to just sit tight in their easy chair and watch them on the TV, sending their offerings and gifts to the man on the idiot box. They’ll deny God’s treasure, the new Christian, the knowledge of the importance of uniting with other believers in worship and of hearing God’s words preached truthfully to inspire, exhort, and teach true doctrine in order to grow spiritually, loving God, and obeying God’s commands to love other Christians and have compassion for the lost. They will deny the need to be a witness to others for Christ because it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something, a lie straight from Satan’s own tongue.

Their religion is a vain thing and they seek spiritual death, not only of themselves but of the people who come to them for guidance. They don’t teach the new converts, God’s treasures, to meet with God every day wherever they are. They insist that the only way to meet God is at a church service or in front of their face on the TV, and as Brother Peacock says, these Christians have no victory over sin because they are anemic, starving for the word of God that they need to feed themselves with throughout the weeks and days when they aren’t in church meetings hearing it preached.

Spiritual death, a spiritual life that is as cold as the grave and dependent on one emotional fix after another, is the end result. There is no joy in the believer’s life in Christ and when tribulation comes, as it always will, there is no capacity to deal with it by resting in Christ and trusting Him for the outcome.

The liars will hold a book they say is a Bible in their hands and say, “I’m now going to speak from God’s error free word”, but they don’t believe that such a thing even exists in the form of a book. In other words, they don’t believe the words that are coming out of their own mouths because they believe that only the original writings were given by inspiration, documents neither they nor any flesh and blood person on earth they know has ever seen, when the Holy Spirit has said explicitly that copies and translations can be given by inspiration, which is defined as understanding (not word for word dictation; See also 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Peter 3:15’s “according to the wisdom given unto him”.) in Job 32:8 (see also Jeremiah 36 and pay close attention to verse 32). No one in their right mind believes that Timothy had the originals of Moses’ writings or Jeremiah’s for that matter in 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

These men of corrupt minds and destitute of vision will take away the Bible as the focal point of the Christian’s communication with God; with them speaking to God in prayer and God speaking to them through His Bible. They deny the power of God’s word in changing the Christian’s life and make the new convert try to go it alone in this present, evil world like a small boat on a raging ocean with no oars.

The getting of treasures, new believers in Christ, by a lying tongue, 1-2-3 repeat after me salvation, phariseeistic judaizing, or feel good TV religion, is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death, and they have found it for millions of people who will never hear the gospel effectually laid out in front of their eyes because all they can see is the dog and pony show that is modern Christianity.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Proverbs 21:5

5 ¶ The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Notice how diligent is contrasted as an antonym, a word having the opposite meaning of another, with hasty. Diligent is thorough in the following verses, as well;

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;

Psalm 64:6 They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.

So, if you want to do something diligently you won’t be hasty. There is an old saying, “haste makes waste”. This is a practical Proverb for every day life on the literal level. We say, “if something is worth doing then its worth doing right.” We also say, “we don’t have time to do it right but we will have time to do it over.” Take your time, do something thoroughly and do it right.

The way to have plenty is to be diligent, careful, and thorough. One of the many ways to poverty is to make rash decisions; to be hasty and thoughtless in business. Making decisions from the “gut” as they used to say is a good way to keep that gut empty. People who act impulsively may be fun to be around for about a minute but they are horrible examples to follow.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Proverbs 21:4 commentary; High Looks and Proud Hearts

4 ¶ An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

The wicked, the evil person is characterized by a proud and haughty demeanor. The commentators say that even the common acts of the wicked person, those acts that we carry out every day, such as working in the field spoken of here, plowing, is sin because of his or her pride and arrogance.

No wonder then that back in chapter 15 even the sacrifice and, of course, the way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8 ¶ The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

9 ¶ The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Narcissus, in Greek mythology, or rather demonology as it should be called, was so vain that he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and being unable to remove himself from looking at it, he died there. David’s son, the rebel Absalom, would be a good example of a Narcissist, as would Samson, perhaps in that they both had the attitude “it’s all about me”. Psychologists, who are good at categorizing behavior but have no real clue as to that behavior’s origin because they deny the existence of spiritual entities around us and in us, have categorized certain types of people as being Narcissistic or having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The Mayo Clinic, defines the Narcissist.

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

You dare not question these people. To even ask them to consider the possibility that they are wrong can drive them into a rage. Another source about the disorder goes on to explain what happens when this falsely inflated view of Self is threatened.

“The exposure of the False Self for what it is - false - is a major narcissistic injury. The narcissist is likely to react with severe self-deprecation and self-flagellation even to the point of suicidal ideation. This - on the inside. On the outside, he is likely to appear assertive and confident. This is his way of channelling his life-threatening aggression.
Rather than endure its assault and its frightening outcomes - he redirects his aggression, transforms it and hurls it at others.”

Rather than a personality disorder, which gives the impression that narcissism is a sickness one has no control over and must be “cured” of, we could easily say that it is the characteristic of a proud and haughty heart, that it is sin, and needs to be repented of. If that man or woman would submit to God’s word, read it, believing it is God’s word, and hear preaching soundly taken from God’s word, Christ will heal him or her of this so called disorder, if he actually belongs to Christ.

That being said, pulpits across America attract the narcissist, particularly the pulpits of churches where the Pastor is the absolute authority. The narcissist is drawn to the place where he can not only be admired but be unquestioned, the untouchable man of God. If the man is also an angry sociopath who has no real conscience and hates women then the danger he poses is multiplied ten times.

The congregation that has no Biblical discernment, that has swallowed the lie of Nicolaitanism, that of a separate priesthood that is elevated above the laity rather than the priesthood of all believers, and that does not faithfully read their Bible and search the Scriptures daily can easily be fooled. For as Dr. Ruckman says, most Christians are like your pet dog. They don’t really know what you’re saying but merely focus on your tone of voice. The wicked person can use the right terminology and even do good things for some people and, yes, even lead people to the Lord. If Adolf Hitler could fool a nation then how hard should it be for one false but charismatic preacher to fool a handful of naive, trusting Christians? A narcissist sociopath (one without conscience or empathy), proud and disdainful, can fool many but not all congregations, particularly where authority is focused in one or two deacons who are looking for the good but naive about the evil in a candidate for preacher.

Many of these types of men create scandal and pain within the body of Christ by sexual crimes that are almost always associated with crimes involving money; either embezzlement or fraud. Folks, I’ve read of literally dozens of fundamentalist pastors, youth workers, and teachers over the past few years who’ve committed egregious sexual sins, fooled congregations, and exploited the helpless not once, but repeatedly. The situation in fundamentalist churches is no better than the priest scandals of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the paper, Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence by David Lisak, Ph.D. on pages 6 & 7, it says about the sexual predator that he is;

“more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.”

When a church’s doctrine is excessively harsh against women, viewing them as mere property or pack animals, who should not speak* in church or whose pastor does not consider their abilities or their concerns as being of any importance, then the stage is set for the wicked to come in like the Proverbial weasel in the hen house. A clear sign is his disrespect of young women, daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers in his speech and tone. This is not to say a Pastor shouldn’t call out sin and tear the hide off people when necessary. I think we all know the difference between that and hatred of women. (*Note: The command for women not to speak in church in 1 Corinthians 14 is given by Paul in the context of speaking in tongues, one of the signs that died with the Apostles and the generation they personally taught that came after, once a complete Greek Vulgate, Old Latin Bible, and Syriac Bible were available, which is referenced in 1 Corinthians 13:10 and context. Timothy, a young preacher, is later told that women should not teach their husbands, usurping his responsibility to be the spiritual head of the family, or ask a bunch of questions, by understanding the context, when the church meets. I doubt anyone that disagrees with my understanding belongs to a church where women sit mute at all times and never participate in testimony or teaching.)

With the proud look and the high heart, even the good things, the normal things the wicked does, are sin by virtue of their pride and arrogance.

On our level, out here in the pews, we can ruin any value that our worship has or any importance that our service has for Christ with our pride and haughtiness. With pride and haughtiness even our repentance must be repented of. When we think of ourselves as having done a great service for God and we are filled with our own righteousness (and others can see this when we are dismissive of their experience, their efforts, or their successes in service for the Lord) and self glorification it would appear that we make God nauseated if I can use that kind of symbolism.

The proud and haughty must be at the center of every event or they are not satisfied, must be the originator of every good effort or they are not pleased, and must be the wizened authority for every “speaking from experience” who dismisses everyone else with, “oh well, you just haven’t been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt like me.” I’m always afraid of sounding like that to other people when I’m just like everyone else, trying to get God’s understanding from Him of His words, trying to respond to Him rather than my own Self.

Watch the high look and proud heart in yourself and think how you appear to others when you speak, and beware of the proud look and the high heart in others; it may be more than a mere weakness. Be thankful for a humble pastor who loves God’s word. Beware of a “man o’ God” who acts as if he thinks the sun rises and sets on his word and that he is incapable of sin. Christ humbled Himself. Satan is proud and haughty. Who do you want to emulate?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Proverbs 21:3 commentary; Justice and judgment first, then service.

3 ¶ To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Throughout the Old Testament, God emphasizes that in order of priority, ritual and service to God are empty of meaning if you don’t do what He has said in your day to day dealings with others. In other words you can’t hide out in the church like some medieval monk in a monastery to avoid having to deal in the world. You must be out there most of the time and out there doing right. That is more important to God than your sacrifice is, without that.

And even judgment pales in comparison to mercy.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Jesus emphasizes this twice in Matthew, once in regard to His eating dinner with tax collectors;

Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

And once in response to His disciples being accused of Sabbath breaking;

Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

James also emphasizes mercy.

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

But with regard to this Proverb, God lays out what the essence of His requirement of man to God under the Law is in Micah. It would appear to apply at all times.

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Jesus Himself accuses the twice separated, temple going, fundamentalist, religious people of the first century.

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Notice Jesus wouldn’t be saying to you not to come to church, go knocking on doors, hand out tracts, or to give liberally to the work but that if that’s all you’re doing you’re leaving some important things out.

In fact, Jesus tells the Jews, and there is no reason not to apply this in the way you can safely do to the church age without confusion, that your relationship with others must be straightened out in that if someone has something against you, you should deal with that before He wants anything from you with regard to religious service. And since we are the temple of the Holy Ghost now and the altar He is referring to would be in our own hearts this takes on an even more personal importance.

Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Doing justice and judgment is very important to God. Before the Law of Moses;

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

And under the Law given to Moses;

Psalm 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Now, the Gentile or Jewish Christian in the age of the Christian Church is not given the power to enact civil law in the dispensing of justice and judgment. It is not given to us to rule over men in a political sense. When Romans, chapter 13 was penned there were no kings or magistrates of high authority that we know of who claimed to be Christian. So, our application must be on a personal level and within the church body itself.

Christ, therefore, wants you to do right, to do justly, and to judge correctly within the relationships you have and particularly in the house of God, which is the church, which is you, the people. This takes precedence over your service, your work for God, not meaning that your service isn’t important but that it has to be put in the proper perspective. You are incapable of doing God’s justice and judgment unless you have the fruit of the Spirit manifested in your lives. Examine yourselves.

On top of that, Christ wants unity from us in regard to judgment so that we seek to follow Christ and not a man or a false culture of Christianity in part of society.

1Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

And our judgment is to be in love for each other.

Philippians 1:9 ¶ And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

This is not to say that we are all robots who have no personal convictions that aren’t shared necessarily by others;

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

But, we must, in order to be just, live by that faith we are given by God.

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

And be just in our dealings. For example, employers;

Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Pastors, particularly, must be just in their dealings within the body of Christ.

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

We, as Christians, must be just and impartial, not playing favorites, letting this one off the hook for their behavior but holding that one to a different standard, but we must also do judgment, discerning between what is good and bad, sound doctrine and heresy, and literal, Biblical truth or the imagination of some charismatic individual trying to control us. And God regards justice and judgment as more acceptable than sacrifice, not to ignore sacrifice but to regard your service and offering to God as incomplete without Godly justice and judgment.