Friday, July 29, 2011

Proverbs 22:22 commentary; rob not the poor, because he is poor

22 ¶ Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

There are many verses in the Bible where God insists that the cause of the poor in justice and the need of the poor in society is His concern. I’ll post some of them here so you can see God’s attitude toward the poor.

The Hebrews were told to loan money to the poor at no interest.

Exodus 22:25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

(Modern dictionaries define usury as excessive or illegal interest on loans, I suppose, in order to let bankers off the hook. However, the Bible defines usury as any interest on a loan, either in money or in goods.

Leviticus 25:36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.)

They were not to set their face against a poor man because he is poor in matters of justice.

Exodus 23:6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.

Provisions were made in this agrarian society for the poor’s support, provided they were willing to do something for themselves.

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

Leviticus 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

The gate was where decisions were made, where kings sat to dispense justice.

2Samuel 19:8 Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.

2Chronicles 18:9 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.

The Lord will plead the cause of the poor, be their advocate, and when the day of judgment for the world comes, those who have oppressed the poor will answer. They may think they were great Christians, perhaps very charity minded and gave away millions or even billions to establish libraries, hospitals, and churches but if they have oppressed the poor, they will have to give an answer. Someone will say, you mean the poor of His people. But in the Christian doctrines, while we are to pay particular attention to the household of God we are to do good and not to do wrong to ALL men. The Christian who thinks that he is only required to be just and fair and honest within the church is deceived.

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

1Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proverbs 22:17 commentary; Solomon's advice

17 ¶ Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. 18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. 19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. 20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, 21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

Solomon here has a break where, as he has done a few times previously, he restates part of his purpose in writing to his son. Among the many kings and potentates who have written to their sons giving them advice, advice which was sometimes ignored but other times put to good use, was King James I, under whose authority, as in Authorized Version, the translation we use was created under the inspiration of God as defined BIBLICALLY in Job 32:8.

Part of King James I Basilicon Doron, written to his young son, Prince Henry, who would not live to take the throne, is also good advice for preachers and teachers of the word of God. I should say that it is all good advice for all of us but particularly for those in such positions. Putting it in modern day grammar;

“Think not therefore, that the highness of your dignity diminishes your faults (much less gives you license to sin) but on the contrary, your fault shall be aggravated according to the height of your dignity, any sin that you commit not being a single sin procuring but the fall of one; but being an example of sin, and therefore drawing with it the whole multitude to be guilty of the same. Remember then, that this glistering worldly glory of Kings is given them by God, to teach them to press on so as to shine before their people in all works of sanctification and righteousness, that their person as bright lamps of Godliness and virtue, may (going in and out before their people) give light to all their steps. Remember also, that by the right knowledge, and fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom (as Solomon says) [Proverbs 9:10] ye shall know all things necessary for the discharge of your duty, both as a Christian and as a King, seeing in him (as in a mirror) the course of all earthly things, whereof he is the spring and only mover.

Now, the only way to bring you to this knowledge, is diligently to read his word, and earnestly to pray for the right understanding thereof: [John 5:39] Search the scriptures (saith Christ) for they will bear testimony of me; And [2 Timothy 3:16,17] the whole Scriptures (saith Paul) are profitable to teach, to improve, to correct, and to instruct in righteousness, that the man of God may be absolute, being made perfect……”

Solomon tells his son to apply his heart to Solomon’s knowledge which came from God.

1Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.

Why did God do that? Well, for one reason, that is what Solomon asked for when he became king.

2 Chronicles 1:10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? 11 And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: 12 Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

Solomon hopes that the words of knowledge he has given to his son will be fitted to his lips. Remember Joshua’s command to the Hebrews.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Solomon wants his son to trust in the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

To help his son maintain the focus he will need in life.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

He then goes on to say that he wants him to know the words of truth with certainty so that he may answer those who question him. Christians are also told to be ready to speak.

1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

So, Solomon has now reinforced to his son what he means by giving him the advice that God has included in His Book for us to read and be edified by. This is not about reading the Bible only for a Bible Study, or reading it to prepare a Sermon or a Sunday School lesson, or reading it to be able to give a child an enriching story so they can learn about Moses in the bulrushes, David and Goliath, or Daniel in the Lion’s den, or even a few verses for inspiration to get through your difficult day. This, for you, is about reading it every day intending to go from cover to cover, hearing it in your car stereo on the way to and from work, and at other times as you are able, so that God can put the fear of Him and the trust in Him in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God, your Saviour and Creator, in your heart and in your mind.

Don’t ignore Solomon’s advice like his son, Rehoboam did in 1 Kings 12, ignoring the counsel of the old and wise and choosing instead to hear the flesh centered counsel of the young men he had gathered around him. The old and wise counselors would be in type like Christians of old who practiced daily Bible reading in order to know God more fully and be changed by His word. The young men would be in type like the modernists who don’t even know what a Bible is, much less read it, even the corrupted Alexandrian version they have, or the so called conservative fundamentalist who doesn’t feel the need or urgency to read the Bible because, bless God, they’re saved, sanctified, and separated and don’t have time for all of this reading stuff. To that person I say, that YOUR faith is a function of your own personality and, believe me, God can allow something to happen in your life so horrible that you completely crumble on the poorly constructed foundation of your own will to look like a Christian. You have more faith in your faith than you do in Christ. Don’t mistake optimism for FAITH or good intentions for GOD’S WILL any more than you should mistake a cynical attitude for REASON or an unwillingness to trust God for HEALTHY SKEPTICISM. Listen to Solomon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Proverbs 22:16 commentary; oppressing the poor

16 ¶ He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

This is a particularly potent verse for us today as government and large corporations attempt to destroy the small business owner who, in the past, provided most of the jobs in this country enabling the common man, the poor man, to improve his lot in the world, even to start his own business. The opportunity of the poor to have a better life physically on this earth doesn’t come from government or General Electric but from the shop down the street or the builder across the county, most of whom have a net personal income of $200,000 or less per year give or take a few thousand and don’t have millions to play with and don’t own yachts or take vacations around the world whenever they feel like it, and don’t hobknob with kings and princes.

In a book about American History after the Civil War during what was called The Gilded Age when robber barons made great fortunes heretofore unheard of in America, a politician from Texas named John Reagan, who served in many positions elected and appointed in both the United States and the Confederate States of America and then again in the United States government, made this statement, “There were no beggars till Vanderbilts and Stewarts and Goulds and Scotts and Huntingtons and Fisks shaped the action of Congress and moulded the purposes of government. Then the few became fabulously rich, the many wretchedly poor, and the poorer we are, the poorer they would make us.”(1)

Certainly, Mr. Reagan may have exaggerated about their being no beggars in America before that but his point is well made. The ability of a few men to garner fabulous fortunes at the expense of the vast majority of people in the country, manipulating government and controlling political action that has become a part of our republic since the end of the Civil War, is not the America of the founding fathers. It’s not even Capitalism. It is certainly not Christianity. It is a distortion based on manipulation, exploitation, and greed.

Over the last 30 years as more and more of the nation’s wealth is being gathered into the hands of fewer and fewer people with the government itself being the greatest predator of all taking in 200 billion dollars a month of our money, 20 billion of which goes to pay interest on federal debt, the so called American Dream of people from the working class having a way to improve their lot in life, own a home, and send their children to college for them to get a better start in life, even the idea that my children will have a better life than even I did, has been trashed by tax policies and regulations favoring the super wealthy and large, international corporations, both of which are great contributors of vast sums of money to political campaigns through various means, often circumventing laws.

The Middle Class lost their deductions on things like interest paid on auto loans and soon will probably lose the deduction on income tax for home mortgage interest. What were once good paying jobs have been moved overseas and foreign workers are exploited in ways we abandoned here a century ago. Notice I did not say “our jobs” because the job is the property of the employer as my black conservative friend, Milt Thomas, has pointed out in his online blog. If it was your job you would have taken it with YOU.

By all statistics available, that I’ve seen, though, the average American is becoming poorer and his or her children will have a lower standard of living than he did. The rise in the American standard of living since World War II has long since stopped and we are now headed the other way.

The poor are indeed oppressed all over the world. In the welfare state the government gives them no incentive to lift themselves up. This isn’t done out of compassion. Its done out of a desire to keep them in a state of constant servility as a voting bloc. The poor worker is exploited by the corporate employers as the difference between top executive pay and the average worker which was at the rate of 125x in 1962 according to is now between 300 and 500. Liberals want the government to exploit the poor and Conservatives want the dirty deed done by private corporations and men of wealth.

But, God has made it clear that there will be a judgment coming for those who oppress the poor and who make the way smooth for the rich to do so. We have an ethos today in our country where making billions of dollars is an admirable thing, that fantastic wealth accumulated by people and corporations that work hand in hand with government, obtaining such wealth by fraud and deception is okay because, after all, if they can get their hands on it, it’s their money. It has even been reported that a great many farm subsidies don’t go to Mom and Pop farms but to farms whose owners make more than $200,000 a year in declared net income.

When a man like billionaire financier Warren Buffet can boast, even if intending to point out a wrong, that his housekeeper pays more income taxes than he does or that Bill Gates, the computer magnate, can brag that there is no way he could ever spend all of his money on himself, and when men like the Koch Brothers, the energy giants, or financier George Soros can spend millions to influence elections and yet ten million people can’t find jobs that can SUPPORT them and many are giving up hope of ever having gainful employment again then something is seriously wrong with our country.

When our politicians argue endlessly about cutting spending and raising the debt limit and stand on ideology rather than service to the people and yet Business Insider tell us that if we just returned to the spending levels of 2007 and stayed there the budget would be balanced by 2019, something sickening is going on in this country. Our government itself claims that 10 billion dollars has been stolen or misused in Iraq but that another 8 billion is LOST, as in CAN’T BE ACCOUNTED FOR, and yet they fight over a few million dollars in emergency unemployment benefits, something is truly broken in this country.

God has given the Christian warnings about depending on riches.

1Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

He has given the Christian warnings about greed.

1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

He has warned the rich who exploit the poor and I include our government in this because our government is not under the operation of God but under the operative control of Satan, the god of this world, who uses men to pass laws and regulations so that they can, when they leave office, become paid lobbyists for these corporations. Do you actually think a person who is planning on spending a career working as a lobbyist for a large concern is going to pass laws that benefit YOU and ME while he is in office? Are you that naïve to think he or she will honor the Constitution with a big, fat paycheck waiting for him if he doesn’t? For instance, it is reported that Dennis Hastert, former house speaker and lobbyist for foreign governments and private corporations to the US government, each month receives $40,000 from the taxpayer for office space, cell phones, staff, and even an SUV while presumably he receives hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions from those he lobbies for. So, this warning applies to any Democratic or Republican politicians as much as it applies to corporations like drug company Novo Nordisk accused of cheating employees out of overtime pay or billionaire Raj Rajaratnam who cheated ordinary investors to American company owners who don’t hire Americans but pay lower wages to foreign workers in order to avoid hiring here and yet want to bring their income back into this country without paying taxes.

In the Tribulation letter written to the Jews who trusted Christ in the first century and for those who will when the church is removed, God says;

James 5:1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

Read the Proverb again and think on it. Judgment is coming.

(1) Robert H. Wiebb, The Search for Order: 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967), 8.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Proverbs 22:15 commentary; the rod of correction

15 ¶ Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

To some modernists, this verse is an example of abuse because they don’t love their children enough to correct them; leaving it up to the school, the church, or eventually the state. To some traditionalists, this verse and the two others further on in Proverbs are merely excuses to brutalize someone weaker than themselves. Of course, to some nazi in the Department of Children Services if you follow this they'll do what they can to take your child away from you and put them in a home where they can learn to drink alcohol, smoke cigs, watch porn on TV, be a fornicator, a gossip, a liar, and listen to trash on the radio, none which are abuse in their eyes.

Every parent knows that you don’t have to teach a child to do wrong. You have to teach a child to do right. This verse shows that God allows for physical discipline, noting that correction is not punishment. Physically punishing a child will create fear and an understanding that violence is okay if you have to use that to control a person. Physical discipline, which still hurts, is designed to show the child that there are painful consequences to bad behavior, and that such behavior is not acceptable. The idea is to get them to stop doing what they are doing. We all know children need boundaries and, in fact, crave them. We do them a great disservice when we don’t set boundaries.

That being said, for the Christian parent who uses physical correction, it must never be done when you’re angry. If you’re child has annoyed you or embarrassed you get over it. Any physical discipline must only be done for the benefit of correction, not to satisfy your own carnal desire to get revenge on the child for doing something that embarrassed you or annoyed you, which is what that quick jerk ‘em up by the arm and wale ‘em on the backside, is most often about.

There are certain common sense prohibitions that we should be aware of. There are two things in particular I’ll argue with you on all day. One, never spank an infant. We don’t baptize infants because they don’t know what’s being done to them and we shouldn’t spank a baby because they do not understand. Until a child is old enough to understand correction there are other ways to handle a baby, like not giving into their every cry so you don’t train them that crying is the way to get attention. Another thing is that you should not spank a young person after they’ve reached adolescence. I know you will disagree but the buttocks is a very personal place and no adult should take their hand to it. The famous preacher, John R. Rice, boasted about spanking his eighteen year old daughter on the night before her wedding. This is wickedness and just plain wrong.

But, what does it say in the part of the Bible written directly to Christians about their behavior? We’re still in the Proverbs, written under the Law, and I’ve been trying to make spiritual applications to the Christian without contradicting the doctrine given to Christians. Here are some verses that give a hint to what the Christian attitude toward child rearing is supposed to be but we usually go back to the Law because it can be satisfying to the flesh.

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.

There are several things of note in these verses but most importantly is that the Christian parent is to raise their child in the NURTURE and ADMONITION of the Lord and to not do things so as to DISCOURAGE them.

If you choose to use physical correction on your child you should not only not do it when you are angry but you should explain why it was done and that it was because you loved them and want to teach them. But remember, the person who refuses to correct their child is just as unloving as the person who brutally beats them. With nurture and admonition of the Lord, through daily family prayer and devotions, with Bible reading, with Christ preeminent in the home, not as some sort of excuse to instill fear and loathing in the children but as a joy and a beacon of light, perhaps you’ll have to correct them less. Physical correction without God’s love is abuse. Period. Proverbs will have more to say about correcting children.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Proverbs 22:14 commentary; strange women

14 ¶ The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.

Let’s review what strange and stranger is before we dig into this Proverb. Strange, in the Bible, doesn’t mean weird. It means alien to Israel, not sharing in the Hebrew culture or believing in the Hebrew God exclusively as the God of all.

Exodus 2:22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Exodus 18:3 And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:

Exodus 12:19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

Leviticus 16:29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:

The Canaanite women that the Israelites permitted to live after they invaded the land given to them by God and the foreign women around them were a danger to their walk with God.

1Kings 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

1Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Let this be a lesson to parents. When you send your son of to college in a faraway place he is likely as not to find him a wife of the people there and not return home to live. I’ve seen it in many families and in my own. Wives have a tremendous influence over where the family nest is made. My grandparents fully expected my father to return from the Air Force and marry the girl they liked back home. It was not to be.

The strange women that lived among the Hebrews corrupted the Israelites with their pagan gods just as they did to the wisest human king who ever lived, Solomon. Even wisdom was no match against feminine beauty and charm.

The mouth of strange women spoke abominations: encouraging worship of other gods and alien ways to worship God of which He did not approve. The pervasive influence of these strange women goes all the way through the figure of the woman mixing in leaven, a type of pollution and false doctrine (see Exodus 12:15 and Matthew 16:5-12) , into three measures of meal; Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and the so called Orthodox Church in Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:21.This doctrine carries all the way to Mystery Babylon, the woman of Revelation 17 who may be represented by Mary, the goddess of Rome, who is in reality Ishtar, Diana, Venus, and Isis in Christian disguise.

But what about in your day to day life? Who are these strange women that those who are God’s enemies will be destroyed by? Christians watch television, movies, and listen to popular rock and country music. The sirens on the stage and screen, evil women speaking great abominations encouraging you to self destruct, even being deceived themselves as their lives’ end up like a Janis Joplin or an Amy Winehouse or a Marilyn Monroe, have a great influence on the weak, carnal Christian who has enjoyed the benefit of the gift of eternal life and yet holds no regard for God’s standards or doctrines.

Every day around the nation, Christians choose to hear these strange women speaking soothing, fleshy, and false doctrines, their mouths a great pit of despair and anguish which the Christian who is not walking with God falls into, taken captive by Satan at his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Christians will hear Satan speaking through them, appeasing their flesh, exciting their baser nature, turning the beauty of things like sexual union that God gave to man and wife into vile, disease ridden torture of blind obsessions and exploitation. These same Christians do not have the time to read or hear God speak to them through His word but they do have time for American Idol on television or their favorite nearly naked vixen singing songs of debauchery and broken heartedness on the radio.

Christian, every time you hear a song by Britney Spears or see a movie with Angelina Jolie you are falling slowly but surely into that pit mentioned in this Proverb. These strange women speak doctrines that are against this Bible and against the God of this Bible. With great amounts of money and fame they have the “bully pulpit” and can preach their false doctrines to a world that is hungry for Jesus Christ but thinks all they really need is a racy music video by Christina Aguilera. Everything is dragged through the dirt by these sirens. Every Bible doctrine from not getting revenge to not defrauding your brothers and sisters and even to a disdain and contempt for Christ Himself is preached non-step, 24/7 around the world from radios, movies, and TV by these people and their handlers. And you say, it’s all good. Its just music. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Certainly, a literal application of this verse can only be made to ancient Israel. God does not abhor any Christian and those who are going to Hell by virtue of their rejection of Christ are doomed anyway and don’t need any additional pushing into the pit. But, to apply this spiritually to you, to make this part of your daily life just look around at the world of religion and false female teachers like Joyce Meyer, a swine of Matthew 7:6 and a sow of 2 Peter 2, a false female teacher, the godless and wicked of the music and entertainment world, like Madonna, or the political world, all these worlds of which have their god of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). Don’t fall into the pit of their open mouths, Christian. Don’t even hear their siren cry. Homer’s Odysseus had to contend with three bird-women named Sirens whose music and voices lured sailors to their deaths. The danger is no less here than in Greek mythology.

Be discerning, Christian. Let God’s word, not their false doctrines, permeate your mind, and stay away from the deep pit of their mouths lest your witness and testimony for Christ be destroyed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Latest Reading

The Armies of George S. Patton by George Forty, Arms and Armour Press, London, 1996. This is not a biography glorifying or worshipping the general. This is a book full of interesting facts for the student of military history and tools for the historian. There is a great deal of information in this book on just how the American army fought in World War II. Everything from the model and manufacturer of transport trucks to the composition of the various kinds of food rations for the army is given. A day by day history of Third Army action in Europe is laid out. This book is not casual reading. This is for the serious student of history, not someone laying on a beach wanting to read something to pass the time. I recommend it for the right person greatly. You won't regret buying it.

Proverbs 22:13 commentary; there is a lion in the street

13 ¶ The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Solomon, with the understanding the Holy Spirit has given him, had a lot to say about the slothful man. Let’s review.

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Proverbs 15:19 The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Proverbs 19:24 A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

Proverbs 21:25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

The slothful person is extremely lazy, so much so that he or she will not help themselves. Christians are told not to be slothful in business.

Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Christ makes it clear you can be slothful in your service to Him by hiding the abilities you’ve been given and not using them for His glory and honor in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.

This Proverb points out how ludicrous our excuses can be. For the Chistian’s application of this I think you could point out all the reasons we come up with not to worship, not to unite with a church body of believers regularly (even if in our own home with two or three), not to read the Bible, not to pray, and not to witness. Plus, it’s usually easier to sin than to do right because your flesh wants to sin. It doesn’t want to do right. Getting revenge, lying, improper sexual thoughts, anger, are all easier for the natural man and require little effort because that’s the way we are naturally.

The generation of Hebrews that left Egypt did not get into the Promised Land that God had prepared for them because they stated that the inhabitants of that land were too strong for them. And yet, God had shown them His awesome power in defeating the army of Pharaoh and in sustaining them in the wilderness. If their excuse for not obeying God wasn’t valid then why do you think yours are? God has already defeated the lion in the street, Satan. So, what are you waiting for?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Proverbs 22:12 commentary

12 ¶ The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere searching out every thought and deed of mankind. As the prophet, Hanani, said to King Asa of Judah after he had made a league with Syria rather than depend on the Lord who had delivered Judah from a million man Ethiopian invasion under King Zerah;

2Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

God has promised that He would preserve His words.

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

And we have been warned that from the very beginning there were many men who tried to corrupt God’s words.

2Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

The Counter-Reformation, an organized attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to overthrow the work of the Protestant churches in the Reformation, gave us the “science” of Textual Criticism, as molded by such Roman Catholic priests and scholars as Richard Simon and philosophers like Thomas Hobbes and Spinoza. These men, rather than view the Bible as divinely inspired, regarded it as just another ancient book and tried to use their own reasoning to compare and contrast manuscripts, whether or not those manuscripts had ever been in much use by Christians, to attempt to discern what readings were most likely in the originals. This is a convenient trick as no one they personally knew or that you could meet and talk to in the flesh had ever seen the originals. So, like much of theoretical science it merely becomes an endless disputation over what seems to one or the other as “most likely”.

These transgressors and corrupters, even today, treat the word of God as of being no more importance than they would view a copy of Livy’s ‘History of Rome’ or Homer’s poem ‘The Illiad’. But, God preserved His words, as promised, in what the textual critics call the Byzantine Text, down through the ages in certain editions of the Old Latin Bible, the Syriac, the Gothic, and English versions right down to the one known to us as the King James Bible or the Authorized Version. Virtually every Bible after that was translated giving authority to manuscripts rejected by the Christian churches throughout history.

The eyes of the Lord preserved knowledge. The words of the transgressors were overthrown. The inconsistencies and lies of the corrupt versions of God’s word are legion. In some versions the first verses of Mark contain a reference to one Old Testament prophet but call it a reference to another. In most corrupt versions the last 12 verses of Mark are labeled illegitimate and yet those verses are found in the majority of ancient Uncial (large block letters) manuscripts that contain the end of Mark. Verses are deleted in versions, verses that Christians have used since the Old Latin Bible was put together in the middle of the second century, and in one, reflecting the Jehovah’s Witness heresy, a popular modern Bible calls Jesus a created god in John 1:18. And yet, those who are not blind to this obvious truth have been blessed with the words of God in a Bible that they can rely on to draw them close to God, to change their lives fundamentally, and to comfort and exhort them, and most of all, to save the lost and sanctify the believer.

The eyes of the Lord preserved the knowledge of Christ. We live in a world that is operated by Satan. Even our own government has long been under his control. He has blinded the minds of men to the truth of the gospel.

2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Transgressors created false religions under Satan’s influence, such as Islam, where the Devil, under the name of Allah, just as he operated under the name of Zeus in ancient Greece, Bel in Babylon, and Baal in Palestine, reigns supreme. This Allah commands the nominal worship, at least, of a billion people, and is growing because it appeals to man’s carnal appetite for control and mastery of others. The Muslims, his adherents, proudly proclaim that Allah has no son, and yet, a careful reading of the Koran, his book, shows that Allah has three daughters. Allah does not love his creation. And as the ancient Greeks commented (and I am paraphrasing), “the gods torture those that worship them”, as they referred to their pagan representations of Satan who most certainly did not love them, Allah loves no one and promises eternal life to none. A clear sign of a Satanic faith is one where you cannot know that you are saved and can have no assurance of it.

Hindus worship millions of gods. Many other religions, even some claiming to be Christian, have included the false gods of long forgotten paganism as Saints and avatars to cling to for help and mercy. The Roman Catholic Church has even exalted the continued worship of “the goddess”, Ishtar, Diana, Venus, and Isis, in the person of Mary, whose Catholic form bears no resemblance to the humble Jewish maiden of the Bible who was the vessel by which God came to earth in the form of a man.

But, the knowledge of Christ has not been lost, for God had said;

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The eyes of the Lord shall preserve knowledge. God overthrows the words of the transgressor, whether they be deceived Christians or those of other religions, and the ultimate transgressor, Satan, himself, shall be overthrown one day, and is overthrown already.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Proverbs 22:11 commentary

11 ¶ He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

What does it mean to be pure? Well, for one thing it means to be just. Look to the parallel phrasing.

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

The pure person is upright. Note the connection between synonyms with “and”.

Job 8:6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.

Pure religion is defined which includes charitable actions toward those without power or help and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted (uncontaminated by worldy thinking; see Jude 23 and 1 John 2:15-17) from the world.

We have no king ruling over us but we do have many petty tyrants vying for attention, many of whom seem to have only one goal in mind, to get re-elected. Offer no offense, play to your base, seem as calm and rational as possible, and appear to be impartial which in the days of our nation’s founding was called being ‘disinterested’. Pureness of heart doesn’t seem to be a value that is granted much importance unless it is pretended for a speech or two. Some of them change spouses like a worn out coat, spend the money they’ve extorted from us for themselves, their cronies and backers’ financial interests, and their political base, speak high and mighty things about human rights or personal freedom, and wear their feigned religious beliefs like a magic amulet that is supposed to grant them entry to our approval, yet being pure, just, and upright doesn’t appear to be a thought that ever occurred to the majority of those who seek that power.

Christ is our king and He calls His disciples, those who serve Him with their words and their hearts, His friends.

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

It is with our words, expressing what is in our hearts, that we come to Christ and are made His servant and His friend.

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.

God longs to have that intimate relationship with us even moreso than He did with Moses and Abraham.

Exodus 33:11a And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

The only way we can count the God who created us, the King of the universe and beyond, as our friend is to become born again in the Spirit, believing and trusting in Him in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), speaking of His grace with our lips to everyone that will hear as well as to those who won’t.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proverbs 22:10 commentary; Are you a scorner?

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

Let’s review what the scorner is again. He or she doesn’t hear rebuke or correction (Proverbs 13:1) and will be angry at the person who tries to shed a light on their error (Proverbs 15:12). They look for wisdom but with their scornful attitude they can’t find it and never will (Proverbs 14:6). 15:12 shows that they won’t even go to the wise to seek their wisdom. 21:24 shows us that scorners are proud and haughty. But, what characterizes the scorner’s attitude?

Psalm 1:1 links them with ungodly sinners. They are mockers (2 Chronicles 30:10). Psalms 44:13, 79:4, & Ezekiel 23:32 shows that scorners hold the people of God in derision, which is contempt by the fifteen verses in which it is used. Proverbs 1:22 & 19:29 shows them to be synonymous with fools. We know about fools. The fool has said in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1 & 53:1).

So, in this Proverb, if you get rid of the scorner, you’ll be getting rid of contention, defined in this verse as strife and reproach, and a lot of conflict and division in the church will go with them. Paul even talked about people who actually preached Christ with contention.

Philippians 1:12 ¶ But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Notice how in this passage contention’s definition is envy and strife (conflict). As the scorner will not humble himself before God or man, is arrogant and haughty, proud and incapable of correction, it is best to turn someone like that out of the congregation before he destroys it. Let God deal with him or her. The only way their heart will be changed is by God, directly by the application of His words to their spiritual heart.

The big question you need to ask is not one you ask by looking around at the other people in the church and trying to figure out who is a scorner, if it’s not obvious. No, the big question is, are you a scorner? Ask yourself. Examine yourself.

2Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Are you mocking people who have a simple faith? Do you hold the humble people of God in derision? Do you think their customs quaint and amusing, their faith naïve, their practices not intellectually satisfying to you? Do you hold their convictions in contempt and view their hopes and fears as humorous in a sad way? I remember hearing a young Christian, impressed with the worldly education he was receiving, call the church his parents attended, a bunch of “hicks”. They weren’t sophisticated enough for him. What he didn’t understand is that there are Appalachian farm mothers who can barely read but know that King James Bible forward and backward that know far more about what matters in eternity than the most sophisticated Harvard educated graduate students.

Look to yourself if you be a scorner. The Proverb says the church is better off without you. Repent of your wickedness and turn to Christ .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Proverbs 22:9 commentary; Bread to the poor

9 ¶ He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Proverbs 21:13 ¶ Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

God requires Christians to give liberally of their money to help and to feed the poor, particularly the poor in the church.

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.

Throughout the ages of Christianity there have always been groups who would dissent from the established norm and form churches that they pronounced more fit the New Testament model. The Puritans of the Church of England and many modern Fundamental Baptist churches claim that they are New Testament Churches. But, are they? It is clear by a careful reading of the historical book of Acts and Paul’s letters as well as history itself that the New Testament churches did not surrender their poor to government programs or state sponsored support, of which there was very little.

The early Christian church not only took care of its own poor and the poor of other churches but also of the pagan poor around them that came to them for help. This caused consternation among the Romans due to the shame it heaped on them for not taking care of the poor outside of distributing bread to get political support or to limit social unrest. The modern church doesn’t care to look into the immediate and personal needs of its members as the assumption is there will be some state program they can take advantage of to help.

Looking back into the most early church and forward again into the Tribulation to come the book of James says in the famous passage about putting your money where your mouth is, the ‘faith without works is dead’ passage;

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?

Charity, which one Biblical definition is the active and tangible way that brotherly love in the Christian church is to be expressed;

2Peter 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Is a very fundamental way of manifesting the command that Jesus gave to His disciples;

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

So much so that charity is listed as of more importance than faith and hope.

1Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Voluntary aid to those who are truly poor, willing to work, but unable to sustain themselves, is fundamental to the Christian faith. The church does not have to support you if you have family that can do so in the church, or if you have the capacity to support yourself but by your own choices won’t, or if your need is really just your refusal to give up material possessions in order to meet the circumstances in which you find yourself. But, if there is someone truly in need a Christian must do what is within their power to help, particularly within their own family or church.

It would be interesting to see how many of those people who blast tax supported programs to aid the poor actually give a significant portion of their disposable income to help the poor in Christ’s name just as it would to see how many who oppose abortion would consider adopting an unwanted child. We are notorious for doing what James lamented; for writing a check with our tongues that our hearts aren’t willing to cash.

God promises to bless those Hebrews who gave bountifully, not sparingly, but bountifully to those in less favorable circumstances than themselves. Would you think that He would do any less for Christians?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Proverbs 22:8 commentary

8 ¶ He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Vanity is nothingness. It’s empty. It has no meaning. A vain thing is linked to mischief and deceit in Job 15:35. In Psalm 10:7 it’s linked to fraud. In Proverbs 30:8 it’s linked to lies. All of the so called gods other than the God of the Bible are vanity as are the words of the people who worship them.

Isaiah 41:28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. 29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.

Jeremiah 14:22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.

This Proverb very clearly says that if a person sows sin and wickedness they will not get the crop they wanted but will get nothing. They will fail. The authority and power of something is likened to a rod or staff.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

As a Christian we realize that we live in among nations that do not honor God or, if they do, only do it with their words and not deeds and intentions. In America the Supreme Court has a doctrine called “Ceremonial Deism” where they say it is okay to have “In God We Trust” on our money and religious scenes on some government buildings because they are historical and cultural and have no significance in practice. In other words, the Supreme Court calls our government’s acknowledgement of the God of the Bible as having no meaning. Ceremonial Deism means we say it, but we don’t believe it, so it’s okay.

As a result, we do not live in a country that honors God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, His visible image (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1: 2,3), and our Saviour, on any official level. In fact, in the military, as I have been told, you are not allowed to publicly pray, as a chaplain, using the name of Jesus Christ. Of course, James Madison, the “father of the Constitution” warned us that would happen if you had the government pay chaplains rather than the denominations they represented.

We see iniquity sown every day. We see the anger of the wicked triumph. We, like the prophet Jeremiah, are hard pressed to use promises that God gave to ancient Israel IF they were faithful and see them have any meaning. It is hard to say that good always triumphs in the end when we know it doesn’t now. We have only our faith that God will settle all accounts at some future point in time. We believe that the rod of the wicked’s anger will fail and that the iniquity that Satan has sown, and his Beast, the anti-Christ will produce vanity as Christ destroys him.

2Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

But, what if the sower is themselves a Christian? Both John Gill and Matthew Henry believe that “the rod of his anger” means that this person is in authority. But, we all have authority in some ways, for instance, over our families. Every man has the potential to be a petty tyrant. So, if you are truly born again, one way of being certain that you are is that when you choose to do iniquity, to sow sin, it will not produce the effect you desired. You’ll get nothing but vanity. The rod of your anger; your cruelty, your deceit, and your fraud will fail. People who truly have trusted Christ as their Saviour who then choose to do willfully what they know to be sin, are most often thwarted in their efforts and exposed or crushed. Certainly there is some Christian who is reading this or hearing it that knows what it means to do wrong and to have it all come back on him like a boomerang that he or she throws out only to have it whack them in their own head. Your efforts at sin produced vanity and nothingness and the rod of your anger failed miserably.

I know, I know, there is going to be someone who says they have never sinned willfully since they’ve been saved, and like many of the songs in the hymnals go, they’ve had nothing but sinlessness and joy, being perfectly obedient to Christ since they were saved, but let’s not kid ourselves. Christians often sin and not only harm their testimony for Christ but their relationship with Him. For the young people, remember that your sins; whether sexual, financial, sins of words or deeds, will come back to haunt you like a ghost in a Shakespeare play like ‘Hamlet’ or a story by Charles Dickens like ‘A Christmas Carol’. You will sow inquity and reap vanity and the rod of your anger shall fail.

Remember this if you start thinking about “dating” someone your parents would not approve of whose behavior, attitude, and spiritual condition go against everything you’ve been taught. Remember this, if you’re tempted to lie, cheat, or steal to gain some advantage. Remember this if you are tempted to hit your spouse or beat your child for doing something that they can’t help but do. Remember this, if you begin to feel that uniting with a church body of believers is just too much trouble on Sunday morning. You sow iniquity, you will reap a bitter harvest. Sadly, so might your children.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Proverbs 22:7 commentary; The rich rule over the poor

7 ¶ The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Here is a Bible fact that many people fail to understand. The rich and I mean by rich, people who have millions of dollars of disposable income, through their control of banking and commerce, are as much a part of the governance of a country as the elected or appointed government entities. The rich receive benefits from the government in that even with tax rates as high as 90% during the Eisenhower administration with tax write offs and deductions worked with by high priced accountants the rich could actually pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than a poor person. The scandal when I was in high school regarding this was that a cleaning lady in Newark, NJ paid more actual income taxes than Standard Oil of NJ which became Esso which became Exxon-Mobil. Today, the story is about how billionaire financier Warren Buffet revealed that his servant paid more than income taxes he did. Now, don’t misunderstand me, the rich pay huge amounts of money in taxes all across the board but in regards to the percent of their personal income they pay a much smaller amount than the working class unless they’re idiots or have incompetent accountants. (Special note: you pay taxes not only on income but through other taxes and by government inflating your money.)

The rich have a great deal to say about job creation, where venture capital goes, and provide the pool of money for all sorts of investments. This is not to comment on a system of economics; whether capitalism or socialism is bad (we have a mix). This is not to condemn the rich, as the rich and poor meet together and God rules over both as it said a few verses earlier. But, it is important to understand that the rich do rule over the rest of us. Our own American Revolution, our war for independence from Great Britain, was mainly the doing of wealthy men who led the rest of the country who would follow into revolt against their king. There are those who rule over us whom we have elected, or thought we elected, and there are those who rule over us in a manner of fact whom we did not elect but just by virtue of their management of vast sums of capital, on which commerce, banking, and industry feed.

Remember that government itself, which although technically answerable to the people, and I say that is a mere technicality, is the richest entity of all and by taxation controls the most wealth and enacts laws that narrow the actions of the rich. It is a stress of our form of government to try to keep the rich from controlling the government and the rich free enough from the government’s control to provide some kind of benefit for the rest of us and themselves without corrupting the government. Simon Cameron, a one time Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln, is purported to have said, “An honest politician is one, when he is bought, will stay bought.”

The point is simply that the rich rules over the poor. Deal with it. I’m not talking politics here, just pointing out a fact the Bible points out.

On the second point Israel was not to be the servant of other nations. Israel was to be, had she been faithful to God, the top kingdom on earth.

Deuteronomy 15:6 For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.

Israel was to have the money and the power to control other nations through it. Americans must not think much of their freedom. They so easily sell their birthright of freedom for “bread and pottage” (Genesis 25), for comfort and ease of living. We put ourselves in servitude to lenders for vacations, homes, and cars caring more about the monthly payment than the overall cost, putting ourselves in hock to the lender, working a part of our lives to satisfy them through the principal and the interest, and encouraging the producer to raise prices as long as we can handle the monthly payment. So, just as the rich rules over the poor, the lender rules over the borrower. The Bible makes clear that there is no political freedom without economic freedom and the person who is in debt is neither economically free nor is he or she in the will of God.

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

You are a servant to the government, the richest entity in your physical life, and will work to pay your “debt” to them through April as I understand it. The date that the country satisfies its tax burden is called Tax Freedom Day. In 1900 it was only January 22. In 2000 it was supposed to be May 1. In 2011 it fell on April 12 according to The Tax Foundation found at Your servitude to the rich through profits and the power those profits provide will continue through the rest of the year.

While it has been argued that you need a certain amount of debt to maintain a good credit rating, and that is arguable, the young person’s wisest choice would be to avoid going into debt. Save, do without unless you have cash, and deny the materialistic obsessions of your parents. Do not willingly become the servant of anyone through debt. Of course, we could go into a lot more about you being forced into debt to foreign governments by greedy and power drunk men in charge in Washington, how the cash you use is just paper not based on any real value, and unless we adopt a balanced budget amendment and a precious metal standard for our money we are just playing Monopoly as any economist will tell you, “money is fiction,” but that doesn’t add any more understanding to the Proverb.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Proverbs 22:6 commentary; Train up a child

6 ¶ Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

This is one of the most popular verses in the Bible, oft quoted and misquoted, but one from which parents derive a lot of comfort. The first thing I would say for Christians is that the only way to train up a child in the way he should go is to live before that child as the kind of Christian you want them to be. The Bible also says very explicitly things you are not to do and things you are to do with regard to raising a child.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Notice the second part of the verse, to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nurture and admonition carries with it the idea of care and instruction. John Gill agrees that it is the parents’ responsibility to educate their children in God’s ways.

This Proverb says that things taught soundly early on will remain with a person when they have grown old. We all know so many stories of young people, raised in a Godly environment, who left the care of God and went out on the power of their own flesh and the enticements of the world only to return to their faith when they were sick of themselves or had children whom they wanted to be raised right.

What we do in early childhood has an impact on our whole lives. My father had been in the military and when he was young and I was a toddler it was his practice to get up very early in the morning and do calisthenics before he started his day. My earliest memories are of trying to imitate his pushups, situps, and jumping jacks. I was never much of an athlete myself, never very successful at any sport, however from that time I learned a habit of regular exercise and a love of it that has lasted my entire life. While others, high school athletes in particular, sit around and talk about past glory and busted knees I look forward to working out on my own as I get old. This is because of the care that my Dad took when I was so small to instill in me a love of exercise.

What a sad state it is that Christians don’t care more for their child’s education in Christ. They expect the church to teach their child about our Lord and that is just pure laziness. The church body worships as a group, corporately, and does things for Christ that the individual can’t always easily do on his own. The sermons and lessons are to edify the believer and strengthen him to walk closer with God. However, letting God speak to you through His words, speaking back to Him in prayer; praising and have fellowship with Him, is essential every day. Worship itself should not just be at times when the body of Christ meets but each and every day.

Christians miss out on a great way of life by not having daily devotions with their family as a little church, with father as Pastor. Daily prayer and Bible reading when the children are very young are absolutely essential and important for establishing a firm foundation on which the child can depend when they are older. Well, you say, I have never taken much concern about my child’s spiritual education. I left that up to the times he or she attended church and he’s fine, she’s doing well. Well, I’d say back to you that you are probably a very carnal Christian and so will your child be. In fact, probably right now, in all likelihood, your adult child, like yourself, whom you never allowed to miss a church service, even forbidding him or her to play soccer on Wednesday nights is probably standing with both feet firmly planted in the world, in worldly Christianity if they are in church at all, in worldly pursuits, with worldly aims and goals, and worldly expectations. And there are things they are doing that they would never want you to know about.

To young Christian parents, just starting out, if you will hear me, start praying with your spouse today, and pray with your children. Read the Bible to them every day in small enough doses that they are able to hear but in large enough doses for it to have meaning to them. If your devotions are in the evening then talk about what God has done with you and for you today and how He has used you and refrain from complaining about what the boss, a customer, or some thoughtless motorist or coworker did TO you. Experience a life with Christ and share it with your child.

To those Christian young people who are courting, getting to know someone in the right way with the intention of marrying before God and their church family and starting a family either by natural means or adoption, start praying together today. Read the Bible together. Share your individual concerns with God and each other. This is the one thing missing from most Christian advice about courting and marriage. There is no time when it is inappropriate for two people to pray together, with family around, to learn and grow in the Lord.

Train up your child in the way they should go. When they are old they will not depart from it. It will be a real and powerful part of their life that will sustain them through every crisis and lead them to a closer relationship with their Creator and Saviour each day. Give them that firm foundation.

On the other hand, you can train your child to be a selfish, spoiled Christian brat who gripes about God and the failings of everyone else in their life, who treats the Bible with disregard, rarely darkens the door of a church building, and has a relationship with Christ much like children of secular minded people do with the Santa Claus at the mall, and unless God has mercy on them they won’t depart from that when they get old either.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Proverbs 22:5 commentary; Snares and Thorns

5 ¶ Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

The Biblical definition of what it means to be froward will be useful to review. By way of searching for the definition of a word within a verse see Deuteronomy 32:20;

“And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.”

Notice that they are without faith in God. By the method of looking at contrasting phrases they are wicked;

Psalm 101:4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

These are just examples of how froward is defined within the Bible and there are many more. The froward person is a faithless, wicked person though and that’s a good start for understanding this verse. So, there are some painful things, snares and thorns, in the way or manner of living and attitude of the froward. However, the person who keeps or guards and protects his soul will avoid those very things.

How can you be sure of guarding your soul? There is only one way and that is to trust Christ as your Saviour. The pitfalls of a rebellious life against God, in worship of Self, are many and Christ is the only answer, to surrender and submit yourself to your Creator. You must trust and believe Him.

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.

John 6:28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Then immediately you must get into God’s words in His Bible because that’s how God speaks to His people. You can’t trust your conscience because it can be seared and twisted by sin.

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

You can’t overstate the importance of God’s word.

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

He has preserved it for us and we have it in the King James Bible, the Authorized Version.

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

And it is forever settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Now, as a Christian you have an unholy trinity standing against your growth and progress. They are thorns and snares that you must avoid if you are to keep or guard your soul, which is no longer in danger of hellfire but is in danger of being kept from serving Christ, being a witness for Him, and having a heart full of praise and joy. They are the world, your flesh, and the Devil.

The Devil is a spiritual being, one of the animal like creatures that surround and covered the throne, created by God, inferior to Him, but of more power and authority than men. He chose to go over to the Darkness through pride and envy. He is also called Lucifer and Satan.

Ezekiel 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

The world and its systems and people are under his control.

2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

He accuses us before God constantly.

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

He has the power of death over humankind and Christ came to destroy his works.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

1John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

We know the Devil’s methods of operation. It’s no secret. Unforgiveness, pride, envy, and jealousy are in his scope of things. In regard to forgiving a repentant person;

2 Corinthians 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Because so many people are taken in by him.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

But, we have only to resist him by submitting ourselves to God. God will provide a way out from being snared by Satan.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

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.

Another thorn and snare to avoid is the world. The world usually refers to the people that live on the earth.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

The three things that Satan tempted Eve with and the three things that John warns us about are the same three things of that the world system offers you. You must resist these three things.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The things the world worships and encourages; corporate violence through war, celebrities and status, an obsession with physical beauty, inordinate obsession with things sexual, music that appeals to the flesh and deadens the spirit, wealth, power, and fame among others are wicked and not of God.

The last snare is the flesh, your flesh. Your flesh wants only its own satisfaction, even to the point of pursuing pleasure and comfort until it destroys itself. The flesh cannot please God.

Romans 7:14 ¶ For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Some will eat until food kills them. Some will use the God given gift of sexual pleasure the wrong way and destroy their lives and sometimes harm the lives of innocent children with that. Some will take drugs and consume alcohol until their bodies and lives are a twisted mess.

The froward; the wicked, the unsaved, and even the carnal, deceived Christian struggles, trapped and bleeding in thorns and snares. The saved person who guards his or her soul will stay as far from those snares and thorns as they can get and cling to God in Christ. As you pray and speak to Him and God speaks to you through His word; read and heard, on the written page and preached, the allure that the world, your flesh, and the devil has over you will diminish until Christ calls you out or takes you home, be assured.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Proverbs 22:4 commentary; Humility and the fear of the Lord

4 ¶ By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Viewing this from our perspective as Christians today, humility is extremely important in order to gain the right attitude.

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.

Ephesians 5:21 ¶ Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

As John Gill puts it, as this verse was understood by the Jews, humility precedes the fear of the Lord. It is by humility that one is able to fear the Lord. If some people ever change their religion it will be because they no longer think they’re God. The Bible defines this kind of fear mentioned in this Proverb as reverence;

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

And awe;

Psalms 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

Without the fear of the Lord, the fear of God, no person even begins to understand who He is or what He is. The fear of the Lord produced obedience to the Law given to Moses in the Hebrew.

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

The early church walked in that reverence and awe each day and grew.

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

And the church is to perform that today as it said back in Ephesians 5:21 mentioned above. Before a person is saved he lacks the fear of God.

Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

I don’t think most Christians today have any sense of reverence or awe of God. God is an ideal, an ideology, rather than a real person, a real entity with whom they have to deal every day. Imagine that you loved baseball. All you thought about was baseball. You want to play but even when you can’t you are pretending you’re at bat making a grand slam home run or fielding a tough hit and saving the game. You even attend a game once a week and watch others play. But, it has no real bearing on your life. It’s a game. Baseball doesn’t comfort you when you are grieving or frightened, nor does it help you comfort others. It doesn’t help you grow spiritually. It doesn’t offer you any hope of a life beyond the one you have on this earth. It’s just a game even if like the fictional character, Chico Escuela, played by comedian Garrett Morris decades ago, you said, “Beisball has been bery, bery good to me”, it is still just a game.

To most Christians, God is just an idea, something they have culturally and personally come to grips with but don’t really believe has a hand in their daily affairs or plans. He represents a political ideal or, as I mentioned earlier, an ideology. They believe that the universe is held together by physical laws and rules or even dark matter or dark energy. They have been told and believe that the events that happen to them are luck, chance, and circumstance. They believe their health is based on genetics, how they exercise, eat, sleep, and what medical care they receive. They think their success or failure is founded on their intelligence, their efforts, and good luck. They go to sleep at night depending on the police, the fire department, and the military to protect them. They plan on taking care of their families by a good life insurance policy and good health insurance policies. In the end, they believe life is good because they’ve made it good or bad because other people are out to get them. Not that all of these things aren’t important, or prudent measures to take, or even true to some extent. But, like the proverbial blind men trying to feel parts of an elephant and told to describe the whole beast, they are missing who is really doing these things and who can take them away at will.

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

By humility and the fear of the Lord we gain spiritual riches, honor with God, and when that fear of the Lord results in trusting in Christ and acknowledging Him as our Saviour, eternal life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Proverbs 22:3 commentary; Wise people don't get ambushed.

3 ¶ A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Two types of people are referenced here; the prudent and the simple. We’ve already seen that a prudent person is wise by the Bible’s own way of defining words in 16:21 and18:15 by parallel phrasing. The simple are inexperienced, young, and naïve as in 1:4; 7:7 and don’t know anything in 9:13.

This very verse is repeated word for word in 27:12, too. Now, evil has several different meanings in the Bible. It is the opposite of good in the very second chapter of Genesis. It carries with it the thought of intended malice and violence in Genesis 37:20, Amos 6:3, and Jonah 3:8, again shown by contrast and parallel phrasing. It is trouble, calamity, and disaster in Isaiah 45:7; Matthew 6:34; and I Timothy 6:10. So, it is a general term that doesn’t always mean simply sinful iniquity. To render it to mean only that would blaspheme God in Isaiah 45:7 and make Matthew 6:34 a joke. However, here it can obviously be trouble and sinful iniquity, which go hand in hand.

In this verse, a prudent or wise man looks ahead and sees trouble or sin and avoids it but the naïve and inexperienced walk right into it and suffer the consequences. Christians are warned first;

1Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

And comforted with;

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.

For these reasons prudent Pastors do not counsel women alone. For these reasons there is no such thing as Christian dating, where a couple is getting to know each other alone, without the company of other Christians. For these reasons, a Christian isn’t going to be passing out tracts at the local public swimming pool or in the bar on the corner.

For these reasons a Christian isn’t going to have movies in his or her home with sexual or gratuitously, as in having no point but to excite, violent content, remembering;

Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

(Admit it, guys. You love violence. You love feminine beauty. There is about a millimeter distance between gratuitous violence and sex, and violent pornography which is what most horror and action/adventure movies are, anyway. I heard a British movie reviewer even say that the Passion of the Christ was a sadomasochistic thriller for gay men. Keep this in mind the next time you watch a movie not based on an actual historical event. All leading women in thrillers and romances are a type of the church: the bride of Christ, all heroes are a type of Christ, and all villains or “the other guy” are a type of Satan, the flesh, or the world. Now, tell yourself if the movie you’re watching presents it correctly or perverts it for your flesh.)

For these reasons, Christians should be careful and cautious about acquiring credit cards and unnecessary debt.

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

If you are wise and not simple, you’ll see trouble ahead and avoid it like the plague; you know, like you do the boss at work.

Go into everything with your eyes open. Never expect anything for nothing and don’t think that you are so spiritual that you’re going to be the one to defy the odds and walk right into a trap of Satan or your flesh and walk right back out unscathed.

It’s the simple and unwise who get ambushed, not the wise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Proverbs 22:2 commentary; Rich and Poor

2 ¶ The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Both John Gill and Matthew Henry, writing in the 18th century, make the following point on this verse. Gill was also known for exploring what the older Jewish texts commented on Old Testament verses and was knowledgeable in Arabic and Syriac. Although, that knowledge isn’t necessary to understand any verses in the Bible written in English it is still interesting. Both of them say that the poor and the rich need each other. Gill points out that the rich need the poor to do work and the poor need the rich to create employment. None is independent of the other. Henry goes on to say that the poor man is poor so that he may fully depend on the Lord for his sustenance while the rich man is rich so that he may be thankful to God and give generously to the poor.

In America today we have diverse opinions about both rich and poor, many of which don’t recognize the dependence they have on each other. In our system it is assumed that the poor don’t want to be poor and should not be satisfied with any level of income or status and always want more than what they have in spite of. It is assumed that everyone wants to be rich and that if they aren’t rich or don’t seek to be it is because of a moral deficiency such as laziness and sloth. And yet, even our poor have far more wealth than their ancestors did so rich and poor as meanings are relative terms to each other within the same system.

Regardless of the conflict in the greater society, which society is not Christian although there still may be some Christian principles adhered to, the rich and the poor have obligations to each other and to God, the maker of them both. Contrary to what the Ayn Rand idolaters insist, the rich do have a moral obligation to help the poor. Contrary to what the Karl Marx idolaters insist, the poor do have an obligation to seek employment and if employment is not available, then to create their own work. Government should facilitate both and not stand in the way of either, which, sadly, it often does, with burdening restrictions and taxes on new business starters and regulations that hamper being able to offer employment to others. But, those are political issues that must be worked out in the political arena.

I have pointed out verses before where the church is told that those who will not work should not be given help.

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

And yet, God despises those rich who exploit and manipulate the poor.

James 5:1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

Still, slothful and lazy people who will not do anything for themselves, God also despises.

Proverbs 19:24 A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

And yet, the rich Christian is permitted to have money for a reason; to earn it honestly and to act charitably with it.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

But, even so, the rich man’s money, under a just system, is his property and he must do voluntarily with it what God has called him to do, not being forced. Notice here the results of a labor dispute.

Matthew 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

And in spite of that, there were emergency conditions presented in the Bible, where, in order to keep people from starving a government took complete control of the economy of a nation.

Genesis 47:20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s. 21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. 22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. 23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. 24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. 25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants. 26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

The only Biblical response to rich and poor is that for the Christian, God is the owner of everything. Under God’s economic system, if you will, God owns all money and property.

Psalm 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

In our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, it was stated by the committee headed by Thomas Jefferson, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The last phrase, “pursuit of Happiness”, was not an uncommon thought in that century in earlier European writings. This particular phrase was distilled down from what George Mason had written in the Virginia Declaration of Rights’ draft, that among the rights that men had were “the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

So, as the Declaration of Independence and even the Constitution of the United States itself have shown themselves to be political statements, they are equally economic statements, as there is no freedom without economic freedom as many industrious but frustrated people in third world countries in South America, Africa, and Asia will tell you. A country with no guarantee of a right to private property will not achieve much of a standard of living for its people.

God brings both poor and rich together and each has responsibilities before God to each other. The Lord is the maker of them all. They should not be enemies but work together for the common good. Sadly, our nation has little justification for being called a Christian nation with the class conflicts that go against this Proverb and the government interference, including monopolies permitted, regulations pursued on the behalf of established and powerful corporations to dampen competition, excessive and wastefully spent taxes, and over regulation keeping small businesses from starting. I wonder how many would be entrepreneurs would leap out in a venture if it wasn’t for the fact that our system has tied in getting health insurance at a reasonable cost to being employed by someone else full time or the fact that a small business has to hire several people just to keep ahead of regulations and requirements from government. It has been said that a government strong enough to give you everything you want is also strong enough to take away everything you have.

On top of this you have cold blooded, wealthy corporations and investment bankers seeking political power from the government to plunder the people, stealing from our savings after using successful public relations campaigns to make us think our money is safe in their hands or that they are a benefit to mankind while they pollute and destroy the environment and poison their own workers in poorer lands. Sweetheart deals are made for those who pump dollars into politicians’ coffers creating tariffs, subsidies, and price supports that seem to benefit foreign governments and international corporations more than the people to whom they sell their products and the workers who they cheat. And yet, these same interests have fooled common, ordinary people into speaking out for their right to do this under some twisted notion of liberty and freedom from government control.

But, anyone who reads the Bible knows that a nation can’t be Christian. Only a person can be a Christian, and we, in the body of Christ are called within our church bodies for the rich to take care of the poor, for the poor who are able to be willing to work hard, and for all to work together to glorify God. Each person’s genuine needs that they can’t meet should be met. The early Jewish Christians in Jerusalem even went so far as to hold their possessions in common and although that is not our doctrine for today it does manifest God’s intent for His church with regard to taking care of each other.

Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

In our doctrine for today, the rules that apply to us, we are to meet the needs of those who can’t take care of themselves in our churches and don’t have families to help but those who can work must and those who have believing family should go to them first as explained in 1 Timothy 5 and in verses from Ephesians and 2 Thessalonians above. Finally, let it be said that rich and poor come together at the foot of the Cross, for the Lord is maker and Saviour of them all.