Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Proverbs 24:17-18 commentary; rejoice not when your enemy falls

17 ¶ Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

Jesus Himself goes even further to say this to us,

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

One of the character traits of a true Christian, which I have talked about previously in Proverbs, is the willingness not to seek revenge for wrongs done to you. Jesus goes further to say that you should pray for your enemies and even those who “despitefully use you”. How fortunate we are, how blessed, to have a Saviour, a God, who does not seek to avenge Himself on us for what we have done to Him but…

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

We are not to be glad when our enemy falls. We are to have pity on the unsaved and the carnal Chrsitian lest we prove that we are them. Using the famous line from the old Pogo cartoon which was misquoting a famous line from our history, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

How many of you have not only not sought revenge but praised your opponent or rival when he or she defeated you in sports, or received an award or a promotion you thought you should get?

It’s very easy to watch the news and think how glad you are that “those people” whoever they are, received their comeuppance, their just desserts. What a pathetic example of a follower of Christ we are when we laugh and mock at our enemies’ distress. Shall we put God in a position of defending the person we hate or that holds us in low regard?

No one has nailed you to a cross for their sins. No one to whom you have given all things in eternity has treated you with contempt and disregard. Who can have done more to you than you have done to Christ? And yet, God Himself LOVED the whole world saved and unsaved.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

A Christian will be gracious in defeat and magnanimous in victory. Are you? Or do you cheer when your enemy stumbles?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Proverbs 24:15-16 commentary; the worship of "I"

15 ¶ Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: 16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

With Israel under the Law, a kingdom totally set apart for God on the earth, this was a physical warning to those who would think to oppress the home of the righteous by theft and fraud. With the church, under the doctrines of Grace, this would be a warning not to seek to cause the saved to stumble.

John Gill refers to the church as the resting place of the righteous and that this is a warning to those who would watch for the Christians to fall or fail and delight in it. But, as this is the Bible, it is highly unlikely that those people who would take joy in watching the house of God be brought to shame would be reading this so I looked to Matthew Henry for light, who points out that this isn’t so much as counsel for wicked men because they wouldn’t hear it anyway as per verses we’ve already read;

Proverbs 23:9 ¶ Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

But as in defiance of them, to comfort the Christian that those who would seek their destruction will fall into their own sin, as Gill says, in which they will wallow, like a pig in muck and mud. And yet, God will deliver His people.

I’ve prayed for guidance on this and I think that we can get a more clear meaning for a spiritual and practical application for the Christian. You see, in the last times the condition of the church is pretty bad. You have the books relating to the doctrine for the Church Age ending in a slave who has runaway from his master returning in humility in Philemon. You have several churches in the first chapter of Revelation being told that they have not just walked away from their first love but are steeped in wickedness and error and are in danger of losing their place, their candlesticks, as the churches of Christ.

And Paul, with the wisdom and understanding the Holy Spirit has given him (2 Peter 3:15), tells us of the last times in the church itself as that is the context of this passage;

2 Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

And again, Paul had previously warned Timothy about the end of the Church Age;

1Timothy 4:1 ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

And finally, note the parable of the mustard seed which Christ relates in Mark, chapter 4, and in a different sermon in Luke, chapter 13, with the birds of the air, or fowls of the air, likened to the Devil in Matthew 13, lodging under the shadow of the of the tree that represents the church and lodging in the branches.

Note, then, that within the church itself, within the millions of professing Christians, there are wicked people who lay in wait enjoying the benefits of fellowship, even the offices of the church, but always seeking out who and how they may corrupt and cause to fall. Did Judas know he was a devil as Jesus said about him in John 6:70? Does the corrupter, placed within the body of Christ by Satan to destroy testimonies and crush faith, have to know that he or she is a phony? I don’t think so. They might but I don’t think they have to know what they are to do great damage.

The wicked man’s mischief will be revealed in time, depending on how closely the congregation walks with Christ and knows His words in this Book in their hearts. And yes, God will deliver the just and the righteous, those who are just and righteous by virtue of Christ being just and righteous, whose Spirit dwells in them. But, they are here, within the body of Christ, and they will bring you down so that God will have to revive you, and the way to know them is to see when that worship of Self is evident within the congregation. Humanistic philosophy, putting man first, always talking about “my” successes for Christ and how “I” did this or that for Christ and how “I” have always raised my children or treated my spouse or the church the way God would have me. They will dismiss your testimony and your experience as being meaningless because it isn’t like theirs. You don’t have their experience. They’ve been there, done that, and got the Tshirt. Maybe one day you’ll grow in grace and be like them. The wicked are so confidant and optimistic that their way is right and God is so fortunate to have them on His team. The next step is off the cliff.

Five is often considered to be the number of death and apostasy in the Bible by many commentators which would require a number of pages to explain so we’ll leave it for some other time. But Lucifer, another title for Satan, says “I” five times in the passage starting in Isaiah 14:12 about his downfall and pride. Goliath says “I” five times in his taunt of God and of His people and David in 1 Samuel 17. The worship of Self is the greatest form of idolatry in the Bible.

The wicked, within the house of God, lay in wait for the righteous, but they shall fall into mischief and when the righteous do fall, God will lift them up. Just be alert for the wicked within the ranks of professing Christians.

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Watch out for those people in the church who have a big “I” emblazoned on their foreheads and who not only are carnal and worldly, loving sin for a season, but try to encourage you to do the same, even if that sin is establishing their own righteousness rather than completely depending on Christ’s and they want you to do the same.

I pray that the Holy Spirit guided me in writing this, today. I have no idea who but apparently someone needed to hear it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Proverbs 24:13-14 commentary; sweet words of knowledge of Christ

13 ¶ My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.

God’s word is said to be sweet to the taste.

Ps 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

The knowledge of wisdom, that is Christ, is found in the pages of the Bible. When we read it we need to expect something from it, not to read it passively like any other book, hoping for some little nugget of wisdom or advice. And that’s the problem with most Christians and the Bible. They don’t really understand what it is and they have very little expectation of it and expect no reward from it.

The Bible is unlike any other book in the world. It is a living Book. It’s not Shakespeare or Harold Robbins. It’s God through Christ. It judges you.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It’s no coincidence that God spoke the physical universe into existence by Christ, the Word (capital W) of God. It’s no coincidence that the verses in Genesis are connected repeatedly by “And” as if the UNI-Verse was one long sentence of God, or more simply one word.

It’s no coincidence that scientists believe that all matter and energy is based on strings of vibrations. After all, what is our speech but vibrations? Its no coincidence that God spoke through water and light appeared. We learned that in the 1930’s. It’s called Sonoluminescence. It’s no coincidence that God spoke through the waters of space and the stars were formed. Science has a theory about that called Sonofusion. But even if science didn’t have those theories or they changed their belief in them the Bible would be true and true for all generations.

The Bible is the knowledge of wisdom because it is the knowledge of Christ. Christ is all through the Bible. Christ is the image, the physical, visible body of the Godhead, and He is the Word by which all things are created. He was God in the flesh and He is God.

Colossians 1:15a Who is the image of the invisible God…..

2Co 4:4b … Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Who is the image of the invisible God…..

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Christ is all through the Bible. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

He appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18. He appeared to Moses in Exodus 33: 11. He spoke to the children of Israel in Judges 2:1. He appeared to Gideon in Judges 6. He appeared to Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson in Judges 13. He appeared to Stephen in Acts 7:55, to Paul in Acts 27:23 (for those of you who don’t know that an angel is the appearance of someone or something that is someplace else, his or its representative like a hologram but one that can act and for all practical purposes is that person or thing, see these verses; Judges 2:1; Isaiah 63:9; Acts 12:15; Revelation 1:20.)

You cannot see the person of Jesus Christ on this earth right now in this age. But, along with having the Holy Spirit indwelling you, you do have His Bible, His words, and He speaks to you through them. The Bible is the perfect, as in complete and without error, words of God.

1Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

The sweet word of knowledge, the Bible, is the principal way that the God of the Bible speaks to you and that you know about Him. It cleanses our way, keeps us from sin, teaches us of God’s mercy and His salvation, makes us alive, gives us hope, turns us back when we go astray, gives us comfort, revives us, is a light to guide our way, is settled in heaven forever, upholds us, orders our steps, its pure, we love it, we meditate on it, its true, its forever, it causes us to rejoice, gives us understanding, delivers us, and it is righteousness. All of those things can be learned by reading Psalm 119. God has also placed it, His words, on a higher par than His name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

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.

And if every knee will bow to God in Christ and every tongue will swear and confess (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10,11) that Jesus Christ is Lord then who are we to deny the power of His words in our lives?!

You had best “give attendance to reading” as Paul told Timothy. You had better come to God’s Book expecting to get a reward from it. It’s got treasure hidden in it, hidden as well as on the surface. It is a three dimensional book. It’s written in dispensational order. Every verse has a historical context, a doctrinal importance for someone, and a spiritual and practical application for you, Christian.

We’re not talking about the originals which neither you nor anyone you personally know in the flesh has ever seen, which were almost immediately translated into other languages and had other copies made. We're not talking about some manuscript found in a garbage dump outside of Cairo, unused and unbelieved in for a thousand years on a dusty shelf in the Vatican's library, or one being burned as trash in a monastery in the Sinai desert. We’re not talking about something you can’t have and hold in your hands, read with your eyes, and understand with your mind. We’re talking about something you can eat. We’re talking about God speaking to you directly.

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

Chew on that for a couple o’ million years.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Proverbs 24:11-12 commentary; see no evil?

11 ¶ If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Cannot this be thought of in relation to one of our most controversial subjects of today; abortion, if you can just imagine the 40 million plus lives snuffed out before they even had a chance to see the light of day and done so wickedly in their mother’s womb, a place one would think of as safe and nurturing?

We have a parallel in the issue of slavery. Many people look at history and say, well, you can’t judge the founding fathers by our time, you must judge them by their own. However, in the many biographies of men like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson and in the sermons of the day such as John Wesley’s 1774 “Thoughts on Slavery” it is clear that the “great men” of that time were uncomfortable with slavery, knew it was wrong, and wished the whole institution would disappear but they did not have the moral backbone or commitment to make it so.

Can we now, with so many millions of innocents being ripped apart, beheaded, whose helpless little bodies are cast into the trash like yesterday’s discarded pizza, think that we can sit back and say, “well, I don’t believe in abortion so I don’t plan on having one, haha”? Can Christians sit by and not petition and plead and demand that their legislators make abortion-as-birth-control removed as a constitutional right as per the Supreme Court and put severe restrictions on it, at least as severe as any medical procedure that doesn’t take a life with informed consent and a signed understanding that the mother who pursues the services of an abortionist knows she is taking the life of her child and that parents of underaged girls are fully informed of what their daughter is considering?

Or are you so wicked, evil, and full of spite and hate that you view abortion as just something a woman has a right to do with something that is no more than a tumor, a lump of tissue, a parasite? Augustine, the famous Roman Catholic theologian of the first half of the first millennium after Christ, wrote on therapeutic abortion;

“And therefore the following question may be very carefully inquired into and discussed by learned men, though I do not know whether it is in man's power to resolve it: At what time the infant begins to live in the womb: whether life exists in a latent form before it manifests itself in the motions of the living being. To deny that the young who are cut out limb by limb from the womb, lest if they were left there dead the mother should die too, have never been alive, seems too audacious. Now, from the time that a man begins to live, from that time it is possible for him to die. And if he die, wheresoever death may overtake him, I cannot discover on what principle he can be denied an interest in the resurrection of the dead.”

Abortion has been an issue for a long time, it would seem.

No German could have ever said, if he suspected something was happening to the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, mental patients, and handicapped by the Nazis in The Holocaust that he or she was innocent because they didn’t know. Because when God searches the heart He knows the truth. You said nothing. You objected not. You are guilty of the murder as well.

How many times have Christians been silent when their government did some great evil because, well, we can use the excuse of Romans 13, which is no excuse at all, for standing by and watching great evil done? I’m not advocating violence. There is no excuse for it if you trust in God through Christ. But you have a voice and that voice must be raised when people are brought to slaughter whether it be workers poisoned by their own employers through willful acts of negligence as my father learned when he was a Private Investigator for insurance companies or people with no political power being experimented on like lab animals.

It’s interesting to note what Christians had so say when it was learned that our government had experimented on poor, black men who had a venereal disease, never telling them what they had and denying them all curative medical treatment. This went on from 1932 to 1972 in what is called the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Try to find a Christian response when it was discovered and reported. You will be hard pressed to find much.

When you are aware of a wrong being committed, particularly one that involves the death and destruction of the helpless you must speak up, do something. You can’t say it’s not my responsibility. You can argue about how far you go as a Christian to fight injustice and oppression and murder but you can’t simply use the excuse that you didn’t know, if you did, because God knows.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Proverbs 24:10 commentary; thy strength is small

10 ¶ If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

This is an indictment of most of us who go through troubling times. We are told we are sick and its possibly life threatening and instead of running around the doctor’s office and praising God that we’re going to get to go home, maybe, we cry and plead with God to keep us HERE for some more time with our loved ones who should be going where we’re going anyway if we’ve done our duty so our parting will be only a brief moment in time. But, the Bible gives us an example of that sentiment so we don’t feel too bad about our worry.

Philippians 1:21 ¶ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Again, we are jobless, perhaps, or in dire financial straits for other reasons and instead of simply resting in Christ when He has promised us;

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

We worry and fret about how we’re going to pay bills we didn’t ask God if it was alright for us to accrue in the first place, for material possessions that were a reflection of our worship of Self rather than God’s will. And yet, God has always provided what we actually needed to survive and to glorify Him.

And again, we find that we have a chronic illness. Perhaps it’s aging. Perhaps something debilitating when we are younger and desire to be more active. We are told;

2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

But, our usual response might be self pity, worry, and a constant looking to modern medicine to relieve the symptoms of our disorder. Now, it’s human to be concerned, to worry. I was raised by two worrywarts and that tends to rub off onto you. But, even in the death of a loved one, a child, for instance, or a spouse, we have this;

1 Thessalonians 4:13 ¶ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The hymn goes, “I hear the Savior say, Thy strength indeed is small, Child of weakness, Watch and Pray, Find in me thine all in all….”

When adversity arrives, and for many of us, it has been a guest in our homes for many years, that is when our faith is an example to others who are not saved. All of your church attendance, soul winning, and passing out tracts will pale in comparison to the effect your witness has when you are facing tribulation in faith and hope and expectation of God’s mercy and justice and grace. It is very difficult to put on a happy face especially in troubles that you know you could have done more to prevent, that are so much your own fault. Perhaps you smoked for dozens of years, or drank alcohol, or didn’t take advantage of opportunities you had to put your financial house in order, eat properly, exercise, or take care of your health, or any one of a number of things but now, here you are, face to face with trouble.

When the day of adversity comes that’s when the truth or falsehood of your proclamations of your faith in Christ are made apparent. We have no strength within ourselves. Our strength is Christ. Will you be a witness to His mercy and goodness in the day of adversity or will you be just like every other human being in the world with nothing to look forward to beyond death’s door but the misery of Hell and the Lake of Fire? I suppose the question can be asked, if you faint in the day of adversity, did you really believe at all? There are two things that reveal faith or faithlessness more than any others. One, is your willingness to take wrong and not to seek revenge. Two, is your faith and joy in the day of adversity. I think if you examine yourself closely, you’ll find that most Christians fall short in some way. Thank God that He understands.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Proverbs 24:7-9 commentary; wisdom, fools, and scorners

7 ¶ Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate. 8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person. 9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

The fool has nothing to say, particularly in the place of judgment, which I’ve shown in previous Proverbs was the gate. In fact, “the gate” or gates is a place of judgment.

Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.

2Samuel 15:2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

Amos 5:15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

This should give you a heads up for what this verse means in Matthew;

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The very thought of foolishness is sin and the evil person shall be called mischeivious. It is a statement on our world today that these words have been downgraded to mean so very little. We’ve already discussed previously what a scorner is and in these verses he is also shown to be a fool. He is proud and even haughty and is someone who deals in proud wrath (Proverbs 21:24). And when he leaves, contention goes with him (Proverbs 22:10). He will not hear rebuke and can’t be corrected (Proverbs 13:1).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Proverbs 24:5-6 commentary; wisdom and strength

5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. 6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

John Gill points out that you can sometimes do by wisdom and strength what strength alone won’t accomplish.

Ecclesiastes 9:13 ¶ This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Gill goes on to say that with the knowledge of Christ and growing closer and closer to Him one should grow stronger and stronger.

Seek out the wise counsel of the Bible to wage spiritual war against sin and wickedness in your life. Cross reference verse by verse and seek out a multitude of counselors.

Matthew Henry says that as you grow in the knowledge of Christ you grow in grace.

2Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Colossians 1:9 ¶ For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

In the Bible, the Holy Spirit uses images of war to relate to our struggle in the spiritual world. In fact, the Christians warfare is not carnal or of the flesh. We are not to wage war with weapons like the world does…

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

…. but with the sword of the Spirit, which are the words of God, and prayer, with God speaking to you through it and you speaking to God.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Again, as a sword that wages war spiritually…

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The more victory you have over sin the more Satan wants to crush you. As you draw closer to God in Christ through His words in this Book you will find defeat on the side of you that must live in the world. Job loss, heartbreak, grief, bankruptcy, friendlessness, disease, accidents, and alienation from those you love can come at any time and for many reasons; some of which are your fault and some of which are not. As the Lord gives you more and more of Him the world has less and less use for you. Waging this spiritual war becomes more difficult in the flesh because of the demands of the flesh. But, you aren’t supposed to war in the flesh.

It’s hard to imagine yourself having victory when you are unemployed and the only options that seem to be available to you are jobs that won’t support anyone living outside of a lean-to in the woods. It’s hard to imagine victory when you’re every concern for others is tainted by your own personality defects and fear. It’s hard to imagine victory when you can’t even support yourself much less those who depend on you. It’s hard to imagine victory when you’re sick, growing older and weaker, and struggling with the flesh’s eventual downfall.

But, it’s in those times when victory is at hand, nearby, and just ahead. When you step back from your trials, which may be 90% your own fault from past sinfulness and years of wrong thinking, or you may be a casualty of a changing world and your growing older. But, when you step back from your trials and tribulations and examine yourself spiritually you may find that you are growing closer to God, that you are hungering more for the things of God as the things of the world grow dimmer and dimmer. You may find that victory is in your grasp because God is handing it to you. He has won the victory for you, changing your attitude toward sin and self.

You might find, as you wage this war of the soul, that a wise man or woman is strong and a man or woman of knowledge increases their strength, that with Christ’s wisdom you can win this war and with the over 31,000 verses in HIS Bible you have an abundance of counselors and that by just reading it and hearing it read and preached He will speak to you about things that have no relation to the list of names in 1st Chronicles or the construction of the tabernacle in Exodus, but by the reading of God’s very words, believing, and submitting to them God will give you the war, the victory won in Christ.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Proverbs 24:3-4 commentary; the house of God

3 ¶ Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

First, we need to clear up this mess about how a house is defined in the Bible. The word is often used in reference to a family comparing it to a building even though it can be just the physical structure based on the context. But, the first mention of the word house in any form is;

Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

That verse did not say that Noah was to bring his three bedroom one story ranch style home into the Ark. It was talking about his family. And again;

Exodus 1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

And again, God did not provide low interest loans for the midwives to build two story colonials in the Egyptian suburbs. He gave them their own families. Now, on to the New Testament and the covenant under which Christians operate. While once again you can have house mean the structure in which you live or in which you live and in which you have your church body meet for worship and all of the churches met in someone’s house in the New Testament as there were no separate buildings set aside for church until late in the second century. Here, a pastor or bishop is to rule his own family well.

1Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

And here,

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

The wife has the responsibility for guiding the family as the husband would have traditionally had to work although remember, as it was in our own colonial days, the family was a basic unit of production, whereas now it is considered a basic unit of consumption. If you are really conservative you’d find some cottage industry that you could do from home and sell to the community or the world with the family working together. This was true in ancient Rome as it was in Colonial America. The idea of father going off to work in town while wife stayed home and dusted is new, not traditional. The predominant industry in our country’s earliest days was agriculture and the goods were produced in the home for use by the family and the surplus was sold if a town was nearby. When the industrial revolution hit us full force everything was turned upside down. The family life that most of you all think of as traditional today is a relatively new invention.

But, the Proverb points out that by wisdom a house or family is built and established by understanding. The Christian family must be built on the wisdom that is Christ. Christ must be the center of the home and everything done is for His glory and honor.

Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

For a Christian family to be established, God has to give them understanding. None of this is accomplished by your good intentions. It is accomplished by your reliance upon and submission to the words of God read and heard from this Book and preached in sermons heard regularly lest your own flesh carry you off in your reading into some heretical thinking. Preaching should steer us on a straight course but the Bible itself is the vehicle in which we travel.

The church is not the building. It is the people.

1Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

1Corinthians 14:23a If therefore the whole church be come together into one place,

1Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The confusion comes because there are verses that liken the family to a structure, a house, and the church as a structure. It‘s certainly not improper to talk about going to church but we have to always know what we’re talking about lest we confuse the church, the people, with that fascist ecclesiastical organization in the Vatican. Remember, the individual Christian is the temple of the Holy Ghost.

1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

The word, chamber, refers to a room in a physical house.

Genesis 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

So, the Holy Spirit can use references to a physical structure of a physical house to show us how we, the church, the body of Christ on earth are to be built. Precious and pleasant riches is a beautiful statement of how a church, a part of God’s family, the body of Christ on earth, is by His knowledge to be decorated and filled. God’s word is precious. Worship is precious and pleasant to God. Our testimony is precious and pleasant to God. Our mouths should be filled with praise and thanksgiving. These things are pleasant and precious to God. Our hearts should be filled with the love for God in Christ. That is precious and pleasant to God. Our prayers are precious and pleasant. We all, individually, come together at regular times as the body of Christ to worship as a group. This is precious and pleasant to God. The knowledge of God is the only lasting knowledge, the only knowledge of eternal value. By this knowledge we will fill our rooms.

So, we have seen how Christians are likened to a body with arms and legs, hands and feet, with the head as Christ in heaven, and we have seen how the body of Christ, the church, the house of God, is likened to a home with windows, doors, a floor and walls, with rooms filled with precious and pleasant things. Is that not beautiful or what?

We are told also to think on certain things.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We are told what is the proof of or the fruit of the Spirit of God if it truly dwells inside of us.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

So, let us build this house with God’s wisdom, establish it with God’s understanding, and fill its rooms by the knowledge of God with the pleasant and precious riches of His word, and the sweet things that God holds as valuable and good. It will be filled to overflowing, you can be sure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Proverbs 24:1-2 commentary; stay away from them

1 ¶ Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. 2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.

In 23:17 we were told not to envy sinners. Here, we are told not to be envious of evil men nor even have a desire to spend any time with them. We’re given a reason why: because their hearts study destruction and mischief comes from their lips. Worldly men and women, and carnal, flesh obsessed Christians love famous people, important people. Whether it an entertainment celebrity or a political leader or even a captain of industry we are often very impressed with the credentials, the charisma, and the power.

Someone like a Warren Buffet or a Bill Gates easily becomes the focus of discussion when the rich and powerful are brought up in conversation. But, are we, as Christians to hold them in high regard? Our focus is to be on Christ, living for Him and spreading His words to a lost world crying out in agony on the one hand and glorying in their own death and destruction on the other.

Now, I’m not meaning to call Buffet or Gates as necessarily evil or more evil than any other person. The evil man might not be very famous. He or she might be your friend or close relative. They are the person who sits around planning and plotting their own devices, with nary a thought of God’s will or concern about God’s standards. They might even call themselves a Christian, all the while their heart studying destruction and their lips talking mischief.

The important thing for the Christian is to not desire to be like them and to avoid, at all costs, being around them. They can only bring you down, harm your testimony for Christ, and perhaps destroy your life. Whether it be the lady in church who likes to gossip about others, sometimes even with them in the vicinity (please save your running me down for when I’m not here) or the brother in the next pew over who has some kind of scheme figured out on how to cheat the tax man. Stay away from them.

Over the last forty years I have heard countless foolproof plans, brilliant schemes, and great ideas from various people and have even come up with a few myself. A warning light should go off in your head when someone tries to tell you about something they’ve been thinking about that doesn’t line up right with this Bible.

We are told to quietly work with our own hands;

1Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

To serve God with our minds and bodies;

Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

To serve each other;

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Basically, it’s pretty simple. In the letters written by Paul to the churches, the doctrine for us today, there are no complicated formulas for ritualistic devotion. We are called to live lives uncomplicated by craftiness, scheming, secret plotting, treachery, and betrayal. That’s for the world, not for us. Leave political wrangling and tricky plans outside the church door. Avoid evil people who sit and plot and study destruction and speak mischief. Focus on the word of God and don’t be envious of evil men, either on the faraway world stage or nearby, even among the body of believers. Stay away from anyone with any agenda but to save souls out of a burning Hell, away from a fallen world, and to show Christ in our everyday lives.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Proverbs 23:29-35 commentary; Christians and booze

29 ¶ Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Here, that harsh mistress of alcohol is raised again. The Christian is further commanded;

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;


Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is a sad thing to see a Christian who needs alcoholic beverages to relax him or who spends any amount of time trying to justify drinking them as some kind of right. This particular set of Proverbs is about the effects of drunkenness which most Christians, even the carnal ones who drink alcohol as a relaxing entertainment, would not argue with. Anyone who has been drunk and sick can understand that this Proverb is a reference to the alcoholic poisoning that many people love to endure time after time until it wears down their body and kills them after destroying much of the value of their lives. Recently, a promising young man I know was convicted of vehicular homicide in the death of a friend he was driving home. Drunkenness has many more downsides than just a hangover.

Popular songs are filled with references to being sick from alcohol such as the old line from the Jimmy Buffet song, “my head hurts, my feet stink, and I don’t love Jesus,” and from another song popular in the early 1980’s, “coulda been the whiskey, mighta been the gin, coulda been the three or four six packs, I don’t know, but just look at the shape I’m in,”. Our culture laughs at these maladies but they are a sign of a spiritually dead person, whose flesh controls them.

There is no justification for a Christian to drink alcoholic beverages. It’s a simple principal that doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to understand.

God doesn’t want people in His presence being under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Under the Law God did not indwell the people in general. The priests came into His presence as part of their duties.

First, understand that the tabernacle was where God would meet with the Hebrews.

Exodus 29:42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.

And then;

Leviticus 10:8 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

The Christian is always in the presence of God because He has God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which is God, as well, living in his body which the Old Testament Hebrews did not.

1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10 ¶ And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Case closed. No argument. I am not interested in laws forcing non-Christians to comply with principles such as this. Prohibition didn’t work. You can’t force holiness and separation from the outside. The Christian has to submit to God’s word to have God change his or her desires from the inside. A Christian who drinks alcohol is not in submission to God or to His words. Period. You, Christian, need to examine yourself and submit your unholy thirst to the Holy Spirit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Proverbs 23:26-27 commentary; a deep ditch and a narrow pit

26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. 27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. 28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.

Solomon pleads with his son to give him his heart, as in to pay attention, and for his eyes to look on the father’s ways. Are you living your life in such a way that your child, son or daughter, can look on you, observe your ways and grow in the grace of the Lord?

Here, Solomon warns, as he has warned other times about the danger of consorting with an immoral woman and a woman of another people, of another, a foreign religion. The Canaanite religion was filled with incest, child sacrifice, bestiality and all manner of wickedness. The worship of Baal was the worship of Satan. The Greek historian, Herodotus, tells us that Baal is the same god as Bel in Babylon and Zeus in Greece. We know him as Jupiter in Rome, Viracocha in Peru. Jesus calls him Beelzebub in Matthew 10:25 among other verses which Strong’s dictionary claims means “lord of the house”. This name, lord of the house, was also the name given to the god, Hubal, in the Arabian Kaaba from which we derive Allah which some scholars says means, “the one worshipped”, or “lord of the house”. So, Allah is, like Baal, Bel, Zeus, Viracocha, and others simply another name for Satan.

It’s important to note that in the Bible the word, whore, like the word, sodomite, carries with it a religious connotation. In Canaanite religion, according to Daniel Snell in his “Life in the Ancient Near East” a woman’s coming of age was to go into the temple to the goddess, Ishtar, and to wait for a stranger to drop a coin in her lap and to have sex with him. There were temple prostitutes of both heterosexual and homosexual variety, and a “dog” is still within certain parts of the gay community a reference to a male prostitute as it was in ancient Babylon. Thus we get this verse;

Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

And why we have curious religious practices that the apostate Israelites mixed in with their worship of the true God.

2Kings 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

Regardless of the historical context, these verses explain the danger of a young man being taken in by an immoral woman, particularly a young Christian man trapped by the allure of sex and pornography. Is it any wonder that the states that rate the highest usage of internet porn are in the so called Bible Belt of the United States?

The immoral woman, pornography, the vulgar pop star, the nasty movie diva, and all the other temptations thrown out in the modern world with regard to improper sexual behavior act almost like the proverbial lion and lie in wait for a man, as the lion would the prey he is about to devour. Many young Christian men have gone down to that house and never returned.

If you are addicted to pornography or improper sexual appetites you probably need to plead with God, not only for forgiveness but for deliverance from the devil that possesses you. Inordinate affections (obsessions), concupiscence, and other chains probably bind your heart and you need God’s saving mercy to retrieve you from the deep ditch and the narrow pit in which you have fallen. You must swim in God’s word, bathe yourself in it, and pray for Him to save you from being added to the list of transgressors which the strange woman, the whore, has made. Sex is a great and wonderful gift from God for a husband and wife to be enjoyed throughout their life without shame, or guilt, as the marriage bed is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4) but God will judge everything that is apart from that righteous bond.

In a culture that is broiling in sexual obsessions and perversion, this is a great struggle for many, particularly Christians, because Satan aims to destroy your testimony, your flesh seeks only that which pleases it now, and the world wants you to turn away from Christ. Be warned.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Proverbs 23:24-25 commentary; a wise child and a happy parent

24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. 25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

Here, at both ends of the passage it is said that a father and a mother of a righteous child will rejoice. That may be hard to imagine in America as this country has always appreciated a financially successful child rather than a child who is faithful to Christ and to His standards of morality. Parents who can even acknowledge the wisdom of their children, it must be assumed, must be wise themselves.

Parents who were raised themselves on the values popping out of their television sets, movies, or pop songs would probably have a hard time realizing that their child was righteous. They’d be more concerned with his sports stats, his income, and his education along with what kind of job he or she held. If they’re religious, chances are they are more concerned with his political views, how often he’s in church, and how he or she dresses and acts than what kind of walk with Christ they have.

But, a child who stands out as believing the Bible, uplifting and loving the Lord, and living with the fruit of the Spirit flowing from his or her behavior would be a treasure to righteous parents. It starts with how a young person s hears their parents.

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

How he or she treats and views his or her parents.

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

And the converse of this Proverb is also true;

Proverbs 17:25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

If you want to rejoice over a wise and righteous child then you need to be the person that you want them to be. The old saw “do as I say, not as I do” coming from a parent’s mouth, is wickedness and nonsense. Look at your child, imagine what kind of person you want them to be, and then YOU be that person.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Proverbs 23:23 commentary; buy it and sell it not

23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

This would be simple to grasp if you just thought of telling someone to go out and purchase a King James Bible, the Authorized Version, the only one published under the authority of a king whose name, James, is the English version of the Hebrew name, Jacob (through Jacobus, the Greek version), who was also named Israel by God. This Bible has the power invested in it by God to change your life, your mind, and your attitude if you read it and submit to its authority. It should be the Christian’s final authority in all matters of faith, practice, and doctrine.

Truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding come from the Scriptures.

2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jesus Christ.)

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

1Corinthians 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

We know that the Bible is given by inspiration of God as the verse in 2 Timothy says. We know that the Scriptures includes the translations and copies Timothy would have been raised with as no sane person believes he had Moses’ original manuscripts in his hands. So, all this talk about only the originals being inspired, work which we have never seen and no one on this earth that you know today can see, as they are gone, is just modernistic arrogance and rubbish.

We know that inspiration is not word for word dictation but understanding from God for several big reasons;

Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

Knowing that discerning the originals is not as important to God as you would think. For no one has ever had the originals of Jeremiah’s writings except a few doomed and desperate men who destroyed them.

Jeremiah 36:32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.

So, translations and copies can be inspired, if God gives that understanding to the people who perform the translation or the copies. ALL SCRIPTURE means as long as its Scripture, it’s given by inspiration of God. The King James Bible is an inspired Bible. When a preacher gets up and says he’s now going to read from God’s error free and perfect word and doesn’t believe that word he has in his hands is error free and perfect then he is a liar and should be run out of the pulpit.

William Lyon Phelps, Lampson Professor of English Literature at Yale University, writing in 1922 in the introduction to his book, Human Nature in the Bible, said;

“We Anglo-Saxons have a better Bible than the French or the Germans or the Italians or the Spanish; our English translation is even better than the original Hebrew and Greek. There is only one way to explain this; I have no theory to account for the so-called "inspiration of the Bible," but I am confident that the Authorised Version was inspired.”

Even a unsaved scholar is capable of understanding things that so called Christian scholars in colleges from Bob Jones University to Crown College of the Bible do not.

So, get you a KJB and read it from cover to cover, over and over again until Christ either calls out His church or you are called home in death.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Proverbs 23:22 commentary; aged parents

22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Hearken is not a word you hear a great deal so let me define it the Biblical way by contrasting verses.

Genesis 4:23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.

Genesis 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Hearken carries with it further the idea of responding positively to what you hear.

Exodus 3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

Despise, which we have studied before, means to hold in low regard or to view with contempt, and is a synonym of hate.

Leviticus 26:15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

Psalm 102:17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

Amos 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The Hebrew and by inference the Christian is to listen to the instruction of his parents, to hear what his father has to say. Notice the mention of “old” in the passage. Even when parents are aged they have something to say that will be a benefit to you. You should not ignore it. I’m not saying that a grown man or woman raising a family must get permission from parents before doing anything but they have been down the road before you and do have something to say about your situation.

Christians are to hear what they have to say and to not view them with contempt when they are old. Too often, in a rapidly changing society, we mistake technology for progress. But, essentially the value of moral judgments don’t change whether you are wealthy and your parents are poor, whether you are educated and they are not, whether you are full of health and they are sick. Even when they’ve made bad choices that have led them to a distressing point in their lives you can learn from that.

Even if you view them as failing as parents, YOU’LL learn that parenting isn’t easy. Even if you view them as failures, YOU’LL learn that life’s fortunes can turn on a dime. Even if you view them as stubborn and set in their ways, YOU’LL learn that you, too, will become more set in your ways as you grow older and that it is comforting in a stressful, ever changing world to have stability.

The way this verse is constructed it does, like many Bible verses, make multiple points with an economy of words. You are to hearken to both your father and mother and to despise neither when they are old. Only a stubborn fool would say, “well, I guess literally this means I don’t have to hear what my mother says and I CAN despise my father when he is old.” Use some common sense and see how wonderfully the Bible is constructed, how economical the usage of words, and how deep the meaning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Proverbs 23:20-21 commentary; drunkards and gluttons and poverty

20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Here are some facts we have seen clearly with our own eyes. I can remember a time, and it wasn’t all that many decades ago, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, certainly not as “sophisticated” and “cosmopolitan” as New York and Los Angeles, when I’d listen to my parents talk about life. Good people didn’t drink alcohol. Good people didn’t hang out at bars. Good people didn’t live in such a way as to bring them shame. Oh yes, shame was something people felt when they did wrong. It’s not something many people who grew up during and after the 1970’s would know anything about.

You might find this hard to believe but there are people today and have been for several decades whose lives revolve around going to work and then getting a few drinks and even getting drunk, or in some cases, smokin’ some weed, every night. If they have the money they’ll hang out at the Sports Bars and chat with friends. Their church, their called out assembly, is that temple to Self, that church of self indulgence, that house of the flesh on the corner where they can anesthetize themselves of the fact that, in the end, their lives are empty of meaning and they have no idea why they were even born or if there should even be a purpose to it. And, yes, there are carnal Christians there, living for themselves and not for God, and very, very miserable as a result, thank you very much. I was once one of each of them, the primary bad example for the unsaved and the saved.

You don’t prepare for your old age, accumulate what you need to raise a family, grow spiritually, draw closer to God, receive Christ as your Saviour and grow in Him, or find happiness on a bar stool at the corner “lounge” or sucking down suds at the local sports bar. You don’t see too many drunks talking about serving Christ, preaching Christ, or how much they love their local church family down at Dino’s Bar and Grill at 1am on Sunday morning.

Notice here, by parallel phrasing we know that a winebibber is a drunkard and a glutton is a riotous eater of flesh, which carries with it a loss of control. (Since healthy food is ten times more expensive, according to one study I’ve read, than unhealthy food full of processing and garbage, its hard for many of us not to be overweight, even though we wouldn’t qualify as deliberate gluttons.) I can also remember in elementary school, and I had most of the teachers that taught my father; Mrs. Benson, Mrs. Dryden, Mrs. Godfrey, Mrs. Bloodsworth, and the few who hadn’t were certainly old enough to have taught him like Mrs. Bateman. In any event, I remember one of them saying to us little minds, “you should learn to eat to live, you should not live to eat”. Of course, saying “eat to live, don’t live to eat” today would probably be unacceptable lest you hurt the self esteem of some kid whose parents have allowed to graze at will and who is obese as a result of their negligence.

Under the Law given to Moses the son who was a drunkard and a glutton could be executed. He was worthless to the community and a bad example(Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Of course, as Christians, we don’t have that command from God. And it doesn’t work to constantly complain about what people shouldn’t do. We have to provide our children with useful and good things that they should do by example. Our time should be filled with the things of God and we should not be devoted to Self and to being entertained constantly. We teach our children that that’s the way to live. Work for your own needs and then be entertained, sleep, and do it all again.

There was a fairly popular country song that went like this, ‘the night life ain’t no good life, but it’s my life”. The person who wrote that was just the kind of idiot this Proverb is talking about.

Young person, there are many more verses in the Bible warning about drinking alcohol. Those young people who hang out at bars, with the tinkling of the glasses, the tinny music in the background, the immoral behavior that results from participation in that lifestyle, are headed for poverty and ruin. Stay away from them. Alcohol is only good as a loosening agent; loosening tongues, wallets, and clothing.

The person soaking in booze is drowsy, having administered the anesthesia to himself. Later on in Proverbs it will be noted that strong drink is for people to deaden their misery, to forget their unhappiness and their poverty. The world is either a very unhappy place, full of misery and pain, or it is a place where people whistle in the dark pretending that there is nothing really wrong. You are not of this world. Learn to spend your time in the service and worship of the Lord, loving your spouse and your family through His love, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Pray to God “who giveth songs in the night” (Job 35:10) and pray for “joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Drunkenness and gluttony will never satisfy that longing you have in your heart for a closer knowledge of Christ, and they will lead you to poverty and misery, and perhaps, you’ll even draw others down into that pit with you.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Proverbs 23:19 commentary: guide your heart in the way

19 ¶ Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

When hear is said in this Proverb, as before, it carries with it the desire to obey and the ability to understand. For the Christian, it’s not the world’s wisdom that is called for here. God’s wisdom is Christ. The way in which you are to guide your heart is in the way of Christ. You can find the doctrine you need to have carved into your brain in the books of the Bible that start with the name “Paul”. If you don’t know the New Testament doctrine for the Christian you’re going to miss some very important things God has for you.

The way of Christ the young man or woman must guide their heart in includes things like this in 1 Thessalonians;

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

16 ¶ Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesying (my note-preaching). 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

This, rather than going back to the Law and desiring to call down lightning on your enemies or demanding that other people live in a way that’s pleasing to you is what’s called for. These verses are but one example of many. Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to George Whitefield, the great revivalist, complained that if Christians spent more time living like they were commanded, what they were to do, rather than constantly complaining about what they and others were not to do, they’d attract more converts by the example they set. I must say, that for me, I agree as I was drawn to Christ by the overpowering and spiritually victorious lives of Christians in my sight rather than by arguments, screaming, gospel tracts, or magnetic signs on cars. He also complained that long, flattering prayers probably no more impress God than a long, flattering speech would a rational human being if your works didn’t match your speech.

Again, for review, here is the fruit of or the proof of having the Holy Spirit of God dwelling inside of you.

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

The son here is being instructed to guide his heart in the way;

Psalm 119:9 BETH (my note- a Hebrew letter). Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

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

This can’t be accomplished without knowing God’s word and reading His Bible. I was astonished the other day when I met two fundamentalists, both avid churchgoers, both praising Christ, both believing the King James Bible was THE Bible, but neither one of them having read it cover to cover even once. There is no excuse for a Christian not to have read or heard it at least once for every year they’ve been a Christian. If you’re behind God doesn’t mind if you catch up starting now.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Proverbs 23:17-18 commentary; wait on the Lord

17 ¶ Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. 18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Here is a Proverb of hope for the discouraged and downhearted. Don’t look at those around you who are having good fortune and good times and wish for what they have. Fear the Lord, trust Him, and wait. Only someone who has been down and out or flat on their back can truly understand this one.

The believer has eternal life with God. But the prosperity of the wicked is their portion in this world. See Psalm 17:13 - 15.

Psalm 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: 14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. 15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

That prosperity of fools will destroy them. See Proverbs 1:32.

Proverbs 1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

But be devoted to the fear, the awe, the reverence of God as per Pslam 119:38.

Psalm 119:38 ¶ Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Remember what God told the Jews in captivity in Jeremiah 29:11.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

And read Psalm 73.

1 ¶ «A Psalm of Asaph.» Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15 ¶ If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 ¶ Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Many people are struggling these days in America but, remember, many people are also doing well. Don’t envy those who are prospering unless they are doing it in a Godly manner. Then, you should look to them as an ensample to learn from but you must know them personally for that as you can’t believe anything the media says and you certainly don’t want to be taken in by someone’s own press that they say about themselves. It is better simply not to look to others but look only to the Lord and wait, pray and patiently wait for His deliverance. Don’t let the success of other’s turn your head because Satan, the god of this world, takes care of his own and promotes our love of the wrong things, unnecessary things, things that God doesn’t want in our life.

America has long been a land where coveting has been a virtue, where we think we need things that we really don’t. In the end, you only need God, and at the end of your life, if He is all you have, then you have everything. No wealthy man or successful man who doesn’t have Christ, have God in their life has anything when all is said and done. Be thankful for Christ and His salvation and don’t despair at what others have or have accomplished that you haven’t. Its not about you anyway, it’s about Him.

We are not saved by our own efforts but by Christ’s. Even Jeremiah wasn’t lifted out of the mud and muck by his own efforts in Jeremiah 38. He only received the knotted rags that were offered to him. He was lifted out. He wasn’t even holding on. The men who lifted him did all the work. Let Christ do for you, to you, and with you what His will is and be happy for your part in it and quit struggling so much and trying to do things yourself. Don’t envy others.

Be faithful to God. He’ll lift you up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Proverbs 23:12-16 commentary; raising a child

12 ¶ Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. 13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. 16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

Matthew Henry takes these verses together and with good effect. He points out how in the first part we have a parent instructing his child, then a parent correcting his child, and thirdly, a parent encouraging his child. This was written under the Law given to Moses to the Hebrews by a wise king to his own son. We, as Christians must temper it with verses written specifically to us Christians.

First, with regard to instruction and correction.

2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Your child, first and foremost, from an early age, needs to have a strong daily dose of God’s word placed in their hearts, in their minds, and on their lips for instruction and correction. The rod of correction won’t hurt him or her if done in a loving manner and not in anger but the Bible is the key to instruction and correction.

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

Admonition is, in the sense given in the next verse, is something you learn from.

1Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

An ensample is to learn from while an example is to follow or is a type of something. Small distinction but important. Are you an ensample and an example to your child? I will say again, look at your child, imagine what kind of person you want him or her to be, then you be that person.

Christians are to raise up their children in the Lord’s nurture and admonition, in His instruction and correction, not your opinion or how you were raised as being the standard but by the words of God in this Book. What does God say is right or wrong, good or evil, not your Dad, Mom, or grandparents. It is what God holds as important, not your mentor or boss, that you should impart to your children, and certainly not what pop music, movies, or TV holds as valuable.

This group of verses make it clear that the parent who doesn’t correct his child doesn’t care for their salvation. It also points out how glad a parent is when their child does right. Just imagine the joy a parent feels when a child chooses wisdom and righteousness and speaks the same, and secondly, just imagine the joy and gladness a parent feels when, having done wrong, the child turns to do right. Can you not imagine God’s joy when we trust in Christ or when a Christian turns from sin?

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Proverbs 23:10 commentary; corruption, greed, and judgment

10 ¶ Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: 11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Again, as in verse 28 of the last chapter we have a warning about moving landmarks to property, particularly, of the fatherless, implying that the victim is alone in the world with no one to defend them. But, God says he will defend them and take up their cause, when His poor are threatened.

The poor and powerless are often also naïve (Bible = simple) and will sell their property for a very low price being exploited by clever, wealthy investors trying to get control of commodity prices, food being a very important commodity. The World Bank released a report last year on this entitled “The Global Land Rush”. It’s happening quite a bit in Africa where simple landowners are being defrauded by clever, wealthy investors.

This sort of practice where corporations perform the wicked acts of 19th century European colonial powers is called neocolonialism. Imagine you are a poor, African farmer and someone comes in and offers you almost nothing, which is far more than the nothing you have right now, and you, in your naivete and desperation accept it, only to find that in a short time you have nothing again and now no land. If I, as a Christian, make a deal with a simple person, that robs him of his property for a pittance because I know he doesn’t know any better, it is wickedness and judgment is coming. Perhaps the world economy is coming down because God is visiting this wicked world for its theft, fraud, and extortions.

The world’s wealthy have played Monopoly with the poor’s life savings and lost them in the markets. They have exploited the naivete’ and lack of understanding of the poor and taken their property. There seems to be no end to the greed of the rich and powerful and it doesn’t matter what system of economy you go by. The Chinese Communist Party runs the economy in China and the wealthy are in the party so you can’t look to Communism as practiced. They have workers committing suicide and have built cities that have almost no people living in them and their economic success is such a fraud that its bound to collapse sometime soon. They buy our debt so we can purchase their products in a circular system that’s like a house of cards. The Capitalist elite run the show here in the US and have run us into the ground with their own mixture of government tyranny and corporate influence and manipulation and monopolies so you can’t look to that for justice, as practiced. Our government is so corrupt that you could call it a corporatocracy, with neither party actually offering anything but huge government control and huge profits for giant, international corporations. European socialists have made Europe a place of economic chaos, bland existence, and uncertainty so Socialism as practiced doesn’t provide an answer either. And all of the people who protest against these economic systems, which are really one and the same, have nothing to offer to replace them.

I know, I know, under the American Donald Trump type of business doctrine a deal is a deal and if you make a bad deal that’s your fault. Under God’s doctrine, though, if you make a deal with someone you know lacks experience in such matters, has no way to gauge what’s fair, or is desperate, and in doing so you skin them, you might feel clever and smart but to God you are as wicked as any Canaanite idol worshipper. I think this wicked world is being visited by God in judgment for, whether you are a communist, a capitalist, or a socialist, GREED is the world’s way, as in IT’S MINE. If we all viewed all of our resources as belonging to God then perhaps we’d behave differently as He makes very clear statements regarding how we Christians are to help each other. If you enlarged that idea to the world and to government you would have a different world for sure. It’s been said that under capitalism man exploits man and under socialism it’s just the other way around. (Get it?)

Under the Law God commanded the Hebrews;

Exodus 22:22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

God is the judge and the deliverer of those of His who are disenfranchised, whose place in society is not secure, by virtue of circumstances they have no control over.

Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

The Christian church is to be a family, those without natural parents living should have their Christian family to protect them and care for them. Sadly, most churches today have turned over the care of their poor and their weak to the state. Now, it appears that the state will be less willing and able to perform that function so it may be put back on the church to take care of its own as the New Testament church did.

Here is the Bible’s definition of “pure religion”.

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 from the world.

The point of this Proverb is not to oppress or infringe upon the rights or property of God’s poor and powerless for God is their protector and you’ll have to answer to Him for what you’ve done. Although this Proverb was given under the Law there is nothing about it that conflicts with Church age doctrine.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Proverbs 23:9 commentary; Fools don't want to hear it

9 ¶ Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Proverbs has given us several warnings not to waste our time arguing with a fool. He or she isn’t interested in advice, wisdom, or understanding. They are in love with their own foolish ways.

Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

Proverbs 10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

Proverbs 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

Proverbs 17:10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

Proverbs 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

We know from previous Leviticus 26:15 and 1Samuel 2:30 and other verses that to despise something is to hold it in low regard and even to abhor or detest it.

For example, since 1966 cigarette packages in the United States have at least had the warning on them “Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health”. That’s forty five years. Smokings link to cancer and emphysema and heart disease is well established. It sucks the moisture and beauty from a woman’s skin and takes away the ability to breathe normally. You can see its effects all around you in the world. How many fools still smoke or will start smoking cigarettes?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximately a third of all traffic fatalities involve a blood alcohol level of .08 or above. And yet, fools still get tanked up at the bar and drive their cars anyway. Alcohol’s effect in even small amounts can affect mood and conditions like chronic depression for up to a week after a single drink. It affects judgment in even small amounts and slows down reaction time. It damages the unborn with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It plays a huge part in domestic violence and abuse. And yet, fools still think they can drink socially or “recreationally” and suffer no negative effects.

Pornography is a factor in divorce, especially internet pornography. In fact, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, at a meeting in 2003, is reported to have said that online porn contributed to over half the divorce cases they handled in the previous year. Again, more recently, according to Business Insider reporting a study done in 2010 by there are 24 million porn websites on the internet, every second $3100 is spent on internet porn and 28,200 people are looking at it, 1 in 3 porn viewers are women, 70% of men aged 18-24 visit porn sites each month, in the US internet porn pulls in about $3 billion while worldwide its only $5 billion, 2.5 billion emails every day or 8% of all emails are porn, 25% of all search engine requests in a single day or 68 million requests are porn related, 35% of all downloads per day are pornographic, the average age that a child sees online porn is 11, 20% of men admit to watching porn at work,and the most popular day of the week for viewing porn is Sunday.

More than half of child molesters in one study claimed to use pornography to prepare for acts of sexual violence against a child.

And yet, in spite of all this information, fools still think they can look at porn and not be affected negatively.

Fools do not want to hear wisdom, sound advice, or the truth. Its sport to them to do mischief. They wink with the eye and laugh off any correction. What’s worse, they go down to the pit and drag everyone simple and naïve enough to go with them.

We’re not perfect in either the world’s sense or the Bible’s. We make no claim to perfection in moral living. I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m telling you that I’m weak and sinful and prone to fall into temptation’s trap and because of that there are just some things I can’t associate with. But, we warn people about sin, about Hell, about the Lake of Fire. We tell them about Christ, about God’s free gift of salvation. Christians exhort, admonish, teach, pass out tracts, cajole, inflame, rebuke, invite and almost everything else we can do to get the unsaved to consider what God has provided for them. And yet billions of fools will end up in Hell because they hold that wisdom in utter contempt.

I could go on and on about fools still believing that abortion isn't the murder of an innocent individual or, like Darwin, in Chapter 6 of his book Descent of Man, that we evolved from monkeys, that random chance could even “create” one functioning amino acid to establish life, and that fools still believe that mathematical impossibility in spite of the fact that the probablilty of life happening on earth by chance is about the same as a tornado going through a junk yard and leaving behind a fully functional 747 airplane but that could go on for volumes.

More importantly, in any given fundamentalist church service you have to wonder, is there a fool who has sat in there, heard the Pastors, the evangelists, the lay people, the Sunday School teachers, and the testimonies from the congregation, week after week, and yet, remains a fool who has not submitted his or her life to Christ? I didn’t say submit to the Pastor’s personal opinions or charisma, submit to the church organization, submit to the practices of American Christian culture, submit to the dictates of right wing or left wing politics or submit to a political party, submit to a creed, submit to extra-Biblicial traditions, or the demands of some strong willed leader in the congregation. I said submit to Christ, the one who created you. Is there a fool who actually despises God’s wisdom that bad after hearing it week after week and who still thinks he or she can’t accept Christ because Christians aren’t perfect?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Proverbs 23:6 commentary; the bread of him that hath an evil eye

6 ¶ Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. 8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

What is “an evil eye”? From a purely literal and practical point of view there is this paragraph in Matthew;

Matthew 6:19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Apparently there is something wicked in the greedy way the person with the evil eye sees things. Again in the parable of the householder, an explanation of how it is not our concern that some work most of their lives for Christ and some come to Christ at the end of their life and yet both are saved.

Matthew 20:1 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 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? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

And then in Luke Jesus reproves the people listening to Him for rejecting what He has said,

Luke 11:29 ¶ And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. 30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

Now, let’s look at this prophetically, from the understanding we’ve gotten from these verses. The Beast, whom we call the Anti-Christ even though that word is never used in the book of Revelation, has some physical issues.

Zechariah 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

Knowing that in Revelation it says this about him.

Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Now, back to the Proverb. The Bible tells us that what a person is, he is from the inside, and we are not to judge on outward appearances.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Commentator John Gill calls this man with an evil eye a sordid, covetous man and warns not to eat with him. He says that the man’s hospitality is fake, just on the surface, and that everything you get from him will make you throw up. Dr. Ruckman, though, points to the Anti-Christ, the Beast of Revelation.

I would say to beware of the flatterer, the beguiling person who invites you to a banquet. Oh, if I could write a book to young men and women about all of the false and deceiving things you’ll hear from people to try to ensnare you in their sin and how to know from the first word out of someone’s mouth whether or not they are on “the make.”

But, look here to another meaning. We’ve had several warnings about the rich and powerful. The Chrisitan, the evangelist, the preacher who preaches God’s words boldly and with power comes to the attention of the powerful person. The person invites them to be seen with them, for a photo opportunity, or a newspaper account of the important so and so shaking hands with the preacher who is creating a storm. Do not allow yourself to be ensnared in their deceitful theater because what hogwash they’ve fed you in their phony approval of your Godliness and spiritual power you will throw up again and your association with them will cause you to lose the sweet words that God has given you.

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

So, young men who may feel called to preach, please listen. Stay on track. Don’t get sidetracked. If the rich and powerful seem approving of you, remember it is only a pretense. They will use you for their dark purposes. If you surrender to the admiration of the greedy and lustful for power, I guarantee you will lose the sweet words that Christ has put in your mouth. I don’t know who this is for but be warned. You’ve heard it here. Your place is not in the rich homes and opulent palaces but in the street exhorting and reproving them from outside, not sitting at dinner with them, enjoying their delicacies.

In conclusion, I would say this to everyone. Beware of the politician or man of wealth who makes public prayers, imploring God’s hand on America, who uses his or her presumed faith as a political tool to gain your approval and acceptance and support. Haven’t we seen that they are phony and fake and that the tender morsels they feed us we will throw up? Do they not make it hard for you to speak God’s words because they have brought shame on the cause of Christ? Remember the old e.e. cummings untitled poem we learned in school;

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

I taught a Civics class to home schooled children once and had the students shadow a candidate of their choice and listen to that person’s speeches and comments. A very intelligent girl took on a preacher turned politician running for office because her parents liked him. Within a few weeks of listening carefully to his words and looking at the people he associated with she said to me that she had to warn her parents NOT to vote for this man. I didn’t influence her. She got that from just listening to him carefully.