Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Proverbs 28:9 commentary; is your prayer an abomination?

9 ¶ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Proverbs 21:4 told us that even the plowing of the wicked is sin. Here, under the Law given to Moses for the Hebrews, even the prayer of someone who turns his ear away from the law, is an abomination.

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

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Because of Christ and the Holy Spirit, God will never turn away from hearing us. This is a great tragedy, though, to think of a blood bought born again Christian who does not care to hear God’s words and by the use of to hear in the Bible, obey God’s words written for Christians. What a shameful thing. There are many people who believed on Christ, who still claim to be His, and yet, neither care to unite with the body of Christ in fellowship and worship, nor care to hear God’s words of grace from the New Testament about God the Son dying for our sins, and rising from the dead for our hope of eternal life, about loving each other, not getting revenge, not envying or coveting, living in peace with all men, and how God would that all would be saved if they would only hear; such sweet, gracious words of peace with God and man.

We have been shown such mercy as God has washed us from our sins in His own blood. How can we neglect the hearing of His word either plain from the Scriptures, or preached? They will not hear God speak to them but they will pray when they are in trouble. Their prayer, indeed is an abomination.

Ask yourself if your child was at death’s door or perhaps your spouse, if you would not plead with God for mercy, and yet, you, right now will not darken the door of a church building nor read or hear His word preached. Ask yourself if you expect someone to talk at your own funeral about how you have “gone to a better place” or are “at rest in the Lord.” How sickening it is that you don’t care any more for the One from whom you will beg for mercy than to ignore what He has said in His Bible. You’d rather be anywhere on Sunday morning than at worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ; sporting events, work, or some entertainment, perhaps a dinner. I understand that there are reasons why people who are sick or those caring for the sick might not be able to unite in worship with others likeminded but at least they could take the time to read His word each day and fellowship with Him. But, when the time comes they who refused to hear or obey or even read will cry for His mercy. How dare you.

I’m not spiritual enough to judge whether or not you are saved and I’m certainly far less of a decent human being than most of you are but, at least I know my Maker and I thank Him, praise Him, and worship Him every day and not a day goes by that I don’t read or hear His word. You who treat the One who made you with such contempt when you aren’t in pain, grief, or afraid are abominations. You should be ashamed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Proverbs 28:8 commentary; from ill gotten gains to pity on the poor

8 ¶ He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

This is one of those verses that crosses Christians up when they try to use claim it. This was written under the Law given to Moses for the Hebrews. Under that Law it was wrong to charge interest to impoverished fellow Hebrews or foreigners on a loan.

Leviticus 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. 36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.

Here we see that usury is increase or profit charged on a loan, which is what we know as interest.

A stranger is a foreigner.

Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

A stranger and a sojourner are synonymous as a person who sojourns in a place is foreign to it and just passing through, abiding only temporarily.

Genesis 23:4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

An example of a sojourner today might be a migrant worker, a foreigner or stranger from another country, or you, a sojourner on this earth, just passing through, whose home is a far country.

The Holy Spirit, in this Proverb, is saying how a person who gains wealth dishonestly and oppressively might one day see it taken from him by someone who will show mercy on the poor. It would be ironic justice if the money he took from people were used to help that same group of people impoverished by him.

This is unlikely to happen today as the ill gotten gains of a criminal would just go into the coffers of the state who would spend it quicker than you could say “Jack Spratt could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean.” I doubt any money Bernie Madoff pays in fines will go to show pity on the poor. Its even doubtful the investors he scammed will see much money.

However, there is a principle here. If a Christian is one of those who would make a dishonest profit and charge exorbitant interest God might well take his money and give it to someone who would show mercy on the poor.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Proverbs 28:7 commentary: you are known by the company you keep

7 ¶ Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

Notice the contrast here creating a definition as the Bible does in many places. The wise son keeps the law; obeys it, guards it, stays close to it. But the opposite type of son hangs out with party people. The first one is a wise son and by the understanding of the phrase makes his father glad whilte the second son shames his father.

Young people, you are often known by the people you keep company with. I used to be one of the riotous people it refers to here back when I was unsaved, and in some part, even afterwards for a time until God’s word took hold of me. I was not the kind of person you want to hang around to keep your reputation from being dragged through the dirt. That condition began with me hanging out with the wrong people and learning from them while I ignored the good people in my life. Guard your good name, keep your reputation clean. I have been denied employment recently based on events that transpired nearly thirty years ago.

Proverbs 22:1a A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…….

Ecclesiastes 7:1a A good name is better than precious ointment…..

(I have heard that ointment for burial purposes, as was applied to Jesus’ head in Matthew 26, could cost as much as a year’s earnings for a Hebrew.)

What characterizes riotous men? For one, they are party people.

Proverbs 23:20 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.

You know the kind of young person who hangs out at the local sports bar every night after work or the older person who has to stop off at the club for a drink or two before he can go home. On weekends they overindulge: drink too much and eat too much. Its always happy hour for them, sort of like the premise of the TV show, Cheers. The Prodigal Son in Luke 15 wasted his entire inheritance on riotous living and wound up eating with the pigs.

Riotous living looks like fun for awhile but unless God has mercy on you and you repent of your lifestyle your life will usually come to ruin if riotous living is your life code. The Christian is not in danger of losing his or her salvation but you hardly appear saved to others or have any kind of testimony for Christ with a drink in one hand and a noisemaker in the other falling down drunk on New Year’s Eve. Listen to my advice carefully. Make friends with people of good character regardless of their social status or political views. Make friends with people who are, as we used to say down South, about something.

The frivolous, immoral party girl like the one glorified in the songs by the pop artist Kesha or the wild boys extolled by many different artists are fools and if you make the mistake of associating with them outside of presenting the gospel in an attempt to save them from Hell, then you will not only appear unwise but bring shame to your parents, most likely.

A wise son or daughter will spend their time with people who will help them, build them up, strengthen their faith, and who display Christian character and the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Do your friends drink alcohol, stay up late, and are they irresponsible, loud mouthed, going nowhere losers or do the following things emanate from them like a good smelling ointment?

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.

It’s your choice. Are you a wise son or daughter or are you a fool who causes unbelievers to blaspheme the name of God because of your foolish companions? Think carefully. You may answer for your choices thirty years from now in this life or at the very least at the Judgment Seat of Christ at the end of it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Latest Reading

Rights and Duties: Reflections on our Conservative Constitution by Russell Kirk. Introduction by Russell Hittinger. Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing Co., 1997. Russell Kirk was one of the great conservative thinkers of the 20th century. This book is a must for people to understand the origins and intents of our founding documents and of the people who changed those documents through amendment. Our constitution is more than just words on paper but a rich body of social, religious, and political traditions that go back thousands of years. Liberals won't like it. Neocons will be disturbed by it. But, it is basic stuff. I took a year to read it to try to soak it all in.

Proverbs 28:6 commentary; a tale of two Christians

6 ¶ Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

There are several ways of looking at this Proverb from the most obvious, literal way to some very spiritual ways for the Christian. The first thing that is important to note is we need to have a handle on what a person’s ways are. Is it their manner of living, their personal attitude, the way they handle problems, or just what are a person’s ways?

In the following verse, ways is a reference to the Law given by God to the ancient Hebrews through Moses.

Deuteronomy 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

So, the commandments of the Lord are called His ways.

Deuteronomy 8:6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.

A man’s ways are the way he lives day by day and moment by moment, step by step.

Job 31:4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

Man’s ways are often and usually different than God’s ways. Here we see ways as thoughts by the method of parallel phrasing.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

When man’s ways line up with God’s ways for him, then he is right. As one of the fundamental understandings of the Christian is that he is wholly incapable of pleasing and obeying God without God’s intervention through His Holy Spirit by the method of speaking to the heart through His words in His Bible how can we take this verse, written literally under the Law, to the Christian, saved purely by God’s grace and mercy?

Jesus said that it is out of the thoughts that evil and sin proceed.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

And Paul, speaking through the wisdom given to him by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 3:15) says that we are to bring our thoughts into subjection to Christ.

2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

He also says that the Bible will discern those thoughts, knowing what our real intentions are.

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.

So, let’s move beyond the obvious and literal explanation of this verse under the Law, that it is better to be poor and right with God than it is to be rich and perverse in your ways, something which is obvious to every one with any common sense. Just as the reverse is true, it being better to be rich and right with God than to be poor and wicked.

The American Christian who has everything to commend himself as spiritually rich; freedom of religion and conscience, a great church, much access to the Bible, commentaries, great preaching, and an opportunity regularly to meet with the saints and to spread the gospel and yet, is perverse in his thoughts and actions is in far worse shape than the Sudanese Christian who has not even so much as seen the printed word, a copy of the Bible, but has committed himself to Christ’s keeping and faithfulness to Him even in the face of torture, mutilation, and death by an oppressor of another religion.

The poorest Christian in the jungles of the Phillipines hedged in on every side by fanatics of other religions, hunger, disease, and hardship who has to walk miles to hear any preaching of God’s word and that under great danger, and who has to share a Bible with someone else, and yet is faithful to Christ, is far better off in his or her relationship with God than the Christian in Pennsylvania who attends church when nothing good is on TV, rarely cracks open his Bible, and thinks of prayer as some meaningless poem you mutter hurriedly before dinner or repeat with your child before bed, and who views things of God as for church and the rest of the week follows the perverse ways of the world.

The most impoverished Christian in the heart of Africa who is barely able to eat enough to keep body and soul together and who is oppressed on every side by corrupt leaders and haters of Christ and Christians but is faithful to Christ and His ways is far better off than the Christian in the heart of Alabama who listens to every TV or radio preacher, lots of gospel songs by his favorite celebrities, and calls himself a Christian and yet, is so carnal and worldly he reeks of it.

It is better to have nothing and Christ than to have everything you ever desired and not to have Him or to claim His mercy and grace and then live like the devil. We need to think on that the next time we start being fearful of some politician whittling away at our freedom. Perhaps God will make us poor so that we can be rich.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Proverbs 28:5 commentary; understand and see God's judgment

5 ¶ Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

All of God’s ways are judgment.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

All of mankind is facing God’s judgment for the sin of Adam, which we inherited, much like a cat inherits its need to hunt or a dog to run in a pack. Sin is one of a human’s few instincts, something he hungers to do. But Christ is the remedy for sin.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Even under the Law of Moses people who walked in God’s ways tried to do right.

Psalm 119:1 ¶ ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Evil men do not get it. They don’t see that they are natural born sinners by instinct. They don’t see the human’s spiritual heart as wicked.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Evil men don’t understand. They simply don’t see that fornication, covetousness, envy, malice, a love of violence, revenge, perversion, etc. are all a consequence of turning your back on God, on who He is, and on His love for mankind expressed at the cross of Christ and, most of all, on His judgment. (See Romans 1:16 to 2:3.)

When God’s judgment is on a person or a nation they often do not understand it and seek to find temporal causes. After more than a century and a half of ripping apart God’s word with so called “Higher Criticism” and destroying the faith of many so called Christians even the Kaiser embraced occultism and Germany was released to a barbaric paganism and Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and suffered horribly in two major wars that nearly destroyed it. And yet, men will look to political and economic reasons for the wars and read back into history their own justifications. Why? They don’t understand God’s judgment.

Great Britain had, perhaps, the greatest empire in the history of mankind. It is said that the “sun never sets on the British flag.” And yet, within a generation of the disastrous revision of the Authorized Version of the Bible and its replacement by the Revised Version on the mission field, within a generation of their genocide of Indians on the Deccan Plateau by starvation, and after attempting to go back on their promise for a Jewish homeland in Palestine; the land given by God to the Jews, their empire began coming unglued. Men, unaware and unbelieving in God’s judgment, will look to purely political reasons or economic reasons but ignore the possibility that God’s view of history by way of the Bible’s statements is different than their own.

Can you, as in individual, see events in your life as God’s judgment steering you toward His will or trying to turn your heart from sin and idolatry to Him? Do you understand judgment? Are you receptive to the Holy Spirit’s leading?

As it said back in Psalm 119:2 I quoted earlier that those that seek Him with the whole heart are blessed. They that seek the Lord may not know who Disraeli or Gladstone were or who Bismarck was but they do know God’s word. They know what He has promised and they know what the eventual outcome of human history will be and if they are immersed in God’s word they know His will for their lives and how they should live before men. They understand all things that are important to God in their lives; their salvation first and then their sanctification; being made a useful vessel for His work and that the affairs of all men are under God’s judgment. They know that, as Ben Franklin said, in a speech he gave to the Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787, “I have lived sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

It was Abraham Lincoln who implied in his October 3, 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation that the Civil War was a judgment on the entire nation for slavery. But, most men do not understand why nations are sifted like wheat and why individual people rise and fall. They’ll say, “oh, it was such and such a cause,” and write books about that opinion. But, even the men who engaged in our war for independence against Great Britain knew that a divine hand was involved. If I get the quote right I believe it was John Page who wrote to Thomas Jefferson and said, “Do you not think that an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?”

Now, do you understand what’s happening to America today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Proverbs 28:4 commentary; the conflict we are in

4 ¶ They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

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

Of course the law being talked about here is the law of God given to Moses. We remember that;

1John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

And people who like to sin, who live by it, whose very character is defined by it, not only want the freedom to do it but take great pleasure in being confirmed in their obsessions by other people doing the same.

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.

However, we are not justified, since Christ’s resurrection and the beginning of the church age, by keeping the law.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

But, as under the law in Ancient Israel, men who did wrong according to the law were in constant conflict with those who followed the law, so today, there is a spiritual and sometimes political war going on between those who follow Christ and seek to obey Him in their human frailty and those who worship their own lusts and desire to sin. There will always be a conflict between those two groups as long as there is faith on the earth.

Those people, in our country for instance, who seek to ignore God, make the country God neutral, so to speak, or simply flaunt their contempt for His word and His people will always have constant conflict with the people who worship God. As the godless get more and more powerful and faith gets more and more watered down with less of a dependence on God’s word and more of a dependence on the opinions of, the agendas of, and the fear of men in pulpits across the land and people in the congregations the godless will take their vengeance on God’s people.

Tribulation and martyrdom are the natural and eventual outcomes for the people of God in that situation. As government has afforded citizens a constitutional right to murder their unborn children for the purpose of simply another type of birth control, as sexual perversion of all kinds becomes more normalized and more accepted, as non-Christian religions and ideals become pre-eminent, as more and more of mainstream Christianity moves from the supernatural power of God’s word to the weakness of a fluid civil religion, as a constant state of warfare becomes necessary to support the globalist one world agenda, and as wealth becomes gathered in fewer and fewer hands and the middle class is erased with one group owning the wealth and the other needing government help just to survive as they work for faceless corporations or government itself, the spiritual and political war will become more intense. In America, this began with Christians looking more and more to government as God’s agent on earth and then, eventually, as a replacement for God, until their faith lost its salt and became as tasteless as the white of an egg.

There will come a time and is already here when people who actually believe the Bible will be marginalized, looked at as fruitcakes, in the way of progress, unpatriotic, unworthy to be parents, to hold a good paying job, to serve in government, the armed forces, and eventually will be driven back to the days of the early church to worship in private homes under peril of being arrested.

There will always be conflict in the public and private spheres of life between those who forsake God and those who keep His word.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

This Civil War has been going on since the tragedy of the Garden of Eden. It will not end until we enter eternity and God is acknowledged for what He is, Lord of all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Proverbs 28:3 commentary; the poor oppressing the poor

3 ¶ A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

People who forget where they came from and turn and oppress people who, like they once were, suffer from poverty and want are like the hard rain that doesn’t refresh the land but exposes the roots and washes away the crops, ruining the harvest.

We have, in this country, politicians who came from poor backgrounds but through circumstance, talent, and the generosity of others were able to rise up out of poverty and yet, they take advantage of the poor from which they came. As H. Rap Brown, the militant from the 1960’s complained, poverty programs are buyoffs and aren’t designed to end poverty. These politicians use poor people as a guaranteed pool of votes by their throwing change at them. Other politicians, viewing themselves as part of an elite, who have earned their way out of poverty or have been helped, treat other poor people as inferior and oppress them because they didn’t or weren’t able to “grab the brass ring.”

We have, in this country, people who came from poor backgrounds but in the same manner were raised up to run a business or be a part of a large corporation that preys on the poor and takes advantage of their lack of knowledge and naievete’ or desperate need for work.

African-Americans, even radicals like H. Rap Brown, have complained of some of their own people being as much the oppressor as the “white establishment.”

This is a great Proverb to remind a poor person “on the rise” in ancient Israel not to forget where he came from and not to take advantage of his own people. But, what about the Christian? Part of the Christian’s calling is to take care of the poor in the church.

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

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

The Christian is never to think too highly of himself, particularly in respect to his brothers and sisters in Christ.

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

The Christian has no right or excuse to oppress his brothers or sisters in Christ or any person for any reason.

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

Even an Elder in the early church, in his spiritual authority, is not to oppress or “lord it over” his flock.

1Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

This goes both ways. Many Christians assume that if a brother or sister has risen from poverty to own a business or to have money that they can treat their debt obligations to them rather cavalierly. I have known people who were discouraged because the Christians that availed themselves of a brother or sister’s business services didn’t feel compelled to pay their bill promptly in the same way they would have if the business had been owned by a non-Christian. Oh well, he’ll understand.

Within the early church there was to be an equality; not like modern communism which allows for no God or Godly authority, nor like modern socialism, fascism, or capitalism that allows only for theft by taking or selfish indulgence, manipulation, and exploitation of others, but by a voluntary giving out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not done at gunpoint for fear of losing life or property nor is it done by trickery or deception to relieve one of his hard earned cash unfairly so that another may benefit. Here was Paul’s advice to the early church, not a commandment, but an urging to live as you preached.

2 Corinthians 8:7 ¶ Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

So, as the poor in the world because we don’t value the world’s idea of wealth (if we’re faithful to God’s word), we are not to be oppressors of anyone, particularly not the poor in the church, but anyone anywhere. When Christian brothers and sisters, poor in the world, oppress Christian brothers and sisters or an unbeliever, it is indeed like a torrential rain that destroys and leaves nothing of use in its wake. May God have mercy on a church body with that going on in its midst.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Proverbs 28:2 commentary; a political statement

2 ¶ For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

Many leaders over time destroy a country by their stupidity and pride. Over time, successive leaders will, through pride, corruption, and greed fritter away a nation’s wealth or in one or more poorly thought out wars reduce a nation to poverty and helplessness. One of the stated strategies of the communist governments of the Soviet Union and Red China was to engage the United States in as many brushfire wars as possible to bankrupt and demoralize the country. One of the actions of many of our presidents after Eisenhower has been to get involved in as many brushfire wars as possible to justify some geopolitical agenda or policy. We are a bankrupt nation just as many others. So, tell me, if you can, who was the enemy; the ones who wanted to harm us or the ones who did?

It would take a great leader, Godly, moral, and with an understanding of the realities of world politics to turn our nation to a steady and sane course. Notice I did not say “turn our nation back” because we have never been on a sane course. Things got out of hand very early in our nation’s founding. The founders didn’t deal with slavery and that failure nearly ended the country’s existence as a nation, the question of how to treat the Native Americans was out of control very quickly and much to our discredit great evil was done, we had a great revival of religion that took a wrong turn and we began to think of government as God, we became an imperial power against the advice of wise Christians like William Jennings Bryan when we conquered tired Spain’s remaining colonies, we disturbed the balance of power in Europe during World War One and made World War Two possible, we let the United Nations whose founding documents and policies were written by Soviet agents dictate strategy and tactics in the Korean Conflict with every action of the United States and its allies reported to the Chinese Communists even before it happened right down to the number of artillery shells we would use, and the list goes on and on. Internally, we have had good intentioned social policies administered carelessly and wastefully so much so that we can no longer afford to care for the people these policies were meant to help.

We’ve had many leaders in office in all three branches of government who have led us down the path we find ourselves on. But, one good man of understanding and knowledge can turn us onto a path of fiscal sanity and a foreign policy that is consistent with our principles. Of course, he will have to deal with a Congress full of leaders who hunger to fill the coffers of their own supporters and to be re-elected. We need to start being careful in electing a President, though. We need someone with experience but not corruption, with understanding but not arrogance, with knowledge but also with a transparency that lets us know the real intention behind his choices. We need a man who loves Jesus Christ but does not respect political religion in the least; who desires to be a competent and honest leader of our country but not a messiah or the national pastor.

Look down the list of the kings of Israel and Judah and see how each one added his own bit of leadership to put the kingdoms in the position of receiving God’s judgment. Read the account of each one’s reign carefully and you will see a pattern of disobedience to God’s commands for them, very clearly laid out and very simple to understand in the Law given to Moses. One man of understanding and knowledge can prolong the life of the state, but is that man even in sight? Of course, it’s hard to find a leader that has qualities that the American people themselves don’t have. That’s why our country needs to be transformed from the ground up with a national revival of faith and devotion to what is right and not just what is mine. America will never get good leaders until America gets right with God. It should not be “God bless America” on the portable sign along the road but “America, bless God.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Proverbs 28:1 commentary; paranoid or unafraid?

1 ¶ The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

The Hebrews were warned that if they, being a people created by God, rejected His standards, despised His judgments, and turned their back on a national relationship with Him then He would bring all kinds of ruin on them, in Leviticus 26:14-39. One of the punishments that God would bring would be faintness of heart, fear, paranoia, and running from an enemy that wasn’t even pursuing them.

Leviticus 26:37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

But, just before that, He had told them that their obedience to Him would translate into great courage against their enemies, with God on their side.

Leviticus 26:7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

The Christian has no earthly nation from which to fight. His warfare is not of the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:4). The Bible believing Christian conducts no war of murder and slaughter of men in the name of God. His wafare is spiritual in conquering sin and deception.

The righteous, under the doctrines of Christianity in the letters written by Paul, are righteous by view of the fact that they have the Spirit of the righteous Christ in them. They have no righteousness of their own based on the flesh as the Christian knows that He can’t keep God’s standard of His own will.

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

But, if a Christian is not submitted to Christ through His words written in His Book and if they adopt a manmade religion of ritual and obedience to the law of men who place their own authority higher than God’s…….

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

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

…then by comparing this Proverb written under the Law to the Christian, who is a type of the nation of Israel of old, we can see that fear, paranoia, hatred, and being deceived will be his or her fate. Christians who have not submitted to God’s word will live in fear of everyone; the government, homosexuals, Muslims, the Vatican, secularists, or anyone they perceive as being an enemy of the God of the Bible, and by extrapolation, their enemy. They will burn Korans, scream unintelligible Bible verses through megaphones at “gay pride” parades, dare the government to take their weapons from their “cold dead hands”, rail against Rome, and spew venom at public schools and anywhere where their version of the Christian faith is not promoted.

The Christian who has chosen to turn His back on God’s word and to follow men, shutting their ears and eyes to what God has said, and chosen the religion of faith in a demagogue on television, in the halls of Congress, or behind any given pulpit in the land will run when no one pursues, and will be unable to stand. Why? Because he or she does not have the assurance that God will triumph in the end, that Christ is returning to take over the kingdoms of the world, or that he or she is actually on the winning side. He or she wants to build a physical kingdom of God on earth as they see it without the King present and without His authority to do so.

Why? Because they have itching ears….

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The faithful Christian will be bold as a lion when facing death, sickness, temptation, and the wickedness of this present evil world. He will face persecution without fear or uncertainty and live with peace and joy in his or her heart even when life itself is in the balance. His fortune, his earthly home, even his own flesh will be of less importance to him than Christ’s glory and triumph over a sinful world and the sin of his own heart. He will be thankful of everything God gives or permits including illness, loss, grief, poverty, and pain just as he will give thanks for all of his success, pleasures, and happiness to God alone. He will not be angry or love violence, or take pleasure in sin as entertainment. He will unite with a local church body in worship and good works spreading the gospel of Christ, read His Bible, hear it preached, pray constantly, and focus on heaven, not the earth. He or she will feed the hungry, comfort the sick, and attend to the things of God, which do not include greed and selfish promotion.

Are you running now? Or standing bold as a lion? Your salvation is not found in the halls of Congress or the White House. Your enemy is not some deceived, lost person who is a child of Satan. Surrender to God’s word and be made fearless.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Proverbs 27:23-27 commentary; work hard and work smart

23 ¶ Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. 24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? 25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Christians are told to not be slothful in business in Romans 12:11. These Proverbs encouraged the Hebrew of old and the Christian today to work hard and to work smart. We are not to take things for granted, even in faith, but to apply ourselves to our employments, whether they be for our own business or under the authority of someone else.

Farmers of old were fairly self sufficient producing almost everything they needed to clothe, feed, and house themselves and their families. Of course, they had no expectations of cheap, plastic junk made in China or cell phones, computers, televisions, etc. like we do today.

Our work ethic is given in many verses but with regard to our employments it is specifically said;

1 Thessalonians 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; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

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

The more self sufficient you are, the better for you. We all can’t be completely self reliant but our efforts should be toward being as debt free as possible and capable of producing something useful that we can rely on to help sustain us. Being dependent on others or a government is not a good testimony for the Christian. There are circumstances where we have no choice but to lean on the help of other people but our efforts from a very young age should be to work hard, prepare for our old age, and to give our children the best start in life we can provide, both spiritually and physically. Sadly, in our consumer culture since World War II we tend to view being entertained and experiencing pleasure as a need and a vital necessity so much of our earned money is spent on those two frivolous pursuits which tend to make us unprepared for the realities of life and eventually make us dependent on others for support.

Young people, work hard and work smart, say no to yourself at least once a day, take your entertainments and pleasures as a treat to yourself and not a daily need, put away money for your own old age, and teach your children to be as self reliant and disciplined as is possible for you to teach. Just remember your needs; your wants won’t kill you. Never spend money you don’t have. Finally, remember;

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Proverbs 27:22 commentary; hard to separate a fool from his foolishness

22 ¶ Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

In Proverbs we have been taught that foolishness is the opposite of knowledge.

Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 15:14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

And that it is sin, not just silliness as some would use the word today.

Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, links it to madness and wickedness;

Eclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

Eclesiastes 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

Look at the company it keeps, according to the Lord Jesus Christ;

Mark 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Here, in this Proverb, a fool’s foolishness, which is clearly more than just some kind of silliness or childishness, can’t be separated from him. Remember, in context, this verse is right after a verse about seeing what a man’s true character is by how he handles praise.

John Gill points out several verses in relation to this verse, like Isaiah 1:5 and Jeremiah 5:3 concerning Judah.

Isaiah 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Jeremiah 5:3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

A fool will continue to do evil no matter how hard he is pressed or punished. He simply will not change because it is part of his nature to do what he does. A fool will not even so much as believe in God.

Psalm 14:1 «To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.» The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

This, is in spite of the fact that all existence declares the truth of God.

Psalm 19:1 «To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.» The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Romans 1:19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

He refuses to be corrected for his wickedness: his foolishness.

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

If you have had the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared with you and you insist on rejecting God’s mercy and plunging willfully headlong into Hell and a burning, Christless eternity then you are a fool. If you think you are going to have eternal life with Christ on any other terms than depending on His righteousness and not your own to get to Heaven then you are a fool. If, although saved, you will not read the words of God, hear them truthfully preached, and let them change you by degrees into the person Christ wants you to be, then you are a Christian fool but a fool nonetheless. And lest the Holy Spirit of God show you mercy and break through your foolishness you will likely remain one even though you be ground up and crushed like wheat under the efforts of a mortar and pestle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Proverbs 27:21 commentary; how does a man or woman handle praise?

21 ¶ As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

A previous Proverb mentioned the process of fining or refining silver and heating up gold to purify it. A fine state is a pure state. A fining pot is a pot in which you melt silver to rid it of impurities.

Proverbs 17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

Matthew Henry points out that as a fining pot removes the impurities from silver and as the furnace does the same for gold so does praise test whether or not a man is conceited or if he gives God the praise and glory offered to him. He might be like Herod, full of self praise and self worship, deserving of the same fate.

Acts 12:21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. 22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

Earlier in this chapter we read;

Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

Offering praise to a person is a sure way to tell what he or she is about. If they, in turn, give the glory to God that is one thing but if they become puffed up with their own glory it is another. The athlete who glories in his efforts with screaming, dancing, and prancing in the end zone or jumping up on the boxing ring ropes with hands outstretched in self praise encouraging the adulation of the crowd is a stone, cold fool, as are the fans who adore him. The type of glory that men enjoy is merely a poor counterfeit of the glory of heaven where those who belong to Christ will praise Him for eternity in what will make any Super Bowl event look like a pale joke.

I am not very impressed either with the athlete who drops to his knees and supposedly offers a prayer to God as that is simply a way of drawing attention, again, to yourself. Paul tells us with the wisdom given to Him by the Holy Spirit with regard to our personal convictions;

Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Jesus warned about the false piety of many public prayers;

Matthew 6:5 ¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

We’ve had so many presidential candidates supposedly told by God to run for office that I can’t help but wonder who He told first and if their god, little “g”, perhaps, can’t make up his mind. We’ve also had a president speak publicly about how God told Him to invade a country, which is patently absurd in the light of doctrine given to Christians in the letters written by Paul.

So, if you want to find out what a man or woman is made of, the Proverb tells us, see how they handle praise, and who they give the glory to for their successes. Beware yourself of how much self glory you heap on your own successes. Remember;

Psalm 108:1 «A Song or Psalm of David.» O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Proverbs 27:20 commentary; the eyes of man (and woman) are never satisfied

20 ¶ Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

So perfectly true in the consumer age. Ever since the powers that be decided back in the 1930’s that we must be a nation of consumers and ever since Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Ed Bernays, created modern advertising and got us buying things we didn’t need, eating things we didn’t eat before, and never satisfied with anything we had we’ve just wanted NEW STUFF.

The lust of the eyes is one of the world’s ways of drawing you away from the Lord.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Christians should reject consumerism because it makes us unthankful and we never have enough. But we learn it at a young age. We teach our children to covet things at Christmas and on their birthdays. It gives us great joy to spend money on them for things that teach them nothing about nothing. I know children who have so many toys that they don’t even open some of the ones they get at Christmas and they get packed away. I know adults with sheds and attics full of the latest whosiewhatsits, much of which they’ll never use. The eyes of man are never satisfied.

Hell and destruction are never full. There is never a time when the Bible says, “Enough. Hell is full.” And so men and women never say, “I’ve had enough. I’ve got everything I need.” We need to learn to be happy with what we have and to focus on only what we need.

1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Adam and Eve could have whatever they wanted but one thing and that’s what they wanted. We inherited that. We have a problem with our eyes. They see, they want. Job had to make an agreement, so to speak, with his eyes.

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

Jesus warned men in those days;

Matthew 5:27 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

King David had an eye problem.

2Samuel 11:2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

And yet, God had warned the Hebrews about this very thing.

Deuteronomy 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

While men use pornography to generate that dissatisfaction with their spouse, women have romance novels to make them feel unsettled, as if maybe they could get more than the hardworking yutz they have who isn’t clever, funny, and dashing like the guy in the Harlequin books.

And let me tell you something. If you live in a constant state of dissatisfaction with what you have, your social status, your possessions, or your spouse you have a sin problem. You’re not focused on Christ. You’re focused on your SELF. I refer you to the Proverb before this one. God is not pleased with your attitude, Christian. It’s all through His Bible.

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

For the descendants of Adam and Eve that scene plays itself out a thousand times in a lifetime. It is the shame of American Christianity along with pride, self righteousness, a desire for revenge, no compassion for lost souls, etc. etc.. It is akin to envy.

Be content. Be satisfied. Fill your eyes with God’s word.

Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Proverbs 27:19 commentary; examine your SELF

19 ¶ As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

Examine your heart as you would examine your face in a mirror or, as this verse suggests, in your reflection in water.

Christians are told;

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

To examine and to prove are synonyms as in the following verse. The Bible defines its own words through parallel phrasing among other things.

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Your heart, the Bible says, is desperately wicked.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Do you have any idea what it means to be desperately wicked? The human heart wants to sin against God so badly that it is desperate to do it. You know, like when a nightclub is on fire and people are so panicked and desperate that should someone come in to try to help them the jumbled mess of terrified, desperate people will grab the good Samaritan and keep him from escaping the fire, as well. It’s happened several times in history.

Examine your heart. Face what you really are. You have no trouble believing that an animal inherited its instincts from its first ancestor but can’t believe that mankind inherited the sin nature from Adam, probably our only instinct as a human baby has to be taught almost everything else but particularly how to be good. Many of us have a hard time facing the truth about ourselves and our need of a Saviour. We think of ourselves as pretty good people, not as bad as some, so why wouldn’t a just God give us a pass? But we’re not being compared to other people. Our comparison is Christ and He was perfect. Are you perfect, without sin?

You’ve told lies. That makes you a liar. You’ve taken things; time from people, money from an employer who was paying you but not to do what you were doing, material objects from others or work that didn’t belong to you. That makes you a thief. You haven’t forgiven when God commanded it and in spite of the fact that He forgave you. You talk about the confusing things in the Bible but you won’t even obey the most clear cut standard and precept of God.

We Christians need to examine our hearts like a woman examines her face in one of those magnifying mirrors when she puts on makeup. Then we need to throw ourselves into God’s word to be cleansed, asking forgiveness and mercy, and seeking Him with our whole heart. Why did you talk about that person at dinner? Were you really “concerned?” Why did you hesitate at the newsstand? Was it really disgust you felt at the nearly naked girl in the bikini, or something else? Why do you covet things you don’t have and don’t need? Why do you love violence, even the “clean” violence of sports and movies? Why are you working where you are working? Living in the house you are living in? Driving the car you drive? Wearing the clothes you’re wearing…or almost wearing?

I imagine if you dig behind the façade of modern life you will find sin there and a wordly attitude, hungering for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15,16) and the things you want are pleasant to the eyes, something tasty, and maybe even give you a leg up on your neighbors, your family, or your friends (Genesis 3:6).

Maybe if you examined your heart like you do your face in the mirror you’d realize you need more of Christ and less of your SELF.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Proverbs 27:18 commentary; waiting on the master

18 ¶ Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

It is interesting that the fig tree in prophecy is a type of Israel (Hosea 9:1), both in the Old Testament and in the Gospels where Jesus finds the fig tree not bearing the fruit for which it was purposed and curses it (Matthew 21:19.) Certainly, Bible commentators in the last century have been scratching Christians’ ears much like I do my cats’ with preaching about their own understanding of the meaning of such prophecy and away from the more important subjects like the Christian’s own faithlessness and worldiness and bringing shame on the cause of Christ. So, I’ll leave the brilliant expositors of the future to their works and try to do what I have always been trying to do here and bring some practical understanding of how this can be applied to the Christian today.

Look at the connection with John 12:26. Read it again. Our service to Christ; living as a testimony to Him for others to see, showing Christ in our daily lives, preaching the gospel, teaching others about Christ, and being faithful to His doctrines are like nourishing the fig tree. In doing so, we are taking on individually what ancient Israel was called to do as a nation and yet refused to do, preferring man made religion based purely on surface ritual lacking any real commitment of the heart.

We are called to love one another;

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

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

And, indeed, doing good to all people,

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

As I have said before, the definition of “charity”, as in 1 Corinthians 13, is the active, beneficient love that Christians in the body of Christ are to have for each other. The conclusion of that chapter shows that it is more important than either faith or hope.

We are called to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves and to reject the world’s ideals of greed, lust, revenge, envy, pride, and covetousness;

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.

These things do not save us but are evidence of our salvation.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The honor that God bestows on us for waiting on Him comes later when we face Him. We may work long and hard to make something grow, laboring each day as we seek to have Christ shine through us rather than ourselves. We pray to God, let Him speak to us through His words in His Book, worship with other Christians regularly, seek God’s face and seek to be changed by Him into the person He wants us to be.

It’s important to remember that the fig tree we keep and guard and care for doesn’t grow if we keep trying to graft our own SELF onto it. It grows only as we step back and let Christ Himself flow through its branches. At some point, if we have died to SELF and Christ has been manifested in our lives and in our actions after we have been saved we may one day hear;

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Proverbs 27:15, 16 commentary; the terrible wife

15 ¶ A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. 16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

Contentious people are angry and start trouble.

Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Proverbs 26:21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

They are argumentative as Paul uses the word here in his final word on whether women should have long hair or not. He gives a long set of reasons why the Corinthian conviction that women should have long hair is a good one and then ends up with this to overthrow any divisiveness, which is, of course, left out of most preaching by people who insist women must have long hair to be Godly women.

1Corinthians 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Living with an angry, drama loving, argumentative woman is a very unhappy circumstance to find oneself in. You can try to hide her but you might as well try to hide the wind. As Dr. Ruckman says in his commentary, “every time she opened her mouth, the morning shift at the plant knocked off for lunch.” Hiding her would be like trying to hide the Icy Hot muscle pain cream you’ve got on your hand when the smell of it gives you away.

The Proverbs also tell us twice;

Proverbs 21:9 & 25:24 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Let this be a lesson to young, Christian men. Choosing a wife is perhaps the most important decision you’ll make in your life next to trusting in Christ. Traits that are cute or humorous when you’re learning about each other become monstrous problems once you’re married. Ruckman also quotes an old saw, “a sweetheart is like a bottle of wine, while a wife is like a wine bottle.” And, of course, many an unsaved boy who chose a woman for how much of a “hottie” she was lived to regret it for the rest of their lives.

Stay away from women, and the same applies to young girls choosing a husband to stay away from men, who are angry, love drama, and are argumentative. They will be like a steady drip, drip, drip on your head for the rest of your life.

And women and men who insist on contradicting every word that comes out of their husband or wife’s mouth in a little power game of oneupsmanship are fools. I’ve known guys who, no matter what their spouse had accomplished or done, simply had to point out that it was nothing like what they had accomplished or done. They are fools and men of little consequence, usually, just little boys insecure in their manhood. I’ve known women that would never let a moment go by in which they didn’t take the opportunity to belittle or demean their husbands. These women, too, are fools and people who “ain’t ‘bout nothin’” as we said down South.

Are you a contentious spouse sarcastically putting down everything your husband or wife says? You need to ask for Christ’s forgiveness. You’re just wicked.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Proverbs 27:13 commentary; why are Christians so untrustworthy?

13 ¶ Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

(See Proverbs 20:16 for the earlier placement of this verse.) Remember that the Law not only was to govern the ancient Hebrew’s spiritual life and obligations but his civil life as well, unlike the modern Christian, whose life should be managed by the doctrines of grace given in the New Testament letters from Paul to the churches with the indwelling Holy Spirit guiding him or her.

Here, a person is to give his garment as a pledge to guarantee the debt of a foreigner to an Israelite and the Hebrew was told to be sure to get a pledge from him if he was trying to guarantee the debt of a foreign woman (there would probably be all kinds of problems with that debt if the relationship changed course, as they often do) and as was stated previously promising to guarantee someone else’s debt is not a wise thing to do.

Proverbs 6:1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

Proverbs 11:15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

Proverbs 17:18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

These are warnings, not only about suretyship but the people who were not of Israel, who didn’t worship Israel’s God, the Creator of all things, the God of the Bible. Foreign people and foreign worship, customs, and standards of behavior were constant thorns of irritation for Israel and even helped bring about their downfall.

I could go off on an application to Christians that many commentators would about how you should only offer to co-sign or back up a note for a Christian and not an unbeliever. But, that’s simply wrong. The principle here is not to be surety for anyone. Sadly, there are many Christians who are as dishonest or unreliable as any pagan person and many atheists who are more honorable and honest than Christians. Don’t promise another’s debts. If you have the money they need and you think the cause is worthwhile then give the money to the Lord by giving it to them. If they can pay it back ask them to pay it forward and help someone else.

But, most debts we incur are not of necessity or out of wisdom. Most of the debts people ask you to guarantee are poorly thought out and come out of irresponsibility on their part. If you are not in a position to help that person with the money they need, and only for essential things, then I would certainly not go against the Biblical principle and promise to guarantee their debts. But, this is my own opinion. If someone wants to start a business let them save their own money or seek out investors, not come to you to ask you to put your good credit and name on the line as a guarantee of their debt to a bank. Once again, my own opinion. In my youth I would have been one of those guys you would not have wanted to lend money to or to not get a pledge from when I was vouching for someone. I had terrible judgment and bad character.

Why are people who call themselves Christians as unreliable today as others? It’s probably for the same reason that Christians have similar rates or worse of drug addiction, divorce, and immoral or amoral living as others. Why is it that for all the preaching and hammering on personal moral behavior in pulpits that so much of it seems to go in one ear and out the other? Repeatedly, throughout history, Christian leaders have pointed out the Bible’s role in setting the believer apart to be of some use to God.

The Waldensians had a saying, “The Holy Scriptures alone are sufficient to sanctify the believer”, I have read. They would attempt to memorize, to be able to recite by heart, the entire New Testament.

Bishop Becke, an Anglican priest of the Reformation, promised that reading the Bible a half hour a day would relieve the Christian of blasphemy, gambling, and other sins. John Burgon, the Anglican champion of the Received Text in the late 1800’s who opposed the revision of Westcott and Hort (see his books The Last Twelve Verses of Mark and The Revision Revised) gave a lecture I’ve read to his Anglican priest students in which he also recommended daily half hour Bible reading never to be interrupted or put aside for the young preacher of his day. Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII, wrote in the preface to “The Great Bible”, that the Christian must read the Bible every day, implying that if you don’t you certainly aren’t in a position to receive a sermon on Sunday. Daniel Walker Howe in his book What Hath God Wrought, part of the Oxford History of the United States series, talks about how, even up until the early 1800’s that Bible reading was important to the common American, that is before the so called Second Great Awakening took off, followed by emotional fixes in place of a daily letting God speak to them through His word and replacing God with government action.

Paul admonishes the young Pastor, Timothy, in 1 Timothy 4:13 , to “give attendance to reading” also tells the Corinthians, the Ephesians, and the Thessalonians to read his letters, making sure the congregations hear and see them. The early church leader, Tertullian, writing about 200AD states that the originals or authentic copies of the letters from the Apostles were still available in the churches which they started and nourished, implying that you could read them.

God commanded through Moses, in expectation of the Israelites eventually demanding a king, in Deuteronomy 17, that their king should read the Bible they had, which was the Law given to Moses, every day of his life so that he would learn to fear the Lord, keep all the words of the Law and do them, and so he wouldn’t get arrogant and think himself above the Law.

Joshua commanded the Israelites to constantly have the Book of the Law on their tongues and in their minds.

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

In the Bible, the Holy Spirit, speaking through a Psalmist, says this about how God views his word, small “w”.

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.

In earlier days in America, the Bible may have been the only book in a person’s house. Many of the early Americans learned to read by daily Bible reading within their families. Remember the country song about Bible reading called “The Family Bible”, written by Jim Ed Brown, I believe, and sung by both Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash?
“Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages cleft for me.

There's a fam'ly bible on the table
Each page is torn and hard to read
But the fam'ly bible on the table
Will ever be my key to memories.

At the end of day when work was over
And when the evening meal was done
Dad would read to us from the fam'ly bible
And we'd count our many blessings one by one.

I can see us sittin' 'round the table
When from the fam'ly bible dad would read
I can hear my mother softly singing
Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages cleft for me.

This old world of ours is full of troubles
This old world would oh, so better be
If we had more bibles on the table
And mothers singing Rock of Ages cleft for me.

I can see us sittin' 'round the table
When from the fam'ly bible dad would read
I can hear my mother softly singing
Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages cleft for me.

Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages cleft for me...”

There is also an old poem by Amos Wells that I’ve been inspired by about reading the Bible entitled “When You Read the Bible Through”.

“I supposed I knew my Bible
Reading piecemeal, hit and miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third);
Twelfth of Romans, First of Proverbs
Yes, I thought I knew the Word;
But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.
Oh, the massive, mighty volume!
Oh, the treasures manifold!
Oh, the beauty of the wisdom
And the grace it proved to hold!
As the story of the Hebrews
Swept in majesty along,
As it leaped in waves prophetic,
As it burst to sacred song,
As it gleamed with Christly omens,
The Old Testament was new,
Strong with cumulative power,
When I read the Bible through.
Ah, imperial Jeremiah,
With his keen, coruscant mind,
And the blunt old Nehemiah,
And Ezekiel refined!
Newly came the Minor Prophets,
Each with his distinctive robe;
Newly came the Song idyllic,
And the tragedy of Job,
Deuteronomy, the regal,
To a towering mountain grew,
With its comrade peaks around it,
When I read the Bible through.
What a radiant procession
As the pages rise and fall,
James the sturdy, John the tender
Oh, the myriad-minded Paul!
Vast apocalyptic glories
Wheel and thunder, flash and flame,
While the church triumphant raises
One incomparable name.
Ah, the story of the Savior
Never glows supremely true
Till you read it whole and swiftly,
Till you read the Bible through.
You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel, aweary,
And yawn thro’ a hurried prayer;
You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book
Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look
Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.”

Preachers, evangelists, and scholars like Dr. Samuel Gipp who wrote the wonderfully easy to read book An Understandable History of the Bible and people like Dr. Peter Ruckman, frail and human as they are, encourage Christians to read, read, and read the Bible. Dr. Ruckman tells a story that when he took over a Baptist church in the early 1960’s that the deacons smoked in the church. There were ashtrays in the pews in some churches back in those days. He chose not to preach on the ills of smoking but pounded on daily, personal Bible reading as something apart and distinct from Bible study. He claims that within two years, not only had smoking ceased in the church, but he only knew of one family that smoked at home. He claims, like the preachers of old, that daily Bible reading will change you.

Whether it be the God of the Bible through the Bible itself, theologians, preachers, persecuted Medieval Christians, poets, and songwriters there are people throughout history telling you to read that Bible you have gathering dust on the shelf or laying on your desk.

I am not much of an example. I’ve accomplished very little in life. I’m prone to sin and failure at every turn. Do not expect too much from me as judging by my track record I’ll let you down. But God has changed me and is changing me through His word. With the exceptions of a few short periods of complete and utter insanity over the last several years God has been molding me with His word. My wife sees it. Some of my family know it. Perhaps others do, as well. God has removed from my heart, several things that were not good and added a few that were. It’s been a slow process but I am certain that from what someone as carnal and degenerate as I’ve been all my life can see accomplished in his life by God with my only action being to read and believe and to trust and wait, that you, better person than I’ll ever be on this earth, can experience so much more.

What Christians are missing in their lives today is the joy, love, and peace that God wants to give them through His words in His Book, and not only that, but victory over sin and other foolishness. Why are Christians often no more trustworthy or moral than the world at large? Because the Bible is not center stage in their hearts. Because of that the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, isn’t sitting on the throne of their hearts.

As Jesus Himself said;

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

Proverbs 27:14 commentary; too much praise

14 ¶ He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

At first I saw this as very clearly a simple Proverb about how even something that you normally would love to hear, like approval and a blessing from a friend, could be a real nuisance if done excessively or at the wrong time. For instance, you wouldn’t care to have your friend call you on the telephone early in the morning, waking you up, to tell you how wonderful you are. In fact, you’d eventually look on that person as a pain in the neck or mentally unbalanced. In other words, your approval can become a curse rather than a blessing by being given excessively and at inopportune times.

The commentators talk about, as the earlier Proverb about “open rebuke” being better than “secret love” so does excessive verbal blessing eventually become meaningless and annoying. So, when does a blessing become a curse?

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

When blessing becomes flattery and someone is tempted to believe the excess coming from a friend’s mouth it can lead to a higher view of oneself than is warranted and then the ruin that can follow from pride. Christians are told;

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

And the warnings given in Proverbs are abundant about not thinking too highly of yourself;

Proverbs 16:18 ¶ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 19 ¶ Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Proverbs 25:27 ¶ It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

Proverbs 26:12 ¶ Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

This Proverb is a particular problem for a child. You may have a gifted child or a child who seems very intelligent emotionally. You want them to have all the opportunities to excel, to take their natural abilities and rise high with them. But, be careful about excessive praise. Give them a chance to prove themselves by their behavior and actions rather than just their potential.

When I was a child I was bookish and an avid reader. I could retain information and loved to talk about what I’d read. Certain members of my family had far too high an opinion of my potential and not enough sober realization of my limitations. As a result of these errors in judgment I was pushed too far too fast for my actual abilities. By skipping parts of grades and being placed in “gifted” groups and “honors” courses when I really didn’t have the actual ability to match the demands placed on me my emotional growth was harmed, my maturity was stifled, and I suffered a great deal.

Let me put it another way about how we live through our kids. We don’t let kids play sandlot baseball anymore. We want them to play on organized teams hoping that they’ll one day be professional superstars. We don’t just hope that our child will be able to handle college or trade school and get a decent job so he or she can support himself. As soon as we realize our child is bright we begin dreaming of them being a great doctor or lawyer, being famous and important. We push and push our children and heap praise after praise on them. I remember a friend in college who committed suicide. He had gone to college at only 16 years old, gifted beyond his years. His name was Shelton Darity. Such a nice kid. One day he drank a deadly poison whose name I can’t remember and was found in his cubicle at the math building I believe. The note he left said, “There’s nothing wrong. I’m just tired.” He always talked about the high hopes his family had for him and how he just wanted to live a normal life. But, when I went down to talk to the campus police with others who knew him, stunned and grieving, all they talked about was his great promise and the waste of his death. None of us really considered that he had been pushed too far, praised too much, and not afforded the right to just be a person.

Now, Shelton was a genius and I wasn’t so I’m not making a comparison that way. My point is that flattery, excessive approval, praise, and blessing is not necessarily a good thing. It can lead to pride or it can lead to despair, fearing that you can’t measure up to what’s expected of you.

I remember someone who used to be a preacher writing, and I can’t remember where it was or who said it, but it was someone who seemed to be gifted at speaking and putting the Bible in context but everyone “wanted a piece of him” and eventually he could not take the pressure to be perfect, to always have the next sermon be more brilliant than any previous, to be terrified of making a mistake or having people pick apart his moral failings, no matter how small. He finally gave up the ministry because he just came to believe that he would eventually let everyone down.

Many preachers and teachers have dealt with the excessive praise and blessing that becomes a curse because it is accompanied by expectations that are unreasonable and unfair. I am reminded again of the gifted child having scholarships and praise heaped upon him but not being allowed to learn and grow like a normal human being and being expected to be perfect.

So, in this respect, try to think of this Proverb the next time your child scores the home run, the touchdown, or aces the big exam, and someone tells you how they’re going to go far and should look into this or that school or program for the gifted. Be very careful about how much praise you heap on them, rising early in the morning with a loud voice. Your blessings may become a curse.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Proverbs 27:11,12 commentary; the prudent and the simple

11 ¶ My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me. 12 ¶ A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Here is a father who wants his son to do right and be wise that no one may be able to tell him, “you didn’t raise him right.” Two types of people are referenced here; the prudent and the simple. We’ve already seen that a prudent person is wise by the Bible’s own way of defining words in 16:21 and18:15 by parallel phrasing. The simple are inexperienced, young, and naïve as in 1:4; 7:7 and don’t know anything in 9:13.

This verse was repeated word for word in 22:3, too. Now, evil has several different meanings in the Bible. It is the opposite of good in the very second chapter of Genesis. It carries with it the thought of intended malice and violence in Genesis 37:20, Amos 6:3, and Jonah 3:8, again shown by contrast and parallel phrasing. It is trouble, calamity, and disaster in Isaiah 45:7; Matthew 6:34; and I Timothy 6:10. So, it is a general term that doesn’t always mean simply sinful iniquity. To render it to mean only that would blaspheme God in Isaiah 45:7 and make Matthew 6:34 a joke. However, here it can obviously be trouble and sinful iniquity, which go hand in hand.

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

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

And comforted with;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 7, 2011

Proverbs 27:9-10 commentary; a friend close by

9 ¶ Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. 10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

Matthew Henry takes these verses together and they seem to have a connectedness. The sweetness of friendship, from God’s point of view, doesn’t manifest itself in a few laughs or an afternoon watching a game or a shopping trip, but in the trust that comes from good and passionate counsel. A true friend’s concern for your success or failure and, moreso, your welfare, is of much more value than a person’s friendship who just hangs out with you for a few laughs.

The Proverbs go on to say that a neighbor near to you, someone you can reach quickly and can talk to without waiting, is better to turn to in a crisis or a tragedy than even a brother who is far away. So, it is better to have a friend who gives you good and sound counsel than one who is just for trivial matters and a friend who lives close by is better to count on in time of trouble than a brother or sister who lives far away.

In addition, the Proverbs point out that such a friend you should not turn your back on. Even a dear friend of a parent, if nearby, is better than relying on a relative who is far away.

Christ is always close to us. He is always there for our benefit and to commune with us. We are always close to Christ in prayer.

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

We have been brought near to God by the shedding of God’s own blood.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

We should be in a constant state of prayer, speaking to God.

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

By this constant contact we can have peace of mind and calm assurance.

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

Christ is the Christian’s dearest friend and greatest help in time of trouble. He is that friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Prayer accomplishes things because there is someone on the other end of the prayer who is real, living, and who loved you enough to die for you in the flesh, to take on your sins against Him, and to pay the price you owed to Him for your sin. Prayer does not accomplish things because you think something hard enough or wish for it fervently. It is because God is not a concept or an idea but a living being with a soul, a spirit, and a body; all three of which can act independently of each other and yet be in perfect harmony unlike your soul, spirit, and body which must remain together for you to physically live.

For many people prayer is just wishful thinking or, as the atheists believe, a person talking to the ceiling or themselves. But, if you have truly trusted Christ as your Saviour, then He is your friend as well. His counsel, His Bible, is hearty counsel and He is closer than a brother.

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

Speak to Him now in your heart, in your thoughts, sitting in your kitchen, upon your bed, at work, wherever you are; thank Him, praise Him, and ask Him for the yearnings of your heart. Ask what He is going to do with you this day and be aware of what He does. Most of all, seek His will and His counsel. There is no one you can trust more to care for you.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Proverbs 27:8 commentary; Godliness with contentment is true success

8 ¶ As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

Wandering in the Bible takes on the meanings of moving about aimlessly and of searching for something you can’t find. In our modern culture we value individualism and “our rights” to the extent that we don’t know what our place is nor would we accept it if we did. Paul, speaking with the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gave him tells the Corinthians;

1 Corinthians 7:17 ¶ But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. 18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

There is a discontent in our society, an uneasiness with where you are and what you have. We are not satisfied with the home we have, the job we have, our social status, our entertainments. Americans are always wanting something else or as the Achilles character says, played by Brad Pitt in the movie “Troy” when asked what he wants, “I want what every many wants; more.”

In the 1970’s when I was in college life was all about “finding yourself”. No status quo was acceptable. We were to, as the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie title said, “Stay Hungry.” Our culture, so wrapped up in movies and music and advertising a lifestyle of dissatisfaction, coveting, and lusting had the problem wrapped up in The Rolling Stones song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

The word of God condemns that attitude. We Christians are to stay in our place, which is in God’s word.

Psalms 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

We are to be satisfied with the simplest of our needs being met.

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

This expands on a thought found in the Old Testament, under the Law.

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Young people, learn a trade, work with your 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;

Our culture, our advertising, and much of our business is dependent on you never being quite satisfied with what you are or what you have. They always want you to want more, more, more, and you will spend your life in an unending and futile quest to have the most and the best. But the phrase “he who dies with the most toys wins” is a lie as Paul pointed out in the 1 Timothy verses above. It is only he who dies with Christ who wins. In eternity you will not remember the features your cellphone had or how spiffy your new car was. All of the things you have worked overtime for to accumulate and gather around you will be burned up in that day. It is only what you have with Christ that will last. Sit down and think about it. Admit it. The stuff you have doesn’t make you happy, hasn’t helped you or your children grow spiritually in Christ, and is a nuisance at best.

On a different note, the person who is always out wandering from his place and getting into trouble is criticized as well. First, there are those who won’t keep at home. They used to be called gadabouts, always searching to start drama, wandering from bar to bar or house to house.

The first verse is about a man but also contains a prophetic message about the Beast of Revelation (popularly called the “Antichrist”, a word not found in Revelation) which is not the point of our Proverb necessarily. Try to think of how this affects you.

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

The following verses are about women.

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

Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

And again, our culture and its popular entertainments want us to be dissatisfied with the spouses we have which is Satan’s purpose for everything from pornography to romance novels. But here we are told;

Proverbs 5:15 ¶ Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. 16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

Just remember, and this is a warning to others in developing countries as well who lust after the lifestyle that they perceive to be American, our culture thrives on discontent and dissatisfaction with what you have, who you are, what you look like, and how you view those around you. Our relationships, our dreams, hopes, and those things we desire are based on a throwaway culture where no person or thing is as important as getting another, different person or thing. This attitude is not what a Christian is called to want. This is the world’s dead end. I have recently posted the world’s message from 1 John 2 in conjunction with the temptation Satan laid out before Eve and Adam.

For those of you who are contentious, I am not saying, and I don’t think the Bible is saying, to be content with grinding poverty or injustice or to be satisfied with the crumbs the powerful throw your way and not working hard and smart. What I am saying is about not spending your life in a miserable, unhappy funk because you always are wanting something you don’t have. I’m not discounting education or becoming better at what you do or moving your family out of a dirty, dangerous place. I am certain that everyone knows exactly what I’m talking about and how this Proverb can be applied to a Christian in today’s world.

Be content. Stop wandering.