(#89) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:34-God’s Burden Against America

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”

“Righteousness” is the state or condition of being “right,” as defined by God: “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7); by His commandments: “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172); by His example: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Governments exist to protect the “righteous” within their citizenry: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:3-5). Every law; court-ruling; verbally-abusive, bullying, headlined propaganda piece; Harlotwood perversely slanted movie or TV program will be considered in God’s Judgment of this, or any other, nation! Speaking to Christians about the Jewish persecution of them, Paul wrote: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

God would not destroy the homosexually-corrupted cities of Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20; 19:1-11) if there were as few as 10 righteous among them (Genesis 18:23-33), but there weren’t. God had a “burden” of judgment against nations, countries, and cities where sin had prevailed: Babylon (Isaiah 13:1) and Nineveh (Nahum 1:1); Moab (Isaiah 15:1); Damascus in Syria (Isaiah 17:1); Egypt (Isaiah 19:1); and Arabia (Isaiah 21:13). Assyria (not covenant-keepers of Moses’ Law!) was told by the prophet: “The LORD has given a command concerning you: ‘Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile’” (Nahum 1:14). Since then, none of these have ever arisen again to their former prominence and power! Since Jesus Christ, no country is God’s chosen People except the spiritual kingdom known as the churches of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 16:16).

All God requires of every nation is to uphold and encourage right-thinking and right-doing: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin’” (Ezekiel 18:29-30). God is “fair,” for He accepts anyone who obeys Him: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:34-35).

Jesus Christ pronounced the principle that saves: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16). This Gospel obeyed, exalts any nation.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.’” — George Orwell

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #burden, #church-of-christ, #commandments, #evil, #fair, #god, #good-works, #government, #judgment, #leaders, #obedience, #preaching, #proverbs, #righteous, #righteousness, #terror, #truth, #wisdom

Louder, and With Many More Voices

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet, but perhaps it might be equally said that he was a burdened prophet. He was a man burdened with carrying the Lord’s word to a people who really had no interest in hearing it. Because the Lord’s word was in his heart he could and would do nothing but preach the Lord’s mercy – a mercy that the people of Judah were not interested in hearing. In fact, they made it plain they were not interested: “Then they said, ‘Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words’” (Jeremiah 18:18, ESV).

When one does not want to hear what the Lord says, then all that needs done is to refuse and rebuild. Refuse to hear the Lord by denying the credentials, authority, allegiance, etc. of the one doing the speaking. Once this refusal is in place, rebuilding needs to occur. Rebuild in one’s own likeness, with one’s own desire. Many in Jeremiah’s day refused to accept the fact the Lord was removing His protective care; they deluded themselves with this thinking because God’s temple was present (7:4), and surely God would not remove His presence from His temple, they asserted!

In order to hold up their opinion against the insistence of the prophet they rejected, they spoke louder and with many more voices. How lonely did Jeremiah feel when such words were spoken against him? However lonely he was the only anchor that could pull him through the tempestuous storm was the Lord’s anchor.

What about our anchor?

#anchor, #burden, #jeremiah, #lonely

‘Beauty for Ashes’

The Gospel Advocate Company copyrighted the hymn, “Beauty for Ashes” in 1948.

Written by Grant Colfax Tullar, the hymn’s first verse is: “Beauty for ashes God hath decreed! Help He provideth for every need; what is unlovely he will restore; grace all-sufficient ― what need we more?”

The hymn comes from one of Isaiah’s verses that says, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” (Isaiah 61:3).

One of the most important aspects of salvation is repentance. Repentance is a change of mind reflected in a change of conduct. It begins with godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) and leads to a change in the life.

One must be brokenhearted to repent. One must understand the heavy burden and toll of sin and that it is causing a separation (Isaiah 61:1-2). One must understand sin makes captive body and soul and can continue its bondage in eternity.

But God has provided a remedy for sin. No matter if your body and spirit are racked by a lifetime of sin, Jesus can, as the song says, restore was is unlovely. He can take our burdens and turn them into peace. He will trade our strife and turn it into concord.

All he needs is you to come to him brokenhearted and ready to obey.

Tullar wrote, “God gives for sadness ‘garments of praise;’ (also from Isaiah 61:3) Stars for our twilight, strength for our days; Hope for tomorrow, care for today; Light for our footsteps all of life’s way.”

Repent and obey God today. He will take your heartache in trade.

#burden, #care, #jesus-christ, #sin

Hard Sayings (3) Woe to those who draw i…

Hard Sayings (3)

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!” (Isaiah 5:18-19)

This is an interesting passage because it addresses those who think their individual sin will not find them out. They no more think that they can hide their sin only to not realize that the Lord has already seen it – before it was even committed! This is why the pronouncement of a warning. Dragging sin around, as if it was a wagon to be pulled, is failing to see that sins accumulate (if you will) and the burden of carrying (or pulling) becomes more difficult with each step. In a matter of time, the heavy burden prevents us from moving forward. The weight is too much. This is bad enough, but when society looks at sin as something to be flaunted, it is merely a matter of time before the arrogant society is destroyed. All one has to do is look at history itself. When the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do? They will suffer as the wicked. RT

#arrogance, #burden, #weight