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(#125) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:13-Many Happy Returns

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 17:13: “Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.”

There are only four ways to payback deeds: 1) Good for Good; 2) Evil for Evil; 3) Evil for Good; or 4) Good for Evil.

1) While a good gratitude level, it is doing what would be expected from anyone: “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back” (Luke 6:32-34).

2) This human response may “feel good,” but is totally contrary to God’s example in Jesus Christ, “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Other proverbs repeat this principle: “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil;’ Wait for the LORD, and He will save you” (Proverbs 20:22); “Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work’” (Proverbs 24:29).

3) This is the way to curse one’s own future, household, job, friendships, or eternal destiny.

Everything God Created “was very good” (Genesis 1:31), but Adam and Eve repaid Him by violating His rule in sin (“through one man sin entered the world,” Romans 5:12).

The southern kingdom, Judah, gave God evil for good: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.’ Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward” (Isaiah 1:2-4).

The history of the Jews’ dealings with God’s Prophets justified His destruction of their Nation in A.D. 70. “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; also Matthew 21:33-46).

4) The superior method is: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21).

This not humanly possible without having the inner “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:14), who will “be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

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

#bible-study, #deeds, #evil, #good, #gratitude, #ingratitude, #life, #payback, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #salvation, #sin, #wisdom

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(#94) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:14-You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Covers

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 15:14: “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

Fools feed on foolishness, which is why they are “fools!” These are the people who read: headlines touting ungodly ways without reading the articles showing their failures; magazine covers showing beautiful pictures of perverse and ungodly people without seeing how vain and spiritless their lives prove to be; TV programs whose interviews with celebrity baby-makers completely ignore their ungodly rejection of God’s marriage and home pattern for protective developing of a human life; social media expressions of freedom from rules, restrictions, and regulations, which have been developed from Biblical principles! Other proverbs have this teaching incorporated in them:

(1) “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24). It is foolish for everything to be done for “the world economy,” or “for all of humanity,” or “for history’s sake,” and to neglect the near, immediate, and personal concerns! Having one’s head in the clouds, eyes on the horizon, or feet on the go often prevents meeting the needs of those closest to us.

(2) “Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all” (Proverbs 28:5). It takes a studied effort to learn the LORD’s way, and “evil men” are on a different path to knowledge of the wrong things. “Those who seek the LORD” learn more of the LORD and of themselves as their experience grows, but those who are “evil” never learn “justice” (fair play, good moral rules, good godly sense).

If you’d rather feed on foolishness, you’ve chosen your companions. But if you wish to change your mind, seek the wisdom that is from above and revealed in Scripture: “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge; For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; Let them all be fixed upon your lips, So that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may answer words of truth To those who send to you?” (Proverbs 22:17-21)

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

#bible-study, #evil, #fools, #head-in-the-clouds, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #seek-the-lord, #sin, #ungodly, #wisdom, #wisdom-from-above, #world-economy

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(#91) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:3-God Knows More Than “TSA” and “NSA”

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 15:3: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

This is not saying God’s “eyes” are everywhere, but they see “in every place” all the behaviors of mankind, both “the evil and the good.” One thread throughout the Scriptures is that God is Omniscient, that is, He sees everything at all times. When “Big Brother’s” TSA in airports and NSA in communications invade personal space as they do, how can anyone question God’s complete knowledge of all that happens on the Earth? To say “God wound up the universe and then sat back and watched From a Distance (as a song used to teach, and Deists believe)” is a complete denial of the Word of God, which is a record of God’s dealings with mankind since the Creation!

In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8), but God called them out (Genesis 3:9-13). When Abraham proved his faith, but was stopped before he actually offered his son, Isaac, on the altar, and offered “a ram caught in a thicket” for a burnt offering “instead of his son,” he “called the name of the place, The-LORD-will-provide” (Genesis 22:1-14). Israelites sinned while Moses was in Mount Sinai receiving God’s Law, “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!’” (Exodus 32:9). King Hezekiah was “sick and near death” and God told His prophet, Isaiah, to say, “Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5).

God can also see all that is done that is good. Upon completion of His Creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Upon Jonah’s preaching “Repent or Perish,” the King of Nineveh led his people in repentance, and, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).

Other proverbs teach this: “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths” (Proverbs 5:21); “Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men” (Proverbs 15:11); “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). Since God created “the seeing eye” of humans, doesn’t it follow that God is a “seeing” God? “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see?” (Psalm 94:9)

“’Am I a God near at hand,’ says the LORD, ‘And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him? says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

This major doctrine about God is summarized in the New Testament, for Jesus taught that our charitable deeds, prayers, and fasting, that are done in “secret” before God, and not for show “before men,” would be seen by our “Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4,6,18). “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Since nothing is hidden from God, why hide our evils behind husband, wife, children, house, job, friends, nighttime, dim lights, doors, walls, or any other supposed barrier? God know these, our consciences know these, and more often than not, some other people know them as well. Truly, “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden” (1 Timothy 5:24-25). Let God cleanse your soul from hidden sins, and “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

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

#baptized, #bible-study, #big-brother, #deists, #evil, #from-a-distance, #god, #good, #nsa, #omniscience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #repent, #secret, #truth, #tsa, #wisdom

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(#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

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(#84) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:19-The Wicked Should Take A Bow!

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 14:19: “The evil will bow before the good, And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.”

“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1). These are not the questions discussed here. Rather, this proverb brings to our attention the fact that not all goes well with the “evil,” and that we ought see, many other times, it is the other way around! Though Joseph’s brothers had “meant evil against” him by selling him into slavery, but when famine forced them to go into Egypt, “Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth” (Genesis 42:6). Another such occasion was when wicked Haman sought to kill Mordecai, but his evil scheme was revealed by Queen Esther, and then King Ahasuerus ordered Haman, who was pleading for his own life, to be hanged on the 75-foot “gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai” (Esther 7:1-10). In Philippi, a slave girl was freed from her masters who profited by her “divination,” Paul and Silas were mistreated as “the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods…they threw them into prison” (Acts 16:22-23). Later, however, those same magistrates “came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city” (Acts 16:39)! The church of Christ in Philadelphia was promised by Jesus Christ: “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie–indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9). Other proverbs which teach this include: “The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, And the unfaithful for the upright” (Proverbs 21:18); “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, But He overthrows the words of the faithless” (Proverbs 22:12). This humbling of the wicked is because of their own sins, but will not always be brought about in this life. Though “life isn’t fair,” God is just, and will see to it that evil fails and right prevails!

The ultimate bowing of the evil wicked will be on the final Judgment Day, for God decreed through Isaiah: “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath” (Isaiah 45:22-23). The Apostle Paul used this very language to show what the future Judgment will be: “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God’” (Romans 14:10-11). Jesus was seeking to prepare “every creature” when He said: “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). Bow before the good before it is too late!

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

#bible-study, #bow, #evil, #good, #judgment-day, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #righteous, #sin, #wicked, #wisdom

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(#83) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:15-16-Simply Lost

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 14:15-16: “The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps. 16 A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.”

“The simple” is a term, in the Book of Proverbs, which describes someone who is not using their mind for good judgment. “Simple” is not a compliment, for it is a disgrace for a human being not to use reasoning before acting. When sinful actions are the result of hormones, others, anger or malice, opportunity, lusts, pride, envy, rebelliousness, or willful ignorance, then prudence has not been used. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

One of the purposes of a proverb, Solomon said, is to “give prudence to the simple” (Proverbs 1:4). When one honestly, sincerely, and lovingly “thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:5-6), that indicates a purity of heart desiring to believe the best in others. But when one is “simple,” in the New Testament, it means to think innocently without always dwelling on wrongs, sins, or evil. One may therefore be easily deceived by slick speeches, designed to mislead. “For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Romans 16:18-20). Being “wise in what is good” means using God’s Word as a filter for discrimination or prudence. Being “simple concerning evil” means making judgments unmixed by seeing any possibilities of evil.

Every time sin is identified, “a fool rages” as if he is right and unjustly condemned! The indignant sinner makes mockery of God’s Word. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). NONE of such sinners has any moral right to such behavior, and NO right to condemn God, Scripture, or Christians because their behavior is damned! The church of Christ in Corinth was made up of people who, having heard, “believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8), but had left behind their immorality and ungodliness (1 Corinthians 6:11). NO indignant or raging sinner will be saved. Scribes and Pharisees watched Jesus for something with which to condemn Him, but, with a miracle, He healed a man, and challenged their false doctrine. “But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:6-11). It is sad when any sinner reacts with defensive rage but misses Jesus Christ.

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

#bible-study, #discrimination, #evil, #good, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #prudence, #simple, #wisdom

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(#70) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:15-Why Do Sinners Live The Hard Life?

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 13:15: “Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard.”

There is nothing in the teaching of Jesus Christ that cannot appeal to the better nature in every person. “Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:16-19). By precisely following Jesus Christ, the Christian life would be peaceful to all. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men– as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:15-17).

“The way of the unfaithful is hard” is proven every day in every way. It is much more difficult to live in sin than to follow the way of righteousness. The life controlled by alcohol, or other drugs, is littered with domestic abuse, violent arguments, tragic accidents, and lost wages; STDs, HIV, and their accompanying afflictions are not usually associated with the purity of one male and one female devotion in marriage (Matthew 19:4-9); finding purpose in life, holding to high principles, and facing threats and troubles from enemies in life is impossible without Christ (1 Peter 2:13-17); aging while looking back over a life of ruin is agonizing, and Solomon later said: “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God” (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13). If a sinner can see what a Christian does not have to endure, obeying Jesus Christ is clearly the better way. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:4-6). Other proverbs also teach this hardship of sinners: “Evil pursues sinners, But to the righteous, good shall be repaid” (Proverbs 13:21); “In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble” (Proverbs 15:6); “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, But he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall” (Proverbs 28:18); “By transgression an evil man is snared, But the righteous sings and rejoices” (Proverbs 29:6). Given the difficulties in life, many sinners resort to even more sin! That’s like finding ourselves in a hole, and we start digging! The solution is not to do more sin, but to be relieved from that burden. Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).

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

#alcohol-and-other-drugs, #bible-study, #christian-living, #evil, #jesus-christ, #marriage, #obedience, #peaceful, #proverbs, #salvation, #wicked, #wisdom

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(#22) Studies in the Book of Proverbs Eight Reasons Why Listen To Reason: #4: 8:12-21

#4 Verses 12-21: She Speaks Prudently

Verses 12-14: One who accepts God’s Wisdom, will also receive “prudence” (critical thinking), “knowledge” (factual insight), and “discretion” (ability to use, good judgment). One basic judgment underlies all: reverence for God means rejection of “evil” illustrated by “pride” (opposite of humility, Proverbs 29:23), “arrogance” (inflated opinion of personal power), “evil way” (determination to do wrong), and “perverse mouth” (advocating what is in their heart). No one can love God and love evil. Jesus said: “”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).  Paul taught: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). God offers “counsel” (good advice), “sound wisdom” (good thinking), “understanding” (awareness of choices), “strength” (ability to stand with decisions).

Verses 15-16: Since all authority is with God, then every human government should recognize God’s Wisdom, for with it all layers of government would work: kings, rulers, princes, nobles, and judges. Jesus Christ reminded even the Roman Governor that he “would have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).

Verses 17-21: To love Wisdom is to be loved by Wisdom (John 14:21), and diligent searchers “will find me.” Jesus Christ said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). The value Wisdom brings to a person’s life is not just “riches and honor,” but riches that last because of “righteousness.” Earth’s “gold” and “silver” cannot mean more than Wisdom’s “fruit” (benefits) and “revenue” (worth). Wisdom leads only in what is “right” and “just” which brings “wealth” and “treasures.”  This is illustrated in Daniel’s life, for after he had taken his stand on his faith and used his miraculous gift to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he prospered. “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. The king answered Daniel, and said, ‘Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.’ Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:46-48). No empire, kingdom, country, or territory lasts long and prospers well that rejects God’s Wisdom!

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

#bible-study, #discretion, #evil, #knowledge, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #riches, #treasure, #understanding, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#7) God’s Wisdom Delivers From Perverse Teachers and Immoral Women 2:10-22

Verses 10-15: Those who have accepted wisdom, are pleased with knowledge, preserved by discretion (good judgment), kept (protected) by understanding, are prepared to ward off “evil.” “Evil” is described by the four phrases in verses 12-15:  (1) “Perverse” teaching. “Perverse” means “to turn or change a thing from its truthful meaning.” This is designed to misdirect and confuse a right-thinking person. (2) “Leave the paths of righteousness.” These are determined to go their own way. (3) “Walk in the ways of darkness.” Those who hide their sinful deeds either in the dark of night, or in the darkness of ignorance, do not please God.  (4) “Rejoice in doing evil.” Their pleasure is in what is wrong, not what is right. (5) “Delight in the perversity of the wicked.” Not only their own evil deeds, but have pleasure in others who are like them morally. (6) “Crooked,” and “devious” describe them, not “upright” and “truthful.”

What has been described is why youthful, inexperienced, ignorant, immature children have no business making their own decisions about life without parental guidance and The Word of God! Proverbs 2:10-15 have just described “the wrong crowd” for any good person, and, unfortunately, this “crowd” has descended into “religion,” as the Apostles of Jesus Christ described (1 Timothy 6:3-5; Jude 3-21), and has given it a bad reputation.

Verses 16-19: Since God created one woman for one man and brought her to that man to complete him, the terms for a married couple has been “the man and his wife” (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6, 9). That said, every woman is “strange” who seeks a sexual relationship with any man who is not her own husband. Sex before or outside of marriage is “fornication,” and sex with anyone already in a marriage relationship with another individual is “adultery” (Hebrews 13:4). The “immoral woman” is one who:

(1) “Flatters with her words.” This is “oily, slick” speech of a prostitute.

(2) “Forsakes the companion of her youth.” She carries no learned convictions from her childhood, nor appreciation of men since that time.

(3) “Forgets the covenant of her God.” She has irreverence for God and His pattern for marriage, and is willing to put this out of her mind altogether.

(4) “Her house leads down to death.” Disease, affliction, pain and sorrow are inside, not a pleasant future.

(5) “Her paths to the dead.” All roads lead to her “cemetery.” How can anyone having sex with her say, “Man, that’s living?”

(6) It’s a one-way street, meaning once she seduces, it plants the seeds of discontent, desire, and destruction in a heart, that seldom can recover. “The paths of life” that are not recovered involve the life of health, happiness, honesty, and heaven. Fornicators and adulterers have violated their bodies and souls (1 Corinthians 6:15-19), and while not impossible, repentance and recovery is very difficult.

Verses 20-22: Teach the prior judgment of God, and the wise will be warned and advised of conduct to be avoided. God’s Wisdom shows the way of “goodness,” “righteousness” which the “upright” and “blameless” will follow. Rejecting that Wisdom is for the “wicked” that shall be “cut off from the earth,” and the “unfaithful” are to be “uprooted from it.”

#adultery, #bible-study, #crooked, #daily-bible-reading-old-testament, #evil, #fornication, #immoral-woman, #obedience, #perverse-things, #practical-lessons, #sin, #strange-woman, #wicked, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#4) Listen to Your Parents, not a “Gang!” 1:8-19

Verses 8-9: The father, whose work may occupy much time, gives “instruction,” while the mother, whose work principally should be family, gives “law.” The assumption here is that both have spiritually agreed to enforce God’s law as best they might, therefore they are not in conflict with each other, nor undermine the other’s authority with the children. This formula is clearly upheld in the Law of Christ (Ephesians 6:1-4). “Human fathers” also chasten us (Hebrews 12:9) and enforce the discipline of teaching. Societies that encourage, sanction, or teach children to ignore and disrespect their parents or to rebel against them, will not long survive. “Single parenting” is not the best way to raise a child. God has planned for both a “father” and a “mother” to be required, and included, in a child’s proper instruction. The highest percentage of poverty in America is found in single-parent homes, mostly where the mother is the single parent! Properly teaching a child is like fine jewelry.

Verse 10: No one may be misled into sin without consent. Children are “in the wrong crowd” when they haven’t been shown how to recognize “the wrong crowd,” or to refuse to go along with “the wrong crowd,” or taught to conform and give consent to “the wrong crowd.” Parents who let their children be led by peers instead of by rightful parental advice have abdicated their duty and will be held accountable for it. “Sinners” refers to the willfully disobedient, not an occasional sin.

Verses 11-14: “The wrong crowd” will propose: (vss. 11-12) anything up to the point of murder to gain their advantage; (vs. 13) stealing anything and everything; (vs.14) becoming an equal partner in all matters. There is no clearer description of “gangs,” “brotherhoods,” “mobs,” “cliques,” “unions,” or any other group devoted to violence. It is truly foolish ignorance to join such power associations, and must surely be referred to by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

Verses 15-19: Such groups are to be avoided by not taking the first step with them (v. 15); for they are always in a hurry to do their evil (v. 16) and ignore the open net of judgment awaiting them (v. 17); the wicked openly seek blood with no prompting (v. 18); those “greedy for gain” (covetous) are so involved in pursuing “gain” they lose their own lives, and others’ lives, if necessary!

#bible-study, #daily-bible-reading, #evil, #gangs, #proverbs, #sin, #teaching, #wicked

Grow in intolerance

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” Romans 12:9.

We must grow in our intolerance! Oooh, did I just say that out loud?

In the world that tells us we must be tolerant of everything but truth, there is no longer anything such as sin. By the world’s new moral code that we must live by, the absolutes of good and evil are gone as we graciously accept anything that anybody does as OK by his or her personal code of ethics.

“Judge not lest ye be judged” is twisted and thrown back in a Christian’s face if he is so intolerant as to claim that the standard he has chosen is not his own but God’s. But that’s not what God meant when Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 7:1. We are to discern what is evil first in our own plank-filled eye but then in the speck-filled eye of our brother, whom we love enough not to want to see perish in eternal fire.

Love must be sincere, God commands. Then He tells us to hate what is evil – not to accept it or tolerate it in ourselves or others – but to stigmatize certain behaviors as ‘sinful’ and ‘wrong,’ all the while clinging to other behaviors we’ve seen God be so ‘intolerant’ as to mark as ‘good.’

Are you as ‘intolerant’ as God would have you be?

Doug Kashorek

Plattsburgh church of Christ

www.plattsburghchurch.com

author of Kin of Cain

a Christian historical fantasy

www.douglaskashorek.com

#evil, #intolerance, #tolerance, #truth

HATE AND EVIL

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7:7, ESV). Reflect on these words just a bit. Jesus, talking to his brothers, said that he was not going up to the festival occasion just yet. In fact, his brothers asserted that when one seeks to be known there must be an effort to gain attention (7:4). Jesus, however, did not seek attention from the people. He knew that which he spoke was not going to be received by the people because – and he made it very plain – that which the people were doing was (is) evil. 

If that which the people were doing was evil, and Jesus called it for what it was, should we follow his pattern? Yes, we should. Because many Christians do exactly what the Lord did they have experienced much opposition! Do you hate evil enough to speak out against it? RT

#evil, #hate

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Psalm 52

Vs. 1-5 describe a truly evil man;

Vs. 6-9 contrast the righteous man.

The occasion for this Psalm seems to be Doeg’s betrayal and murder of God’s priests who had helped David and his men in their dire need (1 Samuel 21:1-9), while they were escaping the pursuit of King Saul (1 Samuel 21:10-22:23).

Verses 1-5: No evil person should “boast” because “the goodness of God endures continually,” i.e. God’s goodness will triumph always! A person’s evil nature is revealed by the tongue which: “devises destruction,” is like “a sharp razor,” “working deceitfully,” “love lying,” “love all devouring words,” and is a “deceitful tongue.” Truly, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). The destruction of righteous people by tongue is because their good is hated. Solomon’s wisdom said: “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18). Doeg stated his information in such a way that King Saul drew a wrong conclusion, but Doeg did not correct it. That led to the deaths of God’s appointed priests! It’s not enough “to love,” for a wicked person may “love evil more than good.” Given the choice today, Christians are told, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11). Verse 5 says, essentially, the same as Proverbs 2:22, that God will punish the wicked!

Verse 6-9: The “righteous” shall “hear and fear,” that is, pay attention and respect God’s condemnation of the wicked, and “laugh at him” (the wicked) because he trusted his riches instead of God. Jesus warned of “the deceitfulness of riches” as one of three things that choke out the Word of God in a person’s heart (Mark 4:19-20). Verse 8 says: “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.” “A green olive tree” will grow and ripen by trusting “in the mercy of God forever and ever,” and illustrates the development of faith (“trust”) in God over a lifespan. “The house of God” was a tabernacle (tent) at the time (Levites served in “the tabernacle of the house of God” (1 Chronicles 6:48), for Solomon had not yet built the temple in Jerusalem. Verse 9 states the persistence of a saint’s praise for the name of God.

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #evil, #tongue

Great Little Illustration

Here’s a neat little story called “Peaceful Co-Existience” that I got from The Voice of Truth International. The author wasn’t given, but whoever it was, their point can’t be missed.

The story is told of a Russian named Ivanovich who visited the Moscow Zoo for the first time. To his amazement he found a little lamb sharing the cage that held a big fierce bear.

Ivanovich expressed surprise to his communist guide. The guide smiled and said, “That is peaceful co-existience.” When Ivanovich doubtfully shook his head, the guide explained, “Of course, we have to put in a fresh lamb every morning.”

Peaceful co-existience between right and wrong, freedom and slavery, God and the devil, is not possible either.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:8-13)

#evil, #good, #relationships, #righteousness, #sin

Will There Be Universal Justice?

Many in the world struggle with the existence of evil, the abuse of the innocent and a lack of justice across multiple spectrums of life. The struggle can be so intense that it leads many to disregard any acknowledgement of the existence of a Higher Being. Even Christians can fail at times to keep our eyes focused upon the crown to be given after the race is over.

I believe the late brother Burton Coffman used some wise words concerning these issues. It’s a little lengthy for posts here, but I believe the read is worth the time:

“Great and terrible as the concept of eternal judgment admittedly is, the most profound necessity for it is evident. Most of the truly difficult problems connected with the life of faith, and with reference to the entire system of Christianity, are directly related to the doctrine of eternal judgment. Heaven, hell, eternal punishment, eternal joy, Satan, and the problem of evil – all these things pivot in the last analysis upon the scriptural teaching of the judgment. All of the problems, great and small, eventually fade into insignificance before the pressing question, “Is this universe just?” The underlying assumption of revealed religion as set forth in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the concept of a just universe; and time and time again it is unequivocably declared to be just (Psalms 45:6,7). The father of the faithful, Abraham, idiomatically inferred it when he asked, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The existence of laws in the natural realm, the moral law within people, and the sacred revelation all alike proclaim the justice of the universe; and if it is not so, life indeed becomes “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth, Act V). Sanity in any true sense turns upon the question of justice in the cosmos. If the righteousness and justice of God do indeed establish his throne and undergird all things, then WE ARE SAFE; and every man shall receive the reward of the deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10); if not, then any true security of the soul is a fool’s dream, and man himself is but an infant crying in the night with no language but a cry!

But if the universe is just; if the righteous shall be rewarded and the wicked punished, AN ETERNAL JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED, a judgment in which all inequities and injustices shall be corrected, an eternal judgment presided over by infinite justice, wisdom, mercy, and love – in short, the judgment revealed upon every page of the sacred scriptures, or if not revealed, then certainly implied. The widespread neglect and apparent disbelief of this doctrine suggests that it is true of our generation, as it was of those to whom this epistle was first addressed, that we “have need again that someone teach us the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12)” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Volume X, Hebrews 6:1-2; p.116; A.C.U. Press, 1971)

One part of scripture that I try to remember when my heart and mind ponders these issues is Psalm 73. While struggling over the existence of the wicked and their bounding prosperity over the righteous, the psalmist reminds himself and all of his readers about an extremely important point. He says in verses 16,17 – “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me — Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”

Although at times it’s hard to see and comprehend in this life, God’s word assures His people there will be universal justice one day; and this day will not have anything to do with any man-made court (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29).

#bible-commentary, #evil, #hebrews, #judgment, #justice, #questions-and-doubts, #resurrection, #the-wicked-and-the-righteous, #universal-justice