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(#37) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:9-11-Hypocrites Don’t Help Cities

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 11:9: “The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.”

The word “hypocrite” (pretender) may also carry the idea of “infidel” (denies the faith), in either case, his words seriously wound. Other proverbs also show the destructive power of the tongue: “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3); “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue” (Proverbs 17:4); “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:7); “The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance” (Proverbs 25:23); “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin” (Proverbs 26:28). But no matter whether “hypocrite” or “infidel,” it is a “fool” who destroys his neighbor’s faith and trust. David described one who does “not fear God” from whom: “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords” (Psalm 55:19, 21). No verse states it more vividly than James 3:6: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” The rest of Proverbs 11:9 shows that the “righteous” will not be misled, because they know better. “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17).

Proverbs 11:10-11: “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation. 11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.”

God’s blessings for the “righteous” are good for everybody. Jesus teaches His disciples to do good even to enemies, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Everyone has reason to enjoy God’s blessing on the righteous, and give God the glory. However, the righteous are not rejoicing “when the wicked perish,” for another proverb says: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:17-18). It is to the advantage of all to let the righteous serve God, for whatever persecution, suffering, or hindrance placed upon them will be noticed, and repaid, by God! “Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not plunder his resting place; For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity” (Proverbs 24:15-16). When people repented and were baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), they were “praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47). No country, state, county, or city that keeps that from happening within their boundaries will long prosper with the blessing of God Almighty! America’s Founders incorporated “Freedom of Worship” in the Constitution. To all who would ignore that Constitutional guarantee, God would say, “Let My people go.”

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

#bible-study, #constitution, #false-lips, #flattering-mouth, #fools-mouth, #freedom-of-worship, #god, #hypocrite, #infidel, #practical-lessons, #pretender, #proverbs, #salvation, #spiteful-tongue, #wisdom, #worship

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(#36) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:7-8-Why “Beg Trouble?”

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 11:7: “When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of the unjust perishes.”

The “expectation,” or “hope,” of a “wicked man” is driven by worldly lust and greed. Death slams the door on those expectations. Jesus described it thusly: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully…[so he said to himself] ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry’” (Luke 12:15-20). Job asked the question: “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?” (Job 27:8) If life in this world is all there is to hope for, that is, “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). The righteous, however, have hope beyond this life: “The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish” (Proverbs 14:11).

Proverbs 11:8: “The righteous is delivered from trouble, And it comes to the wicked instead.”

Often, people focus on bad things that happen to good people, and ignore the times when bad people end up being punished by the very things they intended to do to the good people! Another proverb says: “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him” (Proverbs 26:27). Some Bible examples of God sparing the righteous and punishing the wicked in their own snare are: the Egyptian Pharaoh’s army vanquished in the Red Sea they thought trapped the Israelites (Exodus 14); Haman, the Agagite, was hanged on his own gallows instead of Mordecai, and Esther saved the Jews (Esther 7-9); government officials thrown in the lions’ den Daniel had been spared from (Daniel 6); soldiers’ lives taken after Peter released from prison (Acts 12:1-19). Truly “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).

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

#bad-things-happen-to-bad-people, #bible-study, #god, #good-people-spared, #greed, #hope, #hypocrite, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #righteous, #wicked, #wisdom, #worldly-lust

Jesus' Most Striking Phrase

To me, the most striking phrase of Jesus is, “Have ye not read?” (Matthew 12:3,5; Matthew 19:4; Matthew 22:31; Mark 12:10,26; Luke 6:3).

The religious leaders of Christ’s day had indeed “read” the Old Testament passages that Jesus’ referred to in the above passages, but were more interested in upholding their own “traditions” rather than upholding God’s word (Matthew 15:3,6; Mark 7:8-9,13).

As a result, the Lord called these religious leaders “hypocrites” (Matthew 15:7-8 ; cf. Isaiah 29:13).

Today, our society would call them “reading-challenged.”

#day, #hypocrite, #jesus, #leader, #passage, #phrase, #read, #religious, #striking, #tradition, #word

“You Are Like Whitewashed Tombs”

In almost all of Matthew 23, we see the Lord’s judgment regarding the hypocritical Pharisees. In verse 27-28, He condemns them by saying:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

We can make application of Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees in the church today. Many claim to be followers of Christ, but their actions (or the lack of action) betray them. Just to “say” we are a Christian, doesn’t make us a Christian. Jesus is still looking at the intent of our heart and contrasting it with the profession of our faith. Do they match? Are we really what we “claim” to be – a Christian?

Something to seriously think about!

#bones, #condemn, #hypocrite, #outward, #pharisee, #scribe, #tomb, #uncleanness, #whitewashed