(#164) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:3-6-Wisdom Builds Houses and Lives

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 24:3-6: “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Building a house is an illustration of applied wisdom: the dream is expressed, detailed plans are made and then followed. Every house follows this procedure, therefore every house is an expression of wisdom. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). “Wisdom” shows the thoughtfulness of the plan; “understanding” shows the application to the materials; “knowledge” completes the details of the plan in building a house.

When wisdom is applied to life, itself, it’s a strengthening exercise that makes one “strong.” A truly “wise” person first “knows” what should be the right course of action; second, realizes his/her personal, individual responsibility in “war;” third, knows to gather various opinions from “counselors” (advisors) to see if there may be other factors to consider.

“Knowledge” gives “strength” to overcome many situations when “fools” don’t know what to do: “They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8).

“War” should not always just be associated with violent conflict between nations, but also with the spiritual “war” each one of us must fight: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

It does no good to just follow the majority opinion, for the majority is not always right, as those who recommended sailing against the inspired prophetical advisory of Paul (Acts 27:9-21) found out!

Another proverb teaches this same principle: “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).

A wise man/woman will build a strong house, preparing for the storms of life by obeying the wisdom of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).

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

#bible-study, #houses, #knowledge, #life, #lives, #proverbs, #strength, #strong, #understanding, #wisdom


(#146) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:15-What’s It Worth To You?

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 20:15: “There is gold and a multitude of rubies, But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”

In the old song, “the best things in life are free,” and it certainly seems that way. Even a credit card commercial contrasts the price of things bought with the card, with the human emotions that are generated but are “priceless.” The thing that makes the “best things” “free” are what God provides and our God-given abilities to value them!

No one questions the universal value placed on “gold,” or “a multitude of rubies,” but this proverb  places these “things” in a scale of values along with something that’s “free” which should be considered as a valuable. The Book of Proverbs keeps this consideration before us, for: “wisdom” is “more precious than rubies” (Proverbs 3:15); “wisdom is better than rubies” (Proverbs 8:11); and “a virtuous wife’s” “worth is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). Wisdom’s “gain” is better “than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:14); it is better to receive “knowledge rather than choice gold” (Proverbs 8:10); it is “much better to get wisdom than gold” (Proverbs 16:16); “loving favor” is to be chosen “rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1). All of these “free” things are either equal or superior to gold and rubies.

The most impressive appearance anyone should have is not the gold in the pocket or rubies on the body, but a mouth with knowledge, for “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

Solomon had asked for “an understanding heart” and God gave him that plus “both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” (1 Kings 3:11-13), and there was not, until “a greater than Solomon” came in the form of Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:42). Jesus’ Wisdom helps millions of people long after gold and rubies would have been spent. Men who exude Wisdom remain appreciated and useful long after age and gravity have affected their outer appearance.

A Christian woman should make an impression on someone with her true, timeless, inner beauty, not with gold or rubies. “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Worldly women, by their lack of clothing, draw attention to bodies, not their “hidden person of the heart.” The Red Carpets of the Award Season are all about “who” they are wearing, and not “who” they are following.

What’s it worth to you: gold and rubies worth money, or God’s Wisdom in the Bible—priceless!

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

#bible-study, #gold, #knowledge, #priceless, #proverbs, #rubies, #wisdom


(#143) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:27-Don’t Miss A Word!

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 19:27: “Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

The way to be lost is to not listen to directions. The way to forget “the words of knowledge” is to quit listening. There is discipline in listening, and there is no learning without it. This has already been stated: “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days” (Proverbs 19:20).

Just because some people quit listening doesn’t mean the sermon is over. “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest ‘according to the order of Melchizedek,’ of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:9-14). Bible truths need to be learned, and it is not the Bible or the sermon that needs shortening, but more often, there are some in the audience who need to grow in understanding!

Jesus Christ used parables, not to disguise spiritual truth, but to give “milk-drinkers” something to understand until they could handle “meat” of the Word of God. “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them’” (Matthew 13:13-15).

It is difficult enough to lead the disinterested to study the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), but there many who make the path to faith even more difficult, even impossible. Jesus condemned such people in His day: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13); “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered” (Luke 11:52).

“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word” (John 8:43). When people are children of the Devil (John 8:44), they hear him, but they don’t want to know (“understand”) the manner of Jesus’ teaching, therefore, they “are not able to listen” to what He taught! No Holy Spirit intervention needed here, but the sinner must desire to know Jesus Christ, as Paul’s first recorded sermon indicated: “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him” (Acts 13:26-27). The people who crucified Jesus Christ were guilty of the same attitude toward truth as everyone today who has not obeyed the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16). Don’t let this be your undoing!

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

#bible-study, #discipline, #knowledge, #listening, #proverbs, #truth, #understanding, #wisdom


(#61) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:23-A Fool is a Blabbermouth!

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 12:23: “A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.”

“Knowledge” is based upon facts, certainty, and insight. When “knowledge” involves Bible truths, we must all be as David, who said, “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O LORD, You Yourself know” (Psalm 40:9). Though Peter confessed Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), Jesus was not ready for this to be widely known at that time, so “He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20). However, when this truth was fully revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul had “not shunned to declare…the whole counsel of God” in Ephesus (Acts 20:17, 27). In dealing with the judgments of our daily lives, the “prudent” (sensible, wise, judicious) don’t need to tell everything at once! Since “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12), this principle is applicable to Christians (1 Peter 4:8). Solomon later would say, “There is a time to keep silence, And a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Those with good judgment will make timely conversation, hence, Christians must “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).

When blabbing anything and everything one knows about others with the excuse that, “I’m just being honest,” one becomes a fool who is without good judgment! Other proverbs that add to this truth are: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19); “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly” (Proverbs 13:16); “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2); “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:27-28). There is a common saying based upon this truth: “Better to be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” One who is “slow to speak” (James 1:19) is either “wise” or a fool who is mistaken as wise! Meanwhile, “a fool” will use a “multitude of words” to lay “open his folly” and pour forth “foolishness.” Running off at the mouth is never good, while shutting up the mouth in good judgment can be “perceptive!” When our heart is in our mouth, truth may be lost in the moment! God gives us a mind with which to filter what we say: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips” (Proverbs 16:23). Since God’s people are now the Christians, Solomon’s wisdom is timeless: “Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

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

#bible-study, #fool, #foolishness, #grace, #knowledge, #mouth, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #prudent, #seasoned, #words


(#51) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:1-How to Raise “Stupid”

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 12:1: “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.”

Instruction limits a person if followed, thus “instruction” is discipline, correction, or counsel. True “knowledge” comes to those who are willing to learn by “instruction. A good student knows the thirst for “knowledge,” and Jesus Christ emphasized this: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).  Every schoolteacher will tell you, there is no learning where there is no discipline. Parents who raise their children’s egos above their desire for learning are making their children “stupid” (brutish, like an animal, with unused human ingenuity). Animal intelligence is content to be that animal, and, like an ox, may kick against the goad, or refuse any instruction to follow! “A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands. Go from the presence of a foolish man, When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge” (Proverbs 14:6-7). Don’t hang around those who are “stupid” because they “hate correction” (or despise the discipline of knowledge!), and “stupid” rubs off! “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). Children who are taught disrespect for teachers, and disdain for knowledge, are raised to be nothing but a herd of slaves!

Other proverbs that teach this thought are: Proverbs 12:15: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise;” Proverbs 13:1: “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke;” Proverbs 13:18: “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored;” Proverbs 15:5: “A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent;” Proverbs 15:10: “Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die;” Proverbs 15:12: “A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the wise;” Proverbs 15:31-32: “The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise. 32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.”

There is a saying in the Medical Profession: “There is no cure for stupid.” Fighting against learning shows determination to remain ignorant, and nothing could be more ignorant!

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

#animal-intelligence, #bible-study, #disdain, #disrespect, #ignorant, #knowledge, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #scoffer, #student, #stupid, #wisdom


(#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


Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#6) God Gives Wisdom to Those Who Listen 2:1-9

Verses 1-5: The word “if” often is connected by conditions that must be met in order for a “then” to state a blessing or benefit. Since “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), then it is absolutely essential to obtain knowledge. “Fear” here refers to “respect, awe, reverence” of the Lord. Without respect for the One who possesses the knowledge, the student will not learn! To “understand the fear of the Lord,” and “find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5), a person must meet the following conditions:

Verse 1 – “receive my words;”

“treasure my commands;”

Verse 2 – listen to wisdom;

apply yourself to “understanding;”

verse 3 – “cry out for discernment;”

speak out for “understanding.”

Verse 4 – to “seek” wisdom as one goes after “silver;”

or “search” for wisdom as one would dig for “buried treasure.”

Learning is not automatic, nor by osmosis, but comes only by effort and application, just as the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15. Knowledge requires the infusion of God’s Truth, exercising of the mind, and diligent evaluation of action.

Verses 6-9: “God gives wisdom…” through the following means:

(1) “From His mouth,” comes “every word” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3) which He has written for us to know (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:1-2);

(2) “knowledge,” or accumulation of data from all sources, including the Word of God (Colossians 1:9-10);

(3) “understanding,” is comprehension of what is learned (Luke 24:44-47; 1 John 5:20).

God “stores up sound wisdom” for the “upright” who will increase their faith;

God “is a shield,” or defense for those who “walk uprightly” in obeying the Truth;

God “guards the paths of justice,” by showing Divine balanced decisions;

God “preserves the way of His saints,” which is following Christ (Acts 18:25-26; 24:14).

“Then,” and only then, can a person “understand,” or fully grasp:

“righteousness,” or the upright way; “justice,” or honesty with God’s Law; “equity,” or evenness of application to all; “every good path,” which always leads to the right thing to do or say. This list in 2:9 may be close to the “weightier matters” in God’s Law, addressed by Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:23).

Thought: “A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” Proverbs 1:5.

#bible-study, #knowledge, #learning, #proverbs, #understanding, #wisdom

You Don’t Have to Understand it All for it to Work

You don’t have to completely understand how prayer works for it to work. I don’t completely understand how my cellphone or the Internet works, but that doesn’t keep it from working or me from using it!

“Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

#knowledge, #prayer, #trust

Feelings Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Many people rely solely upon how they feel when it comes to their relationship with God and the salvation that is offered through Jesus. Feelings alone work no better than faith alone! One may say that’s not true, but I ask have you not read:

So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.” (Genesis 27:22-23 – NKJV)

What did Isaac rely upon in this situation? He relied upon his feelings! He knew the voice didn’t match, but he chose to rely upon the sense that could be tricked instead of the sense that knew better.

I don’t know about you but I’ve sat in Isaac’s shoes before. I still find myself in Isaac’s shoes from time to time when it comes to making an important decision. I may want to do this, but I know that. I want to have hope in something or someone, but I find that the facts get in the way. Feelings and facts don’t have to be opposed, but when we choose feelings over facts we choose the opposite of what we should.

In matters of the faith it matters what we rely upon. Doing what’s right in our eyes doesn’t always equate to doing what’s right in the eyes of God. If we were more willing to allow the facts of the faith to shape our feelings about faith then maybe our feelings about the faith wouldn’t try to change the facts (Romans 1:16-17, Galatians 1:6-9, Jude 3).

Why do we have the word of God to read? It’s because feelings don’t tell the whole story – the gospel does!

For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 – NKJV)

Related Article:

#faith, #feelings, #god, #head-knowledge, #heart, #heart-feelings, #isaac, #knowledge, #matters-of-the-faith, #religion

The Power of God’s Word

There has been a great deal of conversation and preaching through the years with regard to God’s power unto salvation. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). As you look at the verse it is clear the Lord is using a means (the word) to communicate not only a message, a healing balm for spiritual ailment, but also His power that raises one (and all) from the dead when that trumpet sounds for the one last time.

Note, also, what Paul said to the Thessalonians: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The word is received by a person, but God’s word won’t work if the one who received it does not believe it. There are a great many people who know God’s word (academically), but it is evident they don’t really know God’s word (experientially). They know it like they know a book on literature, but they don’t know it like the characters who lived the story within that book on literature.

The “light” they have for their path is still rather dark. The point of application is not to be missed: if your life is not changed, especially since you call yourself a Christian, then the God’s word is not believed by you! RT

#knowledge, #literature

Hugh’s News & Views (Jesus Knows Me)

hugh’s news & Views


Last week we wrote under the caption “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know,” the title of a well-known Christian hymn. It expresses both a simple and a deeply profound truth that lies at the heart of the gospel. However, the inverse of that title is also true: Jesus knows me, this I love. It is about this great biblical truth that I wish to write today.

In the beautiful parable of The Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16), Jesus declares, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (verse 14). Later He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (verse 27, emphasis in the preceding verses mine). What reassuring words these are! It is very true that God wants us to know Him and that we must know Him if we are to experience eternal life with Him. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). But how comforting and encouraging it is to know that God and Christ know us!

In his letter to the churches of Galatia (part of the modern-day country of Turkey), the apostle Paul reminded his readers (many of whom had been heathen idolaters) of both their past and their present. In an interesting and significant turn of phrases Paul writes, “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those who by nature are not gods. But now that you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements to which you desire again to be in bondage” (Galatians 4:8-9)? These Galatian Christians were on the verge of becoming “fallen from grace” (5:4). In his fervent appeal to them to remain faithful to the gospel, Paul reminds them of their present exalted spiritual state: they know God and, better still, God knows them! Why should they forfeit that relationship? Why should we forfeit such a relationship? Jesus knows me, this I love!

Writing to a young preacher by the name of Timothy, Paul affirmed, “Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’ ” (II Timothy 2:19). This great text clearly affirms that the Lord knows the identity of His people, all of those who truly belong to Him, but it also gives the blessed assurance that the Lord knows His people, that He loves and cares for those who are His own.

Peter wrote to Christians: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (I Peter 2:9-10).

On the other hand, it is unspeakably sad to realize that many who profess to know God and claim to be known by Him will be lost on the day of judgment. Listen to Christ as He comes to the climax of His great Sermon on the Mount: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work iniquity’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Do you know the Lord? Does the Lord know you? Can you truthfully say, “Jesus knows me, this I love”? What blessed assurance for those who can say it and know that it is true.

Hugh Fulford

February 19, 2013

#hughfulford, #knowledge, #love, #relationship-with-god

How Can I Know?

     Why am I guilty when I did not know? That is the question the people asked during the days of Jeremiah. Jeremiah took the people’s question and lament to the Lord: “Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place'” (Jeremiah 14:13, NKJV). The Lord, however, was going to hear none of this. “And the LORD said to me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart’” (Jeremiah 14:14).

How, then, were they to know what was right, exactly what to do? For a good while now, the Lord had been proclaiming to the people of Judah, through Jeremiah, a message that was contrary to what the false teachers were proclaiming. This resulted in confusion amongst the people. The confusion was more in facade than in reality. The people wanted to believe the words spoken by those the Lord identified as false teachers (5:31).

Those who are in positions of knowledge (preachers, elders, serious students of the Scriptures) understand the obligation placed upon them to teach that which they know (6:16). When messages spoken by various people are contrary to one another, the proper course of action is to search the Scriptures to see if those things spoken are so (cf. Acts 17:11). Isaiah spoke the sentiment exactly. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Even during the days of Moses, if the people inquired about how one could know, the Lord exhorted His people to be diligent in discernment (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:21-22). This is why the Lord was going to hear none of it.

There is an application for us in this regard. It may be that we ourselves become confused when we hear this message and that message from the variety of sources who speak. When we note these messages are contrary to one another, then the obligation falls on us individually to know what the truth is. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). Since Jesus said we can know, we might ask why some think they can’t? on the contrary, in the very next chapter of John’s gospel, the Lord said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

Thus, we can see that the obligation is ours to know and then to abide in the teachings of the Lord. When we hear another with a message that is different than what we understand, John said, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

It is a serious matter and we do ourselves a disservice eternally if we dismiss it in application. RT

#jeremiah, #knowledge, #prophets

Head Knowledge VS Heart Feelings?

To justify their beliefs people try to make the mind and the heart get into a spiritual fight. You begin to talk to them about what the word of God teaches concerning salvation and other issues but when they don’t like what they hear or see, they quickly turn and say, “You are teaching that God’s word is written only in biblical text and can only be known through reading of that text” or something else to that effect. They attempt to say that one’s heart (which can be thoroughly confused) knows better than what one plainly reads with the eyes (which can be rightly divided through study – 2 Timothy 2:15).

Now I will be first to say that God’s word simply memorized does an individual no good! The devil quoted scripture to Jesus after all. And Jesus quoted previously recorded scripture when He condemned those who were near to God with words on the lip but far away in the heart in Mark 7:6-8. So, God’s word must be planted within our heart just as the parable of the sower teaches in Luke 8. But what people who rely upon the “heart overruling the mind” miss in that parable (and the rest of God’s word) is that it is the word of God that stirs/begins the growth process in the heart. The heart can have good soil, which is essential, but good soil doesn’t produce seed or a crop by itself – it allows the seed to grow to produce the crop. In Mark 7 it was the emotions of the people in their hard hearts that steered them away from keeping God’s word in their heart. If we want to please God we must do so by allowing His word to get our hearts and minds on the same page.

People who rely solely upon emotions for a right relationship with God are trusting the weight of their soul to an undependable structure. Paul said in Romans 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (emphasis mine). The Jewish people had a heart for God, but their heart lacked a proper knowledge of God! Now how were they missing God’s righteousness? They were missing God’s righteousness because they rejected the knowledge of Jesus and His Gospel. In the same letter to the church at Rome, Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17 – emphasis mine). If you, through faith, desire to do God’s righteousness in the heart, it will be because you have been exposed to it through His word (Romans 10:17).

Topics like this are frustrating because when a person reads about God putting His law into our hearts (Hebrews 8:10) they try to use that as a justification to avoid what the word teaches and that just simply is not true. God desires that we allow His law to grow continually in our hearts, but sadly, what people miss is that before that can happen we must learn what the law says to begin with! That’s why the very next verse (8:11) in Hebrews says, “And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest” meaning that, unlike the previous covenant that people were a part of simply by being born (Hebrews 8:9), God’s law and covenant with the church is entered into when a person is born again into it through the new birth that comes from hearing the gospel, believing the gospel and obeying the gospel (John 3:3-5, Acts 18:8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

When one rejects the knowledge of God’s word for the “knowledge/emotions” of one’s own heart they are following the same path that God warned His people about in Hosea 4:6 when He said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.”

Head knowledge and heart feelings are not meant to be enemies when it comes to God’s word. There is no way to be saved other than by believing the gospel with our heart (Romans 10:9-10), but our heart must be taught what to believe (Romans 10:14-15). Salvation isn’t about a fight between our heart and mind, it’s about stopping our fight against God and submitting to His revealed will so we can reveal His will in us (Romans 12:1-2).

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)       

#gospel, #heart, #knowledge, #love, #mind, #salvation

“Proverbs Are The Piths” (14)

Proverbs 9 continues with the wisdom theme. Wisdom, simplicity, foolishness, reproving, instruction, fear, knowledge, understanding, life, death and destruction are all on the menu.

Verses 1-6: The wisdom that leads to life is built upon a strong foundation that does not originate with man. It metaphorically becomes a home not made with hands; Christians should find a reason to smile in this (Hebrews 10:11). Wisdom offers the invitation that leads to life…what do you know, it still does! (John 6:53-56; Matthew 11:28; Mark 16:15-16) Whatever was wise yesterday, will still be wise today.

Verses 7-12: There is one invitation to be wise, but there are two reactions to it. When it comes to the “scorners” of wisdom it is best to be silent sometimes (Matthew 7:6). Some refuse to listen because they don’t want to learn while the who want to learn will listen. No fear of the Lord??? No wisdom that leads to life!!!

Verses 13-18: The wise lady who represents the way of life has her counterpart – the lady who represents folly and foolishness that leads to woe. It seems as if Solomon is making a concluding statement about all these two women; wisdom is crying out in the streets to be heard, but non-sense/sin is walking around to be seen – we must choose wisely (2 Corinthians 5:7). It always does us good to remember where the guests at sin’s table end up when the meal is finished. The following article came from the email bulletin of the church in Wise, Virginia; the author of the article was marked as ‘unknown.’ I thought it fits Proverbs 9 well. Especially verses 13-18.

What Price for Foolishness?

What some will pay for a moment’s reckless folly is recorded again and again in the Book of Ages. Do you think these got their “money’s worth”?

1. ADAM and EVE, for one bite of luscious fruit when they were not even hungry, brought sin, suffering, shame and death upon themselves and the human race. (Genesis 3)

2. LOT’S WIFE, revealing her longing for the things that pertain to the earth, took one look back at Sodom and became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19)

3. ESAU, to satisfy one day’s fleshly hunger, lightly esteemed his birthright and forfeited his right to the ancestry of Christ. (Genesis 25)

4. ACHAN, for a garment he could not wear, and silver and gold he could not spend, paid with all his possessions, his family and his life. (Joshua 7)

5. SAMSON, for the caress of a hypocritical woman, lost his will, his strength, his liberty, his eyes and finally his life. (Judges 16)

6. DAVID, to enjoy another man’s wife, hands to posterity a tale of his life with adultery, shame, and tears, boldly written for all to read. (2 Samuel 11)

7. AHAB, coveted another’s little vineyard, permitted his wife to have its owner killed, claimed it for his own, and heard his funeral preached in these words: “In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall the dogs like thy blood, even thine.” (1 Kings 21)

8. JUDAS for thirty pieces of silver, which he couldn’t find occasion or conscience to use, took his own life in shame and despair. (Matthew 27)

These examples could be multiplied but they are sufficient just here. Could these have called back their days after learning their lessons, how differently would have been the history of the world. When we consider the price paid for sin, WE MUCH CONCLUDE IT IS NOT WORTH IT! Surely we do not suppose ourselves smart enough to out-smart God, and get by with sinning and not pay the “wages” of it.

#book-of-proverbs, #foolishness, #god, #instruction, #knowledge, #proverbs-are-the-piths, #sin, #solomon, #wisdom

“Proverbs Are The Piths” (13)

If Proverbs 8 reveals one thing it’s this: There may be no “I” in team but there sure is in “Wisdom!”

Verses 1-5: Wisdom is an equal opportunity educator (just think of chapter one’s lesson). If you compare the previous topic of the adulterous woman who kills to the current topic of the woman who cries out to give life you again see the Bible’s true purpose – contrasting darkness and light as well as sin and salvation. God’s word is the word of wisdom and life (John 6:63, 7:37 and Hebrews 12:25). God’s revealed wisdom has been given for our benefit (1 Corinthians 2:7-16 and Deuteronomy 29:29, 30:11-15).

Verses 6-11: Wisdom calls out for her words to be “marked.” Wisdom knows how to speak plain truth with plain talk. Plain talk that leads to plain truth caused many to reject Jesus (John 8:40-46). A key theme in these verses that will be reflected many times over throughout the rest of the book is that there are times when a person is better off not attempting to educate the ignorant because they will not learn – not because they cannot learn. Think “pearls and swine” for a moment.

Verses 12-31: Wisdom has many references on her job application. Intelligence, knowledge, proper thinking all come as benefits when we employ wisdom. This wisdom has little to do, actually nothing to do with diplomas on the wall! It has to do with living life according to the tried and true wisdom of God. This thought leads Solomon to say wisdom was around before the world got started. Science was science before the scientist ever thought anything about geology, meteorology, physical sciences, chemistry, etc. Intelligence is seen in the very existence of the world itself.

Verses 32-36: Wisdom’s ways are old-fashioned, but there is nothing new to find that she has not revealed. These verses remind me of Luke 13:23-24. If we want to find wisdom (and eternal life) it will take an effort! If we reject wisdom, then we’re only hurting ourself.

#book-of-proverbs, #god, #instruction, #knowledge, #proverbs-are-the-piths, #wisdom