mm

(#198) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:24-Wanna Abet?

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 29:24: “Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.”

Solomon has already judged against agreeing to uphold someone else’s debt (Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27; 27:13), now he warns against sharing in someone’s sin! The gang members, driver of the get-away vehicle, owner/renter of a meth lab house, participants in the crime, are all as guilty as the one who actually commits the sin! This proverb shows that the one who shares in “thievery,” for instance, will end up losing his/her honesty and integrity by swearing “to tell the truth, but reveal[ing] nothing.”

The truth of this proverb remains unchanged in the New Testament Law of Jesus Christ: “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22); “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11); “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32). Saul of Tarsus may not have stoned the first martyr for Jesus Christ, Stephen, but Saul protected the coats of those who did the stoning (Acts 7:54-60)! This still bothered him toward the end of his spiritually-productive life (1 Timothy 1:12-16)!

Choose your associates and friends carefully; be well aware of what they’re up to; have the courage to avoid damning situations! They may actually “think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).

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

#bible-study, #christian-living, #guilt, #honesty, #integrity, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #sharing, #sins, #wisdom

mm

(#195) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:14-How to be Re-elected

 

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 29:14: “The king who judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.”

“The king” (or any government leader who thinks he/she is a “king”) represents the administration and its governance;

Judging the “poor with truth,” means that:

1) no law or court decision should favor the “poor” (Exodus 23:3, 6; Leviticus 19:15), either by taking more from the “rich” or artificially raising the minimum wage of the “poor;”

2) no law or court decision should seek to do away with the condition of being “poor,” for Jesus Christ said “the poor you have with you always” (John 12:8), and Solomon said: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2);

3) no law or court decision should make life harder for the “poor.” Solomon had said: “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; For the LORD will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them” (Proverbs 22:22-23);

4) no law or court decision should define or describe being “poor” so as to include more as being “poor” than there really is!  “Poor” in Moses’ Law, meant one was reduced to selling off his possessions or even himself (Leviticus 25:25-48)! “Poverty” can be the result of: laziness (Proverbs 6:9-11); stinginess (Proverbs 11:24); refusal to be disciplined (Proverbs 13:18); empty talk (Proverbs 14:23); reckless planning (Proverbs 21:5); constant fun (Proverbs 28:19).

The truly wise will enjoy being a part of “the middle class:” “Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches-Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:7-9).

A country whose people received the condemnation of God “used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger” (Ezekiel 22:29).

“The king” who wants to be re-elected will take note and be wise.

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

#bible-study, #goverment, #king, #poor, #poverty, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom

mm

(#188) The Proverbs of Solomon 28:2-For Which Leader Do You Vote?

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 28:2: “Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged.”

A country, nation, and people who become corrupted by “transgression,” has frequent, often violent, turnovers in leaders. Solomon later said: “When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves” (Proverbs 28:12). God spoke through Jeremiah and said, “‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the LORD. ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it’” (Jeremiah 18:6-10). God’s case against Israel was because they followed their wicked king, instead of obeying God: “When I would have healed Israel, Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, And the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud; A thief comes in; A band of robbers takes spoil outside. They do not consider in their hearts That I remember all their wickedness; Now their own deeds have surrounded them; They are before My face. They make a king glad with their wickedness, And princes with their lies” (Hosea 7:1-3). A nation that chooses corrupt leaders has chosen its own destruction!

The only remedy is to turn to God and choose “a man of understanding and knowledge” so that “right will be prolonged.” Not all government leaders are to be followed if they abandon God: “Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: ‘Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion’” (Psalm 2:1-6). No concerted effort of “the kings of the earth” can overthrow God’s “King,” Jesus Christ, who now is on the throne of David in Heaven (Acts 2:25-32). Only a President and Congressional leaders who understand and know God’s Will can and should lead a country in the right way! It is by God’s Wisdom that “kings reign, And rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth” (Proverbs 8:15-16).

It is a wicked people who elect (and re-elect!) wicked leaders who justify their wickedness!

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

#bible-study, #congress, #god, #government, #jesus-christ, #king, #leaders, #practical-lessons, #president, #proverbs, #throne-of-david, #vote, #wisdom

mm

(#186) The Proverbs of Solomon 27:11-12-Use Your Radar

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 27:11-12: “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, That I may answer him who reproaches me. A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.”

Radar (an acronym for radio detection and ranging first used in 1941) is an application of radio waves that extends human “sight” far beyond the range of the normal eye. It has use in trains, planes, automobiles, weather forecasting, cooking, space exploration, et. al. It has come to be associated with “an awareness, sensitivity, or foreboding of things to come.”

According to the Bible, humans have access to moral “radar” that should be very helpful:

1) The God Who Sees All. “The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works” (Psalm 33:13-15); “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3); and even in the New Testament: “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20). Whatever God commands, advises, or explains about the future result of human behavior should alert each of us to “watch out” for what is ahead.

2) Our Consciences. Everyone has been given by God an inner “radar” to sense whether a thought or action is right or wrong. This is not, by itself, a moral standard, for we can ignorantly violate God’s standard of righteousness while we have a “good conscience” (example, Saul of Tarsus killing Christians, Acts 9:1, with a “good conscience,” Acts 23:1); a conscience can become “evil” (Hebrews 10:22); or even “seared” (1 Timothy 4:1-3). When educated by studying God’s Word, however, a conscience can project ahead to sense whether a thought or action should be followed, for “the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). A “good conscience” lets us know we have done God’s Will even though others say we haven’t (1 Peter 3:16), and it won’t let us claim to be saved before we are baptized (1 Peter 3:21). Our Bible-oriented conscience should alert each of us to “watch out” for what is ahead.

3) Our Prudence (or good judgment). Christians must use their good judgment (be prudent) by heeding the warning signs (God’s Word, consciences, experiences): “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 5:14). Regarding His Second Coming and destruction of the world, Jesus has said: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13). There is NO “radar” for the exact “day nor the hour,” but the moral “radar” sweep should show us to be constantly prepared: “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6).

“The simple” will “pass on and be punished.” Which are you? Use your “radar.”

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

#baptism, #bible-study, #conscience, #god, #judgment, #moral, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #prudence, #radar, #wisdom

mm

(#181) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:18-19-Impractical Jokes

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 26:18-19: “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, ‘I was only joking!’”

A “madman” is a person who is out of control because he/she isn’t bothered by moral restraint, sympathetic feeling, or consideration for others. Anyone who indiscriminately “throws” around “firebrands” (or torches, bombs), “arrows” (or bullets, missiles), “death” (or ieds, drones, or other instruments of death) leaves a path of burned, wounded, or dead people! It does not excuse such behavior by simply saying, “I was only joking!” So-called “reality” TV shows that see “what people would do” set a standard of lies, deceit, and trickery that hardens the consciences of their audience against good judgment and sympathy. When angels of God warned Lot that Sodom would be destroyed for its perversions, “Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14). When something is taken as a “joke,” then the responses to it are not real, and in their case, they died because of it!

Christians are not to participate in such madness: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6). Such behavior doesn’t become a Christian. What is condemned is: “filthiness” which is behavior without morals; “foolish talking” which is empty conversation that shows contempt or ridicule; “coarse jesting” which is the double-entendre, underhanded, turned meaning of words. All of these are what worldly comedy, practical jokes, and other types of madness are made of. Christians can have “fun,” just not like “a madman.”

Do not be deceived by “empty words” that say otherwise, God will hold each individual responsible for his/her behavior on: “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). No joke!

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

#bible-study, #christian-living, #good-judgment, #joking, #life, #madmen, #morals, #practical-jokes, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom

mm

(#174) The Proverbs of Solomon 25:17-Twitter This

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 25:17: “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, Lest he become weary of you and hate you.”

If there ever was a cautionary warning about “social media,” this is it! It is possible to “wear out our welcome.” Facebook fans, beware. Not everyone wants to read about what your husband will have for supper, or how many messy diapers your baby has had, or how many trips you make to the store, or where you plan to grill food for company, or everything your children accomplish. The most tiresome invitation used to include, “and we have slides of our family,” but now it seems to be “friend me on Facebook!” There are many who “unfriend” those who seem to “think” with Facebook, Twitter, or on other social media. Enough is enough.

Social media seems to have cultivated a climate that was condemned by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul: “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan” (1 Timothy 5:13-15). The responsibilities of home and family should be enough to keep one busy, and avoid being “gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” With our constant, instant communication devices, people have forgotten the self-limiting barriers that should protect our privacy. It seems that “Generation N” (Narcissists) thinks everyone should be interested in everything going on in their lives without ever asking for that information!

The communication today is wonderful when used properly, but remember “too much familiarity breeds contempt.” Try talking to God, He does not get tired: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

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

#bible-study, #christian-living, #facebook, #family, #instagram, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #social-media, #twitter, #wisdom

mm

(#171) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:27-Comfort Is Not Job One!

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 24:27: “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.” Work must come before convenience and comfort. The Garden of Eden came with a job (Genesis 2:15), having food requires work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), and this proverb emphasizes the comforts of a house depends upon how good of a job one does “outside” to earn that house! Many people have turned this completely around, for they are getting bigger and bolder houses, beyond what their parents have achieved, before establishing themselves in a career-type work. The order here taught by Wisdom should be to learn to work and earn while living with their parents so they are ready to embark upon working experiences that will help them toward their goal(s). All Old Testament prophecies of the Israelites returning to their Promised Land were fulfilled in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, however not without urging. In Ezra chapter 4, the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem stalled out, but God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to preach plainly (Ezra 5:1). The people should not have been building their own houses and neglecting God’s House: “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.’ Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!”’” (Haggai 1:2-5) Jesus applied this very truth to spiritual matters when: “great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple’” (Luke 14:25-33). Jesus also said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Obey the Lord first (Acts 2:38), get a job second (Ephesians 4:28), then plan some comforts (Proverbs 24:27). All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #comfort, #family, #house, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #work

mm

(#170) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:21-22-Can this be saved?

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 24:21-22: “My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin those two can bring?”

“Fear” here is used in the sense of “respect,” and since “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1), then those who respect God’s authority will never set about to overthrow or disrespect “the authorities that exist.” This is clearly expressed in other passages, such as Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17. “The king” who was to govern over God’s people, however, was commanded by God, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). “The king” (representing the highest authority in government) should (1) read the God-given Scriptures; (2) respect their authority by yielding to their commandments; (3) not consider himself above the law! In other words, if a “king” wants the respect of those who respect God, he must show respect to God!

Those “given to change,” are the restless souls who feel the establishment cannot be right, any “new” way has to be better, and they, therefore, seek to “fundamentally change” whatever constitutional regulations that exist! Countries where this spark has been fanned into flames have burned their flags, ignored their constitutional laws, and been ruled by those who think themselves above the law! This is of the Devil, for this was the appeal: he made to Eve that caused the first sin (Genesis 3:1-19); in one of the temptations he made to Jesus Christ (Luke 4:1-13); behind the “cultural revolution” in the United States in the 1960’s and political upheavals since.

Those who do not “fear the LORD” nor “fear the king” are both destroyers whose disrespect for God and His authority always produce disorder, destruction, and damnation! This is change without hope! King David said: “Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Psalm 40:4). Asaph wrote: “Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty” (Psalm 74:20). Jesus illustrated the disrespect the Jews had for God by the parable of “the owner of the vineyard” (God), and the “vinedressers” (Jews) in Mark 12:1-12.

God prophesied that Israelites would become so unfaithful in their Promised Land that God would let an outside people conquer them (Deuteronomy 28). That foreign nation was described very much like the “generation” that has arisen within the United States: “a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:49-51). Change the meanings of the words in language; make them intensely resentful of “the elderly” who have paved the way to a successful nation with sacrifices and blood; make them complete consumers with no ambition to work for profit to have to give to others; and who are so short-sighted and selfish they care not about the future “until they have destroyed you;” and you have an understanding of how a country can collapse! Though Deuteronomy was not a direct prophecy of our day and time, it surely paints a portrait of how any country can be destroyed!

“Who knows the ruin those two can bring?” This is a question some of us may be able to answer.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#authority, #bible, #bible-study, #change, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #respect

mm

(#162) The Proverbs of Solomon 23:6-8-Bar-B-Que Bait

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 23:6-8: “Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, But his heart is not with you.  The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words.”

Excesses are dangerous at the dinner table (Proverbs 23:19-21). In Proverbs 23:1-3, we are warned to not let appetite overrule our good judgment, or in other words, don’t let a politician buy our vote with bar-b-que! Then, in Proverbs 23:4-5, we are warned not to irresponsibly chase after “riches” as our only goal in life, for there is much more to a good life than that! Now, in Proverbs 23:6-8, we are again warned not to listen to a “miser” encourage us to “eat and drink” his food, because he begrudges every bit of what we would enjoy. His heart is not as open as his invitation! The guest’s “pleasant words” (table talk) will be wasted because the “miser” is resenting the guest’s enjoyment.

Contrast this hypocritical feast with the genuineness that Jesus teaches Christians to have: “Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14). Jesus taught that there should be no underlying political motive for giving an invitation for a meal! “Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely” (Luke 14:1). When it says “they watched Him closely” it describes their sidelong, judgmental observations just looking for a reason to condemn Him.

The honesty of a Christian invitation is seen that when a fellow-Christian is in wilful, deliberate sin, for which he/she refuses to repent, faithful Christians would refuse to extend social opportunity around the dinner table (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

As Proverbs points out, good judgment should always take precedence over appetite and social fellowship!

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

#appetite, #bible-study, #fellowship, #invitations, #meals, #miser, #practical-lessons, #proverbs

mm

(#161) The Proverbs of Solomon 22:28-The Sin Of Revisionist History

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 22:28: “Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.”

There is a good reason God lets older people come before younger ones: to pass along wisdom learned from experiences! The lesson from history is that we should learn from history! The term “landmark” refers to memorials, surveyor marks, or boundaries that define territory that has been established for a reason. Since the flood in Noah’s day, God has established “the boundary” for water, so that a world-wide flood will never occur again (Psalm 104:6-9). When God sent the Israelites into their Promised Land, He specified its boundaries (Numbers 34:1-15). Moses’ Law, therefore included the command to respect their “neighbor’s landmark” (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17), also called “the ancient landmark” (Proverbs 23:10-11). God’s wrath was upon those who disregarded those landmarks (Hosea 5:10), and His appeal was for them to “set up signposts, make landmarks” (Jeremiah 31:21). People who tear down or disregard landmarks are destined to be confused and lost.

There is a concerted effort to tear down history’s lessons and highlights in textbooks, and teach children to disregard where they have come from. It is an alienated and foreign nation that does not respect its roots. In the United States of America, the “ancient landmark” which our “fathers have set” is the Declaration of Independence and Constitution with its Bill of Rights. Tear this down and all the good governing of the past is for nothing. Historical signposts and landmarks tell a people where they have been and where they could go.

The history of the churches of Christ is told in the New Testament and can be traced throughout the centuries until now. All those who disregard the beginning history are confused and lost. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:3-6).

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

#bible-study, #boundaries, #history, #landmarks, #practical-lessons, #proverbs

mm

(#159) The Proverbs of Solomon 22:6-Well Begun, Half Done

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 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Children are not computers or robots to be programmed with perfection. God created humans with free will to make choices about their life’s activities, so when Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had chosen to violate God’s Rules for them He asked them: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:11). They had obviously chosen a different decision which the serpent had offered.

Parents’ duties are summarized thusly: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). It is up to both parents, husband and wife, to keep God’s Word before their child, and not leave it up to grandparents, video games, school teachers, neighbors, or TV! This training should start “from childhood” (literally, “as a baby,” 2 Timothy 3:15); from mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5); under direct guidance of the father (Ephesians 6:4). The tragedy of single-parenting is that this burden often becomes too great for one to adequately, evenly achieve.

Parents’ must individualize God’s instructions to each child, and begin them on the right way (“he should go”). Teach the child what is expected, fill each child with a hungering and thirsting for God’s Word. “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17). The joy of parenting is seeing God’s Word being internalized by each child. The successful parent has placed their child’s hand in God’s Hand. God knows that even as adults, we should be like the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). No child will mechanically make all the right decisions, but sin and forgiveness of sin is what life is about, and God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Parents’ must realize that God does not hold them responsible for their children’s adult decisions! Even in God’s Law through Moses this was true: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16). David phrased it right in Psalm 34:11: “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

Parents are only responsible for how they start their children in life, not for the end result of their lives!

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

#bible-study, #children, #family, #fathers, #god, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #single-parenting, #train-up-a-child, #wisdom

mm

(#153) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:5-Hurry Up And Lose

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 21:5: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

Work, hard work, and plenty of it is the only way to true wealth. Though God could have Created “the heavens and the earth” instantaneously, He used 6 days to establish a work ethic for humankind (Genesis 1:1-2:3). His example established the principle of daily work, which He commanded in the Law of Moses: “”Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12); and in the Law of Christ: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). “Steadfast” and “immovable” are the characteristics of “steady” and “sure.” The Apostle Paul obeyed God’s work ethic to support his preaching of the Gospel: “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Other proverbs emphasize this principle: “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men” (Proverbs 22:29); “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will provide your clothing, And the goats the price of a field; You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, And the nourishment of your maidservants” (Proverbs 27:23-27).

The other side of this is found in the common phrase, “haste makes waste.” ALL shortcuts, fast tracks, or quick remedies will fail. There is no gambling game, lottery, raffle, pool, sweepstake, betting, or bookmaking that substitutes for diligent, daily, hard work, either in personal satisfaction or security. “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning Will not be blessed at the end” (Proverbs 20:21). Second generation fortunes seldom survive; most lottery winners squander their monies; those on an unearned government dole can lose it on a whim; gamblers are generally just contributing their bets to someone else’s jackpot! No one has ever thought of a scheme that betters God’s principle of satisfying work! Solomon will later say: “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). He then explains: “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).

Keeping busy is the work of God which He rewards, but hastening to be rich will fail. Do you want to hurry up and lose?

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

#betting, #bible-study, #daily, #diligent, #gambling, #god, #hard-work, #haste, #hasty-poverty, #labor, #lottery, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #raffle, #sweepstake, #toil, #unearned-government-dole, #wealth, #work

mm

(#148) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:25-Don’t Break Out In A Rash!

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 20:25: “It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.”

The mouth can promise things that the mind later regrets. Sexual passion is a powerful accelerator for senseless promises. “For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother” (Matthew 14:3-11). Even Herod, however, felt compelled to keep his oath. Many people in the hormonal heat of a moment promise marriage and fidelity, only to forget after they “cool down,” but God doesn’t forget!

Jephthah rashly vowed that if God would give him victory over the Ammonites, he would devote “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me” to the LORD. His daughter, his only child, was that person, and “he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man” (Judges 11:29-40). Many people “bargain with God” in time of stress, only to forget their vow, but God doesn’t forget it!

King Saul had forbidden his army to eat during the fighting against the Philistines, under the penalty of death. His son, Jonathan ate some honey, and that death penalty was suddenly forgotten by Saul (1 Samuel 14:24-31). Saul forgot his other obligations to God, too.

Solomon later will state that rash vows before God that are not kept make one a fool, and God has “no pleasure in fools.” The time to avoid this sin is by thinking through the responsibility involved, before such vows are made. “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. For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-7).

Repenting, and being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) is a commitment. Don’t break out in a rash, but obey this Gospel “from the heart” (Romans 6:17).

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

#baptism, #bible-study, #fool, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rash, #vow

We were on Interstate 10 last Thursday afternoon…

We were on Interstate 10 last Thursday afternoon in Alabama heading toward Pensacola and home. Traffic was backed up 15 miles due to the ice storm in the area. We learned part of the interstate was not open for us to get home. We decided to call a friend in the area and ask if they had a bed we could sleep on. We made the call, and after a little greeting I revealed our plight. I asked, “Do you have a bed we could sleep on tonight?” My friend’s first reaction was, “Oh my,” and then she started offering an excuse. Continue reading

#bible, #hospitality, #practical-lessons, #sharing

mm

(#140) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:10-Robbing Hoods

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 19:10: “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.”

“Luxury” describes the pampered life one would expect in someone who has the power of office, but may have little regard for God. Jesus contrasted the Prophet John the Baptist who preached God’s Word to “those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury [but] are in kings’ courts” (Luke 7:25). “A fool” disregards God’s Word and Way, for “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26), thus “a fool” living in “luxury” is unexpected or unintended.

The same can be said for “a servant” to have “rule over princes,” it upsets the natural order. Of the four things that are disturbing on earth, one is “a servant when he reigns” (Proverbs 30:21-23). Solomon later will say such a condition is “folly” (ridiculous): “I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants” (Ecclesiastes 10:7). Revolution can overturn the order in society, and there are consequences that must be faced. “Class Warfare” seems to always have existed, and is based upon false arguments: (1) zero sum philosophy=the amount of natural resources and wealth are fixed, so no one may become rich without taking away that wealth from someone else. This motivates the “poor” to resent the “rich” and feel they are being left out of a “fair and equal” distribution of wealth. Solomon said there is wealth for everyone blessed by God: “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). There is no limit as to whom or how much God will bless. (2) envy and covetousness=lusting for what the “haves” have without doing their work to achieve it. When those who “have not” train their eyes on what others “have,” desiring to obtain it by evil means, we have an example of what God calls “covetousness,” which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Satisfaction with what we “have” comes from trusting God to be in charge: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

When the “poor” are encouraged to covet what the “rich” have, they become “robbing hoods,” whether or not they are members of a political party, labor union, man-made religion, or underworld brotherhood!

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

#bible-study, #class-warfare, #covetousness, #folly, #fool, #luxury, #practical-lessons, #princes, #proverbs, #servant, #zero-sum