Human efforts: Ecclesiastes 8.16-17 VOTD

“When I tried to gain wisdom
and to observe the activity on earth—
even though it prevents anyone from sleeping day or night—
then I discerned all that God has done:
No one really comprehends what happens on earth.
Despite all human efforts to discover it, no one can ever grasp it. Even if a wise person claimed that he understood,
he would not really comprehend it.”

Ecclesiastes 8.16-17

From a purely human perspective, things don’t make sense. As good as wisdom may be, man himself can’t figure it out.

What we need is God’s revelation to understand, Deut 29.29. Therein is true wisdom.

#wisdom #understanding #VOTD

This is John: Matthew 14.1-2 VOTD

“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard reports about Jesus, and he said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead! And because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.'”

Matthew 14.1-2

Herod had John killed. Now his guilty conscience was apparently at work. His interpretation of the reports was completely wrong.

In what ways do people today interpret wrongly the work of God? What’s the solution?

#understanding #God #VOTD

‘For judgment’ John 9.39 VOTD

“For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind.”

John 9.39

Jesus’ statement is his last word to the formerly blind man whom he healed.

In what ways are people blind to Jesus?

#VOTD #understanding #Jesus

‘Flooded with light’ Eph 1.18

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”

Ephesians 1.18 NLT

In his letters Paul usually included a prayer for spiritual blessing for his readers after the salutation.

How key is understanding to the Way of Christ and to our spiritual well-being?

#VOTD #prayer #understanding

VOTD: John 8.43 ‘Why don’t you understand?’

“Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching.”

John 8.43

To whom was Jesus speaking? Why did they not accept his teaching?

How do people fail to understand Jesus’ words today?

#understanding #VOTD #receptivity

VOTD: Nehemiah 8.12 “Enjoy tremendous joy”

“So all the people departed to eat and drink and to share their food with others and to enjoy tremendous joy, for they had gained insight in the matters that had been made known to them.”

Nehemiah 8.12

Returning to Israel, the people heard the word of God and celebrated the feast.

How does understanding God’s will contribute to our joy?

#insight, #joy, #understanding, #votd

Sometimes you have to explain it a little better

The other night I told my 4-year-old to pick up the tablet that was on the floor.

She looked at me and said, “That’s not a tablet.”

Was I wrong? Was she right? Not a chance! We just had a little misunderstanding.

You see, when I told her to pick up the tablet I was talking about that thing that consisted of a stack of papers bound together with a spine. You old people know what I’m talking about right? When my daughter heard tablet, well, because of her age and life experience, all she thinks of is an electronic piece of equipment.

The point that I want to make is that many times in life (spiritually speaking), we may take our knowledge and understanding for granted when we mention things like church, baptism, sin, being saved, and what righteousness is all about.

Remember, there are a lot of people out there who think Christ is Jesus’ last name!

This is why I had a teacher tell me one time that, while teaching and preaching, I should never underestimate the ignorance of the listening audience. It’s a lesson worth remembering for all of us.

So the next time you mention a biblical principle to someone and they make a weird look with their face – they may not disagree with you; they just may not understand what you’re talking about.

So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:30-31)

#bible-ignorance, #bible-knowledge, #spiritual-illustrations, #teaching, #understanding

ETHICS

In Romans 9, the apostle Paul deals with a problem that many Israelites, through the years, have surely thrown up to him concerning the ethics of God and the nation of Israel. Did not God promise Israel a land of inheritance? He did. If He did, why is it that God now is dealing differently with the nation? To this Paul addresses his words. He makes clear that in the writings of the prophets, God made distinction between the physical land and national promise to the collective people and those who God specifically chose through whom He would bring His messiah.  Those who paid particular attention to His words would see this, but those who did not would begin to cry aloud that God is not fair. In part, this was the problem, and Paul said as much in this words: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (10:2; NKJV). APPLICATION: let us be sure we have a clear understanding of God’s standard of right as we seek to help others understand and make application themselves.

 

#ethics, #knowledge, #understanding

The scripture cannot be broken

The following excerpt came from an article (Baptism for the Right Purpose) written by a brother who preaches in Smith County, Tennessee.

“If one can be saved without baptism, they can be saved out of Christ (Galatians 3:27). If one can be saved without baptism, they can be saved without putting on Christ. If one can be saved without baptism, they can be saved without being buried with Christ (Romans 6:3, 4). If one can be saved without baptism, they can be saved without being raised with Christ. If one can be saved without baptism, they can be saved without being in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). If one can be saved without baptism, they can be saved without obeying Christ (Acts 10:47, 48). Please take time to read and study God’s word on this subject.”

When an individual understands from whom the command to be baptized originated with, with what it gets us out of, and with whom it places us in, then any contrary argument against its necessity can be seen for what it is – wrong. The scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35). So when the scriptures give a plainly revealed principal to be followed, the principal takes precedent over the vain suppositions and excuses that are offered in order to decrease the urgency in which an individual should have toward following the will of God.

Spurning the grace of God to the detriment of understanding in the hearts and minds of others does no favor for the hearers, the speaker or for the gospel that has been given to save our souls.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)

#baptism, #errors-of-denominationalism, #understanding

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(#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

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(#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

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(#114) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:22-Expanding the Mind

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 16:22: “Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.”

Another proverb says, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook” (Proverbs 18:4). “Understanding” is a constant “flowing book” providing “deep waters” of knowledge. A person of “understanding” always has information to share that has been influenced by God’s Wisdom, studied with an open mind, and reflected in conversation.

In the wilderness wandering, Moses was advised to get men to help him judge the people’s problems: “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21). Moses commanded the people to “Choose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men from among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you” (Deuteronomy 1:13). Only by carefully studying God’s Wisdom can anyone accurately “understand” human behaviors and know how to guide them to a proper solution! Solomon, himself, asked God to “give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). Wisdom and understanding are closely associated, so it is not surprising, then, that wise Solomon’s Book of Proverbs refers to “understanding” in more than 50 verses! Meeting His Apostles after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). Christians know about life and the life to come! “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Since inspired Scriptures provide “correction” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), only “fools” will refuse to hear them. The Old Testament Prophet, Jeremiah, wrote: “O LORD, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, But they have not grieved; You have consumed them, But they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return. Therefore I said, ‘Surely these are poor. They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the LORD, The judgment of their God’” (Jeremiah 5:3-4). Fools feed on “folly” and have nothing positive to add to “understanding.” Until and unless they repent and turn to God’s Word, a fool may refuse to be corrected by God’s Word!

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

#bible-study, #folly, #fools, #jesus-christ, #open-mind, #proverbs, #understanding, #wisdom

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(#110) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:16-Coins or Christ?

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 16:16: “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Some things are worth more than “silver” or “gold.” “Wisdom” and “understanding” are two of these. “Wisdom” is God’s Intelligent Design that He placed in every detail of His Creation in the “heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This truth is at the foundation of faith in God, for: “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, And stretched out the heaven by His understanding” (Jeremiah 51:15); “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

“Understanding” is recognition of this, and it is humbling to the human mind, for we cannot be in charge of our own destinies without God’s help. Solomon, in Chapter 8, had already personified Wisdom, who explained how God placed it throughout the Creation, and shows it to be priceless: “Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (Proverbs 8:10-11); “My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver” (Proverbs 8:19).

The Apostle Peter was inspired by the Holy Spirit to bring this to our attention who live under the Law of Jesus Christ: “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:17-21). Just as God’s Creation shows His Wisdom, those who accept this fact can see His Wisdom in their Recreation. Jesus left us with the Gospel command to:  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).

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

#baptism, #bible-study, #christian-living, #creation, #god, #gold, #money, #proverbs, #recreation, #silver, #understanding, #wisdom

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(#80) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:8-Who’s Fooling Whom?

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

Proverbs 14:8: “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit.”

A “prudent” person uses good, sound judgment, certainly based upon God’s Wisdom. “Wisdom” and “understanding” go hand in hand: the Prophet Daniel and his 3 friends stood out because their wisdom and understanding was “ten times better” than all the other sages (Daniel 1:19-20); and the question for Christians is, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). Being wise and using good judgment (“prudent”) shows, with proper actions, “understanding.” Other proverbs that express these thoughts include: “The simple inherit folly, But the prudent are crowned with knowledge” (Proverbs 14:18); “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known” (Proverbs 14:33); “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness” (Proverbs 15:14); “The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning” (Proverbs 16:21); “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15). Notice there is a definite distinction drawn between the actions of the “wise,” and the actions of the “fool!”

“The folly of fools is deceit” means fools are deceived if they think their folly is acceptable. John, to Christians, says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). No one is more deceived than he who is self-deceived, so even the Apostle Paul said, “I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:4). “The crown of the wise is their riches, But the foolishness of fools is folly” (Proverbs 14:24). How much more ridiculous, empty, or vain could fools be described? Of the 7 times Solomon refers to “folly” in the Book of Ecclesiastes, he shows how obvious the choice is that is placed before us: “Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13). Wisdom is far better than folly. Don’t any longer be among the fools following folly!

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

#bible-study, #folly, #fools, #proverbs, #prudent, #understanding, #wisdom

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

#4 Verses 12-21: She Speaks Prudently

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

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

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

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

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