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(#65) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:5-The Bread That Tastes Like Rocks

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

Proverbs 13:5: “A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.”

A “righteous man” rejects the stench of wickedness. In the final judgment, “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8) because the LORD hates “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:16-19). “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5). The righteousness of God hates and totally rejects “lying,” and thus “a righteous man” will also hate “lying.” “You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10).

A “wicked man” is living in that which is “loathsome and comes to shame,” in other words, wickedness is disgusting and has no positive conclusion, if followed. Other ways to say this are: “Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Proverbs 9:17); “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Proverbs 20:17). The excitement of theft is in the “getting away” with no consequences, but the Scriptures plainly show that God will enforce those consequences in His own time! “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

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

#bible-study, #gravel, #lying, #proverbs, #righteous, #sin, #stolen-bread, #wicked, #wisdom

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(#64) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:26-Which Way Are We Leaning?

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 12:26: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

The contrast is drawn between the “righteous” (those who obey God’s commandments, Ecclesiastes 12:13; 1 John 3:3, 7) and the “wicked” (described in Genesis 13:13: “the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD”). The “righteous” should be cautious lest the “wicked” have greater influence on them than they do on the “wicked!” In Malachi 3:18, in the last book in the Old Testament, God keeps the line drawn between the two when He said: “Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.” Anyone who is “wicked,” however, may choose to become “righteous” by converting and obeying God. “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-3). God’s invitation to the “wicked” to change is always open, for “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9; Luke 24:45-47).

Because the Hebrew allows a spread of translation, the King James Version is also given: Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them. {excellent: or, abundant}                            The way of righteousness is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6); for those who receive Him as He is and come to Him (John 1:11-13); who repent and are baptized in His name “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); and are “registered in heaven” as a part of the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22-23); and “enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus” on “the new and living way” He “consecrated for us” (Hebrews 10:19-20). Truly this is “more excellent” than “the way of the wicked,” which “seduces” them but produces no righteousness! And the wicked have seen this very point! King Saul said to David, after trying to kill him, but David spared Saul: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil” (1 Samuel 24:17). King Joash “did evil” but the Prophet “Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, ‘O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!’ (2 Kings 13:14). In the New Testament, King Herod was pressured to kill John the Baptist, but could not bring himself to do it, “for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly” (Mark 6:20). Even in the King James Version, the “righteous” should not leave the way that even the “wicked” admit is “more excellent.”

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

#bible-study, #converted, #more-excellent, #proverbs, #repentance, #righteous, #seduces, #wicked, #wisdom

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(#57) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:12-13-Deliver Me!

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 12:12-13: “The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit. 13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble.”

Wicked people think the more people they ensnare, the bigger the crowd for God and the righteous to deal with. They think there’s safety in numbers, and this may be the thinking behind drinking and drug parties or gangs. Only “the wicked” seek the company of “the wicked” or influence others to join them in wickedness. “The wicked” are victims of their own stated wicked plans, untruths, and broken promises! Another proverb that deals with this is: Proverbs 21:10: “The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.” A psalmist clearly described them: “He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength” (Psalm 10:8-10). Only “the wicked” target the helpless. Only “the wicked” would gang up on and beat to death an 88-year old World War II veteran; or rob and kill a 99-year old woman; or blow up unarmed citizens and children in the name of a “justifiable war;” or involve innocent children in perverseness before they know right from wrong.

The righteous are a complete contrast, whose “root” (core values) is to produce goodness, and therefore “will come through trouble,” a phrase meaning survive with good morals intact. This is a complete contrast to Apostles of Jesus Christ who healed a helpless lame man (Acts 3:1-10; 4:8-10). Other proverbs that show this contrast are: “In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28); “The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). For Christians, Peter warned of the “judgment” of persecution upon both the righteous and sinners, then added: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:17-19). Only Jesus Christ can deliver a soul from the ravages of tribulation (John 16:33).

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

#bible-study, #drinking-and-drug-parties, #helpless, #justifiable-war, #perverseness, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #righteous, #salvation, #sin, #tribulation, #wicked, #wisdom

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(#55) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:10-Pets R People?

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 12:10: “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

“A righteous man” listens to God’s Wisdom, and appreciates the world as the product of God’s mighty work: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and “God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:25). Let us note, however, that God made humans to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Though a “righteous man” will “regard” his animal, he will also know the difference between a human and an animal! Animals are NOT human, too!

The best “the wicked” can offer (their “tender mercies”) “are cruel.” The cliché is true, that those who are cruel to animals as children are cruel to animals as adults, and cruel to humans, too. Those who disregard God’s care for animals will disrespect God’s care for humans, and vice versa. As one of God’s creatures, “natural brute beasts [are] made to be caught and destroyed” (2 Peter 2:12), but human beings are NOT!

God provided for animals to reproduce “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:25); when humanity was saved from a corrupted world in Noah’s ark, God included animals (Genesis 8:15-19); when God gave Israelites a “sabbath day,” He included the animals (Exodus 20:8-11); and the animals who were used to raise food were allowed to eat of that food (Deuteronomy 25:4)! God’s care for the animals He created will be reflected in a “righteous man” who is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-30). By-the-way, not muzzling the oxen but allowing them to be fed from their labors is applied to the support of Gospel Preachers (1 Corinthians 9:3-11). After quoting Deuteronomy 25:4, Paul asked, “Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?” Some brethren take better care of their animals and pets than they do of their Gospel Preacher! Such is not only disgraceful but damnable, as well! Care for animals was never intended to be greater than consideration for humans, especially Gospel Preachers, but was intended by God’s command to put “regard” into consideration for humans, hopefully to show them how to “regard” their fellow man!

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

#animals, #beasts, #bible-study, #cruel, #human-beings, #obedience, #pets, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #righteous, #wicked

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(#43) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:18-19- Do Not Be Deceived

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

Proverbs 11:18-19: “The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. 19 As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.”

Who is the most deceived when he is “wicked,” but the wicked? The wicked’s “work” is for nothing, since all the thrills of thinking that one has beaten the system; or the rules don’t apply to me; or God won’t condemn anyone; or God will be merciful to me; have absolutely no support from the Word of God! Other proverbs that uphold this teaching are: Proverbs 11:31: “If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner;” Proverbs 12:2-3: “A good man obtains favor from the LORD, But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. 3 A man is not established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous cannot be moved;” Proverbs 12:7: “The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand;” Proverbs 12:21: “No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, But the wicked shall be filled with evil;” Proverbs 13:6:  “Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner;” Proverbs 13:9: “The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out;” Proverbs 13:25: “The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want;” Proverbs 14:14: “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above;” Proverbs 14:32: “The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death;” Proverbs 21:12: “The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, Overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.” The warning “do not be deceived,” meaning keep your eyes open to yourselves, or watch out, also occurs for Christians in the New Testament: sinners will not “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10); Christians can be corrupted by “evil company” (1 Corinthians 15:33); none will escape their works on the day of Judgment (Galatians 6:7-8); and no one is tempted into sin by God (James 1:13-16)! Just as surely as the righteous will receive the blessings of being righteous, the wicked will receive the “death” they have earned and deserve. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

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

#bible-study, #deceitful-work, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #righteous, #wicked, #wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(#35) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:3-6-What Levels “Haves” with “Have-nots”

Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:3-6: “The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the  perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. 4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. 5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. 6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.”

“Integrity” is associated with “blamelessness” and “uprightness,” all of which are combined in terms like “honesty,” “consistency,” “purity,” “devoutness.” God described David, “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22), to Solomon: “Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel’” (1 Kings 9:4-5). In fact, David asked God to judge him on the basis of his “integrity” (Psalm 7:8); although Job had lost everything, he kept his “integrity” (Job 2:9); and Christian “young men” should show “integrity” in doctrine (Titus 2:6-8). Other proverbs stress that a poor person who walks with “integrity” is better than a “fool” (Proverbs 19:1) or the “rich” (Proverbs 28:6), and, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:7). Those who are “poor” and spend their time feeling sorry for themselves because others are “rich,” need to learn that having “integrity” makes them far more acceptable to God than any other quality! To King David, walking “in integrity” gave him confidence (Psalm 26:1).

It is pitiful to see and hear the plethora of false prophets and deceitful speakers who fan the fires of victimization, emphasizing the difference between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” when if they taught God’s Wisdom, “integrity” would strengthen the hearts, confidence, and goodness of all who would walk in it. The contrast drawn in Proverbs 11:3-6 shows that the “wicked” will fail and fall because of their own “perversity” (twistedness), “unfaithfulness” (failure to obey God), trust in the purchasing power of “riches” (1 Timothy 6:17), “wickedness” (lack of Wisdom or goodness), “lust” (narrow-minded concerns about their own desires above others). All preachers, politicians, parents, and professors should be about educating and overseeing everyone with “integrity,” and forget all about their quest for power and influence in any other way!

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

#bible-study, #devoutness, #have-nots, #haves, #honesty, #integrity, #lust, #poor, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rich, #unfaithful, #victimization, #wicked, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #18: What God Hates

(#18) Six Hasty Misjudgments of Youth: 6:1-7-27 – ONE AT A TIME.

6:16-19: (4) Don’t Jump Into The Deep End!

“The world” God loved and gave His only begotten Son for (John 3:16) was humanity, not the globe, itself! But everybody in that “world” is lost unless, they, individually, accept and obey the offer to be saved through His Son (Mark 16:15, 16), for “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

Verse 16: God wants no one to be lost (2 Peter 3:9), but here are seven sins that God “hates.” An “abomination” to God is something that He judges horrible, shameful, immoral, disgusting, for which He has intense dislike, or hatred. There is no way anybody can consider him/herself safe, saved, loved, or forgiven who practices these sins. In fact, God hates those who decide to practice evil (Psalm 5:4-6).

Verse 17:

“A proud look:” Having an inflated opinion of oneself so that others are “beneath.” This comes from a degraded opinion of others, for whatever reason. “The wicked” have this look (Psalm 10:4), the young can develop this (1 Peter 5:5), a “generation” can have this (Proverbs 30:13), and so can politicians (Acts 12:20-24). It fits into a whole list of sins from “the last days” of the Jews in the First Century (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

“A lying tongue:” Lying is “but for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19), therefore it is not eternal truth. Since the Devil fathers all lies (John 8:44), then all liars will be Hell-bound (Revelation 21:8). God opposes false prophets (Ezekiel 33:8-9), and those who change His commandments in His Word (1 Timothy 4:1-5), for He makes lies have consequences (Hosea 10:13). Lying is deliberate tampering with truth either by adding falsehoods to it or hiding some of the truth from honest inquiry. This is not the same as not knowing all the truth (Acts 3:12-21), which may end in sin.

“Hands that shed innocent blood:” Babies are purely “innocent,” for unborn babies have done neither “good nor evil” (Romans 9:11). The “innocent” are listed with the “righteous” (Exodus 23:7), and it is an idolatrous society who “sheds innocent blood” (Psalm 106:34-39), as the Jews proved who crucified Jesus Christ (Acts 13:26-30). Those who “persecute” Christians “do not please God” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

Verse 18:

“A heart that devises wicked plans:” God is ready to forgive those who are willing to repent and “be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), but never to those whose hearts “devise wicked plans” (are set on finding wicked ways). This was the prevalent attitude that caused God to destroy the earth by flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:5), and describes complete corruption.

“Feet that are swift in running to evil:” These are “ambulance-chasers” of sin, finding attraction to anyone and everyone who has committed evil offense against God and man. Solomon has already warned his son of these people (Proverbs 1:15-16).

Verse 19:

“A false witness who speaks lies:” Lies used against others show reckless disregard not only for one’s own soul, but for others’ reputation, character, goods, or person. This phrase includes gossip, slander, defamation, whispering, back-biting, and anything else designed to falsely place a stigma on someone else (Proverbs 25:18; Romans 1:28-32). Even the courts of the land are hostile to this, calling it “perjury.” Sound Gospel Preachers will never stoop to such an abomination, or call it keeping the church pure.

“And one who sows discord among brethren:” The Word of God seeks to bring people together in Jesus Christ (John 17:20-21; Ephesians 4:1-6) because “how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) The sowers of “discord” are working to directly destroy what God’s Gospel can achieve. Division in the churches of Christ never happen because of what the Bible says, but because of those who magnify and exploit differences, slights, misunderstandings, ignorance, and feelings over Scriptures. Since love is the “bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:14), sowers of discord attack the very heart of churches of Christ, and must be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17-18).
 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#abomination, #bible-study, #false-witness, #god-hates, #innocent-blood, #lies, #lying, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proud, #proverbs, #sin, #sows-discord, #wicked

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #17

(#17) Six Hasty Misjudgments of Youth: 6:1-7-27 – ONE AT A TIME.

6:12-15: (3) Watch Your Company!

Verse12: Listen

An old adage said, “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop,” and may well have come from these Divine proverbs. Having described hastiness (6:1-5), fruitlessness (6:6-11), Solomon now shows someone who is useless. “A worthless person” is one of “no profit,” either to God or man. The “worthless” are also “wicked” (perverse), that is, someone who is determined not to follow God’s Wisdom. This is not a person who occasionally sins and repents (1 John 1:5-2:6), but evil runs deep in this person’s heart. As Jesus taught, some people say the right things, but their heart believes differently (Mark 7:6-7). But here, Solomon also shows there are some with wicked hearts whose mouth is as “perverse” as their hearts. As Jesus also said, “”A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). A perverse mouth reveals a perverse heart. Their language is filled with that which offends, abuses, profanes God and man!

Verses 13: Look

Body language is sometimes as important as voice, so Solomon alerts us to look while we listen. One who “winks with the eyes” is signaling deceit and lies, for truth calls for eye-to-eye contact. “He who winks with the eye causes trouble, But a prating fool will fall” (Proverbs 10:10). Repeated blinking can mean a person is momentarily blocking out the one to whom he/she is lying. This can also show hatred without a cause (Psalm 35:19-21). The “shuffling of the feet” also can mean the wicked person is not standing solid behind whatever he/she is saying. It can indicate an awkwardness and discomfort with the present situation that speaks of the dishonesty within. One who “points with his fingers” can be getting someone to think they will be told something off to one side that wouldn’t come up in a public conversation. “Pointing” is not necessarily evil, but often is used by the wicked to distract from the lack of truth.

Verse 14: Learn

Don’t be distracted from the source of these deceiving tactics: “perversity” in his “heart.” This heart has been twisted away from God by choice and practice because “he devises evil continually.” This removes all doubt that their track record should indicate what path he/she is following, both where it is from and where it will go! Not content with following other wicked people, to “devise” means this person invents, plans, applies, and seeks evil for victims. Sowing “discord” will be dealt with in the next section, but note that it is the exact opposite of the first Gospel preaching (Acts 1:26-2:1). Planting ideas, suspicions, doubts in people’s minds that divide, separate, and discourage unity is completely ungodly and perverse!

Verse 15: Leave

Get away from such people immediately, for when they go down (as they certainly will), you don’t want to be in their company to go down with them! “Without remedy” means they don’t have a possibility of salvation without changing.

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

#bible-study, #devises-evil, #perverse, #pointing, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #shuffling, #sows-discord, #wicked, #winking, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Psalm 141 Shut My Mouth

This Psalm of David could have originated at one of several times in his life, so the historical background is not definitely set, but it clearly is similar to other of his Psalms.

Verses 1-2 appeal to God to hear this prayer;

Verses 3-4 concerned with one’s words;

Verse 5-concerned with one’s thoughts;

Verses 5c-7 concerned with one’s bones;

Verses 8-10 concerned with one’s eyes.

Verses 1-2: To “cry out” expresses immediate need(s). For prayer to be “set before” God “as incense” (Exodus 30:1-10), helps us see that when Moses’ Law was taken out of the way by the cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:14-16), Christian prayers ascend before God instead of incense (Revelation 5:8).

Verses 3-4: It is not asking for God to choose our words, but knowing we have called attention to the problem we have with wrong words should keep us more keenly aware (Matthew 12:34-37). “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26). “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). In fact, David realizes, to avoid sin, we must not lean toward “any evil thing,” “practice wicked works,” associate with evil workers, or commonly associate with sinners. This progression into sin is similar to Psalm 1.

Verse 5: If we find ourselves heading in the wrong direction, the rebuke of a righteous person should bring us back to spirituality. “Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed” (Proverbs 27:5). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Verses 5c-7: Our prayers should be not only for us to be strong, but for the wicked to be blunted and weakened. “Judges” are their leaders, but “sweet” “words” of a prayerful appeal to God can see them taken down. Their damage, however, may break up God’s people as if physical bodies had been plowed under!

Verses 8-10: “Eyes,” rightly focused on the goal, must not be misled. Once a person has been buried in the water of baptism into Jesus’ death (and not before), and raised to a new life with Him (Romans 6:3-5), they are saved (1 Peter 3:21). “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). By obeying God and following Jesus Christ, God will “keep” (avoid sin, 1 John 3:6) a Christian from the “snares” and “traps” the wicked continually provide. It was the partial obedience of the Israelites in cleaning the wicked nations out of the Promised Land, that God warned they would become “snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you” (Joshua 23:13). “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them” (Proverbs 22:5). David did not pray out of vengeance or hatred, but simply that God let “the wicked fall into their own nets” and he be allowed to “escape.” When the wicked are treated with their own wickedness is not only just, it is fair for the righteous. “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him” (Proverbs 26:27). A rolling stone may not gather moss, but often it punishes the ones who started it rolling!

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

#baptism, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #church-of-christ, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #prayer, #salvation, #sin, #snares, #traps, #wicked, #words, #workers-of-iniquity

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Psalm 119:49-56 Zayin Finding Comfort In Affliction

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

 

Verses 49-50 show our hope is founded upon God’s fulfilled promises;

Verses 51-54 show how this helps us;

Verses 55-56 show how this makes God’s Law our own.

Verses 49-50: (Verse 49) The “hope” of a lover is that the one loved will remember the “word” (covenant, commitment) they have made. God does not forget (2 Peter 3:9), but “remember” lets us know that enough time may have passed from the promise to the fulfillment that we have become edgy. This is why the phrase is used, for God “remembered” his covenant with Noah (Genesis 8:1), Abraham (Genesis 19:29), Rachel (Genesis 30:22), and the Israelites (Exodus 2:24). (Verse 50) When “affliction” (troubles, distresses) attacks us, our “comfort” (ease of mind, confidence) comes from remembering God’s help in the past. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). God’s Word gives us “life” (vitalizes, refreshes our spirit), Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

Verses 51-54: (Verse 51) The believer is comfortable to remain in the life set forth in God’s “law” (guide, make straight), so the “great derision” of the “proud” cannot affect me. We may be taunted for our faith, but we will never be taunted out of our faith! “For consider Him [Jesus Christ] who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3). (Verse 52) The record of God’s “judgments of old” (decisions, actions for the “good” and punishments against the “bad”) is the written Word of God, which when studied, brings comfort to the reader. God will not miraculously give comfort to us, but has Christians who may come for aid and assistance with the proper passages (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) that we may “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). (Verse 53) The believer may be provoked by the “wicked, who forsake” God’s law, as Solomon observed: “Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there. I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work’” (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17). (Verse 54) Reminding ourselves of God’s “statutes” (definite lines marking the difference between good and evil) become our “songs” while we are in our “house of my pilgrimage” (living on earth in our bodies, 2 Corinthians 5:1-4).

Verses 55-56: (Verse 55) God’s “name” gives comfort and confidence through “the night” (those dreary days, troublesome times, depressions, dreads) as long as we “keep” (observe, obey) God’s “law” and “precepts” (things to notice, directions for conduct). (Verse 56) The comfort of the word of God “has become mine” for it has guided one through “affliction” and maintained “hope.” These personal experiences are what “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).

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

#affliction, #bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #comfort, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #reproach, #wicked

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Psalm 109

Vs. 1-5 show how hateful someone can become;

Vs. 6-15 appeal for God to “let” bad things happen to an evil-doer;

Vs. 16-20 give the reason for God to let it happen;

Vs. 21-27 contrast how God would help the righteous;

Vs. 28-31 praise God for handling judgment right.

This Psalm was written by David, who had been betrayed by his trusted counselor, Ahithophel, who counseled rebel son Absalom against his father, David, but when that counsel wasn’t followed, went out and hanged himself (2 Samuel 15:12-17:23). This paralleled Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ, and went out and hanged himself (Matthew 26:45-56; 27:3-5). Psalm 109:8, therefore, is quoted by Peter in Acts 1:20 as a prophecy of Judas Iscariot. Interesting to note, Psalm 109 says about a betrayer what Jesus would never say, but is a fair judgment for such a dastardly deed.

Verses 1-5: The problem is laid before God (verse 1; 1 Peter 5:7); the wicked speak from the heart (verse 2; Matthew 12:33-37); hate speech leads to the death of a righteous person (verse 3; quoted by Jesus, John 15:23-25); only wicked people return evil for good (verses 4-5) the opposite of what Jesus taught (Luke 6:27-28), for David and Jesus gave themselves over “to prayer.”

Verses 6-15: What worse punishment could be done, than to do to the wicked what they do to others, with Satan (“accuser”) standing by? (verse 6); his prayers mean nothing (verse 7); for God to stand back and “let” the wicked: live a shortened life and be replaced (verse 8); be the last of his family (verse 9); leave nothing to his children (verse 10); lose all his life savings (verse 11); be shown no mercy (verse 12); lose his legacy (verse 13); pay for the sins of his parents (verses 14-15).

Verses 16-20: This is justifiable “because” the wicked: showed no mercy to the poor, needy, broken hearted (verse 16); cursed others and seldom blessed (verse 17); wore cursing as clothes that rot his inside (verses 18-19); so let it be done (verse 20).

Verses 21-27: Plead for God to deal differently with the righteous: to show others His “name’s sake” (verse 21); to see David’s frailties as “poor and needy” and “wounded” (verse 22); disappearing shadow, or wind-blown locust (verse 23); weakness through fasting (verses 24); object of ridicule (verse 25); only God can change things (verse 26); and so doing, demonstrate to others something only God could do (verse 27).

Verses 28-31: Trust God to judge rightly between the wicked and His servant (verse 28); let wicked be covered in their own shame (verse 29); God is to be praised “among the multitude” (verse 30); for His deliverance of the “poor” from those who “condemn him” (verse 31).

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #jesus-christ, #judgment, #wicked

Re: Day 18 — Psalm 1:4

I have said several times, and recently, somewhere, that the church appears, from a human standpoint, as a fragile thing, on the verge of being blown away at any moment by the slightest wind. Both saints and the good works of the kingdom seem to exist on the precipice of destruction.

This is true, however, not of God’s people, who show their metal under trials and persecutions, but of the wicked. So says the psalmist.

Not so with the wicked! Instead they are like wind-driven chaff.
Psalm 1:4 NET

With a puff, the wicked are gone. The righteous are the stable ones, and the difference is attitude toward God’s law. The stabilizer is laser focus on the word of God.

Perhaps those churches who have nice buildings, full-time staff with nice titles, elders with years of experience, and a long, proud history may not feel the tentativeness in the work that I feel, where we move from place to place, have no one working full-time, lack qualified men to serve as elders, and started yesterday, relatively speaking, in this effort.

We feel how the work suffers when someone turns from the Way, when the seed falls on rocky soil, when persecution thins the ranks, when sickness lays low a saint and death take precious friends. (Does anyone else feel this?)

Yet, still, for all the apparent weakness and the tenuousness of our efforts and our very lives, we are not the ones to be swept away by the elements. After the storm, we still stand. Gone are the wicked. Because they pretend strength by their own power, but we hold to the Lord.

So will we hold until the end.

#power, #psalms, #righteous, #strength, #wicked