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(#109) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:14-15-Governing the Government (#4)

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 16:14-15: “As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, But a wise man will appease it. 15 In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.”

Verse 14: When all authority in government is invested in one person, judgments and rulings are purely arbitrary, whimsical, and capricious. The purpose of having a constitutional “rule of law” is to avoid the abuse of power so easily entered into with only a king, or tsar, or fuhrer, or dictator. People who are subject to the whim of “the king’s wrath” might expect the least provocation to “set him off.” King Saul showed Ahimelech the priest, and those with him, the wrath of a king (1 Samuel 22:11-19). Other proverbs reflect danger in a too-powerful king: “The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass” (Proverbs 19:12); “The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life” (Proverbs 20:2); “Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over poor people” (Proverbs 28:15). Solomon, later, expressed this absolute power of a king: “Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him. Where the word of a king is, there is power; And who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Ecclesiastes 8:3-4) A “wise man” will surely tread lightly around such a person. There is no better time to apply another proverb: “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Verse 15: On the other hand, however, a happy king makes life last, and refreshes like “the latter rain” of a growing season, and which helps produce a good harvest.

Under Moses’ Law, kings were supposed to follow their own personal copy of God’s Word (Deuteronomy 17:18-20), and that should have been their “constitution” to guide their rule. Even under Jesus’ Law, obedience to government is predicated upon one’s humility before God: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1).

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

#authority, #bible-study, #christian-living, #constitution, #kings-wrath, #power, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom, #word-of-god

We Need to Study the Bible Because it’s Relevant to the Problems of Today’s World

Yes, the Bible is old, but it isn’t too old for our modern world! While living upon the earth, mankind will never outgrow our need for the guidance that is only found in God’s word: “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23) We will never escape the circumstances of life that link us back to all the previous generations who have lived before us. It was Job who said so long ago that, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) Can this not still be said of us today? That’s why I say that a modern world full of trouble can still use the wisdom of the book that’s full of answers – the Bible!

The big picture of life hasn’t changed since the day Adam and Eve left the garden. We’re born – we live – we die – we meet our Creator. Again, that’s why God’s word is still relevant! Sure, we have greater luxuries today than any other generation who has ever lived. We have our modern medicine, we have our big screen TVs, we have our high-speed internet, we have our refrigerators, we have our go-carts, golf carts, electric cars, four-wheel drives and eighteen-wheelers, but they don’t provide the real answers to real life, because we still have the same old problems that lead to the same old questions that every other generation before us has asked! We still have problems with hate, problems with murder, problems from war, problems from adultery and divorce, problems with theft, problems from the abuse of power, problems of rape, problems from wickedness, problems with riots, problems of slander, problems from oppression, problems from spiritual ignorance, problems from anger, problems of cold-heartedness, problems with family, problems at work, problems with money and problems with any other old-fashioned sin that we can think of!

Do any of those circumstances sound familiar? They should! Because this is the stuff that not only makes us up today’s headlines – it’s the stuff that we read about from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation! So who says the Bible isn’t relevant to today’s problems? How can it not be if the problems haven’t changed?

No other book than the Bible answers the greatest questions of life. Where did I come from? (Genesis 1:27) Why am I here? (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) Where I am going? (Matthew 7:13-14) No other book than the Bible provides the solutions to life’s problems. Love God and love our neighbor (Luke 10:27). Treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Be merciful (Matthew 6:15). Be willing to come to Jesus for the answers, correction, support and encouragement we need (Matthew 11:28-30). Live a life that’s dead to sin but alive in, alive to and alive with Christ (Romans 6:1-12, Colossians 3).

Mankind has lived upon the face of the earth for thousands of years, and with the exception of the Lord’s return we will continue to live here with the same old problems, with the same needs and with the same book that contains the solution and answers to them both sitting within in our grasp – the word of God. And that’s why we need to study the Bible…because it truly is relevant to the not-so-new problems of today’s world.

#bible, #bible-study, #characteristics-of-the-bible, #problems, #relevancy-of-the-bible, #relevant, #religion, #sin, #spiritual-answers, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because, #word-of-god

We Need to Study the Bible Because it’s Powerful

More powerful than a locomotive may be alright to describe Superman, but there’s hardly a comparative term out there to help describe the power of God’s word. We live in a world of constant energy; and I’m not just talking oil and gas. The need for production and consumption has produced a constant cycle that has been in place since the day Adam and Eve made the Garden their home (think food people). Our intake must be greater than the outgo or our physical strength will run out, right? Spiritually speaking, there’s a renewable, reliable, ever ready energy source that can get the job done and it’s called the word of God.

The word of God is powerful in its spoken form. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” (Psalm 33:6) The atoms that make up the bomb, that make up the water turning the turbines, that sends out of the radiating light of the sun, that produces fossil fuels and even construct the energy sources we have yet to discover were all “simply spoken” into existence. That’s power! No wonder it was said in olden times, “Lord speak, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9). The word of the Lord will come to pass upon its own merits, strengths and power. The will of God allows mankind to have a will, but when mankind starts to act like man-king then the Lord speaks and man can’t help but listen.

The word of God is powerful in its written form. The One who spoke us into existence not only condescended Himself to become one of us for our sake (John 1:1-3, 14), He also condescended Himself to leave us with the ability to learn about the knowledge He has given through the written word that transcends any other written document ever imagined (1 Corinthians 2:11-14). Simply put, the written word of God is some powerful stuff: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) God’s word does not need our guidance – we need the guidance of God’s word (Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 119:105). God’s word knows how to lay our heart open, get right down into the root of the matter and reveal the reasoning behind our thoughts and actions…and it does it all without anesthesia.

The word of God is powerful because it has the power to lead mankind to salvation. Without God’s word we would not have the knowledge that’s available when it comes to the reality of sin and the possibility of salvation. The word of God not only leads us back to the Garden, it leads us back to Calvary and onto Heaven. The Spirit of God uses the power of the word of God to bring us unto God to enjoy the salvation of God through the Son of God. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). God’s word is the dynamite that blasts out our self-will, our stubborn will and our sinful will to reveal unto us to will of God. You can’t have fruit without a seed and you can’t enjoy salvation without the seed of salvation being planted into our heart (Luke 8:4-15).

If mankind is to ever stop fussing and fighting over the energy production of the earth it will be because we have learned to listen to the power filled word of God from Heaven. If mankind is to ever stop allowing the perverted knowledge of people to do irreparable harm it will be because we have learned to listen to the power filled word of God that binds hearts, clears minds and opens ears and eyes. If mankind is to ever stop proceeding deeper and deeper into sin and further and further away from God it will be because we have learned to listen to the power filled word of God that renews the heart, mind, soul and strength in the image of the One who loved us enough to give us more than what we deserved; He gave us what we could never earn (Romans 5:8-10). These are just a few reasons why we need to study the powerful word of God contained in the Bible.

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

#bible, #bible-study, #characteristics-of-the-bible, #christianity, #the-ability-of-gods-word, #the-power-of-gods-word, #the-power-of-the-gospel, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because, #word-of-god

I’ve got a semantics question fellows after seeing…

I’ve got a semantics question, fellows, after seeing this recent FB post:

“The Bible does not contain the Word of God; the Bible is the Word of God. There is a difference.”

*What is your definition of “the Bible”?*

For me, I actually prefer the statement “the Bible contains the word of God.” I define the Bible as Genesis through maps. 🙂 There are lots of things in our modern Bibles that are not the “word of God” (e.g., concordance, chapter & verse divisions, footnotes, etc.). If the imitation leather cover says “Holy Bible,” then everything inside is a part of the “Bible”, right? Thus, is it not better to say: “The Bible contains the word of God”? (I actually prefer lowercase “w” on “word” when not referring to the Logos, but I won’t go in to that right now… 🙂

Even some things within Scripture itself (like Satan’s lie in Gen. 3:4) is not really the “word of God,” is it? I understand that Gen. 3:4 is an accurate account of what Satan said AND that the Spirit inspired Moses to make a record of it, but how can a LIE be “the word of God”? I find this terminology troubling. Gen. 3:4 IS Scripture, but is it the “word of God”?

Your thoughts are most welcome.

#bible, #scripture, #word-of-god

CONFUSION AND TRANSGRESSION by Sewell Hall

Here’s a good article that I got from the church in Wise, VA this morning. I thought it was worth sharing:

Have you ever heard anyone say, as an explanation for some sinful action, “I have become so confused I don’t know what is right anymore”? As a rule, the person who says such a thing is one who has had clear convictions but has acted, or is about to act, contrary to them.

This must be what the Holy Spirit was saying about Eve in 1 Tim. 2:14. “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

To say that she was deceived is not to say that she was ignorant. She quoted perfectly what God had said: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die'” (Gen. 3:2,3). She was deceived when she thought there could be any valid reason for disobeying God.

We cannot know how long Adam and Eve avoided the forbidden tree. With so many other trees from which to eat, there was no need to eat of it. There is no evidence of confusion regarding the right and wrong of eating or the wisdom of abstaining. They were happy ignoring it.

But along came Satan to draw Eve’s attention to the tree she had been avoiding. He drew here attention to the beauty of the fruit and somehow convinced her, perhaps by eating of it himself, that it was good for food. If he did eat of it, the fact that he did not die surely gave support to his contention that she would not die. One can see the confusion mounting. The arguments she considered conclusive against eating were rapidly being snatched by arguments for doing so. Which arguments were valid? Both seemed to be.

Had Adam been nearby, or had God spoken again, she might have been reminded once more of the strong reasons for rejecting the fruit. But as it was, the voice of God grew weaker in her memory as the desirability of the fruit was magnified by Satan’s glib lies. All that was needed to tip the balance was the final suggestion of an apparent virtue in eating — the thought that she would become like God. Never mind the legalistic prohibition; surely one could not be blamed for wanting to be like God.

“She took of the fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6). Tragic words! Tragic consequences! Consequences reaching down through countless generations even to us!

The great mistake of Eve was in allowing herself even to begin thinking about disobedience. This was the mistake of Achan when he first saw the Babylonian garment (Jos. 7:21), of David when he first saw his beautiful neighbor bathing (2 Sam. 11:2) and of Judas when he first thought of betraying Jesus. It is the same mistake each of us makes — men and women alike — whenever we sin.

The Bible says much: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown brings forth death” (Jas. 1:14,15).

There is ample defense available. If we are wise enough to meditate on God’s laws in such circumstances, (Psa. 119:11), and to ask Him for deliverance (Matt. 6:13), He will, with the temptation, “also make the way of escape” (1 Cor. 10:13).

But all too often, in the name of open-mindedness and objectivity, we feel we are obligated to look at the other side, to consider the “arguments in favor of” sin. We may even be so foolish as to parrot the existential line: “I must get away to myself and sort things out.” If this means getting away for Bible study, meditation and prayer, fine! But this is seldom what it means. As a rule, what it means is: “I want to be left alone to rationalize my way through the sin that entices me without having to reason with those who would logically or scripturally expose my folly.”

Such conflict between conscience and passion, between logic and emotion, between authority and anarchy, between flesh and spirit will indeed produce confusion — confusion bordering on insanity. But it is a confusion for which we are responsible. It is the peculiar malady of “those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” and who “did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10,12). It is never surprising when such a person, “being deceived,” falls into transgression.

In Jesus’ day “there was a division among the people because of Him” (Jn. 7:43). They were confused by the contradiction between His claims and the accusations of their rulers. Jesus stated clearly who would not be confused: “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak of My own authority” (Jn. 7:17).

Wanting to do God’s will will save us from the confusion, deception and transgression into which our mother Eve fell.

Sewell Hall – Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 11, March 15, 2009 

 

#adam-and-eve, #articles, #god, #sin, #temptation, #word-of-god

Run, do not walk

#freedom, #psalms, #strength, #word-of-god

Hebrews 4:12: The Scriptures, Elvis and our Heart

Hebrews 4:12 is one of my favorite scriptures. It can be comforting or it can be chilling. It depends on us.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

I saw the other day where someone at an auction recently paid $94,600 for Elvis’ personal copy of the scriptures! It left me wondering whether that person was more interested in owning a Bible or in owning the Word of God. It left me wondering who was “king” in that person’s life. It left me wondering if they knew that one “king” is dead while the other King still lives and reigns. It left me wondering because I cannot see the thoughts and intents of that person’s heart…but I know what can whether they do or not.

#bible, #elvis, #heart, #hebrews, #word-of-god