Author Archives: David

About David

David is the son of Ken and father of Nick, who first introduced him to blogging. Ken is a retired Baptist Minister who continues to preach regularly, despite being in his eighties. Nick is training for full time Baptist ministry after several years serving as a youth pastor. Somehow the being a preacher thing skipped a generation with David. Although half Scottish David grew up in England and in the Channel Island of Guernsey. He served in the British Merchant Navy after leaving school, and did not attend University until he was twenty-eight years old. By this time he was married to Marilyn and father to Nick, and Nick’s brother Michael. Another son (James) was born the day before the start of David’s final University examinations. Beth and John followed a few years later. The older boys are all married, and David and Marilyn have been presented with five grandsons and two grand-daughters to date, with one more on the way! Beth served with British Youth for Christ (YFC) for four years, two as a member and then a year as the leader of the Nomad cage football team. She then spent a year with a new YFC ministry known as The Cube, before leaving YFC to join the Youth and Children's Team at a large church in York, where she is also working part-time in a computer store. John, who is 19, is now the only one of our children still living at home. David and Marilyn met in 1973 and have been married since 1979. Marilyn is a trained nurse, who gave up nursing to be a full time mother, grandmother, and maker of cakes for pastors, youth pastors, and any church function that needs cakes. There is a rumour that she secretly reads David’s blogs. Family and church leave little time for hobbies, but David enjoys walking and cycling, and listening to music. He also dabbles with languages and is currently learning to speak Welsh. (By way of explanation the Welsh border is 11 miles from David's home, and his water bills arrive in both English and Welsh from Dŵr Cymru.)

Father Knows Best

Proverbs 4:1-2

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.”

Father Knows Best?

Mark Twain may have disagreed with Proverbs 4:1-2. He is widely quoted as having made the following statement:

‘When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.’

Few children willingly listen to a parent. I certainly didn’t, but my generation did not have any choice. Solomon obviously did take note of his father’s instruction and experience. Unlike Solomon, King David did not grow up in the opulent surroundings of a palace. He spent his early years in the fields and on the hills, where the instruction of his own father would have been supplemented by the hands-on experience he describes to Saul prior to his encounter with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:32-51).

The Most Important Thing

The most important thing that David could have taught Solomon from all his experience was to trust God. Trust/faith in God enabled David to fight bears and lions, to defeat Goliath, to manage Saul and his moods, to survive being on the run from the vengeful Saul, and to become a king who generally exhibited wisdom.

Before he died David again demonstrated great wisdom through the instructions he gave to Solomon from his deathbed (1 Kings 2:1-9). It is interesting that David says to Solomon; “Thou art a wise man.”

Wisdom in Action

The fact that Solomon had learned from David is evident in the words of 1 Kings 3:3: ‘And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father.’ It may have been the wisdom passed on by David that led Solomon to answer in the way that he did when God appeared to him in a dream and asked; “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT)

Solomon answers God by acknowledging his inadequacy for the task ahead. Instead of putting in an order for fame and wealth, Solomon asks for an understanding heart, i.e. wisdom. It is evident that Solomon had listened intelligently to his father, and that he had already sought to be a man of knowledge and understanding. What an example! I wonder how I would have answered such a question from God when I was Solomon’s age?

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No Laughing Matter

Proverbs 3:34

“Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”

Those Who Scorn

Have you ever been a scorner? The definition of the Hebrew word used in this verse is shown in Strong’s as ‘make mouths at’ to scoff, mock, or deride. Pause a while and let the meaning sink in. Would you want to be known as a scorner?

Our world is full of those who scorn. Some might call it comedy. If we consider stand-up comedians, then most derive their living from scorning others. Their targets may be politicians, celebrities, or even family members. Sometimes they pick on people in the audience. But you don’t have to be a comedian to scorn. It happens daily throughout all levels of society. It happens in schools, in the workplace, and sadly even in church.

Jesus knew what it was like to be scorned. There are many examples in Scripture of ways in which Jesus was mocked by the Pharisees during His public ministry. One such incident occurs in Luke 16 after Jesus told a parable about an unrighteous servant:

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. (Luke 16:14 NIV)

Far worse was the mocking that Jesus endured after His arrest, during His trial, and even while He hung on the cross. I am moved to tears as I consider how and what He suffered, knowing that He did it all for me. He did it knowing that 2,000 years ago I would more likely have been one of the scorners than one of His followers. My failure to follow Him in the earlier years of my life places me firmly in that category. But the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross was to bring the possibility of forgiveness to all, even those who scorn.

The Opposite to a Scorner

The opposite to a scorner? It is defined in last word of Proverbs 3:34: He giveth grace to the lowly. God gives grace, kindness, favor to the lowly, the gentle, the needy, the humble, the meek, the poor. Jesus reemphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Each Beatitude begins with the word ‘blessed.’ Which would you rather be? A scorner or one who is blessed?

Lord Jesus you know the times in my life when I have been far from being lowly, gentle, meek or humble. You have watched as I have joined in with the scorners. Despite this you chose to be a recipient of scorn, and you allowed yourself to be treated with appalling cruelty so that your Father could forgive me for mine. Through your absolute grace please bring to completion the change in my heart from being a scorner to becoming lowly. Thank you.


Don’t Wait to Give

Proverbs 3:27-28

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

The Call to Give

In 1998 my eldest son Nick was accepted onto a Baptist Missionary Society gap year scheme that required him to raise £2,400 ($3,700) to cover his costs. He carried out some fund raising, but also received gifts from various individuals and organizations. It was around this time that I heard God tell me very clearly to make a specific financial gift to a person serving in full time ministry who needed to purchase a new car. I refused. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money, it just sounded too much to give. Every day in my quiet time I heard God repeat Himself, but still I held back.

One Sunday morning after church a retired nurse from our congregation gave Nick a gift of £100 ($155) towards his gap year. When Nick told me, I went to thank her. She didn’t welcome my thanks, but told me that when God told her to make this gift her response was, “I couldn’t possibly give that much. I am just a pensioner.” But God repeated His instruction until she obeyed. As she related the background behind her gift I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I was challenged by my own disobedience.

As soon as I arrived home I wrote out a cheque (check) for the amount God had told me to give and posted it. I soon received a letter of grateful thanks, but had to write back and admit that I should have sent the gift three months earlier. That young man and his family are now serving God in Africa, but their need right then in 1998 was for a car so that they could continue to serve Him in the UK.

The Blessing of the Gift

What did that £100 and all the other gifts mean to Nick? It meant that he could spend six months in Trinidad working without pay as an assistant teacher in a poorly resourced Baptist school. Trinidad changed Nick’s career plans and it changed his life. Instead of looking to a career in journalism he next spent a year as a Youth for Christ volunteer, followed by three years training for youth ministry. Nick is currently serving as youth pastor at a church in the north of England.

The Message translation of Proverbs 3:27 says: ‘Never walk away from someone who deserves help. Your hand is God’s hand for that person.’ We may never see the true benefits of our gifts of help, time, or money. What matters is that we are obedient to God when He tells us to give. The blessing of the gift is that it blesses others, not just the immediate recipient.

And it pleases God.


Precision Engineering

Proverbs 3:19-20

19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Appreciating Creation

It is rare that a young person understands the magnificence and magnitude of creation. As a child creation was something I explored but did not appreciate, despite growing up on a small and very beautiful island. With friends I spent hours playing on the rocks and beach at weekends and in school holidays. Our parents trusted us to engage safely with the elements. We were aware of the tides when venturing far from shore to find the best rock pools, and we never got cut off. We knew the power of the waves in the winter storms. While we may have returned home soaking wet at times, we always came home safely. There was one thing we did not do. We never once considered the hand of the Creator in the landscape and seascape that formed our playground.

Precision Engineering

To truly appreciate creation it is necessary to know the Creator. The Lord God who skillfully established the planet we inhabit, and through an intelligence that exists beyond any human understanding, made it possible for life to exist on what we call earth. With absolute precision God positioned every heavenly body and caused the universe to function. Every component of the universe is necessary to the existence of earth, and its ability to sustain life. This was not some random event but a deliberate act delivered by the Being we call God.

The two verses above only scratch the surface. It is impossible for the mind of man to comprehend who God is, why He chose to create a whole universe to allow a tiny planet to breathe, or why He wanted to create man in His image. But He did. What possible response can there be other than to worship Him?

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,

Consider all the works thy hands hath made.

I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,

HOW GREAT THOU ART, HOW GREAT THOU ART!

(Stuart K Hine) 


True Value

Proverbs 3:15

“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

More Precious Than Rubies

On 7 November 2000 a gang of criminals used a JCB excavator to ram their way into the vault area of the Millennium Dome in London. Their target was the De Beers diamond exhibition where the Millennium Star diamond valued at more than £200 million ($320 million) was one of several precious stones on view. Unfortunately for the gang they had been under police surveillance for some considerable time. The diamonds were substituted with worthless fakes prior to the robbery. On the day that the gang struck, the Millennium Dome was awash with undercover police officers. All the gang members were arrested, including one manning a powerboat on the River Thames, which was to have been the getaway vehicle.

The Value of Wisdom

The Millennium Dome gang were distinctly lacking in wisdom. Instead, folly driven by greed led them in an attempt to steal a diamond that would have been impossible to trade for cash.

What price wisdom? Solomon knew, and attempted to portray the priceless nature of wisdom in Proverbs 3:15. All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. The message is that wisdom is to be valued above anything and everything this world can offer. But wisdom is not found on display behind armored glass. It cannot be bought, but is a treasure that has to be sought over time.

The word used by Solomon for rubies also translates as pearls. Jesus used a priceless pearl to illustrate a parable in Matthew 13:45-46:

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

What do you value more than anything?


Welcome Correction

Proverbs 3:11-12

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”

 

Correction

I have yet to meet a human being who enjoys being corrected, or disciplined for errors, mistakes, or any form of wrongdoing. I well recall the unpleasantness of discipline exercised by parents and teachers when I was growing up. Physical punishment was the norm at school in my day, and the threat of a visit to the headmaster’s study generally had the desired effect on pupils.

Most of us do not like to imagine God as a Headteacher or Principal with a list of punishments to be levied for misdemeanors. But Scripture teaches that every one of us will one day stand before God and answer to Him for the way in which we have lived our lives (Romans 14:10-12).

Feared, or Welcomed?

Inevitably there will be times during our journey on earth when we will face corrective action from God. The question we must consider is whether correction from God is a form of discipline to be feared, or a process of discipling that is to be welcomed?

While Proverbs teaches that we should fear God, the above verses confirm that if God corrects us it is because He loves us and wants to delight in us as He trains us to be disciples.

Abba Knows Best

The use of the word father in verse 12 is important. The writer is defining the relationship that God desires with those He created. Jesus confirmed that God is a loving Father who delights in His children when He referred to God as ‘Abba’.

If God needs to discipline His children He will. It may not be pleasant, but it is vital if we are to grow into spiritual adulthood. Is that what you desire?

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)


Wicked Uprooted

Proverbs 2:20-22

“That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”

Getting to the Root

Verse 22 offers a picture of trees being pulled out by their roots. Yet roots are notoriously difficult to remove, particularly if a tree is substantial and has been established for a long time. Evil is a tree that has become deeply rooted in society, and in the world in general.

While it is easy to get frustrated about the abundance of evil in our world, it is even more frustrating when we look back because it seems as if nothing has changed with time. Three thousand years ago the writers of the Psalms struggled with the prosperity of the wicked.

In Psalm 73 verse 3 Asaph declares, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” But David in Psalm 37 teaches us not to envy the wicked stating in verse 2: “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb.”

What Kind of Tree are You?

Make no mistake. Not just the evil, but also all who choose not to surrender their lives to God will be uprooted, extracted, removed. There will be no place for them in the New Heaven and Earth described in the Book of Revelation. But how do we walk in the way of good men and keep the paths of the righteous, so that we will not meet the fate of the wicked? Psalm 37 gives some pointers:

  • Trust in the Lord and do good (verse 3).
  • Delight thyself also in the Lord (verse 4).
  • Commit thy way unto the Lord (verse 5).
  • Rest in the Lord (verse 7).
  • Wait patiently for Him (verse 7).
  • Cease from anger, and forsake wrath (verse 8).

And you will be like a different type of tree, as described in the first three verses of the very first Psalm:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV).

Do your roots reach into the Living Water (John 4:10-14)?