Category Archives: Armour and Weaponry

Powerful Words

Proverbs 12:6

“The words of the wicked [are] to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.”
“The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” (NLT)

The Power of Words

Words have great power. Words can build up, and words can tear down. Words can point in the right direction, but words can also lead astray. Words can encourage, and words can cripple. Words can heal, and words can hurt. There can be no doubt that words spoken thoughtlessly or without wisdom can cause untold damage. The statement in this proverb that words can be like a murderous ambush provides a serious warning about how we choose to speak, and the words that leave our lips.

Be Careful What You Say

As a teenager I can remember being told to put my brain in gear before opening my mouth! This was good advice. Before we open our mouths we have to consider how our words will be received. What is their purpose? Every word is important. Every word has the potential to be good or to be evil. Be careful what you say!

Say What You Need To Say

Then there are the words that we find difficult to say. These are the words that should restore relationships, or ‘save lives’ as the NLT translates this proverb. We all know what these words are, and we have all struggled to say them with heartfelt meaning. These are words for our families, and for our friends:

“I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you.”

Remember that it is not only the words we speak, but also how we say them. I know when my children are sorry, and I know when they are not. They know when I have forgiven them, and they know when I haven’t.

Then there is God and the things we say to Him. God knows our hearts completely. He knows when we are sorry, and He knows when we are not. He knows when we are hungry for Him, and He knows when we have no space for Him in our busy lives. Here are three words we need to say to Him with meaning.

“I love You.”

Say what you need to say.

Listen

Say what you need to say (Say – John Mayer).

Be careful little lips what you say. For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray (Casting Crowns – Slow Fade).

Advertisements

A False Witness

Proverbs 6:19a

“[These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:] … A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Slander

“The slanderer is amongst the greatest of social curses. He robs his fellow creature of his greatest treasure – his own reputation, and the loving confidence of his friends.” – Joseph S. Exell*, 1905.

Daniel Webster (1828 dictionary) called slander “that worst of poisons.” And that is what the above verse is speaking of – poison that destroys reputations, confidence, and even lives.

No Weapons Needed

My little ninja daughter and a ninja friend.

If you were to ask me to paint a picture in my mind of the perfect assassin, all I would need is a little black paint. On my mental canvas I would paint a Ninja warrior, armed to the teeth with swords, shuriken, darts, spiked gloves, and smoke grenades. As far as I know, ninja are the elite of stealthy killers.

Then again, I wouldn’t necessarily have to paint my ninja with weapons in hand. His hands are weapons to themselves. A ninja can slay 50 people with his pinky finger – just ask Chuck Norris.

But in reality, no assassin is more evil than “a false witness that speaketh lies.” No secret killer is more deadly than one who slanders the reputation of another. The slanderer needs no weapons, not even hands, to wipe out multiple lives. All he/she has to do is speak.

Totally Opposite

In the book of Genesis we can read the story of creation. In the book of John we can read even more…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:1-3 KJV

The Word created everything that is. When there was absolutely nothing, not even time, Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:18), turned nothing into everything. He created. He brought life. He made life.On the other hand, the one who bears false witness does nothing but destroy with every word that comes from his/her mouth. What a contrast! Is it any wonder why God abhors this person?

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” – James 1:26 KJV

“For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” – 1 Peter 3:10 NLT

Granny’s Advice

I think my granny may have actually met Solomon. She always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe Granny was right.

*Exell, Joseph S. The Biblical Illustrator, (New York: F. H. Revell, 1905), 170.

Fortress Wisdom

Proverbs 4:8-9

“Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

Building Wisdom

The defense of many iron-age villages in the UK relied on huge mounds of soil being piled up to encircle a settlement and create a primitive fort. There is one of these ancient earthworks close to where I live. It is situated on the highest point for several miles and must have taken a herculean effort to build. The scale of the earthworks is not immediately evident when walking on its remains, and much is left to the imagination. What is not in doubt is that the earthworks were essential to the safety of those who lived inside. Why else would a group of Ancient Britons have invested so much in the construction of such a formidable barrier?

The word ‘exalt’ at the beginning of verse eight could be applied to the construction of an iron-age fort. Wisdom needs to be built up, and constructed into a formidable barrier to defend against everything that life and Satan have to throw at us. It is useful to remember that iron age forts were not built overnight. Solomon may have been blessed with a gift of wisdom by God, but the process of building wisdom began with the early example and teaching of his parents  (Proverbial Thought – Proverbs 4:1-2 and Proverbs 4 3-4).

Embracing Wisdom

It is not enough to embark on a building project alone. The builders of the earthworks could not spend their entire lives inside never facing the dangers outside. And how good a defense would the earthworks have been if lookouts were never posted to provide warning of possible intruders?

The reason that Solomon tells us we need to embrace wisdom is because he knew that there would be times when however good and strong the earthworks of wisdom around us may be, we still have to venture out, sometimes into the unknown. Solomon is also reminding us in these verses that we need to remain alert. Why? Because danger is all around. Stand on top of the earthworks and take a good look outside:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

The journey is not over yet, but look out from the ramparts and you will see that the reward for exercising wisdom is in view.

 


Listen and Receive

Proverbs 2:6-9

“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.”

Verse six seems to be the continuation of the thought started in the first five verses.

Solomon is saying “if you listen to me and seek the wisdom of God, you will find treasure – treasure that is found in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. But the crucial connection is “incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding.”

Listening

One of the hardest things for a child to do is listen to the widom of an elder. If you are a parent, or play one on T.V., then you know that teenagers are the worst offenders. Believe it or not, teens know everything. They have no desire to listen to instruction, especially if if goes against the grain of their vast experience.

But Solomon wants his son to understand that in order to grow in wisdom and understanding, especially without having to suffer needlessly, he needs to listen. And if he will listen to the Lord, wisdom and understanding will come from “out of his mouth.”

Access Granted

The Hebrew word that is translated in verse 7 as “layeth up” is tsaphan (Strong’s H6845).The idea is of something that is hidden, secret, inaccessible, and guarded. This means that true wisdom from God is not accessable by worldy or fleshly means. It can’t be mined or extracted from the soil of life. It hast to be heard.

An attentive, listening ear is all that is required to gain access to the secret treasures of the Almighty. They can’t be bought. They can’t be bargained for. They come at the expense of time and humilty.

Next Level

Much like the video games children (and too many adults with nothing better to do) play, where each level unlocked provides tools to succeed on the journey to the next, the storehouse of God’s wisdom provides what we need for the journey ahead.

Notice how that when accessed, God provides three things: a buckler (shield), divine protection, and understanding. He watches over our paths and gives us invaluable insight into the working of life. But He also give us a “buckler,” a shield, a piece of armour.

What most young people, and adults, fail to realize is that danger lurks aroung the corner. And no matter how straight God makes our path, He still wants us to bear a shield. His wisdom is a strong defense against the arrows and spears of the enemy.

The Buckler

Interestingly, though, the KJV translators used the the word buckler instead of shield. Why? Maybe it’s because a buckler is more than just a static, defensive piece of armor. A buckler was also a weapon. Bucklers were smaller shields which could be used not only to deflect the enemies blows, but could also be used as a “steel fist.”

Never forget that the same shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) which can “quench the firey darts of the wicked” can also be used to fight back. The tools God gives those who listen to Him will not only protect us, but will enable us to advance.

 

(originally published 4/09/12)


More Boldness Needed

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. – Proverbs 28:1

One of the most impressive scenes in the New Testament is found in the second chapter of Acts, beginning with verse 14. There we see Peter and the others – but mainly Peter – boldly standing in front of the very crowd that had previously crucified Jesus saying:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” – Acts 2:36 CSB

If that wasn’t boldness, I don’t know what is!

Think about it! At a time when the Church was barely more than 200 strong (yes, just 200), and not long after they were hiding out in fear, the disciples of Jesus were now throwing caution to the wind as they openly declared Jesus to be the risen Lord.

Nowadays we have multiple millions who claim the name of Christ, many of them with no fear of ever getting a slap on the wrist for expressing their faith – if and when they ever decided to show it. Yet, when the ENTIRE WORLD was in a position to obliterate all the followers of “the Way” in one strike, they came out with a message that was anything but “seeker-friendly” or Joel Osteen-ish.

They essentially said, “You did it. You were wrong. He lives. Repent.”

Where are Christians like that, today? What would happen … if only 200 did what they did … a hundred thousand followers of Christ would stand boldly in the public square and tell the truth about sin and salvation?

Powerless, lukewarm, sin-flirting, self-centered kittens may find it easy to endure the needles that inject woke platitudes and creatively-vague Christian symbols under their skin, but they cower in the dark rooms of expediency and tolerance flee from the fiery darts of the Enemy.

The righteous, on the other hand, stand boldly in the power of the Holy Ghost, raise their shields of faith, and unsheathe a Weapon that “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).

We need more boldness! More lions…fewer kittens.


No Excuse for Fainting

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10

Believe me, this verse hurts my feelings about as much as it does some of yours. And it doesn’t matter what translation you use, the painful truth of this proverb is the same: If you faint or fail when times get tough, you’re too weak.

Weak? Who does Solomon think he is? Frankly, that’s pretty insulting, don’t you think?

Who is Solomon to judge me? How does he know what I’ve been through? Yes, I’ve failed, faltered, and fainted in my time, but I had good reason! When the pressure increased, it was too much. When it got tough, well, I wasn’t prepared.

So I gave up, you know?

You’ve been there, haven’t you? You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

It is sort of like Solomon is nothing more than some drill instructor who doesn’t understand what life is like for us. Sure, it’s easy for him to say we’re too soft or weak, but what kind of pressure has he had to face, right?

What kind of “wisdom” says to someone, “Hey, I see that you caved…you must be a weakling”?

Where’s the compassion? Where’s the understanding? What about our emotions?

Who writes this kind of stuff, anyway??

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. … But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:29, 31

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:13

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Here’s the thing: There’s no excuse for fainting or failing under the pressure or adversity when we have access to strength, armor, and grace from God. Frankly, it comes down to a choice.

But let’s be honest, sometimes we are a little wimpy. Some of us just look for excuses to quit when things don’t go our way. We’re not tough, strong, and determined; we’re weak.

Maybe we should copy this proverb and post where we can see the next time we feel like giving up.

Truth hurts.

 


Leaving Mayberry

Proverbs 28:2

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.”
“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” – NIV
Mayberry

Have you ever noticed that where you see peaceful, law-abiding, respectful, and neighborly people, you rarely see police? Who needs a patrolman at every corner, a police car on every street, and a S.W.A.T. team on stand-by when there’s no crime to speak of?

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knott...

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts from a Jim Nabors television special. Griffith and Knotts revive their Andy and Barney roles for a skit on the show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember Andy Griffith’s old show and the town of Mayberry? Mayberry was a fictitious place where Andy was the sheriff and Barney Fife was the deputy with one bullet. The jail in Mayberry was usually occupied by a drunk named Otis, but he had access to the key and could “check out” as soon as he felt sober.

Do you ever remember Andy and Barney having to bust Meth dealers and prostitutes? Was there ever a cry for gun control or government-run healthcare? Was drunk driving a big problem? And, do you ever remember seeing a camera sitting atop the lone red light downtown?

My City

My city…your city…there’s not much difference: none are the Mayberry of the past. There are small towns here and there that resemble Mayberry on the surface, even ones that maintain low crime rates. However, I would dare say there are very few places these days where the sheriff and his lone deputy take the evenings off.

Everywhere we turn there are people calling for more police, traffic cameras, and surveillance of all kinds. Voices from every corner cry out for more supervision and less freedom – for more “princes” in a land lacking “men of understanding.”

“For the transgressions of the land…” Why are there so many laws and lawyers? Why are there so many who feel they need to rule over us? Could it be that we refuse to abide by a higher law? A law written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10)?

It looks like we’ve left Mayberry far behind.