Category Archives: Armour and Weaponry

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.

Advertisements

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.


Just Joking

Proverbs 26:18-19

“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?”
“Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” – NIV
Crazy Arrows

OK, so let’s stop and think about this one for a moment. Try to get a mental picture of what is being described in verse eighteen. Picture a crazy man, a lunatic, a maniac, shooting flaming arrows into the the air. Can you picture a man shooting arrows into the sky? Well, I’m sad to say, “I can.”

It might not be good for me to share this, but back in the day when I was young and stupid (and most certainly unwise), a friend of mine got hold of a bow and arrow. Standing in the middle of my friends yard, we got the bright idea that it would be fun to shoot the arrow straight up into the sky, out of sight, then go after it when it came back down. If you can’t picture a crazy mad man with flaming arrows of death, imagine two 14 year-old’s staring into the sky waiting for an aluminum arrow of death to fall.

Oh, it was such fun waiting for the arrow to fall from the sky…until punched a hole in my friend’s roof!

“How am I going to explain that hole to my dad?” he asked in panic. “Things fall from the sky every day, like from airplanes, over-laden sparrows (OK, I didn’t say that), and stuff,” I replied. “Just don’t say anything, and maybe he’ll never notice.” Too bad he did.

Hurtful Neighbors

In a way, I was a hurtful neighbor. I was the one who was responsible for a falling arrow, deceit, and a lousy excuse. However, it could have been much worse; somebody could have been seriously hurt, or killed. But there are worse things to fire off into the air than arrows of death: words.

As arrows are hurtful, so are deceitful words, for they pierce deeply. Only a crazy man thinks he can make jokes, criticize, and even talk about someone behind his back for so long without a projectile falling back to earth and piercing one’s heart.

There is nothing funny about deceit. Saying, “I’m sorry,” and “I was only joking” will rarely heal broken trust and damaged friendships. But there is also something else to consider: as with falling arrows, sometimes the hurtful things we do to others can come screaming down on our own heads.

Arrows of death don’t care where they land.


A Difficult Thought

Proverbs 26:10

“The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.”
“Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.” – ESV

This proverb is a challenging one because of how many different ways it could be translated. As a matter of fact, practically every scholarly commentary admits the Hebrew in this proverb is difficult to interpret. That is why I am going to quote several of them before I leave my final thought for you.

Spence-Jones (The Pulpit Commentary)

Few passages have given greater difficulty than this verse; almost every word has been differently explained. The Authorized Version is, The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors; Revised Version, As an archer (Job 16:13) that woundeth all, so is he that hireth the fool and he that hireth them that pass by. At first sight one would hardly suppose that these could be versions of the same passage. [1]

Garrett (The New American Commentary)

The Hebrew of v. 10 is almost unintelligible and thus subject to numerous interpretations, all of which are hypothetical. As the NIV has it, the verse reaffirms that one should not commit important tasks to fools (as in v. 6). Notwithstanding all the difficulties of the text, that does seem to be the main point.[2]

Friedrich and Delitzsch (Commentary on the Old Testament)

All that we have hitherto read is surpassed in obscurity by this proverb, which is here connected because of the resemblance of ושכר to שכור. We translate it thus, vocalizing differently only one word:

            Much bringeth forth from itself all; But the reward and the hirer of the fool pass away.[3]

Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry

Our translation [KJV] gives this verse a different reading in the text and in the margin; and accordingly it expresses either, 1. The equity of a good God. The Master, or Lord (so Rab signifies), or, as we read it, The great God that formed all things at first, and still governs them in infinite wisdom, renders to every man according to his work. … Or, 2. The iniquity of a bad prince (so the margin reads it): A great man grieves all, and he hires the fool; he hires also the transgressors. When a wicked man gets power in his hand, by himself, and by the fools and knaves whom he employs under him, whom he hires and chooses to make use of, he grieves all who are under him and is vexatious to them. We should therefore pray for kings and all in authority, that, under them, our lives may be quiet and peaceable.[4]

Anthony Baker (Proverbial Thought)

So, here is what I think. Feel free to quote me 200 years from now.

A man is a fool when he employs a fool to complete a task. However, the biggest fool is one who thinks God, the Almighty Archer, will miss the target when He holds the wicked accountable.

We are always under His watchful eye, but the fool is never out of His “sights.”


[1] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Proverbs, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 500.

[2] Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 213.

[3] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 6 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 387.

[4] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994).


Slings and Stones

Proverbs 26:8

“As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.”

Sling Shots

I used to own a pretty sweet sling shot. It had a handle shaped like a pistol grip, along with a metal brace that would go over my forearm. Attached to the forks was rubber tubing and a leather pouch. I could put a lead or steal ball in that sling shot and kill an elephant (at least in my imagination). However, the sling shot that I had as a child could not compare to the ones that were used during biblical times.

Home-made sling.

Home-made sling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one that David used against Goliath was a serious weapon which required considerable skill to use. Sure, my sling shot could kill small vermin and knock down targets at close range, but the type of slings Solomon was referring to could, and did, kill people. In Judges 20:16 we read how the Benjamites had 700 left-handed slingers who could aim at a hair and not miss. In 2 Kings 2:35 we read how that the Israelites used slings in warfare. As a matter of fact, lead shot used by the Greeks and Romans in warfare could have an effective range of over 200 yards.

Amazingly, even though the sling was in use over 3,000 years ago, it is still being used today as a weapon by survivalists and fighters alike.  It would seem that its simple construction, ease of use, low cost, unlimited availability of projectiles, and deadly potential could keep the sling in use forever. In the hands of a trained slinger, it is practically foolproof…unless you bind the stone.

Bound Stones

As good of a weapon that the sling shot is, it is worthless if the stone or shot never leaves the pouch. Sometimes a stone can fall out of the pouch by accident, but putting another one in only takes a second. But the idea of securing the stone to the sling so that it never leaves is like plugging the end of a rifle.

But this is what Solomon is trying to explain. Honor, prestige, wealth, giftedness, glory: all of these things are wonderful tools which can be used to great effect by the wise man. However, when in the possession of the fool, all of these things, especially honor, are worthless.

Implications

Solomon is speaking to the one who actually gives honor to a fool. The fool doesn’t posses honor on his own, but has it given to him. The warning in this verse is really aimed at the one who needs the stone thrown.

Some people will honor people who don’t deserve it with promotions and bonuses, thinking that those blessings will make the fool more of an asset. The problem is that the fool will not share in the honor given, nor will he use it appropriately. Therefore, instead of being useful, the fool has now become a liability, much like a soldier who refuses to fight.

Beware of political correctness. Beware of honoring for the sake of honoring. The one who truly makes honor worthless is the one who gives it to the fool in the first place.

 


How Are Your Walls?

Proverbs 25:28

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

City Walls

Most cities today have no walls; they are usually protected from invaders in other ways. But back in the days of Solomon it was common to see a city with large walls built around it for defense. Without those tall, stone walls, much like what we would imagine circling a castle, a city would be completely vulnerable to attack.

English: Building the Wall of Jerusalem; as in...

In the Old Testament we can read of a man named Nehemiah who realized the importance of city walls. When one of his brothers came to visit, he asked how things were going in Jerusalem. That’s when he found out the bad news.

“They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” – Nehemiah 1:3-4 NLT

Later, Nehemiah went before King Artaxerxes, the kink in whose court he served, to ask permission to rebuild the wall. His request was graciously accepted, and the king even provided the materials needed for the job. However, none of this would have happened had Nehemiah not realized the humiliating and dangerous predicament Jerusalem was in. They needed walls.

Walls of Discipline

Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote this proverb, for he knew about human desire. But, as a king, he also knew about city walls and the need for defense. He recognized the similarity between a defenseless city and the undisciplined, careless soul.

A person who has no control over his desires is like a city that parties away the night without any clue that an invasion is imminent.

He with no rule over his own spirit is like a city full of treasures ready to be plundered.

The one with no self-control invites destruction.

Maybe it is time we share the burden of Nehemiah and repair the broken down walls in our own lives.