Category Archives: The Righteous

What Kind of Well?

Proverbs 10:11 

“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”

Righteous

The word righteous is probably not one that many of us would wish to use if describing ourselves. But how do we become righteous? The simple answer is that nothing on earth, and nothing we can do in our own strength, will ever make us righteous. That’s the bad news. The good news is that God provided a way to achieve righteousness.

God sent Jesus, His righteous Son, who willingly gave His life for us, the unrighteous. Although God knew that we could never achieve the righteousness He desires in us, His love for humanity was so great that He made a Way. But it came at a price.

How can we repay the debt that each of us owes to God? One answer is contained in this verse. If we accept the gift of God’s grace, then we must be changed. Our lives must increasingly reflect the life of Jesus. Our friends and family should be able to see Jesus in us, and we should be able to see them through His eyes.

Be the Well

When we speak, our mouths become like wells. The words that come from deep within should bring life to others. Therefore, our words should mark us as different.

It should be easy to tell the believer apart from those who have not accepted the gift of grace that God gave in Jesus. But sadly, many times what comes out of their mouths tells a different story. The challenge for those who have received the gift of grace is to be easily distinguishable from those who have not.

Advertisements

Don’t Fake It

Proverbs 10:9 

“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”

Walking Righteously

When I was a child I would watch my pop walking around wherever he worked, and he looked confident and like he knew where he was going. I saw many more people (my parents, my friends, my parents friends, many CEO’s of companies, male, female, etc.) looking confident and like they knew where they were going.

There are three things I learned while growing up:

  1. Many people are faking it.
  2. Many people are distracted by the worries of this world (meaning they are probably angry or self-righteous about something) which helps with looking confident or like they know where they are going.
  3. A few people have real confidence and really know where they are going, and many of them have peace.

Self-righteous, Angry, and Faking It

The problem with faking it, living angry, and being self-righteous is that … everyone knows! Most people are able to tell who is faking it, angry, or self-righteous.

These are people tend to make excuses or shift the blame.

The problem with making excuses and shifting blame to someone or something else is that the truth eventually comes to light, and it can be embarrassing when the truth comes out.

Knowing Peace

It is much better to walk a righteous – an upright – life. You can “walk surely,” or, as the NIV puts it, “The man of integrity walks securely.”

When living a morally upright life, you can have confidence in what you are doing.

When following Jesus Christ, you know exactly where you are going.

When trusting in God, you have peace.

As discussed several times earlier, Jesus Christ is our Peace, our Path, our Righteousness, and our Assurance. When we walk  in His Holy Spirit, we are covered with Him. We walk in peace and righteousness assured that our path leads to glory and everlasting life.

Gracious God, we praise You for Your greatness and great love. Thank You for peace and righteousness, for giving us Your assurance through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us live in that peace. Help us walk in Your ways. Give us assurance through Your Spirit in our salvation and Your Return.


Blessed Memories

Proverbs 10:7

“The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.”

Memories

I am blessed with a good memory. I can remember many good experiences and happy times in my life with clarity. One of my earliest memories is of my Dad pointing out beautiful blossom on the trees as he walked me to my kindergarten one sunny morning. I would have been three or four years old at the time. I also recall the front wheel coming off my tricycle as I rode on the pavement in the cul-de-sac where we lived. It seemed like a tragedy at the time, but my Dad soon fixed it for me. These are just two memories of being blessed by my Dad’s involvement in my life. There are many more.

When I think back I find that I remember more of the good times than the bad. I cherish the good memories, and I try not to dwell on the bad ones. Even now as I sit at my desk I find myself overwhelmed by a feeling of being blessed, and the presence of God surrounding me in this blessing.

The Good and the Bad, The Temporary and the Eternal

Unfortunately, when we consider the good and the bad in society it is often the case that memories of the bad hang around more than those of the good. Challenged to name a famous German many would think instantly of Hitler, who is arguably one of the most evil men to have lived. Why would Hitler’s name come to mind instead of George Müller (born in 1805 in Halberstadt, which was then part of Prussia but is now part of Germany)? George Müller cared for thousands of orphans in a ministry based on prayer. Or how about Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stood up against the Nazis, who hanged him in 1945 just twenty-three days before they surrendered?

This verse in Proverbs is not about our memories on earth where sometimes it is easier to remember the evil that permeates our human existence, instead of our God who has already defeated evil. It is about the day when we stand before God, as every person who has ever lived must do. It is then that the just will be remembered, and the names of the wicked will be erased. So although it may seem that the wicked always prosper, be encouraged that what we see now is temporary. One day we will see through different eyes. One day all memory of the wicked will be erased. One day.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. (Psalm 34:16 NLT)


Blessings Will Stick

Proverbs 10:6

“Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”

Nothing Stays

Have you ever heard the old adage, “Like water off a duck’s back?” The reason for that saying comes from the fact that ducks never get “wet,” just in the water ( now that will preach!). You see, because of the oil in a duck’s feathers, the duck can be in the water, have water poured over it, etc., but never actually get wet. The water doesn’t soak in, but runs off.

My head is similar to a duck’s back. There is nothing on my head to make anything stay put. Everything just runs off, down my neck, and under my shirt, especially when it rains. The upside is that I never have to dry my hair when I get out of the shower.

Except Blessings

But the awesome thing is that no matter how slick my bald head is, God is able to heap blessing after blessing on top of it. My glasses won’t stay put; hats get blown off; I cant wear flowers; but the Lord can pile blessings as high as He wants. How is that? Must be a God thing.

I don’t deserve blessings. I don’t deserve anything from God. If you only knew me like I know me, you’d wonder how any blessing would stay on my head. Yet, my Lord is merciful. He is able to do what man and water can’t.

The Wicked

The mouth of the wicked, on the other hand, is covered up with violence. What that means exactly is debatable, but the idea implied is that one usually gets what he deserves. The wicked can be compared to a swimmer in wool clothing and a wool coat. When he gets in the water, he’s sunk.

In General

Generally speaking, this proverb tells us that there are consequences for our actions. The way we live will come back either to bless or haunt us. Right living brings peace, while wicked living never ends well.

Do you want to be thought well of? Live justly. Do you want to reap the rewards of righteousness? Live right. Otherwise, even though there may be some temporary benefits to living like the Devil, the end result of wickedness will have you covering your mouth in shame.

A Prayer

Jesus, even though I am not worthy, thank you for your blessings. My righteousness is in you. I am only “just” because “the just shall live by faith.”  Thank you for your mercy, for when I was yet wicked, you saved me, cleansed me, and put a crown on my head. You are my glory, and I will praise you for your immeasurable goodness to me.


Hungry for Grace

Proverbs 10:3

“The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”

Unlike Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon, Shakespeare, or David Welford, I occasionally have a hard time with words. This is one of those times.

There is so much that can be said about this verse, Proverbs 10:3, but it really all comes down to a few observations.

First. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing…” (Proverbs 10:2). In order to better understand verse three, we can’t drag it far from verse two. There the idea is that money is worthless when it comes to buying life. Only righteousness delivers from death.

Second. A hungry soul cannot be satisfied with money, nor with anything else the wicked can produce. As a matter of fact, the only soul with any hope is the righteous one. “The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked” (Prov. 10:3 NLT).

Third. The wicked soul will always feel hungry. Some will even try to buy food for their soul, but God will only throw out their offer.

At this point I can’t help but remember the words of a Bruce Springsteen song, Hungry Heart. Remember these words?

“Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart.”

Grace. More than anything, it’s all about grace. God offers peace, rest, and nourishment for the soul that depends on Him. He doesn’t sell that peace, but offers it freely. If you try to buy it, He will just turn you away.

That reminds me of the words to another song…

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee…
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling…”

A New Pickle

Proverbs 10:2 

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

Stolen Treasure

In the summer of 2002, I was a volunteer room leader at Manville Camp. The speaker that year was Rev. Robert Pickle. This is a man few would expect to be a Christian by just looking at him. Rev. Pickle is over six feet tall with a pony-tail all the way down is back, he rides a motorcycle and has tattoos all over his body, and he is an ex-con.

Yet this is a very large man with a very large heart for Christ, a man who cries whenever he thinks of God’s amazing grace in his life.

He related a story to us that summer:

He was a wanted man … but not in the way most people would like. He was in a very violent motorcycle gang. He grew his own marijuana, made his own drugs, and had many guns and knives. He was not afraid to use those guns and knives, either. He had killed dozens of men. He made a lot of money from drugs and stealing. In his own words, “I stole money through wasted lives and from stores and people.”

Because all of his money came from drugs and stealing, he could not spend most of it in case it came from cops or could be traced from a robbery. He ended up burying millions of dollars around his property. He was arrested one day (another great story, I promise you!), and he is certain there is still at least hundreds of thousands of dollars left unfound on that property.

He could not spend the vast majority of the money he had. It was practically worthless.

New Treasure

Rev. Pickle loves to share his story because he was a self-made millionaire who could spend none of it. His treasures were literally laid up in the earth.

Now, he knows his treasure is in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). He knows he has been made a treasure in Christ (2 Corinthians 4). He knows that if Jesus Christ had not sought him out to make him righteous through the blood of Christ, he would be dead today.

That is the real point of today’s verse:

We can only find our righteousness in Jesus Christ. He is the only way we can find life.

As David said yesterday, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters.” With Christ in our lives, we will always finish this life well and enter eternal life.

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You sought us out to make a way for us through Jesus Christ. Draw us close, and show us real Life. Strengthen us in Your Holy Spirit to continually seek out Your righteousness. Help us to finish this life well – with You.


Abundant Results

Proverbs 8:20-21

“I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”

In the Midst

I used to work in a college textbook store. It required a balance of maintaining enough stock, having trustworthy and hardworking employees, and great customer service. It also required a watchful eye to detail and an understanding of when and how to trust people.

There were always people trying to steal textbooks to sell “back” to other stores or to us from other stores. Sometimes this included employees from stores.

I had gained the reputation of catching thieves, and my store had virtually no thefts for over a year (other than a few small general merchandise items).

Not only that, for the first time in almost 40 years in the company, my store had a perfect inventory.

That caused my superiors to wonder, because the last several times there were perfect inventories…people were covering up theft.

When I became manager, I decided immediately to document everything and double-check everything. I am in no way claiming to be perfect, and I did make some mistakes from time to time. However, when my superiors came in to test me and confirm my inventory, they were impressed with my level of documentation and confirmed the numbers.

On two different sides, theft and inventory, I was being watched and judged. It was only my committment to God and His Word that helped me maintain that order.

Following Wisdom

We all live in a world that hates truth and the things of God.

If you are a Christian, you will walk a narrow path between two groups judging every step you take: those who hate Christians and those who look for any reason you might not be a Christian (some call these the legalists).

However, if you are following Jesus (the true Wisdom of God), then you will overcome these judgements against you in this world.

If you live by what God has said, you will have life abundant.

If you follow Jesus, you will inherit everlasting life.

Jesus said “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29, NIV)

Lord, help us to follow You. We know it will be hard. We know it will bring troubles to us in this life. We know we can only make it with your help. Give us Your strength and wisdom to live a righteous life, holy and pleasing to You.

 

071212