Category Archives: The Wicked

Couch Talk

Proverbs 3:31-32

“Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”

Preface

Let me preface what I am about to write by saying that it is pleasure to study verses of Scripture which would normally be overlooked in casual reading. When I first selected this passage, I only did so based on the calendar. Only when it came time to write did it become clear there was much more to these verses that met the eye.

I can only scratch the surface, today. However, I would challenge each reader, as with the other texts, to study them for yourself. The greatest riches of heaven are not usually handed over, they are wrestled from the Word. Dig, my friends, and you will be amazed at what you find.

The Oppressor

Solomon recognized that there is always the temptation to envy those in power. If honest, few would deny that they, at some point, secretly wished they could be ruler of the world. And in most cases, the wish would not be to become the most benevolent ruler in history, but a dictator.

But we should ask ourselves, what is it about the “oppressor” that we want? Power? Influence? Riches? Fame? The ability to manipulate others in order to have things our way? Why would anyone who seeks God’s will want those things?

Froward

The “froward” man could also be called “wicked” (NLT), “devious” (ESV), or “perverse” (NIV). The word here describes a man who turns away from God to do his own thing. This type of man, the oppressor, or “man of violence” (ESV), the Lord abhors. Again, why would a God-follower want to be like him?

Do you want to be happy? “Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful,” says King David (Psalm 1:1). Don’t choose the ways of the oppressor if you want to experience joy and peace.

What is it, then, that Solomon offers as an option? What can the righteous experience that the wicked cannot?

His Secret

The word translated “secret” (verse 32) comes from a word that means a couch cushion, or a triclinium (see Gesenius’s Lexicon). What is that, you ask? A triclinium was a three-sided couch on which the Greeks and Romans reclined when sharing a meal, or conducting casual conversation. It was a place symbolic of friendship, family, and intimacy. God is sickened by the perverse man, but the righteous is accepted at His personal table.

Don’t be like the man who turns from God; but be like the man who runs to Him. The result may not be the aquisition of wealth, power, and fame; but something far, far more valuable: secret, private communion with the Lord. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty” – Psalm 91:1

What on earth could compare to hearing God say, “Come here, son, recline next to me. I want to share some things with you; things meant only for you, and no one else.” The “righteous” have that privilege, not the “oppressor.”

Dear Lord, keep me focused on you, not the things of others. I long to hear you speak in a still, small voice, “Come close, my child, I have a secret for you.” Cover me in the shadow of your wings.

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Starting Fights?

Proverbs 3:30

“Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”

My dad and I have some similar stories from our youths. He was a lot rougher than I, but we both had our ways of treating other people which were not as wholesome as they could have been.

My dad was the kind of boy who would disrupt class because he could. He would start fights and usually finish them, too. He would even punch a guy for looking at him the wrong way.

I would occasionally physically respond/retaliate/initiate with people (especially my younger siblings), but my weapon of choice was words. I would stretch the truth to see what I could get away with saying. I would tell someone a mis-truth (using elements of truth) to get a reaction. I would start rumors to watch the impending chaos.

Usually, the other person/people had done nothing to us, at least not meriting our actions.

The rest of Proverbs paints a picture that people such as the younger me and my dad are wicked and destined for destruction.

The NIV states the verse this way:

Do not accuse a man for no reason—    when he has done you no harm.

There may not be anyone on this planet truly innocent, but we can be innocent of certain things. When we prey on the innocence of others through deceit, violence, malice, or just because they were the ones in our way at that moment, our victims are innocent.

Keep in mind, the person who said “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” the blood of Jesus, was an Apostle. Judas Iscariot, a man who walked and talked with Jesus for about three years and knew Him intimately, accused the Son of God and had Him dragged away to death.

We need to remember that though we spend time going to church services and even reading our Bible, if we do not put our faith into action we can easily slip into sin.

We need to remember that we all, like Judas Iscariot, have accused Jesus and put Him on that cross.

We need to remember that only the Holy Spirit can truly guide us in all righteousness.

Precious Lord, thank You for your forgiveness of our lies and abuses, for putting You on the cross. Thank You that You have redeemed our lives. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit every moment to not bring harm to the innocent but to lift them up and lead them to You.


Be Neighborly

Proverbs 3:29

“Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.”

Neighbors

Some neighbors can be the worst examples of humanity. They know how to push your buttons, make you angry, even make your dog bark. Some neighbors have trees that were intentionally bred to shed their leaves when the wind blows in your direction. They’re evil. They even look at you through their windows.

Then again, there are other neighbors who respect your privacy. They watch your house when you’re gone, bring you breakfast in bed, and loan you tools, never expecting to see them again. They’re great. You envy them.

Unless you are one of the few who still live in the wilderness and and drive five miles to collect your mail, you probably have neighbors. And if your neighbors have been around a few generations, they’re not going anywhere, so why be mean to them?

What goes around…

You have probably heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around.” It’s not karma, or fate; it’s common sense. It is a statement born out of experience. When you treat your neighbor poorly, it will come back and bite you in the cul-de-sac.

That is the wisdom to be found in this verse.

When it is obvious your neighbor is settled and “dwelleth securely,” the best thing to do is make friends, or at least keep from being enemies. Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

You never know.

The neighbor you’re trying to run off today may become your in-laws, tomorrow. Solomon had a lot of experience with in-laws (but that’s another story).

Lord, help me to be mindful of the needs of my neighbors. You have put me here next to these people for a reason. May I be a witness and a shining example of what it means to be a neighbor. After all, it was You who said “love your neighbor as yourself.” 


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)?


Not About Politics, But There Are Sides

An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked. –Proverbs 29:27 KJV

I was ready to write about politics, and angry partisanship. And this verse certainly can speak to partisan politics.

However, I just want to speak the truth:

There are only two sides in this historical and eternal battle: with God or against Him (Matthew 12:30).

There are no other ways or sides, and this leads to many people seeing Christians, and by extension God, as narrow-minded (which is true, to a point – Matthew 7:14), even evil, for saying not everyone is good or can get to God their own way.

But, if Jesus truly is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then there is no other path to God (John 14:6).

If you do what God calls evil, you are a wicked sinner. But if you repent of your evil ways (change the way you think and act – Romans 12:1-2) and believe Jesus died for your punishment to cover your wickedness and rose again to life, then you are on His side (Acts 2:38-39).

To refuse the leading of the Holy Spirit to believe in Christ is choose to be against God (Matthew 12:31, John 8:44).


T-i-i-i-m-b-e-r-r-r!

autumn-2726242_1920Bob’s been trying to get in touch with our tree service guy to come out and take a look at a particular sugar maple in our back yard.  It’s been trimmed back more than once, and even had one major branch amputated and sealed years ago.  This summer there has been a nest of (I believe) woodpeckers in a hole on the main trunk; it’s very cool to watch the little avian family, but probably doesn’t bode too well for the tree.

The concern is, regardless of how pretty the maple is on the outside, (and I do love them, especially in the autumn), this one is close enough to the family room roof that toppling over could do some serious damage, and not just to the woodpeckers’ cozy little abode! Continue reading


Ransomed and Redeemed

The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright. -Proverbs 21:18 KJV

I see two ways the wicked can be a ransom for the righteous and the transgressor for the upright.

First, the fulfillment of “you reap what you sow.”

Think of Haman from the book of Esther, who hoped to hang Mordecai, but was instead hung on the very gallows he had built.

Or the men who tried to trap Daniel and were themselves thrown into his pit of lions to be devoured.

In other words, if you plan evil against someone, you may very well find yourself suffering that fate.

Secondly, the ransom is not the payment but the prize.

Think of the kidnapped child. The “ransomed child” is paid for and redeemed.

(You probably see where this is going …)

Jesus Christ is the only truly righteous and upright One, and He sacrificed Himself for our ransom. Praise be to God that we wicked transgressors are the ransomed of Christ.

Likewise, we should go out and be willing to sacrifice everything to bring others to the knowledge of our Great Redeemer.