Category Archives: Trust the Lord

Inheriting Glory

Proverbs 3:35

“The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”

There are two ways to look at this proverb.

Earthly implications

The first way is to understand that those who are wise have a good name, may have prosperity in some way, and will be respected. Fools will find that they lose everything, are disgraced, and have trust-issues.

However, since there is ample evidence that the opposite can be true, especially in this upside-down world, let us look at the other meaning of this verse.

Eternal implications

As Psalms 14:1 and 53:1 both mention, the fool believes and says that there is no God. The only hope he has is in this world; after this life, all he can expect is destruction.

As for those who pursue Wisdom, there is the promise of eternal life with God. All we have to do is come to Christ with the faith of a child. Jesus said:

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” – Mark 10:14-5 KJV

We have to believe God is who He says He is; otherwise, we are doomed. However, when we live a life of wisdom by following Christ, we are promised glory.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. … And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans 8:14, 17 KJV

Gracious God, guide us in full wisdom that we may not only inherit the chance to live with You in glory, but that we may have a good name on this earth that You might be glorified through us.

Advertisements

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.


Sweet Sleep

Proverbs 3:24

“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”

Expensive Sleep

Have you priced new mattresses lately? Good grief! For what one costs you could feed an entire village in South America for a month!

Companies offer mattresses made with foam that cools, numbers that adjust, and frames that fold you into a sandwich. You can choose from pillow top, memory foam, no-flip, innerspring, or latex. You can even return them if you don’t experience “the best sleep you’ve ever had.”

Lack of Sleep

Yet, with all the money being spent on fancy mattresses, Americans (and I can only assume others) are sleeping less. As a matter of fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) published an article on their website claiming “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic.”

Citing a study by the National Department of Transportation, the CDC said “drowsy driving [is] responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually.” If you consider chronic disease, the numbers are far worse.

Sweet Sleep

Looking back at 3:21, nowhere does it say that a $2000 mattress is the key to peaceful, sweet sleep. No, all Solomon suggests is “sound wisdom and discretion.”

When you have done all things wisely, with discretion, and for the glory of the Lord (Colossians 3:23), you should be able to lay your head down without fear, without regret, and sleep like a baby.

“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Faith Mattress

Now, I would be leaving out something very important if I didn’t add one thing. Those who put their faith in Jesus can sleep peacefully, no matter the storm (Luke 8:25). The peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) can make the roughest straw or the hardest concrete feel like bed in a Ritz-Carlton.

Dear Jesus, I am tired, I am week, I am worn. Much of it is because I try to do too much, when wisdom and discretion would say, “Be still.” My rest, when it does come, is not always peaceful, for I worry and fret over the waves crashing against the hull. Savior, speak peace. Help me to rest in the knowledge that you are in the boat.


Lean Not On Your Inner Counselor

The following is a sermon I just recorded for radio. It will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm (Eastern).

I would appreciate your prayers, both for those who might listen and for myself.

God knows what we all go through, and just like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, He is walking with us, whether we recognize Him, or not.

If you have a moment, listen to this short sermon covering Proverbs 3 and Psalm 13. If it is a blessing to you, share it with someone else who might be going through a difficult and trying time.

https://anthonycbaker.sermon.net/main/main/21329008

 


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 6

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. -Zechariah 3:8-10

close up of fruits hanging on tree

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

close up of christmas tree

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great news of Zechariah is that the Branch of Jesse, the descendant of David, the Servant King of Israel, would be coming to His people, and in a single day He would manage to remove all the sins of His people.

Through this Branch, all people will be able to come together in peace and love, living by the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of life and relationships.

This is not simply some feel-good story, but the source of the peace we celebrate at this time of year.

It is also the hope that we will one day see this fulfilled completely. It will be fully realized when our Lord returns to reign on Earth for eternity.

Lord of hosts and Righteous Redeemer, thank You for taking our sin upon Yourself and reuniting humanity with You. Guide us in bringing Your Kingdom to this world.


God’s Word Is True

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. -Proverbs 30:5, KJV

Scripture reminds us time and again that it is the very word of God, and He does not lie nor change. Therefore, we can know that what we read (when faithfully translated for us!) is trustworthy and true.

If it is not pure, it is not true. You may come across passages and verses that are difficult to understand or seem contradictory. We must remember a few things:

  1. We typically are separated by culture and thousands of years of time from when they were written. There may be:
    • euphamisms and figures of speech we no longer use,
    • historical references that seem out of place, or are practices that only make sense when seen/experienced, or
    • descriptions that seem odd to us;
  2. Concepts are beyond our understanding (like the Trinity or free will with God’s sovereignty);
  3. Authors frequently seemed to play loose with details, but it was to make a specific point (such as the gospel writers putting orders of events in slightly different ways to highlight different details);
  4. Other portions of Scripture help fill in details not apparent in other portions (Why does God say “we/us/our” in Genesis? Jesus helps us see the unity of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit).

Jesus helps us see the truth and reliability of Scripture, because His life, death, and resurrection verify it. If any part is untrue, the entire thing falls apart. But He has shown us that He and His Word are trustworthy for the salvation of our souls.


Sweetness and Strength

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: -Proverbs 24:13, KJV

I can not help but wonder if Solomon was thinking of his father’s friend Jonathan, when Saul was king and made the vow that no one in the army would eat until the Philistines were defeated lest that person be cursed. But Jonathan had not heard this vow and, being hungry after he and his armor bearer had just spent the day beating a garrison of Philistines, ate some honey. (1 Samuel 14)

Jonathan (and Solomon) could see how utterly foolish it was to not eat when doing something so physically challenging. The army even challenged King Saul on this when Saul would not get an answer from God about continuing the fight and then found out it was because of this little bit of honey.

That shows what the next verse means:

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:14, KJV

Saul had not used wisdom in his decisions, and he was willing to kill his son over his foolishness.

Jonathan, however, was spared, for he had sought to know God’s wisdom throughout the day and be strengthened.

What about you?

Do you desire the sweetness of God’s wisdom? Do seek His revitalizing wisdom throughout the day?

Or, like Saul, do you try to get through the day on your own, rarely if ever seeking God’s wisdom?

Do you get frustrated by minor problems, especially by others and then lashing out?

Or do you take time throughout the day to keep the Lord involved in your decisions?

It only takes a moment to stop and seek His help. It is not weakness. It is finding the sweetness in God’s strength.