Tag Archives: Book of Proverbs

The Business of Truth

Proverbs 16:13

Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.”

Today’s Kings

As David said yesterday, (as far as I know) I have never met an earthly king. At least, I have never met a national royal.

It would appear that a new royalty has arisen in our world. These are the people who make people move, change the course of fortunes and of societies.

The kings and queens of today are those who move the most money: the CEO’s of large corporations and companies.

This new royalty requires one thing to thrive in the world of business: information

The information they desire will help in deciding which product to release, which service to offer, and which way to brand their new product and/or service.

The people who work for them and they want around them are the people who give them the most honest and truthful information.

If you give them bad information for the simple desire to look good in their eyes, you will be the one they remove from their sight first!

With God

God does not remove us from His sight for spreading lies, at least not until the end of history! Yet, He still desires righteousness and truth.

The evidence of this is found in the first explicitly written laws found in the Bible:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Truth and righteousness are found in confessing the truth of who God is and allowing Him to lift you to His standards.

Righteous God, give us Your righteousness. Help us through Your Holy Spirit to speak truth and live with integrity.


Better to Stink …

Proverbs 16:8

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

Madoff Made Off?

Do you remember Bernie Madoff?

A few years back, right after the economy tanked, news came to light that this man was not running as fair a business as many had been led to believe.

Mr. Madoff told investors that he could take their money and grow it very quickly. Some people received exactly that, while with the rest of the money he and his family lived very, very well.

It turned out he had been running his business as a giant Ponzi Scheme, a system in which many people put in money in hopes of a great pay-off, but only a small few benefit from all of that money. When it was all revealed, thousands of people combined lost many billions of dollars.

Today Bernie Madoff sits in a prison cell, and he will be there for the rest of his life. His family has to live with the shame and guilt of what he has done.

Smelling to High Heaven

On the other hand, there are people who struggle to get by from week to week at their jobs.

What is truly amazing is that, while they my grumble about the fairness of the world from time to time, they tend to be rather happy with life. They know they are earning an honest living, and it is their hard work that provides for their loved ones.

One of my favorite quotes from the film Bruce Almighty was said by Morgan Freeman playing God: “Some of the happiest people in the world go home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.”

Speaking of going to high heaven, Jesus said to those who follow Him:

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29, ESV)

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36, ESV)

We may have very little in this life, but if our life is lived for the sake of Christ we will one day get to have Him! There is nothing better.

Wonderful God, thank You for all You do and have done for us. Help us to live our lives entirely for You, that no matter if we have much or little, we have lived righteously and will one day see You face to face!


Hand-in-Hand Pride

Proverbs 16:5

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”

We Are the World

How many of you were even alive when Michael Jackson came out with a song to unite the world in a spirit of giving? “We are the world…we are the children…we are the one’s who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving…” It was 1985, the year I graduated high school.

I still remember the sight of just about every big-time musical artist of the day taking turns, each sing a measure or two, and all swaying together for a cause. What was the cause? Hunger in Africa. They wanted to feed the starving.

Sadly, even though the recording sold over 20 million copies, hunger continues to this day. They barely made a dent on the problem, but they felt good trying.

They could be proud.

Pride Abhorred

If you don’t already know, God hates pride (Prov. 6:17). Pride is the attitude that sets someone apart as better than his creator. It is the opposite of humility, and it is sin. It is the sin that tells God, “I don’t need you…I can do this myself!”

As a matter of fact, pride is a sin that demands recognition. It is not a sin that settles with obscurity; it must be seen and heard. Pride is the praise and worship chorus sung by humanity in the Church of Self. Is it any wonder the Lord hates it? Pride is idol worship.

Rights and Wrong

Pride leads the rebellious to demand his self-perceived rights. He demands of God what is pleasant, but refuses to bow a humble knee. He finds others to band together, join hand-in-hand, and sing “we are the world; You can do nothing to us!”

They even have “pride” parades.

Nevertheless, though they join hand-in-hand, hold conferences, gang up and flood the airwaves, or even cry with one loud voice, “There is no God!“; the wicked will be punished.

God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7).

 


Sovereign God

Proverbs 16:4

The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. (ESV)

The Lord works out everything for his own ends— even the wicked for a day of disaster. (NIV)

What is God’s Plan?

Do you know what has caused much division within the Church for at least the last 500 years? Really, it existed long before Jesus came to Earth as a baby.

The answer is another question: How much control does God have in the world and with our eternal lives?

The major beliefs fall into three major categories (though, I can assure you there are more, but most fall under these three), and I will use the traditional names from Protestantism: Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism. (And please excuse the butchering they receive in this short space)

Calvinism Calvinism’s big thing is God’s sovereignty. God is in complete control, and many Calvinists believe this to the point that He ordained from eternity who was going to Heaven and to Hell. His grace essentially is offered to those He wants to come to Him. In His sovereign power, God controls everything to this end with the goal of glorifying His Name.

Arminianism Arminianism’s big thing is God’s love and freedom. Put another way, God is in control of events in that He guides them toward His desired goal of His glorification. He goes about this by allowing us, through His prevenient grace, to freely choose whether or not to accept the offer of grace and forgiveness for our sins. He gets all the glory from those who have accepted His redemption.

Molinism A friend calls this “Calminianism”, because Molinism focuses primarily on God’s justice, His sovereignty and love working together. Basically, God was able to see all of the possible timelines, but He chose the one timeline in which His He gets the most glory. This allows for our freedom to choose, but God ultimately made the choice proving His sovereignty.

Still Sovereign

Interestingly, no matter what (except for a few sub-beliefs) God’s sovereignty plays a role. It is His plan of which we are all a part. The righteous will eventually receive glory with the Son which glorifies God, but in God’s sovereignty even the destruction of the wicked brings glory to God.

Sovereign Lord, awaken our hearts and minds to Your power and control and to Your love and grace. Help us to realize that You are the only in control. Help us to trust in You alone.


Who’s the Boss?

Proverbs 16:3

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (KJV). 

The Secret to Success:

What is the secret to success? The world tells us that we just need to “be positive, focus, be persistent and work hard!” Is that all it takes? Or is there something else that we can do if we want to do well in life? Eugene Peterson paraphrases today’s Scripture with these words: “Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.” (The Message).

Here are two important keys from the Scriptures that will help your plans to come to pass:

  1. Delight Yourself in the Lord:

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” If we want our thoughts to be established, and see our goals accomplished, the first thing we should do is spend time with God, and ask Him what His plans for our lives are. Too many Christians come up with their own ideas and plans and go to God and say, “Lord, will you bless my plans?” But those plans are not always His will for our lives, and so He may not bless them.

One of my favourite comic strips characters Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes went to his dad and said, “Will you buy me a flame thrower?” His response was, “No.” Does that mean that his dad didn’t love him? Of course not! But he knew his son well enough to know that if he gave into his request, it would have disastrous consequences. So, if we want to see our thoughts established, we must first spend time with the Lord and ask Him what He wants us to do.

This is one of the reasons why the ministry of Jesus was so successful. He only did what the Father told Him to do! Jesus said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do.” (John 5:19). I was in ministry for several years before I learned this important principle: Instead of going to God with my plans and saying, “Would you bless them?” I now go to God and say, “What’s your plan for today, Father?”

  1. Walk in Obedience:

If we want God to see our plans succeed, we need to walk in obedience to the Lord. The first part of that is obedience to the general will of God as recorded in the Scriptures. James 1:25 says, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” The second part is obedience to the specific will of God for our lives, which is revealed to us in prayer. God has blessed us to be a blessing – who does He want you to bless today?

What is God calling you to do? Do it and it will be blessed!

Calvin & Hobbes - flame thrower

(Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2013 Bill Waterson).


Hating Yourself

Proverbs 15:32

He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”

Abused

People who have a history of abuse tend to have something else in common: they hate themselves thinking they caused the abuse they received.

It indeed is a sad way to go through life, but it is the reality many people face every day.

What is interesting and also sad is that there are people who have little to no reason to hate their lives, yet they abuse themselves. They abuse themselves with drugs, alcohol, food, lack of food, pain, and any number of other things.

The saddest of all are those who abuse themselves intellectually and spiritually, often intentionally.

Not Listening

There are some who refuse to give in to intellectual honesty. This is most often found in the realm of politics, but it can be seen everywhere. These are the people who are approached with facts, but they believe something else so strongly that they refuse to believe the evidence in front of them.

The others see the evidence of the spiritual and refuse to acknowledge it or to see its importance. It is often combined with intellectual dishonesty, but in any event it is the most dangerous.

Whether they follow a religion or are irreligious in any fashion (including within a faith-system … including Christianity and all of its facets), people will refuse to listen to the One True God.

Rebuked and Loving It

Those who listen to the God of the Universe come to understand that there is only One God (Deuteronomy 6:4), we are all messed up and in need of His saving us (Romans 3), and that Jesus is the only Way to salvation (John 14:6).

We realize that God has rebuked our sin and atoned for it through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is only because of His great love for us that He does rebuke our sin, that He came to personally pay the price to restore the relationship.

Do not hate your soul. Hear God speaking to you, and follow Him!

Gracious God, thank You for loving us enough to call out our sin and then saving us from our sin! Help us to see Your love for us, and help us to love You more for it.


In One Ear and Out the Other

Proverbs 15:31

“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”

And then there’s the one about the lawyer, the physician, and the pastor who went deer hunting together.  The three outdoor enthusiasts positioned themselves around the ridge tops looking down into a valley where a large buck deer had been sighted a few times.  Around dusk, the monster buck strolled into the valley and was immediately spotted by all three hunters.  It just wasn’t the deer’s lucky day:  All three took aim and simultaneously fired upon the unfortunate fellow, who promptly fell over dead.

The three hunters ran down the slopes to inspect the kill, only to discover there was but one bullet wound.  Which marksman had bagged the deer, anyway?

The lawyer stuck his chest out and pleaded his case.  He had prosecuted criminals in numerous capital murder trials.  He had experience sifting through evidence.  He had watched coroners at their gruesome work in the morgue.  He knew the face of death.  And this deer was most certainly his kill!

Oh no, said the physician.  He had worked in the ER many shifts when terribly injured people were hauled in on the gurneys.  He had split open the human breastbone and performed heart bypass surgery.  He was an expert in life, and in death.  The deer was his.

Finally the pastor stepped up.   “Friends,” said he, “this fine buck is my kill, and I can prove it conclusively.”    He pointed to the single bullet wound and traced its path with his finger.  “See?” he asked.  “It went in one ear and out the other.  This buck is most definitely mine!”

A PROBLEM FOR MOST OF US

The truth be told, it’s a problem for most of us, and it’s not just a problem on Sunday mornings as we struggle through the pastor’s hastily thrown together message.  So many of the life-giving words we need to hear go in one ear and out the other!  As we have studied the Book of Proverbs in this blog, we have noted that “wisdom cries out in the streets.”  There’s no shortage of wisdom.  There’s a shortage of hearing and heeding the words of wisdom!

Dear reader, I must ask you, have you truly heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Not only with your ears, but with your heart, so that you perceive the profound, life-changing excellence of the gospel message so that all human philosophy and wisdom crumble at the foot of the cross?  Have you heard the gospel in such a way that it has broken your heart and brought life to your soul?  So that the beauty of Jesus Christ has shone in your heart, and now nothing delights or satisfies you more than Jesus?  Or are you numbered with those who hear the word, but the hearing is of no eternal value, because your hearing is not combined with faith (Hebrews 4:2)?

The gospel message is the “reproof of life.”  As a reproof, the gospel illuminates the sinfulness of our sin and the awesome holiness and justice of Almighty God.  But as our hearts are convicted of sin, the gospel points us to put our trust in the sin-bearer whom God has provided, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to receive life in his name.

The proverb promises that those who hear the reproof of life will abide among the wise.   No, not among those who claim to be wise by the standards of this bent and broken world, but among those who have embraced the wisdom of God – God’s wisdom which is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Father God, forgive us for our stubborn refusal to listen to You.  Soften our hearts.  Grant us teachable spirits.  We want to know Jesus, and Him only.  As you have promised, grant us life in Jesus’ name.  Through Christ our Lord we pray:  Amen.