Tag Archives: faith

Write This Down

Proverbs 3:3-4

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”

Write it Down

I don’t know about you, but I can’t leave the house without a list in front of me. Well, that’s not totally true. Leaving without a list is easy, but getting everything done is not. It’s important to write things down.

Every once in a while my wife will send me on an errand to the grocery store. She will say, “Anthony, would you pick up a, b, c, and d, but only 1 of b, and 4 of a. And DON’T forget to get the c with the blue lid.” Are you kidding me? Write it down!

Necklace and Stone

In the proverb for today we read the suggestion to bind mercy and truth around one’s neck, even to write them “upon the table of thine heart.” In effect Solomon is saying, “Son, write these things down; don’t forget them.”

Unlike the “goodness and mercy” that David described following him all the days of his life in Psalm 23:6, the mercy and truth that we are to exhibit toward others is quick to flee. Solomon instructs his son (and us) to not only remember them, but bind them to us and write them in stone. Otherwise, we may forget.

When Mercy and Truth Forsake

The times when mercy and truth are apt to flee is when we are faced with situations in which we are tempted to be unmerciful and to lie. Have you ever been tempted to get even? To lie on your time sheet? Have you ever been tempted to what is wrong in order to get ahead? Don’t.

Even if you have to wear mercy like a necklace; carve truth into the stone of your heart; never let them out of your site. If you let them get away, then you will not find favour with men, nor please God.

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, never let me forget to be merciful and truthful in my actions toward others. Help me to be an example of the mercy you showed at the cross, and a conduit of the Truth that sets men free. Write your law upon my heart so that I may find favour in your sight.

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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)?


The Evil Man

Proverbs 2:13-15 

“Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:”

Walking with “The Evil Man”

In these verses, we see that God is warning us against “the evil man”. This man is a very dangerous man because he wants to lead the children of God away from Him. He wants to change their path of life. The Bible tells us that the evil man is known for his perverse words (v.12).

This “evil man” is out to destroy God’s people. He “rejoices to do evil and delights in the frowardness of the wicked”. We can see that this man is part of the crowd that Solomon was talking about in Proverbs 1:10-19.

As I was reading this passage, I was trying to think of a reference or story that would clearly show a picture of a “evil man” and I thought and I thought and then it hit me – what better picture to show than of the ultimate “evil” person in the Bible – the devil. In Genesis, we see how the devil loves evil. We can clearly see how he wants to get God’s people off track and take them off the “paths of uprightness“. When he was talking with Adam & Eve, he was deliberately trying to get them to go against what God had told them. He was trying to lead them astray and get them to forsake the path that God had laid out for them. He was loving every minute of his deceitfulness!

Folks, these types of people are cunning. We can see this by looking at verse 15 – “Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths“. The ESV says verse 15 this way, “men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways“.

The Take-Away

We can learn two very important things from these verses:

1. We need to be praying to God for wisdom and understanding

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5 ESV

2. The more wisdom we obtain the more we will fear God (Proverbs 1:7) and the more we will be able to see “the evil man” when he comes our way.

We must be in God’s Word every day and be a person that is always seeking the wisdom of God. When we walk in the way of wisdom, we will be able to identify “the evil ones” and avoid them.

“Lord, help us to seek after you each day and prepare our ears, heart and voices to accept your understanding, AMEN”


Discretion Delivers

Proverbs 2:12 

“To deliver thee from the way of the evil [man], from the man that speaketh froward things;”

Discretion that Delivers

How many of you have ever heard the phrase, “discretion is the better part of valor?” Well, whether you have or not, the phrase comes from the words of a character in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Actually, it was a cowardly knight, Falstaff, who faked his own death in order escaped being killed. He said, “The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav’d my life.” – Henry the IV

As opposed to acting with courage and honor, Falstaff justified his cowardice by essentially saying, “Look, I assessed the situation and determined that doing the honorable thing would have left me a dead hero. My discretion has saved my life and allowed me to fight another day.” In reality, Falstaff disgraced the ideas of both valor and discretion. He was just a coward and a sneak.

True discretion, however, can prove a real life saver. Discretion can deliver.

From Deadly Ways

Look again at verses 11 and 12, “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man…

Do you realize that evil people typically walk the same road of life? And were you aware that these evil people would love for you to walk with them, even if the road they’re traveling leads to destruction? Believe it or not, the world is full of them. You need God’s wisdom to help you determine the right road, the Way.

We will see later that there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end of the way is death (Prov 16:25). Wise discernment will help you determine whether or not the road you’re being called to travel is healthy, or deadly.

From Hungry Wolves

In Acts chapter twenty, the apostle Paul called upon the elders of the church from Ephesus. He informed them he was going to be leaving, and upon his leaving they should remember to watch out for wolves. What kind of wolves? The kind in sheep’s clothing.

Paul said, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch…”(Acts 20:29-31a). Believe it or not, there are some slick talkers out there who want to devour you like lamb roast.

Be discerning. Be careful of whom you listen to. Wise discernment, the kind that comes from God, will help you determine whether or not their words are pure, or “perverse.”

Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. – John 6:67-68 NKJV


Desired, Sought, and Treasured

Proverbs 2:1-5 

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

Treasure Hunting

There are people in the UK who arm themselves with metal detectors to search ancient battlefields and settlements for long lost treasure. While a few stumble upon finds of considerable importance and value, the majority search for years without finding anything much. Most never give up the search, convinced that one day they will make an important find.

Verse 4 of Proverbs 2 suggests that we should search for wisdom as if it were treasure, hidden in some secret storehouse. Wisdom is not a discovery to be made in an instant, some sort of easy one-off find. The search for wisdom should last a lifetime, the aim of the search to gain insight, understanding and knowledge of God. Such knowledge will lead us towards completeness in our relationship with Him, but it will also teach us to fear God.

Finding Fear

How and why does fear come into the equation? Moses was a man who knew how to fear the Lord, and could help answer this question. His first real fear encounter with God occurred with the burning bush incident, when Moses began to learn an awesome respect for God. He was a man who was changed because of his experience of God, evident in the way that his face was radiant after spending time in God’s presence.

That’s the key. Spending time in God’s presence will open our minds and allow us to understand more of God.

But the wisdom that comes from such understanding should inevitably lead to fear. This fear could be defined as being overwhelmed by the realization of who God is.

That realization is surely something to be desired, something to be sought, and something to be treasured.


Listen to the Warning

Proverbs 1:24-27

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Working Backwards

Let’s look at the above passage, starting from the end, then working back to the beginning. Fear, destruction, distress and anguish: all of these are the result of something. They are all consequences of unwise, foolish choices.

I deal with children, young people, and plenty of adults who complain about their circumstances. Many times they come to me weeping and asking, “Why? Why? Why?” With tears flowing, their faces red, they look for answers, but not before blaming every one and every thing besides self.

But let’s work backwards. Why are they in such distress? Why are they afraid of the future? Why has everything fallen apart? Could it be that they refused wise counsel? Could it be that they are suffering the consequences of foolishness? Could it be they would have “none of [His] reproof?”

Wisdom Calls

Wisdom is not silent. Wisdom calls from the mouths of parents, teachers, and ministers; especially the Word of God. Wisdom says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Pro 16:25 NIV). Wisdom says, “Don’t stay out too late…don’t have sex before marriage…work hard and don’t complain…be faithful, even when you’re tempted.”

The one who finds himself in distress and anguish should look back in time. Was there not a hand outstretched? Was there not a voice of warning? Calamity has come, and now Wisdom can’t help but laugh and say, “I told you so!”

“Trust Me”

It didn’t mean as much until I became a parent. My dad would warn me with words like, “Trust me son, you don’t want to go through what I went through.” Now I say the same thing to my children. “If you’ll listen to me, you won’t have to make the same mistakes I made, nor live with the pain.” Will they do what I say, or set at naught my counsel?

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Pro 3:5-6).

Oh Lord, soften our hearts and help us to yield to your wisdom.

 


Can You Hear?

Proverbs 1:20-23 

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: (21) She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, [saying], (22) How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (23) Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Wisdom’s Call

Do you hear wisdom’s call?

God reaches out to all people in all circumstances.

Most times it is our conscience reminding us we are doing something we probably should not be doing. Sometimes it is through others offering advice. Sometimes it is through a dream or a thought. Occasionally God (or one of the angels) speaks directly.

As I said, it is usually through our conscience, which I argue definitely can mean “in the streets” and “the chief place of concourse”. These were places people were most likely to hear a proclamation. God can easily strike our conscience:

12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom 2:12-16)

The “Simple”

In the Creation versus Evolution debate, the pro-abortion versus pro-life/anti-abortion debate, or even the carpet color versus sign font debate within churches, both sides argue for the wisdom they have and the strength of their moral (or lack-thereof) superiority.

Many Bibles have a note listed for the word “simple”: The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs generally denotes one without moral direction and inclined to evil.

No matter who is right in these debates, the verbal attacks denote someone who is “simple” in mind and/or spirit. People such as this love their way and choices more than what may be true. They “delight in their scorning” and “hate knowledge” while claiming to be tolerant and knowledgable.

When our conscience speaks up (or someone gives advice, or we have a dream, or God directly speaks), may we not only listen but turn from our own limited knowledge (repentance!). Not only can it save us from trouble, but we can receive full wisdom (not necessarily full understanding) through the Holy Spirit.

Heed the Call

Holy Spirit, guide our hearts and our minds. Help us to clearly hear and respond to Your leading. Give us Your wisdom and the strength to obey, in Jesus’ name.