Tag Archives: Fear the Lord

Hating Evil, Not People

Proverbs 8:13

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

 God Hates

This is something most Christians, and most non-Christians, do not like to discuss … at least in the Western culture.

This is not the hatred people like those from Westboro Baptist Church preach. They preach that God wants to send people to Hell, that God hates you because of your choices.

One of my most favorite definitions of evil is “the absence of God.” Therefore, God hates those things that separates God from us.

Pride

You can take pride in something, in that you take joy in something (something most people mean). The pride that is evil is when it elevates us or something to the place of God.

This is the problem with Gay Pride parades. This is the problem with much of the sports world. This is the problem with Hollywood. This is the problem with some patriotism (not just for the USA. The Nazi’s and Russians proved during the 20th Century what patriotism gone crazy can do).

Pride elevates and celebrates everything more than it should be, especially if it is something that should not be celebrated. The first thing that comes to mind is being a “player”, or simply being sexually promiscuous. Our society has done an amazing job of promoting sex.

Arrogance

The by-product of pride is arrogance. Why does God hate arrogance?

Arrogance says “I am better than you! I can do this better than everyone! I know what I am doing!”

This might be true, but this is like saying “I am better, and you are worthless.”

Many Christians throughout the centuries have been guilty of this, as well.

These are the Christians who look down on non-Christians for being impure and sinful (Luke 18:9-14).

These are the Christians who have stood outside of abortion clinics calling women sluts and sinners.

These are the Christians who say they believe the only right way to believe.

The Evil Way, The Froward

It is easy to see that it can be quite easy to stray.

The evil way is any way that is against or not with God.

A froward mouth does not have to use “four-letter words”, but can be the one who promotes evil, praises the self, or blasphemes God.

Blasphemy of God includes cursing and swearing, sure; but it also includes denigrating others, false teachings, or even bad teachings.

All of these God hates.

But God never hates you. Period.

Dear Lord, teach us to hate what You hate. Teach us to love all people regardless of their actions and words. Strengthen us to follow the right path – Your path.


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.


The Journey Begins Again!

Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; (2) To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; (3) To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; (4) To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. (5) A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (6) To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

Welcome!

Welcome to the first day of the third run of Proverbial Thought. Our 7th anniversary!!

Seven years ago, on this day, we started out on an ambitious project: write daily thoughts and commentary about every proverb in the Book of Proverbs. It took us almost two years to make it all the way through. We are now going to re-post updated versions of those daily thoughts, but with one major change – they will post morning AND evening every day!

Our prayer is that every day, morning and evening, you will come here and find helpful and encouraging wisdom from God’s Word.

The Introduction and Purpose

As the above verses point out, the author of Proverbs was the son of King David, Solomon. According to the Bible, Solomon was the wisest man in the world, and “men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:34 NIV). Of all the teachers in the world, we could learn from no better. Not even the lonely, grey-bearded gurus secluded on snowy, hard-to-reach mountain tops are wiser.

In verses 2-4 Solomon outlines the purpose of the book: know wisdom. Solomon knew that all the knowledge in the world was worth very little without wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to take something learned and be able to apply that knowledge in a useful, profitable, and healthy way. It’s the ability to make sound judgments and right choices. It is what is needed in order to not act like a fool, even though one seems to know everything.

Don’t be a Fool

It is no coincidence that the official first day of this blog was planned for April 1st, April Fools Day. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Fools deny there is a God (Psalm 14:1). However, Solomon believed. As a matter of fact, it was from God that Solomon received his wisdom (1 Kings 3:12). He should have known better than anyone, then, that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. But the ultimate wisdom is not found in the words of men, nor in the Proverbs, alone. Wisdom is found in a Person.

Many men and women will try to seek God through earthly, man-centered wisdom, but to no avail. The Wisdom that leads to God, the Wisdom that “stretches out [His] hand” (Prov. 1:24), is none other than Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that God made Jesus “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” for us. He took what was “foolishness” in the world’s eyes (Christ crucified) and turned it into the only Way (1 Cor. 1:23-24). All the wisdom of the Proverbs can be found in Him.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. … It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” – 1Cr 1:22-24, 30-31 NIV

On this first day of April – the first day of this devotional (the third time through) – seek Wisdom – seek Jesus.

Don’t be a fool; be wise!


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 5

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: -Isaiah 29:13, KJV

close up of paper against black background

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

We must be careful how we handle the Word of God. I mean both senses of the term:

  • How do we handle Scripture? Do we read into it what we think it says? Do we read passages out of context or claim promises never meant for anyone but to whom they were made? Do we use Scripture to condemn everyone who disagrees with us or to keep people “in line”? All the while we say, “God is great. I love God.” But we are keeping God in a nice, tidy box that we can control.
  • How do we handle Jesus? Do we treat Him like a monster? Do we treat Him as if He is aloof? Do we treat Him like a genie or vending machine, expecting Him to grant all of our wishes and desires, especially when we ask/demand them? Do we treat Him like a doting grandmother, thankful for the gifts He gives, but ignoring Him most of the time? All the while we say, “Jesus is great. I love Jesus.” But we are using Jesus to control others or only get what we want.

John lived in the wilderness, ate bugs and honey, and only had one outfit. He did not tolerate using God and His Word incorrectly, but he did point us back to the wonder of God’s works, as Isaiah did:

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. -Isaiah 29:14

We cannot forget that though we rebel against God in many ways, even as we call on His name, He does marvelous things: Most importantly, He came to save us from our rebellion and make us more like Himself. We can try and reason Him away, twist His words and actions, but He is come and has made Himself known. And we cannot stand against Him.

And when Jesus returns, we shall be made like Him – holy, blameless, and glorified, able to give Him all glory for eternity.

Lord, help us to come to Your Word humbly and correctly, to align our thoughts and emotions with Yours, to follow Your will and not our own.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. -Matthew 3:5-6

angelic architecture art baptism

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With repentance comes confession. Even in the time of Advent, when we look forward to the coming Messiah, we must remember the importance of confession:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. -James 5:16, KJV

As we prepare for the Messiah, it has to include the preparation of our hearts, as we confess our sins to God and to others and are baptized.

God in Heaven, we have sinned against You. As we confess, we thank You that You are faithful to forgive.


Those Walking in Darkness and Death

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. –Ecclesiastes 9:5, ESV

Today is Reformation Day, the anniversary of Martin Luther igniting the Reformation movement away from the Roman Catholic Church.

This means it is also Halloween.

And you know what? Halloween can be fun.

Yes. There is a lot of paganism in the history of this day.

Yes. This is a high holiday for many Wiccans and other pagans, attempting to connect with spirits and even demons.

Most people today do NOT participate in that.

While over the next few days many cultures either worry about or celebrate deceased loved ones visiting this world, Ecclesiastes 9:5 reminds us that the dead have no real concern for this world.

Either they are headed for destruction and railing at God, or they are with Christ and worshiping Him.

We try to show we are not afraid of death by dressing up as (un)dead things and people, and we sometimes claim we are remembering the dead. At best we are remembering a shadow, only the best or the worst of someone. In truth, the memory is just that: a shadow.

And most people – if they are honest – are afraid of death. Some want to be reunited with lost loved ones, but they rarely know what they are wishing for.

This is starting to get long, so let us remember:

  • the fear of death is misplaced,
  • the memories of the dead are never perfect,
  • and the afterlife will be nothing like any of fully expect (if it all correct).

Instead, it is:

  • the fear of the Lord that gives us hope for the afterlife;
  • and the dead may not remember much of this life, but the Lord forgets our sins if we are found in Christ and brought into everlasting life.

And instead of getting caught up in the where and why of the history of Halloween, may we focus on sharing the truth of Life with those in this world who are still walking in darkness and death.


Beware of Crying out for Change

Yesterday, Anthony talked about the craziness of politics as of late.

Consider this a sequel! (Just like other sequels, a lot of people may be upset!)

My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? -Proverbs 24:21‭-‬22, KJV

What I mean is that we have been seeing a decade of change. Leaders throughout the Western world have been calling for change based on who has been in power.

This was most clearly seen with both Barack Obama and then Donald Trump. (Did you notice that both talked about making America respectable to some group, only in different ways?)

As Anthony demonstrated, the different sides have made a habit of vilifying each other, and whoever’s side is not in power looks for any reason to change that status, especially by removal of the the big leader (in our case, the president).

Scripture shows us, though, that we should strive to help our leaders be and do the best (within God’s moral decrees, of course.)

If all you do is cry out for change and rarely if ever actually do anything, you are not helping. This is similar to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1: you are like a clanging cymbal (like the neighbor who practices his drums at 3:00 AM.)

You can disagree with them. You can do things to help the situation.

But if all you do is complain about who is (or was) in power and cause further division, you are part of the problem and dishonoring God. (This a great time on the true meaning of using the Lord’s name in vain.)

Remember: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1‭-‬2)

But we are also reminded to fear God. He is the unchanging One who has established what is right and true, and He is always in control.