Tag Archives: Jesus

No Comparison

Proverbs 8:10-11 

“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Can’t Buy Me Love

I was only a tiny tike when the Beatles made girls scream and cry like someone was burning them with a hot iron. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even born when their music hit American shores. But the first thing that came to mind as I read these verses for today was a song that the Beatles recorded back in 1964, Can’t Buy Me Love.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The song talks about money and all the things it can buy; everything, that is, except love. Love has to be given freely, or else it’s something else (like discussed in chapter 7). True love cannot be bought with even the most valuable stones or purest gold.

On the other hand, it is reported that after the Beatles became superstars, Paul McCartney thought it might have been better to rename Can’t Buy Me Love. When looking back on all the pleasures that money did bring he said, “It should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love.’ ” I guess if one’s definition of love is based on the world’s wisdom, anything’s for sale.

No Comparison

In verse eleven we read, “all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to [wisdom].” No matter how shiny or fulfilling, nothing compares. No matter how expensive, rare, or desirable, nothing compares to the value of wisdom.

Money can buy a lot of things, including a Proverbs 7 kind of “love.” The finest gold can open doors. Silver can put a house over your head. Rubies can even inspire others to stand in awe as you strut by. Yet, none of these can compare to wisdom.

We need to be careful what we seek in life. The things that seem most attractive may be things that fade away with time, or even lose value.  “Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.” – Ecclesiastes 7:12 NLT

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God’s Words vs. Man’s Words

Proverbs 8:8-9

“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”
Man’s Words

All one would have to do is look at the average text message or Facebook rant to figure out the difference between the words of God and the words of man.

For one thing, every word of God is pure, as pure as silver refined seven times (Ps. 12:6). The average text message is about as pure as water in a ditch – next to a barn yard.

And what about knowledge? God’s words are plain to those who want to hear, and completely factual in all things. The average Facebook post has about as much objective truth as the National Enquirer.

So, why is it that we continually seek man’s wisdom, instead of the Lord’s? There is more than enough wisdom to be had if only we would ask (James 1:5) and do His will (Ps. 25:14). King David said, “I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts” (Ps. 119:100).

God’s Words

Unlike the foolish, prideful, arrogant words of men, the Wisdom of God is trustworthy and plain. Unlike the wisdom of men which is limited to knowledge gained from a finite perspective, the Wisdom of God is unlimited, infinite, and enjoys an omniscient perspective.

You can select any number of works from off the shelf of your nearest Books-a-Billion, each one written by the wisest of worldly philosophers, but they will all sound similar. It matters not if the book was written by Plato, Socrates, Hume, Samuel Clemens, or Oprah and Dr. Phil – it’s all human opinion.

But pick of God’s Word and you will find something totally different. You will find wisdom inspired by the Holy One. You will find hope, life, and joy.

More importantly, you will find Truth.

A Prayer

OH, Lord Jesus! How much we need your wisdom to guide us in these troubling days! We need not the shifting wisdom of men. We need more than the unpredictable advice of our emotions. We need the pure words from your mouth. Give liberally and don’t hold back. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.


A False Witness

Proverbs 6:19a

“[These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:] … A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Slander

“The slanderer is amongst the greatest of social curses. He robs his fellow creature of his greatest treasure – his own reputation, and the loving confidence of his friends.” – Joseph S. Exell*, 1905.

Daniel Webster (1828 dictionary) called slander “that worst of poisons.” And that is what the above verse is speaking of – poison that destroys reputations, confidence, and even lives.

No Weapons Needed

My little ninja daughter and a ninja friend.

If you were to ask me to paint a picture in my mind of the perfect assassin, all I would need is a little black paint. On my mental canvas I would paint a Ninja warrior, armed to the teeth with swords, shuriken, darts, spiked gloves, and smoke grenades. As far as I know, ninja are the elite of stealthy killers.

Then again, I wouldn’t necessarily have to paint my ninja with weapons in hand. His hands are weapons to themselves. A ninja can slay 50 people with his pinky finger – just ask Chuck Norris.

But in reality, no assassin is more evil than “a false witness that speaketh lies.” No secret killer is more deadly than one who slanders the reputation of another. The slanderer needs no weapons, not even hands, to wipe out multiple lives. All he/she has to do is speak.

Totally Opposite

In the book of Genesis we can read the story of creation. In the book of John we can read even more…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:1-3 KJV

The Word created everything that is. When there was absolutely nothing, not even time, Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:18), turned nothing into everything. He created. He brought life. He made life.On the other hand, the one who bears false witness does nothing but destroy with every word that comes from his/her mouth. What a contrast! Is it any wonder why God abhors this person?

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” – James 1:26 KJV

“For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” – 1 Peter 3:10 NLT

Granny’s Advice

I think my granny may have actually met Solomon. She always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe Granny was right.

*Exell, Joseph S. The Biblical Illustrator, (New York: F. H. Revell, 1905), 170.

A Lying Tongue

Proverbs 6:16-17b

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue…”

The Culture

Stop for a moment and think of all the lies we hear everyday. Will that pill really make you thinner? Is that automobile really the best buy? Will that sugary, sodium-filled soft drink really quench your thirst? Will that politician really do anything he promises?

We live in a culture of lies, and we mirror it more than we would like to admit. Lying is deemed acceptable in the right context and when the results are worth it. We tell ourselves, “a little white lie never hurt anybody.” We pad resumés. We tell our wives the dress looks fine. We tell our husbands we’re proud of them. Christians even say, “I’ll pray about it.”

The Truth

The truth is that we hold on to lying as a tool, or a weapon. It’s there when we need it, even if we don’t use it very often. We hold on to it in case of an emergency, like when our pride is at risk, or when our needs are not met. Our flesh is utterly selfish and will do anything to survive.

The truth is that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Lying was literally part of his nature, and there was “no truth in him.” So, when we lie, we not only mirror the culture, but the “prince” of the culture…

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” – Ephesians 2:2

Three Good Reasons

Why does God abhor a lying tongue? Well, I can think of three good reasons. For starters, it is the opposite of His nature. Lying has nothing in common with God, but everything in common with His enemies. It was Jesus who said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Secondly, the Father loves his Son. Jesus gave his life as a ransom for us (Matt. 20:28), bearing our sin on the cross (Isa. 53:5; 2 Cor. 5:21). The “wounds” He suffered were due in part to our lies. Wouldn’t you be disgusted by the thing that brought your son pain?

Then too, God loves us! It must break His heart to see the consequences we bring upon ourselves, the tangled webs we weave, when we lie. And the more we lie, the less like Christ we are.

A Prayer

Dear God, forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Forgive me for the times I have not trusted you, but lied to make things go my way. Forgive me, reign in my tongue, and cleanse me, “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).


God’s Not Safe

Proverbs 6:16

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:”

He’s Not Safe

So many people have the impression that God is nothing but love, love, love. Thinking all He cares about is their happiness and well-being, they forget that angels surround His throne crying “holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:9).

In the “seeker-friendly” community of churches, many focus on a God who is “for us,” while avoiding any mention of a God who hates sin. They treat Him like a rich grandfather who winks at their indiscretions. They treat Him like a tame pet. But He’s not tame. And He’s not safe.

When I read the above verse I was reminded of a conversation in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Susan, Lucy, and Peter were talking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan:

“Is he – quite safe? I shall be nervous about meeting a lion [said Susan]”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

A “safe” God is one who doesn’t care what you do, as long as you love Him and worship Him, but a Holy God hates sin. And He is nothing to trifle with.

Abominations

In the next few “thoughts” we will be looking at verses 17 through 19 and the seven things God hates – yes, hates. It might be hard for some to contemplate, but even though God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), He is righteous, and He tests the hearts of men (Ps. 7:9).

As we look at these things, remember that we are all guilty of them. If you don’t think so, then you’re deceiving yourself (1 Jn. 1:8). All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and fallen short of God’s righteous standards. He hates our sins, and that will never change (Mal. 3:6).

Salvation Not a License

It might be tempting to leap right to the good part – the Gospel. John 3:16 says that Jesus came to die for our sins and make things right between God and us (Col. 1:20). But hold on! That doesn’t change God’s view of sin. He still hates it.

God is love, but the Bible also says that a man who loves God will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15; 15:10). Christ paid our sin debt on a cruel cross, and those who are truly His will avoid sin. What God hates, the Christian should hate.

“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” – Hosea 14:9 NIV

A Prayer

Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. But help me to remember Who you are – King. Help me to hate the things you hate, and love the things you love. 


Run Away! Run Away!

Proverbs 5:7-9

7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel.”

Mean Cat

My grandmother used to have a mean cat. This cat was an absolutely anti-social, psychotic, frenetic feline. One couldn’t get near her without getting hissed at, and that just made us want to aggravate it more.

I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do when we were young, but we would love to try to tease the cat without getting bit. Fortunately, the monster had been declawed; however, her piercing fangs remained. If we got too close she could leave a couple of bloody reminders that she still had a mouth. Playing with her was playing with danger. That’s why it was fun.

Temptation

It’s really all about temptation, isn’t it? Solomon knew that if you play with sin, or get too close, you will get bit, and it will hurt.

Jesus knew something about temptation, also. He said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to “flee” from “youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). Lust tends to make us buy things we can’t afford.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15

Flirting

Many times we like to get just close enough to the forbidden fruit that we can smell it. No, we know we shouldn’t take a bite, but the aroma gives us a little thrill. Flirting with the wrong woman is nothing more than trying to sin a little. But a little sin is still a sin.

In reality, if we know where temptation lives, why would we want to drive by? Do we secretly long for what we know will harm us? If we have lust in our hearts, then the answer is “yes.” As James said, we are only tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts. Flirting is dangerous.

Giving it Away

The consequences of sin are never worth the temporary fun. In this case, Solomon warns that the price is one’s honor and freedom. When a young man enters the “strange” woman’s door, the result is usually shame that rarely goes away.

On top of that, there’s the wasted time – time that could have been spent building a loving relationship. Instead, all your energy, your emotions, your wealth, and your health is squandered on a user of men.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” – Rom. 6:12-13 NLT

Final Thought

My son, the next time you feel drawn to a “strange” woman, remember the words of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail….

“RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!”


Watch Your Mouth

Proverbs 4:24

“Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
The Old Days

There used to be a day, when I was young, that foul language was not permitted in polite company. I remember going to see a movie with my parents, and right in the middle of the film we got up and left the theater. My parents were not going to sit through a bunch of “cuss’n.”

Back in the old days, before MTV and Southpark, it was not unheard of to punish a child who used “perverse” language. Now, it is not uncommon to hear small children curse like sailors. It used to be acceptable to wash a child’s mouth out with soap; but not anymore. Today’s children, not to mention the average TV show or movie, are accustomed to vulgarity.

Not Cuss’n

But this verse is not really addressing the use of four, six, or ten-letter words. Solomon is speaking here of something a little different. Oh, I’m sure this proverb could also be applied to the folly of foul language; but there is more to this verse than that.

If we take a look at the word “froward” in this verse, it means to be “distorted, or crooked” (Strong’s H6143). More than just advising his children to watch their language, Solomon was telling them that a wise man will speak straight, and not twist words to his own advantage.

Lies

If we were to dig down below the surface of this verse, I believe at the foundation we would find the command, “Thou shalt not lie.” And what is a distortion of the truth, but a lie?

It is so easy to lie when we get into trouble. It is also tempting to distort the truth (which is lying) for our own benefit. However, a wise man is one who understands there will always be consequences for lying; maybe not in this life, but eternity.

Used Cars

Several years ago there was a movie called Flywheel. In a nutshell it was about a used car salesman who realized God was not pleased with his gimmicks and half-truths. When he got his heart right, he put the “froward mouth” and “perverse lips far from [him].” In contrast he became a man of integrity whom people could trust.

You may not be a crooked used car salesman, but when was the last time you bent the truth? Was it when you tried to get out of that speeding ticket? Was it when you said that lunch was tax-deductible, when it wasn’t? Was it when you were late, but the right excuse would let you get by?

A wise man understands that there will come a day of reckoning. He understands that men will have to give an account for every idle word in the day of judgment (Matt. 12:36).

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. – James 1:26 NIV