Tag Archives: New International Version

Foundational Hope In A Turbulent World

Proverbs 10:25

“As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.”
Comparison of Versions

To begin with, let us look at some other Bible versions. I think it would be interesting to see how this verse is treated.

  • When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation. – NLT
  • When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever. – NIV
  • When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever. – ESV

Do you see the similarity? Do you understand the point being made? Storms will come to both the righteous and the wicked, but only one has a sure foundation.

Foundations

My favorite hymn is The Solid Rock. It is an old hymn that says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”  The difference between the wicked and the righteous is their foundations.

When the storms come, Christ is the Solid Rock on which the righteous stand.  Everything else, including money, philosophy, relationships, etc., is nothing more than sinking sand.

Comparing Funerals

The best place to observe the truth of today’s verse is in a funeral home. Just watch the family of known unbelievers, then the family of someone with a strong, Christian faith. The difference will be obvious.

One day I walked into a funeral home where two visitations were going on right across from each other. On the left was a Christian family; the right a pagan one. The Christian family was crying at times, but with smiles. The pagan family never smiled.

The Christian family dressed in lighter colors, as if they were going to a Springtime church service. The pagans dressed in black. And when I stood around and listened to the mourners, one family said things like, “I’m so glad I’ll see him again,” and “He’s in a better place.” The other family wept as they came to terms with the fact their loved one was gone forever.

Which family was still standing after the storm? Which one was utterly devastated? Which one had hope?

When the Storm is Over

Storms of all kinds come to each of us. Without God we must weather the storms alone. But righteous know that the only sure shelter is found in Jesus.

Another of my favorite songs is Till the Storm Passes By.  It reminds me that even when storms do come, there is a Fortress. I don’t have to stand out in the open and get blown away.


Wicked Fear

Proverbs 10:24

“The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.”
Scary Things

There are not many of things that scare me now that I am an adult. However, as a child I lived in dread of a lot of things. I was afraid of vampires, clowns, Russians, and girls with cooties. Now I know that vampires can be killed with a good flashlight (the handle part, that is), and Russia is less of a threat than China. Clowns and girls are still a problem, though.

On the other hand, I used to love to fly in airplanes, drink from unwashed soda cans and public water fountains, and drive sports cars at ungodly rates of speed down curvy mountain roads. Now I know that it takes a long time to fall from 30,000 feet, germs are everywhere, and deer have a habit of walking in front of good drivers.

But the biggest thing is that most of the scary things in life are either in my mind, or avoidable. I have no fear of them eventually catching up with me. If killer bees get too close, I’ll just move. The wicked, however, have no such hope.

Gonna Getcha

I like the way the NIV translates the first part of this verse, “What the wicked dreads will overtake him…” Verse 24 is telling us that the wicked are running from something, while the righteous are running to something. And more than that, whatever the wicked are fleeing will eventually catch up.

What do the wicked fear? What will eventually overtake them? A few things come to mind: being alone, pain, loss, falling, and death.  Huh…coincidentally, all of those will be present in hell. Go figure.

Gonna Grant It

But for the righteous…the ones who know every good gift is from God, the ones who know grace can’t be earned…their desires will be granted.

Amazing, isn’t it? What does the righteous desire? To be loved. To be healed. To have treasure that won’t decay. To be caught up. To have eternal life. Wow! Everything that heaven will bring!

But there’s one more thing: the righteous will welcomed into the presence of their greatest Desire – Jesus.

Don’t run from Jesus. Run to Him. Make Jesus your desire.


Don’t Fake It

Proverbs 10:9 

“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”

Walking Righteously

When I was a child I would watch my pop walking around wherever he worked, and he looked confident and like he knew where he was going. I saw many more people (my parents, my friends, my parents friends, many CEO’s of companies, male, female, etc.) looking confident and like they knew where they were going.

There are three things I learned while growing up:

  1. Many people are faking it.
  2. Many people are distracted by the worries of this world (meaning they are probably angry or self-righteous about something) which helps with looking confident or like they know where they are going.
  3. A few people have real confidence and really know where they are going, and many of them have peace.

Self-righteous, Angry, and Faking It

The problem with faking it, living angry, and being self-righteous is that … everyone knows! Most people are able to tell who is faking it, angry, or self-righteous.

These are people tend to make excuses or shift the blame.

The problem with making excuses and shifting blame to someone or something else is that the truth eventually comes to light, and it can be embarrassing when the truth comes out.

Knowing Peace

It is much better to walk a righteous – an upright – life. You can “walk surely,” or, as the NIV puts it, “The man of integrity walks securely.”

When living a morally upright life, you can have confidence in what you are doing.

When following Jesus Christ, you know exactly where you are going.

When trusting in God, you have peace.

As discussed several times earlier, Jesus Christ is our Peace, our Path, our Righteousness, and our Assurance. When we walk  in His Holy Spirit, we are covered with Him. We walk in peace and righteousness assured that our path leads to glory and everlasting life.

Gracious God, we praise You for Your greatness and great love. Thank You for peace and righteousness, for giving us Your assurance through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us live in that peace. Help us walk in Your ways. Give us assurance through Your Spirit in our salvation and Your Return.


Abundant Results

Proverbs 8:20-21

“I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”

In the Midst

I used to work in a college textbook store. It required a balance of maintaining enough stock, having trustworthy and hardworking employees, and great customer service. It also required a watchful eye to detail and an understanding of when and how to trust people.

There were always people trying to steal textbooks to sell “back” to other stores or to us from other stores. Sometimes this included employees from stores.

I had gained the reputation of catching thieves, and my store had virtually no thefts for over a year (other than a few small general merchandise items).

Not only that, for the first time in almost 40 years in the company, my store had a perfect inventory.

That caused my superiors to wonder, because the last several times there were perfect inventories…people were covering up theft.

When I became manager, I decided immediately to document everything and double-check everything. I am in no way claiming to be perfect, and I did make some mistakes from time to time. However, when my superiors came in to test me and confirm my inventory, they were impressed with my level of documentation and confirmed the numbers.

On two different sides, theft and inventory, I was being watched and judged. It was only my committment to God and His Word that helped me maintain that order.

Following Wisdom

We all live in a world that hates truth and the things of God.

If you are a Christian, you will walk a narrow path between two groups judging every step you take: those who hate Christians and those who look for any reason you might not be a Christian (some call these the legalists).

However, if you are following Jesus (the true Wisdom of God), then you will overcome these judgements against you in this world.

If you live by what God has said, you will have life abundant.

If you follow Jesus, you will inherit everlasting life.

Jesus said “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29, NIV)

Lord, help us to follow You. We know it will be hard. We know it will bring troubles to us in this life. We know we can only make it with your help. Give us Your strength and wisdom to live a righteous life, holy and pleasing to You.

 

071212


Wisdom’s Call

Proverbs 8:3-5

“She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”

 The Call To All

Romans 1:18-20 (NIV) reminds us:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Wisdom cries out from … EVERYWHERE!

God wants all people to hear draw near. That is why it says “and my voice is to the sons of man.” That means every single person who has ever lived and will live.

Yet we are a foolhardy and stubborn race. Paul says soon after in the above passage that even though people knew God, they still created their own gods out of wood, stone, and metal.

Answering the Call

Stop giving in to foolishness. Turn to God. Turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the true Wisdom of God as revealed through the Holy Spirit.

The last part of today’s passage is to find wisdom and understanding. As has been said numerous times in the previous seven chapters and our commentary, and will be said many more times in later passages, only a fool denies God and Wisdom.

Sometimes the ways of the godly seem foolish to this world (see 1 Corinthians chapters one through three), but ask any who have followed God for years. It is better with better returns promised.

Great Lord, help us to overcome this world and its claim to wisdom. Help us see through the noise and the clutter and find You, Your Wisdom and understanding.


Reduced to Nothing

Proverbs 6:26

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

I started attending church at the age of 15, and I was given an NIV Bible. The NIV puts this verse this way:

for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

For a while it confused me, because I read it as “the prostitute gradually turns you into a loaf of bread.” Before I saw another translation, I figured it out!

Broke and Worthless

As has been discussed for the past several days, the lure of the prostitute and foolishness leads to bad things. Not only is it dangerous because of diseases you might receive, you can find yourself practically penniless from spending so much on this habit. Not only might you lose all of your money, you may find your health in decline.

Do you know what happens to you when you can barely afford to buy a loaf of bread? You starve and either die or debase yourself publicly to get by.

You could also get caught doing something illegal (which prostitution is in most areas), and then you find you are in jail/prison.

Broken and Lost

On a purely spiritual level, beware of false preachers and teachers; beware of twisted and false teachings.

Prosperity gospel-, “Name-It-and-Claim-It”-, and Personality-centered messages/churches generally convince you to spend all of your money and/or give all of your money to the one speaking.

There are churches, denominations, and other organizations with teachings that sound great and biblical; yet, if you pay attention, you would find they are taken out of context (biblically and/or spiritually … there can be a difference) or, worse, twisted to serve an ungodly purpose.

If you do not end up broke and worthless in this life, the ultimate result may very well be that you have lost everlasting life.

Do not give your soul – your life – to another. Steer clear of the prostitutes, on the streets or in religion, by knowing the dangers they pose. Seek God and His path in all things.

Dear Lord, help us to stay away from the allure of the prostitute and adulteress. Help us keep our hearts, minds, and souls safe and pure. Reveal your love and grace to us all the more, that anything and anyone else is not as desirable.


A Wicked Heart

Proverbs 6:18a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…”

Personal Wickedness

When I was younger, way back in high school and before going to church, I heard stories of fantastic crimes, near-perfect crimes, and comic book villians. It inspired me to devise all manner of crimes (sneaking a candy bar from the store, sneaking small amounts of change from my mom’s purse, sneaking a can or two of soda pop from my teacher’s stash under his desk, etcetera) to test my mettle and intelligence.

Hollywood Wickedness

Movies seem to have caught that itch, as well. War movies to come out of Hollywood used to hide much of the true horror of battles. In the past few decades war movies have gotten progressively more gory, and now we also have movies such as the Saw series, the Hostel series, and all manner of violently gory horror and action films.

There is also a rise in movies in which the villain is the “hero” of the movie. They are written in such a way that we, the audience, sympathize with and even cheer for people committing crimes and being all-around bad (though sometimes with endearing moments).

We were warned … a lot …

Paul warned Timothy, and therefore us, that this would happen:

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds,who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
2 Timothy 3:1-8, NIV

In other words, society will decide to do their own thing and call good things bad and bad things good, and we will glorify sin and desire all things ungodly (sound at all familiar to anyone?).

And we were warned in Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

Lord, give us the wisdom to see past deception and a desire for truth and goodness. Help us to not focus on our own desires, selfishness, and violence. Help us to focus on Your will, Your love, Your grace, and You. Be our light and our life.