“Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.”
“It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury— how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!”(NIV)
Recently, Anthony wrote about those who win the lottery. They seem to be happy, and they find a sudden influx of friends and family to help them with their money!
It really depends on who you talk to or believe, but most reports show that the majority of major prize lottery winners are bankrupt inside of a few years.
The biggest reason, of course, is that they were foolish with their money when they had none, and that that habit does not change when they get much.
The same happens when spiritual leaders follow bad theology. They tried handling matters in their own lives, and they figured they could handle matters of God, as well. This is where too many churches and denominations can get off track. This is also where we get cults.
Of Slaves and Princes
Another danger of the poor suddenly becoming rich is that they may use their newfound influence to get back at established wealth. They might try to show off, to prove themselves (which can help lead to their bankruptcy).
This also can be a danger with religious leaders. When some parishioners get upset with how churches are being run, they may get ordained and/or start a new church. Again, this is where too many churches and denominations can get off track, and where we get cults.
How this can be good news comes through how God redeems everything.
John 8:34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (NIV)
We are all slaves to sin … until Jesus came along to make us righteous:
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (NIV)
As the redeemed of Christ, we become co-heirs in Christ and will rule over this world (Romans 8, Revelation 20).
It is only worse for slaves to rule over princes if the princes are of this world and slaves to sin.
Prince of Peace rich in grace, help us be wise with what You have entrusted to us, and if we must be slaves may it be to Your righteousness. Rule in our hearts and minds. Rule over our lives.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, fools, money, paths, Righteousness, Sin, Slaves | posted in Fools, Money and Finances, Paths of Life
“A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.”
The past few verses have been about the person who causes trouble. Whether it is by creating the trouble, stirring the trouble, or capitalizing on the trouble.
That is essentially what this verse continues saying, even taking another step further.
In verse 27 we learn that the ungodly person can not wait to start problems. In verse 28 we learn that this person even lets these problems come between friends.
Specifically, in verse 28 we begin to see how sneaky the violence in our hearts can be, because “a whisperer separateth chief (best) friends.”
God speaks in a still, small voice (a whisper). It would seem that Satan does, as well.
Perhaps you have heard the term “Misery/Evil loves company.” This is just saying that sad people like having other sad people around to commiserate with them. Likewise, evil people only want other evil people around them (because good people remind them of their guilt).
Verse 29 shows us that those whispers may not separate friends (at least immediately).
In fact, the one who allows violence of the heart (hatred, wanting to hurt others/animals, envy, distrust, paranoia, etc.) to thrive inside will attempt to convince their friends to follow them. They will speak convincing words and attempt to sway you of their rightness (self-righteousness).
If you follow them into this violence of the heart, you will become just like them. You will live out this violence.
You will gradually fall away from God’s truth, because God is the God of love and peace. As Casting Crowns put it, “It’s a slow fade.”
It is as though your friends whisper death into your ears, and you slowly die inside as you listen to their whispers.
You may not go to hell, but you will be guilty of hindering the work of God in your life and the life of your friends.
God of Peace, do not let us give in to the violence in our hearts. Protect our ears and our hearts from the whispers of those who would lead us astray.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Ear, Friendship, Hatred, hear, paths, Peace, Sin, tremptation, Violence | posted in counsel, Friendship, Paths of Life, Peace, sin, Temptation
“The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.”
In early high school, I stopped caring. I saw little to no reason to try hard at school. Sometimes I was interested enough to put some effort forth, but mostly I just tried to skate by. By the time I was a Junior, my grades were … less than stellar.
When I went to college the first time, I did well, but I learned just days before the second semester started that two of my loans were denied. Instead of asking around, I listened to the first person I heard from who said it meant I could not go back. So I stayed home. I eventually got another two semesters at a community college, but I could not even finish an associates degree.
In both cases, I got lazy and prideful, assuming I knew better and could handle anything.
In the middle of my Junior year of high school, Jesus got a hold of me. I went to a youth event that stressed Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men“. I knew I had work hard at school. I managed to get my average up to a solid B!
With college, I was trying to do things for God, but I was not trusting in His guidance. I got good grades, sure, but I was doing everything under my own power. That is why I completed three semesters in four and a half years. At the time I write this, I am seven weeks from graduating from a good university, and I have been through more things during the past few years that have given me invaluable experience. And I have a vision for the future that has been made plain to me.
On our own, things will always get in our way, cause us pain, and lead to trouble. In Christ, all things are possible!
Powerful God, thank You for Your love and patience, and thank You for Your favor and help! Push us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to strive for what You have for us. Do not let us be lazy or prideful, but show us the path You have for us.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Lazy, Path of Life, paths, righteous | posted in Paths of Life
“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.”
I’m not listening!
I have been that person.
I know I am right. I know you are wrong. Therefore, I do not want to hear what you have to say.
Something becoming increasingly popular in Western society is the idea that we are basically good and can make our own truth.
When we are each good and can make our own way to heaven (if it even exists), we do not [think] we need to hear any other supposed truth.
Stop yelling at me!
I have been that person.
When I have felt guilty, I always wonder what others are saying about me. Then, if someone innocently brings up whatever has me feeling guilty, it feels like they are attacking or even yelling at me.
Look at our world today. Whether or not they can admit it, everyone is guilty of sin. If we try to tell them of their guilt and/or the Guiltless One, Jesus of Nazareth, they get defensive. They feel attacked.
Sadly, in their self-righteousness or guilt, they come to hate any correction we can offer.
It really comes down to pride. If this is the way the continue, ultimately they may very well miss out on eternal life. The only other destination is Hell, eternal separation from God.
Ask yourself, do you get defensive when another person points out your faults or sins? Do you feel attacked if you are corrected?
Patient Father, show us Your grace and help us overcome our pride. Let us not be counted with those who spurn Your rebuke. Lead us in all righteousness to humility and truth, that we might heed Your correction and lead others to everlasting Life.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Counsel, Eternal destruction, paths, Warnings | posted in counsel, Paths of Life, Warnings
“The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.”
One of the most common jokes in the Western Culture (primarily North America and Europe) is that men are not good at asking directions. There is much truth in this.
Men feel sufficient in their ability to find their way around if they have a map … and many time they may even forgo the map! Sometimes, it is because of their pride that they can not admit to not understanding the map.
In other words, they often end up even more lost as they lie about what they do not actually know.
And men are not alone. I have known several women just as guilty of this as many men.
Only after properly consulting the map or asking for directions can someone who is lost find their destination.
“The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way …”
A wise person would heed the call of the gospel message: we are all guilty of sin; we all think we are on our way to happiness (or at least that it can not get much worse than this life), but we are on our way to eternal sorrow and destruction; and God stepped down in the Person Jesus of Nazareth to save us from our sin by dying on the cross and raising back to life three days later.
A wise person would realize he or she is lost and accept the offer of directions. The map of our lives is entirely in God’s hands, but we choose our path.
The foolish person will never admit to being lost and will settle on the lie that, if there is a map, we are in complete control of our own destiny and make our own map. This person settles on the lie that we can be our own gods, or that there is no God, or that god is whatever we make of it.
We can either understand our way or live in the lie, deceiving ourselves to our doom.
Are you wise or foolish?
Heavenly Father, break through our lies and deceit. Help us to see the truth of who You are and who we are. Help us overcome our folly and our sin and understand our need for You, that You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, folly, Map, Path of Life, paths, Prudent, Understanding, Wisdom, wise | posted in advice, Fools, Paths of Life, The Righteous
“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”
Scorn and Respect
There is a danger in avoiding responsibility and not listening to a warning.
Are you aware that we are each responsible for all of our decisions? Are you aware that every choice has a consequence?
The NIV states this verse thusly: He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects command is rewarded.
If you are told not to do something, and you do it anyway, you will pay for it. If you are told to do something and you do not do it, you will pay for it. Whether it be having an upset stomach for eating too many sweets before dinner, losing a friend for breaking trust, going to jail or prison, or losing your life, being told not to do something and doing it will cost you. It may not happen immediately (Think about heartburn! It comes hours after you ate that chili-cheese hot dog with hot sauce, not immediately!)
However, if you show respect and heed what you have been told, you will be paid back for that trust. Whether that comes through enjoying a great meal, growing closer to a friend, staying out of trouble, or having great health and/or wealth, it will go well with you in life.
Sometimes the consequences come later … much later.
I like the King James Version for the implication that comes through.
God has sent us commands by which to live. We all failed at keeping them perfectly.
God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah and the Word of God, to keep those commands perfectly and then suffer the ultimate price for our failure. In doing so, the commands are summed up in two simple commands:
- Love others!
- Love God … by loving others and believing that Jesus died that you may live.
If we “scorn instruction” and “despise the word” of God, we have the promise that we will be destroyed. While there is debate on what this means, there is a guarantee that it is not pleasant nor desirable (Revelation 20:14-15).
However, if we respect and fear God’s commands, we will be rewarded with eternal life and peace with God (Galatians 6:8).
Gracious God, forgive us for despising Your word and commands. Give us the grace and power to overcome our sinful desires and follow You. Help us to love others for Your glory.
2 Comments | tags: advice, Fear, honor, Jesus, paths, Respect, Reward, Word | posted in advice, Fear of the Lord, Reward, Word of the Lord
“There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.”
Good and Bad Life
There are certain things that no one can get away from in this life. There are good things and bad things that will have an effect on every person. Jesus told us so, when speaking about God: “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
In terms of today’s passage, this deals more with how we conduct our lives.
When we do good things in the pursuit of God, we may very well see good things in our lives. Wise choices generally make life easier and better.
Simply pursuing what we want or what makes us feel good or willfully causing pain or grief to others will eventually lead to bad things in life. We can not spend beyond our means for too long before we have to deal with the consequences of over-spending. We can not push the world away and expect the world to continue to help and give anything good.
It especially applies with our relationship to God
When we are following our Lord, when we believe in the truth of who Jesus Christ is and live out our faith, we have a guarantee, a strong hope, that we will one day be with Him forever.
The wicked have no such guarantee. Choosing your own path and not believing in Jesus Christ, choosing to promote your own well-being and happiness without considering others, disregarding the teachings of the Bible, all of these all but guarantee suffering when this life is over.
Which path do you choose this moment?
Loving God, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for giving us a way out of our mischief and troubles. Strengthen us to choose You every moment of every day that we may show love and grace to others when they choose the path of wickedness.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Just, mischief, paths, righteous, The Wicked, Trouble | posted in Paths of Life, The Righteous, The Wicked
They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the Lord: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
Any person with a froward heart, a heart that is turned away from God, is seen as an abomination, something detestable to God.
These people do their own thing. They avoid responsibility for their sin and/or justify their sin. They assume their rightness, even if the evidence shows otherwise.
The NIV starts this verse “The Lord detests men of perverse heart“. Remember what was said on verse three, that we all have perverse hearts and minds and are in need of a Savior.
Upright and Blameless
The NIV finishes this verse “but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.” Remember what has been said many times in these devotionals as well as in the Bible, that Jesus of Nazareth is the only one who is truly upright and blameless.
Fortunately for us perverse and froward people, Jesus’ death and resurrection provided a way for us to be seen as upright and blameless. All we must do is continue to believe in the Gospel and allow God to change us (Colossians 1:21-23, Hebrews 9:14).
When Christ is the center of our lives, we are seen as blameless and upright in God’s sight.
Gracious Father, thank You for making a way for us. Help us in our faith. Help us overcome our sinfulness and live upright lives in Your sight.
1 Comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Froward, paths, righteous, The Wicked, Upright | posted in Paths of Life, The Righteous, The Wicked
“A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.”
To over-simplify things, there are two kind of people in this world: those whom are liked and those not liked as much. (To be fair, there tends to be a third group: the rest of us, we who seem to get by with little notice from most other people. We have our friends and co-workers, and that is about it.)
The first person most people in our world think about when asked to name a person full of grace is Mother Teresa.
Many consider Mother Teresa to be one of the greatest women in history. She confessed hurts, pains, depressions, doubts, and weak faith.
Yet people still loved her … still love her to this day, even though she died in 1997.
She loved. She showed grace. She was devoted to serving others.
The first person most people in our world think about when asked to name a person who is rich is someone mentioned a couple of weeks ago: Donald Trump.
Many consider Donald Trump one of the wealthiest and most arrogant men in history. He has built a financial empire, built impressive buildings, hosted his own reality television series, and made a lot of money.
And many people can barely stand the guy.
He is blunt to a fault. He alienates others for the sake of profit. He is devoted to the bottom line.
As mentioned above, most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
The downside is that we can fall into the trap of chasing something so hard that we alienate others and miss God. We end up with … nothing.
The plus side is that we can be like Mother Teresa. If we pursue God wholeheartedly, if we are desperate for His glory, we, too, can be known as people of grace remembered for our love.
The choice is ours.
The choice is yours.
Great God, give us Your grace. Fill us with Your love. Create in us a passion for Your glory, that we may not finish this race empty-handed and hated.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Faithfulness, grace, love, paths, riches | posted in Faithfulness, Love, Paths of Life, Value and Worth
“When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth. The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.”
Whoever dies with the most toys wins.
Have you ever heard that phrase? That is exactly what this verse is speaking about.
There are many people who truly believe (or at least really wish) that with more money, influence, and stuff they might be able to prolong life or even cheat death.
Quite frankly, that will never happen. In this world, people die, and there is no escape by our meager means.
It does not matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.
There are many religions in the world that promise peace, life, or freedom.
In our Western culture, one of the current themes is that sincerity in the belief is what really sets you free.
Quite frankly, that is hogwash. You can sincerely believe your hand is indestructible, but that angry dog you just tried to pet does not care.
God is dead.
This is been a common theme since Time Magazine did an article in 1966, but starting earlier. In fact, one reason many atheists enjoy the theory of evolution is that ultimately God is not necessary if there is enough time and random circumstances.
Quite frankly, this is dangerously wrong. Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics and the fact that our Universe does indeed have a beginning prove at the very least that something outside of our Universe caused everything to be.
There is a God. This God created everything, including humans. Humans messed up … royally. Therefore, God came to Earth as a man, Jesus of Nazareth. In His righteousness, He took the penalty humans deserved. Now, those who believe in this truth are delivered out of eternal trouble into eternal peace and life with God.
Those who refuse to believe or think they know better are still under the penalty.
Lord Jesus, thank You for taking our penalty. Thank You for life. Use our lives to save as many more of those who are perishing as possible. Teach us to love them as You love us all.
Leave a comment | tags: Book of Proverbs, Jesus Christ, paths, trust, truth | posted in Paths of Life, Trust the Lord, Truth