Tag Archives: paths

Stumbling In the Dark, Tripping In the Light

In the Dark

I stumbled upon the following verse (pun intended) last night as I was reading in anticipation for today’s post. This morning I came across it again and knew it was the verse for me today.

The way of the wicked is as darkness…” – Proverbs 4:19a

The rest of the verse will be addressed in a moment, but I would like for you to do something for me: Think of the darkest dark you’ve ever experienced.

Was it deep inside a cave when the tour guide turned off the lights? Was it when you were lost in the woods? Was it that moment when on a dark road your headlights suddenly went out?

Whenever it got the darkest you can remember, do you remember the darkness being so thick you could almost feel it?

The word that is translated “darkness” in verse 19 is the same word used to describe the darkness that plagued Egypt in Exodus 10:21-22. God told Moses to stretch forth his hand toward the sky, then the Lord promised a thick darkness, one that could be felt, would cover the Egyptians for 3 days. This was a deep, gloomy, dreadful darkness without a hint of light. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?

“The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” – Proverbs 4:19

Solomon is trying to tell you and me that the wicked (those who live with no regard for God) are walking a dark, dark path, even though they are convinced they can clearly see. Then, without warning, they stumble over something…a stick?…a snake? They get bit, but can’t tell what happened. They seek help, but they know not what for. They seek answers for the wounds caused by a fall, but then keep going down the same, dark path oblivious to the next danger.

If only the light of God’s wisdom would be allowed to illuminate the path, one could avoid the pitfalls. However, those who reject God think it wise to continue forward into the dark – because, after all, who needs God or faith, right?

My daughter’s front walk. Sunny in Charleston, S.C.

In the Light

But what of us who have the Light? What of us who can clearly see the potholes and cracked pavement, the sticks and/or snakes? Why is it, when we have the illuminating beams of the Word of God, we still stumble and fall as if our way was still dark?

It’s because we choose to.

We should thank God for His marvelous and matchless grace every moment of every day, for how much worse is it to know what will make us stumble and then trip anyway?

But I’m glad there is hope for those like you and I who stumble in the light!

“My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” – 1 John 2:1

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…’twas blind, but now I see.”

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Rich Slaves

Proverbs 19:10

“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)

Foolish Delights

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.


Killing Me Softly

Proverbs 16:29

“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.

Loves Company

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.


Making Your Disadvantages

Proverbs 15:19

The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.”

Schooled

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.

Following God

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.


Stop Yelling At Me!

Proverbs 15:10

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.

Final Destination

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.


Seeing Your Map

Proverbs 14:9

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.”

Asking Directions

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.

Your map

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.


Paying For It

Proverbs 13:13

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:

  1. Love others!
  2. Love God … by loving others and believing that Jesus died that you may live.

If we “scorn instruction” and “despiseth 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.