No show today, folks. Your host is overworked and under-rested. We’ll be back rested and rarin’ to go tomorrow. Thanks for your understanding!
Pretty much each verse we read in this book of wisdom really deserves to be meditated on. Proverbs really isn’t a book that is meant to be just read through. It’s better when taken a bit at a time and then revisited again and again.
Just a few comments today. Most of the verses, or proverbs, speak for themselves. They just need to be rolled over in our minds and made a part of who we are.
My wife, the lovely lady LeeAnn, has been selling cars for just over a year now. God has blessed her, and she is now the director for the internet sales department at her dealership. Verse 14 of today’s chapter made me think of the sales process that so many seem to want to go through. “Bad, bad,” says the buyer, But when he goes his way, then he boasts.” It’s the give and take of, not just the car business, but any financial transaction with negotiating involved. The buyer points out the problems with the merchandise, the seller extolls the virtues. If the process is done properly, both parties are winners. The buyer comes away feeling like he’s gotten a good deal, and the seller makes a decent profit.
One more comment before I say goodbye for the weekend. Verse 24 says, “Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, How then can man understand his way?” That last part is better translated, “How can a man understand his *own* way?” It’s true. Our lives are in God’s hand. He knows where He wants us and what He wants us to do and be. We sometimes think we are planning and running our lives. And to a certain extent we are, since we do have the freedom to choose. But God’s ultimate, overarching plan for creation will be accomplished. Doesn’t it seem foolish to think that we can challenge God? Doesn’t it seem wiser to acknowledge His lordship and follow Him one step at a time, and allow ourselves to be in harmony with His plan? If our plan is in conflict with His, all our planning will be for nothing. I would much rather give myself to Him and have the assurance that my life will have meant something when I stand before Him at the judgement. My ultimate goal is to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
As Paul closed his letter to the church in Corinth, he found several ways to gently try to move them in the direction of unity within their ranks.
As he opened, he mentioned that they should give in the same way as he had encouraged the Galatian church to give, in a way challenging them to come together and not be outdone by the Galatians.
But then, after all the things he wrote to them about how there were problems there, he told them how much he wanted to be with them and even spend an extended time with them, if the Lord permitted.
And he told them that Timothy was coming to them at his bequest, and that they should treat him well. Timothy was young, and it would’ve been easy for them to mistreat him. But Paul let them know that he would be given a report on Timothy’s treatment there.
And then he demonstrated that even though there were some in the Corinthian church who seemed to favor Apollos, he (Paul) had no animosity towards a fellow laborer in the faith. Apollos knew about the issue going on, and he didn’t want to make the problem worse by going to them at this particular time. He would wait until things calmed down a bit.
Paul then urged them to step up their spiritual game. In verses 13 and 14 he said, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” And he tells them to follow the lead of Stephanas and his family, who had faithfully given themselves to serving the believers, including even Paul.
And he again encourages them with the assurance that the churches in Asia sent their greetings.
And to wrap up, I’m sure with all their divisions and problems in mind, and thinking of his writing on love and how it is acted out, he tells them to greet one another with a holy kiss. In essence reminding them that they are all a part of one body, the body of Christ.
His last sentence puts the bow on the package. “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.”
This is a wonderful example of Godly leadership, showing by example how we are to love one another, despite our differences and our failings. This is good, not just for churches but for our everyday lives. How many divorces could be avoided, broken friendships mended, and a myriad of other problems, if we would follow this example?
This chapter records a very sorry episode in Israel’s history.
It had been a long time since Israel had entered the Promised Land, and yet this portion of the tribe of Dan had not yet taken possession of their inheritance. The reason? Likely a lack of initiative and also being satisfied with the status quo. So they really just took for granted God’s promise of delivering to them their portion of the land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To me, that sounds like an insult to God.
But eventually, they found that they needed their own land because the Philistines were crowding them. So they began to look for a place, and they sent the five scouts out.
They found Micah’s house, with his hired Levite so-called priest and the idols and other paraphernalia that Micah had made.
And they found Laish. A city with unwise leaders who should have known better than to leave it unguarded and with no allies. They had to have known by this time that they were in an area that God had given to the people of Israel, and what kind of victories the other tribes had had when they came to possess their allotted cities. But they had become fat and lazy.
So the scouts reported the condition of Laish, and that there was a priest and idols at Micah’s house. The decision was made to take Laish, after stopping to steal both Micah’s idols and his personal priest. Now, understand what’s happening here. These Danites see no problem with having idols, which breaks the second commandment, and they don’t mind getting them by breaking the eighth commandment, “Do not steal”. Great way to start in their campaign to take a city, right?
But in spite of the sorry state of just about every aspect of this story, God honors the promise He had made so many years before, and Dan got their territory.
And the first thing they did was set up the idols, and this priest that had been cajoled and flattered into leaving Micah, is at last identified near the end of the chapter as the grandson of none other than Moses himself. Sad, sad, sad.
It gives one pause, doesn’t it? Seems to me that it is critically important to establish, as much as possible, a deep and abiding family tradition and identity of godliness. Of course, there is no guarantee, but let us not take lightly the responsibility to raise up our children and grandchildren to know that “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What do you think?
Have you ever considered how powerful your words can be? For some people, words come so easily that they don’t think about the impact even a casual word can have. There were some good things to remember from today’s reading.
Verse 4 of chapter 18 said, “Words from wise people are like water bubbling up from a deep well—the well of wisdom.” and in verse 7 we read, “Fools hurt themselves when they speak. Their own words trap them.” Verses 20 and 21, “Your words can be as satisfying as fruit, as pleasing as the food that fills your stomach. The tongue can speak words that bring life or death.”
Verse 12 of chapter 19, “The shouts of an angry king are like a roaring lion, but his kind words are like a gentle rain falling softly on the grass.”
So as we go through the day, let’s carefully consider our words, and determine that the words we speak will be the kind that bring peace and life to those around us.
I’m glad you were here today. God is good, and I’m really thankful to have you join me as we share God’s Word together. It’s a joy and a privilege to be a part of your day.
In this chapter Paul addressed the most important aspect of the Christian faith. Jesus was raised from the dead. All other major religions have a founder who is dead. But the tomb of Jesus is empty. The unthinkable happened. Jesus’ tomb only held its occupant for three days.
The reason that this is important is that with His resurrection, Jesus proved that He has the power over sin and death. After all, what is more difficult? To come back from the dead, or to forgive sins?
Paul said, “…if Christ has never been raised, then the message we tell is worth nothing. And your faith is worth nothing.” And again, “…if Christ has not been raised from death, then your faith is for nothing; you are still guilty of your sins.”
And quoting Paul once more, “But Christ really has been raised from death—the first one of all those who will be raised.”
Some say, “Oh come on! A dead man coming back to life? Gimme a break. He didn’t die on the cross. He only passed out.”
Well, at first blush, that sounds like a possible explanation. But then, consider this. The Romans, who were the executioners, were very, very good at this method of killing. Jesus was not the first person to be crucified. This was their preferred method of execution. They crucified thousands. It was a very effective way to display their might and cruelty to those they wanted to keep in subjection to them.
So to think that they couldn’t tell the difference between a dead man and one who had merely passed out is ludicrous. Especially given the fact that Jesus had been beaten to within an inch of his life before being hung on the cross. The blood loss from the scourging he received was significant.
And don’t forget the spear that pierced his side. In order to be sure that he was dead, a Roman soldier stabbed him in the side. What came out was water and blood, an indication that the membrane around Jesus’ heart had become filled with fluid as a result of hypovolemic shock caused by the scourging. His body had lost so much blood that the heart had to work overtime to try to pump the blood that wasn’t there. The fluid also gathers around the lungs during hypovolemic shock.
So when the Roman soldier stabbed Jesus with the spear, he probably pierced a lung and the heart.
Yes, Jesus did die on the cross. And he rose on the third day. Over 500 people saw him alive, and when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, he said in essence, “Go ahead and ask them! Most of them are still alive.”
Yes. Jesus is alive. And because He lives, we who call him Lord will also live. We possess eternal life. Our bodies will die, but not our spirits. We will live with Him forever. Hallelujah. Death has no victory, the grave has no sting. Amen.
If you know a little of American history, and specifically about the 1800s before the West was settled by those who migrated from the East, you’ll probably be familiar with the phrase “The Wild West”. That moniker was coined because during those days before government was established with the accompanying law and order, everyone pretty much did as they pleased. About the only thing that kept any semblance of order was one man’s fear of what another man might do to him if he crossed some unwritten code of conduct. To put it bluntly, the very basest of human behavior reigned supreme in much of the Wild West.
In Judges 17, we read about what happens when there is no set authority in place. We’ll see what happens when everyone does what he wants.
Keep in mind the first and second commandments as we read. The first is “You shall have no other gods before me” and the second is “You shall not make idols.”
I want to call your attention first to verse 6, which says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted.”
The chapter began with a man named Micah returning to his mother 1,100 pieces of silver that he had stolen from her. You say, “Well that’s good.” Well, yes it is, but we have to question his motive. Was it because he realized that stealing was wrong, and he was repentant? Probably not, because in his statement to her he said, “You know that silver that was stolen, and that I heard you utter a curse about?” It looks like he was more afraid of the effects a superstitious curse than in right and wrong.
Understand the context of when and where these two people lived. It’s like the Wild West. There is no government, no one to teach or show the people what the Law of God said. And they lived amongst a foreign civilization that had as their God the false god Baalim, and the worship of ashera poles. Without proper guidance, this false religion crept into the belief system and lives of God’s people.
So we see Micah’s mother saying, when the silver is returned to her, “I am so happy that you have returned my silver that we should create a carved image and overlay it with silver.” Uhh. Excuse me, but what is that called? Oh. That’s right. It’s an idol.
And then Micah had and ephod and other small idols cast from some of the remaining silver, and he set up his own little shrine, or temple, in their home.
Sounds reasonable to someone who doesn’t know God’s Law. God’s people were to bring their sacrifices to the Temple. Not make their own.
According to God’s Law, Micah and his mother’s actions were punishable by death.
And the hiring of the young Levite from Bethlehem was sort of the piece de resistance. Levites were to minister in the temple, and they were to be taken care of through the sacrifices brought there. They were not priests for hire.
It does appear that Micah did not have malice in his heart in all this though, because the chapter ends with him saying, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, because a Levite has become my priest.”
But the fact remains that what was happening was wrong in the sight of God. Stay tuned to see how this plays out.
Have you ever known a fool? How about a person who’s wise? In your experience, are there more of the foolish or more of the wise?
As I was getting my haircut last week, I looked down at the black drape that my barber had put around me to keep the hair off, and I had to comment that I didn’t like the color she had chosen to use. The black of the drape really showed how much gray hair I now have. Mind you, it’s not all gray yet, but it seems like every time I go for a haircut there is more and more.
I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad about it, though, based on Proverbs 16:31. “Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness.” I know that the Lord is not at all interested in flattering us, but verses like this sure do help to ease the process of getting older.
So today we learned that God really detests liars and dishonest business practices, impatient and easily angered people, disloyal and unfaithful friends, and much more. Of course, that is no surprise, but remember that Proverbs was given to us as a guide, or a course on how to gain wisdom. It’s filled with examples that contrast the wise with the fool.
And given its purpose, it must be possible to learn wisdom. Of course that is true, because most of the wise people I have known are those who have been down the road a while. They are the, as my good friend Ron Ploof of Griddlecakes Radio says, “the gray hairs”. Have you ever noticed how unusual it is to find a young person with wisdom? It can happen, but you don’t often walk away from a conversation with a young person saying, “What wisdom!”
So if your answer to my question at the beginning of the show was that there are more foolish people than wise, be encouraged. Fools can learn to be wise. What they need is guidance from the Master. My encouragement to you is to be the wise person who is available to those that need wisdom, so that you can point them to the Source of wisdom.
What do you think?
Here we are again discussing spiritual gifts. And, once again, we see that people haven’t changed much since Paul wrote these words.
The Corinthians seem to be having disputes over what is the best spiritual gift to have, and it appears that speaking in other languages, or as we say today “speaking in tongues” is the one that is getting the most attention.
I told you a few episodes back that I gave my heart to the Lord in a little Southern Baptist church when I was a teenager, and that I had never even heard of spiritual gifts until I moved away and started attending a little community church in Mammoth Lakes, CA. And I told you that this little church had just undergone a split because of a dispute about the gifts. Of course, the nexus of the argument was speaking in tongues.
What I didn’t tell you was that for the past 27 or so years, I have been attending an Assemblies of God church, which is Pentecostal. Just in case you don’t know, Pentecostal means that they believe very strongly that all the spiritual gifts are in operation today, unlike the Southern Baptists, who believe the gifts ceased after the Apostles died. The Pentecostals believe that every believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues as the evidence of the filling. And most pray fervently for this experience.
So having I have been in both camps, I know the arguments of both sides. And it is my belief that neither the Baptists nor the Pentecostals have it right.
Here in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul teaches that speaking in other languages is fine, but it is far better to prophesy, because then unbelievers can hear and understand the message and perhaps be convicted and come to know God.
Here’s the deal. Being God, the Holy Spirit knows what will be most beneficial to each person and each church. He decides which gift an individual will have. Maybe it will be tongues, maybe it will be prophecy, or teaching or interpretation or discernment or hospitality or business or on and on. Whatever your gift, the greatest is love, as we learned in the last chapter.
What do you think?
When we last left Samson he had just left his new wife, who was a Phiistine, and returned to his father’s house, after having killed 30 Philistines at his wedding celebration.
Today, as we rejoin him, his anger has cooled and he goes to his father-in-law’s house to make up with his wife, gift in hand. His father-in-law informs him that his wife has been given to another man.
So Samson proceeds to burn the crops of the Philistines, which causes them to kill Samson’s wife and her father, since the Philistines blame them for this great economic harm that Samson has wreaked upon them.
The question has to be asked: Why did Samson want this Philistine woman in the first place. He was, after all a Nazarite, which means that he was dedicated to the Lord. Why would this man want a woman from the people who were such enemies of the Jews? For the answer, we go back to chapter 14, verse 4: Now his father and mother did not know this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.
In my opinion, this is a prime example of how the Lord works in mysterious ways, which by the way, is not a scriptural quote as far as I can tell. To me it seems as if God could have chosen so many other ways to defeat the Philistines, but of course, who am I to second guess God?
In the life of Samson, God used his weakness for women to deliver a terrible blow to this race of people who were so evil to God’s chosen people.
In the beginning of chapter 16, Samson is with a prostitute. After that, he falls in love with another Philistine woman named Delilah. And because of his love for her, and her deceptive, manipulative charms, his hair is shorn (which causes his great physical strength to leave him), he is blinded, taken captive and made a slave to the Philistines.
The loss of his physical sight seems to restore his spiritual sight, however, and when he is brought in to entertain the Philistine hoi polloi, he prays and asks God to restore his strength so that he might take revenge on them for what they have done. God hears Samson, and Samson kills more Philistines at his death than he did during his entire life. And this is what God had in mind from the very beginning of Samson’s life.
Remember back in chapter 13, verse 4 when the angel of the Lord told Samson’s mother that she would be having a son? Part of the angel’s message was, “You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
Who knew that this was how it would happen? We never know what God has in mind. All we can do is trust that His plan is right, that He is good, and that His will will be done. And I’m supremely okay with that. How about you?