Proverbs

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“Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4 NKJV).

March 10, 2017

Wealth is useful when facing human justice. It pays for attorneys and even judges of a certain type. Yet, “riches do not profit” when we face the judgment seat of God. All the treasure in the world is useless on that day. As one has said, “You never see a hearse towing a UHaul.” However, this is not a diatribe against affluence, but a warning against short term thinking. Worldly wealth only gives the illusion of security, the instant we breath our last, that fantasy evaporates. Worldly currency has no value in heaven.

But righteousness, or godliness as the apostle Paul calls it, “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). Therefore, pursue righteousness, which is only found in Christ Jesus. For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). How do we exchange our sin for this heavenly currency of righteousness? Believe. Believe in what God has done for you in Christ. As as it was said of Abraham, “He believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness,” so shall it be for you. Only righteousness delivers from the final death sentence.

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8 NKJV).

January 30, 2017

Solomon gives an example from nature to teach the discipline of living beneath your means and managing God-given resources according to the seasons of life. Stop being lazy with the time, talent and treasure that God has entrusted to you. Even the ant knows to save a surplus to get through the dry season and to gather during the harvest. Live on less than you make. Work with wisdom and diligence. Remember God’s ownership and your stewardship.

“His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin” (Proverbs 5:22 NKJV).

January 28, 2017

Why is there suffering in God’s creation? Humanity has rebelled and chosen its own way. And the whole world has fallen under sin’s sway. Sin begins as an attitude of self-will that wants its own way, rather than God’s way. So, sin is an offense against God, but it is also harmful to the one sinning. A father may tell his toddler not to touch the hot stove, but when the toddler touches it anyway, the father need not punish. The blistered hand is punishment enough. Yet, the day of judgment is coming when all sinners will be judged. Until then, sin itself is already at work in the sinner. For it entraps and entangles, enslaving and deluding, slowly squeezing the life out of the sinner hypnotized by its stare and strangled by its coils. Thank God there is a Savior, One who came to break the bonds of sin and set us free! Thank God for Jesus who not only releases us from sin’s snare, but also adopts us into the Father’s family. Those who have received Christ as Savior and Lord are no longer entrapped and caught in the cords of sin.

“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases” (Proverbs 26:20 ESV)

October 29, 2016

The fiery strife of gossip and intrigue quickly goes out when the wicked “whisperer” is removed. Contentious talebearers must be treated as incendiaries. We must refuse to listen to their gossip, correcting them for such talk. And if they refuse to stop such inflammatory backbiting, we must break fellowship with them. Strife soon ceases and peace follows when those who fuel quarreling with their words are silent.

‘Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.’ (Proverbs 25:6-7 ESV)

October 11, 2016

Self-promotion often leads to being humbled, while humility leaves room for another to praise you. The world urges us to climb the ladder of success, but the Lord Jesus descended to greatness. He climbed down the ladder of love, leaving behind his robes of majesty and taking on the form of man and humbled himself to death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8). Therefore, God exalted Jesus to the highest place (Phil 2:9-11). Follow Jesus. Stop edifying yourself and edify others instead. Humble yourself and let God lift you up.

“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler” (Proverbs 20:19 ESV)

August 3, 2016

Do you know someone who is constantly telling you secrets about someone else? Or someone who slanders another? Do not associate with such people. For if they talk badly about others to you, they will talk badly about you to others. And if they share the secrets of others with you, they will reveal your secrets to others. Telling such a person a secret is the same as broadcasting it to everyone. A gossip is to be warned, and if they persist, avoided.

“Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.” (Proverbs 20:18 ESV)

August 2, 2016

Do you seek wise counsel before making plans? No matter how wise you may be, there is always much to be learned from another’s perspective. We all have blind spots, so we need others to enlarge our vision. These counselors should not to be mere ‘yes’ men, agreeing with us. They are to be wise in the biblical sense and willing to disagree and confront. Having sought out wise advice, be sure to be humble enough to follow it.