Proverbs

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12 NKJV).

April 19, 2017

Having to wait for any expected good certainly affects our attitude. In this sense, the writer of this proverb accurately observed the growing despondency of the heart that waits unfulfilled. Yet, it is even more intense in the spiritual longing that we have for God. It was in this spiritual sense that many see this proverb pointing to Israel’s longing for the coming of the Desired One, the Messiah. As the Lord spoke through the prophet Haggai, “I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:7).

Today, we experience a kind of “heart sickness” as we await the return of Christ. But we have the Holy Spirit which fills us with a confident hope that assures us of the certainty of our desire. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him” (Proverbs 12:14 NKJV).

April 3, 2017

The one whose word and deed is marked by wisdom and diligence will be “satisfied with good” and receive appropriate “recompense.” Yet, when has the world seen such a one who has both? In truth, the Lord Jesus is the only One who has demonstrated both word and deed in perfect balance and beauty.

As regards word, even the temple guards sent to arrest Jesus reported, “Never has anyone spoken like this man!” (John 7:46).

And as regards deed, the multitude who witnessed Jesus causing the deaf to hear and the mute to speak, were astonished and said, “He has done all things well!” (Mark 7:37).

Those who would be truly “satisfied,” and receive a desirable “recompense,” will trust in Christ’s word and work, rather than their own. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

“He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage” (Proverbs 11:28 NKJV).

March 25, 2017

American coinage was first inscribed with the motto, “In God We Trust,” in 1865, after a feeling of thanksgiving swept the nation that had survived the Civil War. In 1957, American currency was inscribed with the same motto. Yet, putting the motto on our money isn’t the same as writing it on our hearts.
Where we put our trust matters. Those who put their faith in money will eventually experience disappointment. As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:9-10). Instead, put your love and trust in the Lord.

“A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13 NKJV).

March 15, 2017

Can you keep a confidence?

A gossip cannot be trusted. Their MO (Modus Operandi) is to tell everything they know and to add a little to the story to spice it up. If you know someone who is constantly telling you someone else’s secrets, then be sure not to tell them yours! But a faithful friend can be trusted.

“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.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil” Proverbs 3:7-8 (NKJV).

January 11, 2017

Those who choose to ignore God’s Word and follow the sinful desires of their heart will always justify their choices with self-delusional reasoning. Only those who fear and respect the Lord are able to look at themselves in the mirror of His Word to confront their own hypocrisy. Stop the excuses and repent, and the Lord will set you free.

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe (Proverbs 29:25 ESV)

December 13, 2016

Don’t be a people pleaser! The one who tries to please everyone, lays a trap for himself. For he can never make everyone happy. What is the alternative? Live to please God. Do not fear man, but trust in God. Live for the applause of the One. And the Lord will keep you in His care.

“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.