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August 2, 2022

Proverbs 2 – Attaining Knowledge

The central theme of the Proverbs is knowledge and wisdom, we might find ourselves asking, how do I get wisdom…as in what specifically do I need to do?

Pro 2:1  My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,

Pro 2:2  making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;

Pro 2:3  yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,

Pro 2:4  if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,

Pro 2:5  then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

So having read that, back to our question – how does one get knowledge and where does wisdom come from?  The text says up there in verse 2 through 5, make your ear attentive and incline our heart to understanding…in other words, go to God with a humble heart, we are the creation, appealing to God, our Creator, so that means humble view of ourselves, and high view of God, this is not a conversation we are having with a colleague, we are talking to the King of Kings here.  We are praying with a humble heart.  

The Word then says, when we ask God for knowledge, do it with the same vim and vigor as if he we were searching for hidden treasure.  If someone told us there was buried treasure in our backyard, we’d stop doing everything else and go find it…the Word tells us that we should be equally zealous when appealing to God, in other words, not reciting a bunch of prayers we learned when we were 9, but praying from the bottom of our hearts!  

The text concludes that when we do that, go to God with a humble and contrite heart, and pray like our lives depended on it, we will then understand the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God.

Jesus tells us in the beatitudes, Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for they will inherit the Kingdom.  Poor in Spirit means, a humble heart.  Knowing that we are sinful creatures, and only Christ’s work on the cross can unburden us from the weight of our sins.  

That is the essence of the Gospel, Christ took on the form of man, became our sin on the cross, our sins were crucified, to pay the penalty of our sin, because the wages of sin is death, and then Christ rose up, thereby beating sin and death on the 3rd day, paving the way for us to have eternal life, when we put our trust in Him, or as the Proverbs says; cry out to Him in prayer with humble hearts.  

August 1, 2022

Proverbs Chapter 1 Verse 7 – Knowledge from Fearing God

Pro 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Having a high view of God is how we begin to obtain the knowledge that lies within the Bible, and the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us, but to truly understand what the Bible is saying to us, we need to have a high view of God and conversely a low view of ourselves.  To put in perspective, we live for a little while and then we die, meanwhile God, creator of the universe, transcends time, He always was and always will be.  God is not contained by time, nor anything else, and God can give life and take it away, we should most certainly fear a being that can do all of that, and we should also love Him as He loved us, given that He sent His Son in the world to die so that we could live.  

At any rate this high and holy view, according to the Proverbs is the beginning of knowledge of God.

On the other hand, the text says, fools despise wisdom and instruction, which is another truism when we look at today’s culture.  Someone who flagrantly violates God’s laws and sins, is not trying to hear anything about the Gospel, they love their sin so much, and when God’s law comes and tells them what they are doing is wrong, they recoil as if it were poison.  

An example of this would be if you were to see someone sinning on social media, and confronted them and told them, hey what you are doing is wrong, and point out the scripture that says so, if they are outside of the Lord and don’t believe the Gospel, they will likely will react as if you poured cold water on them, why?  Because as today’s Word says; fools despise wisdom and instruction, it is not because they are stupid, but because they are so captivated by their sin, that they don’t want to part with it. 

Meanwhile, for us to obtain that knowledge that is in the Bible, we have to recognize that these are not just a bunch of essays compiled by men of the times, but rather, these words are inspired by the Holy Spirit and given to these men, and truly if you really dig into the text, we see lots of these prophecies have already come true, it is remarkable, and moreover we see God’s wonderful plan of redemption through His Son Jesus Christ.  So dig into your Bible, because there is where wisdom and knowledge are found.  

July 29, 2022

Proverbs 29:2 – Righteous vs Wicked Leaders

Pro 29:2  When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

When good works from the government increase, people see it and are glad, they have a better sense of actualization that the leaders representing them are doing good things and overall morale increases.  

On the other hand, when there is a wicked ruler in power, the verse says “the people groan” or are unhappy.  Leaders should be very careful of this and have good advisers in place to help give them a sense of what they are doing, we remember the fable “the emperor has no clothes” when all the yes-men surrounding the emperor told him his outfits looked great, only to find out he wasn’t wearing any.  Leaders should be very careful about the people they keep around them, especially God-fearing advisers that spot sin and keep it in check, because sin heavy governments lead to wicked rulers and as today’s Word says, wicked rulers are very bad for morale!  

July 28, 2022

Thursday Devotional – July 28th, 2022

A good compare and contrast in our Proverbs that show us the narrow vs the wide gate that Christ speaks on in the Gospels:

Pro 28:6  Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked though he be rich.

Walking in integrity is often not the easy road to take, often we have to tell people things they don’t want to hear, we have to be honest, and we can’t get by through telling little white lies.  

However, our Proverbs says this person who is poor, but honest, is better off that the dishonest rich man.

The dishonest rich man is often boastful, cunning and oppressive to the poor, all things which God hates.  

If there is one thing we learn about in the Bible, God humbles the proud, but raises up the lowly.  Jesus, the Ruler of the universe came was a homeless carpenter by trade, born in a barn, far from rich, but He is the Son of God!  Lowly by earthly standards but exalted by heavenly standards when He beat both sin and death on the 3rd day.  

July 27, 2022

Proverbs 27:20 – Human Desire Is Never Satisfied

Pro 27:20  Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.

Sheol and Abbadon mean hell and destruction and the word says Hell is never full, and interestingly the next part of the verses speaks about human desire; the eyes of man are never satisfied, which suggests that greed is tied to eternal damnation.  

If we think about the greediest people we know, they are usually already high in status, be it wealth or power, but they are not satisfied by their wealth and need to have more wealth.  Politicians that are elected to office have power, but that isn’t enough, they have to money and power and end up making shady deals and taking bribes to get money while they have power, because one isn’t enough, such is the case with human desire and human depravity, that nature that all of us have inherited from the Adam and Eve when they got thrown out of the Garden of Eden!  But what is scary, is that God’s Word today in one verse ties in human desire not being fulfilled, to hell not ever overflowing.  The reality is, we can make all this fortune and fame in this life, but what does it mean in the next?  God is not going to let someone into heaven because they have the largest bank account, and it is a sad state of affairs, because this greed is what separates them from God.  We remember Jesus and the rich ruler, the rich ruler says, teacher what do I need to do to get into heaven, and Jesus said sell everything you have and give it the poor, and the rich ruler walked away crying because he loved his wealth so much, he couldn’t part with it. 

Now it is easy for us to point the finger and people who are richer than we are and say, this applies to them, but this also applies to us too.  Human desire is not exclusive to just rich people, it is everyone of us who came from Adam and Eve, the whole human race.  IT is sin, and the only One who shows us our sin and takes that sin away is Jesus.  WE gotta remember what He tells us, do not store up our wealth here on earth which will just rot and fade away, instead store up our time and resources into heavenly places that are eternal!  

July 26, 2022

Proverbs 26:22 – Gossip & The Human Heart

A very poignant proverb on how like moths are drawn to a flame; so how we are drawn to gossip!

Pro 26:22  The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.

A dainty morsel is like a tasty snack, and when we get a taste of a chocolate or donut; a dainty morsel, it stimulates us and we want more…that is what the words of a whisperer or hearing gossip does to us, it scratches an itch.  

If we think about that, that is absolutely true; if someone is preaching a sermon to us, we typically can’t wait to get out of there and be done with it, but man, when we hear some juicy and salacious gossip about someone, we stop everything we are doing, put down the phone, turn down the music and drop everything at once just to hear the salacious details of whatever juicy scandal is happening.  It is not wonder why the most profitable magazines in the world are tabloids – or celebrity gossip, the Kardashians entire fortune is built on publishing their scandalous affairs! 

This all really speaks to the sad state of the human condition, how we can’t get enough of these dark details and try and explain away why we like hearing bad rumors and gossip about other people, it is the sinful condition of the human heart, but the beauty of the Gospel is that when we look to the cross, and see Jesus there in all of His pain and anguish and suffering as the Perfect sacrifice for all of our imperfect sins, we come to terms with the dark thoughts that permeate our minds when we contrast them with the Light that is found in Jesus.  

He is the only cure, and His Perfect Life and Perfect sacrifice give us an acute awareness of how broken we are and how desperately we need Him, He is the road to repentance and recognizing these bad behaviors like gossip and suddenly wanting nothing to do with them anymore or hating ourselves when we find ourselves getting caught up in it.  

That is the beauty of the regenerate heart, the new heart that the Holy Spirit gives us when we declare Christ as Lord of our lives.  We see darkness for what it is, and more importantly we see Christ as the Light that shines through the darkness.  

July 25, 2022

Proverbs 25:16 – Avoid Excesses

Good instructions on sensible living is found in our Proverbs today:

Pro 25:16  Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.

Back when this was written, a sweet like honey was a big deal, considering there was no McDonald’s Flurries or See’s candies back when the Proverbs were written…so while honey tasted sweet, if you ate to much of it, it would make you sick.  

We can apply this Proverb to how we live our lives today, and we certainly should, because there is so much junk in our world that we can overindulge in.  Many pleasures are readily available at the touch of our smart phones.  Now we can have pizza delivered to our house at the touch of a button, we can watch virtually any film genre of any movie or show for endless hours.  You would think that the made-to-order pleasures on hand at the ready from our smart phones would make us happy, but too often we overindulge on this stuff, and as a result we are anything but happy!  Obesity is at a record high, and if physical health ailments are taking our lives too early, then it is our mental health!  From the year 2000 until now, suicide has increased by 30%!  That is a very alarming statistic, and also shows us that overindulging on screen time is not making us happy.  That stat paint of picture of life before and after smart phones.  

We take it back to our Proverb; if you find honey, only eat what you need, or you’ll eat too much and get sick…happiness is not found in overindulgence, nor it is found in things of the world, and the things of the world condemn us anyhow.  Jesus tells us, what profit is it for a man to gain the world but lose his soul?  Wordly pleasures bring death, while true pleasure is found in declaring Christ as King and giving up our vices, repenting and making Jesus the center of our affections.  How do we do that?  We learn about Jesus, and that is revealed for us in the Bible, and so is endless amount of wisdom to instruct us in our lives, that warn us against things like we talked about today, over-doing things…the blue print to live a Godly life is found in God’s revelation of Himself to us; the Bible.  And while we are dogging on smart phones today, there is some good stuff in them too, you can get the Bible in almost any language on a smart phone, there are lots of good sermons to watch on YouTube.  So if you’re hearing or watching this from a smart phone, download a Bible, it’s free and start reading God’s Word today.  

 

July 22, 2022

Proverbs 22:2 – Rich & Poor; God made both!

One of the more foolish things people can do is judge someone else on how much money they make or how big their houses are.  The sad reality is that people who are at a higher station in life tend to look down on people who make less money or are less educated.  

Today’s Word tells us that rich and poor are both made by God

Pro 22:2  The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all.

In society, where the love of money prevails, people tend to have more friends, more status, more admirers when they have more money.  Conversely, someone who is working class or not university educated is looked down upon as not being as “enlightened” by those who do have a college degree.  

Those are all worldly and unGodly standards that we judge others by.  However, God is not impartial and does not play favorites to those who have bigger bank accounts or MBA’s.  

Poor people and rich people alike are both image bearers of God, and in a world that tends to classify and organize the masses be it by race or income status, we as Christians need to remember that rich and poor do not matter, there are only two races; those who are in Christ and outside of Christ.  A poor person who declares Jesus as Lord has an eternity to look forward to versus a rich person who worships their worldly possessions like a big house or bank account but doesn’t worship God.  

We remember Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man wanted no part of Lazarus the beggar on earth, but when Lazarus was in eternal condemnation, Lazarus suddenly he found himself the beggar asking Lazarus for water.  

As the text says rich and poor are both made by God.  Humans may discriminate about income status, but God does not!  

 

PC – Nigel Lawrence

July 21, 2022

Thursday Proverbs – No Hiding Sin From God

Today’s Proverb tells us God sees all, even when our leaders and judges and law enforcement don’t, or turn a blind eye to wickedness, God does not and moreover God will bring a wrecking ball upon them.

Pro 21:12  The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he throws the wicked down to ruin.

In many civilizations, bribes and graft and cronyism rule the day…that saying; the rich get richer comes to mind, and often the regular Joe’s feel helpless while there is corruption all around them.  

Today’s Word assures us that while the higher ups may look the other way because they got a pay off, God does not look the other way, the text says “God observes them” or God is looking right at them, they may hide their wickedness from man, but there is no hiding it  from God.  

Even scarier for those folks, is God throws them down to ruin.  That is bad situation to be in for sure!  A lot of these people who live high on the hog from dishonesty tend to be arrogant and haughty…God hates all of that, and today’s text says, they are in for a rude awakening.  It might not be in this life, but God will render every an according to His deeds.  The only way forward is to declare Jesus as Lord, and that is not done just by praying on Sunday’s, God prefers obedience over sacrifice, when we say Jesus is Lord, that means we are to follow Him, and Jesus tells us to turn from our sinful ways, or to repent!  That means, stop getting up to the bad stuff we are doing, because death comes like a thief in the night.  You could be living the good life now, and think you’ll get right with God on your own terms, but what happens when you die of a heart attack tomorrow?  That may sound harsh, but death is the one thing that man does not control, we may predict everything else, but we cannot predict on how we enter or leave this world, that is done on God’s terms, and more importantly. This world is only temporary, the next life is forever.  Christ tells us, the only Way to The Father is through The Son, so Listen to the Son, repent, know that He came and died for our sins, and stop sinning and stealing!  

July 20, 2022

Proverbs 20:17 – The Juice Isn’t Worth The Squeeze!

A wise warning not to cheat or steal, no matter how tempting or immediate you’ll be rewarded: 

Pro 20:17  Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

When we take something that isn’t ours, or cheat someone or lie to get ahead, we may immediately get ahead – the Word says “it is sweet” as in at first, it’s great – I embezzled a bunch of money from my job, now I can go buy a 1st class ticket to Maui!  That’s pretty sweet, right?  

But let’s look at the second half of the text, afterwards his mouth will be full of gravel…yikes, harder to think of something more unpleasant and further from sweet, than a chewing on rocks.  

So the guy may have gotten the first class ticket to Hawaii from the money he stole, but then he is sin is revealed, and the punishment is terrible,  What is a first class ticket for a two week stay in Hawaii, when he later winds up spending two years in jail.  That’s just one scenario, but while those are just punishments meted out here on earth, what is even scarier is upsetting God who commands us not to steal or be dishonest?  

Such is the case with all of sin really, we may get a sense of instant gratification at first, but the end result is punshment!  We can take it back to the garden of eden, the forbidden fruit certainly had to taste good to Eden when she bit into it, but that fleeting pleasure pails in comparison to getting thrown out and banished forever, right?! 

So, how to we avoid the unsettling taste of gravel in our mouth, that today’s Proverb speaks of?  We don’t sin!  That is the central call of The Gospel, our sins are taken away when we declare Jesus as Lord, because He became sin, and put those sins to death, and He also calls on us to repent or stop sinning, so we can be spared that mouthful of rocks, or worse yet, eternal punishment!  The juice is not worth the squeeze!  

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