Archive for the ‘Chapter 23’ Category

Proverbs 23 11-23-19

November 23, 2019

Why read His Word daily? To remember who we were before Christ and whose we are after meeting Christ.

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. 18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Let’s look at our salvation experience: Our first indication that something is wrong and needs to be fixed is when we hear that Jesus died for our sins. Two things are created in our hearts. One is the fact that we do not meet God’s standard of holiness. The second is that Christ made a way for us to meet that standard. If we believe that these two things are true, then we are well on our way to being saved.

The next thing we find is that our salvation is much more than simply saying some words and getting fire insurance; it’s giving our entire lives over to God. What do we get out the deal?

  1. We get security. We KNOW that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ. It’s His promise to us.
  2. We get a relationship. For salvation to happen, the Holy Spirit must enter our hearts and do a mighty work. He fills us up, cleans us up, dresses us up with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, gives us the ring and sandals of sonship (girls, too!), and signs adoption papers that can NEVER be rescinded.
  3. We get leadership. The reason for salvation was to put us back into fellowship with the Father. He has plans for us and a job for us to do. He has an entire life of holiness to learn, and a habit of follow-ship to set.

Why are we going over “old ground” again? Because we forget why we were saved and begin to live our lives as if we are not saved, which defeats the purpose of being saved.

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:19-20

God created a perfect world. We had complete fellowship with the Father through Adam and Eve. When they rebelled, we rebelled through them. How do we know that we rebelled through them? It’s simple, really. Let’s look at God’s primer to righteousness and see how we do (Exodus 20: 3-17):

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me. Do we have other gods before God? All the time! Whether it’s pleasure, avarice or indulgence, pride or fear, we all serve at the feet of other gods.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth below or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them… We all have things in our lives that we serve. We were created to serve and we do it well–just to the wrong things!
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God… Again, we all are guilty of using the LORD’s name in ways that it was never intended, if not as a cuss word, then flippantly and without its special association. If we are not addressing Him, then it’s being misused.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. We Gentiles don’t have a clue as to how to keep this verse. We don’t have a reference point.
  5. Honor your father and your mother… Ever disobeyed your parents? Me, too.
  6. You shall not murder. Ever hated anyone and/or want him dead?
  7. You shall not commit adultery. Ever “done it” in your mind?
  8. You shall not steal. Ever taken something without permission?
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor [lie]. Ever lied?
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…his wife…his stuff. Ever considered how to get something that was someone else’s?

What we have to realize is that sinning doesn’t actually make us sinners; we sin BECAUSE we are sinners. The Ten Commandments simply bear out this fact. “We become conscious of sin.” It’s the next part in the chapter that thrills our souls:

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify [we learn it in His Word]. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

It is through Jesus Christ that we received redemption from our sinful state. He has placed us in His family. He has made His home in us through the Holy Spirit. We are no longer who we were before we met Christ. May we “always be zealous” as we walk with the LORD daily.

Abba, thank You for rescuing me! Thank You for coming to me and inviting me to be Yours. You initiated and I responded. May I continue to trade my life for Your life, my will for Your will, my desires for Your desires, and my strength for Your strength. I look forward to all You have in store for me today. Let’s go! Amen.

Proverbs 23 10-23-19

October 23, 2019

What would you trade for a close relationship with the LORD? Anything? Everything?

12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed;
16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path:

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

As I read about dining with a ruler (1-3), trying to get rich (4-5), eating with a stingy host (6-8), envying sinners (17-18), joining drunkards and gluttons (20-21), adulteresses (26-28), and party-ers (29-35), I am reminded once again that this world is NOT our home, so don’t get comfortable. I am also reminded that our actions here on this earth have major blessings or consequences in heaven.

You may ask, “Why? I thought it was about our relationship with Jesus.”

And it is. Our actions show just where our heart is. We spend our time, our money, our effort, and our attention on that which is most important to us. Everything listed in the verses above is all for worldly pleasure and comfort. Where is the devotion to Christ? Granted, He doesn’t call us to give everything away and live in destitution, but He DOES call us to be willing if He asks. Instead of trying to gain, maybe we ought to try to give.

Asaph* struggled with the age-old question of worldly blessings vs. spiritual blessings. We find his struggle in Psalm 73. We don’t know with what he struggled (v. 14), and as a Levite, we don’t know if he was paid for his work or if it was voluntary. In any case, his struggle is our struggle: Why do sinners prosper while saints suffer?

I think Satan has a lot to do with the answer to this question. He is the prince of this world (John 14:30, Luke 4:6, 1 John 5:19). He gives power to whomever he likes. By making people succeed in their sin, he keeps them from seeking something–or Someone– else. Jesus, on the other hand, calls us out of this world and worldly mindset and tells us to seek first His kingdom (Matt. 6:33). His objective is for us to be made into His likeness (Romans 8:29), not for us to have every desire met (that’s what got Eve in trouble).

Lest we despair as Asaph almost did (v. 13), let us read on:

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence. (his near-despair)
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments. (his daily struggle)

15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children. (his near-catastrophe of dis-heartening his fellow worshipers)
16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply 
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny. (his reference point: God)

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
    you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
    when you arise, Lord,
    you will despise them as fantasies. (They chose poorly)

21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you. (been there, done that)

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand. (YOU take care of ME, my Shepherd!)
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory. (the daily walk)
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (compared to knowing Him)
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (our comfort, our solace)

Let’s orient our thinking so that Jesus is our focus, our Center. When we do this, we know that we are in the center of His will because we are in the center of His attention.

Abba, thank You for loving us beyond this life. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You. Amen.

Asaph- a prominent Levite singer and seer in David’s court and was the son of Berachiah of the tribe of Levi. (1Chr 6:391Chr 15:171Chr 15:191Chr 16:4-72Chr 29:30). He is the ancestor of the Sons of Asaph, one of the great family guilds of temple musicians.

*Asaph is featured prominently in Chronicles. He is described as the chief of the Levites appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord, and he and his brothers are appointed to sing the songs of thanksgiving to the Lord (1Chr 16:4-7). His description as a seer (2Chr 29:30) also suggests a connection with cultic prophecy. Asaph’s descendants formed an important guild of temple singers in the reconstruction following the exile. In Ezra 2:41 and Neh 7:44, the temple singers are simply referred to as the “sons of Asaph.” It is also an Asaphite, Uzzi, who is established as the overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem during the temple’s reconstruction (Neh 11:22-24). Asaph and the Psalms

Proverbs 23 9-23-19

September 23, 2019

So, you’ve given your life to Christ. Are you now trying to walk in your own cleverness? You have received the Spirit! Listen to Him.

(4) …do not trust your own cleverness.

We need to learn to walk according to the Spirit and His leading rather than according to our own concepts and ideas, opinions and feelings. We have ZERO spiritual discernment, therefore it would be foolish for us to continue in life expecting to live a godly life without consulting God.

(9) Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn the wisdom of your words.

Our arrogant attitude is what got us into a sinful mess in the first place. It is the very thing that needs to change in our lives as followers of Jesus. Humility is the foundation of salvation. When we realize that we cannot please God on our own, that we cannot outwit Satan, and that we cannot even please ourselves, then we will be in a position to accept what the Spirit has to offer.

(12) Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

The more instruction and learning we can get, the more handles the Holy Spirit has for our lives. When we study the Bible, when we read books and watch videos or listen to sermons and interviews, our minds tend to stay on the path of learning. We ponder what we have seen, read and heard, thus allowing the Spirit to interpret for us. When we put our knowledge into a godly perspective, we begin to think like God. We see from His perspective, which is what wisdom is.

Here is what God thinks of us when we are wise:

(15) My child, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; (16) my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

Satan would have us put off any reading of the Bible or taking the time to watch a video. He will try to convince us to play secular music instead of Christian music, or music in general instead of listening to a sermon or interview. He would rather we read the newspaper or play a game than read God’s Word.

So, the question is: Who are we trying to please? Is our happiness first on our list? Or, have we crucified ourselves with Christ on the cross and now live for Him and Him alone? We must ask ourselves this question everyday–sometimes several times a day.

Romans 12:1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The problem with living sacrifices is that we can crawl off the altar. Let’s stay on the altar today, shall we?

Abba, I place myself squarely on the altar right now. When I feel the urge to slide off, please rebuke me, teach me, correct me, and train me in righteousness. I will enjoy our interaction along with the peace, love and joy that come from simply basking in Your presence. I am Yours, Lord. I am following You. Amen.