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Proverbs 14: Two Roads (2)

Monday, April 05, 2021

Bible Recall: POINTS IN PROVERBS

PROVERBS 14 – THE ROAD TO DEATH or THE REFUGE IN DEATH? (2)

KEY PASSAGES:

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Proverbs 14:32, “The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death.”

As noted in the previous lesson, the contrasts are pronounced in this chapter! They underscore two different people who are on two very different roads leading to two very different destinations. Let’s continue to highlight a section of this chapter.

THE SIMPLE OR THE PRUDENT (Prov. 14:15-19)?

  1. There is on the one hand a simple-minded fool. He believes every word (14:15). There is a danger in both unbelief and belief! It is not “just believe!” but rather, “believe the truth!” (see Jn. 8:31, 32).
    1. The irony is that the simple-minded believe every word because they have little regard for THE WORD and true knowledge. They love simplicity to the point that they hate knowledge and the demands of (Prov. 1:21).
    2. Proverbs has wisdom calling out to the simple one to gain a heart of wisdom (Prov. 8:5). Yet, knowledge is key to having wisdom. Anyone who downplays knowledge lies under the condemnation of the gullible and cannot progress to living a fruitful life for Christ regardless of how much passion burns within (2 Pet. 1:3, 5-11; 3:18; Rom. 10:2, 3).
    3. Question: What kind of women are made captives in 2 Tim. 3:6, 7? Identify certain traits that underscore their status before God? __________________________________________________
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    4. Solomon continues to show this fool’s pathway as one who rages with self-confidence (14:16). Identify our confidence in Proverbs 3:26 and how this is so? Read these passages for answers: Num. 14:8; Psa. 20:7; 23:4; 46:1-5; Jn. 17:11; Phil. 4:7; 2 Thess. 3:1-5.
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    5. Self-confidence versus confidence in God. Ten verses later Solomon affirmed that “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge” (14:26). Paul attributed his boldness of speech to his hope (2 Cor. 3:12). Our hope is tied to the faith which is the revealed word of God (Rom. 5:1, 2; 10:7).
      1. Should ministers of Christ have great confidence in the things they teach out of the knowledge of God? _____________________________________________________________
      2. Should ministers have great fear for teaching things that transgress the knowledge of God (2 Jn. 9-11)? _____________________________________________________
      3. How did Paul teach the things concerning Jesus? Acts 28:31, “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all ____________, no one forbidding him.” In reality, the simple will inherit folly (Prov. 14:18).
  2. On the other hand, Solomon speaks of the prudent one in contrast to the simple-minded (14:15, 18). Rather than simply believing anything, he considers well his steps.
    1. He knows these steps lead to a destination. He desires the pathway that is lit by the word of God (see Psa. 119:104, 105).
    2. He considers his steps knowing when to conceal knowledge (Prov. 12:23). He doesn’t blurt all that he may know. Unlike the fool who lays open his folly for all to see his error, the prudent man acts with prudence out of knowledge (Prov. 13:16). These two verses show us that there is a time to conceal and a time to act. How might these Proverbs apply regarding this?
      1. Proverbs 10:19? _____________________________________________________________________
      2. Proverbs 11:13? _____________________________________________________________________
      3. Proverbs 26:4, 5?­­____________________________________________________________________

Conclusion:
How important is knowledge to the righteous man? Knowledge is his friend and mentor. By it, he is wise to depart from evil, and through it, he fears the Lord (Pr. 14:16). He will study to know God’s will; he has no confidence in his own thoughts. Unlike the fool who rages on with self-confidence, he will align himself with what God has written and depart from evil.

Solomon looks at knowledge as a crown that the prudent are rewarded with (14:18). In the end, the wicked will bow before the righteous.

“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).

—Steven J. Wallace

99.9% Effort

Saturday, February 20, 2021

“99.9% Effort”

Jarrod M. Jacobs

When we spend time reading and studying Scripture, we have to be impressed with the fact that God wants our “all” — 100% dedicated effort to Him (Rom. 12:1-2)! We see this when we read that those in Smyrna were promised the crown of life if they would be “faithful unto death” (Rev. 2:10). When writing to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul told them to, “Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58). In both verses, we see emphasis placed upon giving God our all as His children.

 

            Yet, what if we give less than our all? How will that affect us spiritually? Perhaps instead of 100%, we are tempted to offer 80% or 90%? What if someone is very ambitious and says, “I’ll give 99.9% to God, but not the full 100%.”? Would this be acceptable? Below is a listing I found that catalogs how our lives would be affected if men settled for 99.9%[1]. Please read the following, and then you figure out if 99.9% is “good enough.” If men settle for 99.9% in their efforts in society .....

·       Twelve newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.

 

·       114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped each year.

 

·       18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled every hour.

 

·       Two million documents will be lost by the IRS this year.

 

·       2.5 million books will be shipped with the wrong covers.

 

·       Two planes landing at Chicago’s O’Hare airport will have unsafe landings every day.

 

·       315 entries in Webster’s Dictionary will be misspelled.

 

·       20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written this year.

 

·       880,000 credit cards in circulation will turn out to have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.

 

·       103,260 income tax returns will be processed incorrectly during the year.

 

·       5.5 million cases of soft drinks produced will be flat.

 

·       291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly.

 

·       3,056 copies of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal will be missing one of the three sections.

 

            Facts like the above are unacceptable in modern life, aren’t they? 99.9% effort is not enough in business, transportation, medical care, or anywhere else, is it? If we can appreciate these facts in our earth-life, how much more then should we see the need for expending 100% effort in our spiritual lives?

 

            Read the following verses, and see what they have in common:

·       Revelation 22:14

·       Matthew 7:21

·       Hebrews 5:8-9

·       II Corinthians 5:14-15

            What do these passages have in common? Put simply, none of these passages allow for partial commitment or half-hearted effort! After all Christ has done for us, how can we do any less? Indeed, He gave His all for us. He loves us whole-heartedly and has sacrificed to the greatest degree. Friend, are you giving 100% to the Lord? If not, why not?

“Pardoning the Wicked and Overthrowing the Righteous”

Monday, February 15, 2021

“Pardoning the Wicked and Overthrowing the Righteous”

“It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment” (Proverbs 18:5).

We have just completed a season of the year that begins in late November and runs through about January 20.  Not the holiday season, not winter, not ski season, but the season of presidential pardons, which comes about every 4 years.  There is no doubt that this action has been abused over the years, with Presidents showing favoritism and dubious judgment. 

There have been some notorious individuals and notable names on the list of presidential pardons, such as George Steinbrenner and Brigham Young.  But the purpose of this article is not to debate the merits of any specific presidential pardon, because none of these pardons, however egregious some of them may be, compares with the most outrageous pardon in history.  That pardon was not granted by an American president but instead by a Roman governor. And it did not take place in America in the last few years but in Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago.  As the writers of the Gospel note, at the time of the Passover, the Roman governor at the time, Pontius Pilate, would grant clemency to a Jewish man slated for execution.  Matthew records this for us in Matt. 27:15-26.  In this case, Pilate gave the people two choices. One was named Barabbas, who was in prison with insurrectionists and had committed murder in the uprising against Rome. The other was Jesus Christ.  We are going to see that, once again, we have a pardon that is made as a totally political decision, whatever would gain favor with the people.  On the one hand, we have a prisoner who Matthew referred to as a “notorious” prisoner, John calls him a “robber” in John 18, Mark 15 refers to him as a rebellious insurrectionist and Luke in his 23rd chapter mentions that he is a “murderer.”   On the other hand we have the innocent son of God, who never committed a single sin.  The crowd called for Barabbas to go free and for Jesus to be crucified. And so it was that Barabbas was pardoned and the innocent Son of God died in place of a murderer – the most outrageous and horrific pardon in history.

However, the story continues, for on that day, when the most cowardly and reprehensible pardon was ever made, we have the beginning of events that would provide for the ultimate and greatest pardon ever to be offered.  And it was God Himself, our Creator, our Ruler and King, who will issue this pardon.  And since it is from the judgment and will of God, there will be no politics, no partisanship, no favoritism in this pardon - it is for all.  After the unfair and illegal trial of Jesus, after His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, His disciples go forth throughout the world and reveal this pardon to all of mankind.  This pardon is not offered to one individual, or a select few, but to all men.  It is offered to Saul of Tarsus, despite his being the zealous murderer of Christians.  It is offered to Pilate, despite his sinful and cowardly actions.  It is offered to the Roman soldiers, about whom Jesus said: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34).  The pardon is offered to Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler and every evil man who ever lived.  If it is not, then Paul was in error when he told Timothy that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).  And that pardon is offered to you and me, despite every evil thing we have ever done.  And we can be assured that God knows every single one of them, including the ones we try to hide.  That’s why we need a pardon, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  This pardon is not for political or selfish reasons, but because God loves us.  Rom. 5:6-11.  Our pardon was secured at the expense of the crucifixion of God’s own Son. 

But you must receive that pardon for it to be effective.  Of all the names of men previously mentioned in this article, only Saul of Tarsus received the pardon as offered.  Why?  Because unlike what many religious teachers will tell you, it is not unconditional.  We must comply with the conditions set forth to receive the pardon. 

The world understands this.  All of us understand the logic, reasoning, and conditions surrounding a pardon for a crime. George Wilson was convicted of robbery and was pardoned by President Andrew Jackson.  He refused the pardon.  His refusal created an uproar.  It was debated, even going into our nation’s court system, as to whether or not a presidential pardon could be forced upon someone.  It went all the way to the Supreme court.  They ruled: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him."  Our supreme court understands that a pardon cannot be forced upon someone but must be accepted.  George Wilson refused the pardon, so they hung him.  That was not a smart move on his part.   

President Lincoln’s intentions were to pardon confederate leaders, but he was assassinated.  Over the next several months President Andrew Johnson waffled on the issue but eventually offered pardons to confederate leaders if they would comply with certain conditions.  Confederate leader Jefferson Davis said, “It has been said that I should apply to the United States for a pardon, but repentance must precede the right of pardon, and I have not repented.”  So he did not receive the pardon.  (Nothing much happened to him, there was a small group of Americans who wanted Confederate leaders tried for treason, but most of the war-weary nation just wanted to go home and get on with their lives). 

This line of reasoning, that conditions must be complied with before a pardon is received, is common sense to us.  But we throw that reasoning out the window when applying it to religion.  False teachers tell us that there are no conditions to be met, simply accept Christ as your personal savior.  Other false doctrines teach that some men are simply “chosen” or “predestined” to be saved while others are eternally lost, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  But God’s word indicates otherwise, and the law of pardon from God is the same as the standard as a presidential pardon, one must accept and comply with the conditions of the pardon in order to receive it.    Let us humble ourselves and accept God’s terms for pardon.  This means believing He died for your sins and rose from the dead. This means confessing Jesus as the son of God.  Rm 10:9-10.  This means acknowledging your sin and changing your life, making God the ruler of your life, asking for forgiveness, and being baptized, immersed to be raised a new creature.  Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16.  I urge you to receive that pardon while it remains available. Do not be defiant like George Wilson, nor as prideful as Jefferson Davis, because for you, one day, the offer of pardon will expire. 

We have offered to us the greatest pardon that has been or ever will be offered, because the penalty we bear was paid by the life, the blood, of our savior Jesus Christ.  That is the incredible mercy of God.  Before the mob stood the sinless Creator of mankind in the meekness of a sacrificial lamb.  The choice was simple, Barabbas or Jesus, and in their worldliness the mob chose a robber and murderer over the Son of God.  We can say that we would never be like that mob before Pilate, or prideful like Jefferson Davis or defiant like George Wilson, but in actuality we sometimes are.  Jesus stands before us saying “Take My yoke upon you … for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” and every time we reject that offer of pardon and instead answer Pilate’s question by choosing Barabbas, which we do by choosing the pleasures of this life over Christ, we reject the most precious pardon that has ever been offered.  As the Psalmist said in the 42 Psalm, “How long will you love what is worthless”?  Instead, won’t you humble yourself and accept God’s terms of pardon?

--Jim Hammock (Lubbock, TX)

Proverbs 14: Two Roads (1)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Bible Recall: POINTS IN PROVERBS

PROVERBS 14 – THE ROAD TO DEATH or THE REFUGE IN DEATH? (1)

KEY PASSAGES:

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Proverbs 14:32, “The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death.”

The contrasts are pronounced in this chapter! They underscore two different people who are on two very different roads leading to two very different destinations. Let’s observe several:

  1. BUILDING OR PULLING DOWN (Prov. 14:1)?
     
  1. Solomon begins by contrasting two women. One is wise. The other is foolish. One builds her house up. The other tears her house down with her hands. This is a deliberate action with no middle ground. One is either building or tearing down. Even the neglect of duty is a destructive deliberate act (Jud. 5:23; Matt. 7:26; Lk. 12:47; Jas. 2:14; 4:17).
  2.  This is good practical advice for women today where domestic duties are often shirked, scoffed at, or completely ignored. Houses are also destroyed by unfaithfulness and pride.
  3. Identify some constructive duties (and destructive behaviors) addressed to women from Titus 2:3-5. __________________________________________________________________________________
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

     
  1.  PERVERSE OR PRESERVE (Prov. 14:2, 3)?

The one walking to death is the one who doesn’t practice what he preaches. The upright fears the Lord while wicked is perverse. The fool speaks from pride, but the message of the wise preserve. It does matter how we “walk” and “talk” (2 Cor. 8:7; Col. 4:6; Titus 2:6-10).

  1. EMPTINESS DOES NOT YIELD INCREASE (Prov. 14:4)!

Where the feeding trough is clean, empty, or unused, it only proves inactivity—no oxen are working. Oxen eat a lot, but they also bring great increase through their great strength. The point is the road to increase is never found on the road of ease (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).

  1. FAITHFUL OR FALSE (Prov. 14:5)?

A faithful witness will not change his testimony or be persuaded to cover up what he saw. However, a false witness will conceal the truth or lead others to reach false conclusions. A false witness will not find refuge in his death.

To circulate a false report is to join hands with who (Exod. 23:1)? _____________________________

What is mentioned as an abomination to the Lord in Proverbs 6:19? __________________________
What is a false witness described as in Proverbs 25:18? ________________________________________

Describe the pain of confidence wrongly placed (Prov. 25:19). _________________________________

 

  1. WISDOM OF THE PRUDENT OR THE FOLLY OF FOOLS (Prov. 14:6-9)?

The scoffer seeks wisdom and yet never finds it. Why does he not find it? Solomon previously taught that scoffers delight in their scorning (Prov. 1:22). We also have learned that a scoffer cannot be corrected (Prov. 9:7, 8; 13:1). Next, we read that fools “mock” (scoff) at sin (14:9). They make light of sin and therefore make light of the one who judges sin. It is no wonder that such a person cannot find understanding. God gives wisdom to the humble and the spirit of a man must desire to “do” God’s will in order to know and understand it.

Fill in the Blanks:

"If anyone ____________ to ____________ His will, he ____________ ____________ ____________ the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” (Jn. 7:17).

This explains why some are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7). Scoffers choose to forget understood and obvious truths (2 Pet. 3:3-6).

  1. THE HOUSE OF THE WICKED VERSUS THE TENT OF THE UPRIGHT (Prov. 14:10-14)!

THE HOUSE OF THE WICKED

THE TENT OF THE RIGHTEOUS

  • A house
  • Looks solid and fixed
  • Overthrown (exterminated)
  • Filled with his own ways
  • A tent
  • Temporary, a sojourner
  • Flourishes (buds and sprouts)
  • Satisfied from what is above

Although the fool mocks at sin, it doesn’t mean his heart is without bitterness (v. 10). He may express laughter and at the same time have sorrow (v. 13). Insecurities can exist within although he doesn’t reveal them. In contrast, the tent of the righteous may not look like much, but he dwells in confidence and with the satisfaction from what is above (Col. 3:1, 2; Heb. 11:13).

Conclusion:
The pathway of death is filled with wrong thinking. The refuge in death is founded on right understanding from the Rock, the Son of the Living God, who came from above so that we can one day live with Him.

—Steven J. Wallace

Zeal & Knowledge

Friday, September 11, 2020

Zeal and knowledge are two qualities that some pit in opposition to each other, but in reality, Christians are to have both. On the one hand, the church in Laodicea was lukewarm, neither cold nor hot (Rev. 3:14-16). They thought they had everything they needed in life but were wrong (v. 17), so Jesus told them to "be zealous and repent" (vv. 18-19, NKJV). Without zeal to do God's will, anything else about them was meaningless.

On the other hand, the apostle Paul shows the need for knowledge. Because of his misdirected zeal, he said, "I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts 26:9). He wrote to the Romans in chapter 10 how Israel suffered a similar problem. "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge" (v. 2). This was insufficient. "For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God" (v. 3).

Where do you find yourself in relation to God? May we all be zealous FOR the knowledge of the truth, "for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).

--Nick Wallace

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