Wisdom’s Voice

Wisdom’s Voice – Proverbs 1:20 – 33

Verses 20 –  The Voice of Wisdom.  Matthew Henry in the commentary has written,

“I. By whom God calls to us—by wisdom. It is wisdom that crieth without. The word is plural—wisdoms, for, as there is infinite wisdom in God, so there is the manifold wisdom of God, Eph. 3:10. God speaks to the children of men by all the kinds of wisdom, and, as in every will, so in every word, of God there is a counsel. 1. Human understanding is wisdom, the light and law of nature, the powers and faculties of reason, and the office of conscience, Job 38:36. By these God speaks to the children of men, and reasons with them. The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord; and, wherever men go, they may hear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way; and the voice of conscience is the voice of God, and not always a still small voice, but sometimes it cries. 2. Civil government is wisdom; it is God’s ordinance; magistrates are his vicegerents [viceregents?]. God by David had said to the fools, Deal not foolishly, Ps. 75:4. In the opening of the gates, and in the places of concourse, where courts were kept, the judges, the wisdom of the nation, called to wicked people, in God’s name, to repent and reform. 3. Divine revelation is wisdom; all its dictates, all its laws, are wise as wisdom itself. God does, by the written word, by the law of Moses, which sets before us the blessing and the curse, by the priests’ lips which keep knowledge, by his servants the prophets, and all the ministers of this word, declare his mind to sinners, and give them warning as plainly as that which is proclaimed in the streets or courts of judicature by the criers. God, in his word, not only opens the case, but argues it with the children of men. Come, now, and let us reason together, Isa. 1:18. 4. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he is the centre of all divine revelation, not only the essential Wisdom, but the eternal Word, by whom God speaks to us and to whom he has committed all judgment; he it is therefore who here both pleads with sinners and passes sentence on them. He calls himself Wisdom, Lu. 7:35.”  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY (From the Libronix Digital Library System)

Verses 21-23 –  The Places Wisdom speaks.  Alexander MacLaren wrote many years ago,

“The call of Wisdom in this passage begins with remonstrance and plain speech, giving their right names to men who neglect her voice. The first step in delivering men from evil-that is, from foolish-courses is to put very clearly before them the true character of their acts, and still more of their inclinations. Gracious offers and rich promises come after; but the initial message of Wisdom to such men as we are must be the accusation of folly. ‘When she is come, she will convict the world of sin.’

The three designations of men in Pro_1:22 are probably arranged so as to make a climax. First come ‘the simple,’ or, as the word means, ‘open.’ There is a sancta simplicitas, a holy ignorance of evil, which is sister to the highest wisdom. It is well to be ignorant as well as ‘innocent of much transgression’; and there is no more mistaken and usually insincere excuse for going into foul places than the plea that it is best to know the evil and so choose the good. That knowledge comes surely and soon enough without our seeking it. But there is a fatal simplicity, open-eared, like Eve, to the Tempter’s whisper, which believes the false promises of sin, and as Bunyan has taught us, is companion of sloth and presumption.”  (e-Sword edition)

Verses 24-33 –  The cries to which Wisdom listens.  John Gill, an associate of Charles H. Spurgeon wrote,

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them,…. Or be the cause of their being slain; even their turning away from Christ, their aversion to him; their turning their backs on him, and a deaf ear to him; their turning away from his Gospel, and putting it from them, thereby judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life: in all which they showed themselves to be the “simple” and “foolish” persons they were; and for which wrath and ruin came upon them, and they were slain with the sword and famine, and by one another. Some render it, as Aben Ezra, “the rest” or “quietness of the simple” (k), &c. taking up their rest in themselves, and in their observance of ceremonies and traditions; and crying Peace, peace, when sudden destruction was at hand: or a stubborn hardened rest in sin, a seared conscience; having no sense of guilt, nor fear of punishment; living in carnal security till death should seize upon them;

and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them; that is, the abuse of it; leading them to commit sins, which bring destruction upon them; or, seeing sinners live with impunity, and prosper in the world, take encouragement from thence to indulge themselves in sin, which is their ruin; or, being in prosperity, think it will always be well with them, and therefore put away the evil day far from them, which comes upon them at an unawares; which was the case of the Jews.” (e-Sword edition)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Agur’s Wisdom

“There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.” Proverbs 30:11-14 (KJV)

There is much for our generation; this generation to learn from all the Proverbs Solomon as put together for us in this wonderful instruction book.  When we are young words of wisdom, neither instruction seem to quite be what we want to hear.  They are necessary, and as we get older we will appreciate them more.  Some will even begin applying them and all of Scripture to their daily living.

We will begin doing so when the Lord Jesus has become Lord of our lives, and He changes our desires into His desires; when He gives us His heart.

Some thoughts from Proverbs 30…

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh”. It is not known who Agur is. There is no other reference to this name in Scripture. Some have thought it to be reference to Solomon, as a nickname; but seems unlikely. There are some who believe that Agur was a court counselor to Solomon. Agur does begin the wisdom a bit differently than the other writings.

1. “The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.” from ESV verse 1. It seems more likely that Agur is addressing pupils he might be teaching with the names of Ithiel and Ucal.
Agur seems also to be a man of humilty, note; “Surely I am more brutish [stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (v. 2-3).

2. Note the wisdom of his theology (v. 4). The obvious answers to these questions can only be “God”. Now look at his beliefs concerning Scripture (vv. 5-6); 1) It is pure; 2) God is a shield; 3) To add to the word of God makes one out a liar.

3. Agur asks for two things (vv. 7-9); 1) Give me neither poverty, nor riches; 2) Provide what I need to live.

4. The matter of slander is addressed in verse 10. See Psalms 15:3 & 101:5 “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report” Dictionary.com

5. There are four types of evil characters in verses 11 – 14; 1) Those who do not respect their parents; 2) Those who are immoral, but refuse to acknowledge it; 3) Those who are arrogant; and 4) Those who take advantage of the poor, and enslave them. “There is a generation…”

6. There are five things in fours which are lessons wisdom can teach us. Verses 15-17 tells us of things which have unquenchable thirst or hunger, that cannot be satisfied. Verses 18-20 tells us of things that are mysterious and wonderful; with a warning in verse 20. Verses 21-23 four things that are out of place, and unnatural. Verses 24-28 tell us of four tiny creatures who are prepared for life and living. Verses 29-31 tells us four things which have honor, and are without shame.

7. Verses 32 – 33 deal with those who involve themselves in everything of others; have a comment about others situation, and find themselves with bloody noses; or worse.

Be wise today and turn to the One who loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for you that you might have everlasting life (John 3:15-18).

Israel – A Reminder for this New Year

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV)

With the recent UN resolution against the nation of Israel, and our leaders response against Israel by abstention from voting, and refusing to veto the action of the world court our nation has placed itself in great jeopardy.

I realize there are Palestinian Christians, and I realize there are people on the opposing side of Israel who may be peaceful; but the objection of Palestinian leaders is not a two state solution, but the destruction of Israel and then a one State solution.

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as did David millenniums ago…

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” Psalm 122:6-9

 

Day 13 – The Curse of the Tree

In reading Deuteronomy 15 – 28 today I came across these familiar verses,

 “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

To hang a man on a tree was a form of what we call “capital punishment”; an offense worthy of death.  A penalty that today is frowned on by many.  The arguments go something like this; “It doesn’t make sense to kill one human being because they killed one.”  or maybe “Violence begetteth violence.”  Some might even say “The death penalty is not for a cultured, modern, educated people.”

When we, however, consider the Word of God and His commands for the death penalty and why we can have no legitimate argument against God for this divine punishment.  God says every human being is made in His image.  There is not one who is more or less in the image of God.  For one to take a human life maliciously, with hatred, and forethought is murder; and God says this requires “Life for life”.  If the murderer is allowed to live it broadcast to the community that this life is of more value than the life that was maliciously taken.

Of course, there is also the requirement of evidence of guilt.  A murderer can only be found guilty by the testimony of at least two witnesses.  We read these things in the reading of God’s laws; as recapped in Deuteronomy, and previously in Exodus and Leviticus.

One of the things we learn from this is that each human life is valuable.  None less and none more so than another.

Now, back to “The curse of the tree”.  This verse is even mentioned in the New Testament from Paul’s epistle to the Galations;

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:'” Galations 3:13

We are all guilty of offending God, His holiness, His righteousness, and His law.  We are guilty and worthy of death.  We are just as cursed as the man who hangs on a tree.  We read, however, that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”  When Jesus Christ died on that cross [the tree] he became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and because He became the curse of sin for us; we were given His righteousness, thus we now have access to the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

Through His burial the guilt and condemnation of sin was carried away; and by His resurrection He bodily arose victorious over death’s condemnation and overcame the curse of the tree.

Blessed be the name of the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Noah The Farmer; The Vineyard and the Wine

Noah The Farmer; The Vineyard, and His Wine

Anyone who would approach the study of beverage alcohol from a Biblical perspective, and would say that alcoholic beverage is not even referred to would be naive at the least and deceptive at the most. I am not going to approach it from either perspective. There is alcoholic wine in the Bible, and it was abused by godly people. Was it ever used properly? That may be an answer we will get to sometime later in these studies, conclusions, or essays.

The title suggest something to us of Noah. Noah of the ark, who built the ark designed by God. Noah; who found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah; who “walked with God”. Noah; who was used by God to save humankind from destruction.

In this post and future ones I make it no secret, my agenda is to try and persuade Christians against the use of beverage alcohol. This first post gives us a Bible example of the folly of drinking alcohol.

Hear the example of Noah from God’s Word:

“And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.” Genesis 9:20 (NKJV).

Let me say here that there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with grapes and grape juice. Vineyards produce grapes, and with some effort from men, they will produce grape juice; and then, with some aging the juice will ferment and become alcoholic naturally with its sugars.

Drunkenness is clearly rebuked, and condemned by Scripture. Noah sinned by his drunkenness. Did he know that this fruit of the vine had become alcoholic, and lead to becoming drunk? Quite possibly. We learn from Noah, that even the best of juices need to be drank in moderation. Even water should be drank in moderation. The reason I bring that up is; just a several months ago, in 2007, a woman in the State of California, entered a contest seeing who could drink the most water the quickest, she won, and she died. The autopsy said she died of “Water intoxication”. Even with this though there was no harm that came to others.

In Noah’s case harm did come to others. He brought shame on His family. He brought a curse upon his grandson, and his heirs. Noah brought shame to himself.

“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.” Genesis 9:21-23 (NKJV).

Surely you can see by Noah’s drunkenness, that if you never take up the habit of drinking the wine [any beverage alcohol] you will never get drunk. You will not bring this embarrassment into your family. You will not get in a car and harm other people on the highways, and roads of our land. You will not bring shame to your name, at least in this fashion.

There are many physicians which tell us that there are medicinal qualities in wine, and more in certain kinds of wine. One of my own doctors, after he had told me that my good cholesterol number was too low, and I asked him how to improve it told me, “Drinking a little wine would be one place to start”. For me that was completely out of the picture. I have heard the studies, which have told us that the pure fruit of the vine is just as good for those benefits, and I enjoy my daily glass of red grape juice. Grapejuice does have all the medicinal qualities that wine does. There is scientific evidence which proves it. And the juice does it without alcohol. There are no health qualities in beverage alcohol. That is no excuse for drinking, and taking the chance of getting drunk. The only medicinal use I could think of for alcohol is for cuts and bruises, and maybe for dulling of the senses when a minor surgery or something would be done without any other anesthetic available.

Look what happened to Noah; sure he had every right to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He evidently had purposely made the wine; then he proceeded to drink the wine and very much over did himself, and became drunkened by the alcohol, then he did something he would not in his normal state of mind done. He uncovered himself openly in his tent. The thing about the drinking of anything alcoholic is that you never know how much it will take to cause you to lose your moral decision making process. How can a Christian in a society which is driven by alcohol stand in their church, or any Christian setting and argue and defend the drinking of beverage alcohol? I say “society which is driven by alcohol” because when a news channel for two years in a row on “Derby Day” gives a recipe on the making of a “mint Julip” or something like that – which is a purly strong alcoholic drink – and they live as though it is just a dream drinking the beverages; it is surely a society driven by alcohol. Many of the commercials on television and in Newspapers, and magazines are from the alcohol industry.

Noah did not have the pressure of society to cause him to drink to drunkenness; and preachers today scream legalism when other preachers, teachers or myself tell us it is a matter of calling to righteous and holy living and protecting the name of Christ. The more the preachers speak of silence from the Scriptures concerning beverage alcohol, the more the numbers of alcoholics and drunks will increase. Whether we want to accept it or not, our silence is our approval. Your people, old and the young especially, are waiting to hear from you. Give them the facts, give them the pictures, give them the warnings from God’s Word, and trust God to work. If you are God’s man in the pulpit you have that responsibility. If you don’t you may start finding your people’s moral compasses failing; or even your own.

I pray this will make you think before you drink. You may not be able to think afterwards.

-Tim A. Blankenship