Kings; Meddling; and a Sluggard

“The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.
It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. ”  Proverbs 20:2-4  (KJB)

The Tongue of the Wise

The Peacemaker Has a Wise Tongue – Proverbs 17:14-20

The verses of these Proverbs warn us of the folly of strife, wickedness, evil, injustice, adversity, and the peril of those who follow that way of living.  I want us to look at the opposite side of these warnings.

Verse 14 –  A dam may start to break with just a pinhole in it, and if it is left untended it becomes a flood of water.  Think of the flooding of the biggest part of New Orleans a few years ago.  Most of the damage was caused by the breaking of the dikes that held back water from the city.  When they broke the breaks got larger until there was no stopping the flow. That is likened to someone loving strife.
The answer to that is when we see the beginning of strife it needs mended.  If it is passed that point then we should probably leave it alone and walk away.

Verse 15 –  As God’s children we should always honor justice, and condemn injustice whenever we see it.  There is a great tendency in this 21st century to vilify the righteous, and justify wickedness.  From this verse we see that that is an abomination to God.  (Isaiah 5:20).

Verse 16 –  Biblically wise people will pay any price for godly wisdom.  If it takes money we will pay it.  If it takes study of God’s Word, then we will study God’s Word; if it takes listening to others, then we will listen to others.  The price we will pay for wisdom is worth it.
For those who have no heart for wisdom he/she will spend their money, time and listening to other things.

Verse 17 –  John Gill says of the first part of this, “A friend loveth at all times,…. A true, hearty, faithful friend, loves in times of adversity as well as in times of prosperity: there are many that are friends to persons, while they are in affluent circumstances; but when there is a change in their condition, and they are stripped of all riches and substance; than their friends forsake them, and stand at a distance from them; as was the case of Job, Job_19:14; it is a very rare thing to find a friend that is a constant lover, such an one as here described;”  SEE Proverbs 18:24; 27:10;  Ruth 1:16;  Job 6:14.

I am thankful for the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.  His name is Jesus.

Verse 18 –  A true friend would not ask a friend to be “surety” on a debt; at least in my mind.  Why would a friend want to make a friend do a foolish thing.  The proverb author says this is only the act of “A man void of understanding”.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary states, “17:18  This verse modifies the previous one by showing that love should not be without discernment. It would be a case of bad judgment to agree to guarantee a friend’s debts in the event that he should default. Any man who needs a surety is a bad credit risk. Why be surety for a bad credit risk?”

Verses 19-20 –  This verse takes us back to verse 14.  Transgression is the treasure of one who loves strife.  The obedient and humble hate transgression as well as strife.
The froward heart is as the one who loves transgression, and finds no good.  The heart of a man or woman who loves God not only will find good, but also be the source of good to others; even those who do not seek it.

Dry Morsels and Sacrifices

We put dry crackers in soup.  Some of us eat beef jerky occasionally; some maybe more than occasionally.  Dried bread pieces are used with salads and other things at times.  Dry morsels are not all bad.  Sometimes they are good.  Maybe always better than religious people who have homes full of strife.

Hear the words of the Wise…

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren. The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue. Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished. Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince. A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:1-9 (KJV)

For further review and study…

Verse 1 – Many of the sacrificial times in the Old Testament were also times of feasting. There are seven feasts mentioned in OT Scriptures. A dry morsel with peace is better than a house of “feasting” with strife.

“Prov. 17:1 Like 15:17, this proverb asserts that a poor but loving home is better than a home filled with feasting and strife. As the ESV footnote indicates, “feasting” is lit., “sacrifices,” specifically peace offerings; such offerings would provide for a meal including meat—a luxury in ancient times.” From ESV Study Bible

Verse 2 – There are examples of servants who were teachers for sons and daughters of their “master”. Abraham’s servant (Gen 24) is a good example. He goes to find a bride for Isaac. Isaac was not foolish son, but the servant did seek a wife for him. At one time Abraham even asked the LORD to give his inheritance to the servant Eliezer (Gen 15:1-4).

In the Law there is no provision for this; but it must have been a feasible possibility. No wise father would turn the inheritance over to a son who was causing shame to the name of the family; nor to a son who would foolishly squander away the business/inheritance.

Verse 3 – Refining for silver and gold requires fire. When the gold and silver is melted down the impurities of each comes to the surface. The refiner can then take a metal scoop, and skim the surface, removing the impurities. The more the fine metals are refined through the fire the more pure they become.

Why is it when we want to prepare ourselves for a marathon run, a mountain climb, and we suffer to prepare for those things without too much complaining; but let God use adversity (the weights, the climbs, the trials), and we ask, “Why is God doing this to me?” He does know what is best for us; and exactly where we are going. He knows the trail ahead.

It is a great comfort to know that the LORD is the One who tries the hearts of men. Yet that too is sometimes like fire.

Verse 4 – Those people involved in wickedness will often listen to “false lips”; those who give bad, and false witness. It is easier, many times, to believe a lie; than it is to believe the truth.

People who are prone to lying themselves are also more likely to listen to lies, and believe them. This may have more to do with malicious gossip than other things.
Verse 5 – Many times I have probably “Mocked the poor”. If we say things like, “Well some poor people are that way, because they want to be.” Is that not mocking? At least the mockery which the verse speaks of. We are told in this verse that it “Reproaches his Maker”; that is GOD.

Have we ever rejoiced to see someone, some place or city stricken by calamity? Woe be to the one’s who do such things. They shall not be “Unpunished”.

Verse 6 – See Psalm 127:3-4 and 128:6

Verse 7 – A “fool” in the Biblical sense is one who despises God, Godly wisdom and understanding. There are many eloquent, proficient, even thoughtful speakers who are foolish concerning the things of God.

What is worse than a fool who despises God, godliness, and wisdom and understanding; is the “Prince”, future ruler, or ruler who has lying lips.

Verse 8 – Bribery is the idea that is being written of in this passage. The one who has the means to bribe, and will bribe others to his own advantage holds this as though it were a precious gem in his sight. Much greed and selfish things can be accomplished through bribery.

v. 23; 18:16; 19:6; 21:14; Exodus 23:8; Isaiah 1:23; Amos 5:12

Verse 9 – Covering a transgression is an act of love; if the transgression being covered is that of another. Someone who is always bringing up another’s transgression is separating friendships. We can look at Galations 6:1.

The greatest covering, and the greatest sacrifice ever made and given was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The place where Jesus bled and died for the sins of the world.  Believe Him.  Receive Him.

Wisdom Speaks – Christmas Day 170

“An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
A violent man entices his neighbor,
And leads him in a way that is not good.
He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He purses his lips and brings about evil.” Proverbs 16:27-30 (NKJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always be a man of honesty, integrity, and strength in the LORD; and to never sow strife between friends, or enemies, but to seek to bring others together through the love, power, mercy, and grace of our Lord.

Growing Up…Faith

Growing Up in the Faith

“And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Genesis 13:5-9 (KJV).

After their return to the Promised Land from Egypt the LORD blessed Abram and Lot in their herds. The place where they lived had become quite crowded with the livestock. Both have been extremely blessed materially. Their herdmen were at strife with one another due to the close quarters. Part of the crowd was also local natives.

Living by faith or having a maturing or growing faith does not mean one does not sin. It does mean continuing on the journey despite our sins, and at times yielding our rights to others and letting them choose their course in life, even at our expense.

The one who was growing in faith toward maturity gave first choice to the weaker of faith. Remember God’s promise of the land was to Abram, not Lot. Abram gave Lot the first choice in order to cease the strife which was brewing between them and their herdmen. The land was Abram’s by God’s promise, but he chose to go which ever way Lot did not.

We will see in a later chapter of Genesis what is emphasized throughout all of the Scriptures; “Abraham believed God” (15:6; Hebrews 11:8-10). Believing God is more than believing in God. The former is an abiding trust and dependence upon; the latter is only a knowledge of existence. You know that airplane to exist, but there is no trust extended to it until you get on board and fly away. To believe God is to get on board. Abraham’s faith was so extensive that he believed if Lot chose the most fertile land, then the land he himself would receive would be blessed by God. He believed it better to be in the desert with God, than in the fertile lands without Him. That is a Growing Up…Faith.