Wise Saying #30


keep-calm-and-fear-god-

Wise Saying #30:

“My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster from them will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?” (24:21-22)

In a time ever increasing political deadlock, increasing governmental encroachment and arrogant politicians here is valuable wisdom from heaven. The noblest of people will consider it and adjust their lives accordingly. As we close out our look at the Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman we end with the often repeated admonishment, “fear God” (cf. Deuteronomy 6:2; Proverbs 1:7; 23:17; Ecclesiastes 12:13). However, in today’s saying, the Wiseman joins our reverence for the Lord with honor for “the king.” The first admonition seems so easy for believers, the second not so much. Nevertheless, as the apostles Paul and Peter so clearly explain, in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17, governing authorities are God’s earthly representatives, instituted to punish evil. Therefore, the “fear of the Lord” demands fear, or reverence, of the king and the government he represents. Thus, wisdom states that we do not “join with those” who promote disdain toward, not only God, but also our leaders and government since this sort of person will suffer “disaster” and “ruin” since they resist not only man, but ultimately God (cf. Romans 13:2). So today friends, by faith, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:17).

This is the last post in the Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman series.

It’s my prayer that this series of short devotionals encouraged you to press on in the faith. Soon, I’m planning on having them together in one document but only after a thorough editing. Also, if you are interested these same post over on my Spanish blog compartiendolasbuenasnuevas.wordpress.com where my good friend Don Elliot does the translating. May all we do be to His glory and honor. ~Clay

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Wise Saying #29


angry woman2

Wise Saying #29:

“Do not be angered by evildoers, and do not be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” [i] (24:19-20)

Does it ever make you fuming mad that the lives of sinners seem so easy-going and fun as compared to your morally austere existence? Have you ever wished your life could be as carefree as theirs? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then welcome to the Christian race. The Wiseman warns us against the common, and especially alluring, temptation of envying sinners. So powerful is this enticement, he warns against it three other times (cf. 3:31; 23:17-18; 24:1; see also Sayings #14 and #19). Twice David and Aspah muse about the topic (Psalms 37, 73). And bringing it closer to home, in the old standard Farther Along, we lyrically wonder ourselves why the faithful have it so hard while the wicked live in such prosperous ease[ii]. Burning with envy over the evildoer’s success is foolishness, since God has ordained that their prosperity and ease is but temporary. Sinners have no future seeing as, “They will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:1).  So today, allow God to deal with the wicked and let’s, “Delight [ourselves] in the Lord and He will give [us] the desires of [our] hearts” (37:4).

This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman

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[i] Nearly all English translations begin verse 19 with the word “fret.” So, for example, the ESV says, “Fret not…” When I think about the word “fret” I think anxiety or worry. However, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs the Hebrew here means to “to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled.” Therefore, the Wiseman is not saying don’t worry about the wicked but don’t become angry over the wicked and their prosperous, and/or carefree lifestyle. (The life of the wicked must seem good or fun in order to be an object of envy.) The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates this verse, “Don’t be agitated…” I have taken the liberty to translate my own version of this verse in an attempt to capture what I believe the Wiseman intended to say.

[ii] The first verse says, “Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder, Why it should be thus all the day long, While there are others living about us, Never molested tho’ in the wrong.” The chorus states that while our lot in life may seem unfair now, “Farther along we’ll know all about it, Farther along we’ll understand why.” So then we are admonished to, “Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine, We’ll understand it all by and by.” Another verse adds, “Toils of the road will then seem as nothing, As we sweep thro’ the beautiful gate.” This hymn is an old standard in many churches in the South.

 

Wise Saying #28


Love Enemy Neighbor

Wise Saying #28:

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” (24:17-18)

Do you ever hope bad things will happen to your enemies? Or, have you ever felt a cathartic satisfaction when they “Get what they deserved”? If you answered yes to either of the questions then know this, God watches how you treat your enemies (even in your heart), especially when they fall into calamity. The kindness God requires us to show those who hate us extends to all facets of life (cf. 25:21-22; Luke 27-36). Following the promise in Saying #27 that the wicked will fall, the Wiseman now counsels us to not gloat over their punishment. The Lord finds such jubilant rejoicing so repulsive that he would rather turn away from his retribution than to look at your abhorrent gloating. Remember, in God’s economy, reveling over the disaster visited on the immoral is just as wicked as the evil they inflict on the righteous. Therefore the scriptures say, “He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished” (17:5). I realize this is a hard test of character; our natural inclination is to hate our enemies and celebrate their demise but let’s embrace the Wiseman’s challenge. So, rather than nursing malignant revenge, let’s cultivate lives that reflect the heart of God who takes no pleasure in the disasters that befall the wicked (cf. Ezekiel 33:11). Rather, let us resolve to do good to them always, to pray for them continually and to overcome their evil with good (Romans 12:18-21).

This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman

Wise Saying #27


Can Christians Pray To Jesus?

Wise Saying #27:

“Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” (24:15-16)

In today’s saying, the Wiseman instructs us to not imitate the “wicked” that viciously conspire against the righteous. His prohibition rest on the fact that, the wicked will fall in their day of calamity but the righteous will be saved time and time again. Therefore, Christian brother and sister, is there any reason for you to fret or worry about your circumstances? Though you may fall seven times to the blows of the wicked, if you’re walking uprightly, the blessed Lord will hold your hand and deliver you from all your afflictions and troubles (ref. Psalm 34:19; 37:23-24; 71:20). Remember friends, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). So take heart put your trust in the God of your salvation and He will lift you up in His time. “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:20).

This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman

Wise Saying #26


honeycomb-to-the-soul-is-gracious-words

Wise Saying #26:

“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (24:13-14) 

This is not a command to eat honey, instead, the Wiseman is encouraging us to seek the benefits and sweetness of wisdom’s rewards. Just as honey is beneficially “good” for the body and delightfully “sweet” to the taste buds, so wisdom is invigorating and satisfying to the soul that feeds on it; in turn fostering a “future” and a secure “hope.” Do you want to experience the sweet exhilaration and pleasure of wisdom? Then get into God’s word, the source of all wisdom. It was David who exclaimed, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103; cf. 19:7-11). So today, open up God’s word, delve into its pages and “taste and see” that indeed the Lord’s word is good for the soul. You won’t regret it!

This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman

Wise Saying #25


Take My Hand I'll Save You

Wise Saying #25:

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (24:11-12)

We cannot hide from our duty to “Love our neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39). In light of our moral responsibilities toward others, God expects us to help and protect those who are in danger. With today’s saying, the Wiseman further expands the call of Saying #24 to act with strength in times of adversity. Rather than narrowing down his admonition to exact situations, the Wiseman uses an a fortiori argumentation, meaning, the greater includes the lesser. So, if we would deliver someone from “death” and “the slaughter,” how much more then should we act in lesser crises? (Honestly I think this is where we fail the most. We would save someone from a burning car, but callously ignore someone in a sin-filled, messed up life.)

So, in whatever circumstance we see someone in danger, whether it is physical or spiritual in nature, we must show our mettle and intervene to save a life and a soul. God will not excuse us for our cowardice lack of moral courage to do the right thing. If we turn a blind eye to the plight of others, the omniscient and omnipotent God will turn a blind eye to us in our distress. But, if we help others our blessed God will help us. May the Father above, give us courage to aid others in their time of distress.

This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman

Wise Saying #24


storms of life

Wise Saying #24:

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (24:10)

No one likes adversity. At all cost, we tend to avoid any and all hardship, difficulty, or affliction. In fact, our natural inclination is to gravitate toward comfort and ease. Yet, the true measure of one’s spiritual strength and faith is proven in the crucible of adversity. While today’s saying is framed as an observation, the Wiseman is actually exhorting us to show ourselves strong and courageous in times of trouble. Otherwise, our strength and faith are merely talk, and talk is cheap. So today, instead of cowardly shrinking back from the storms of life, embrace them allowing God to use the various trials you endure to burn off the dross of your faith while you bless His glorious name (cf. James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7; Job 20-22). Heavenly Father, give us strength from above to endure the days of adversity. Oh God, do Your perfect work in us. Glorify Yourself through our troubles. May our lips forever praise Your glorious name. Amen.

This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman