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Proverbs 25


More Proverbs of Solomon

25     These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;

to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,

so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.

4 Remove the dross from the silver,

and out comes material for the silversmith;

5 remove the wicked from the king’s presence,

and his throne will be established through righteousness.

6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,

and do not claim a place among great men;

7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”

than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.

What you have seen with your eyes

8 do not bring hastily to court,

for what will you do in the end

if your neighbor puts you to shame?

9 If you argue your case with a neighbor,

do not betray another man’s confidence,

10 or he who hears it may shame you

and you will never lose your bad reputation.

11 A word aptly spoken

is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold

is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.

That is easy advice to give but tough to take.  Yet if I get wise criticism from others I am hurting myself to ignore it.  I find that it is easier to take “criticism” when reading it in books or the Bible, as it is less personal then.  I don’t get as defensive because I don’t have another human there to see my immediate reactions.

13 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time

is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him;

he refreshes the spirit of his masters.

14 Like clouds and wind without rain

is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.

15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,

and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

16 If you find honey, eat just enough—

too much of it, and you will vomit.

17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—

too much of you, and he will hate you.

18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow

is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.

19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot

is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.

God puts a high priority on honesty in regular life and in court.  Having a trusted friend is of great value.

20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,

or like vinegar poured on soda,

is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;

if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,

and the Lord will reward you.

This advice runs counter to what the world will tell you.  Christianity (and at this time, Judaism) turns the world upside down, which is really to say it puts it back the way God intended it.

23 As a north wind brings rain,

so a sly tongue brings angry looks.

24 Better to live on a corner of the roof

than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

People usually chuckle at that verse but consider its truth.  You could marry an extremely attractive person, but how wise is that if they treat you poorly or are unfaithful? 

25 Like cold water to a weary soul

is good news from a distant land.

26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well

is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.

27 It is not good to eat too much honey,

nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.

28 Like a city whose walls are broken down

is a man who lacks self-control.

Self control is a key success factor in life.  You’ll do and say far fewer stupid things which cause pain for yourself and others.  And seeking glory for ourselves usually turns out badly.

 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Psalm 69


Psalm 69

1 Save me, O God,

for the waters have come up to my neck.

2 I sink in the miry depths,

where there is no foothold.

I have come into the deep waters;

the floods engulf me.

3 I am worn out calling for help;

my throat is parched.

My eyes fail, looking for my God.

4 Those who hate me without reason

outnumber the hairs of my head;

many are my enemies without cause,

those who seek to destroy me.

God knows the number of hairs on our head and He knows all about our enemies.

I am forced to restore

what I did not steal.

5 You know my folly, O God;

my guilt is not hidden from you.

6 May those who hope in you

not be disgraced because of me,

O Lord, the Lord Almighty;

may those who seek you

not be put to shame because of me,

O God of Israel.

David knows he is a sinner, just as all of us are.  Our righteousness is found in Jesus, not in ourselves.  I also pray that the bad things I do and say won’t disgrace God and his message.

7 For I endure scorn for your sake,

and shame covers my face.

8 I am a stranger to my brothers,

an alien to my own mother’s sons;

9 for zeal for your house consumes me,

and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

As Christians we’ll be mocked for our faith, but we can trust that God knows all and that He (and we!) will win in the end. 

Zeal for God’s house should consume us as well.

10 When I weep and fast,

I must endure scorn;

11 when I put on sackcloth,

people make sport of me.

12 Those who sit at the gate mock me,

and I am the song of the drunkards.

13 But I pray to you, O Lord,

in the time of your favor;

in your great love, O God,

answer me with your sure salvation.

14 Rescue me from the mire,

do not let me sink;

deliver me from those who hate me,

from the deep waters.

15 Do not let the floodwaters engulf me

or the depths swallow me up

or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love;

in your great mercy turn to me.

17 Do not hide your face from your servant;

answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.

18 Come near and rescue me;

redeem me because of my foes.

19 You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed;

all my enemies are before you.

20 Scorn has broken my heart

and has left me helpless;

I looked for sympathy, but there was none,

for comforters, but I found none.

21 They put gall in my food

and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

22 May the table set before them become a snare;

may it become retribution and a trap.

23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,

and their backs be bent forever.

24 Pour out your wrath on them;

let your fierce anger overtake them.

25 May their place be deserted;

let there be no one to dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute those you wound

and talk about the pain of those you hurt.

27 Charge them with crime upon crime;

do not let them share in your salvation.

28 May they be blotted out of the book of life

and not be listed with the righteous.

29 I am in pain and distress;

may your salvation, O God, protect me.

30 I will praise God’s name in song

and glorify him with thanksgiving.

31 This will please the Lord more than an ox,

more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.

God desires authentic worship and praise more than empty sacrifices.

32 The poor will see and be glad—

you who seek God, may your hearts live!

33 The Lord hears the needy

and does not despise his captive people.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,

the seas and all that move in them,

35 for God will save Zion

and rebuild the cities of Judah.

Then people will settle there and possess it;

36 the children of his servants will inherit it,

and those who love his name will dwell there.

 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Psalm 68

ps68.jpgGreetings!  This psalm is about victory and celebration. 

Psalm 68

1 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;

may his foes flee before him.

2 As smoke is blown away by the wind,

may you blow them away;

as wax melts before the fire,

may the wicked perish before God.

3 But may the righteous be glad

and rejoice before God;

may they be happy and joyful.

4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name,

extol him who rides on the clouds—

his name is the Lord

and rejoice before him.

5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

is God in his holy dwelling.

6 God sets the lonely in families,

he leads forth the prisoners with singing;

but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

7 When you went out before your people, O God,

when you marched through the wasteland, Selah

8 the earth shook,

the heavens poured down rain,

before God, the One of Sinai,

before God, the God of Israel.

9 You gave abundant showers, O God;

you refreshed your weary inheritance.

10 Your people settled in it,

and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.

11 The Lord announced the word,

and great was the company of those who proclaimed it:

12 “Kings and armies flee in haste;

in the camps men divide the plunder.

13 Even while you sleep among the campfires,

the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,

its feathers with shining gold.”

14 When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land,

it was like snow fallen on Zalmon.

15 The mountains of Bashan are majestic mountains;

rugged are the mountains of Bashan.

16 Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains,

at the mountain where God chooses to reign,

where the Lord himself will dwell forever?

17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands

and thousands of thousands;

the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.

18 When you ascended on high,

you led captives in your train;

you received gifts from men,

even from the rebellious—

that you, O Lord God, might dwell there.

My Life Application Study Bible pointed out how verse 18 is quoted in Ephesians 4:8 and is applied to the ministry of the acended Christ.  He won victory over evil and by having faith in him, so can we.

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,

who daily bears our burdens. Selah

20 Our God is a God who saves;

from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

The Old Testament doesn’t have as many specific references to Heaven as the New Testament but there are many references to salvation and overcoming death.

21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,

the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.

22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan;

I will bring them from the depths of the sea,

23 that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes,

while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”

24 Your procession has come into view, O God,

the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.

25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians;

with them are the maidens playing tambourines.

26 Praise God in the great congregation;

praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.

27 There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,

there the great throng of Judah’s princes,

and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.

28 Summon your power, O God;

show us your strength, O God, as you have done before.

29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem

kings will bring you gifts.

30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds,

the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.

Humbled, may it bring bars of silver.

Scatter the nations who delight in war.

31 Envoys will come from Egypt;

Cush will submit herself to God.

32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth,

sing praise to the Lord, Selah

33 to him who rides the ancient skies above,

who thunders with mighty voice.

34 Proclaim the power of God,

whose majesty is over Israel,

whose power is in the skies.

35 You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary;

the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Psalm 67

ps67.jpgGreetings!  This short Psalm makes many references to how God is the God of all people, not just the Israelites.  They were the messengers of his salvation and the message is to go to all nations.  Sadly, many Jewish people didn’t pick up on that theme and many in the  church today ignore this.  They rationalize that all religions lead to God, but that isn’t a biblical theme at all.

Psalm 67

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face shine upon us, Selah

2 that your ways may be known on earth,

your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you rule the peoples justly

and guide the nations of the earth. Selah

5 May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you.

6 Then the land will yield its harvest,

and God, our God, will bless us.

7 God will bless us,

and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Ephesians 6

ep6.jpgGreetings!  This is one of my favorite books of the Bible. 

Children and Parents

6     Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

My youngest daughter likes to remind me of verse 4.  It is our jobs to teach them about Jesus and his message.  Sunday School classes and youth groups have a role but not the primary one. 

We must discipline and guide our children but not crush their spirits.  And we must live consistently with our professed beliefs.  We’ll all slip at times, but consistently acting one way at church and another at home will lead our kids into cynicism and away from faith. 

Do your children see you acting one way at church and another outside it?

Slaves and Masters

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

That is very similar advice to what Paul gave in Colossians 3.

We often think that some people are the enemy, but ultimately the real enemy is Satan.  Some think he isn’t real but the Bible couldn’t be more clear.  He is not some cartoon character in red tights.  Neither is he behind every wrong thing we do.  But he exists and is doing everything he can to keep non-believers from Jesus and believers from being effective ambassadors for Christ.

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Notice how there is no covering for your back.  Never turn away from Satan and get complacent.  Neither do we attack him.  He is smarter and more powerful than we are and we are no match for him, unless we use the word of God as our sword.  Then we can stand up to him. We can resist him and he will flee from us (James 4:7).

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Paul prayed for boldness to preach the Gospel, and we should do the same.

Final Greetings

21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

23 Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Ephesians 5


5     Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

“Imitators of God” is a tall order!  Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we even consider such a thing.  May we keep an eternal perspective and seek to imitate him in all we do.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

We rationalize all sorts of thoughts and behavior but verse 3 is timeless in setting a standard for us.  When in doubt we should ask, “is this even a hint?”  We live in such a sex-saturated culture that it is easy for Christians to be like the world.  May God keep us from temptation and failure in this area.

 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

The 3rd Commandment says not to use the Lord’s name in vain, but v. 4 is more broad. 

 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

V. 6 is one of many, many warnings of false teachers.  All paths do not lead to God.  There is one way: Through Jesus.  As v. 7 notes, we should not be partners with those who teach deception.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

 Do you make the most of every day to advance God’s kingdom?  It is so easy to get distracted with the “weeds” of the world.

I just listened to a thorough, extended sermon series by John MacArthur that covered verse 18.  He emphasized that the wine we drink is different than they generally used then (ours is served stronger) and that even if we have liberty to drink that it may not be the best choice. 

But under no circumstances should we become intoxicated.  Getting drunk leads to disorted views of the truth and bad decisions and behavior.  Pagan religions at the time thought that getting drunk brought you closer to God.  Paul teaches that the truth is the opposite.  We can’t be filled with alcohol and the Holy Spirit.

19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives and Husbands

22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

That passage is often misinterpreted to make Paul out to be a chauvinist.  But the next passage should put things in persepective.  Paul was probably just as controversial back then but for the opposite reasons.  Women were considered property and not treated well at all.  They couldn’t even testify in court.  But Paul teaches husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.  That was a radical notion!

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

If husbands loved their wives as much as their own bodies then that would make wives rejoice.  That wouldn’t be mistreatment of women at all.  Men are called to be leaders in the home.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But good leaders listen to people under their protection and authority.  A husband would be foolish to ignore his wife.  They are designed to complete each other.

That is another passage stating what should be obvious: God’s ideal for marriage is one man and one woman.  He created us that way.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.