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Keep aloof from strife

“It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” (Proverbs 20:3)

Some might consider a person who backs away from confrontation a coward. The Proverbs say he is worthy of honor. You might even say it is the brave thing to do. Why not be in the same mind as the Sinless One who, “when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly”?

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Overlooking an offense

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” —Proverbs 19:11

To hide one’s own sin from God is his shame. It’s useless, debilitating, hurtful, destructive. To confess and forsake one’s sin is the guaranteed pathway to mercy (28:13). And once you know His mercy—once you have received the abundance of grace, the eternal redemption, the complete forgiveness of Christ—you are all the more equipped, and all the more obligated, to be merciful to others. How can we justify harboring anger for others, continually recounting their sin, when God so brutally appeased His own holy wrath in order to forget ours?

He Examines All Your Paths

“For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.” (Proverbs 5:21 NIV)

There is no place you can go, no path you can take, where God cannot see. This ought to serve as both a warning and an encouragement. Throughout my day, God sees me. Even more convicting, God is with me.

Yet if this were the only knowledge of God I had, I suppose it would mean little. If I didn’t know His holiness, the fact that He sees my sin would not terrify me. If I didn’t know His love, the fact that He sees my trouble would be of no comfort. But in all things He is perfect, He is present, He is near, He is approachable.

May we daily live in the knowledge that He is ever faithful to examine all our paths.

Take heart, Jesus has overcome the world

I understand (I really do) people’s heart and desire to preach the gospel in light of the tragedy at Newtown. However, please be careful and sensitive in the presentation–saying that it all happened because God has been taken out of schools sounds an awful lot like Job’s friends telling him that God was punishing him for his sins.

We are not obligated nor commanded to explain why it happened (since honestly, we don’t know). But we can say with certainty, Jesus loves with unfailing love. Jesus forgives with everlasting forgiveness. And His promise is eternal life, where there are no more tears, no more sorrow, no more suffering.

In this world, no matter what, you will have tribulation. But take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. We have a hope that, in the midst of unexplainable, unthinkable suffering, is an anchor for our soul. That anchor is ready and available for any and for all who call on His name.

Open up…

Ever stop and think… why would the Lord, strong and mighty, wait patiently for the doors to open?

Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! – (Psa 24:7-8 ESV)

Do be a Coward

It’s okay to run away. It’s okay to hide. It’s okay to make yourself scarce when you know you are outmatched. It’s more than okay, it’s biblical.

”The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 22:3)

Just in case you need to hear it again, it’s right there in the book of Proverbs one more time.

”The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

Hiding from danger may not be considered very brave, but it is wise.

Consider David. A king. A warrior. A man of valor. Armed with only a couple river rocks and a sling, he charged toward a nearly ten foot tall behemoth who was wielding a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s beam. Killed the monster in one shot. Cut off his head with his own sword. Yet he spent the next several years hiding in caves from King Saul who couldn’t hit the broad side of a castle with his spear if he wanted to.

But after Saul died, David took the kingdom. He lead his country with a strong arm. Victorious in battle again and again, he established his reign. But then his own son got a little cheeky. Stormed the castle with a couple hundred men. So David ran away again. Hiding in caves must have been kind of reminiscent to him.

But I don’t think David was a coward. I think David was wise. I think David was prudent. When David saw danger, he took cover. Not always, but when it was the right thing to do.

You and I have every reason to be brave. We’re told to…

  • “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)

  • “Stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

And yet we’re also told to…

  • “Flee from sexual immorality.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)

  • “Flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14)

  • “Flee youthful passions.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

There’s no need to prove yourself. Run away. Stay away. Hide. The simple go on without a care. They think they can handle themselves.

Don’t be that guy.

Better to be considered a coward and live than to die a fool.

Quietness

AudienceI used to dream of being famous. (Who didn’t?) Throughout my life I have wanted to be all kinds of different things–an athlete, a musician, an artist, an author, even a Pastor (different kind of famous, I guess). But here I am, the ripe old age of 31, my life half over, well passed the age I thought I would have already been a millionaire, and yet I am nothing. But I am learning to accept that.

Not really. It is hard to accept. I still want to be heard. I still want to be seen. I still want to be followed. I still want to be popular. Nope, it didn’t go away after high school. And the worst part is, I am all the more shy, apathetic, introverted, and boring today as I ever was. Kind of frustrating, actually.

But today I ran across two bible verses, both of which leapt off the page (the screen) and slapped me in the face.

The first was in Esther (when I searched the bible for “popular”):

“For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.” –Esther 10:3

And the second was in Ecclesiastes (when I searched for “quiet”):

“There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.” (Ecclesiastes 9:14-17)

The first verse from Esther taught me that popularity (fame) in God’s eyes is meant for those who genuinely seek the welfare of others. Something I am very poor at. When you think of the most famous and effective men and women of the bible, none of them sought the popularity itself, they sought the welfare of others.

In the second passage from Ecclesiastes, I was first drawn to verse 17: “The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.” It would be better for me to be quiet and speak even one word of wisdom to one individual than to be the most famous of celebrities shouting at the top of my lungs like a fool. (Now the hard part: finding one person who will listen to me… and finding something wise to say to them!)

Verse 17 is what caught my attention, but the context of the passage sucked me in. Here is a poor man, a wise man, who somehow delivers his entire city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered him. He didn’t get popular like Mordecai did in the book of Esther. He sought other’s welfare too, but no one cared. Even though his wisdom was so great, it did not afford him popularity. In fact, “the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.”

Popularity is so overrated. (That’s my excuse anyway).

So hopefully I’m done trying to make a name for myself (says the man typing all of this on to a public blog). Hopefully I will move forward being more concerned about the things of the Lord and how I can best serve him in quietness and seek the welfare of others than about how I can use “my talents” to garnish a following.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go post a link to this article on Facebook so all my friends can read it. I wonder how many “likes” I will get?

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