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Archive for May, 2010

Mission Hiatus

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to pick up with Chapter 7. Please pray for our Carpenters for Christ group as we go on our annual mission trip.

God bless you.

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verses 30-35: “Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out. For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be content though you give many gifts.”

Please hear me carefully here. I read in the Holman commentary that some “crimes” were understandable, such as the one quoted in the verses above: a thief who steals food to feed himself due to hunger. In Leviticus, the restitution by law was as little as 20 percent. Still he might have to pay sevenfold, which could easily bankrupt what resources he had.

But I think the best words I could ever find on the feeling regarding adultery are in verses 32-25: “lacking sense”. To quote an old adage heard often in situation comedies….ARE YOU CRAZY? There is no restitution or payment that can be salve to that wound. The anger of the Incredible Hulk is nothing compared to that of a wronged spouse who is the one who bears that pain! You might know friends or family who have been those types of victims, or even know someone who has been in an affair. In my lifetime thus far, I have heard many a reason justifying or apologizing for adultery. I do not mean to come across as “holier than thou”; I too am a sinner saved by grace. You’ve all heard the phrase, “there, but for the grace of God, go I”. But God’s Word is clear that it is wrong, just as God’s Word is clear that if we come to Him, confess our sins and repent, He will forgive.

Something to think about.

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verse 23: “For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life,”

Solomon is talking about avoiding adultery in the remaining verses of this chapter, and the analogy used here is that of a lamp and light. Those who know about my blog know that the verse I quote for the blog title is Psalms 119 verse 105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Light and the source of light are fascinating. We cannot live without light. Even those who may be blind can still feel light. We are less afraid in the light (remember, why do you think most monster movies are set in the dark? :-))

As the lamp is the source of light in this analogy, so the commandment, God’s law, is the source of the teaching we need. No matter how good a child can or may be, there will also come the time when they test the boundaries…try to stray from the path. The parent is there to correct and reprove the child; not because they hate the child, but because they love him or her. So does God “straighten us out” when we get crooked, so to speak. God hates sin, but He does love us.

Have a blessed day!

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verses 16-19: “There are six things that the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that desires wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. ”

Among all the comic book superheroes that I enjoyed reading and still re-read today is Captain Marvel (now I refer here to the version that ran in Fawcett Comics and is currently owned by DC Comics under the title of Shazam!). In the origin story, young Billy Batson is led down an abandoned subway tunnel by a mysterious stranger to meet the wizard Shazam, who will soon give him the powers of the World’s Mightiest Mortal. On the way down the tunnel, the pair pass seven ugly statues, titled “The Seven Deadly Enemies Of Man”: pride, envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, laziness, and injustice. An entry in Wikipedia on Captain Marvel stated that, in the comic book series, these were seven demons that Shazam had captured and imprisoned in stone. The writers of the series based these seven on the Seven Deadly Sins.

My Holman commentary on Proverbs (pg. 231) does indeed read “You might call this passage the “Seven Deadly Sins” of the Old Testament. Starting with a list of six and then seven may seem unusual, but it was a common literary device in Hebrew (see Prov. 30:15-16, 18-19, 21-31). It makes clear that this list is not exhaustive, but it does include specific things that God hates.”

The devil is always prowling about; he enjoys pressing any advantage he can get at in us. These big 7 sins aren’t the only ones; would that they were the only ones! Solomon here points them out, to stress it seems, our avoidance of them. As I have quoted here before, the best way to detect counterfeit money is to study the real thing; the best way to avoid those sins is to fill one’s mind and heart with the things that God loves: accepting His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, and His Word.

Have a blessed day!

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verse 6: “Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,”

Solomon here is advising against the slothful man. Of all of the creatures God has made, among the hardest working is the ant. I’m often reminded of the Aesop fable The Grasshopper and the Ant, in which the lazy, carefree grasshopper wastes the days of summer, while the hard-working ant is storing up food in the summer, knowing the hard winter is coming. In the end, the grasshopper (who almost freezes to death as well as starves to death) is rescued by the ants, and learns his lesson.

God made men and women to work, to do. I know many a recently-retired friend, who gets kidded about “man, you’ll have it made when you retire…nothing to do!” The already retired friends of the newly-retired friend assure them, “oh no, there’s still plenty to do!” We are among our happiest times when we are doing constructive work, especially if we enjoy what we do.

Jesus Himself charged the disciples with the Great Commission: go and make disciples! Tell the Good News, and those you tell, tell others! If that isn’t something meaningful to do, then what is?

Have a blessed day!

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verse 2: “If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth,”

Boy, can our mouths get us in trouble! Think back on stories in literature of people who wish for things or promise things…then realize what they’ve done!

    King Midas, wanting everything he touched to turn to gold…until he turned his daughter into gold by accident.
    The ubiquitous morality tale (as seen in several Twilight Zone episodes) of the person who said, “I’d give anything to have such-and-such”….and up pops the devil.
    The boy who cried “Wolf!”

The one I remember from the Bible is of Peter, vehemently stating he wouldn’t desert Jesus, and Jesus solemnly telling him that he, Peter, would deny Him three times before the cock crowed.

Solomon is speaking here of surety, of pledging to pay a neighbor’s debt contractually. Solomon’s advice is “get out of it as soon as you can! If you’ve got to humble yourself to do it, DO IT!” Be careful what you promise to do, for your promise is your word. And God doesn’t take words lightly. We, too, should never take God’s Word lightly….He said it, and He means it!

Something to think about.

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Proverbs 5:20-23

verse 21: “For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths.”

Flashback to when you were a child, and you got to do something “grown-up” on your own. I’m referring to the first time your parents let you pay for a purchase at the sales counter, build a craft using Daddy’s tools, go to the restaurant restroom by yourself, or check out a book in the library…on your own. You felt more grown-up and more independent. You had the childlike satisfaction of “I did this on my own without Mommy and Daddy’s help.”

Now, flash-forward to you as the parent, watching as your child did their independent task. Though they thought they were totally on their own, you were watching….maybe from afar, maybe closer by, but you were there watching how they did, ready to step in if they needed guidance or help.

The ways of your child were being watched by you. “…the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD”. God is always watching us, every day. No matter where you go or what you do, God is there. Just knowing that fact should be reassurance to us; it shouldn’t be shaming to us.

Something to think about today.

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