Month: February 2019
1 My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and live,
And my law as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your nearest kin,
5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words.
You have to love the imagery Solomon uses to bring wisdom and understanding near to us. We are to say to wisdom, “you are my sister.” Within a family, some of the closest relationships are within the siblings. They grow up together, they are with each other for hours of their childhood, they share so many first experiences together, they fight and make up over and over thus deepening the bond between them. When we think of a sister we think of a very special person in our lives. This is the imagery behind Solomon’s call to think of wisdom as a sister. You want to call her, you ask her for advice, you miss her when she is not with you, her counsel stays with you, and you look forward to being with her again. Can you think of wisdom in these terms?
He then calls understanding “your nearest kin.” Closer than a sister, who is your nearest relative and just how close are you? Your nearest kin is a relative whose invitation to go or do anything with won’t be refused. Your nearest relative is one whose call you look forward to. Can you call “understanding” your nearest relative? Is “understanding” the first call you make and the appointment you won’t miss? To understand something is to know the outcome before you begin. Understanding keeps us from surprising mistakes and regrets. Let’s get close to “understanding.”
Verses 1-3 call us to treasure the father’s commands, keep the commands and live, to keep his law as the apple of our eye, to tie them around our fingers, and to write them on the tablets of our hearts. My friends, I fear that we do not give wisdom near enough attention in our day to day lives. I trust this Proverbs study is bringing all of this to the forefront of your thinking more and more. As we follow wisdom, we won’t follow nor will we be successfully enticed by the immoral people all around us. We need this instruction and these relatives.
Welcome to Friday morning. I’ve been working on my message for Sunday and will be back on 1 John 2 looking at our anointing and our abiding. For a good study, look at how John in his gospel records the word “abide” used by Jesus. Once you have looked at each reference then go to 1 John 2 to see how John uses the teaching of Jesus on “abiding.”
Be in prayer for Sunday as pastors all over are preparing their hearts and minds to proclaim the word of God.
Have a great day in the Lord,
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
30 People do not despise a thief
If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.
We know that sexual sin was a problem in Solomon’s day because of the amount of time he spent giving warnings against it. Today we have the same sexual desires plus we have the introduction of movies, TV, and web sites that portray all types of physical attraction, and sexual activities. I often remind myself in the middle of a movie that the plot of the movie is following a script and the people are not married to each other and have no intentions of being married to each other. Their sexual flirtations and screen acts are immoral.
Why do we need to be careful what we watch and read? Look again at verses 27-28 where an obvious question is asked. “Can you take fire in your lap and not burn your clothes?” “Can you walk on hot coals and not burn your feet?” I think that when we watch things that lead to sexual activity we are putting hot coals into our laps thinking that it won’t hurt us. While we may or may not be attracted to the real pornography, we live in a culture that regularly portrays immorality as a normal part of life. We must not ignore Solomon’s instructions thinking we will not get burned by all of the immorality that we witness.
Notice in verse 32 that the one who commits adultery lacks real understanding of their actions and ultimately sins against their own soul. Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. No doubt he observed the pain that his father endured by taking his mother away from her husband and then enduring the death of their first child, the rape of Tamar, the murder of Amnon, and the usurpation of the throne by Absalom. Solomon knew that David’s sin affected his very soul.
My friends, we must not take any form of immorality lightly. No one jumps into that pool and jumps out without getting wet. The pool of immorality, from a simple flirtation, to pornography, to fornication and adultery, scars those who swim in it. There is an effect on the soul that may not be realized at first but in the end burns with a fire that does not go out.
Though Bobbi and I can function here in English, we are aware of people around us to whom we cannot communicate the love of God. As I have mentioned, we started language lessons and have found them to be quite challenging. Bahasa Indonesian is not a difficult language to learn in that there are not the many helping verbs, being verbs, and other declensions that are used in other languages. Nonetheless, we are learning words that we have never heard before and trying to put them into sentence forms. Pray that some of this will stick soon so we can communicate the love of God to those around us every day.
Have a great day in the Lord,
20 My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
It is nearly impossible for me to read the Proverbs and not think of my father’s instructions. Becoming a student of the Proverbs as a teenager directed me to listen more carefully to the instructions, guidance, correction and even the commands of my father and mother. To this day, the words of my father and mother ring in my ears as continuing wisdom. Not all of you who read this had parents who instilled wisdom into you; however, your eternal Father has been giving you wisdom your whole life. The point of this passage is not where you get wisdom from but what you do with the wisdom you received.
To “bind them on your heart always” and to “tie them around your neck” indicates that you keep wisdom with you all the time. Like a valuable necklace that identifies you, wisdom is to be ever with, a part of who you really are.
As you keep wisdom close to your heart and a part of your being, when you walk through your life, this wisdom will lead you, and when you lie down to rest, this wisdom will watch over you. Furthermore, when you wake up, this wonderful wisdom will be a voice in your head giving you guidance for the day ahead. Many times in my life the words of my dad and mom as well as the words of mentors and of Solomon himself rang through the darkness and the clouds giving light to the way that I needed to travel.
Verse 23 lets us know that wisdom comes both from instruction and from correction. There are life lessons that cost us dearly and then keep us from making the same mistakes again. Let the instructions of wisdom, wherever they came from, be in your heart and around your neck giving you the guiding light that you need for today and for tonight.
Some of you have wondered if a different climate might make a difference for Jared and his seizures. Sadly, no, Jared’s seizures have not seen any let-up in Indonesia. He still endures them. We think he likes it here in that he goes places with us, walks malls with us, and went to the zoo as well. I took him to Burger King on Sunday night and he REALLY enjoyed getting fries, a burger, and drink with a lid and a straw. We did find a local neurologist who specializes in epilepsy. She has agreed to be our local doctor for Jared. We are thankful for this provision.
Have a great day in the Lord,
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
There are certain passages in the Bible that I am sure I learned before I could speak. This would be one of those passages. In John 3:16 we learn that God loves the people in this world. In today’s pluralistic society, which accepts everything but truth, God also has a message telling us the things He hates. Here they are in list form:
- haughty eyes,
- a lying tongue,
- hands that shed innocent blood,
- a heart that devises wicked plans,
- feet that make haste to run to evil,
- a false witness who breathes out lies,
- one who sows discord among brothers – this one has a special hatred for this action is one that is an abomination to God.
When we know a friend does not like a certain thing, we tend to avoid that thing when around that friend. We know how to set things aside for certain people. Here, God calls us to set aside these actions that He hates.
As I ponder this list it becomes very aware to me that I am quite capable of all seven of these actions. Therefore, not doing them, because God does not want me to do them, becomes one of the important missions of my life. If we compare these to the commandments of God, we will find that loving God and loving others as ourselves will make us think twice about our words and actions.
Let me give you a modern example. Someone begins an argument with me and decides to continue this argument on Facebook or through texting or through email. I am already emotionally riled up and when I see their message my brain and my fingers go to work to tell them how I really feel about them and my words cut deep into their heart and life. If I take a moment to ponder these points that God hates, I will not send the message but will delete it, wait a day, and ask God to help me love that person with His love. In the end, I do not have the regret of damaging another person and dishonoring my God. Let us learn not only to love what God loves but also to hate that which He hates.
In God’s goodness and grace we had another wonderful day at Jakarta International Baptist Church. A man from the community, at whose restaurant I have often stopped, came to church with us. It was a joy to see him in the audience. A couple who came the week before and met me on Saturday, came back for the second time. A member’s cousin who came last week for the first time came back again. We are seeing the Lord work in hearts and are thankful for the fruit that He is bearing.
For lunch yesterday, nine JIBC people joined us for Bobbi’s spaghetti and green beans. Of course, the food was fantastic, yes, and the fellowship was just as good. Hearing how God brings men and women from all walks of life out of different countries and situations is the true joy of our time together. In His kindness, God is calling children and adults to Himself. Praise to Him.
Have a great day in the Lord,
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
This passage was often used by my father to get me out of bed and doing something productive. Funny how something can bring back so many memories. My dad, however, was right to teach us the need to get up and get going. To this day I do not lounge around very well, it always seems that there is something better to do. (Yes, I do enjoy a good show or movie when I can.) The lessons of my father taken from Proverbs 6 were deeply carved into our minds.
You have seen a line of ants before. Without a leader they all seem to be doing their job to bring food back to the colony. They prepare on the good days for the bad days that will come. Solomon uses this example from nature to teach us a valuable life lesson. When things are going well be sure to put aside for the days when things won’t be going so well. The obvious instruction here is to prepare food and finances for the unknown future. We don’t know how long our current position will last so we ought to be preparing something for the possibility of having less. A friend of mine once received a 40% cut in pay, was able to live on 40% less and was happy to have a job.
The people of the world, those without Christ, are often better managers of their money than we who know Christ. Perhaps if we were better managers and savers we would have more to live on when needed and more to give when burdened. I was once given $5,000 by a woman whom I never expected to have money. Her gift met a great need in the church and I was thankful that she had it to give.
Perhaps we could also consider the possibility of saving up relationships and building friendships when we have the opportunity to do so. The time will come when a friend would be a great benefit but if no investment into the friendship happened it might not be there in your time of need. When we were raising children we did not have much time for outside friendship. We all understood that but still tried to connect once or twice a year at least. Those we stayed in contact with are still our friends today. Those we did not stay in contact with might be Facebook friends but not ones that would come help if needed. Let’s consider taking time to invest in friendships as well.
Speaking of friendship, I am thankful the many friends who are praying for us today. Your prayers are being answered as God is shaping us to serve Him more and more in Jakarta. Please keep up those prayers for open hearts and strength to continue.
Last night we called two of the girls from GFL youth group. Jared had a rough day and he perked up seeing these girls that he knows and loves. Thanks girls for taking your time to spend with Jared and with us.
Once again, be in prayer for Sunday. I will be bringing a message, a bit more doctrinal this week, from 1 John 2:18-27. In this passage the Apostle John teaches us about the anointing we have from God and about the antichrists that don’t have the same anointing. I have found this to be a fascinating study and trust it will encourage your hearts as well. If you are out of country, you can look up Jakarta International Baptist Church and get the message Sunday afternoon here which is your Saturday midnight.
Have a great day in the Lord,
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
20 For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
In beautiful poetic language, Solomon paints a picture of purity and faithfulness in marriage. I find it interesting that all people of all time understand this call to purity and faithfulness. Even those who do not practice purity and faithfulness see the value in it. For in this beautiful illustration we see a well that is enjoyed by one man and one woman together. The waters of this well are both pure and private, refreshing and personal; so is the call to purity and faithfulness in marriage. Do remember that marriage is by God’s design and that Solomon is reinforcing the wisdom of God’s design.
We have had many people in our home over the years and have shared everything we own with them, but Solomon’s call is to be sure not to share our sexuality with anyone else. And while God made the human body to be attractive, the call is for the husband to be attracted only to his wife’s body and to be both satisfied and “enraptured” with her love. (A better understanding of “enraptured” would be the word “intoxicated.”) For a husband and wife to be intoxicated by each other and fulfilled by drinking from the private love of one another is the ultimate protection from immorality. For when we are “satisfied” by each other in marriage outside temptations are far less interesting.
Then Solomon asks why we would be enraptured, intoxicated, by an immoral woman, one who has intentionally used her bodily beauty to seduce? Men and women, be warned here; there are those who have lived immoral lives and think nothing of enticing you away from your God given husband or wife. There is no fulfillment in the arms of a seductress! The only emotional, spiritual and physical satisfaction you will find is in the arms of you wife, in the arms of your husband, for life.
Today we are rejoicing with the Nielson family whose daughter Rachel was in such a bad car accident not too long ago. As we share lunch today with the Neilsons we will be thanking God for His grace and kindness in their lives and ours. In Psalm 23 we read about walking through the “valley of the shadow of death.” When these dark times come we struggle but when they pass we look back and see that the Lord, true to His word, was with us. Wherever you are today, you are not alone, your Lord and Savior is with you and is shining His light on your darkened path.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
The evil man or the evil woman have left their upbringing, left their moral moorings, and spend their lives intentionally pulling other people down with them. These immoral people need to be called out for the shameful and awful people that they have become. In recent years, there has been a movement to stop powerful immoral men from targeting young impressionable women. This has been an important step in empowering moral women to stand up for themselves.
In this passage, Solomon writes about the immoral woman who spends her life seeking to destroy the men who will give her their attention. Men are accountable for their actions, no doubt. Before the days of internet pornography there were women who used their beauty to pull men into their immoral traps. Nowadays, the number of immoral women seeking to get men to spend money on them has multiplied. Solomon’s message must be heeded. He knew that the path of immorality led to death and to the grave. Unlike nearly every show or movie, immorality is not a beautiful beginning of a wonderful relationship, but immorality always brings pain, it is the nature of sin.
Ladies, what would happen if the beautiful moral women of our world stood up against the beautiful immoral women of our world? What if the women of righteousness determined to redefine every woman made in God’s image? Suppose every young girl who thinks that giving up her virginity was a normal passage of life knew that there were thousands of adult women who respected their morality and maintained their beauty for their husbands?
Solomon’s message is timeless but pretty much ignored today. Let’s stand up for morality, stand against immorality in all forms, and use our bodies, made in God’s image, for the purposes that He created them.
My first birthday in Indonesia cannot be topped! We had birthday cake in men’s Sunday school class, birthday doughnut and cake in church and another fruit topped birthday cake for lunch. I think there were four Happy Birthday songs and dozens of sincere well wishes. It was quite a day, to say the least. It seems that my son, Caleb, who was here a week before, put a bug into some people to have a little bit of extra fun with me. Thanks Caleb, they did just as you asked. Yes, it was fun.
As I am preaching through 1 John we came across 2:15-17 yesterday. The emphasis of this passage is quite negative, fearful, and difficult to live. When John states that if we love the world the love of the Father is not in us, we all cringe. It was a joy to emphasize the positive side of this passage, which is that we can live in the love of the Father. God wants us to enjoy Him so much that the loves of this world will fade behind us. Pray with me this week that we will become better lovers of God, filled with His love to us and thus be less and less pulled into this world.
Have a great day in the Lord,