14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways,
But a good man will be satisfied from above.
15 The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps.
16 A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident.
17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,
And a man of wicked intentions is hated.
18 The simple inherit folly,
But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19 The evil will bow before the good,
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
This section begins with a description of one who acts and lives in the foolishness of their own way of life. Here is the statement: “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways.” Foolish people who have backslidden from their upbringing, cannot be taught. They are filled with justification of their own creation. They know the truth but have slidden away from it and are glad to be away. Those on the outside looking in grieve over the backslider’s direction but will not be heard when they try to give truthful instruction.
According to the next few verses we can conclude that the backslider believes those who they hang with, they rage in self-confidence, they act foolishly, they inherit folly, and ultimately they will bow in humility before those who have lived in goodness. I have found that the best actions to take toward a backslider from the truth is to 1.) love them, 2.) pray for them, and 3.) do not give them instruction as they have no heart for it. If God gets ahold of their hearts they will come back and thank you for loving them in their mess. (Loving someone in their sin is not agreeing with them but it is hugging, remembering special days, reaching out, loving their children, and so on.)
The second part of verse 14 is where I want to live. As we live in God’s goodness, we find that He satisfies our souls from above. Satisfaction at the level of our souls is a satisfaction that only comes from the Lord God. Life is not easy and earthly satisfaction is temporary, at best. Only when we walk with God will know His lasting peace and satisfaction in our souls.
We have much to rejoice in today. The Word of God was exalted yesterday and God’s people responded to that exaltation. I am ever thankful when the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and makes it live in people’s hearts and lives. I pray for each of you who heard God’s word yesterday that you are taking it, meditating on it, understanding it, and applying it. My thanks to all who served in church yesterday. Without you we could not effectively get to preaching the Word.
Most Sundays we have people over for lunch in an effort to get to know God’s family at JIBC. Yesterday, after lunch and testimonies, a young woman there asked to talk with me. From her testimony it was clear that she was on a journey to faith but had not yet trusted Christ as her Savior and Lord. Before long, this young lady did bow her head and heart to Christ confessing her sin and asking Him to save and lead her. We all rejoiced for some time in one more brought into the fold of God.
Pray for your Muslim friends this week. As they end Ramadan they have a day of prayer and confessing of sin. This night of prayer and confession is to forgive them of their sins and to empower them to live for Allah for the next year. Pray that Muslims around the world will realize that year after year nothing changes and that there must be another Answer for their sin and for their power to live.
Have a great day in the Lord,