Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble, v14.
Someone was describing a church recently to me. It was their home church and they remember how the people their used to shake in the presence of God. But today there is little shaking but there are still church services.
Why does that happen? What is the process for that and how long does it take?
I know of so many today who are spending the second half of their life hardened to God rather than trembling as they did in the first half.
They are in trouble.
Why does that happen?
They will have their reasons. Others will be to blame.
“The fear of God is what is left of the storm when you have a safe place to watch right in the middle of it. Hope turns fear into a trembling and peaceful wonder; and fear takes everything trivial out of hope and makes it earnest and profound. The terrors of God make the pleasures of his people intense.” (John Piper, The Pleasures of God)
Get to that place and do all that you can to keep your heart soft and open, for this is where blessing is.
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise, v21.
For silver and gold to be silver and gold they have to go through the testing.
However the kind of testing that makes a person a Godly person is not the testing but the successes.
How does a person handle praise?
Do they deflect it to God out of false humility?
Do they crave for more?
Do they try and please to get praise?
Is it a drug?
Does it create their fantasist identity?
Do preachers think they’re giving a presidential speech?
Do worship leaders think they’re pop idols?
If there’s no praise do workers think they are undervalued and so do not work?
But within praise there lies such temptation.
Praise is a crucible, it is a furnace.
Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own, v17.
To grab a stray dog by the ears is not a good thing to do. There will be a reaction. You will need to find a different way to bring the dog under control. For the bite may be worse than the bark.
Likewise to rush into quarrels that are not yours to fight is wrong. There will always be a reaction.
Today, stay calm, keep your nose out of other people’s business.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings, v2
God hides things. We discover things. Get that wrong and Christianity has a bad name.
We want to be discovered, seen, noticed, appreciated, applauded and cheered. There is much of this going on in Church; many dreams of being discovered but a small uptake of those willing to discover.
This is why there is little glory.
Are we more motivated when people see what we are doing?
Are we willing to serve when no one seems bothered with whether we do or not?
What are we finding out about God today?
God hides us. We discover Him. It’s that simple.
Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off, v13-14.
I love the Bible for many reasons. I love the fact that one moment it can be challenging me about some severity of humanity and then the next it can be telling me that I should really consider eating honey.
If I want to paraphrase then it actually is saying that chocolate is good for you, eat it.
But Solomon continues to say wisdom is like honey. It’s not sour, nor is it serious. It is not hard to swallow or digest. It almost sounds like fun.
Today the ‘wise people’ will dress up and go to a building. They do this every Sunday. They know the truth. However, not all ‘wise people’ are portraying the fact that wisdom is not unpalatable or indigestible. They have sour faces, as if they are on the way to a painful place. There is little sweetness and no hope. So according to this proverb, they haven’t found wisdom, because wisdom is like honey or chocolate for that matter. It is a joy to eat it and eat it we must.
When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive, v23.
FHB. Now these initials may not mean anything to you, but they sure do me. FHB. If I was translating the Bible I would place it in this verse around where Solomon talks about the knife at the throat!
When I was growing up whenever we had someone special come to our house then my mother would bake butterfly cakes, make sandwiches with no crusts and get the best china out. Cups had saucers, plates were smaller and everyone had something which was a cross between a fork and a spoon, simply a weird implement. Before the special one arrived there was the usual forceful announcement, FHB. It means this: Family Hold Back. I still am not sure whether FHB was because of the honour given to the special one or because we had limited cakes and sandwiches. But we knew we had to be grateful for whatever was left after the special one had chosen first. This is where I learnt to pray the most!
Solomon says that when eating before the special one Hold Back. Bridle your appetite. Don’t get carried away and stuff yourself. The reason being is that riches are fleeting. It will all be over soon. It is not lasting, so control yourself.
We all live in the presence of the Special One, Jesus. Today let’s build in some restraint. FHB.
The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!”, v13.
“I won’t be in today. My fish is sick and I need to take it to the vet”.
“I won’t be coming in today, I’ve spent my last penny playing online bingo and I don’t have any money left for the bus. Don’t worry, I’ll try to win it back today while I’m off”.
“The dog ate my car keys. We’re going to hitchhike to the vet”.
“I am not coming in because I tried to dye my hair blonde, but it came out green.”
“I cannot come into work today because I came down with a bad case of something or other”.
The sluggard says ….
The lazy man doesn’t want to leave his recliner chair.
The lazy man thinks of an excuse to stay indoors.
The lazy man’s excuse is always extreme, pathetic and often laughable.
The lazy man is a visionary.
There is no lion.
There is no danger.
Yet he sees it visually. It’s a certain death.
Is there something God has been calling you to do?
But instead of actions you have made excuses.
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered, v13.
There’s nothing wrong with the cry, it is loud enough.
The poor do exist, Jesus said they will always be with us.
The poor are poor, that is the category.
They are not criminally poor, immorally poor and lazy poor, they are poor.
Poverty is not having to send the Sky TV back. Poverty is a killer.
Hunger is the world’s number 1 health risk; it kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
Some 925 million people do not have enough to eat.
Ninety-eight percent of them live in the developing world.
One in seven people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.
There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the U.S., Canada, and the European Union.
Undernutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.
Worldwide, 115 million children under the age of 5 are underweight.
The poor are asking Elim International Missions to carry the cry of their soul and the cry of their children’s stomachs.
We have a vision to help. We are doing everything we can. This is a new day for an old cry.
There is nothing wrong with your hearing.
Call us today.
We know these people. We know their names. They are real. They are people just like me and you. We could be them. This could be our cry. We could be poor one day. We could have people ignore us too. Solomon says it will be so if we don’t say YES now.
Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare, v13.
I knew a friend once who spent half his life asleep. He didn’t need to sleep he just loved to do it. Sleep shut out the world and his world had quite a few problems! It was a defence mechanism. When he was asleep he didn’t need to work on the problems that needed fixing.
I am quite the reverse. I stay awake for as long as I can to fix as many problems as I can. I love being awake. Being asleep is something I have to do. Yes. I know. I need to sort myself out.
However I wonder if people just got up a little earlier or stayed awake a little longer what productive things could be done? So stop hitting the snooze button and get up and begin to do life. If you had another 15 minutes each day awake, by the end of the year you would gain an extra 3 days!
Now that’s put a smile on your face I know!
People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed? v3
In October of 2005, a convicted murderer in a Romanian prison sued God for his troubled life. The man, identified as Pavel M., filed a suit in which he requested “legal action against God, resident in Heaven, and represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church, for committing the following crimes: cheating, concealment, abuse against people’s interest, taking bribes, and traffic of influence.”
Pavel also noted that “God even claimed and received from me various goods and prayers in exchange for forgiveness and the promise that I would be rid of problems and have a better life.” According to the suit, this did not happen, and the plaintiff instead found himself in the devil’s hands.
Pavel’s complaint was sent to the Court of Justice and forwarded to the prosecutor’s office. However, it was eventually dropped because the defendant—God—was not an individual or a corporation, and therefore not subject to a civil court’s jurisdiction!!!
Bonkers I know!
But since the beginning of time man has blamed God.
Adam: The woman You gave to be with me …
It’s not complicated: the mistakes, failures and disappointments that occur in our life can be traced back to ourselves being stupid rather than God being awkward.
And of course if we still are not able to blame ourselves, we can always blame each other!