“The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.”
The wicked seek to ruin those who stand up for Truth and right. Think of all the martyrs who literally gave their lives for what they believed. Some were stoned, some burned at the stake, and some were crucified.
The first martyr of the faith was Stephen.
“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.”
The suborned men of the synagogue set up false witnesses against him as they sat in council. He spent most of the seventh chapter of Acts preaching the record of the faithfulness of God to His people. The council were cut to the heart with the power of the Word of God, and gnashed on him with their teeth. They then took him out of the city and stoned him.
But before he lost his life, he caught a glimpse of the glory of God as he looked stedfastly up into Heaven. In the midst of His glory was Jesus, standing.
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
No other place in Scripture will we find Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. He is nearly always sitting, for His work is finished; however, this time He is standing in reverence to His faithful soldier who stood for Him.
Christ told His disciples that they would be hated because they first hated Him.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.”
If the wicked hated Christ and His disciples, they will hate us.
It is not a matter of if we will be hated, but when; yet we have cause to rejoice in our suffering for Christ’s sake.
1 Peter 4:12-14
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
The more persecution we face, the more He is glorified.
Nehemiah 11-12 | Hebrews 8 | Proverbs 31
“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”
Have you ever tried arguing with someone who thinks they are always right?
There is no winning or convincing them otherwise, which only results in frustration and exhaustion.
The same happens when the children of God try to contend with those who do not know Him.
1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
The foolish simply cannot understand the things of Wisdom.
Regardless of how the foolish react to the wisdom of the wise, they cannot truly understand that which they do not possess themselves.
1 Corinthians 2:13-14
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
There is Something within the child of God that the carnal man does not have. The Holy Spirit dwells within those who have trusted Christ as their Saviour. His indwelling enables us to discern things that we could not understand before we received Him.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
The Holy Spirit guides us through the Truth of the Word of God, which makes the difference in our discernment.
Rather than trying to contend with the foolish, we choose to wisely contend for the faith by using the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Nehemiah 9-10 | Hebrews 7 | Proverbs 30
“Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.”
In a day when wickedness abounds, the righteous are undoubtedly a minority.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
There are many that disregard for the Word of God, which kindles strife and creates confusion.
1 Corinthians 14:33
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”
Wisdom turns away the wrath of God.
The fires that prideful foolish people create can only be extinguished by the Wisdom of the Word of God.
The foolish are not the only ones guilty of bringing a snare by disregarding the Truth of the Word of God.
When we neglect to apply the Word of God to our lives, we produce a fire of confusion. If we profess to know Christ, and our life’s actions do not demonstrate the Truth of the Gospel, we do harm to the Lord’s purpose.
The eternal state of the people around us depends on our obedience to the Word of God.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
The Lord has given us simple and clear directions within His Word for us to follow.
1 Corinthians 9:14
“Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”
How shall we ever turn away the wrath of God from those around us if we are not living according to the Wisdom of the Word?
Nehemiah 7-8 | Hebrews 6 | Proverbs 29
“The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.”
We are to have compassion on those who have less than us.
“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”
Many read these verses and immediately begin to mentally compare their wealth monetarily and materialistically to those around them. Yes, we should try to fulfill the physical needs of others when at all possible; however there is a far greater need that we must faithfully consider.
Christ considered us in our poor estate and willing came to give His life as a ransom for us all.
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
His sacrifice enables us become rich through Him.
We are nothing without Him, yet when we choose to receive Him we have everything we need. He provided a Way when there was no way, and still today stands with open arms welcoming all who come to Him for salvation.
1 Samuel 17:29
“And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”
How often do we consider the poverty of those that are without Christ?
May we do everything in our power to get the Good News of the Gospel to them before it is eternally too late.
Nehemiah 5-6 | Hebrews 5 | Proverbs 28
“In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.”
Why is it possible for the children of God to sing? There are many different songs we can sing as we rejoice in what God has done for us. These are just a few examples of how we can lift our voices unto Him.
A Song of Salvation
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
A Song of Deliverance
“Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.”
A Song of Mercy
“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.”
A Song of Praise
“I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.”
A Song of Blessings
“I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
No matter what you are going through today, there is still a song for you to sing. Regardless of our situation, we must remind ourselves of the Reason that we can sing.
“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.”
Nehemiah 3-4 | Hebrews 4 | Proverbs 27
“A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.”
Compliments are needful and can often encourage us to continue; however, it is important to discern the difference between commendations and flattery.
“They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.”
Smooth words of flattery are often insincere, for they say one thing and mean quite the opposite.
“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.”
Those who give excessive praise often have an ulterior motive behind their flattering words. We must be careful to avoid the nets that are set at our feet.
“For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
It is wise to carefully discern the compliments we receive, while giving the praise to the only One Who truly deserves them.
Nehemiah 1-2 | Hebrews 3 | Proverbs 26
“The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.”
Everyone likes to receive a gift, but some are better than others at receiving.
If we are not careful, gifts can cloud our judgment.
“And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.”
Some tend to give with an ulterior motive, always expecting to receive something in exchange for their gifting. However, a gift is no longer a gift when it requires something in return.
On the other hand, those that receive our gifts can use them against us.
Jesus Christ gave specific Instructions of how to handle those that despitefully use us for our gifts and talents.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
Gifts that are used or viewed as bribery will eventually destroy the hearts of those involved.
“Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.”
Oppression in giving brings destruction.
It is imperative to both receive and give with the right motive.
Ezra 9-10 | Hebrews 2 | Proverbs 25
“Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.”
There is nothing more important than our love for Wisdom.
Our eternity depends on Wisdom.
Our lives are empowered by Wisdom.
“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.”
Our love for Wisdom determines everything.
When we love Him, we will have everything that we need.
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Our love for Wisdom enables us to do that which He desires.
We obey because we love Him. He is our Life because of love.
“That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days…”
Our love for Wisdom brings everything together for our good and His glory. No matter what happens in our lives, if we love Him we will find that He has a purpose for everything.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
There is only one reason that we are able to have a love for Wisdom.
1 John 4:19
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
His love for us changed everything when we needed it the most.
1 John 4:9-10
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Dwell on His love for you today and evaluate your love for Wisdom.
Ezra 7-8 | Hebrews 1 | Proverbs 24
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
We have read of this Truth two other times recently:
“When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.”
“When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.”
When God says something once it is True. How much more should we adhere to the Truth when He repeats them in His Word?
The state of the hearts of those in authority will determine the outcome of the people. We see this time and time again throughout the Old Testament as Israel changed kings over and over.
There are two types of authorities – those that do evil in the sight of the Lord and those that do right in His sight.
When we obey Him we do right.
When we neglect to do what He says we do evil in His sight.
We are all in authority of something.
Whether or not we are in a leadership role, we are in authority of ourselves. We make our own choices and we have to answer for them. If we do right, we will be blessed. If we do not, we will suffer the consequences.
Who is looking up to you?
Do you have children? Employees? Students in your Sunday School class?
Younger Christians that you influence? The list could go on and on. Most likely there are people looking up to you that you may not even realize, yet your testimony has impacted them.
Are they able to rejoice because we have done right in the sight of the Lord? Or do they mourn over the testimony we really have outside the walls of the church building?
“…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
Ezra 5-6 | Philemon | Proverbs 23
“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”
Reproof is to be given in love; but, most importantly, grounded in Biblical principles.
2 Timothy 3:16
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Take a moment and ponder how you typically react when you receive reproof from someone else. It could be from a loving family member, your boss, your pastor, or a concerned friend.
“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.”
This is the most dangerous reaction to correction. When we refuse to consider if there is Truth behind the reproof we err from the Way we should go.
“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.”
When we choose to harden our hearts to reproof we are sure to face the consequences. Not only suddenly destroyed, but also without remedy. There is no solution for those that reject Jesus Christ and the Good News of what He has done for us.
“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”
Rather than harden our hearts toward the correction and criticism we receive from others, we are wise to first consider if there is Truth to what they have to say.
Compare reproof with the Scriptures.
Before we respond by refusing or rejecting, may we take the time to carefully regard reproof.
Let the Word of Wisdom be the basis for our reactions to reproof we receive.
Ezra 3-4 | Titus 3 | Proverbs 22
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