Archive for the ‘Proverbs 21’ Category

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 21:01 The King’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it lie a watercourse wherever he pleases. 

Almighty God has total rule over men’s hearts, even kings’ hearts. As easily as He directs rivers back and forth as they move water toward the sea, so He turns the hearts of kings any direction He desires to accomplish His holy purposes. Let the LORD be magnified!

Knowing this fact, you should pray confidently for kings and all in authority, knowing He can and does direct their hearts and decisions (I Tim 2:1-2; Jer 29:4-7). Nehemiah did not hesitate to pray in the presence of the King of Persia for mercy right then (Neh 2:1-6).

Knowing this fact, you should submit to their laws, knowing they and their decisions are controlled and directed by the LORD for His glory and your benefit (Rom 13:1-7; Isaiah 49:23). A nation’s rulers are in high positions of authority, but God is higher (Eccl 5:8).

Knowing this fact, you should understand He totally controls lesser men and simpler circumstances, so trust Him fully and wait for His mercy (Pr 16:9; Ruth 2:3; Jas 4:13-15). He even rules chance events with no regard for statistical probability (Pr 16:33). There is no reason for you to worry about a boss or a family member or enemy, for He can easily cause a change in any man’s heart that will entirely alter the situation you grieve over.

When the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 A.D. and ten nations rose from its ruins (Dan 7:24; Rev 17:12-13), God put in their hearts to fulfill His will and direct their nations to support the popes and the revived form of the Roman Empire (Rev 17:17). It did not matter for what selfish or fearful purposes they supported papal ambitions, they did it because God put the idea in their hearts. And when it had served His grand purpose, He changed their hearts again (Rev 17:16). Babylon fell, as prophesied by the same LORD!

Such sovereign rule over kings’ hearts was nothing new, for He had done it from the beginning. He hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to get glory over him and Egypt (Ex 4:21; 14:4,17). Why else would a man take his chariot down into the Red Sea after ten plagues in the land of Egypt! What a fool! Beware reader, be not highminded, but fear!

He hardened the heart of Sihon, king of the Amorites, to destroy him in battle (Deut 2:30). He hardened David’s heart to number Israel by turning him over to Satan for a while (II Sam 24:1; I Chr 21:1). He exposed Hezekiah’s heart by leaving it to its own pride (II Chr 32:31). He played with Ahab by lying to him by His own prophet and then sending a lying spirit to his prophets (I King 22:15,22). And the King of Assyria was no more than an axe or saw in the LORD’s hand, though he had no such idea (Is 10:5-15).

The great God removed the lusts of kings for the land of Israel three times a year, when all the men attended the three annual feasts (Ex 34:24). But he also hardened the hearts of those same kings to be destroyed in battle against Israel (Josh 11:20). He gave a new heart to Saul and great largeness of heart to Solomon to prepare them to be kings (I Sam 10:9; I Kings 4:29). But He gave Nebuchadnezzar a beast’s heart for seven years to humble him, and He did not even ask the poor king’s permission to do it (Dan 4:16-17)!

Whether Adolph Hitler, President Obama, or Vladimir Putin, it does not matter – the LORD controls their hearts. You should pray for them. If under their rule, you can submit to their laws (unless against God’s laws). You can rest in your Heavenly Father’s loving but mighty arms, for they cannot touch you without His permission (Ps 105:14-15).

Dear reader, be thankful the LORD is sovereign over the human heart, because if he had not changed your heart, you would be slobbering to a totem pole somewhere (Is 44:9-20). He changed Lydia’s heart to pay close attention to Paul’s preaching (Acts 16:14). Give God the glory, and ask Him to continue to change your heart (I Kings 8:58; Psalm 51:10; 119:32,36; 141:4; Isaiah 63:17; Philippians 2:13; II Tim 2:24-26; Hebrews 13:21). Amen.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 21:19  Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.

Young man! Being single is bad, and you are frustrated and lonely, but marrying an odious woman is worse. Save yourself! Marrying a difficult woman can give you more grief than you can imagine. Do not get near a woman that likes to debate or has a temper.

The Bible is not just theology. God created women and ordered how they should behave, and Solomon had seen and felt the pain of bad wives, so they warned you often to avoid certain women (Pr 12:4; 14:1; 19:13; 21:9,19; 25:24; 27:15-16; 30:21-23; 31:10-12).

Solomon knew what he wrote about. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (second-class wives). The grief of a contentious and angry wife for one day can cure a man of desiring marriage. Solomon had 1000 women! God inspired this expert to give you marriage advice: do not marry a disagreeable woman. Marriage can be worse than being single.

Young man! Do you like camping in a hut in the woods by yourself? If you do not, you are normal. Most men would dread such a lonely situation. But remember, such camping is better than living in a fine home with luxurious furnishings and fare, if the woman in that house with you is a critical, negative, overbearing, tense, or easily-irritated woman.

What is a contentious woman? One that likes to contend – who likes to argue, criticize, disagree, fight, oppose, or question. She is full of questions, reminders, and suggestions – all to help, of course. Rather than dote on you, she will nag; rather than sweetly agree, she will question and suggest alternatives – until you wish you were single in the woods.

What is an angry woman? She cannot rule her spirit and likes to fight. She is easily angered, dissatisfied, irritated, negative, or resentful. She can find something negative about any event, and she frets and talks most about that. She is not satisfied. She is hardly ever content, seldom your sweet lover, but always irritated and stressed about something.

Young man! These odious women – hateful and repulsive – will deceive you (Pr 30:21-23). They will lure you into marriage, and then it is too late. Solomon warned that they can appear nice when courting and dating, but then the marriage trap shuts on your neck. You need to be very wise by knowing both positive and negative traits to measure.

Remember the rule of ten. Any hint of a difficult or overbearing spirit before marriage will be ten times worse afterward. Test her. Ask her to do something she dislikes. If you see her face fall, detect negative body language, or even smell irritation, run for the woods. Be single for life rather than married to her. Let her be single until she grows up.

No wonder the apostles responded the way they did when Jesus taught His strict rules about divorce. In light of little room for divorce, it would be better not to marry. They were afraid of getting trapped in a marriage with a contentious and angry woman. Young men should consider the grave seriousness of marriage and carefully examine a prospect.

There are many agreeable, cheerful, gracious, submissive, sweet, and reverent women. They can make you feel like a king in seconds, and marriage to them is royal bliss. They are warm, kind, charming, and pleasant. They have no harsh or rough edges. Reject any woman that is even slightly critical, moody, opinionated, or questioning. She does not deserve a husband. You do not deserve such pain. You deserve a real woman. Find one.

The odious woman cannot smell herself. She thinks she is helpful by prodding, asking questions, stressing over details, giving reminders, expecting perfection, or disliking a choice. If you were to ask her, she would say she is a good woman and wife. If you were to ask her mother, she would praise her as well (Ezek 16:44). But all others must hold their noses at the smell her husband cannot hide to his own shame (Pr 27:15-16)!

Here is the first rule to save you. Only consider or date a girl or woman that has an independent fear of God. Do not be influenced by her looks or kindness (Pr 31:30). This girl or woman loves God and will live by the Bible in every part of her life with or without your help. She loves Jesus Christ, godly living, hard preaching, and hates worldliness. She will treat you for her entire life the way the Bible tells her. You win!

Here is the second rule to save you. Learn the character traits of godly women from the Bible and expect all of them. Look for extreme diligence or hard work (Pr 31:13-27). Look for graciousness, especially in speech (Pr 11:16). Look for great respect to her parents (Eph 6:1-3). Look for love and kindness to others without any critical edges (I Cor 13:4-7). Look for a forgiving spirit that overlooks the faults of others (Col 3:12-15).

Young man! Your future is at stake. Learn the warnings in these proverbs about odious women. Believe them. Fear the pain of marriage to such a creature. Be prudent. Test a prospect, and watch her reaction closely. Is her mother a charming, desirable, and gracious woman, or not? Ask married men their opinions, for their sense of smell is finely tuned. Do not rush to marriage. Never take a chance with a fifty-year, horrible fate!

Christian girl or woman! Learn to love your place and role in the world – you were made for a husband (Gen 2:18; I Cor 11:9; I Tim 2:13). Get rid of your own opinions, for your desires are to be your husband’s (Gen 3:16). Learn and maximize graciousness, and you will always be loved (Pr 11:16). Learn the wisdom of Abigail (I Sam 25:21-35). Godly women do not contend with their husbands; they submit, obey, and reverence them (Eph 5:22-24,33; Tit 2:3-5). Godly women are not irritable or negative (Pr 31:26; I Pet 3:1-4).

Christian parent! It is your duty to train your children from Solomon’s proverbs to learn wisdom for great marriages and great families. Boys should be taught and shown by clear examples the differences between a gracious woman and an odious woman, so they will know what kind to marry. Girls should be shown and taught the same differences and required to live the godly way, so that some noble prince of a Christian man will want to marry them. Lead and rule their marital decisions in light of this wisdom for their profit.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 21:20 – In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

This proverb is about saving for the future. Easy credit has many people living on the edge of bankruptcy. The desire to keep up and to accumulate more pushes them to spend every penny they earn, and they stretch their credit to the limit. But anyone who spends all he has is spending more than he can afford. A wise person puts money aside for when he or she may have less. God approves of foresight and restraint. God’s people need to examine their lifestyles to see whether their spending is God-pleasing or merely self-pleasing.

Under Gods Command
More than Conquerors

Romans 8 37-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord

Powers are unseen forces of evil in the universe, forces like Satan and his fallen angels.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

These who are not “flesh and blood” are demons over whom Satan has control. They are not mere fantasies-they are very real, we face a powerful army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, these beings become our enemies, and they try every device to turn us away from him and back to sin. Although we are assured of victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ returns, because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord’s side. We need supernatural power to defeat Satan, and God has provided this by giving us his Holy Spirit within us and his armor surrounding us.

Lets Bring it Home: If you feel discouraged, remember Jesus words to Peter. “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18)
In Christ we are super-conquerors, and his love will protect us form any such forces.

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 20:01 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise

How does wine mock? How does strong drink rage? How do they deceive men? Solomon used powerful figures of speech to warn against excessive drinking and drunkenness.

Wine is good. God made it to cheer man (Ps 104:14-15; Jdgs 9:13; Zec 9:17). A simple, quick test of a person’s knowledge of God and the Bible is his opinion of wine. Cheers!

But to avoid being a deceived fool, you must reject ever drinking too much. Just as eating too much is the sin of gluttony, drinking too much is the sin of drunkenness (Pr 23:21).

To be wise, you must be careful with anything that can shame you or enflame passions. If you arrogantly presume you can handle alcohol without discipline or limits, you are a fool. Kings, prophets, and preachers are extra careful (Pr 31:4-5; Is 28:7-8; I Tim 5:23).

Does this proverb condemn moderate use of wine or strong drink? God forbid! He made both for your pleasure (Deut 14:26; Pr 31:6-7; Eccl 9:7). The Bible’s beverage of choice is wine (Gen 14:18; II Sam 6:19; Ecc 10:19; John 2:1-11), but it was not to be used to the excess of drunkenness (Eph 5:18; Luke 21:34). Jesus often drank wine (Luke 7:33-35).

The proverb has two key metonyms. Metonymy is a figure of speech that substitutes one thing for another. It adds beauty and force to language. The Bible is full of metonymy and other figures of speech, so that superficial readings and primary definitions are often ludicrous, especially of proverbs (Pr 1:6). Fully grasp these common examples:

1. “Step on the gas” substitutes gas for the accelerator pedal. No one is expected to step in a puddle of gasoline. The meaning is only for the driver to speed up the car.
2. “He really used his head” substitutes the location of thinking for the brain. No one thinks he banged his skull. The intent is only that he intelligently solved a problem.
3. “The White House announced” substitutes the place where he lives for the President. No one believes his residence actually spoke, for it is a permanently inanimate object. The meaning is only that the President gave new information to the public.

Examine the first clause, “Wine is a mocker.” Wine is the fermented, alcoholic juice of the grape, and to mock someone is to ridicule or make a fool of him. Wine will stay in a bottle or glass very quietly. It does not do anything rude by itself. It can remain in a wine cellar for many years without ridiculing or shaming anyone. How is wine a mocker?

Wine is not a mocker itself. Wine is a metonym for drunkenness. The figure of speech substitutes a cause for the effect. The Bible says the tongue is a world of iniquity (Jas 3:6). How so? A tongue is only a muscle in your mouth. But the wrongful use of the tongue is sinful! Again, as in this category of metonymy, a cause is put for the effect.

Wine will mock you, if you drink too much of it (Pr 23:29-35). Excessive drinking can make you drunk, losing moral inhibitions, personal self-control, or even basic motor skills. Then you will make a fool of yourself. Though having the best of intentions for wisdom, you will make a joke of your own reputation. Consider what it did to Noah (Gen 9:21), Lot (Gen 19:31-36), Nabal (I Sam 25:36-38), and Elah (I Kgs 16:8-10).

God and Solomon want you to be great. Wine is a wonderful relaxer that cheers and gladdens, but too much can temporarily impair your abilities and potentially harm your reputation. You must set limits to drinking so that you always maintain noble control of yourself. Rules for wine are no different than rules for things like food, sex, sleep, etc.

Examine the second clause, “Strong drink is raging.” Strong drink is a beverage from the fermentation or distillation of various substances, and rage is an outburst of violent anger. Happily for grocers and restaurant owners, beer and whiskey will stay in bottles without fighting, even for years, even on the same shelf! How does strong drink rage?

Strong drink does not rage itself. Strong drink is a metonym for drunkenness. The figure of speech substitutes cause for effect. The Bible says the rod gives wisdom (Pr 29:15). How? A rod is a short stick of wood. It will not move from where you leave it; it knows nothing; it cannot teach. How does it give wisdom? Prudently used for corporal punishment will teach! Again, in this category of metonymy, a cause is put for the effect.

Strong drink can lead to rage, if you drink too much. Excessive drinking will make you drunk, and you may fight for no reason. The loss of inhibitions can cause you to lose your temper and ignore consequences of yelling or fighting. The tongue is loosened first, then the anger, and then the fists. Stories of barroom brawls are Legion. The proverb is true!

If you drink without sober fear for these dangers of alcohol, you are a fool. Drunkenness can creep up on you and relax you into its warm folly before you realize. No wise man will drink without definite limits and conscious care to avoid drunkenness. He is committed to prudent conduct, which does not allow for even small amounts of folly (Eccl 10:1), so he will not risk his reputation by even getting close to drunkenness.

Be wise! The solution is not the lie of the Temperance Movement – total abstinence and Amendment XVIII to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Thankfully, that amendment was repealed in 1933 with the XXI, so Christians could again enjoy God’s gift. If prohibition is wise, then bread and milk should be despised and outlawed for their roles in gluttony!

Temperance is not abstinence; temperance is self-discipline, a key rule of the Christian’s life (I Cor 9:24-27; Phil 4:5). It is a shame to hear ignorant Christians haughtily condemn beer and wine, while glutting themselves to obesity at a cheap buffet! Solomon’s Proverbs will teach wisdom to those that will humble their hearts and minds to scripture.

A man committed to living a holy and virtuous life for the glory of God will be careful and fearful with wine and strong drink, just as he will with pizza and pies, and just as he will with sex, sleep, and speech. He does not want to sin in any area of life. And leaders are to exemplify this conservative regard for holiness, whom God has put under stricter rules for wine due to their need for wise judgment (Pr 31:4-5; I Tim 3:3,8; Tit 1:7).

Jesus was called a winebibber, or a drunkard, by his enemies (Luke 7:33-35), but He was never drunk. He often drank wine, and He even made much wine for a wedding, but He was always moderate and temperate in its use. He was the epitome of righteous sobriety. He always did those things that pleased His Father, and drunkenness does not please God (John 8:29; Gal 5:16-21). Remember, there are no drunkards in heaven (I Cor 6:9-10).

Rather than rely only on wine for its gladdening effect, He found His greatest joy and pleasure in walking with God through the Holy Spirit. Paul taught you to seek the same balance, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). What will such men do? Rather than the songs of the drunkard, they will have a melody in their hearts for singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19)!