Archive for the ‘Proverbs 28’ Category

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:26 – He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.    

For many people, the rugged individualist is a hero. We admire the bold, self-directed men and women who know what they want and fight for it. They are self-reliant, neither giving nor asking advice. What a contrast to God’s way. A person can’t know the future and can’t predict the consequences of his or her choices with certainty. And so the totally self-reliant person is doomed to failure. The wise person depends on God.

You are your own worst enemy. You have inside you a voice that is dearer than the voice of God or any angel or man. This voice can comfort and convince you against any teaching or warning. This voice is with you twenty-four hours a day, and it always tells you what you want to hear and believe. It helps you make most decisions. You are a fool!

Your heart has a strong opinion on most any topic, whether you know anything about that topic or not. Your heart reacts in an instant against criticism or reproofs, and it controls you with passionate desire for something it wants. Your heart can lull you to sleep about matters it says are unimportant, and it can keep you from sleeping out of envy or hate.

Solomon used heart in this proverb as a metonym for your affections, inclinations, and thoughts. It is your internal set of desires and needs that affects your decision-making. This is not your conscience. This is your anti-conscience! This is the set of passions that drives most men and women. God has spoken about your heart. He said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9).

If you listen to your heart, you are a fool! If you follow your heart, you are a fool! If you make decisions even partially influenced by your heart, you are a fool! You are submitting to the most deceitful, depraved, and dangerous source of information on earth. Your heart has gotten you into more trouble in the past than all your enemies combined. You are your own worst enemy. Wisdom is the power to choose truth against your heart.

Adam died in the Garden of Eden the day he ate the forbidden fruit, according to God’s promise and warning (Gen 2:17; 3:6-8). Since he physically died 930 years later, what happened to him the day he took the fruit from Eve and ate it (Gen 5:5)? What died? Not his intellect. He was as intelligent after sin as before sin. Not his power of observation. He could perceive naturally as well after sin as before sin. He was still mentally sane.

But his affections for God and spiritual inclinations died. He was then morally corrupted without any desire to seek God, please God, or obey God. Rather than beg for forgiveness, he made aprons of fig leaves. Rather than repent, he hid in the garden. Rather than confess his sin, he blamed God and Eve for the mess. He was now motivated by selfish impulses that were dead toward God and others (Ps 14:1-3; Rom 3:9-18).

Adam became totally depraved, as theologians call it. Though his brain still functioned intelligently with logical connections based on observations and perceived consequences, his affections and desires were totally different – they were anti-God, anti-truth, anti-wisdom. He hated God and godliness; he loved all the sinful lusts of body and mind now in him. He was now an eager follower of the devil – spiritually dead in sins (Eph 2:1-3).

You were conceived and born this way – dead in sins, hating God, loving the world, obeying the devil, and fulfilling your lusts in every choice. This is the reality of humanity. This is the truth about all men and women, boys and girls. Without a second birth, one by the Spirit of God, they remain in this state of spiritual death and enmity against God. You must be regenerated by God with a new spiritual life to do any good.

Any doctrine of salvation must deal with this fact. Evangelism must deal with this fact. There are no means to influence a person in this dead condition (John 8:43-47; Rom 8:7-8; I Cor 2:14; Luke 16:31). He or she must be given life first; they must be born again first; they must be regenerated before they can or will believe (John 1:13; 3:8; 5:24; 6:44,63; 17:3; Acts 16:14; I Cor 1:18,22-24). Any other doctrine of salvation is false.

Today it is totally acceptable to trust and follow your heart. In fact, you are taught that your heart can decide what is right for you. One man will leave a church and say, “I did not feel right in my heart there.” A man will leave his wife and children for a younger woman, saying, “My heart was not in my marriage any longer.” A man will quit his job and become a homeless loafer by saying, “I am going to follow my heart.” All are fools!

The primary method of teaching today, even at the university level, is to trust your heart. After the professor presents several contradictory views of capital punishment, he asks the bright-eyed little students, “What do you think?” This is not teaching! This is corrupting youth by flattering the idiocy and pride of their hearts. This is conditioning them to think that their opinions are worth considering. This leads to hating anyone that criticizes or opposes them, especially a Bible preacher without a university degree!

Teenagers defy parents because their wicked hearts tell them they are right and their parents are wrong. Adulterers pursue other women because their profane hearts tell them they deserve it and no one will be hurt. The self-righteous leave a church because their hearts tell them their pastor had no right to criticize them like that. Pornography addicts justify another look based on their hearts excusing such an innocent thing.

Where does following your heart lead? To destruction, which is understood in this proverb by comparison to the parallel clause. Fools will be hurt and punished, for their decisions are based on the feelings, lusts, and arrogance of their own hearts. What felt so good in the beginning becomes painfully destructive in the end (Pr 14:12; 16:2,25; 21:2). But the wise man, who follows God’s wisdom rather than his heart’s lies, will be saved.

True wisdom is learning to mistrust your heart, reject its voice, and make all decisions on the basis of absolute and objective truth. Where is the source for such fabulous decision-making? In the inspired words of the living God recorded in the Bible. It is by learning God’s words and training yourself to make decisions based on them that you can be wise and saved from the deceitful impulses of your depraved heart (Ps 19:7; 119:130).

The purpose for ministers is to make war against your heart. They are to cast down all your imaginations and thoughts and bring them into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ (II Cor 10:4-6). You do not have a right to your thoughts; you have a responsibility to right thoughts! But most contemporary Christians are obsessed with their hearts and thoughts. They measure everything by how well it matches up with their hearts. Fools!

How wise are you, reader? Ready for a test? Whom do you have a grudge against? Is it right in the light of God’s word? If not, what will you do about it? If you are a Christian woman, do you always dress in modest apparel with discreet accessories and conservative makeup? If not, what will you do about it? The degree of your wisdom is the degree to which you can crush your heart to submit to the words of God in the Bible.

If you learn to walk wisely by the directions of God’s commandments, He will deliver you from all the pitfalls and obstacles that clobber and confuse your heart-following neighbors. If you will trust Him and not lean toward your own understanding, He will direct your paths in good ways. Your future happiness, prosperity, and success depend on your efforts to hate your vain thoughts and love the truth of His words (Ps 119:113,128).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:25  A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trust in the LORD will prosper.

Pride causes fighting, but faith brings prosperity. Here are two rules of wisdom – one saves you from conflicts and disagreements, and the other brings blessing and success. These are opposites: proud men do not trust the LORD, and those who have faith in the LORD are not proud. You cannot be both. Are you a proud man or a man of faith?

A man with a proud heart will always be in conflicts – with most everyone at different times. Pride will not let matters drop, for he must avenge himself. Until he feels he has got the last word or act in on a disagreement, he will continue to push, fight, and disagree. Pride will not overlook minor offences; pride will not admit error or ignorance.

Pride will not easily forgive those who seek it; pride will not easily say, “I am sorry”; pride does not want to be corrected, and it resents those who make an attempt to do it. Pride resents the advantages of others, and it seeks to grab whatever honor or position is at stake. Pride does not have sympathetic appreciation for the pain of others.

When a person has pride in his heart, he will not have peaceful relationships with others. A proud husband will not forgive his wife for her minor failures. A proud wife will not submit and obey the husband she chose to be her leader. Proud children will not honor and obey parents in rules that encroach on their freedom or pleasure. Proud employees resent difficult assignments; proud church members resent pastoral rebukes.

Humility can end any conflict by giving in and seeking peace. When a person is at peace with God and themselves, they can overlook the offences of others, they can forgive easily, and they can take correction. They know they are not important, so they do not continue fighting. Submitting and seeking peace is more important than winning the day.

There is another way to live than by pride. Wise men, godly men, put their trust in the LORD. They do not have to protect themselves – the LORD will protect them. They do not have to resent correction, oppose others, and fight to get ahead. The LORD rewards their faith by blessing them by His power. The humble man who trusts the LORD will always outstrip the proud man who puts his confidence in himself. Always!

Fat is good, when it means God’s blessings of peace and prosperity. And the man who believes God will take care of him, without any fighting on his part, will become fat. He will have the blessing and protection of the LORD on his side. He will enjoy peace and safety, while the LORD rewards him for laying down his pride and trusting Him alone.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them. 

The best way to oppose the wicked philosophies and lifestyles of this generation is a righteous life. You can make a strong statement and powerful illustration for truth and wisdom by your actions. You need not even open your mouth to argue for godliness.

If you compromise God’s commandments in your life, you commend and endorse the wicked by agreeing with them against God. Instead of commending the wicked by folly yourself, exalt righteousness and condemn sinners by showing the virtues of godliness.

It is easy to criticize the profane opinions and conduct of a God-hating society. The folly of sinners is visible everywhere. But words are cheap, and words are also very hollow, if you compromise truth in your own life. Can you identify this partiality as hypocrisy?

Many sinners justify their disregard for God, religion, or righteousness by the hypocrisy of others. While this excuse will be rejected by Jesus Christ in the great Day of Judgment, nonetheless it points out the damage and danger of believers living carnal lives.

If wicked persons see compromise or inconsistency in your life, they will be strengthened in their folly and rebellion. They will be comforted that you are not much different from them, so they will continue on in their evil course without any check of conscience.

True Christians are a very small minority, so Jesus called them the salt of the earth and light of the world (Mat 5:13-16). If you compromise, you lose your saltiness and are good for nothing. If your light does not shine brightly, you contribute to the world’s darkness.

Sin is sin. Breaking one command is to be guilty of all (Jas 2:10). If you ridicule sodomy, but fantasize about adultery or defraud your spouse of frequent sex, you are as wicked as the sodomite, and you are a hypocrite (Jas 2:11-13). God will judge such hypocrisy.

Keeping the law contends with the wicked – it fights and opposes them. But forsaking the law praises the wicked. If you cheat and compromise God’s holy standard of righteousness, you praise sinners by your choice to break God’s law just like they do.

Rather than picketing an abortion clinic, love and train your children by God’s Word. A loving family with godly and obedient children in public will say more against abortion than any discussion with the mindless murderers entering the baby-killing facility.

Upset about the high divorce rate in America? Then keep a perfect marriage. Divorce is just one aspect of a dysfunctional marriage; there are many more. Where are you compromising in your marriage? Have you examined it by the light of Holy Scripture?

Angry about the rebellious youth today? Make sure you drive the speed limit to respect civil authority, outwork your colleagues to respect business authority, submit to your husband to respect marital authority, and obey your pastor to respect religious authority.

Sick of hearing about evolution? Live like you know the Creator! Live like you were made for His glory, and He has the right to dictate the terms of your life. Glorify Him in all you do, and speak of Him as your Maker. You can condemn evolution this easy way.

Carnal Christianity is the norm today. It is loving pleasure more than God and having a form of godliness without any authority. Condemn these compromisers by loving God more than pleasure and exalting His authority in your life more than church services.

Christian reader, godly living in every part of your life beautifies the gospel (Tit 2:1,10; Phil 1:27) and protects it from the accusations of the wicked (I Tim 5:14; 6:1; I Pet 2:12). Your goal is to be a blameless and harmless son of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation and to be a light in the world for the glory of God (Phil 2:15; Matt 5:16).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:21 To show partiality is not good- yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread.

A virtuous man is always fair. He exercises righteous judgment and avoids corrupting justice or truth. But a foolish and wicked man will show partiality, when the compromise can benefit him. This weak character makes a man vulnerable to even small temptations.

Warnings against financial haste surround this proverb. Diligent labor works, but vain ideas of quick riches lead to poverty (Pr 28:19). A faithful man works diligently and is blessed; a greedy man cheats for riches and is judged (Pr 28:20). Greed for riches, rejecting diligent labor, leads men to evil ideas, which bring them to poverty (Pr 28:22).

The Bible warns repeatedly against respect of persons – corrupting judgment for family, friends, the rich, the poor, or those who can benefit you. True equity and righteous judgment never consider the persons involved, but look only to the facts and justice of the case. God condemns this form of hypocrisy and compromise in many places (Pr 18:5; Ex 23:2,8; Deut 1:17; 16:19; II Chr 19:7; Jas 2:1-10). See the comments on Proverbs 17:23.

Solomon declared elsewhere, “It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment” (Pr 24:23). And the LORD God declared through Moses, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour” (Lev 19:15).

All men have special friends, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who loved and favored John (John 13:23). Preferences do exist among men, which we can even read about in the best of men (Gen 37:3; I Sam 18:1; Phil 2:19-23). But any such affection or bias cannot ever enter into their judgment of the merits of a case. They must see truth and justice only.

A man at first might require a considerable bribe to cheat justice and compromise his ruling, for his inhibitions against corruption keep him from considering a lesser price. But once he has seared his conscience, it is much easier the next time. Soon he is reduced to violating truth for the mere proverbial piece of bread – hardly anything at all. He has set a terrible personal precedent and brought his evil heart into motion. He is likely ruined.

Reader, consider your own partiality. Do you mistrust a teacher criticizing your child due to your sentimental affection for the child? Are you more gracious and serving to successful church members than to others? Are you more merciful overlooking the faults of friends than enemies? Do you apply company policy equally to friend and foe in the workplace? Are you perfectly consistent in your treatment of each of your children?

Jesus Christ’s ministers are gravely warned against preference and partiality in the decisions and judgment of the church (I Tim 5:21). For it is a mark of the profane reprobate that admires and promotes the more advantaged in the church (Jude 1:16). Thus they must be men that are not given to filthy lucre. Let every man of God take heed!

Respect of persons cannot be mingled with the religion of Jesus Christ (Jas 2:1), for it is totally incompatible with the perfect integrity of Jesus Christ and His true saints. Even the enemies of Jesus Christ knew He was impeccably virtuous in this matter (Matt 22:16). Respect of persons is also a practical shame, for those kinds of men that are a temptation for Christians to favor are often the enemies of the gospel (Jas 2:2-10).

This proverb teaches you the great importance of justice, truth, and righteousness. A godly man will settle his heart and make up his mind that he will always say and do what is right, no matter the consequences or influences of his family, friends, or colleagues. This principle of godliness should be instilled in children very young and then enforced.

This proverb also teaches the danger of precedent, deceitfulness of sin, and damage to conscience. Once you compromise your convictions, it is easier to do so again. When you have done it several times, you will have a crowd of evil men expecting even more from you for less reward. You will be trapped by your sin and reduced to a helpless puppet.

What is the cure? Isaiah gave it: “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Is 8:13). Exalt God and His love of righteousness as high as you should, and fear doing anything to ever offend Him. Do not fear them that might kill the body; have no desire for ungodly gain of any kind (Luke 12:4-5; Ex 18:21-22). Put your trust in the LORD, and you will be both safe and fed (Pr 29:25; Ps 37:3).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble

Are you happy? Are you as happy as you could be? When God and Solomon mention happiness, you should listen! Here is a rule for life from the wisest king about happiness. Those who have tried both sides of this proverb know it is perfectly true. Be happy today!

All men want to be happy and avoid trouble, and here is how. You need a relationship with your Creator. Without Him, you are a lost speck in the universe. If you always fear God, you will be happy. But if you rebel against Him, your life will fill with trouble. May Almighty God of the Bible bless you with grace and strength to fear Him starting today.

Is it the fear of God here? Yes, for that is the theme of Proverbs (Pr 1:7); it is the whole duty of man (Ec 12:13); no other fear brings happiness (Pr 29:25); it is the opposite of hardening your heart (Is 63:17); mischief results from not having it (Ps 36:1-2); and it properly follows the confession of sins to God necessary for prosperity (Pr 28:13).

How often or for how long should you fear God? You should always fear Him, even when you are not happy. The LORD may withdraw temporarily from a God-fearing man, like Job, thus reducing his happiness; but He will return with additional blessings in the end, like Job as well. Your happiness and success depend on always fearing God.

What is the fear of God? It is to love God. Everything you do should be for His glory (I Cor 10:31). You should guard your life carefully, lest you break His commandments and displease Him. You should circumspectly examine every thought, word, deed, and plan. You should ask, Is this choice agreeable to Him? Will this activity bring Him pleasure?

Can happiness and fear coexist? Yes, for fearing God is a reverent desire to please Him by keeping His commandments and hating sin. There is no pain or torment in this fear. This is fear that hopes in God’s mercy (Ps 147:11) and rejoices with trembling (Ps 2:11). This is fear compatible with coming boldly to His throne of grace for help (Heb 4:12-16).

Fear that caused Adam to hide among Eden’s trees was the ungodly fear of guilt and rebellion. The fear of a child of God is like a child’s fear of a loving father. It is a strong desire to please and a powerful check on disobedience, but it also includes affection, trust, and security (Pr 16:20). Knowing God correctly casts out painful fear (I John 4:18).

Your fear of God should cause you to mistrust yourself, for self-confidence leads to sin and mischief (I Cor 10:12). Wise men do not trust themselves, but learn to despise their hearts as their most dangerous enemy (Jer 17:9). Peter’s confidence in his own strength and courage before denying Jesus Christ should humble you to beg for help and strength.

Since God’s commandments are life and prosperity themselves (Pr 3:1-2) and keeping them brings His favor and blessing (Ps 147:11), these two factors produce human happiness. Keeping the rules for success and having God prosper your life is a wonderful combination. Rejecting His commandments is to choose folly and death and bring His judgment. Do not deceive yourself – for you will certainly reap what you sow (Gal 6:7).

If you want to love life and enjoy many good days, then fear the Lord and depart from evil (Ps 34:12-16; I Pet 3:10-12). Men pay large fees for counsel and therapy to be happy, yet here is the perfect explanation from your Creator. And it was written by the man who experimented with every purpose and pleasure known to man. His conclusion here is the same as he concluded at the end of his philosophical and practical research (Eccl 12:13).

Read Psalm 112:1-10 or Psalm 128:1-6. See if there is prosperity in fearing God. What more could you want? Of course, Hollywood will try to sell you its version of happiness, but wise persons see past the bright lights, moving soundtracks, and lying content to the divorces, drugs, drunkenness, disease, and dysfunction that haunt its so-called stars.

If you stubbornly refuse God’s way, you will bring on yourself His severe judgment (Pr 29:1; 1:24-32; 6:12-15; 28:18). The way of transgressors is hard (Pr 13:15; 4:19; 19:16; 22:5). Lot and Saul compromised God’s commands, and they both lived miserable lives that ended in horrible disgrace, quite unimaginable a few years earlier. What a contrast between Abraham and Lot! What a contrast between Saul and David! What a waste!

Fearing God is not a light matter. It is life or death. It is happiness or trouble. It involves eternity. Only fools treat God’s things lightly, and they will reap the reward of their folly. Only fools take confidence in outward religious rituals, for God will destroy the hypocrite (Job 20:4-9). Wise men will pass the time of their sojourning here in fear (I Pet 1:17).

Where have you hardened your heart against God? What does He require that you do not want to give? Do you stubbornly resist the teaching of His pastors? Have you examined yourself today? Is your entire life grounded in the fear of the Lord? Where are you compromising His public worship? Where are you compromising your private life? Have you confessed and rejected your secret sins? Do you search to see if they are all gone?

If you presume to think you can get away with rebellion, if you think you can have peace in disobedience, He will furiously bring curses on your shameful life and blot out your name (Deut 29:18-20). Be sure your sin will find you out! Kiss the Son! This is not the happiness or disappointment you may encounter on a trip – this is life and eternity!

Jesus Christ feared God His Father always and did those things that pleased Him (Heb 5:7), and He is forever seated on His throne in heaven enjoying fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore (Ps 16:11). You may be there soon as well, if you give diligence to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13; II Pet 1:10-11).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.         

God want us to identify with the needy, not ignore then.  The second part of this proverb could be restated positively.  “Those who open their eyes to poor people will be blessed” If we help others when they are in trouble, they will do what ever they can to return the favor (see 11:24,25).  Paul promises that God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19); he usually does this through other people.  What can you do today to help God supply someone’s need?


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:05 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. 

Because justice is part of God’s character, a person who follows God treats others justly.  The beginning of justice is concern for what is happening to others.  A Christian cannot be indifferent to human suffering because God isn’t.  And we certainly must not contribute to human suffering through selfish business practices or unfair government policies.  Be sure you are more concerned for justice than merely your own interests.  You can’t claim to follow God and ignore your neighbor.