Posts Tagged ‘neighbor’

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:18 As a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows.

What a wild and dangerous man! Handcuff him! Lock him up! There is a simile here, indicated by the word “as.” What kind of person resembles this crazy mad man? A man wildly throwing firebrands, arrows, and death? Anyone who deceives his neighbor and uses a jesting cover-up of his evil intentions is just like this mad man (Pr 26:19).

Imagine an insane man, like the devil-possessed Gadarene (Mark 5:1-13). He is naked, powerful, savagely wild, masochistically violent, untamed, and living among the dead. Now imagine him on your property. Imagine him in your house. In your business. Solomon created this picture of a neighbor who deceives you and lightly excuses it.

Wicked men think their actions are not very harmful. So Solomon described them in terms to get your attention and rightly classify their actions. Neighbors, due to close proximity to one another, must trust each other. They should be able to trust each other at all times. But a deceitful and ambitious neighbor is comparable to this wild enemy.

What is the lesson? Deceiving those who trust you is a horrible sin and crime. Neighbors, employers, and others trust your integrity. You live close enough to take advantage of them, so they must trust your integrity not to use that nearness against them. It is your duty as a Christian to live honestly with all men, but especially those nearest to you.

What else can you learn? Covering and excusing sin by lightly claiming it was just a joke reveals an extremely profane character. Such persons have no conscience; they laugh at sin; they do not comprehend the pain their deception causes others. You can oppose this folly by keeping a sober and serious approach to all relationships, especially neighbors.

What else can you learn? Only fools joke about sin (Pr 10:23; 14:9; 15:21). Sin is a horrible thing – it defies your Creator God, hurts your fellow man, is inconvenient for profitable relationships, and leads to eternal punishment. Only hopeless scorners and rebels laugh and jest about sin. Sin is to be avoided, hated, and repented of.

What else can you learn? God hates foolish talking and jesting. He will destroy the world for these heinous sins. He lists foolish talking and jesting with fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, three other abominable sins (Eph 5:3-7). And he describes foolish talking and jesting as He does sodomy – both are not convenient (Eph 5:4 cp Rom 1:28).

These wicked men, like an insane man hurling fire, arrows, and death, can show up even in Jesus Christ’s churches (II Pet 2:13; Pr 6:19; Gal 5:15). Therefore, it is your solemn duty to identify them and stop them in their tracks, for such conduct is destructive to the peace and prosperity of the body. Lord, save your people from such sins and sinners!

Under Gods Command                                  

Proverbs 3:29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.

Those closest to you deserve the most from you. Yet men often treat family or friends more harshly than strangers. The more people trust you, the more you owe them. The more vulnerable a person becomes to you, the greater obligation you have to honor and protect him. You know more about your neighbors than others in your life, but this privilege brings the duty to protect rather than an opportunity to defraud. Beware!

Who is your neighbor? While lawyers quibble about words and wish to reduce this noun to a few friends (Luke 10:25-29), Solomon’s son Jesus Christ expanded it to anyone God places in your life (Luke 10:30-37). It includes your parents or a spouse to colleagues at work or a stranger you happen to sit beside on an airplane or bus. Of course, it also includes those who live next door, but it includes many more than those as well.

It is easy to discover the assets, faults, habits, and weaknesses of those closest to you. Your proximity to their activities and their trust in you combine to make them vulnerable to any lust on your part. God and Solomon, knowing this reality of relationships, warned against any wicked ambitions or defrauding by these advantages. Godly men are scrupulously honest with neighbors, and they are exceptionally protective of them.

Cain slew his trusting brother. Jacob’s sons deceived and murdered Shechem, and then they sold Joseph into slavery. King Saul tried to murder David as he played for him. Joab slew the trusting Abner and Amasa. Judas knew the Lord’s habits, and he used them to earn a few coins by betraying Him to a murderous mob. The sin of this proverb is the cruelest form of personal malice (Ps 41:9; 55:12-15; Matt 26:46-50; John 13:21).

Do you exploit or protect knowledge of colleagues at work? Does the nearness of your neighbor’s wife make him more or less vulnerable to you? Do you exploit or protect gullible classmates? Can any sitting near you anywhere trust you with their belongings? Do you always have fellow church members’ best interests at heart in any interaction? When someone confides in you, is that information strictly off-limits to anyone else?

The sin can also be found at home. Abuse or neglect of spouses is treachery, for marriage exposes everything to another, and marriage is based on assumed loyalty and faithfulness (Mal 2:10-16). Never compare your wife to another woman! Never defraud or demean the man in your bed! Private events of a family at home should never be shared outside the home, for family members assume they are fully secure at home. Only the cruel without a conscience share such private information to promote or protect themselves.

Are all around you fully secure in their relationship with you and in relating things to you? Can your neighbor trust you with a key to his house and cars? Do church members know they can trust you with the intimate details of their lives? Or do they know your evil heart could be tempted to exploit their weakness for your own advantage or to share it with others? Always protect others. Let this proverb warn you. Learn godliness today.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 6:1-5 My son, if you have put security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, If you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

 These verses are not a plea against generosity, but against overextending one’s financial resources and acting in irresponsible ways that could lead to poverty. It is important to maintain a balance between generosity and good stewardship. God wants us to help our friends and the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make. We should also act responsibly so that our families do not suffer.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” when you now have it with you.

Delaying to do good is inconsiderate and unfair whether it is repaying a loan, returning a tool, or fulfilling a promise. Withholding destroys trust and creates a great inconvenience. Be as eager to do good as you are to have good done to you.

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.