Monday, October 2, 2017, 9:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, I Need You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 29 (Select vv. NASB).
Stiff-Necked and Ensnared
1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
3 A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps.
6 By transgression an evil man is ensnared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices.
Both men and women are born into sin, with sin natures and a natural bent toward doing what is wrong (what is evil in God’s sight). Some of these men and women own up to their own sin, call on God for mercy, and accept our Lord’s plan of salvation for their lives. They rejoice in their salvation. Others don’t. Some of them, in fact, hear the gospel preached, and they know the way of salvation, but they are stiff-necked (obstinate, proud, and stubborn) and they refuse to humble themselves before God in repentance and in submission. So, they continue to go on in their sin despite the rebukes and the warnings against unbelief and/or disobedience and where it will lead them. And, some of these people even make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and believe heaven is their home. And, that is a sad reality, indeed!
Scorners and Haters
8 Scorners set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away anger.
9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.
10 Men of bloodshed hate the blameless,
But the upright are concerned for his life.
11 A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.
When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, and we are transformed in heart and mind, of the Spirit of God, away from sin and to walks of obedience to our Lord, we will face rejection from others who won’t understand us or who will be offended by us. There will be those who will scorn (deride, mock) us for our commitments to Christ, who will think we are a bunch of “holy rollers.” And, many of these may take their hatred and disdain of Christians to the level of physical violence and persecution, even to the death of the saints of God who are holding on to the Word of Truth and to their faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to God and to heaven.
Yet, we must not let these scorners and haters get the best of us. We must keep pressing on, trusting the Lord, doing what he commands, and following him wherever he leads us, even in the face of much persecution and rejection. And, we must love our enemies and those who do evil against us, and be concerned for their lives and for their eternal destiny. And, thus we ought to pray for their salvation, and do good to them, and not return evil with evil. Even though they laugh or rage at us when we speak the truth in love to them, we must not lose our cool, but we must be those who are self-controlled and at peace, because of God’s Spirit living within us.
Reproof and Wisdom
13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases;
But the righteous will see their fall.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also delight your soul.
God is not a respecter of persons (See: Acts 10:34-35; Ro. 2:9-11; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:3-4). He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor or influential or unimportant in the eyes of humans, or if we treat others kindly or if we are big bullies and tyrants. Jesus didn’t die on a cross for our sins because of our righteousness, but because of his. He died on a cross for sinners, and the gospel of our salvation is available for all to listen and to obey. Not one of us can ever be good enough to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We must all come humbly before the throne of grace, repenting of our sin, and turn to faith in Jesus Christ to walk in his righteousness.
Pride and Anger
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
22 An angry man stirs up strife,
And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.
23 A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
25 The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.
We all need to be so careful to not be quick to speak, but to weigh our words carefully. We must not be quick-tempered, either, and we should not allow others to egg us on to anger and to emotional outbursts. But, we must pray, trust the Lord, be patient, and ask the Lord to give us the right words to say or to give us the wisdom to know when to remain silent. And, this will involve humbling ourselves, not letting pride get the best of us. As well, we must know that the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and one of his tactics is to try to get us to lose our cool, so we have to be Holy Spirit controlled, which is also self-controlled, and then let the Spirit lead us.
It is a must that we also not give in to the fear of humans and what they might do to us, or what they might think about us or say about us to others. We have absolutely no control over what others do or say or think anyway, and fretting over it never solves anything. If we allow fear to take hold in our lives, it will only cause us trouble, for we have taken our eyes off Jesus and we are allowing the waves crashing around us to make us afraid. And, when we are afraid we may say and do things we ought not to do or say. So, we should pray, trust the Lord, believe in his sovereignty, and commit our way to the Lord, and let him work it all out for our good and for his glory.
Lord, I Need You
Songwriters: Christy Nockels / Daniel Carson /
Jesse Reeves / Kristian Stanfill / Matt Maher
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness…