We Are an Offense

Proverbs 29:1-3 NASB

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
But when a wicked man rules, people groan.
A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.

The Stiff-Necked

There are many people who know the truth, but who do not live by the truth. They may even be teachers of the Word of God, but they distort the truth in order to justify themselves and their sinful lifestyles. Many of these people not only know the truth, and they not only ignore the truth so that they can go on in their sin, but God has been reproving them for some time, and yet they still ignore him and his reproofs, and they continue to go their own way. It is as though they think they are invincible, but they are not. For, they will reap what they sow, the Bible teaches us (Gal. 6:7-8).

I think this second verse can be true, but it cannot be true, too, depending on the culture, the times we live in, and the society in which we dwell, etc. For, I see the opposite of this to be true in our day and time, at least here in America. The wicked seem to be the ones who are high and lifted up and who receive the praise and adoration of mankind. While the righteous seem to be shunned, mocked, criticized, and thought crazy or out of touch with reality, etc. Even in the church the righteous are often pushed aside while those who continue on in their sinful lifestyles seem to be lifted up.

Not all fathers honor wisdom, integrity, honesty and purity, either. Some fathers have no problems at all if their sons follow after the lusts of their own flesh, and if they commit adultery against their wives, and if they are addicted to porn or to going to prostitutes, etc. And, that is most likely because those fathers are also addicted to following after the lusts of their own flesh.

It seems a rare find these days to find a man who is truly walking in purity, in holiness, in truth, and in faithfulness to God and to spouse. And, I believe that explains a lot as to the spiritual decline of the church in America, too.

Proverbs 29:5-7 NASB

A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps.
By transgression an evil man is ensnared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices.
The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern.

Righteous and Wicked

What is the purpose of flattery? People who hand out false compliments and praise in excess oftentimes do so for their own self-interest, i.e. they are hoping to gain some advantage over the other person or they hope to get something from that person. The motives are selfish, usually, and the praise is insincere. The purpose can be to play upon the vanity of others in order to manipulate them and to persuade them to do something the flatterer wants. Or, the purpose can be to try to trap them or to trip them up, as well.

I am not certain that every person who is righteous in God’s sight, through faith in Jesus Christ, truly is concerned for the rights (needs) of the poor, though. I am not sure, either, that everyone who is walking righteously before God gives much thought to the concerns of the poor, unless they are among the poor themselves. I am also not convinced that every wicked person cares nothing for the poor, for it appears many people of wealth who make no claims to faith in Jesus Christ are quite generous in helping others less fortunate than them.

But, the righteous should care for other people’s needs, and not just their physical needs, but their spiritual needs, too. And, sometimes the wicked or the ungodly put Christians to shame by their charitable acts towards others.

Proverbs 29:9-11 NASB

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.
Men of bloodshed hate the blameless,
But the upright are concerned for his life.
A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.

The Upright are Concerned

There is righteous anger and there is sinful anger, and Jesus set the example for us of righteous anger, as did Paul and Stephen, I believe. For, sometimes strong words are necessary, and it is necessary to speak them with a certain amount of force, yet while still speaking the truth in love.

For, some people who are stiff-necked and hard-hearted and stubborn need to hear the truth said with greater emphasis because of their stubborn wills and their hard hearts, especially if they are ones who have resisted God and his rebukes over and over again. For, they need to understand that God is not going to be patient with them forever, and that he hates their deceptions, and one day they will be judged for their wrongdoing.

For, the upright in heart, who are following Jesus with their lives, are concerned for those who are walking this kind of “tightrope,” who are hoping to not fall off, though their pride will eventually be their downfall. For the upright know the dangers awaiting the hard-headed and the stiff-necked, which is why they care about those who think they are invincible. They even care about those who persecute them without cause, because they want to see even their persecutors set free from their bondage to sin.

Proverbs 29:25-27 NASB

The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.
Many seek the ruler’s favor,
But justice for man comes from the Lord.
An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.

He Who is Upright

Yet, for those of us who are walking by faith in Jesus Christ, according to the Spirit, in purity and holiness, and who are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, we should not fear what our persecutors may do to us or say about us. For fear is the opposite of faith, and fear denies the deity and the sovereignty of God over our lives. For fear gets us focused on our circumstances and it gets our eyes off Jesus. So, we need to put our absolute trust in the Lord, and lay our burdens at his feet and rest in Him.

When we allow fear to take over, we are in danger of putting our trust in humans and the flesh over and above our trust in God. The children of Israel in Old Testament times were known for looking to man’s help and the help of other nations and kings to save them from their enemies while they ignored God’s commands to them, and while they denied him as their only Savior. So, we need to be careful that we don’t do the same, for when we do that, we lack faith in God, and when we do that, we put ourselves at risk because we are trusting in mere humans who are likely to betray us and fail us.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to hate what he hates and love what he loves. Yet, so many who profess the name of Jesus appear to hate what Jesus loves, and love what he hates, because they have bought into the lies which tell them that they need to be one with the world, and that God is ok with them continuing in their sinful practices.

Yet, as followers of Jesus, we should not admire and worship and venerate the wicked and the ungodly while we look down on those and disapprove of those who have truly surrendered their all to Jesus Christ. Instead, we should honor and lift up in prayer those saints who are giving their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ and who are willing to lay it all down for the sake of the name of Jesus and his gospel message and the salvation of human souls. For, truly the wicked are offended by the ways of the upright and they will make it their goal to persecute the righteous and to bring them down.

Seven Woes
An Original Work / May 31, 2012

Based off Matthew 23

Woe to you, teachers of the law;
Hypocrites, you keep men from God.
You refuse to obey the truth,
Nor will you permit others to.
You travel o’er land and sea
To win a single convert to you.
When he becomes one
You make him twice as much
A “son of hell” as you are.

Woe to you, blind guides of mankind.
You distort the words of your God.
By your practices you declare
Your oaths mean nothing, though you swear.
You give a tenth of your spices,
But you neglect justice, mercy.
When you focus your
Time and talents on
What is external, you miss out.

Woe to you, who appear so clean,
When inside you are crass and mean.
You work hard to look so upright,
While you hide all your sins inside.
You deceive yourselves when you think
You would not have done what others
Did to God’s messengers
And prophets of old,
For you will do much the same.
You’re to blame.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, that you came to deliver us from all wickedness and to make us into a pure people for your praise and glory. Amen!

 

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