Writings by Elder Jimmy Barber

01.01 - The Power of the Word

by Jimmy Barber, 1970

For a long time I was burdened to see something written on this subject, but could not find it. I have spoken on this subject in the past and tried to reveal some of the golden nuggets that God has blessed me to see. At times I have been misunderstood and have had labels put on me that were not true. Now I am writing on this subject so that we may "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

01.02 - Not Gospel Regeneration

Ex 1

The opening verse of Exodus carries us back to what is recorded in the closing chapters of Genesis, where we read of Jacob and his family settling in the land of the Pharaohs. On their entry they were accorded a hearty welcome, for Goshen, which was "the best of the land" of Egypt, (Ge 47:6), was allotted to their use. But not for long were they suffered to dwell there in peace and comfort. It would seem that about thirty years after their entrance into Egypt a spirit of enmity began to be manifested toward them, engendered at first, perhaps, from the fact that they were shepherds (see Ge 46:34); and which terminated in their being subjected to hard bondage in the days of the new king which "knew not Joseph." That their peace was disturbed thirty years after their settlement in Goshen seems clear from a comparison of Ac 7:6 and Ex 12:40: in the former we are told they were "evilly entreated four hundred years", in the latter we are informed that "the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt" was "four hundred and thirty years."

 

Several questions naturally suggest themselves at this point. What was God’s reason for allowing Israel to spend so long a time in Egypt? Why did He suffer them to be so cruelly treated? The purpose of God was that the descendants of Abraham should occupy the land of Canaan, which He had given to their father. But why should an interval of more than four hundred years elapse before this purpose was realized? To this I think a twofold answer may be returned. First, to prepare Israel for their inheritance. The rough schooling they had in Egypt served to develop their muscles and toughen their sinews. Also, their bitter lot in Egypt and their trials in the wilderness were calculated to make the land that flowed with milk and honey the more appreciated when it became theirs. Moreover, the land of Canaan was too large for a single family or tribe, and the lengthy sojourn in Egypt gave time for them to develop into a nation that must have numbered fully two millions.

 

The second answer is suggested by Ge 15:16: "But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." God had told Abraham that his seed should sojourn in a strange land for four hundred years, but in the fourth generation they should return to Canaan, and then the iniquity of the Amorites would be filled up. The time for God to deal in judgment with the Amorites was not fully ripe in the days of Abraham: their iniquities had not reached the bound God had appointed. Thus God ordered it that by the time the iniquities of the Amorites were "filled up" (cf. Mt 23:32 and 1Th 2:16) Israel was ready, as a nation, to be His instrument to destroy them. "Whatever the actings of men in wickedness and high-handed rebellion, they are made subservient to the establishment of the Divine counsels of grace and love . . . Even the wrath of man is yoked to the chariot wheel of God’s decrees" (Ed. Dennett).

 

But why did God allow the descendants of Abraham to suffer such indignities and trials at the hands of the Egyptians? Ah, does not the book of Genesis again supply the answer! Was the wicked treatment of Joseph by his brethren to pass unpunished? No, that could not be. They, like all others, must reap what they had sown; reap the bitter harvest not only themselves but in their offspring too, for the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. So it proved here, for it was the "fourth generation" (Ge 13:15) which came out of Egypt. Four generations, then, reaped the harvest, and reaped precisely "whatsoever" had been sown; for just as Joseph was sold into slavery, and carried down into Egypt, so in Egyptian slavery his brethren and their children suffered!! And what a foreshadowing was this of the bitter experiences of Israel during these nineteen centuries past, for their wicked treatment of that blessed One whom Joseph so strikingly typified! They, too, have reaped what they sowed. Israel delivered up Christ into the hands of the Gentiles, and so into their hands they also have been delivered. Christ was shamefully treated by the Romans, and the same people were employed by God to punish the Jews. Christ was "cut off" out of the land of the living, and from A. D. 70 Israel, too, has been "cut off" from the land of their fathers. Thus we see again how inexorable is the outworking of this law of sowing and reaping.

 

In our last chapter we intimated that the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage foreshadowed the redemption of sinners by Christ. The land occupied by the enslaved Hebrews fitly portrays the place where the unregenerate are. Egypt symbolizes the world, the world as a system, away from God and opposed to Him. Concerning this we cannot do better than quote from the excellent comments of the late Mr. F. W. Grant:

 

The land of Egypt is a remarkable land in this way, that it is a little strip of country along the great river which makes it what it is, and which is in perpetual conflict with the desert as to it. This desert runs on both sides, and a little strip through which the river flows alone is Egypt. The desert on each side hems it in, blowing in its sands in all directions, and the river is as constantly overflowing its banks and leaving its mud upon the sand, and renewing the soil. The Scripture name is indeed not Egypt but Mizraim; and Mizraim means "double straitness." This doubtless refers to the two strips, one on each side of the river.

 

The land is a very remarkable one, looking at it as the scene of perpetual conflict between life and death. The mercy of God, feeding that land by the rain of a far country, no rain coming down there. It is another remarkable feature that rain seldom falls in Egypt. The rain falls far off. The people know nothing about it. It comes rolling down in the shape of a mighty river, and that perpetual stream ministers unfailing plenty to the land. They are, so to speak, independent of heaven. Of course, I do not mean really; but as to their thoughts, they are not on the clouds. They do not look up, but down. It is the very thing God points out in contrasting the land of Canaan with the land of Egypt, that Canaan, Israel’s portion, drinks in the water and rain of heaven. Canaan is a land of dependence. Egypt is a land of independence.

And that is the serious character of our natural condition, alas! what is natural to us now—that we are independent of God! God indeed supplies the streams of plenteous blessing, and none else than He; but they come so regularly, so constantly, we speak wisely (?) of natural laws, and shut God out. Just as they have been sending men for long, long years to explore the sources of that river in Egypt, so men have been constantly seeking to explore the sources of natural supply, and they have hardly succeeded yet.

 

Egypt worshipped her river. The river came to her so constantly that she was practically independent of heaven; yet heaven was the source of her supply, She did not see the blue hills which shed down upon them what themselves received. And they worshipped but the river. It is our state of nature away from God. God was far off to us. We did not realize the blessed hand from which all things came, and we took the blessings in willful ignorance of the hand upon which both they and we in reality depended.

 

But this Egypt was remarkable in other ways. It was remarkable, as you know, as the abode of science and civilization. To that very wonderful country people go now to study her monuments and admirable architecture. Egypt built as if she had eternity before her to enjoy it in. Her buildings were made to outlast by ages the people of the day who builded them: they could not make the people last, yet they tried their best at that. They embalmed their dead; and sent their dead down to the generations yet to come, side by side with what their hands bad made, as if solemnly saying: "Here are the mighty works of those over whom a mightier has triumphed." What a comment upon all her grandeur! Her main literary memorial is a "book of the dead." In her monuments death is stereotyped. The desert, after all, has vanquished the river. The land of science and art is a land of death, and not of life.

 

And that is the history of the world itself. Death is what is stamped upon it everywhere. It is the stamp of "vanity" upon a fallen creation. It is more; it is the stamp of Divine reprobation. For "in His favor is life." Could He repent and unmake, unless we had given Him cause for repentance? Surely He could not. What a solemn thing that we should have given Him a reason! When God is able to rest in His love, as He will bye and bye, that will necessitate the eternity of the condition in which He can rest. All that, in view of which He can rest, will be stamped as eternal.

 

The religion of Egypt was very remarkable. They had a religion in which were embalmed the relics of another religion, the dead tradition of a life that had been. There is no doubt about that. It is very remarkable in fact, according to what they say, that the very expression which God employs to Moses when He tells Moses His name, "I am that I am," you find attributed to God in the monuments of Egypt. And yet, with all that, what did Egypt everywhere worship? Emphatically and universally, the creature and not the Creator. Egypt which testified of the true God took up everything which was His total opposite, and deified a hundred beastial objects, the images, in fact, of their own lusts, and debased themselves by the service of these. Their worship was a deification,—as all heathen worship is—of their own lusts and passions. And that is everywhere what controls men naturally as his god. You remember in the garden of Eden, Satan says to the woman, "Ye shall be as gods." It was the bait he presented to her: and man has found that true in an awful way. As the apostle says of some, even professing Christians, their "god is their belly." That is, there is a craving in man’s heart for something that will satisfy; and not being able to find satisfaction in God, and not being able to trust God’s love and care, lust and care devour him. He worships himself, in a way continually more and more brutalizing and degrading."

 

And how did the descendants of Abraham first get into Egypt? Let the chapter before us make answer, and note its typical significance: "Every man and his household came with Jacob" (v. 1). They came into the land of bondage with their father Jacob: he was the one who brought them there. Mark, too, the name here given to him—"Jacob", which speaks of the natural man, the "supplanter"; not "Israel" which was his new name, given in sovereign grace. How clearly this speaks to us. We, too, entered the place of spiritual bondage with our father, Adam. This was not the place he first occupied: in Eden he was free to eat of all the trees of the garden, with but a single restriction; but alas! he sinned, and this caused him to be driven from the garden, and it was outside Eden that all his children were born. They came into the place of bondage with him!

 

"And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them" (v. 7). This was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Jacob, made as the patriarch was journeying from Canaan to Egypt—"And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation." And this was but a repetition of what God had declared to Abraham long years before (see Ge 12:2). How comforting is this to the children of God today. Unto us are given "exceeding great and precious promises", and these are the promises of Him who can not lie. Rest, then, with implicit confidence on the sure Word—forever settled in heaven—of the Lord our God.

 

"Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph" (v. 8). To understand this we need to turn the light of other scriptures upon it. This "new" king belonged not merely to a new dynasty, but was of a different nationality: he was by birth an Assyrian, not an Egyptian. In Ac 7:18 we read, "Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph." As one has pointed out there are in the Greek two different words for "another": allos, which means ‘another of the same kind"; heteros, which signifies "another of a different kind." It is the latter word which is used in Ac 7:18. By turning back to Isa 52:4 we learn what this other kind (in this case, another nationality) actually was. There we read, "For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause." Our purpose in calling attention to this is to remind the reader of the great importance of comparing scripture with scripture, and to show how scripture is self-interpreting.

 

"And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we" (v. 9). The light afforded by the scriptures we have just looked at should remove what has long been a difficulty in this verse. That the children of Israel (who probably numbered about two millions all told, at this time) should be more numerous than the Egyptians seems unthinkable. But this is not what V. g states at all. Mark attentively its wording. "And he (the "new" king) said to his people", not "the people." His people would be the Assyrians who had conquered Egypt, and particularly those in that land policing the country. Note the repetition of "his people" in verse 22.

 

"And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies (that is, lest the Hebrews should unite forces with the Egyptians against the Assyrian invaders), and fight against us and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them task-masters to afflict them with their burdens" (vv. 9-11). This was the proud reasoning of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. It was the finite pitting itself against the Infinite. In thus oppressing and afflicting the children of Israel we have an illustration of the world’s hatred for the people of God (Joh 15:18-19). How true it is that "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Pr 12:10) I How much, then, dear reader, do we owe to the restraining power of God, which holds in check the evil passions of men, and thus allows us to live a quiet and peaceable life! Let the withholding hand of God be withdrawn for a short season, and even now, His people would be sorely "afflicted" too.

 

"But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew" (v. 12). This proves how thoroughly vain it is to fight against the purpose of Him who hath sworn, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure" (Isa 64:10). Pharaoh might purpose to "deal wisely", but "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (1Co 3:19). God hath declared, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent" (1Co 1:19). So it proved here—"the more they afflicted them the more they grew." This also illustrates a principle which has been exemplified again and again in the history of Christendom. Times of severest trial have always been seasons of blessing to the people of God. The more fiercely have burned the fires of persecution the stronger has faith waxed. So, too, it should be, and often has been, in individual lives. Opposition should cast us back more and more upon God. Persecution results in separating us from the world. Suffering ought to refine. The experience of the Psalmist was, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word" (Ps 119:67). May it prove true of writer and reader that "the more we are afflicted" the more shall we "grow" in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.

 

"And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, when you do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live" (vv. 15, 16). It is not difficult to peer behind the scenes and behold one who was seeking to use Pharaoh as an instrument with which to accomplish his fiendish design. Surely we can discover here an outbreaking of the Serpent’s enmity against the Seed of the woman. Suppose this effort had succeeded, what then? Why, the channel through which the promised Redeemer was to come had been destroyed. If all the male children of the Hebrews were destroyed there had been no David, and if no David, no David’s Son. Just as Re 12:4 gives us to behold Satan working behind and through the wicked edict of Herod, so we may discern him here working behind and through Pharaoh.

 

But once more Egypt’s king was foiled, and again was Satan’s attacks repulsed: "but the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive" (v. 17). Better might a worm withstand the tread of an elephant than the puny creature resist the Almighty. "There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord" (Pr 21:30). What comfort and confidence should this impart to the believer! If God be for us, it matters not who are against us.

 

"Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God that He made them houses" (vv. 20, 21). Here we have one more illustration of the law of sowing and reaping. These Hebrew midwives, who through fear of God had overcome the fear of Pharaoh, dealt kindly with the male children of the Israelites, and they were rewarded accordingly—"God dealt well" with them. God is not unrighteous to forget any work and labor of love which is showed toward His name or ministered to His people (Heb 6:10). His promise is "For them that honor Me, I will honor" 1Sa 2:30). They "saved the men children alive", and God "made them houses", which, in the light of #2Sam 7:11, 1 Kings 2:24|, etc., must mean that He, in turn, gave them husbands and blessed them with children.

 

"And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is horn ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive" (v. 22). We do not have to look far beneath the surface in order to discover here the malignity of one more vile than Pharaoh. Just as the twelfth of #Revelation shows us that it was the Dragon himself who moved Herod to attempt the death of the Christ Child, so here he was employing the king of Egypt to destroy the channel through which He was to come. At the beginning, God declared He would put "enmity" between the woman and her Seed (Ge 3:15), and in the light of subsequent scriptures it is abundantly clear that "the woman" is Israel—the one who was to bear the Messiah. Here in the passage before us we have a forceful illustration of the Serpent’s "enmity." Had his effort succeeded, had all the male children of the Hebrews been slain, the channel through which the Savior was to come had been destroyed.

 

"And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive" (v. 22). How this reminds us of the words of Ec 8:11: "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." God bears with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. Every opportunity is given them to repent; the day of mercy is graciously prolonged for them; and if in the end they die in their sins, then is their blood, unmistakably, on their own heads. How God frustrated this last move of Pharaoh we shall see in our next chapter.

01.03 - New Birth Is the Power of God

There are some verses of Scripture concerning the new birth on which all can agree. The first of these is Joh 3:3-8. Jesus stated that one "must be born again," and He said that this birth is "of the Spirit." Further, in Joh 5:25, Jesus compared the new birth to a resurrection where people must hear His voice. A beautiful picture of this example is seen by Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave.

Some may wonder how the new birth is ascribed equally to the Spirit and Jesus? In Joh 6:63, Jesus stated, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, They are spirit, and they are life." By comparing Joh 3:3-8 and Joh 6:63, it is seen that the giving of life is by the Holy Spirit and by the voice of the Son of God. Therefore, when Jesus stated that when He speaks His word it is equal to the Spirit, we see how the new birth is performed mutually by the Spirit and Jesus.

Other passages concerning the new birth state that the giving of life is by God, but they do not tell what means, if any, are used to accomplish it. The only other passage, aside from those given above, that gives credit to the Spirit being instrumental in the new birth is Ga 4:29. All other passages state that it is God Who gives life, but they do not tell how He does it.

01.04 - An Honest Look at Hard Scriptures

Some of the passages that previously troubled me are now some of the most comforting passages in God's Word. One of these is 1Pe 1:22-25. Usually when one teaches on the new birth, he quotes only a portion of this passage--verse twenty-three. The person who believes in gospel regeneration interprets "the word of God" to mean the preached word--the word which a minister preaches. A person who does not believe in gospel regeneration usually interprets "the word of God" to be the same Word as in Joh 1:1,14. He does this because the word for "word" in both places is "logos" in the Greek language. If 1Pe 1:23 stood alone, either interpretation could be correct. However, a verse must not be interpreted out of its context.

Look at the passage again and notice verse twenty-two; these people had purified their souls in obeying the truth. The only way a person can obey something is to know about it. Therefore, to obey the truth, one must have it taught to him. Look at verse twenty-five. It states that the word is that which the gospel minister preaches. You may ask, "Is not Christ preached by the gospel?" The answer is yes, but we logov cannot pass this verse that easily. The word translated "word" in verse twenty-five is a different Greek word from the one in verse twenty-three. The word in verse twenty-five is "rhema," but in verse twenty-three it is "logov." "Logov" may be translated to mean Christ as in Joh 1:1,14, but "rhema" means the written or spoken word. It is never translated nor interpreted to mean Christ. Likewise, "logov" does not always stand for Christ. It can, and most of the time does, mean the written or spoken word. In Mt 7:24,26,28; Joh 4:37,39; and 1Ti 1:15, it is translated "saying." In Mt 12:36; 18:23; Ro 14:12; and Heb 13:17, "  logov" is translated "account." It is translated "saying" fifty times, "account" eight times, "speech" eight times, along with other synonymous terms. The word "logov" is used 330 times in the New Testament and 225 times it is translated "word" and only seven times out of the 225 times is "logos" translated "Word" to mean Christ without question. Therefore, by studying the word "word" in its context in 1Pe 1:23, the conclusion is that it means the written or spoken word.

You may be thinking that if gospel regeneration is not true then, "What does verse twenty-three mean?" I hope to answer this question later. First I will try to explain the following passages: Jas 1:18; Ro 1:16-17; 10:17; and 1Co 4:15.

01.05 - Why Preach the Gospel?

To answer this question, I direct you to Ro 1:16-17. Paul stated that he was ready to preach the gospel of God to anyone. Paul further stated that he was a debtor to preach the gospel to all men and was not ashamed to do so because it was God's power unto salvation to the person who has faith.

I do not wish to divert to the subject of salvation, yet I remind you that "life" and "salvation" are two different subjects. Salvation is something that begins in the mind of God, is experienced in the believer's life, and is complete when in glory with God. Therefore, we are not studying salvation per se. We are studying life and the gospel and their relation to each other.

In Ro 1:17, Paul stated that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God "from faith to faith." Paul did not say that preaching the gospel causes the righteousness of God, but that the gospel reveals God's righteousness. Paul maintained that God's righteousness is revealed to the person who has faith. Ro 10:6-9 further explains this.

In Romans chapter ten, the subject is still the righteousness of God. Paul states that Israel (Israel as a nation) is ignorant of this righteousness. He also tells what God's righteousness maintains or asserts. It does not ask for God's Anointed to come from heaven nor to rise from the dead. The righteousness of God says that the word is so near that it is in the mouth and heart. It further maintains that the word is the same "word of faith" as the gospel of God. Therefore, when the testimony of the gospel is already in an individual, he can confess with his mouth or believe in this heart. Thus, by looking at this passage with Ro 1:16-17, when a man of God preaches the gospel and someone believes, it is because God has already placed the "word of faith" in the individual. Since the word translated "word" here in Ro 10 is "rhema" and not "logov," it cannot be interpreted to mean Christ. When Jesus stated in John 6:63 that the word spoken by Him was Spirit and life, the word He used was also "rhema." By comparing 1Pe 1:23-25 in its context, one sees that the word which "begets again" is "rhema," the same "word" which is already in an individual when, or before, he believes the gospel.

How did this "rhema" get in the individual? It was when he heard the voice of the Son of God, not when he heard the voice of the preacher. When Paul heard the voice of the preacher, Stephen, it was only a "savour of death unto death," but when he heard the voice of the Son of God on the road to Damascus, it brought him to the ground. Then the Lord sent Paul to the preacher for the righteousness of God to be revealed to him. Thus the Scriptures state that "life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel" (2Ti 1:10). This is the same as revealing, bringing to light, or receiving the righteousness of God.

Considering this, how does Ro 10:17 fit into the picture? Ro 10:17 states that faith comes by hearing. However, it does not say that life nor the Spirit comes by hearing. Ga 5:22 states that faith IS a fruit of the Spirit, and we discovered the words that Jesus speaks, or the voice of the Son of God, is Spirit and life. Life (the Spirit) is present prior to faith or belief. A man dead in sin cannot hear nor believe. Furthermore Ro 10:8-9 teaches that when a person hears the gospel and believes, it is because the word, "the word of faith" (rhema), is already in him. Therefore, Ro 10:17 is not teaching the new birth. Yet, it has everything to do with a person believing in Jesus Christ and God revealing His righteousness to him. This is the same as having life and immortality brought to light.

01.06 - A Look At James 1:18

Often Jas 1:18 is set forth to show gospel regeneration. On the surface, this verse appears to teach gospel regeneration. A study in the Greek language will show otherwise. However, Jas 1:18 proposes no problem if it did teach that the spoken or written Word was used by God in the new birth. Why? Because in giving life, it is the Son of God that speaks the word. But in revealing the life, it is the preacher speaking the word. Nevertheless, this passage teaches how life is revealed or brought to light.

Let us study the word "begot," in this verse. This word is "apokueo" in the Greek language, and it comes from the word "kuo" or "kueo" which means to be pregnant. Therefore, "apo-kueo" means "to bring forth as from the womb, or to give birth to." This word is used only twice in the Scriptures--here and in verse fifteen where it is translated "bringeth forth." James is not speaking about the initial quickening or giving of life, but how the life is manifested or brought to light. Thus, the giving of life to a child of God in the Spiritual realm is like conception in the natural realm.

Some may argue that at conception there is not a person, but only a fertilized egg. However, according to Ps 51:5, David declared that he was a sinner the moment he was conceived in his mother's womb. Some people deny this is talking about original sin, yet I do not stand alone in this thinking. Men such as David Dickson, C. H. Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, John Gill, and many other sound scholars maintain that this verse is teaching original sin. Spurgeon stated, "It is a wicked wresting of scripture to deny that original sin and natural depravity are here taught."

This raises the following question, "Can someone who does not exist, nor ever will exist, be charged with something?" The answer according to logic, as well as the Scriptures, is an emphatic "NO!" Since David was a person at conception, we see that that is when his natural life began. Likewise, when God quickens a person, or gives him Spiritual life, he is alive like the babe in the womb of its mother. When someone preaches the Word of truth to that individual, it is parallel to the doctor bringing a child into the world. Therefore, from the time an individual is quickened or born from above, until the gospel is preached to him, he is existing by the umbilical cord of God's grace. It is possible for a person to be quickened for a time and not know anything about it, as a person is conceived and living for some time before he has a conscience awareness of his existence. Not everyone has a dramatic experience like Paul.

Our conclusion is that James was not speaking about giving spiritual life to anyone; he was speaking about life being brought to light as Paul said in Timothy (2Ti 1:9-10). The context Jas 1 (as well as the entire book) bears out that he wrote to encourage professing believers to exhibit fruits of a child of God. James did not write to instruct how one becomes spiritually alive.

01.07 - A Look at I Corinthians 4:15

1Co 4:15 is also used to teach gospel regeneration. We cannot study the word "begotten" in this verse and come to a definite meaning of the word. "Begotten" is used in a very broad sense throughout the Scriptures. Still, I believe that after studying the word, we will see how 1Co 4:15 harmonizes with what is written above.

The Greek word for begotten is "gennao" which is a form of "ginomai." "Ginomai" carries the idea "to become." It can mean something coming to pass or something coming into existence. The word "gennao" has the idea "to beget, to be born, or to arise." I have tried to state the meaning of these words as briefly and simply as possible. For a fuller understanding of "gennao" and "ginomai," I suggest that the reader study them in depth.

The word "gennao" is translated as nine different words, with the majority being "begat" and "be born." When looking at Mt 1:2-16, we find that it is used to indicate the giving of life. However, when looking at Mt 2:1,4; Lu 1:57; Joh 16:21, we find that the same word is used concerning a child being brought forth from the womb. Therefore, I have as much right to claim that Paul was speaking concerning bringing life forth as someone else does to say that Paul was inferring the idea of giving life. When interpreting this verse in light of the other passages on this subject, one discovers that Paul was saying the same thing as he wrote to Timothy concerning the gospel--that it was to "bring life and immortality to light." In Ac 18:10, when Paul was in Corinth for the first time and was going to leave because of persecution, the Lord told him to stay because He had "much people in the city." God had people in Corinth before Paul preached there, and God told him to stay and preach to them and bring forth life and immortality to light--that they might receive the righteousness of God. As with James, when we study the context of 1Co 4:15, we see that Paul is not speaking about how the people became living children of God. He was reminding them how they had Christ revealed to them, manifesting themselves as children of God. Since Paul was the first preacher in Corinth, he was instrumental in their conversion but not their regeneration. He was instrumental in their living like God's children, and they were to continue keeping the faith as he had.

I might add that this is exactly the same situation in Phm 10. Paul, by the grace of God, brought to light the life that God placed in Onesimus so Onesimus would live like a child of God and not like the slaves of the world.

01.08 - Summation

I have tried to show that when a person is quickened, the same Word of God (rhema) that is used in preaching is used in giving life. The difference is when this Word is used by the Son of God, it quickens or gives life to a dead sinner. However, when the same Word is used by the preacher, it brings life and immortality to light; or as Paul stated in Ro 1:16-17, the righteousness of God is "revealed from faith to faith." This is because the Word of faith (rhema) is placed within the individual by the voice of the Son of God, and it is the "same Word of faith" that we preach. Therefore, the same testimony that is in the Scriptures (the word--rhema) is in the regenerated person. When the Word (rhema) is preached to that individual, the two testimonies bear witness to the same thing; that is, the righteousness of God is revealed to the individual, and the life and immortality in that person is manifested or brought to light.

This shows how a person might believe in gospel regeneration because the same Word of truth is used in both cases. The difference lies in the person using the Word. I admit that while a minister is preaching the Lord may quicken someone who is listening to the preacher; however, God is not using the preacher's words; it is the words of the voice of the Son of God that quickens. God is only limited to Himself. Just as Jesus told the disciples to loose Lazarus and let him go after He had given him life, likewise, when God quickens a person, we should to be present with the gospel to loose him and let him go. You may ask, "How do we know who God is going to quicken?" I answer, "We don't." This is why Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel; that is why Paul gave his life to be first with the truth of God and not let someone beat him to people with a half-truth (2Ti 2:10). If we, who know this truth, do not go and preach it with the zeal of our brother Paul, may God take it from us and give it to those who will. I sometimes wonder if God has judged us for not spreading the truth by allowing those who preach a half-truth, or even a partial truth, to go and preach to His sheep.

01.09 - Conclusion

I have not exhausted the subject in this small pamphlet. I believe this is an honest approach to the subject using the main passages involved. There can and needs to be much more written upon this topic. I have given a brief introduction with some answers to these passages of Scripture. I pray that this will be of some benefit to you and that it will cause you to study the subject to know His word and to preach it with great enthusiasm to his honor and to the manifesting of the life of His Son, Christ Jesus, in our mortal flesh. Copyright 1990, 1991 by Veritas Publications

02.000 PREACHING As It Relates To The WORK & OBLIGATION Of The PASTOR

PREACHING As It Relates To The WORK & OBLIGATION Of The PASTOR

Copyright by Veritas Publication around 1973, 2013.

by
Elder Jimmy Barber

02.01 PREFACE

PREFACE

This pamphlet is the result of a message given to a group of ministers during a meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the work of the pastor. After the message was given, it was requested that it he put in print for distribution.

The introduction is taken from .the preface to "The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek New Testament," by Kenneth S. Wuest, as found in the four volume edition of his Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. This was read, at the same meeting by Elder James Rushing, and it was suggested, that it be put together with the rest of the material in this pamphlet.

The material from Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament is printed, by the permission of the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 255 Jefferson, S. E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49502.

02.02 INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Very few Bible students enjoy the high privilege and tremendous advantage of being able to work, beneath the surface of an English translation in the added, richness and accuracy of interpretation which is found in the text of the Greek New Testament.,.. For instance, he is studying Eph 4:11-12, and he reads in the Authorized, Version, "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and. some, pastors and, teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." He would never suspect that there are only four individuals mentioned in Eph 4:11. The student of the English Bible could never know that the words, "pastors" and "teachers," are in a construction in the Greek text called Granville Sharp's rule which is stated as follows: "When two nouns are in the same case, connected, by the word kai (and), the first noun having the definite article, the second noun without the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers and is a further description of it." Not knowing this rule, he would fail to see that Paul was only referring to one individual when he spoke of pastors and teachers. Thus, he would miss the important truth that God's ideal pastor is a teaching pastor, one who specializes in expository sermons, one whose ministry is a teach¬ing ministry. He would, fail to grasp the fact that God. gives to every man whom He calls to be a pastor, a teaching gift which he is to develop by use. A knowledge of this would revolutionize the ministry of many pastors. Again, the student of the English Bible, not familiar with Latin, would, not know that the word,, "pastor" is from a Latin word, meaning "shepherd," and not conversant with Greek, would be ignorant of the fact that the word, in the Greek text was the Greek word, for a shepherd.. Thus, he would, miss the practical illustration of the shepherd in the East who always leads his flock, never drives it. The story goes that a traveler in the East once saw a man driving a flock of sheep. He said to the man, "I thought that eastern shepherds always led. their flocks, never drove them." Replied the man, "Oh, I am not the shepherd. I am the butcher." All of which means that the pastor who attempts to drive God's flock to the living of a holy life, only works havoc amongst his people, but the pastor who leads the people by a Christ-like life attains his purpose.

Again, the English reader studies Eph 4:12, and sees that the pastor has three responsibilities, to perfect the saints, to do the work of the ministry, and to edify the body of Christ, That means that the pastor does all the work in the local church, and his parishioners pay him for doing it, and sit back and do nothing. He could never know that the Greek New Testament has four different words which mean "perfect," and that the particular word used, here means "to equip someone in order that he might be able to perform a certain piece of work," He would naturally think that the word, "ministry" referred to the ordained minister, since the word is so used today. He would never suspect that the Greek word of which it is the translation refers to the rendering of service. Thus, he could never know that Paul's idea was, "He gave some, teaching pastors for the equipping of the saints for ministering work with a view to the building up of the body of Christ."
But that clearer, more accurate translation and understanding of Paul's Greek here, would again revolutionize the ministry of a pastor. He would see that God called him to be a specialist. He was not to do all the work of the church, nor even a large part of it.  He was to specialize in training the saints in the pews to engage in Christian service, and he would thus be multiplying himself and, his efforts, and instead, of being a superintendent of an old people's rest home, he would be nurturing a beehive of activity. He would begin to be in God's eyes, a successful pastor.*

♦Published by permission from Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49502

02.03 PREACHING AS IT RELATES TO THE WORK & OBLIGATION OF THE PASTOR

PREACHING AS IT RELATES TO THE WORK & OBLIGATION OF THE PASTOR

We have gathered here today for the purpose of discussing "The Work & Obligation of the Pastor." This topic is one of great importance and to much sorrow is often neglected. However, I trust that we are here for the purpose not only for discussing, but also to learn and to commit to strive more diligently in the work wherein God has called us. To this subject, I have given some study, prayer, reading and. thought, and I have chosen to write out a few things which I desire to share with you as it relates to preaching. Nevertheless, I do not believe that wisdom stops with me, nor am I so foolish to believe that I cannot learn from you. Therefore, with this in mind let us all share and communicate our ideals that we all may be taught, reproved, corrected or Instructed as needed.

Also before going further, I would like to recommend a book which I have recently read which relates to our topic today. the book is Preaching & Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is a well written book which is down to(earthand dips into almost every area of the work of the pastor. In fact, some of the thoughts which I desire to share with you today will no doubt be a by-product of this book.

I believe that we can all agree that the first work and obligation of the pastor is to preach. However, preaching is not only the first duty of the pastor, it is the most important part in pastoring. The first New Testament preacher, John the Baptist, came upon the scene "preaching." (Mt 3:1). Later Jesus Christ Himself as soon as He endured the trials in the wilderness went about preaching. (Mt 4:16).   When Christ chose the twelve and later the seventy, He sent them out to preach. (Mt 10:7; Lu 10:9). And prior to Christ's ascension and returning to Heaven, He commissioned. His Church to "preach ... to every creature" in "all nations." (Mt 28:19; Mr 16:15). Then as we study the book of Acts, we find the disciples preaching on the day of Pentecost, in the temple, in synagogues, in market places, in homes, in courts, in prisons, in deserts, in palaces, in ships, in chariots, in companies of thousands, in companies of two's and three's and at times to only one, in companies of Jews, in companies of Gentiles, in companies of the rich, in companies of the poor, to the free, to the slaves, to the men, to the women - yes, the early disciples went everywhere and to everybody and as they went, they preached. In fact, the ministry of the Word was so important that the ministers had the Church to set aside some helpers or deacons in Ac 6, in order that they (the ministers) might give themselves continually to the ministry of the Word, and prayer. And. then in Paul's last message to the minister, he stated, "Preach the Word." With this I believe that it can be asserted by the authority of God's Word, that preaching is the main function of the pastor.

Here we need to pause and consider many things without going further. Many times we come to a topic such as ours today and make a broad, statement such as has been made about preaching and then we leave the subject to return no more. This ought not to be! To make a statement, "that the first and primary work and obligation of the pastor is to preach," and not consid¬er what this includes is to cause a great oversight if not indeed, a sin. In other words, we need to investigate this thing of preaching to a greater understanding. Let us ask ourselves a few questions and see if we can answer them at least in part. First, Why preach? or, Why are you preaching? Second, What is preaching? Third., What are we to preach? Fourth, How are we to prepare a message? Fifth, How are we as ministers to prepare ourselves to preach?

Now, back to the first question, "Why preach? or, Why are you preaching?" As we have already seen, one should preach, if for no other reason, because our Lord commanded that it be done. However, unless we are convicted beyond that, we will not be able to see any importance in preaching. And yet, I realize that when God. calls a man to the ministry, that man must preach because he can do no other; he says with Paul, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" But still we need to know the value of preaching; that is, What benefit is there in preaching? Is preaching something that someone does, when the Church assembles together to entertain the congregation? If not, What is it? Why preach?

The first reason for preaching is for the purpose of building up the born again sheep of God "by way of instruction. If you will sit down and. read, through the New Testament and see how often the Holy Spirit through inspiration connected teaching with preaching you will get a great surprise, if you have not already done so. In fact, I doubt if the two can be separated,. However, we need to interject at this point that this does not always mean teaching something new all the time. There are too many preachers like the Athenians who spend "their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing." So we must not confuse teaching with philosophizing. But on the other hand, we are not to go to the opposite extreme and only preach one thing or ride a hobby horse. We are to Instruct and. build up God's people in God's way, but more on this later.

The second reason for preaching is to evangelize the world and to "disciple all nations." (Mt 28:19). How else will the world know about the blessing and the superiority of the Christian life separate and apart from preaching? If God has His elect all over the world, and that the only way they will have the fullness of Christ Jesus in a Christian life is by hearing the Word preached, then does this not show the importance of preaching? Do we believe Ro 10:14-17, or do we explain it away to the searing of our consciences? It states, "How then shall they call on him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad, tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith Lord, who hath believe our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Was it not through preaching that Godts people have turned, themselves from the power of darkness and. to press on into the kingdom of God's dear Son and through this countries were preserved? Was it not preaching that turned Rome from pagan idolatry? Was it not preach¬ing that produced the reformation? Was it not preach¬ing that caused the king of England to produce the King James Version Bible? Was it not preaching that caused the New World of American to be born? Was it not preaching that caused the United States to be set up with religious freedom? Was it not due to the cause of preaching that the industrial age came about? Was it not preaching that brought higher education? Was it not preaching that produced, orphan homes, hos¬pitals, charities, and homes for the aged? Brethren, are we to second-rate preaching? NO!

We should, remember that preaching is the instrument of God which separates the sheep from the goats. No person can sit under the sound of true Bible preaching without being affected. Listen to Paul, "For the preaching of the cross is "to them that perish foolishness? but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdoms But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death: and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word, of Gods but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God. speak we in Christ. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded, the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lords and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ? that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences." (1Co 1:18,14-21; 2Co 2:14-17; 4:3-7; 5:10-11). Paul was persuaded, that his preaching was effectual and that the Lord's people would follow it while the unregenerate would hate it and call it foolishness. Was this not Paul's experience at the stoning of Stephen? Therefore, brethren let us continually be occupied in preaching. It is the author and finisher of the Christian's life while he travels this side of glory.

Much more could be said regarding the importance and value of preaching, but we need to press on for the sake of expediency.

The second question was, "What is preaching?" We have looked at preaching and its importance, but what really is preaching anyway? Let us first look at this question negatively, and then we shall go to the positive side of the picture.

First, preaching is not entertainment. Many times good and honest men, without realizing the trap in which they have fallen, become concerned, more with entertaining the people than maintaining faithfulness to God's Word. Usually one of the first signs of this is that the minister will preach to the delight of the congregation because he is preaching to hear from the people, "That sure was a wonderful sermon," or, "I really enjoyed that message," or some other such remark instead of desiring to hear a, "Well done" from the Lord. However, do not conclude from this that we are to always antagonize people.

Entertainment is done by not only preaching what the people want to hear, but by preaching the way the people desire one to speak, Many times people long to hear a minister simply for his style of delivering a message and nothing else. This places the emphasis on the minister instead of being upon the Lord, of Glory where it belongs. It was said of a minister upon one occasion that when he got his handkerchief out and laid it on the reading desk in the pulpit that it was going to be a good sermon. Playing upon human emotions is not preaching - it is blasphemy. To make an illustration is one thing; to play upon the human emotions is something else. Time and time again, I have seen preachers use the emotions of people to build up himself. Emotions are good and wonderful, especially, when acted upon by the Spirit of the Lord, but not for entertainment.

Second, preaching is not lecturing. However, at this point we need to point out that some people have been belittled in their preaching simply because their manner of delivery was not to scream and hollow and to run all over the pulpit. A preacher must be himself in his preaching.

While lecturing per se, or by itself, is not preaching, it is needful in the ministry of teaching, but there is a difference in lecturing and in preaching. It is one thing to lecture on theology and something else for one's preaching to be theological. In other words, to lecture on "the theanthropic person of Christ" is one thing and to preach about Jesus Christ humbling Himself and becoming man for the purpose of redeeming His people is something else. To lecture on "total depravity" is one thing, but preach about fallen man and his need, for a Savior is another thing. And it is one thing to lecture upon "unconditional election" and quite another to preach about the sovereign God selecting a number of people to show forth His sovereignty in His mercy and grace. Now the question may no doubt be going through some of your minds, "Can one preach when he talks upon a subject such as election, depravity, etc.?" I say that he can, but if he is not careful he will run into one of three pits. He will be riding a hobby horse, entertaining, or lecturing. But before we close with this section, we need to notice one other thing about lecturing: that is, that many times a person will bring a series of sermons on a particular book in the Bible or certain sections such as the Sermon on the Mount, and if he is not careful, all he will have is a series of running lectures. (I must stop here and confess that this one of my main weaknesses.) However, this type of preaching need not become lecturing either, The way to avoid this is that each part of sermon within the series should be a sermon within itself.

There are many things no doubt which could be added, to the list of what preaching is not; nevertheless, we need at this time to go on to the positive side of the subject.

Preaching is primarily an exposition on the Word of God. Remember what Paul told Timothy, "Preach the Word," not to preach about the Word. Too much preaching is about the Word and fails to be the true preaching which God bids. Now what do we mean by "an exposition on the Word of God?" This is nothing more than explaining or giving the meaning and purpose for what is written. For example, the Lord lays a certain passage of Scripture upon your heart. The first thing you are to do is to study the passage in light of it's context and to arrive at the true meaning and interpretation. It will have only one! Then see how it will apply to the lives of the people. Many times I have seen a man take a passage of Scripture and build a sermon around it simply because the passage sounded good and seemed to fit upon the surface which in reality did not have anything to do with what he was trying to teach. And sometimes these men preached the truth anyway, but they used the wrong passage of Scripture to prove their point. This is what Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls "prostituting" the Word of God! We are not to alter God's Word, and pervert it in any such fashion. The Bible is not a book with a lot of beau¬tiful statements and verses that we can make or twist to mean what we want it to say - It is God's REVELATION TO US! It is God's message to us and for us to change it in any way or to twist a passage to make it say what we want it to say is to "prostitute" if not to blaspheme the Word of God. If a woman not living according to God's Word is blasphemy (Tit 2:5), then how much more is it for God's ministers to take the Scriptures and twist them around to make them mean or say what they want them to say! We must be faithful and true to God's Word. We are to exegete or explain the Word of God as it is and not to distort it. We are not to pass this off and say, "What difference does it make as long as the truth is stated?", because we are dealing with the truth itself and to "prostitute" the truth is to strip it of the truth, to blaspheme the truth is to make it a lie. But on top of this remember Jas 3:1, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." If you are a "master" or teacher, as it is here, called, of God, you are going to be examined with greater scrutiny than the other children of God. I beseech you brethren to be FAITHFUL in preaching the Word!

And while much more could be said upon this, we will pass on to the next question which is "What are you to preach?" Here because of our comments above, I do not think that I need to explain this because I have stated that we are  to preach the Word.

With this we pass on to the next question, "How are we to prepare the message?" The answer to this question lies no doubt in the use of the Scriptures; that is, we must prepare sermons by studying God's Word. If we are to exegete God's Word, we must know it. Bid you catch that? I said that you must KNOW it! Too many ministers know not the Scriptures while they do know some things about it. There is a difference, a great difference, in knowing someone or something than in knowing about the person or object. I know about a lot of people, but there are only a few people that I really know. I know about several cars, but there is only one or two cars that I know. I know a great deal about books, but there are only a very few books, if any, that I know. Therefore, we must know the Scriptures if we are going to preach the Word. If we only know about the Word., we will only preach about the Word. We must read, it, think it, eat it, digest it, live it, practice it, and love it if we are going to preach. Now I ask you, "How much do you even know about the Bible?" For example, Can you name the books in their order or even out of order? How many books does the Bible contain? How many are in the Old. Testament? How many are in the New Testament? Who are the men that God used to write it? What is each book about? Why was each book written? Why four gospels and not three or five? Who were the Canaanites? Who were the Ammonites, Moabites, Midianites, Assyrians, Syrians, Persians, etc.? Where is Israel in relation to the other countries? What were the major places which Christ mentioned during His ministry? And on and on we could go with questions about the Bible. Now you may ask, "What is so important about learning such facts?" To this question we answer by stating that it is impossible to know something or someone unless one first learn some things about that which we are to know.

Therefore, if God has called you to preach His Word, and if this calling is the highest and most important calling this side of glory, ought we not to be ashamed and mom if we know more about anything else in heaven, in earth or under the earth than the Word of God? Is preaching secondary with you? If so, what are you doing in the ministry? This is no hobby or side-line occupation, this is to be our center and heart of life. Thereby, we see the importance of knowing the Word.

How do we learn the Word? First, by reading it. This ought to be a daily engagement with the minister as plumbing is to the plumber; reading God's Word, ought to be as natural to the minister as eating is to any natural creature. Let us remember that our Lord stated, that we are to "live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Did you get that? By EVERY WORD, not just part of God's Word, but ALL OF IT! So we see the first step to preparing any sermon is to read the Word, of God.

Next we need to study each passage in light of its context. If you can by your own skill and ability or by the use of the works of sound men, find, out the original meaning of the words as much as possible. Then after much prayer and meditation go to the able and sound, commentaries and find, out what other men have to say.

Let me pause here for a brief moment and emphasize the point that you are to study the passage or passages, as the case may be, first on your own by prayer and meditation before going to the comments of others. The reason for this is because we, being the creatures that we are, have a tendency to stick to. that which we learn first. So give the Spirit of God room to teach you because this is His ministry. (Joh 14:26; 16:13-15). Remember that no one has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit.

Then after we have searched, every possible avenue to find the full meaning of the passage or passages, we should put that which we are to preach in a logical order. This can be done usually by one or two ways: One, by outlining, or two, by writing it out.

By outlining we maintain that this be done mainly on paper; however, there are some men who have such minds that they can do such a thing mentally, but most of us are not blessed, with an over abundance of such qualities. Therefore, we ought to set down with pen and paper and, make an outline of our sermon as we desire to deliver it. And if you desire, you may even carry the outline into the pulpit with you; however, some men are not comfortable with such a tool and thereby desire to dispense with it. I for one usually carry mine with me. I would interject at this point and say if you do carry your outline with you, leave room for the Spirit of God to work. There have been times in which I have simply torn my outline apart as to the order that I preached the sermon, but I must, say that that is the exception, not the rule in my case. Also there are some sermons which I have prepared years ago and I have not yet preached them. Remember, we cannot legislate the Holy Spirit.

We stated that one may at times write out his sermon. Now I do not advocate any minister reading his sermons, yet it would be an advantage to any minister from time-to-time to write out a sermon. This will help him to think logically and help him to communicate better with the people; after all this is to whom we are preaching and if they do not understand what we are saying, what good Is our preaching unto them. Nevertheless, when writing a sermon you only have to say something or make a point one time and then you can go on to the next point, but when preaching this is quite different. We are not speaking to a group of intellectuals or preachers, we are speaking to common people - electricians, plumbers, factory workers, housewives, farmers, old people, children, etc. You will have very few college professors, intellectual geniuses, etc., and even if you do, remember that the "strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please" themselves. (Ro 15:1). Therefore, when preaching we will have to repeat, rehash, and illustrate points in order to get the ideal across to the whole congregation.

Now we come to our final question, "How are we as ministers to prepare ourselves to preach?" To me this is a very important point; in fact, we might go through the form of all the aforementioned steps and fail in this and not be able to preach. If we as ministers are not prepared as ministers then how can we function as ministers? Remember in Ac 6, that the ministers (apostles) had. deacons appointed so that they (the ministers) could, give themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer. How I do not believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Acts to put that in the Scriptures just to fill up space nor do I believe that the way it was written was by accident. If you will notice that I put the order backwards - it reads, "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word." Did you get that? - CONTINUALLY TO PRAYER! What better way for a minister to ' prepare himself than by being in tune with heaven. 0 brethren! I fear that we fall way short of the mark of praying without ceasing. Show me a praying man and I will show you a man with power in the pulpit! Show me a praying man and I will show you a man that reads God's Word, upon his knees! And by the same token, show me a man who has no conviction in his ministry, in his preaching, in his studying God's Word, or in the cause of Christ and I will show you a man who does not pray. What better preparation can one do than by studying and administering God's Word prayerfully.

Also the minister must be an example in all things. Did you get that? - an example in ALL THINGS. Many good sermons have fallen to the ground with no fruit simply because the minister failed to live his own message. Now you may try to justify yourself and. say that the people are still just as obligated, to take heed to the message. While that is true; nevertheless, we as ministers are to be examples and a pattern to the sheep of God and no sheep will go where the shepherd fails to trod. Here again this calls for prayer. And while we cannot always be in our closet on our knees, yet we can always have our minds and hearts In communication with the God. of all grace. While other things could be added, and justly so, we shall close this item with one thought. When you arise in the morning, pray. When you sit at your meals each day, pray. When you go about your daily activities, pray. When you lie down at night, pray. In short pray, pray, Pray, PRAY!

Before we close this study, there is one or two things of which we need to remind ourselves. One is that we are not to forget the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit. And the second thing is, that connected with the preaching of the Word is the administering of the Word, as an under shepherd. Now before going to the first, let us look at this second thought which includes counseling, pastoral visiting, hospital visiting, etc., but this shall not be taken up at this time because we only wanted to focus our attention upon the area of preaching.

A thought or two about the operation of the Holy Spirit. As we preach that which we believe God has laid upon our hearts, we need to always be mindful of the fact that the Spirit of God is just as sovereign in His work as the rest of the Godhead is in theirs. In other words, unless the Spirit opens the heart, ears, and understanding of those listening, the results and effects which we desire to see will not come. And at the same time, while you are preaching upon a particular passage or passages, the same Spirit can break the Word of God in such a way as to condemn one individual and comfort the one sitting beside him, then exhort another and instruct another. Have you ever preached upon a particular passage and someone come to you afterwards in tears of grief and another with expressions of joy? If so, what was the reason for the two contrary reactions? Why the administering of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. Also when you deliver the message of God and people are greatly comforted, encouraged, built up and strengthened by the message, do not make the mistake of thinking of yourself to be some great one. The same Holy Spirit is responsible for this result: that is His job - to testify of Jesus Christ and not of Himself; therefore, let us be mindful of the same thing and keep the same disposition as the first New Testament preacher had to testify of Jesus Christ and not ourselves and in doing so to decrease as He increases in our lives, work, and preaching. Yes, without the operation of the Spirit of the Lord all our labors would be in vain, and let us never forget this. We are only what we are by the Sovereign working of the Lord. God Almighty through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

In closing, let us be mindful of Paul's statement in 2Co 10:3-5, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Yes we are not only preaching and teaching in order to get people to follow our instructions outwardly, we are involved, with their minds. We are to preach and teach and live in such a way that we will influence the thinking of the people with whom we come in contact. We are to captivate the minds of people. We are to bring their thinking away from the high ideals and vain philosophies of the world and bring them into the obedience to Christ. We must not only bring them into obedience to Christ, but we must capture the mind and ' every thought and bring them into obedience to Christ. This is for the young who arc studying in school, for the young parents who are striving to be a success in life, for the middle-aged who are preparing for retirement, for the aged who are thinking of death. This reaches every area of life, every age of life, and every minute of life. And in order to do this, you must know the Word of God. Then, you must live the Word of God. Afterwards, you must be an example to the people. Next, you must gain their respect. And most of all you must he willing to forsake all in order to help anyone at anytime. Brethren, we have the highest calling this side of glory, and let us press toward the mark that our Lord set for us, fearing nothing, saving Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. We have not only heavenly weapons but also weapons that are mighty and sufficient for these things. And the degree in which you strive is the measuring rod that determines how much you believe in the Word that you preach. However, remember 1Co 4:7, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received, it?" And as you do remember this, keep one thing in mind, "PREACH THE WORD!"

Copyright by Veritas Publication around 1973, 2013.

03.000 THE PERSEVERANCE OF GOD’S PRESERVING GRACE

     Today, many in the world of Christendom believe in the truth of “once saved, always saved.” However, this truth is greatly misused and perverted. Many “preachers” and religious people who claim the name of Christ teach and preach that all one has to do to be a child of God is to make a profession of a faith, walk an aisle, believe a certain passage of Scripture, join a church, be baptized, or some other step or steps. Many of these same people also teach that the person who follows their set formula will be saved and can never be lost, no matter how that person lives. This type of preaching has produced churches with members who live in and of the world, neglect the assembling of themselves with the saints, deny the Word of God and godliness, and bring shame and disgrace upon the cause of Christ. Members of this type listen and receive the preaching of God’s Word “as the word of men” and not “as it is in truth, the word of God” (1Th 2:13). The reason I make this claim is because the Word of God does not work effectually in those who profess to be believers in the Lord and do not live as Christians.
     I believe that once a person is saved, he will always be saved, and I do not believe that the individual who is truly saved will live like the people of the world. Yes, God preserves His people and none shall be lost. However, those whom He effectually calls by His irresistible power are obedient and follow Him and live a holy life. The Bible teaches that God keeps His children, and the Bible teaches that God’s children shall endure until the end. It is a gross perversion of the Scriptures to teach preservation and not teach perseverance; likewise, it is equally wrong to teach perseverance and not teach preservation. Both are true!
     While the Scriptures teach that the Lord keeps His children from falling, that He might present them “faultless before the presence of His glory,” they also teach that the people of God are to “work out” their “own salvation with fear and trembling” (Jude 24; Php 2:12). Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present the full truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and not to shun declaring “all the counsel of God.”
     People who hate godliness and holy living desire the attention to be given to preservation and neglect perseverance. Those who stand secure in their own strength and despise those who depend upon God to keep them by His power delight to see all the space given to perseverance and deny preservation. But God’s Word gives the proper balance that all the glory is given to God.
     When preservation is stressed and perseverance is neglected, people are inclined to live licentiously and ungodly. And when perseverance is stressed and preservation is neglected, people are prone to be pharisaical and self-sufficient. Therefore, preservation and perseverance should be taught equally.
     When I speak of the doctrine of the perseverance of God’s preserving grace, I simply mean that all the elect will be in glory with God and none of them shall be lost. For those who desire a fuller definition, I mean that those who were chosen by God before the world was, are the same ones for whom Christ died and the Holy Spirit quickens, shall through God’s grace persevere in faith and holiness, and shall not lose their inheritance, but shall
be kept by the omnipotent power of God and be preserved unto their final state of glory. Let us go to the Word of God and see if this teaching can be supported.

03.01 The Elect and Only the Elect are Preserved

The Elect and Only the Elect are Preserved

     When speaking about God saving people once and for all, I do not mean that everyone who claims salvation is saved. Accordingly, in that great day of judgment Christ shall speak to false professors and say those dreadful words “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt 7:23). In other places the Bible speaks about wolves in sheep’s clothing, false prophets and teachers, natural believers, and deceivers who claim to be true believers. See Mt 7:15; Joh 2:23-25; 8:30-31,39-47; 2Co 11:13-15; Jude 4; etc. Because someone claims to be a believer or child of God, it does not mean that he is. However, every individual who was elected in Christ Jesus in the covenant of grace shall be saved. In fact, each Person of the Trinity is said to be active in keeping the children of God.
     That the elect are kept by the power of God may be seen by several passages of Scripture, but I will direct your attention to only three.
     First, notice 1Pe 1:1-5. Those to whom Peter was writing were elected according to God’s eternal purpose before the world began. Peter says that through the operation of God they were given a living hope and consolation of an eternal inheritance in the heavens. Peter also says that they need not have any fear of losing this heritage as they had lost their earthly possessions because of persecutions because they were being “kept by the power of God.” Some object and say that the keeping was by their faith. While faith is active in preservation, it is active because God is working “to will and to do” in the believer (Php 2:12-13). The whole process, from beginning to end, is of God. What a great consolation it is to know that even faith is an everlasting product of God and not a fickle work of man.
     Ro 8:33-39 is another place from which the child of God receives great strength in knowing that once he is in the love of God, he is always in the love of God. In Ro 8:33, the Word of God asks the question, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” Notice it is God’s elect! The answer to the question is, “It is God that justifieth.” In other words, the only One who has a right to lay a charge against the elect of God is God Himself.
Since it is God who justifies His own elect, can one claim be brought against any of His people? Not one! In the following verse, the same argument is presented with regard to Christ, and it is shown that nothing will separate the sheep of God from Him. Oh, what joy! It is the love of God that keeps us, not our love for God. What peace would there be in believing that our love for God is what keeps us? Oh, the hard heart of man; that heart which is so deceitful and desperately wicked; that dull and often cold heart cannot be the source of any security of salvation. But the eternal and omnipotent love of God; that holy, pure, and immutable love which flows freely from the Heavenly Father is a source of perfect security.
     The third passage is Jude 24-25. Again we find that it is the power of God that keeps His sheep from falling.  Yes, we stumble and trip, and walk astray from time to time, but we never fall away from the faith and grace of God to be destroyed. No, the children of God are kept by Him Who is able. Yet, notice another blessed truth. The believer is not only kept by that eternal power, he is also to be presented faultless before the presence of the glory of the Majesty on high. No wonder Jude closed his letter with such a doxology in Jude 25.
     To study and meditate on these and other like passages causes the cup to overflow within the soul. What peace! What joy! What consolation! What glory! What security! These benefits arise because our salvation is in the power of Almighty God and not in the hand of sinful man.
     Now I will direct your attention to a few passages that show that the Lord Jesus Christ also keeps the elect. I will try to be as brief as possible and consider the passages together instead of discussing each one separately. The passages for consideration are Joh 6:38-39; 10:27-30; Heb 2:13-17.
     These passages teach that Jesus Christ came from heaven, passed by the nature of angels and became a human being, and made reconciliation for sin. However, Jesus did not just die for sin, He died for people. The sacrifice and work of Christ do more than simply remove sin, they preserve those for whom He died. Jesus stated that He would not lose those whom the Father had given Him. He also testified that they would never perish.
     Think of it, Jesus Christ, the Divine Son of God, Who is equal to the Father, not only gave His word that the sheep will be kept, but it is He that keeps them. He, to Whom all power in heaven and earth was given, He, Who is the faithful High Priest, He, Who is the effectual Savior, is the One Who keeps the elect and sees that none is lost.
     How wonderful it is to know that we have a Savior Who saves and eternally keeps that treasure which He bought. What a glorious Rock of ages! What a wonderful great Shepherd! If Christ only paid the sin debt and left the rest for us to do, we would go to the place where the worm dies not and the fire is never quenched. But thanks be unto God Who giveth us the victory in Christ Jesus, our salvation is in the strength and power of the Holy One of Israel and not in the hand of wicked man.
     Thirdly, the Holy Spirit preserves the elect. Again, in order not to make this article too lengthy, I will group the passages under this head as I did above under the work of Christ. The passages are Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; and Joh 14:16-17.
     These passages teach that the Holy Spirit is equally active in keeping the elect in the salvation of God as the Father and the Son are. It is the Spirit of God that comes and abides in and with the child of God for the purpose of preserving him. The Scriptures speak of the elect being preserved by the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Christ stated that the Spirit would abide with His sheep forever.
     God’s Word teaches that a threefold cord is not easily broken, and that every word is established out of the mouth of two or three witnesses. Therefore, the threefold cord of the blessed Trinity, the Triune witness of God, gives consolations that secure perfect peace. If the elect of God fall and are not kept by the power and work of God, then, none shall be saved. Salvation from beginning to end is the work of God; it is not the work of man.

03.02 The Whole Plan and Purpose of God Stands on This Doctrine

The Whole Plan and Purpose of God Stands on This Doctrine

     Seeing that the people of God are kept by the full work of the Triune God, we are made to realize that the entire purpose of God stands or falls with this doctrine. If one person whom God elected, and for whom Christ died, and in whom the Holy Spirit abides, goes to hell, God will be defeated. 2Ti 1:9 teaches that salvation is according to the purpose and grace of God which was given to the elect “in Christ Jesus before the world began.” If God purposes something that does not come to pass, His purpose fails. This can never be!
     In Eph 1:4-10, it is seen that God’s plan and purpose pivots on the truth of the elect persevering and being preserved by the power of God. Here the Scriptures state that the sheep were chosen (elected) in Christ before the world was created, and that in “the fulness of times” they shall be “gathered together” in Christ. The Scriptures teach that this is according to the purpose of God that He “hath purposed in Himself.”
     Jesus Christ came to the earth for the purpose of saving His people (the elect). This was told to Joseph by the angel concerning the Child that Mary was carrying (Mt 1:21). Jesus said that He came to the earth for the purpose of saving those whom the Father had given to Him (Joh 6:37-39). Jesus asserted this truth again in Joh 10:27-30. Jesus stated that He knows the sheep which are His, the sheep which the Father gave to Him, the sheep which are given eternal life. These sheep (the elect) are in the hand of the great three in one God. And there is not any power sufficient to remove one from the hand of God. Joh 10:29 states that “no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” The translators added the word “man”, which is indicated by it being printed in italics. The word “able” comes for the Greek word dunamai (dunamai) from which our English word “dynamite” comes. Today this Greek word would be equivalent to something like the atomic or neutron bomb. Therefore, in Joh 10:28-29, Jesus is saying that there is not any power sufficient to remove—even by force—any of the sheep out of the keeping power of God. What a great comfort to know that God, Who is omnipotent, keeps us according to His purpose which He has purposed in Himself.
     By this we find that if God’s purposes fail, we cannot receive any peace and comfort in the Word of God. The most misunderstood passage in the Bible, Joh 3:16, would not hold any consolation to a believing child of God if God cannot and does not perform that which He purposed. In fact, the Bible is full of the promises of God which He has given to His sheep, and if God loses one sheep His promises fall in all other things as well. How could there be any comfort in God’s Word if God’s Word proved to be not true?
     Jesus stated that He would not cast out those whom the Father had given Him, and He would raise them up at the last day (Joh 6:37,40). If one is lost who truly comes to Christ, then he is cast out, and will not be raised in the last day to life everlasting. Oh, the folly of thinking that God will lose one of His sheep! Think of the many passages in the Scriptures that would be misleading, untrue, and tempting if a person who comes to Jesus Christ for his hope and security is cast out, lost, and sent to hell. Banish the thought from your mind! God cannot fail!  His purposes shall stand! He shall do all His will and counsel! He shall not fail nor be discouraged! (Isa 46:10; 44:6-7; 42:4.)

03.03 The Elect Shall Persevere

The Elect Shall Persevere

    While it is true God that preserves the elect unto glory, it is equally true that they shall persevere in faith and holiness while they live here in this world. It is a heretical teaching that a born again child of God can live any way he chooses while living on earth. In fact, to teach that a child of God can live as before, follow after and love the world, rebel against God and His Word, deny Christ, and not walk after the leading influence of the Holy Spirit not only to teaches the belief of Arminians, it also denies the plain and true teaching of God’s Word. It denies the effectual work of God in the heart and life of His people.
    While the Arminian teaches that a person can fall away and go into perdition after being in the saving faith of God, he also teaches that it is up to the believer as to whether he will follow after Christ and be obedient to the end. The Arminians taught in 1610, that after a person is born again by the Spirit of God, he can either follow the Lord or not, depending upon whether he will use the power and grace given to him in the new birth. I quote the fifth article of the Remonstrance, which is the Arminian Articles, written in 1610:  That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory; it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through His Spirit in all temptations, extends to them His hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire His help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled nor plucked out of Christ’s hands, according to the Word of Christ, Joh 10:28: ‘Neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.’ But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginning of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scripture, before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.
      When I say that the child of God will persevere in faith and holiness to the end, I do not mean that he will live a sinless life or live in perfect obedience to the Scriptures at all times. No, the saints of God, while living here, still war against their sinful natures and stray off the path from time to time. They often fail to maintain close fellowship and rich joy with the Lord. But in all of this, the whole tenor of their life will be to follow after the things of the Lord Jesus Christ.
      Additionally, I do not mean to imply that each and every child of God will walk the same way, live to the same degree of holiness, or manifest the same level of faith. God’s people are not carbon copies so that they all look and act alike. While Abraham denied Sarah as his wife, Noah got drunk; while Elijah ran from Jezebel, Peter denied Christ; while David committed adultery and had Uriah killed, Lot dwelt in Sodom; and, while Thomas doubted, James and John wanted the chief seats. These saints were sinners, yet they did not live in sin and wickedness and show forth the characteristics of the world. Even Lot, who lived in Sodom because “it was well watered everywhere” and like the garden of Eden (Ge 13:10), did not partake of the wickedness of the people of the city. The Word of God states that Lot’s soul was tormented because of the wickedness that he saw and heard. This is a far cry from those who would maintain that a true believer in Christ is indifferent to the wickedness and sin of this world. Though Lot lingered, yet God by His effectual grace delivered “the godly out of temptations” (2Pe 2:7-9).
      That the elect of God (the true believers in Christ) will persevere in faith and holiness is abundantly taught in God’s Word. Many passages could be brought to prove this truth that an individual would be overwhelmed and buried beneath them. To keep the article from being too lengthy, I will discuss a few passages and list others for your own study.
      First, let us consider Eph 2:10. After stating in Eph 2:1-9 that we are saved by the grace of God apart from works, it is seen that God not only created us “in Christ Jesus unto good works,” but He also “ordained that we should walk in them.” Some may object by saying that the verse states that we “should” walk in good works and not that we “will” walk in good works. It is noted that the word “should” carries the same force here as it does in Joh 3:16. In Joh 3:16 states that God gave His Son that the believer “should not perish.” Therefore, if Eph 2:10 means that we ought to do good works but we may not do so, then, Joh 3:16 means that Christ died that the true believer ought not to perish but he may do so. This cannot be! All for whom Christ died shall be with Him in glory. Since the death of Christ is effective in delivering the sheep from perishing, then, the workmanship of God is effective in His elect by causing them to walk in good works. More could be said about this passage, but it would make the study too large.
      Next, notice Joh 10:27. Jesus said that His sheep not only hear His voice but they follow Him. Sometimes it is taught that a person who is not following Jesus Christ is just a “carnal Christian.” However, the Bible teaches that a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ, and that His sheep do follow Him. The Scriptures do not teach that God’s sheep (the elect) might follow, but that they do follow. In Php 2:12-13, where the people of God are told to work out their salvation, it states that God works in them “both to will and to do.” Therefore, the reason the sheep do follow Christ is because of God’s effectual work. This shows that God’s people will follow Christ and live in faith and holiness while traveling in this world. The reason that the sheep follow Christ and persevere is because of the effectual work and strength of Almighty God and not the mere strength and power of weak and sinful man.
     Now I draw your attention to 1Jo 3:6-10. This passage teaches that the individual who commits sin is not born of God. The word “commit” carries the idea of practicing or habitually walking in sin. John is not saying that a child of God will live sinless. If so, he would contradict what he wrote earlier when he said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1Jo 1:8). John is saying that the true believer in Christ will not continue to live in sin and walk in the ways of the world, that he will not habitually walk in sin. Earlier he said, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1Jo 2:15). Why is it that the Christian lives a holy life? It is because of the divine “seed” which God placed in the individual at the new birth. It is because of the faith, or divine life, that is within the person. Later in this epistle John speaks to the little children who believe on Christ and assures them that they have overcome those with the spirit of antichrist because they have a greater spirit within them (1Jo 4:4). In 1Jo 5:4, the Scriptures declare that those who are born of God overcome the world and they do so because of the work of faith that God worked in them. Here we might also note that every promise given to the churches as found in the book of Revelation is given to the overcomer. See Re 2:7,11,17,26-28; 3:5,12,21; 21:6-8; 22:12-15. Yes, the child of God shall overcome the world and not live in sin because God’s grace is an efficacious grace. If God were only to give man life and then leave him to either use or not use that life as he see fit, none would ever persevere. (Whosoever teaches this teaches Arminianism as clearly seen in their fifth article as quoted above.) The Scriptures teach that salvation, from beginning to end, is completely the work of God and none of it is left to the work and strength of man. God commands man to work. Yet, He gives His sheep the desire and energy to keep His commandments (Php 2:12-13; Joh 14:23-24; 1Jo 5:3; 1Co 15:10).
     Many more passages could be presented to show this glorious doctrine that is taught throughout the Scriptures. However, I shall give a few related passages for your personal study and bring my remarks to a close. Time and space will not permit me to discuss nor list all the passages that teach this grand and glorious truth. I present the following passages: 2Co 3:18; Ro 6:12-13,16-18,23; 8:1; 1Co 6:9-11; 2Th 1:7-10.

03.04 Conclusion

Conclusion

    In this study we saw that God is the Author and Finisher of our salvation. God not only begins our faith, but He preserves and completes it (Heb 12:2). In explaining the full work of God in keeping His sheep, we have to use both terms—preservation and perseverance. The work of God would not be fully portrayed if only one of them was used. What a blessed thought to know that God does not begin a work in us and leave it to us to finish. No, I am “confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in” His people “will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Php 1:6).
    Therefore, may the reader and writer always be mindful of what God said in 1Th 5:23-24, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you Who also will do it.”

                                Jimmy Barber
             Copyright by Veritas Publications
May, 1975, February 26, 1991; February 3, 2008

04.000 STUDY GUIDE THROUGH THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

STUDY GUIDE THROUGH THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
   BY JIMMY K. BARBER
      INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS

I. OVERVIEW OF BOOK:

A. Charles Bridges said, “Proverbial teaching is one of the most ancient forms of instruction.” He noted that proverbs were recognized before the time of Solomon (1Sa 24:13). We will glean heavily from Bridges and will not try to distinguish between his quotes of other and his own comments, though we will document the place from which we draw from him.

B. Solomon spake more proverbs than what is recorded in this book. He spake three thousand proverbs, 1Ki 4:32. While he spoke many more that what is recorded in this book, those preserved here are given by inspiration of God for instruction in His righteousness. We must remember that these proverbs are not mere natural sayings. They comprise the divine wisdom of God.

C. The book is divided into three sections: Section I, Pr 1-9; Section II, Pr 10-24; Section III, Pr 25-31.

   1. Section I is mainly devoted to the conduct of early life. “All the most formidable dangers to which this season is exposed, and the sins which most easily beset it, are painted with the hand of a master. And while the progress and issues of vice are exhibited under a variety of the most striking delineations and metaphors, in their utmost deformity and horror; all the beauties of language, and all the force of eloquence are poured forth in the diversified form of earnest expostulation, insinuating tenderness, captivating argument, and sublime allegory, to win the ingenuous youth to virtue and piety, and to fix him in a steady pursuit of his duties towards God and man. Virtue is pronounced in the very outset to be essential wisdom, and vice or wickedness essential folly. The only wise man therefore is declared to be the truly good and virtuous, or he that fears God, and reverences his law; while the man of vice and wickedness is a fool, a stubborn or perverse wretch, and an abomination to Jehovah.” Bridges, vi.

   2. Section II is distinguished by the style and manner being obviously different from that of the first section. “It is evidently designed for the use of persons advanced from the state of youth to that of manhood. While in the preceding, addressed to the young, the richest ornaments of the fancy are made choice of to captivate their attention, and allure them to aright practice; in the present all is business and activity, brevity, continuity, and terseness. Every thought, though as highly polished, is at the same time as compressed as possible; and the Writer, thoroughly aware of the value of every moment of time at this important period, lays down a complete series of short rules of life, and concentrates the most momentous precepts into the narrowest compass. The former appeals to the imagination; the latter to the judgment. The one exhibits all genius of poetry; the latter all the art of composition; and hence the general matter is rendered as attractive in the one instance as in the other.” Bridges, vi – vii.

   3. Section III is written by other writers than Solomon. While Pr 25-29 were written by Solomon and edited later during the reign of Hezekiah, the last two chapters were written by Agur and Lemuel. Nevertheless, it matters not who the writers were, the book is the word of God and is divinely approved in the New Testament. Compare Pr 3:7 with Ro 12:16; Pr 3:11-12 with Heb 12:5-6; Pr 3:34 with Jas 4:6 and 1Pe 5:5; Pr 10:13 with 1Pe 4:8; Pr 11:31 with 1Pe 4:18; Pr 25:6-7 with Lu 14:8-10; Pr 25:21-22 with Ro 12:20; Pr 26:11 with 2Pe 2:22; Pr 27:1 with Jas 4:13-14.

   D. “The interpretation of this Book requires much care and sobriety. Believing the principles of the Old and New Testament to be essentially the same, it seem reasonable to expound the more obscure by the more clear. The primary duty is indeed to affix to each Proverb its own literal and precise meaning. This is undoubtedly its spiritual meaning – that is – the mind of the Spirit. In an extended application of this discovered meaning, or in deducing inferences from it, judgment, not imagination, must be the interpreter. When no other than a literal meaning is plainly intended, the object must be, not to search out a new and miscalled spiritual meaning, but to draw practical instruction from its obvious sense.

       There is, however–we may remark–a line to be drawn between exposition and illustration. The figures used in this Book, after their literal meaning has been wrought out, may fairly be used as illustrative of other collateral truths, not specifically intended.

   The Sacred Writers appear to warrant this principle of accommodation, though its use requires great delicacy and consideration; lest it should divest Scripture of its determinate meaning, and identify us with those artists, whom Dr. South memorializes, ‘who can draw anything out of anything.’” Bridges, viii – ix.

   E. When studying this book, as with any book of the Holy Scriptures, we must always treat it as the word of Christ (Col 3:16) and seek Him in every place. Again we can do no better than draw from Bridges: “The truth as it is in Jesus”–that which flows from him, leads to him, and centres in him–that in which we are to be learned, and to be taught by him–is practical truth (Eph 4:20-24).

   While other parts of Scripture shew us the glory of our high calling; this may instruct in all minuteness of detail how to ‘walk worthy of it.’ Elsewhere we learn our completeness in Christ (Col 2:10): and most justly we glory in our high exaltation as ‘joint-heirs with Christ, made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ro 8:17; Eph 2:6). We look into this Book, and, as by the aid of the microscope, we see minuteness of our Christian obligations; that there is not a temper, a look, a word, a movement, the most important action of the day, the smallest relative duty, in which we do not either deface or adorn the image of our Lord, and the profession of his name. surely if the book conduced to no other end, it tends to humble even the most consistent servant of God, in the consciousness of countless failures. Not only therefore is the last chapter–as Matthew Henry would have it–‘a looking-glass for ladies,’ but the whole Book is a mirror for us all.

    Nor is it only a mirror to shew our defects. It is also a guidebook and directory for godly conduct. The details of the external life, in all the diversified spheres, are given or implied with perfect accuracy, and with a profound knowledge of the workings of the human heart. Beside a code of laws directly religious, a variety of admirable rules stream froth from the deep recesses of wisdom, and spread over the whole field. All ranks and classes have their word in season.” Pp. xii-xiii.

1. Rulers are instructed by God, Pr 8:15-16; 16:10-13; 20:8,26; 21:1; 25:2-5; 31:1-9.

2. The principles of national prosperity or decay are clearly shown, Pr 11:14; 14:34; 24:6; 28:2.

3. The rich are warned of their besetting temptations, Pr 18:11; 23:4-5; 28:20,22.

4. The poor are encouraged in their condition, Pr 15:16-17; 17:1; 19:1,22; 28:6.

5. Wise rules are given for self-government, Pr 4:23-27; 16:32; 23:1-3.

6. Instruction for bridling the tongue, Pr 4:24; 10:31; 17:20; 25:23; 26:20-26.

7. Correction for the wanton eye, Pr 5:20-21; 6:25-29; 23:26-27.

8. It ties the unjust hands in chains, Pr 18:5; 28:8.

9. It instructs against sloth, Pr 6:6-11; 12:27; 13:4; 19:24; 20:4; 24:30-34.

10. It disciplines all absurd desires, Pr 21:25-26.

11. It teaches prudence, Pr 4:14-15; 6:1-5; 14:8,15,18; 22:3; 26:6-10.

12. It lifts up courage in man, Pr 28:1.

13. The blessing or curse of the marriage ordinance is vividly portrayed, Pr 18:22; 19:14; 31:10 with Pr 12:4; 19:13; 21:9,19.

14. Sound principles of family order and discipline are inculcated, Pr 13:24; 14:1; 19:18; 22:6; 23:13-14; 29:15,17,19,21.

15. Domestic economy is displayed in it adorning consistency, Pr 27:23-27; 31:10-27.

16. The smallest courtesies of daily life are regulated, Pr 23:6-8; 25:17.

17. Self-denying consideration of others is enforced, Pr 3:27-28.

18. Liberal distribution (giving) is essential, Pr 11:24; 22:9.

II. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Who is the principle writer of Proverbs?

B. Proverbs is divided into how many sections?

C. How many proverbs did Solomon speak? Are all of them given in this book?

D. How should the book be interpreted?

E. Who should we seek to find in this book?

04.01 PROVERBS CHAPTER 1

Pr 1

III. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse for the theme of this chapter is Pr 1:7: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

B. Pr 1:1-6 give the introduction for the book of Proverbs and the purpose of proverb of the book, as well as, the purpose of learning the meaning of a proverb.

C. It is not the knowledge of this book that will keep one from sin, but it is obedience to the instructions given. Solomon, the wisest of men, knew what is written herein, but he fell greatly into sin. It is not wisdom and understanding that is as imperative.

   Obedience to God’s word is imperative, essential. Cf. De 4:1-6.

D. The end of this chapter (as well as the whole book) is to teach the knowledge of God and not secular or political wisdom (though much is given throughout the book).

E. Those who are wise hear and understand even to the point of increasing their learning, Pr 1:5-6.
 
IV. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. The chapter opens it instruction with Pr 1:7 by saying that the beginning (principle part) of knowledge is the fear of the Lord, but fools will despise such instruction.

   1. This is stated in many other places in the scriptures, Job 28:28 (cf. Job 12-27); Ps 111:10.

   2. Solomon reminds us of this at the conclusion of this first section, Pr 9:10.

   3. Solomon also gives is as the conclusion of everything in Ecclesiastes, Ec 12:13.

   4. Bridges defines the fear of the Lord as follows: “It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law. His wrath is so bitter, and his love so sweet; that hence springs an earnest desire to please him, and … a holy watchfulness and fear, ‘that he might not sin against him.’ (Heb 12:28-29)”

   5. Why do so many despise wisdom and instruction? Because, by nature, all of us are fools because of the depraved nature, Ro 3:18.

B. The fear of the Lord is connected with reverence of parents, Pr 1:8-9.

(1.) There is no fear of God unless there is proper honor and submission of children to parents.

   2. While children are to obey without question (Eph 6:1; Col 3:20), the injunction is for children to follow instruction and not blind submission.

C. The first instruction of parents to children is what they are not to do, Pr 1:10-19, esp. Pr 1:10,15.

D. Wisdom cries from every direction to listen, Pr 1:20-23. Bridges says, ‘Simplicity is another term for folly. It is the temper of mind of those that fear not God. They weigh not what they say or do. They live as if there were neither God nor eternity. Their understandings are blinded by the love of sin. In other cases man delights, not in his ignorance, but in its removal. But these simple ones, ignorant of the value and danger of their souls, love simplicity. They consider all endeavours to enlighten them, as breaking in upon an indulgent repose, and exciting a groundless alarm. For while they live riotously, slothfully, or licentiously, “they consider not in their hearts, that God remembereth all their wickedness,” and “that for all these things he will bring them into judgment.” (Ho 7:2; Ec 11:9) They are encouraged by a few more furious than themselves – scorner – who have neither fear nor shame, remorse or heart, nor decency of manner; who take an active delight in their scorning: shooting their poisoned arrows against godliness. (See Ps 64:3-4) All earnestness in religion is with them a weakness unworthy of sensible men. The very Scripture terms are revolting. A saint in Scripture means one sanctified by the Spirit of God. With them it means a foolish person or a hypocrite. Their souls are too high to stoop to the vulgar thoughts and habits of the gospel of Christ. Thus do they prove themselves (both the indolent mass of the simple ones, and their scornful leaders) to be fools, that hate knowledge. (Pr 1:7,29; Job 21:14; 24:13) Aiming to keep out alarm, with it they shut out all that would make them wise and happy. If they hate the knowledge of their lost condition, they exclude all that follows upon it, to make them “wise unto salvation.” Of other knowledge they have often too much: mischievous, as keeping out better things; giving them an evil eye, filling the soul with darkness; making them “hate the light, so that they will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.” (Joh 3:19-20)

E. Severe judgment falls on those who reject godly instruction, Pr 1:24-32.

F. Great peace is to those who receive wisdom (God & His authority over us), Pr 1:33.

V. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is the beginning of knowledge?

B. Should we have friends with those who do not follow the ways of righteousness?

C. Will God hear the prayers of those who reject His instructions?

D. Who is the true wisdom of God?

E. If one rejects the instruction of his parents will he have the fear of the Lord?

F. When fear or calamity comes to one who rejects wisdom what will God do?

04.02 PROVERBS CHAPTER 2

Pr 2

VI. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses for the theme of this chapter are Pr 2:1-5: My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

B. Pr 2 opens by telling us that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. This chapter opens by telling us how to attain this wisdom and the proper fear of God.

C. The chapter not only tells how to achieve godly wisdom and fear, it tells from where wisdom comes.

D. The chapter further enlightens us as to the end of those who reject this instruction.

VII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. This wisdom is attained by receiving the commands and applying them in our lives, Pr 2:1-5.

   1. The father pleads with his son to receive the words and commandments given to him energetically. Remember that as the mother is included when the father is mentioned so are daughters assumed when the word son is stated, cf. Pr 1:8.

   2. The child is to receive them in such a way that he cries after knowledge; labors as a miner laboring for silver and rich treasure.

   3. To receive the wisdom, one must incline the ear, apply the heart, cry (diligent prayer) and lift up the voice, and seek for it.

B. The source of wisdom is the Lord, Pr 2:6-8, cf. Jas 1:5; 3:13-17.

   1. Though the child of God is to hear and follow the instructions given to him in the Scriptures, equally is the child to listen to and follow the godly instructions given to him by his parents.

   2. Notice that this wisdom will only profit the righteous because the wicked reject it, Pr 2:7.

   3. God guards, guides, and protects him who yields himself under the authority and direction of the Lord, Pr 2:7b; Pr 2:8. Likewise, the earthly father is affectionate and protective over the son who gives himself to his (the father’s) instructions.

C. By receiving wisdom in the heart, one is equipped to walk in the paths of righteousness, Pr 2:9. Note where wisdom is to dwell–in the heart, Pr 2:10. Charles Bridges said, “Clear knowledge floating in the head is deep ignorance. While it only glitters in the understanding, it is dry, speculative, and barren. When it entereth into the heart, light beams out, all the affections are engaged; and how pleasant is it to the soul!”

D. Wisdom will deliver one from the ways of evil and keep one at all times.

   1. Deliver from the evil man who walks in wickedness and rejoices to do evil, Pr 2:12-15.

   2. Deliver from the evil woman who seeks to deceive by flattering words, Pr 2:16-19. The implication is she not only rejects the counsel of her parents but also violates the marriage vows, cf. Mal 2:14-16.

   3. Sexual sins cling to the soul like leaches. Cf. 1Co 6:16-20.

E. The righteous live in peace; the wicked shall be destroyed, Pr 2:20-22.

F. “Beware of glossing over sins with amiable or palliating terms. Let young people be always led to look upon vicious habits with horror, as the most appalling evil. Discipline their vehemence of feeling, and all ill-regulated excitement. Keep out of sight, as far as may be, books (magazines, movies, etc. – JKB) calculated to inflame the imagination. To give an impulse to the glowing passion may stimulate the rising corruption to the most malignant fruitfulness. Oh! what wisdom is needed to guide, to repress, to bring forth, develop safely, and to improve fully, the mind, energies, and sensibilities of youth!”

      “Young man! Beware! Do not flatter thyself for a moment, that God will ever wink at your sinful passions; that he will allow for them, as slips and foibles of youth. They are the ‘cords of your own sins,’ which, if the power of God’s grace break them not in time, will ‘hold’ you for eternity. Shun then the society of sin, as the infection of the plague. Keep thy distance from it, as from the pit of destruction. Store thy mind with the preservative of heavenly wisdom. Cultivate the taste for purer pleasures. Listen to the fatherly, pleading remonstrance, inviting thee to thy rest ….” p. 20.

VIII.REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. How should one seek for wisdom?

B. Who will be cut off from the earth?

C. Who is the strange woman?

D. Who gives wisdom?

E. Where is wisdom to dwell?

04.03 PROVERBS CHAPTER 3

Pr 3

IX. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse for this chapter is Pr 3:6: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. However, it appears that this verse must stand by being joined to Pr 3:5.

B. This chapter opens by directing the son to the source of obedience – the heart, Pr 3:1,3,5.


C. Truly the wise man is the one who acknowledges the Lord in all his ways.

X. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Long life, physical health and natural blessings are often connected to obedience to the law of the Lord and submission to the instructions of the parents, Pr 3:2,4,8,10,23-26,33; cf. Ex 20:12; Eph 6:1-3.

B. The fear of the Lord and godly wisdom are products of submission to and reception of chastisement, Pr 3:11-12, cf. Heb 12:5-6Re 3:19.

   1. The truly wise man is happy, Pr 3:13.

   2. Chastisement, though not joyous when received, yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness and a glad heart to run the Christian race, Heb 12:12-13. Here we find that wisdom and chastisement go together. The child who never learns discipline will never be wise before the Lord.

C. True happiness is in wisdom, Pr 3:13-20. Christ is the personification of wisdom, 1Co 1:30.

   1. Wisdom, the knowledge of Christ, is better than great riches. Length of days, especially the continual fellowship of Christ, is in wisdom. Wisdom gives pleasant and peaceful paths. Peter was sleeping the night before his supposed execution and needed an angel’s stroke to wake him up, Ac 12:4-7.

   2. Living in the path of wisdom supplies life to the soul, grace to the neck, safety to the feet, peace in sleep, comfort in trials, Pr 3:21-25. God well knows how to deliver the godly: Noah found security in the flood of the ungodly; Lot in the destruction of Sodom.

D. Love to neighbor is equally becoming the Christian, Pr 3:27-29.

   1. The wise man is not selfish, covetous with that which the Lord lends him. Bridges said, “If we have no legal debt to any, we have a Gospel debt to all. (Ro 13:8).” P. 38.

   2. “Christian benevolence will also do good in the kindest manner. Delay is an offence against the law of love. Too often the cold repulse – Go, and come again – is a cover for selfishness. There is a secret hope that the matter will be forgotten, dropped, or taken up by some other party. … A little given in time of need is more than a large sum when the time is gone by.

      We should cultivate a quick sensibility of the wants and sufferings of others; putting ourselves as much as possible in their place; not only ‘doing good,’ but ‘ready to every good work.’” (Tit 3:1. 1Ti 6:8). P. 38.

   3. Bridges aptly states, “The command – withhold not good – is naturally followed by the forbidding to do evil.” Often people become involved in matters “without cause”; i.e., they enter into disputes, etc. that do not concern them.

E. We are exhorted promote peace with all and not to follow the ways of the oppressor (lit. a man of violence). Such a person (the froward man) is an abomination unto the Lord and under His curse, Pr 3:31-35.

   1. The word froward means to depart, to turn aside; therefore, the froward man is one who goes wrong, crooked, or deviates in his course.

   2. The froward man is not only under the curse of God, but brings the curse into his house and destroys his family, Pr 3:33.

   3. God will scorn the scorner, Pr 3:34, cf. Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5. “The exact quotation of the LXX save the substitution of Qeoj for Kurioj. ‘The Apostle’s quotation of this passage, though somewhat different in the words, is the same in the sense with the original. For scorners in Scripture are proud, insolent, wicked men. And to resist such persons, by rendering their schemes abortive, and by humbling them, is emphatically called a scorning of them.’ – Mcknight on Jas 4:6.” Bridges, p. 42.

F. While the Lord is against the proud, His secrets are with the righteous (Pr 3:32); He blesses the house of the just (Pr 3:33); He gives grace to the humble (Pr 3:34).

G. The wise will inherit glory, but the fool will be promoted to shame, Pr 3:35.


XI. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Where are wisdom and the law of the Lord to be kept in us?

B. We honor the Lord when we give the _______ of all our increase.

C. Should we postpone giving when we have it to give?

D. Whom does the Lord chasten?

E. What is life to our soul?

04.04 PROVERBS CHAPTER 4

Pr 4

XII. INTRODUCTION:

A. There are three memory verses for this chapter. They are Pr 4:7, Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding; Pr 4:18, But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day; Pr 4:23, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

B. This proverb opens with Solomon not only calling for his son to hear his instructions, but further reveals that he is giving the instructions which David gave to him, Pr 4:3-4. “Where David’s instruction begins, is obvious. Where it ends, is not so clear – Whether it be Pr 4:6,10,12, or Pr 4:13; or as F. Taylor asserts, at the close of Pr 9. But as Geier observes – ‘Let the reader form his own judgment; provided that we pay due obedience to the instruction, it matter little, whether we have it in the words of David or Solomon.’” Bridges, Footnote, p. 45.

XIII.GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Solomon states the purpose of his doctrine, Pr 4:1-2. “To many, exciting (Eze 33:31-32), curious and speculative (2Ti 4:3-4), compromising (Isa 30:10; Jer 5:31), self-righteous, self-exalting doctrine (Ga 1:6-7), is more attractive. But – young people! – remember – that which humbles the soul before God; that which exhibits the free grace of the Gospel; which melts down the will, consecrates the heart, imbues [to saturate; infuse] with the spirit of the cross – however unpalatable to the flesh – is alone good doctrine for the soul. Therefore forsake it not. Do not be carried away with the senseless cry, – ‘Everybody thinks contrary.’ What is the judgment of the mass of mankind worth on the great subject of religion? … Shall this world’s judgment be preferred to the word of God?” Bridges, p. 44.

B. The instruction is to get wisdom and understanding because this is the principal thing, Pr 4:5-13.

   1. The word principal means beginning, first, chief, choice part. This is the word used in Ge 1:1 with In the beginning God created …. As the foundation of creation is God, the foundation life is wisdom.

   2. This is connected with his law, words, commandment, sayings, instruction (Pr 4:2,4-5,10,13). He who will not listen and live by that which is taught him by godly instructors will surely be destroyed.

   3. When wisdom is exalted, one is not seeking self-recognition; i.e., he is not exalting himself and seeking to show how “smart” he is. This is nothing more than pride and vanity. The apex of exalting wisdom is exalting Christ, Who is wisdom, 1Co 1:30. He who is wise knows he is not. The wise man knows that God is wise and that he must live in submission to God’s law-word.

   4. The wise teacher not only teaches, he leads his student in right paths, Pr 4:11. And while it is the injunction for the parent to teach and lead, the child is obligated to take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her, Pr 4:13.

C. While the path of wisdom leads to life, one must not enter into the path of the wicked, Pr 4:14-19. It is not enough to know what must be done; action is essential. We must not go near it; we must turn away from it.

   1. The wicked will do wickedly and they cannot rest otherwise, Pr 4:16, cf. 2Pe 2:2; Ps 36:4; Mic 2:1.

   2. The wicked believe they are living and enjoying life, but they do not understand that it is their own sins that is destroying them and causing life to be miserable, Pr 4:19.

   3. While the road of the wicked progressively becomes darker, the path of those who walk righteously (in obedience to godly instruction) continually becomes brighter. The wise man truly lives the abundant life, Joh 10:10. “Christian perfection is the continual aiming at perfection.” Bridges, p. 51.

D. God continually instructs the child to give diligent heed unto instruction so that life will be preserved, Pr 4:20-23. Equally we must give attention to the word of God that we might continually enjoy Him. This is done by keeping the heart, cf. Mr 7:20-23; Mt 15:18-20. It is not society nor bad examples that causes people to sin, it is their heart, Jer 17:9. It is the heart that must be guarded above everything else. “But the heart must be known in order to be effectually kept. Nothing is more difficult, while nothing is more necessary. If we know not our hearts, we know nothing to any purpose.” Bridges, p. 53.

E. The chapter closes with a reminder of the necessity of putting off sin and avoiding wicked paths, Pr 4:24-27. “Beware of mistaking presumption for faith, temptations for Providential appointments. Never forsake a plain for a doubtful command. (1Ki 13:18-22).” Bridges, p. 55.

XIV. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Where do the issues of life reside?

B. What shall preserve you if you do not forsake it?

C. What causes the years of one’s life to be many?

D. What is the principal thing to get?

E. Whose path shines more and more unto the perfect day?

04.05 PROVERBS CHAPTER 5

Pr 5

XV. INTRODUCTION:

A. There are three memory verses for this chapter. They are Pr 5:21-23: For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

B. This chapter deals with one of the major besetting sins of man that destroys any society whether it is a country, state, city, or family. Wicked and degenerate man promotes the lust of the flesh in every area of life from advertisement to entertainment.

C. The wise father will surely seek to instruct his son so that he will not fall prey to the wicked woman who seeks to destroy him hereby. If the man after God’s own heart (David), the wisest of men (Solomon) and the strongest of men (Samson) fell in this sin, ought not we to consider ourselves lest we too fall in this sin. No one is exempt. Though the first sin was not of this nature, the man followed the woman by willfully rejecting the command of God.

D. It is no wonder that God commands godly women to dress and act so that they do not give the slightest hint of being such a woman, 1Ti 2:9-12; Tit 2:2-5; 1Pe 3:1-6; 1Co 11:5-16; 14:34-35.

XVI. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. The chapter opens by the son being exhorted to give attention to the wisdom of the father by listening to his lips, Pr 5:1-2.

B. The lips of the strange woman do not give wisdom and they lead to destruction, Pr 5:3-7. Listening to the charming speech of a wicked woman has destroyed many men.

C. The ways of the strange woman are to be avoided with all cost, Pr 5:8-14.

   1. Those who go after her ways hate instruction, despise reproof, disobey teachers, and do not listen to wise counsel. “There are no infidels in eternity, and but few on a death-bed.” Bridges, p. 57.

   2. Woe unto to the person who leads man into this sin, Mt 18:7; Lu 17:1.

   3. “Can we wonder then at parental earnestness, forcing back the children playing on the brink of a precipice? Hear now, O ye children! We mean no austere restraint upon youthful pleasures. Only avoid the tempter’s touch, her word, even her look.  Remove thy way far from her. Not only go not in to her; but – such is the contagion – come not near the door. (Comp. Pr 4:14-15; 6:7,28). To thrust ourselves into temptation, is to throw ourselves out of God’s protection. The snare as it approaches becomes more enticing. The voice of wisdom therefore is – ‘Flee youthful lusts.’” P. 57.

D. The best remedy for avoiding the wicked woman is for a man to be married and content with his wife, Pr 5:15-20, cf. 1Co 7:1.

   5. Speaking of marriage, Charles Bridges said, “Desire after forbidden enjoyments naturally springs from dissatisfaction with the blessings in possession. Where contentment is not found at home – drinking out of our own cistern – it will be sought for, however vainly, abroad. Conjugal love is chief among the earthly goods in mercy granted by God to his fallen and rebellious creature. … Whatsoever interrupts the strictest harmony in this delicate relationship, opens the door to imminent temptation.  Tender, well-regulated, domestic affection is the best defence [sic.] against the vagrant desires of unlawful passion.” P. 58.

E. Men must remember that God will not be mocked and He will justly recompense wickedness, Pr 5:21-23. “Practical atheism is the root of human depravity. … Oh! If men would but read – would but believe – their Bibles, how would this solemn truth – he pondereth all his goings – flash upon their consciences! Not only does he see and mark them as the Omniscient God; but he ponders them as the just Judge. Not one is hidden from his piercing eye. ‘He will bring every secret thing to judgment.’ He ‘will be a swift witness against the adulterers. No unclean person shall enter into his kingdom.’ But if no regard to reason, or to the all-seeing Eye, will restrain the sinner, let him think of the trouble that he is bringing upon himself. God needs no chains or prison to bring him under his hand. Wherever he goes, his sins go with him, as cords to hold him for judgment. Does he think that he can give them up when he pleases? Repetition forms the habit. The habit becomes a ruling principle. ‘Every lust deals with him, as Delilah with Samson – not only robs him of his strength, but leaves him fast bound.’ Shutting his eyes against the light, he dies without instruction – The greatness of his folly leads him astray – to perdition.” Bridges, p. 59.

XVII.REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is the end of those who follow the strange woman?

B. He who follows the strange woman ________ instruction and ________ reproof.

C. Who ponders (thinks upon) all the ways of man?

D. What is the best remedy avoiding the strange woman?

E. The man who follows the strange woman dies without _________?

04.06 PROVERBS CHAPTER 6

Pr 6

XVIII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses for this chapter is Pr 6:23: For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

B. This chapter warns against many temptations and therefore it ought to be studied and followed with the utmost care. By close observation one will find here that discipline, diligence, and obedience to instruction are closely related.

C. The depth of wickedness is often the results of a refusal to heed godly counsel (particular that of parents) and diligent labor.

XIX. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. While being a surety for another is not always condemned (Ps 119:122, cf. Ge 42:37; 43:9; 44:32; Phm 18-19), it is seen here that it is better to avoid it if possible, Pr 6:1-6, cf. Pr 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13.

   1. While it is permissible for a friend it is to be avoided for a stranger. It is best to secure the friend than to be a surety for him.  Better to labor with our hands and deliver our friend than be a surety for him.

   2. “Our God, while he warns us against suretyship, has taken it upon himself. Praised be his name! He has given his word, his bond, yea – his blood – for sinners – a security, that no powers of hell can shake.” Bridges, p. 60.

B. By study of the ant one will escape poverty, Pr 6:7-11. While carefulness is a sin, “care is a duty, a parental obligation, and, therefore, a component part of godliness. … Live by rule. Have your time strictly arranged. Be employed in early work for God.

   Store the mind with useful knowledge; ever reserving the first place for an industrious and prayerful study of the book of God.” Bridges pp. 61, 62.

C. While the sluggard is lazy and slothful, the wicked is unwearied in his vile activities. His mouth, eyes, feet, fingers, and heart are busy in devising his mischief continually. Little does he know that he will be destroyed suddenly, Pr 6:12-15.

D. Seven things which the Lord hates and are an abomination to Him, Pr 6:16-19. They are a proud look, a lying tongue, murder, an heart that devises wicked imagination, feet which quickly run to mischief, a liar, and one who sows discord among brethren.

E. The child is again admonished to give the closest attention to the instructions of his parents, Pr 6:20-24.

   1. “God never intended young people to be independent of their parents. Instruction from every quarter is valuable. But from parents – always supposing them to be godly parents – it is the ordinance of God. … Let the law be thy friend for all times and circumstances – a guide by day (Pr 3:22-23; 4:12); a solace by night (Pr 3:24; Ps 63:5), yea – a friend for thy waking moments. (Ps 139:17-18.) Take care that nothing hinders thy early converse with this faithful counsellor before the world comes in; as the best means of keeping the world out. ‘Happy is the mind to which the word is an undivided companion.’” Bridges, p. 64.

   2. “Those who choose their own light fall into a flattering snare. (Pr 2:16; 7:21.) The neglect of parental warning will furnish in the end bitter matter for unavailing repentance. (Pr 5:11-13.) Oh! Let the Father’s instruction be heard betimes – ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.’ (Ps 19:9. Comp. Pr 5:1117:4).” Bridges, p. 65.

   3. Note the comfort, peace, and joy of the child who heeds the godly counsel of their parent. He is led in his daily walk; he is preserved in his sleep; he meditates (so is the word talk) in his waking hours on godly ways. There is nothing more delightful than a happy child living in joyful submission to the authority of God.

F. Again the young man is warned against the wicked woman, Pr 6:25-29. “By vain beauty, and wanton eyes, many a deluded victim has been brought to a piece of bread.” Bridges, 65.

   1. Beauty, Pr 31:30; Ge 6:2; 39:6; 2Sa 11:2.

   2. Eyes, Ge 39:7; 2Ki 9:30 (lit. put her eyes in painting); Isa 3:16; 2Pe 2:14.


G. While the thief may not be despised, the adulterer will not go unpunished, Pr 6:30-35. Of the adulterer Bridges states, “His plea is not the cry of hunger, but of lust; not want, but wantonness; not the lack of bread, but of understanding. (Comp. Ec 7:25-26Jer 5:8,21.) He is wilfully given up to his sin.” P. 66.

XX.REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is the rage of a man?

B. Where should the father’s commands and the mother’s laws be kept?

C. We learn diligence and industry from what animal?

D. What are seven abominations to the Lord?

E. Where does wickedness reside in the froward person?

04.07 PROVERBS CHAPTER 7

Pr 7

XXI. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses for this chapter is Pr 7:1-3: My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

B. John Gill said, “The sum of this chapter is to exhort men to attend to the doctrines and precepts of Wisdom, in order to avoid the adulterous woman; the exhortation to keep them with care, affection, and delight, in order to answer the end, is in Pr 7:1-5.

… 
And the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to hearken to the words of Wisdom, and to avoid the ways and paths of the harlot, by which many and mighty persons have been ruined; they being the direct road to hell and death, Pr 7:24-27.”

XXII.GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. The chapter opens with instruction to young men to give diligent attention to the teaching of parents, Pr 7:1-5.

   1. The whole heart, soul, mind, strength is to be occupied with it. Sir Matthew Hale told his children, “If I omit reading a portion of Scripture in the morning, it never goes well with me through the day.” Bridges, p. 67.

   2. The word of God must be laid up in the mind; the commandments of the Lord must be as the apple of the eye; bound on the fingers; written on the table of the heart. Wisdom is to be esteemed as a close sister and understanding as one’s kinswoman.

   3. Such a kinswoman will keep the young man from the strange woman. “It is her embrace that throws the harlot’s beauty into the shade. Man must have his object of delight. If wisdom is not loved, lust will be indulged. The Bible––therefore not merely read, but the cherished object of familiar intercourse––proves a sacred exorcist to expel the power of evil. (Pr 2:10,16; 6:23-24; 23:26-27).” Bridges, 68.

B. Solomon paints the “deadly snare of the strange woman” and the steady decline of the young man void of understanding, Pr 7:6-22.

   1. This young man’s fall began with the sin of idleness, Pr 7:7-10. “The loitering evening walk; the unseasonable hour (Job 24:15; Ro 13:12-13); the vacant mind–all bringing the youth into contact with evil company (Pr 13:20; 1Co 15:33)–was not this courting sin, tempting the tempter? … How valuable are self-discipline, self-control, constant employment, active energy of pursuit, as preservatives under the Divine blessing from fearful danger!” Bridges, 69.

   2. Note the description of the harlot in that she is definitively dressed, loud, stubborn, does not stay at home, in the streets (shopping malls), aggressive, and impudent, Pr 7:10-13.

   3. This woman used religion to varnish her sins. Bridges stated, “It [religion] is often a cover for sin! ‘She durst not play the harlot with man till she had played the hypocrite with God, and stopped the mouth of her conscience with her peace-offerings.’”

   4. Though the young man idleness thrust him into the place of destruction, it was the aggressiveness of the woman that lured him and entangled him with her fair speech and seductive ways.

C. The youth must give close attention to the instruction of godly parents and the parents must be wise and discerning, Pr 7:24-27.

   1. “An impure thought, a polluted fancy, and idle book, filthy conversation, foolish company, theatres or places of vain resort––these are her ways. Dread the first step, and dream not that you can stop yourself at pleasure in her course. Familiarity with sin weakens abhorrence. Soon will you begin to love the object of detestation. And what! should you find too late, that you have chosen as your home her house, which is the way to hell, and to the chambers of death? Many, not of the meaner sort, but strong men has she cast down wounded and slain. And a miracle it is of Almighty power and grace, that plucks the child of God form the brink of destruction.” Bridges, 70-71.

2. The gospel is the only remedy from this path of destruction. “The love of Christ is the counteracting principle to the love of lust. … The crucifixion of the flesh by a living union with Him will “keep us from our iniquity. … But if sin be not mortified by these principles, sooner or later it will break out; if not, as here, to open disgrace; yet so as to defile the conscience, to ‘quench the Spirit,’ and by a sure, though perhaps imperceptible, course, to bring soul and body to hell––to the chambers of eternal death.” Bridges, 71-72.

XXIII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Whose house is the way to hell?

B. The young man who goes after the strange woman is void of what?

C. Where are the law and commandments to be kept?

D. The strange woman uses _______ speech and _________ lips.

E. Should we go near sin?

04.08 PROVERBS CHAPTER 8

Pr 8

XXIV. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses are Pr 8:13,35-36: The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

B. This chapter is interpreted according to how one views the use of wisdom. Some maintain that Solomon uses wisdom as an attribute of God, some assert that wisdom is speaking of Christ, the Wisdom of God, and others believe that Solomon is speaking of wisdom itself in a personification. It is true that wisdom is an attribute of God (Ps 147:5; Re 5:12; 7:12) and Jesus Christ is wisdom (1Co 1:20; Col 2:3). However, I believe that Solomon is speaking of wisdom as if it were a person, and yet, this personification of wisdom is to be found typically of Christ. I respect those who hold the other views, for indeed they do exalt God and Christ. Good and honest men hold to all three views and one will profit from their works. By gathering the nectar from all the different views one can enjoy the richest honey of Christ, His attributes and His wisdom from above.

XXV. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. The chapter opens with wisdom crying for the sons of men to give attention to her because wisdom is found in everywhere––high places, paths, gates of the city, door of houses, etc., Pr 8:1-4.

B. The simple and fools will profit by giving heed to wisdom, Pr 8:5-11.

   1. While the unregenerate is unable to understand spiritual truths properly, he is to give attention to the instructions from God for his profit naturally.

   2. “Scripture difficulties belong not to the Book itself, but to man’s blind and corrupt heart.” Bridges, pp. 73-74.

   3. Though the world believes it not, godly wisdom is better, yea, more profitable than silver, gold, and precious stones.

C. Wisdom benefits in many and various ways, Pr 8:12-21.

   1. Wisdom is to truly fear the Lord. He who fears the Lord hates evil, pride, arrogancy, frowardness, etc.

   2. He who see the value of wisdom will seek it early––not only early in the morning, but early in life. “But is it reasonable––nay––is it not a most abasing thought––to offer the flower of youth to Satan; and, when you have well worn yourself out in his service, to reserve only the dregs and sweepings of life for your Saviour? (Mal 1:8) Every day you lose a world of happiness; you bind a chain of sin; you take a step to hell.” Bridges, 77.

D. The Lord Jesus Christ is truly the wisdom of God (1Co 1:20) and the language in Pr 8:22-31 is so sublime that the Scriptures seem to be speaking more than an attribute of God or the mere knowledge of man. The eternal subsistence of the second Person of the Trinity seems to be under consideration here.

   1. It is extremely wonderous that before the world was created the Lord Jesus Christ’s delight was with the sons of men, Pr 8:31.

   2. “But the wonder of wonders yet remains––that he, who was his Father’s infinite delight, and infinitely delighting in him, should find his delights from all eternity in the sons of men; that he should, as it were, long to be with us; that he should solace his heart with the prospect; that he should anticipate the moment with joyous readiness (Ps 40:6-8; Heb 10:7); that he should pass by the far nobler nature of angels “to take hold of man” (Heb 2:16, marg.), to embrace man as one with his All-perfect self!” Bridges, pp. 81-82.

E. The chapter closes with another exhortation to give serious consideration to seeking the wisdom of God which is from above (Jas 3:17-18), Pr 8:32-36.

1. “Wisdom’s child will ever be familiar with Wisdom’s gates. The Weekly as well as the Sabbath assemblies will be his delight.  Most thankful will he be for the service, which invigorates him in the midst of the toils of his worldly calling. ‘The way by

the footsteps of the flock, beside the Shepherds’ tents,’ will be his constant resort. (Song 1:7-8). And never would he wound the feelings of his Shepherd by wilfully absenting himself from the well, when he comes to water his flock. All the ordinances of prayer, meditation, Scripture reading, or godly conference, will be his salutary provision.” Bridges, pp. 83-84.

2. “The places where the Gospel is faithfully preached, are ‘the gates, and the posts of the doors of Wisdom,’ at which Christ would have his disciples to ‘wait daily.’” Scott in Bridges, p. 84.

3. “Every bait of sin is the temptation to suicide––soul-murder. The snatching at it is as if men were in love with damnation.  ‘They that hate me love death.’” Bridges, p. 84.

XXVI. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. The fear of the Lord is to hate ______.

B. Wickedness is an abomination to _______.

C. Those who hate wisdom love _______.

D. The personification of wisdom is found in the Person of ________.

E. When was wisdom possessed of the Lord?

04.09 PROVERBS CHAPTER 9

Pr 9

XXVII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 9:10: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

B. The previous chapter exalts wisdom to its highest in the Person of Christ. This chapter continues to extol wisdom and her virtues.

   However, as wisdom cries for the simple and those who lack understanding to follow her, the foolish woman is equally seeking them for her pleasures. One path leads to life while the other leads to death. Life and death are continually set before us, cf. De 30:19Pr 11:19; 14:27; Jer 21:8.

XXVIII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. It appears that the parable of the marriage-feast is set forth here (Mt 22:1-4; Lu 14:16-17), Pr 9:1-6. Truly the congregation of God (1Ti 3:15; Eph 2:20-22) is founded on the “pillar” of eternal truth. It is in the gospel that is set forth in the church that peace is found. However, the blessings of God are not to be found unless the paths of the foolish are forsaken.

B. It takes wisdom to be able to know when and how to answer the wicked and scorner (cf. Pr 26:4-5), Pr 9:7-9. It must be noted that a fool may not always be a scorner according to this passage. While it is sometimes wise to not rebuke the scorner, there may be yet an occasion to present the truth of God to him. “Sometimes a sad, serious, intelligible silence is the most effective reproof. (Am 5:13; 6:10.) Whereas open rebuke might stir up a torrent of hatred (Pr 15:12; 23:9; 1Ki 22:8; 2Ch 25:6) and abuse (Ge 19:9; Am 7:10; Mt 7:6); and under provocation of spirit, the reprover might get to himself a blot. (Isa 29:21.)” Bridges, pp. 86-87.

C. Pr 9:10-11. “The repetition of this weighty sentence (Pr 1:7; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10) deepens our estimate of its importance.  … The child of God has only one dread––to offend his Father; only one desire––to please and delight in him. … And truly the value of life is only realized in the knowledge and service of God.” Bridges, p. 87, 88.

D. Pr 9:12: “The consequences of our conduct, good or bad, chiefly reflect on ourselves. … The wise man’s light is a blessing to the Church and to the world. (Mt 5:14,16.) But he is wise for himself––for his own advantage. (Pr 3:13-18; 24:3; Ec 8:1.)

   The scorner is a grief to his minister, and a stumbling to his church. But he hurts no one so much as himself.” Bridges, p. 88.

E. Wisdom and wickedness are in constant warfare, Pr 9:13-18. The wicked woman who advertises herself openly and loudly for the destruction of man is set in opposition to wisdom that equally cries for the good and life of man.

   1. “For sin is no less earnest to destroy, than wisdom is to save. … Fleshly lusts are in open opposition to Divine wisdom. The delight of the soul fixed on anything but God and his grace, is but spiritual adultery.” Bridges, p. 89.

   2. “So fearfully do sensual pleasures darken the understanding, that the tempter, from the very habit of deceiving, becomes the victim of her own delusion!” Bridges, p. 89.

   3. “Ah! sinner––there is no such thing as secret sin. All is naked and open as day before the eye of God. (Job 24:15; 34:21-22.)

        All will soon be proclaimed before the assembled world. (Lu 12:1-2.) But the strength of this temptation is, that they are forbidden pleasures. (Ge 3:1-6.) Restraint provokes the dormant power of sin; as children will do that which is forbidden, because it is forbidden. But what will be the end? Satan shows only the sparkling cup, and the glaring light. Ask to look into the inner chamber. The blinded fool hath wilfully closed his eyes (Pr 7:22; Isa 1:3; 2Pe 3:5.); else might he know that the dead are there; and that her guests––the wilful despisers of wisdom, are in the very depths of hell. (Pr 2:18; 7:27.), Bridges, p. 89

XXIX. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What happens when one rebukes a scorner?

B. What happens when one rebukes a wise man?

C. What is the end of those who follow after the foolish woman?

D. What is the beginning of wisdom?

E. Days and years of life are multiplied and increased by __________.

04.10 PROVERBS CHAPTER 10

Pr 10

XXX. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 10:27: The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

B. This new section of Proverbs (Pr 10-24) consists of the proverbs of Solomon and are unlike the first section in that they are mostly unconnected sentences, with profound thought and acute observation, “expressed in an antithetical or illustrative form; … a treasury of wisdom in all its diversified details, personal, domestic, social, civil.

     “Perhaps this first sentence may have been placed in the front, to point to the value of a godly education in its personal, social, national influence, connected both with time and eternity. We naturally look for rest in our children, as the choicest gift of God.

   Faith, indeed, may be tried, perhaps severely tried. But the child, watched, prayed over, instructed, and disciplined, shall, in the Lord’s best time, choose wisdom’s paths, and be the gladness of his father’s heart.

     “Many a mother, alas! is chastened with the heaviness of a foolish son. In such cases, has not indulgence, instead of wholesome restraint; pleasure, instead of godliness; the world, instead of the Bible––educated the child? Want of early discipline; passing over trifles; yielding when we ought to command––how little do we think to what they may grow! God has laid down plain rules, plain duties, and plain consequences flowing from their observance or neglect. To forget a daily reference to them; to choose our own wisdom before God’s;––can we wonder that the result should be heaviness?”

     In a footnote, Bridges adds that “an antithesis between the relative terms illustrates by the distinctive character of the father’s gladness, who affection are more disciplined, and the mother’s grief, whose tenderness might bind her to the faults of her children, or lead her weakly to excuse them.” Bridges, pp. 90-91.

C. The chapter sets forth in opposition to each other the wise and foolish son and characteristics of each. See attached sheet entitled "A Brief Comparison of the Righteous and the Wicked from Pr 10." (At end)

XXXI. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. This chapter presents the contrast of the righteous (wise, just) man with the wicked (fool) man. These are the only two classes of men. There is no middle state. Equally each of our acts will fall under one of these two traits.

   1. Many are the promises of the righteous: long life (Pr 10:2,16-17,25,27,30), flourishing soul (Pr 10:3), good name (Pr 10:7), sure walk (Pr 10:9), blessed speech (Pr 10:11,13,20-21,31-32), knowledge (Pr 10:14), desires granted (Pr 10:24), continual foundation (Pr 10:25), glad hope (Pr 10:28), never removed (Pr 10:30).

   2. The wicked too have promises but they are not pleasant: no profit (Pr 10:2-4), shame (Pr 10:5), violence (Pr 10:6,11), no name (Pr 10:7), fall (Pr 10:8,10), hatred & strife (Pr 10:12), punishment (Pr 10:13), destruction (Pr 10:14), poverty (Pr 10:15), sin (Pr 10:16), lying lips & slander (Pr 10:18), much talk (Pr 10:19), no wisdom (Pr 10:21), receive his fears (Pr 10:24), short life (Pr 10:25,27,29, 30, 31), deceived (Pr 10:28), wicked speech (Pr 10:32).

B. One of the blessed traits found among the righteous is that of industry, Pr 10:3-5,15-16,22,30. “Industry was the law of Paradise (Ge 2:15); and though now it bears the stamp of the fall, it is overruled as a blessing; and in the ordinary course of Providence maketh rich. The Lord’s visits of favour were never given to loiterers….The Lord gives his blessing, as he gives the fruits of the earth, not to those that wish, but to those that “labour”; not to sentimental indolence, but to Christian energy and perseverance….It is as much the will of God, that the young should gather knowledge, as that the farmer should gather his harvest. The wise gathering in this summer gives substance, vigour, high tone and power of usefulness of after-life! How often may we trace poverty of mind, enervation of character, unprofitable habits, to sleeping in this fruitful harvest! He who idles away the time of his youth will bear the shame of it when he is old.” Bridges, pp. 92-93.

C. In the midst of diligence and the fear of the Lord is the blessed assurance that “the desire of the righteous shall be granted,” Pr 10:24. Bridges said, “But if our desires be granted, and even exceeded; faith and patience will be tried in the very grant. Growth in grace is given by deep and humbling views of our corruption. Longings for holiness are fulfilled by painful affliction. Prayers are answered by crosses. Our Father’s dispensations are not what they seem to be, but what he is pleased to make them. Yet in the darkest cloud the ground of our confidence is firm. All things needful will be given, and at the grand consummation every desire will be eternally fulfilled––‘As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.’ (Ps 17:15; 26:11)” p. 106.

D. The fear of the Lord is the heart and soul of life, both natural and spiritual, Pr 10:27. “The fear of the Lord is not a single grace. It includes the substance of all godly tempers. For all are radically one principle, from one source. It essentially differs from the fear of the wicked. They fear those whom they hate. The child of God––whom he loves. Whether his temporal life be shortened or prolonged, he lives long in a little time….Justly is the fear of the Lord contrasted with the wicked; because the absence of this grace is their distinguishing mark, the principle of all their ungodliness. And often do we see the letter of this curse realized in the shortening of their years. Excessive worldliness wears out the spring of life, and often brings it to an untimely end.” Bridges, pp. 107-108.

XXXII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is in the multitude of words?

B. What covers sin?

C. What prolongs days (one’s life)?

D. He is in the way of life that keeps __________.

E. What is strength to the upright?

Verse          Wise Son     Characteristic       Foolish Son            Characteristic

1                      Wise                Glad father                  Foolish                         Heaviness of mother

2                      Righteous        Deliver from death      Wicked                        No profit

3                      Righteous        No famishing               Wicked                        No substance

4                      Diligent            Rich                             Slack hand                  Poor

5                      Wise son         Industrious                   Sleeping son               Shame

6                      Just                 Blessed                       Wicked                        Violence

7                      Just                 His memory                Wicked                        Name shall rot

                                                is blessed

8                      Wise                Receive                       Prating fool                  Shall fall

                                                commandment

9                      Upright            Walks surely               Pervert in walk           Bad reputation

10                                                                                Prating fool                 Winks, causes sorrow

11                    Righteous        Well of life                   Wicked                        Violence of mouth

                        mouth

12                    Love                Covering sin                Hateful                        Stiring up strife

13                    Understanding Wisdom                      Void of understanding Chastisement (Rod)

                        lips

14                    Wise                Have knowledge         Foolish mouth             Destruction

15                                                                                Poor                            Poverty stricken

16                    Righteous        Life                              Wicked                        Sin

17                    Keeps              In the way of life         Refuses reproof          Errs (wrong)

                        instructions

18 -19              Wise                Disciplined speech      Fool                             Lies, slander, words

20                    Just                 Choice speech            Wicked                        Worthless heart

21                    Righteous lips  Feeds many                Fool                             No wisdom

23                    Wise                Has understanding      Fool                             Mischief sport

24                    Righteous        Desires granted           Wicked                        Receives his fears

25                    Righteous        Everlasting life            Wicked                        Falls in judgment

26                                                                                Sluggard                      Unfaithful                   

27                    Fear of the      Long life                      Wicked                        Short life

                        Lord
28                    Righteous        Glad hope                   Wicked                        Desires perish

29                    Upright            Way of the Lord          Worker of iniquity        Destruction

30                    Righteous        Unmoveable               Wicked                        No inheritance

31                    Just mouth      Brings wisdom            Froward tongue           Cut off

32                    Righteous lips  Accepted                     Wicked mouth             Frowardness

04.11 PROVERBS CHAPTER 11

Pr 11

XXXIII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 11:6: The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

1. The reason for selecting this verse is because the words righteous, upright or righteousness are predominant throughout the chapter. See Pr 11:3-6,8,10-11,18-21,23,28,30, and Pr 11:31.

2. The Scriptures abundantly teach that happiness is found in living a righteous life and we ought to teach this abundantly by precept and example.

B. Righteous living is no clearly seen than by a just weight (daily commerce), Pr 11:1. "Is it not a solemn thought, that the eye of God marks all our common dealings of life, either as an abomination or a delight? Have we ever found, when upon our knees, the frown of God upon some breach in our daily walk?" Bridges, p. 112.

XXXIV. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Often the same providential dealings will open the way for the righteous while it will close in upon the wicked, Pr 11:8. Israel was delivered out of the sea but Egypt destroyed in it, Ex 14:21-28; Mordecai delivered from the gallows but Haman was hanged on it, Es 4:14; 7:10; the three Hebrew children were delivered in the fire while the executioners were killed by it, Da 3:22-26;

Daniel delivered in the den of lions but his accusers were slain in it, Da 6:22-24; Peter saved from Herod's sword while his guards were devoured by it, Ac 12:6,19,23.

B. Of the talebearer (Pr 11:13), Bridges said, "For as readily as he reveals our neighbour's secrets to us, will he reveal ours to him.

All the bonds of confidence and friendship are broken in pieces. Let ears and lips be closed against him. If there be no vessel to receive his base matter, his words will fall to the ground, and die away. Children, servants, and visitors in the family, should guard most carefully against revealing secrets, that have been spoken before them in the unreserved confidence of domestic life.

The tale-bearer having much time on his hands, worms out family secrets. He is always delighted to make a discovery. The most idle rumour is a treasure. A quarrel made up before he had time to reveal it, is a disappointment. This busy idleness has always been a sore in the church." P. 117.

C. The gracious woman (Pr 11:16 & Pr 11:22) is not known by her outward beauty; she is known by her inner being or character (Pr 31:101Ti 2:9-10; 1Pe 3:3-4). While she is the weaker vessel, her honor is retained as strong men their riches. "Let us see things as the Bible shows them to us. If a fair, light-minded young woman should see her own face in this mirror, she might well start aside with horror." Without discretion, beauty "is as misplaced, as mis-becoming, as a jewel of gold in a swine's snout.

Would the ornament beautify the filthy animal? … All the charms of beauty are lost upon a foolish woman. … No ornament can give comeliness to a fool (Pr 26:8); but 'wisdom maketh the face to shine.' (Ec 8:1). 'Lightness and fantastic garb in apparel is the very bush or sign hanging out, that tells a vain mind lodges within.' … Learn then to value far beyond beauty of face, the inner 'ornament' of grace, 'which are in the sight of God of great price.' (1Pe 3:4-5) Many a lovely form enshrines a revolting mind." Bridges, 123.

D. " The froward and the upright are often contrasted, as God looks at them. Forwardness is abomination to the Lord. All the contests between God and man are –– whose will shall stand? [Emphasis mine.] (Ex 5:2; 9:17; Jer 44:16,28)." Bridges, on Pr 11:20, p. 122.

E. Pr 11:27. "There is no negative existence. Man is born for action, 'as the sparks fly upward,' or the stone tends downward. All of us are living with a stupendous measure of vital activity for good or mischief. Man was never intended –– least of all the Christian –– to be idle. Our Divine Master 'went about doing good;' always in motion; active in beneficence. And he is a counterfeit, who does not live after this pattern." Bridges, p. 127. Mrs. R. E. Lee said, "There is no such thing as a indolent Christian." p. 136 of her biography.

F. Pr 11:29. There is no greater blessing and joy in this life than that of a home in unity and peace (Ps 133), but the home that is in turmoil and discord with division shall come to desolation, Mt 12:25.

G. Pr 11:30. In keeping with the theme of the chapter, Bridges says of this verse, "Here is the fruit of the flourishing branch. (Pr 11:28.) The whole course of the righteous –– his influence, his prayers, his instruction, his example –– is a tree of life." And of the second part of the verse he said that the only One Who could "win" the soul was "He only, who purchased them by his blood, can win them to himself (and who that knows the work, but will give him all the praise!); yet has he set apart men for the work of 'drawing souls to God, and to the love of him; sweetly gaining, and making a holy conquest of them to God.'" P. 129.

H. Pr 11:31. This verse is quoted verbatim in 1Pe 4:18 from the Septuagint. Were it not for the rod of correction from God we would "soon backslide to our stubborn wantonness. The righteous therefore are recompensed in the earth. … As a wise Father, he will not indulge them in sin. As a holy God, he must show in them his abhorrence of it. As a faithful God, he will make the chastisements of his rod the means of their restoration. But –– blessed be God –– all the penal curse is subtracted. We are recompensed in the earth; not, as we deserve to be, in hell." Bridges, pp. 130-131. See 1Co 11:32.

XXXV. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Who is it that reveals secrets?

B. The fair woman without discretion is likened to what?

C. He that trusts in riches shall ________.

D. The desire of the righteous is only ________.

E. The people fall where there is no __________.

04.12 PROVERBS CHAPTER 12

Pr 12

XXXVI.INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 12:15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise. Cf. Pr 12:1,5-6,13-14,19-20,22-23.

B. Of this verse Bridges says, “The fool’s conceit hinders his wisdom. A discouraging case! His way is right in his own eyes. He needs no direction, asks no counsel, is stubborn in his own way, because it is his own, and follows it to his own ruin. His chief danger is his security. … Thus all his religion is self-delusion. … What a proof of wisdom is a teachable spirit! What an excellent means of increasing it! Was not Moses wiser for hearkening to Jethro’s counsel (Ex 18:14-24); and David for listening to the restraining advice of Abigail? (1Sa 25:23-32).” P. 140.

XXXVII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. The chapter opens by setting forth one with a teachable spirit, Pr 12:1. Truly he who loves instruction loves to listen and learn from wise counsel, but the brutish will listen only to his own “wisdom.” This is seen throughout the chapter, as well as, the whole book. “Instruction, as the contrast teaches, chiefly implies discipline –– that most needful course for acquiring spiritual knowledge.” Bridges, p. 131.

B. Truly there is no greater honor to a woman than being designated as the “virtuous woman.” “Faithful, chaste, reverential obedient, immovable in affection, delighting to see her husband honoured, respected, and loved; covering, as far as may be, his failings; prudent in the management of her family, conscientious in the discharge of her domestic duties; kind and considerate to all around her; and as the root of all –– ‘fearing the Lord’ –– such is the virtuous woman; “the weaker vessel” indeed, but a woman of strength, with all her graces in godly energy. She is not the ring on her husband’s finger, or the chain of gold around his neck.

That were far too low. She is his crown; his brightest ornament; drawing the eyes of all upon him, as eminently honoured and blessed.

Truly affecting is the contrast of a contentious, imperious, extravagant, perhaps unfaithful, wife; in the levity of her conduct forgetting her proper place and subjection: seeking the admiration of others, instead of being satisfied with her husband’s regard.

This is indeed a living disease –– rottenness in his bones; marring his usefulness; undermining his happiness; perhaps driving him into temptation, and “a snare of the devil.” Bridges, p. 133-134.

C. Pr 12:10. “The minuteness of Scripture is one of the most valuable properties. It shows the mind of God on many points apparently trivial. Here it tests our profession by our treatment of the brutes. They were given to man, as the lord of the creation, for his use, comfort, and food; not for his wantonness.” Bridges, p. 136.

D. Pr 12:11. “The principle applies alike to every lawful calling. Industry is an ornamental grace, and a Christian obligation. Most ample is its reward in the work of God. How rich is the harvest for the diligent student of the Scriptures! Truly he shall be satisfied with bread. But idleness is a spot upon our royal name. As an old writer observes –– ‘The proud person is Satan’s throne, and the idle man his pillow. He sitteth in the former, and sleepeth quietly on the latter.’” Bridges, p. 138.

E. Pr 12:14. “When our God becomes, not our visitor, but our inmate, the fruit of our mouth is not constrained effort, but ‘out of the abundance of the heart.’” Bridges, p. 139.

F. Pr 12:22. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord and man, as a whole, equally detests them. There is nothing as important as the training of children for the deepest respect for speaking the truth. We ought to “let them know that every willful deviation from strict accuracy bears the stamp of lying lips, which are (and let the sentence be pondered, not only by children, but by all) an abomination to the Lord. With this sin were Ananias and Sapphira hurried into eternity. The willful liar proves his parentage (Joh 8:44), and will be classed in eternity with all that is hateful. And fearfully will a righteous God, even in forgiving his own child, “take vengeance of his invention.” Bridges, p. 144.

G. Pr 12:23. “The fool … everywhere proclaims his foolishness. He imprudently opens his heart. He is dogmatical in dispute, when wiser men are cautious. He is teaching, when he ought to take the learner’s place; his self-confidence proclaiming his emptiness.

Self-distrust and humility are most important, to enable us to improve the gifts of God for his glory.” Bridges, p. 145.

H. Pr 12:27. Nothing is more obvious of slothfulness than the man who after he has persuaded himself to hunt for food is too lazy to prepare it to be eaten. Such are those to try religion but because they do not have the root within them soon fall away. Bridges aptly said, “Godliness without energy loses its full reward.” P. 149.

XXXVIII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. _________ ______ are an abomination to the Lord.

B. What is a virtuous woman to her husband?

C. Whose ways are always right in his eyes?

D. Who are kind to their animals?

E. What makes the heart of man glad?

04.13 PROVERBS CHAPTER 13

Pr 13

XXXIX. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses are Pr 13:4 & Pr 13:13: The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. … Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

B. Pr 13:4, (which is indicative of industry) corresponds to Pr 13:2,7-8,11,18-19,21-23, & Pr 13:25. Pr 13:13, which reflects a teachable spirit, relates to Pr 13:1,8-9,15,18-19, & Pr 13:20. You will notice that Pr 13:8 & Pr 13:18 bring together both memory verses.

The unity of God’s word is seen here in that the sluggard and the one who disregards instruction are of the same disposition and their end is the same.

C. “The sluggard desires the gain of diligence, without the diligence that gains. He would be wise without study, and rich without labour.” Bridges, p. 151.

XL. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. The chapter opens by showing a connection of instruction with rebuke. Indeed much instruction is attained through discipline.

The chapter all but closes with the way the discipline is applied on many occasions (Pr 13:24). He who receives not his father’s instruction soon occupies the scorner’s seat. If we refuse to heed the instruction of those over us we will likely resist the rebuke of God. See Pr 13:18 and Pr 12:1.

B. We are reminded again in this chapter of the power of the tongue for good or for destruction, Pr 13:2 & Pr 13:3.

C. Pr 13:5, “It is not that a righteous man never lies. David lied (1Sa 21:2; 27:9-10). Peter lied (Mt 26:70-74). Yet David could say –– ‘I hate and abhor lying.’ (Ps 119:163). He prayed to have it ‘removed from him.’ (Ps 119:29) He would not suffer the ‘liar in his sight.’ (Ps 101:7; 26:4). Peter in the painful remembrance of his sin earnestly shewed the happiness of departure from it (1Pe 3:10; 2:1). The child of God, though always a sinner, maintains a holy antipathy against sin –– ‘What I hate, that do I (Ro 7:15,19).’” Bridges, p. 153. The righteous man rather suffers by truth than to sin by lying (Da 3:16-18).

D. Pr 13:9, Only the righteousness can really rejoice because that which causes him to joy will never come to an end. It will not only continue forever, but it will also increase forever. The wicked only has joy in the things that perish with the using. While he thinks he has light, little does he know that his light will “be put out.”

E. Pr 13:10, “Most accurately is contention here traced to its proper source. All the crudities of the day, all the novelties of doctrine producing contention, originate in the proud swelling of “the fleshly mind.” Men scorn the beaten track. … They are ready to quarrel with every one, who does not value their notions as highly as they do. The desire of pre-eminence; revolt from authority or sound doctrine; party spirit, with the pride of knowledge and gifts –– all produce the same results. Is it too much to say, that vain-glory hath lighted up all the sinful contentions, that have ever kindled in the Church? … The proud man conceives himself wise enough. He ask no counsel, and thus proves his want of wisdom. But with the modest, well-advised, there is the wisdom that is from above, ‘which is first pure, then peaceable.’” Bridges, pp. 156-157.

F. Pr 13:14, “This is the grand end of the Ministry of the Gospel: to ‘deliver them from the snares of the devil, who taketh men captive at his will.’ … Let the instruction of thy God and his Ministers be the law of the wise to keep thy path in safety. … The spirit of the law will supply practical rules for keeping the heart and life –– e.g. (1) to do nothing, of which the lawfulness is questionable; (2) to consider everything as unlawful, which indisposes for prayer, and interrupts communion with God; (3) never to go into any company, business, or situation, in which the presence and blessing of God cannot be conscientiously asked and expected. Payson said that by the help of these three rules, I soon settle all my doubts, and find that many things I have hitherto indulged in, are, if not utterly unlawful, at least inexpedient, and I can renounce them without many sighs.” Bridges, p. 160.

G. Pr 13:18, Again the inspired word declares that the first step to the downward course is to refuse instruction.

H. Pr 13:20, Many people have been destroyed because of the company they keep. It is imperative that one chose his friends with wisdom. Rehoboam lost the kingdom because he followed the counsel of those brought up with him (his friends), cf. 2Ch 10:8-10. Joash walked wisely as long as Jehoiada the priest lived, but he was destroyed after Jehoiada died, 2Ch 24. See also 1Co 15:33; Ps 106:28,35.

I. Pr 13:24, The chapter opens by telling us that the wise son will hear instruction but the scorner will not give heed to rebuke. This verse at the closing of the chapter instructs us as to how the scorner is to be chastened. Bridges said, “Among the many modern theories of education, how often is God’s system overlooked! Yet should not this be our pattern and standard? The rod of discipline is its main character; not harsh severity, but a wise, considerate, faithful exercise; always aiming at the subjugation of the will, and the humbling and purifying of the heart. Here however God and man are at issue.”

XLI.REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What happens to the man who walks with wise men?

B. _________ and _________ shall be to him that refuseth instruction.

C. What makes the heart sick?

D. The law of the wise is a _________ __ _______.

E. He that keeps his mouth keeps his __________.

04.14 PROVERBS CHAPTER 14

Pr 14

XLII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses are Pr 14:2 & Pr 14:27: He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him. ... The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

B. These two verses have much in common in that he who fears the Lord walks uprightly in life while the “perverse” despises the Lord and his end is death. The following verses reveal the connecting thread of the proverbs in this chapter with the memory Pr 14:1,5,9,11,16,22,26,31, & Pr 14:34.

XLIII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 14:1: The chapter opens by one of the most striking illustrations of one who fears the Lord or despises Him. The wife is either a blessing to her husband or a curse, cf. Pr 12:4; 19:13; 21:9; 27:15-16; 31:10-31 (cf. Pr 14:11). “The godly matron is the very soul of the house. She instructs her children by her example, not less than by her teaching. She educates them for God and for eternity; not to shine in the vain show of the world, but in the Church of God. … But mark the foolish woman––her idleness, waste, love of pleasure, want of all forethought and care, her children’s will allowed, their souls neglected, their happiness ruined! We see her house plucked down in confusion. A sad issue, if an enemy had done this! But it is the doing, or rather the undoing, or her own hands. In proportion to her power and influence is her capability of family mischief. … What responsibility then belongs to the marriage choice, linked with the highest interests of unborn generations! If ever there was a matter for special prayer and consideration, this is it. Here to err once, may be an undoing of ourselves and of our house.” Bridges, p. 170.

B. Pr 14:5: One can never trust a liar. If he is not faithful with words it is likely he will not be faithful in other thing.

C. Pr 14:6: This verse describes those mentioned in 2Ti 3:7, “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Those of this nature often complain about the darkness of the Scriptures and how hard they are to understand when the problem is in their heart. It is the humble mind that understands God’s word. While it is hid from the wise, it is revealed to babes, Mt 11:25. Clearly Pr 24:7 says, “Wisdom is too high for a fool….”

D. Pr 14:9: This verse clearly shows the wickedness of what is generally regarded as humor. Comedy, especially modern comedy, “entertains” many by their constant mocking of sin. While the fool mocks at sin, the righteous weeps over sin and obtains favor from the Lord.

E. Pr 14:17: Here we find that he who is soon angry is linked to a man of wicked devices. Such is not only hated of men, but such is an abomination to the Lord, Pr 6:16-18.

F. Pr 14:21: Covetousness is a grievous sin. It robs man the joy of living. A covetous person is never happy. He is not only miserable at the prosperity of others, he can never enjoy his own wealth.

G. Pr 14:26: “‘Fear hath torment.’ (1Jo 4:18; Ac 24:25.) It is the trembling of the slave; the dread of wrath, not of sin. There is no confidence here. It is pure selfishness. It ends in self. There is no homage to God. But the true fear of God is a holy, happy, reverential principle; not that which ‘love casts out’ but which love brings in. It is reverence tempered with love. We fear, because we love. We ‘fear his goodness’ no less than his justice; not because we doubt his love, but because we are assured of it. We fear, yet we are not afraid. The holiest and humblest is the most fixed and trusting heart. The fear of man produces faintness. The fear of the Lord––such is the Christian paradox––emboldens.” Bridges, p. 187.

H. Pr 14:27: He who truly fears the Lord knows what true living is. The husk of this world and the momentary joys of sinful society do not nourish the soul of him who fears God. Better to die to this world than die to the next one.

I. Pr 14:30: Though every illness is not a result of a sinful life, yet often sickness is the result of some such sin. S. I. McMillen, a medical doctor, wrote, “Peace does not come in capsules! This is regrettable because medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 per cent to nearly 100 per cent.” None of These Diseases, p. 5. Dr. McMillen’s book describes how sins such as envy, self-centeredness, jealousy, resentment, hate, worry, over sensitivity, guilt feelings, fear, sorrow, desire for approval, and frustration cause diseases which affect the skin, eyes, various infections, and disorders of muscle-joint, allergic, nervous system, genito-urinary system, circulatory system & digestive system. None of These Diseases, pp. 61-63.

J. Pr 14:34: “Not the wisdom of policy, extent of empire, splendid conquests, flourishing trade, abundant resources––but righteousness––exalteth a nation. … What an enemy is an ungodly man to his country! Loudly as he may talk of his patriotism, and even though God should make him an instrument of advancing her temporal interest; yet he contributes, so far as in him lies, to her deepest reproach. [Thomas Paine well proves this. While he fought to win our freedom from England, he wrote to overthrow the truth of God’s word. JKB] … ‘What is morally wrong can never be politically right.’ Burke.” Bridges, pp. 194-195.

XLIV. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What causes rottenness of the bones?

B. Who shall be filled with his own ways?

C. He that is slow to wrath is of great _________.

D. _________ exalts a nation.

E. What is a fountain of life?

04.15 PROVERBS CHAPTER 15

Pr 15

XLV. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 15:33: The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

B. The following verses are reflected in the memory verse: Pr 15:2,5,7,10,12,14,16,20; 21; 22; 24; 25; 28; 31, & Pr 15:32.

XLVI. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 15:1 (Pr 15:2,4,7,14,18,23,28), note these verses in connection with the use of the tongue.

1. God abundantly teaches the consequence of the tongue. It is used either for building up or tearing down. The scriptures clearly show the power of the tongue in the book of James. One has well said that the tongue shows the man. While the wise commands his tongue, the tongue commands the fool. “Wisdom is proved, not by the quantum of knowledge, but by its right application.” Bridges, p. 197.

2. “Consideration is an important part of the Christian character; nowhere more important than in the discipline of the tongue.

Think twice, before we speak once. … Cultivate a pondering mind.” Bridges, p. 218.

B. Pr 15:5 (Pr 15:10,12,31-32), compare these verses with the wise man who hears and the foolish who rejects instruction and rebuke.

1. The fool not only despises his father instruction, but he hates reproof and correction (Pr 15:10). Indeed he shows himself to be a scorner (Pr 15:12) and despising his own soul (Pr 15:32).

2. However, the wise receives reproof (Pr 15:31). “The mode of receiving reproof is a test of principle. Humility, sincerity, self-knowledge––the exercise or defect of these graces––is brought out to our honour or dishonour. Beautiful indeed is the sight of ‘a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.’” Bridges, p. 221.

C. Pr 15:8 (Pr 15:9,26,29), these verses reveal that the wicked is rejected in his pretended righteousness.

1. Here we find that the wicked may pray and sacrifice unto the Lord but all is vain because of his depraved heart. Even the thoughts of the wicked are unacceptable to the Lord and He is far from him. It was first Cain and then his offering that the Lord did not have respect, Ge 4:3,5. Man’s worship and ways are totally unacceptable unless the Lord first changes the heart.

2. The world continues to work at reforming wicked man, but little do they know that all their labor is vain.

D. Pr 15:11, Again we find that though man only sees the outward works of man, the Lord knows their hearts. All is open to God, even hell and destruction. Inward hypocrisy is as open before the Lord as if it were boldly written on one’s forehead. “For would men dare to indulge their vain thoughts, their light notions, their trifles, their impurities, did they really believe that the Lord searched their hearts? Would they attempt a forced concealment from his eyes; as if outward service, lip-worship, would avail, while the heart was cherishing its unrepented sin? Would they not be afraid to think before him what they would shrink from doing before men? Oh! is it not an awful moment in privacy to stand the test of this searching eye? Awful indeed is the thought to the idolatrous sinner, to the lover of pleasure, distinction, or low ambition. Thine heart is open before thy God. Never will he stoop to occupy the second place there. Thy covering of deceit is swept away. The refuges of lies are pierced and laid bare.” Bridges, pp. 203-204.

E. Pr 15:4, “But while the man of understanding is never satisfied with knowledge, the fool is fully satisfied with folly. His brutish taste feeds upon foolishness, as his meat and his drink. His spirit ‘is of the earth, earthy.’ Young people! guard against this folly at every turn. Avoid trifling amusements, frivolous reading, profane merriment.” Bridges, p. 206.

F. Pr 15:16-17, “Riches and poverty are more in the heart than in the hand. He is wealthy, that is contented. He is poor, that wanteth more. The universe will not fill a worldly, while a little will suffice for an heavenly, heart. …And as to this world’s comforts––the dinner of herbs, the homely meal of love, is better than the stalled ox, preparing for a sumptuous, but brotherly, feast. Love sweetens the meanest food. Hatred embitters the richest feast. … When the Lord’s ordinance of marriage is marred by man’s selfishness; when wealth, rank, or adventitious accomplishments govern the choice of life’s companion, rather than the fear of the Lord; what wonder if the stalled ox, and hatred therewith, be the order of the house? Mutual disappointment is too often the source of criminal indulgence abroad; always the bane of peace and unity at home. Few, alas! practically believe this divine testimony. Parents! do you seek the solid happiness of your children? Then lead them to expect little from the world; everything from God.” Bridges 207-208.

G. Pr 15:29 (cf. Pr 15:8-9), It is the righteous that the Lord hears. No one can expect to gain the ear of the Lord as long as he lives contrary to the word of God. Therefore, those who refuse to receive instruction from those over them have no right to expect the Lord’s blessings.

H. Pr 15:33, “Indeed no Christian grace can exist without this conservating principle [humility]. Every dispensation of God strikes at the root of self-exaltation, and tends to that real absence of self-esteem and self-sufficiency, which most of us rather long after than attain.” Bridges, p. 222.

XLVII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. The thoughts and sacrifices of the wicked are ___ _______________ to the Lord.

B. What kind of tongue is a tree of life?

C. What is before honor?

D. What kind of son makes a glad father?

E. What breaks the spirit in a person?

04.16 PROVERBS CHAPTER 16

Pr 16

XLVIII.INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses are Pr 16:2 and/or Pr 16:16: All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. … How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

B. This chapter opens and closes with the sovereignty of God. If we properly understand God’s sovereignty and live accordingly, we will know that our lives (spirits, Pr 16:2) are continually under the eye of our sovereign Lord and Master. Equally, we will not seek to attain the riches of this world, but we know that the Lord gives all we need as we rest in His divine control in our lives.

C. Verses on the sovereignty of God: Pr 16:1,4,9-10, & Pr 16:33.

XLIX. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 16:1 (cf. Pr 16:9-10), It is beyond the understand of mortal man to understand the will of man acting according to his desire and volition and yet be under the sovereign control of God. Nevertheless, while man acts freely according to his will, he continually fulfills the sovereign will of God. God is certainly the first cause of all things to be without cause Himself. Since the preparations of man’s heart are from the Lord, He is the first cause of any who seek Him. Our works are not the cause but the effect of God’s grace. Equally, we can not prepare ourselves after grace any more than we could before it.

B. Pr 16:2, Man’s ways justifies himself by his acts, but God judges the heart (the motive for the act). However, that which man highly esteems is an abomination unto the Lord, Lu 16:15. “Our real worth is what we are in the sight of God.” Bridges, p. 225.

C. Pr 16:3, It is vital that we commit all our works unto the Lord. “An unsettled mind is a serious evil––a canker to Christian peace.

Every faculty is thrown into disorder. The memory is confused, the judgment undecided, the will unsteady. No moral rules can discipline the tossing exercise. Faith is the only principle of solid establishment (Ps 112:7; Isa 26:3). Independence was the destruction of our well-being (Ge 3:5). The return to this humble simplicity is the privilege of the gospel. ‘In all thy ways acknowledge him’ (Pr 3:6)––is the rule of peace. … Put thy works … with confidence into the hands of God. Christian self-possession will be the result. … Indeed a great part of our worship is to commit our works to him ‘without carefulness;’ not in a general dependence in his goodness or wisdom, but in a particular dependence for our special need.” Bridges, p. 226.

D. Pr 16:4, Inspired scripture continually declares that God made all things and that He did so for His purpose and glory. This verse leaves no question concerning the matter. Though God made the wicked for Himself, He did not make them wicked, nor does He compel them to be wicked. “Clearly God is not the Author of sin. He cannot impart what he has not––what is contrary to his nature. Infinite perfection cannot impart imperfection. Absolute holiness cannot be the cause of sin; though, like the law, it may be the innocent occasion or excitement of it.” Bridges, p. 228. Man made himself wicked and is perfectly content to remain in his wicked state. Nevertheless, God overrules the wicked to His glory and to accomplish His will. See Ps 76:10. God is glorified in the damnation of the wicked as much as He is in the glorification of the righteous, Ro 9:19-24.

E. Pr 16:7, This is a general principle such as Israel when they left Egypt or Jacob before Esau. When Israel left Egypt, not so much as a dog lifted it’s voice against them; when Jacob returned home Esau went out against him but greeted Jacob with love instead. However, when the Christian stands firm on the word of God he often receives persecution even in his own household (Mt 10:36).

F. Pr 16:10-15 (cf. Pr 16:12,14-15), These verses declare, with all the word of God, that the Lord acts through those in authority over us. See Ro 13:1-7.

1. While often wicked men are set in places of authority (Da 4:17), they are placed there to punish evildoers and to praise and protect those who do right (Ro 13:3-4; 1Pe 2:14).

2. God prophesied of Christ death through the authority of the high priest even though he plotted to kill Jesus, Joh 11:47-52.

3. Unjust taxes (as well as unjust weights [scales]) are an abomination unto the Lord and He will judge those who promote such thing, cf. Ps 9:17; Jer 18:6-10.

4. Equally it is true that how a person fears and respects those in authority reflects his fear, reverence, and submission to God.

G. Pr 16:16, Again we are reminded that the wisdom of God is greater than the riches of the world. Bridges said, “The security of the possession also heightens its value. Multitudes labour night and day for gold; yet miss the treasure. But who was ever disappointed in the effort to get wisdom? ” p. 237.

H. Pr 16:18-19, Here as in every place, pride is condemned and pride is declared to destroy us rather than exalt us as it strives to do.

1. Bridges stated, “What more vivid exposition of these Proverbs is needed, than our own ruined condition? Our father’s pride, desiring to “be as God,” hurried his whole race to destruction.” He quoted Richard Baxter as follows: “I think so far as any man is proud, he is kin to the devil, and a stranger to God and to himself.” Then Bridges stated, “Example abounds throughout the Scripture; each sounding this solemn admonition–‘Be not high-minded, but fear.’” He gave such examples as Pharoah, Amaziah, Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, David, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Peter. P. 238.

2. Pride is so loathing to God that He often smites the object of that in which one is proud. David gloried in numbers to have them diminished by pestilence. When Hezekiah boasted of his treasure, the Lord had it taken from him. Nebuchadnezzar was proud of his Babylon but he was taken from it to live like an animal.

3. “Humility, therefore, is the grand preserving grace. The contrite publican was safe, when the boasting Pharisee was confounded (Lu 18:14). … Better is an humble spirit, than a high condition; to have our temper brought down, than our outward condition raised. But who believes this? Most men strive to rise; few desire to lie low! May thy example–blessed Saviour–keep me low!” Bridges, p. 239.

I. Pr 16:22, “A religion of notions–what is it? A dreaming theory! All is death. There is no pulse in the affections, no motion in the heart. But when the understanding is enlightened, to apprehend spiritual things in their spiritual glory, notions become principles.

Feelings flow from light, and are filled with life. The Book of God shines forth with new glory. Every verse is a sunbeam. Every promise is irradiated with Divine love. …Christian professor! Ponder–unless thy understanding be filled with heavenly light, it will be poisoned fountain, not a well-spring of life. What if thy understanding be clear, and thy heart be dark; if thou be learned in the truth of Christ, yet not ‘taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus’ (Eph 4:20-21); if like Balaam, thou be sound in theology, yet damned in sin! (Nu 33:19-23; 2Pe 2:15). ‘Let us not think much of ourselves’–says the excellent Bishop Reynolds–‘though God should have adorned us with the most splendid natural gifts; with quickness of understanding, almost like that of angels; unless at the same time he adds to all the gift of his spiritual grace, by which we may attain to a knowledge and delight in the heavenly mystery.’” Bridges, pp. 241-242.

J. Pr 16:23, “Who does not know the difference between one, who speaks of what he has read or heard, and one, who speaks of what he has felt and tasted? ‘Unbelievers’–as Dr. Owen admirably observes–‘may know more of God, than many believers; but they know nothing as they ought; nothing in a right manner; nothing with an holy and heavenly light. The excellency of a believer is, not that he hath a large apprehension of things; but that what he doth apprehend (which perhaps may be very little) he sees it in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light. And this is that, which gives us communion with God.’” Bridges, pp. 252-243.

K. Pr 16:24, Again we see that our speech may well indeed determine the state of our physical being.

L. Pr 16:25, This passage, with many others, remind us that it is not what seems logical to our minds that is pleasing to God. The ways and actions of God are contrary to that which man highly esteems (Isa 55:8-9; Lu 16:15). “The orthodox professor takes up his opinion, and puts on appearances, only to keep the Spirit out of the heart, and to quiet his conscience, without coming to the true point. Yet his way–with so much doing in religion– seemeth right unto him. Often there is considerable working of natural feeling. Joy is mistaken for faith, till the scorching sun has withered it away (Mt 13:20-21). Alarm is mistaken for penitence; better indeed than total indifference; yet proving itself to be only a fit of selfish terror, passing away with the apparent danger.” Bridges, p. 245.

M. Pr 16:27-30, Here we find that the ungodly (literally, a man of Belial) is not content to be a sinner, his pleasure is to dig up evil. He seeks for evil as one looking for hidden treasure. Bridges aptly says, “The tongue is usually the chief instrument of mischief.” P. 247. In his whispering he separates “chief friends.” “Truly he is a man of mischief. If he deals not in direct falsehoods, his dark whispers are plain enough to be understood, and sure to be exaggerated. The well-meant word or act may be misinterpreted. He has seen or heard probably only a little. He guesses at the rest to make his story complete. And thus by this report, half true and half false, he play with his neighbour’s name to his incalculable injury. No wonder, that this mischievous gossiper should be classed with ‘the thief and murderer.’ (1Pe 4:15.)” Bridges, 248. No wonder James calls the tongue “a world of iniquity … an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas 3:6,8).

N. Pr 16:31, The heathen give reverence to their seniors. How much more should the Christian recognize those with the “hoary head.” Our society has long forgotten the respect and honor that is to be shown to the elderly. However, his crown is ugly and detestable when it is found in the way of wickedness.

O. Pr 16:32, One cannot say enough to emphasize the importance of a bridled tongue. However, the tongue only reveals the heart. For this reason, he that does not quickly become angry is blessed with great strength. Therefore, we find that the heart is the field of battle. Such who have no control over their tongue are held captive rather than conquerors. He who allows the tongue to run freely is like an erupted volcano–overflowing and destroying everything in its path. Remember what God said through the inspired James, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (Jas 1:26).

P. Pr 16:33, While the Lord controls even the lot, we must not rule our lives by it. God gave the Scriptures to us for the ordering of our lives. We are to live by faith and not by sight (2Co 5:7). Nevertheless, we must not ignore that Divine Providence overrules our lives to the minutest detail.

L. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. __________ and a ___________ ___________ goes before destruction and a fall.

B. It is better to rule one’s ______________ than to be a great military leader.

C. What establishes the throne of any nation or ruler?

D. Pleasant words are likened unto _______________.

E. Who disposes at the casting of the lot?

04.17 PROVERBS CHAPTER 17

Pr 17

LI. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 17:15: He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

B. The principle of memory verse is reflected in Pr 17:5,7,13,19,23, & Pr 17:26 most clearly and in the chapter as a whole.

C. While this is extremely essential to judgment within the courts of the land, it is equally applicable for each of us. Charles Bridges wisely said, “Do we not all need great watchfulness, that we may ‘judge righteous judgment’ (Joh 7:24); that no corrupt bias may prejudice the exercise of our private judgment, either in favour of the wicked, or in the condemnation of the just?” P. 266.

LII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 17:1, This alludes to the feasts of the Old Testament sacrifices. When one presented certain sacrifices, he received a portion to consume with his normal meals; however, it could be kept for only a limited time, Le 7:16; 19:6; 1Sa 9:24.

B. Pr 17:3, While physical pain is often difficult to bear, the pains of the heart are far more acute and sharp, especially when He Who searches the heart tries it. Only the Lord is able to bring one to the fining pot and to the furnace in such a way so as to wean him from those sins that destroys him and keeps him from communion and fellowship of the Lord. Those things that are most precious to the soul, yea, those things which we love and cherish within where no one knows but God, He often brings to the top and shows to us the dross they contain. May God grant us with sensitive hearts so that we may feel the smallest flame in such a way that we would quickly let go of those sins which keep us at a distance from Him. Hard, cold, and callused heart require extreme heat and pressure to release the dross.

C. Pr 17:4,7,20,27-28, “The wicked doer is not content with the stirring impulse of his native lust. But such is his craving appetite for sin, that he seeks foreign stimulants to give it increasing activity. … Yet there would not be so many open mouths, if there were not as many willing ears to entertain them.” Bridges, pp. 256-257. These verses, with many throughout the Bible, continually warn us against the improper use of the tongue. However, the tongue only reveals the condition of the heart. “Indeed a fool may purchase to himself the reputation of wisdom, if only he shut his mouth, instead of exposing his folly to common observation. … He cannot be known for a fool, that says nothing. He is a fool, not who hath unwise thoughts, but who utters them. Even concealed folly is wisdom.” Bridges, p. 279.

D. Pr 17:5, “The poor is so, not by fortune, but by Providence. The reproach therefore falls, not on the poor, but on His Maker–on Him who made him, and made him poor. To pour contempt upon the current coin with the king’s image on it, is treason against the sovereign. No less contempt is it of the Sacred Majesty, to despise the poor, who have, no less than the rich, the king’s image upon them. (Ge 9:6.) This view marks the contempt of the poor as a sin of the deepest dye.” Bridges, 257.

E. Pr 17:6,21,25, Of verse, “This Proverb has its limit. What a crown of thorns to each other are an ungodly progeny and graceless parents! … But in the ordinary course gracious children and parents reflect honour upon each other. Such parents rejoice in the number and growth of their children. Such children regard their father’s name as their glory.” Bridges, p. 258.

1. Note well the judicious words of Bridges on Pr 17:21, “The weeping parent not only finds no joy in the fondly cherished object of his expectation; but a cankering grief embitters all his joys, and often brings him ‘down with sorrow to the grave.’ [Bridges added here in a footnote: “Has not many an afflicted parent fellowship with the impassioned cry of Augustus–

‘Would that I had lived single, or died childless?’”] And how is this sorrow aggravated, should there be an unhappy humbling consciousness, that undue indulgence or severity, injudicious treatment, and more than all–neglect of real prayer for the child, and of the diligent improvement of God’s appointed means, virtually suffered the evil propensities to grow to a direful harvest of ruin!” P. 271.

2. Concerning Pr 17:25, Bridges stated, “Surely the Divine Spirit did not repeat the proverb (Pr 17:21) for nought. Was it not to deepen our sense of parental responsibility and filial obligation? Can parents be insensible to the prospect of this grief? Can children be hardened into the unnatural selfishness of piercing a parent’s heart with such bitterness? (Pr 19:13.) The mother’s anguish is here added to the father’s grief. (Ge 26:35.) ‘As a sword in her bones,’ is the apprehension of having ‘brought forth children to the murderer.’ (Ho 9:13.) How uncertain are the dearest comforts of earth! Our fallen mother anticipated the joy of ‘having gotten a man’–perhaps the promised seed–‘from the Lord.’ (Ge 4:1.) Yet to the bitterness of her soul ‘he was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.’ (1Jo 3:12.) Her daughter naturally ‘remembereth no more her sorrow, for joy that a man is born into the world.’ (Joh 16:21.) Already she grasps the delightful vision of his infant training, and ripening maturity. And yet too often he proves in the end a foolish son, and bitterness to her that bare him. ” Pp. 276-277.

F. Pr 17:9, Here we find our Lord giving us a wonderful picture of love, yea, He even directs us as to how we may seek (literally, procure) love. Note that a “transgression” has occurred. However, a friend will not expose the matter, he will cover it. Not that he will seek to cover it with the Lord, which is not only impossible, but would not profit his friend. It is to others that the sin is covered. Cf. Pr 10:12; 1Pe 4:8; Col 3:14. “The repeating a matter has often separated friends by uncovering a forgotten quarrel. (Pr 16:28.) Mischief might not be intended. But to amuse ourselves with the follies or weakness of our brethren, is sinful trifling, fraught with injury. Justly are ‘tatlers and busybodies’ described as ‘speaking things which they ought not.’ (I Tim. 5:13.) A disciplined tongue is a gracious mercy to the Church.” Bridges, p. 261.

G. Pr 17:10, This verse plainly teaches that he who has a changed heart will receive instruction and discipline. The Lord must take away the stony heart and make it a heart of flesh (Ez. 36:26). “Stripes only scourge the fool’s back. They never reach his heart. His is there a fool still. ‘Though thou shouldest bray him in a mortar among wheat in a pestle; yet shall not his foolishness depart from him.’ (Pr 27:22)” Bridges, p. 262.

H. Pr 17:11-13, Continually the Lord instructs us against rebellion, folly, and unjust rewards. While God warns us against the fool and his folly, man continually seeks folly and even makes a mock of sin. Little do men know that the cruel messengers and evils which enter into their houses are the result of their lifestyle and the judgment upon them under the providential dealings of God.

Such people are an abomination to the Lord, Pr 17:15.

I. Pr 17:14, “One provoking word brings on another. Every retort widens the breach. Seldom, when we have heard the first word, do we hear the last. An inundation of evil is poured in, that lays desolate peace, comfort, and conscience. Does not grace teach us the Christian victory, to keep down the expression of resentment, and rather to bear provocation than to break the bond of unity?

… Truly it is a wise rule to stop the evil at the beginning. The bank is much more easily preserved than repaired. The breach once made, if it only let out a drop of water, is the beginning of an evil, the fruit of which cannot be calculated. … In watching against the baneful issue of contention: be it well remembered, that the time to leave off is not when we see its worst, but its beginning; yea, before it be meddled with; restraining the first rising in ourselves; mortifying our own proud tempers, and cultivating our Master’s meek and self-denying spirit.” Bridges, p. 264-265

J. Pr 17:16, “A question of wonder and indignation! We often find this reckless infatuation in temporal things. A young man will spend a large income at the university in the professed purchase of wisdom, and yet idle away all his time! is not the price manifestly in the hand of a fool, who has no heart to the advantages? The thoughtless rake might be warned even by his worldly friends. He is losing important opportunities, revolting his best friends, involving himself in debt, injuring his constitution, blasting his character. is not his throwing away a valuable price by reckless folly? ” Bridges, p. 266. How clearly he describes many who go away to the colleges and universities under the student loans and come away no better only to find themselves in debt for many years.

K. Pr 17:17, This verse is so clear that little if anything needs to be said as to it meaning. However, how few have such a friend! “The true friend loveth at all times, through ‘evil as well as good report.’ He does not change, when circumstances change. He is the same, whether we are in wealth or need. He proves himself in adversity, by rising in warmth, and exerting every nerve, in proportion as his aid is needed. He is not ashamed of poverty or of a prison. In any jarring of the flesh, adversity cements love. The loving friend becomes now a brother born for adversity.” Bridges, p. 268.

L. Pr 17:18, Again we are warned of becoming a surety for someone. Note some of the wise advise of Bridges on this verse:

“Beware of striking hands in agreement without ascertaining, whether we can fulfil our engagement, or whether our friend is not equally able to fulfil it himself. … There is not true benevolence in rash engagements, which may involve our name and family in disgrace or ruin.” While Christ was our Surety, Bridges wisely stated, “Yet the eternal counsel is no pattern for our simple folly.

Nor is infinite love combined with perfect wisdom, a plea for our rash generosity. Religion, though it warns its professors against imprudence, yet too often unjustly bears the blame of them. If we would adorn the Christian profession, and avoid occasions of stumbling to the ungodly, we must ‘provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of man.’ (2Co 8:20-21). Pp. 269-270.

M. Pr 17:19, “We may indeed fall into strife without loving it. (Ge 13:7-8). But let us always look at it as a branch from the root of sin (Ga 5:19-21), and the prolific source of sin. (2Co 12:20; Jas 3:16). The love of it is therefore the love of transgression.

Very generally it proceeds from the root of pride.” Bridges, p. 270. Bridges, in a footnote, quoted from Hall’s Meditations and

Vows, Works, Vol. 8, 18, as follows: “I have ever found, that to strive with my superior is furious; with my equal doubtful; with my inferior sordid and base; with any, full of unquietness.”

N. Pr 17:22, Note well that this verse is no justification of those so-called “Christian comedians” today who bring shame and dishonor on Christianity and is blasphemous to the Lord and His word. Even as Bridges said, “This is not true of all merriment.

The wise man justly describes the loud and noisy mirth of fools to be no medicine, but ‘madness;’ a transient flash, not an abiding source of enjoyment. Probably this merriment here means nothing more than cheerfulness, which, in its proper measure, on proper subjects, and at a proper time, is a legitimate pleasure, especially belonging to religion. Our Lord thus made a merry heart by his message of Divine forgiveness (Mt 9:2-7); and this doubtless was more healing medicine to the paralytic, than the restoration of his limbs. If I be a pardoned sinner, an accepted child of God, what earthly trouble can sink me?” Bridges, p. 272.

Cf. Paul & Silas (Ac 16:25) & the suffering martyrs. Of the broken spirit, he said, “Discontent, and a querulous unbelieving sadness, take possession of the soul, and wholly unfit us for the service of God.” Bridges, p. 273.

LIII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Who loves at all times?

B. When is a fool considered to be wise?

C. What happens to the house of one who rewards evil for good?

D. What kind of child is a grief and sorrow to his parents?

E. What does the Lord do to the heart?

04.18 PROVERBS CHAPTER 18

Pr 18

LIV. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 18:13: He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. This chapter has much to say about the tongue. In connection with the memory verse, see the following verses: Pr 18:4,6-8,18-19,21, & Pr 18:23. The Lord declares the depravity of man is made known by the tongue, Ro 3:13-14. Indeed true religion is manifested by the use of the tongue, Jas 1:26. Though the tongue cannot be tamed, it can be bridled. See also Jas 3.

B. Of this verse Bridges said, “Too often is this Proverb verified in common life. Men will scarcely hear out what is unacceptable to them. They will break in upon a speaker, before they have fully heard him, and therefore answer the matter, which they have little weighed, and but imperfectly understood. The eager disputant prides himself on his acute judgment. He interrupts his opponent, and confutes arguments, or contradicts statements, before he has fairly heard them. … This impatient spirit tells little for candor or humility, and only stamps a man’s character with folly and shame.” P. 290.

LV. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 18:1-2, The chapter begins by telling us how one begins to learn wisdom. It is by man separating himself to spend much time in communion and fellowship with the Lord. In conjunction with the memory verse, it is by silencing the tongue and listening to that which the Lord would speak to us. John the Baptist separated himself to the wilderness prior to his public ministry and Paul separated himself to the Arabian Desert prior to his. Even our Master and Savior spent forty days in the wilderness prior to showing Himself to the world. Without this holy separation, the Christian’s soul will never prosper. How deeply the Christian minister feel the need and responsibility of such a separation so that he may “give himself wholly to” his office (1Ti 4:15; 2Ti 2:4). “Like thy Divine Master, thou wilt never be less alone than when alone. There is much to be wrought, gained, and enjoyed. Thy most spiritual knowledge, thy richest experience will be found here. Men who live without retirement may be fluent talkers, and accurate preachers. But nothing comes as from a broken and contrite heart. … Surely then if we have any desire,” [spiritual desire of communion with God-JKB] “we shall separate ourselves from the cloudy atmosphere around us, that we may have fellowship with these happy investigators of the Divine mysteries.” Bridges, pp. 280-281. But it quite the opposite with the fool. His chief joy is to pour out his own absurdities and vain imaginations while he believes those who hear him stand in awe.

B. Pr 18:4, This verse is speaking of that wisdom which is from above. The last clause clarifies the meaning of the first clause.

When one has devoted much time and energy in deep communion and study of the things of Christ, he has a rich (deep) storehouse of words. “No blessing is more valuable than a ‘rich indwelling of the word; ready to be brought out on all suitable occasions of instruction. If the wise man sometimes ‘spares his words,’ it is not for want of matter, but for greater edification. The stream is ready to flow, and sometimes can scarcely be restrained. The cold-hearted, speculative professor has his flowsometimes a torrent of words, yet without a drop of profitable matter; chilling, even when doctrinally correct; without life, unction, or love.” Bridges, p. 282.

C. Pr 18:5, Here we are again reminded of the importance of equity in judgment. “In judgment let the cause be heard, not the person.

Let the person be punished for his wickedness, not the wickedness be covered for the person’s sake.” Bridges, p. 283.

D. Pr 18:6-7, God instructs us that the speech of a fool continually enters in contention. Those who are contentious in every cause are designated as fools and are to be stopped. Indeed such actions call for strokes. Little does one realize that he is only laying the foundation for his own destruction. “There is no need to dig a pit for the fool. He digs it for himself. The mouths of wild beasts devour each other. The fool’s mouth is his own destruction. The fowler’s snare is not wanted; for “he is snared by the transgression of his lips. (Pr 12:13.) He is not only the cause, but the agent of his own destruction. ” Bridges, p. 284.

E. Pr 18:8, Bridges quotes from Matthew Henry’s Sermon on Friendly Visits, to give the meaning of the word talebearer. “The word properly signifies a pedlar [sic.], who buys good (stolen ones it may be) at one place, and sells them at another, taking care to make his own market of them. So a talebearer makes his own visits, to pick up at one place, and utter at another, that which he thinks will lessen his neighbor’s reputation, that he may build his own upon it.” Footnote on p. 285. “But no good results can arise from the spirit of the talebearer, because with him it is pure selfishness, without a principle beyond the love of sin for its own sake. He lives upon the scandal of the place, and makes it his hateful business to carry about tales, or slanders of his neighbour’s faults. Such reports are eagerly devoured, and the mischief-maker feeds with greedy appetite upon the fruit of his cruel indulgence. To him this may appear harmless play. But if it draws no blood, and no outward hurt is shewn, an internal, and often incurable, wound is inflicted. (Pr 26:22.) We may seem to make light of the tale brought to our ears, and wholly to despise it. But the subtle poison has worked. ‘Suppose it should be true. Perhaps, though it may be exaggerated, there may be some ground for it.’ The thought indulged only for a moment brings suspicion, distrust, coldness; and often it ends in the separation of chief friends. … The tale of an unguarded moment may be a tremendous irreparable injury.” Bridges, p. 285.

F. Pr 18:9, Note that the prodigal and the sluggard are members of the same family. Equally, in the spiritual realm, there is no difference between him who reads, prays, and works from formality and him who totally casts away the things of God.

G. Pr 18:10-11, The righteous knows well that he has none of himself and all his righteousness is of the Lord, his strong tower. It matters not if it is at the first awakening of one from death to life or the child of grace who has served the Lord for many years, both equally find their joy and comfort in the finished work of Christ, the righteousness of God. Both continually run to this tower for shelter and safety daily, hourly, moment-by-moment. However, the rich trust in their riches that shall someday be burned up before their eyes.

H. Pr 18:12, This was seen before in Pr 16:18 & Pr 15:33. “It is hard to persuade a man that he is proud. Every one protests against this sin. Yet who does not cherish the viper in his own bosom? … The haughty walk on the brink of a fearful precipice; only a miracle preserves them from instant ruin. The security of the child of God is when he lies prostrate in the dust. If he soar high, the danger is imminent, though he be on the verge of heaven. (2Co 12:1-7.)

I. Pr 18:14, “Outward troubles are tolerable, yea–more than tolerable, if there be peace within. The spirit of a man may sustain his infirmity. But if the spirit be wounded–if the prop itself be broken–all sinks. … The suffering of the soul is the soul of suffering.

Spiritual wounds, like the balm that heals them, can never be known, till they are felt. It is sometimes, as if the arrows of the Almighty were dipped in the lake of fire, and shot flaming into the very midst of the soul, more sensitive than the apple of the eye. (Job 6:4.) The best joys of earth can never soothe the envenomed sting. Mirth is madness and vexation. … Well did Luther say (and there is no better judge on such matters), ‘It is as easy to make a world, as to ease a troubled conscience.’ Both are creation-work, requiring the Almightiness [sic.] of God.” Bridges, pp. 291-293.

J. Pr 18:15, This knowledge is spiritual knowledge. All knowledge attained that is not immersed in spiritual understanding and directed toward the Lord and His kingdom is “worse than valueless.” “It is power for evil. It is a weapon of mighty influence, that will ultimately turn against the man’s own self. Never let us forget, that unsanctified knowledge is still, what it was at the beginning, gathering death, not like, and that, if ‘the tree seem to be good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise’ (Ge 3:6), it is only the enticement to the unwary, flattering them, that they ‘shall be as gods,’ that, ‘being lifted up with pride, they may fall into the condemnation of the devil.’ (1Ti 3:6).” Bridges, pp. 293-294.

K. Pr 18:16, Many who seek to promote themselves only do so because they have not the skill or ability to be otherwise recognized.

However, the Lord reminds us that he who has a valid and lawful gift need not concern himself with his gift being discovered. It will be known if it will glorify our blessed Lord and Master. Yea, it will bring one before great men.

L. Pr 18:17, “Self-flattery is our cherished nature; highly valuing our fancied excellences [sic.]; very blind to our real imperfections.

So ready are we to place our own cause in a strong light; and sometimes, almost unconsciously, to cast a shade over, or even omit, what might seem to balance on the opposite side. It is so difficult to state facts and circumstances with perfect accuracy, where our own name or credit is concerned. Hence, our cause, coming first, seemeth just. But, according to the proverb, ‘the first tale is good, till the second is heard.’ Our neighbour, acquainted with the real case, cometh and searcheth us, exposes our fallacy, and puts us to shame. … But the searching process of the story on the other side has shewn us the wrongness of a hasty, one-sided judgment. … Let the whole evidence be sifted; and often the plausible cover is swept away by a more searching investigation. …

In our own cause, always be alive to conviction. Watch against a self-justifying spirit. Cultivate the spirit of self-distrust. Balance our enemy’s statement against our own prejudices. … Deceit in any form never answers its ends.” Bridges 295-296.

M. Pr 18:18, After giving several examples of the use of the lot in the Holy Scriptures, Bridges wrote, “There seems therefore no scriptural prohibition to the use of this ordinance; provided it be exercised in a reverential dependence upon God, and not profaned for common purposes or worldly ends.” P. 297.

N. Pr 18:19, Note that it is the offended brother, not an enemy, that is harder to be won. All too often we are offensive to those closest to us while we stand on guard with an enemy in order not to offend him. May we continually strive to keep the bridle on our tongue that we make live in good conscience before God and man (Ac 24:16, cf. Ac 23:1).

O. Pr 18:20-21, These verses teach us the influence of the tongue for good or evil. However, the tongue is not the problem. The tongue only reveals the problem–the heart. Bridges said, “In the inner man the heart is the main thing to be kept (Pr 4:23); in the outer man the tongue (Pr 21:23).” These verses also tell us that regardless as to how the tongue is used, fruit will abound accordingly to the user. “Either way he will be filled with the fruit. The curse of destroying others will return upon himself. In administering a blessing to his neighbour, his own soul will be fed. (Pr 11:25.) They that love it shall eat the fruit of it. It is, however, the habitual, not the occasional, use of this little member, that determines its fruit. A saint may ‘speak unadvisedly’–a sinner acceptable–‘with his lips.’ Neither would thus determine his true character.” Bridges, p. 299.

P. Pr 18:22, This verse has limitations. Manoah (Jg 13:23) found a good wife. Job (Job 2:9-10) did not. Bridges said, “Some find ‘a crown to their head;’ others, ‘rottenness to their bones.’ … The good thing implies godliness and fitness. Godliness is found, when the man marries ‘only in the Lord’ (1Co 7:39), and only one, who is the Lord’s. The ‘unequal yoke with unbelievers’ (2Co 6:14)–the union for life of a child of God with a child of Satan, is a most awful anomaly.” Bridges, p. 299-300.

Q. Pr 18:24, From time-to-time we find people who complain that they do not have any friends and little do they know that the problem often lies within themselves. “But if a man hath friends, and would keep them, he must shew himself friendly. To throw them away by neglect, caprice, unreasonable disgust, or needless offence, is to shew himself utterly unworthy of the blessing.

Observe Ruth and Naomi–each with warm reciprocity of interest laying herself out for the other. … It is by such kind offices that the bond is mutually cemented. A man having friends shews himself friendly. Love begets love, and is accompanied with love.”

“To be without a friend, marks a state of painful desolation.” Many times a friend is better than a relative. Indeed one has more in common with a brother in Christ than a brother in the flesh. However, Christ is the true Friend. “Cultivate a closer acquaintance with him. Set the highest value upon his friendship. Live a life of joyous confidence on his all-sufficiency and love. Make him the constant subject of conversation. Avoid whatever is displeasing to him. Be found in those places where he meeteth his people.

Long to be with him for ever. Thus testify to all around–‘This is my beloved, and this is my friend.’” Bridges, pp. 301-304.

LVI. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is a strong tower?

B. What are wounds that go into the depth of the belly (soul)?

C. What must one do to have friends?

D. Who is harder to be won than a strong city?

E. What is in the power of the tongue?

04.19 PROVERBS CHAPTER 19

Pr 19

LVII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 19:23: The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

B. A satisfied life is found only by living in harmony with God’s law-word. One may order his life in such a way as to appear outwardly to live by the word of God (Proverbs) but still miss the blessings promised therein. The promises given are spiritual blessings.

LVIII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 19:1, It is no disgrace to be poor unless one is brought to it by unholy means. “Calculate wisdom by God’s standard, who judges not by station, but by character.” Bridges, p. 304.

B. Pr 19:2, “Knowledge is valuable even to the mind. It expands and sharpens its reasoning powers, and, when rightly directed, preserves from many besetting temptations. ‘Be assured’––says a late eloquent Preacher [Chalmers on Commerical Discourses, p. 375.]––‘it is not because the people know much, that they ever become the willing subjects of any factious or unprincipled demagogue. It is just because they know too little. It is just because ignorance is the field, on which the quackery of a political imposter ever reaps its most abundant harvest.’ Knowledge also opens much wholesome enjoyment. The intelligent poor are preserved in their home-comforts from the temptations of the ale-house. The most educated are raised above the frivolities of dissipation. … But much more that the soul made for God, should be without knowledge is not good. The blessing is not merely expansion of mind, or restraint of evil, but light and life eternal.” Bridges, p. 305. Indeed when one is ignorant of Christ and His righteousness he lies in darkness under the condemnation of sin and knows not the remedy. Equally, the uninstructed will act rashly without understanding and run into sin.

C. Pr 19:3, “Such was the foolishness of Adam! First he perverted his way; then he charged upon God it bitter fruit. … As the author of his own misery, it was reasonable, that he should fret against himself. But such was his pride and baseness, that his heart fretted against the Lord, as if he, not himself, was responsible. (Ge 3:6-12.) … This has been the foolishness of Adam’s children ever since. … He charges his crosses, not on his own perverseness, but on the injustice of God. … Man, deaf to the warning, plunges into the misery; and, while ‘eating the fruit of his own ways,’ his heart frets against the Lord. ‘It is hard to have passions, and to be punished for indulging them. I could not help it. Why did he not give me grace to avoid it?’ (See Jer 7:10.) Such is the pride and blasphemy of an unhumbled spirit. The malefactor blames the judge for his righteous sentence. (Isa 8:21-22; Re 16:9-11,21).

“But let us look a little into this bold impeachment of God’s righteousness, ‘Why did he not give me grace?’ Is then God bound to give his grace? Have we any claim upon God? Is not God’s grace his own? (Mt 20:15; Ro 9:19-21.) Is not the fool following his own will, and therefore responsible for his doing? Why cannot he turn to God? He will not listen or obey. … His stubbornness alone is his impotency. He cannot, because he will not; and therefore, if he perish, it is not in his weakness, but in his willfulness. (Mt 23:37; Joh 5:40.) The worst part of his wickedness is his wicked will. It is not only that his nature is wicked, but that he is willing that it should be so.

“The proud worm cherishes a discontented humour with Providence. Either the desired comfort is withheld, or the will has been crossed. If his tongue is quiet, his heart frets. Had he been placed differently, he would have succeeded better. God therefore has the blame of his failure. Whereas it is obvious, that if he is not ready not to serve God, he needs a change of heart, not a change of place. The disease is within, and therefore would follow him through altered circumstances with the same result; leaving him as far as ever from happiness. The constant struggle of the will is to be anywhere, but where God has placed us for our best welfare.

“Humbling it is to see this foolishness in the Lord’s people. Our carelessness or waywardness provokes the rod; yet the heart fretteth under the rebuke. (2Sa 6:8.) While we shun what is positively sinful, too often we allow occasions of sin. We are found in circumstances or society, which, as experience has taught us, hinder prayer, damp the spiritual taste, and wound the conscience. If therefore we allow this wilful indulgence, at least let us charge on ourselves, not on God, the bitter consequence.

Often also we quarrel with what we cannot alter; thus doubling the burden, by adding guilt to our trouble. … ‘Thy will be done’––is easily repeated, but hardly learned. If things are not ‘according to our mind,’ too often is there a struggle to break loose from the affliction; professing indeed to live by faith, yet repining at our hard condition. So far as we regard our own happiness, our great desire should be, ‘that our own will may be annihilated, and the will of God placed in its room.’” Brigdes closed by quoting Hall, ‘O Lord, remove our ignorance, that we may know thee; our idleness, that we may seek thee; our unbelief, that we may find and enjoy thee.’” Brigdes, pp. 308-310.

D. Pr 19:5, The false witness sins directly against his neighbor (De 19:16-21). “This wickedness does not however, come to this height at once. But the habit of speaking lies, the allowance of untruth under the pretence of a good end (Ro 3:8), or only in play, grows to this aggravation.” Here Bridges notes Jer 9:3-5 and gives the following: “There is much instruction in the wise reply of Solon on first seeing the rude theatricals of Thespis. Asking him, how he dared to tell so many lies before the people, and receiving for answer, that he only did it in play–‘Yes’–said the legislator, striking his staff with force into the ground,–‘But if we begin with telling lies in play, we shall end with telling them in earnest.’” Bridges, p. 311.

E. Pr 19:6 & Pr 19:7, These verses remind us that riches make many “friends” so long as they (the friends) are profiting (or expect to profit) from the rich. Yet, these same “friends” will “go far from him” when the riches are gone. After the prodigal spent all his living he found himself a companion of the swine, Lu 15:12-17,30. As riches “make themselves wings” and fly away (Pr 23:5), so do the friends as the riches go.

F. Pr 19:8, Again we are reminded of how wisdom and goodness dwell together. Surely the lover of wisdom loves his own soul. “To follow our own way is then to destroy, not to love, our own souls. ‘Whoso sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death.’ (Pr 8:36).” Bridges, p. 313.

G. Pr 19:10, “What has a fool to do with delight? This world’s prosperity, so far as he knows it, can only be a curse to him. (Pr 1:32) Delight ‘is comely to the righteous’ (Ps 33:1), suitable to his character. He has a right and title to it. (Ps 32:11.)” Bridges, p. 313.

H. Pr 19:11, Anger here is that uncontrolled passion that goes beyond “righteous indignation.” “What is anger, but temporary madness? To yield therefore to its paroxysm, to act without deliberation under its impulse, is to do we know not what, and what will surely bring work for repentance. (Pr 14:17,29.) An interval between the inward rising and the outward manifestation of the anger is most important. The discretion of a man deferreth his anger. Mindful of his own infirmity, he will guard against indecent sallies of temper, taking time to weigh, and careful not to overcharge the offence. An affront therefore is the test, whether he has discretion, or whether he is the slave of his own passion. The standard of common usage is –– ‘To be even, and to return one insult by another.’ The Christian standard is to be above; ‘not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing.’ …

Forbearance and forgiveness will therefore take the place of resentment and malice. Moral strength may, in some men, curb the outward expression. But the poison lurks within. Forbearance from a pure motive, passing over transgression in free love, is a noble triumph of grace, most honourable to God, fraught with the richest spoils to our own souls.” Bridges, pp. 314-315.

I. Pr 19:12, “But if the wrath of a king be so terrible –– Oh, my soul, what must be the wrath of God! (Lu 12:4-5.) If it be so terrible in this world, where every drop is mixed with mercy; what will it be in eternity, where it is ‘poured out without mixture’ and without cessation (Re 14:10-11); where his power is so fearfully manifested, not only in tormenting, but in preserving and ‘establishing for correction?’ Oh! let this wrath be the grand object of my reverential fear.” Bridges, 315-316.

J. Pr 19:13, “’Many,’ observes an old commentator –– ‘are the miseries of a man’s life; but none like that, which cometh from him, who should be the stay of his life.’ As ‘a wise son maketh a glad father (Pr 10:1; 15:20), so a foolish son is the father’s calamity

– a multitude of calamities meeting in one, such as no earthly portion, no riches, honour, or station, can alleviate or balance. …

Another domestic calamity is mentioned, not less poignant. The contentions of a wife are as a continual dropping (Pr 27:15; 21:9,19; 25:24) of rain through the roof of an old house. Such a dropping utterly destroys a man’s household comfort, and ‘wears away’ a heart firm as a ‘stone.’ This trial is the more fretting, because there is no lawful escape. The foolish son may be cast out.

(De 21:18.) The contentious wife must be endured. (Mt 5:32; 19:9.)” Bridges, p. 316.

K. Pr 19:14, “The prudence, however, here described, implies not only her wise governing of her household, but that godly consideration connected with Divine wisdom, by which she becomes the joy and confidence of her husband: as the contentious wife is his trouble and disgrace.” Bridges, p. 317.

L. Pr 19:15, Slothfulness generates idleness in spiritual things as well as natural. Many hungry souls may be traced back to slothfulness. The soul will never prosper if it is not earnest in the things of God.

M. Pr 19:16, Here again we are reminded that one will never have the rule of his soul unless he lives in obedience to the commands of the Lord. To not keep the commandments is to despise one’s own soul.

N. Pr 19:17, This is a most fascinating verse. The scriptures teach in both the Old and New Testaments that we shall always have the poor and that we are to be mindful of them. Here we see that when we have “pity” (give to) on the poor we are actually giving to the Lord. Yet, this passage takes it beyond this, it is lending to the Lord. Who would refuse to give to the Lord? And yet, by ignoring the poor we are refusing to “lend” to the Lord. However, the passage go further and says that the Lord will repay any who take pity on the poor. See 1Co 13:3; I Joh 3:17, etc.

O. Pr 19:18, “Christian parents! carefully study the word of God. … Is not this then our pattern and our standard; setting out the sound principle of a Christian education? ‘Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; lest they be discouraged.’ (Col 3:21.) But let not the rule–– chasten––spare not–– be ‘a hard saying.’ Is not tenderness for the child a cover for the indulgence of weak and foolish affections? There is much more mercy in what seems to be harshness, than in false tenderness. (Pr 23:13-14.) Let the child see, that we are resolved; that we are not to be diverted from our duty by the cry of weakness or passion. Far better that the child should cry under healthful correction, than that parents should afterwards cry under the bitter fruit to themselves and children, or neglected discipline. … Parents need no other means to make themselves miserable than sparing the rod. Yet much less of it would be needed, did they govern, as they ought to do, by the steady decision of a word, a frown, or a look. But the great force of the rule is its timely application–– while there is hope. ” Bridges, pp. 322-323.

P. Pr 19:19, “How often does the unchastened child grow up to a man of great wrath, bringing himself into trouble by his boisterous and ungoverned passions!” Bridges, 323.

Q. Pr 19:20, In the two preceding verses we have instruction to parents, here the children are instructed to humble themselves and receive the instruction and counsel of their parents. If they will heard and obey they will be wise.

R. Pr 19:21, “Here is a fine contrast between man and God, setting out the just relative disproportion between the worm and his Maker. Man’s most serious, well-digested thoughts are only devises––imaginations––uncertainty––a poor nonentity. God’s mind is counsel, firm and full purpose. Man’s devices are many; God’s counsel is like himself–– Unity. Man’s devices are full of anxiety. God’s counsel is immutable, and shall stand for ever. … But ever since the fall, man’s devices and God’s counsel are at opposite.” Joseph’s brothers had many devices, but the counsel of the Lord was done. “How vain the impious attempt to ‘fight against God!’ ‘Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!’ Our liberty does not interfere with his secret purpose. But let us be careful, that it does not resist his declared will. As his Providence chooses our lot, let his word discipline our desires, as the best means of bringing them to a prosperous issue. After all, it is a cheering hope. All is clear above, however cloudy it be below. All is calm in heaven, however stormy it may be on earth. There is no confusion there. One will alone reign. Every purpose reaches it appointed end. (Job 23:13.)” Bridges, 325-326.

S. Pr 19:22, “The privilege of doing good is within the reach of all. For when the power fails, the desire of a man is his kindness, as acceptable as the most expensive proof of love. If there be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (2Co 8:12.) The dealings of God are grounded on this principle. … Yet the desire must be active; not indolent excitement, but ‘the communication of faith effectual’ according to the power given to us. Such a desire is far better in the sight of God, in the heart of one of his poor people than a man with large opportunities and hollow professions, who proves himself to be a liar. (Pr 19:1; Ps 62:9.) The poor gives readily. The rich cannot afford. He denies that he has the ability. He promises, and does nothing. The poor man is better than the liar. Only take heed to the motive. Men know not the heart. ‘The Lord weigheth the spirit’ (Pr 16:2); and ‘the fire will try every man’s work of what sort it is.’ (1Co 3:13.)” Bridges, pp. 326-327.

T. Pr 19:24, “Another forcible figure of the palsy of sloth! It so grows on its victim, that he has not heart to do even necessary things for himself; as if he could not take his hand out of his bosom; and would rather suffer the cravings of hunger, than make the exertion of putting his food into his mouth. A melancholy picture it is of many fair intentions and promises, and apparently good beginnings in religion––all stopped for want of the effort to overcome the least hindrance. Every religious duty is a burden. The struggle necessary for prayer––the only means of receiving our spiritual food––is too hard. … The special time for the resistance of this deadly disease, is when we are most under its power. When the Bible is uninteresting as a common book, then is the time to live in it with patient diligence. When prayer is cold and heartless, instead of giving up, hold on, however feebly, yet with perseverance. When in a state of listless exertion, be employed for God and for his Church.

Form habits of early energy. Beware of a dreaming sentimentalism. Cultivate bodily activity. Regard the incursions of sloth as the effects of those poisons, which, while they cause sleep, unless counteracted by constant resistance, must prove fatal. Yet with all these means, never forget the one only principle, that makes them effectual––prayer, unceasing, believing, ‘looking unto Jesus,’ who not only gives life, but liveliness. (Heb 12:1-2; Joh 10:10.)” Bridges, pp. 328-329.

U. Pr 19:25, “There is a difference of opinion upon the profit of punishments. Some will have it, that, if the will does not give way to reason, forced obedience is of little use. But God’s word and ordinance is our standard, though great wisdom is required in the measure and adaptation. Two kinds are here mentioned; each measured out according to the character of the offender, but both wholesome in their results. The scorner is a bold sinner. Smite him, that the simple may beware. (Pr 21:11; Ac 13:6-12.) It may be a timely warning to those that are led by him. The taking the ring-leader of a mischievous party may put an end to the combination. This is the benefit of laws. Often an example made, though the sinner himself continues hardened, is for the good of the whole body.” Bridges, pp. 329-330.

V. Pr 19:26, This is a picture of one without natural affection [literally, lover of kin] (Ro 1:30-31). This is more shameful when the children pretend to be religious, (Mr 7:6-13; Mt 15:4-9).

W. Pr 19:27, Words of knowledge is to be found in the instruction of parents and they should equally instruct their children against false teachers of all kinds. Equally should the minister point out those wolves in sheep clothing that the people of God would not be led astray. See Mt 7:15; Eph 4:14; 2Co 11:12-15; Ro 16:17-18; Php 3:2; 1Ti 4:1-2; 2Ti 4:3.

X. Pr 19:28-29, While the ungodly witness is (literally, a witness of Belial) scorns (disrespects) judgment, he shall be judged and receive his just stripes. The fool shall not escape. Though he may avoid his righteous condemnation by men, he will not escape the all-seeing eye of the Judge of all the earth. Cf. Pr 19:9.

LIX. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. He that has pity on the poor lends to _______.

B. What kind of soul suffers hunger?

C. Who is it that loves his own soul?

D. Who is better than a liar?

E. A man who gets wisdom loves what?

04.20 PROVERBS CHAPTER 20

Pr 20

LX. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 20:24: Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

B. Bridges’ comments are so valuable that I have supplied them in total as follows (pp. 357-359):

God’s uncontrollable power and sovereignty; man’s absolute dependence and helplessness–let these be foundation principles.

Here is no infringement of liberty on the one side; no excuse for indolence on the other. Man often acts, as if he were the master of his own purposes; as if his goings were of himself. Or else, in the crude notion of the predetermination of every event, instead of diligently working out the Lord’s purposes, he fancies “his strength is to sit still.” (Isa 30:7.) But the humble, heaven-taught Christian exercises free agency in the spirit of dependence. Though utterly powerless for obedience, he is ever putting forth the effort, as the exercise in which he looks for the strength. The consciousness that his goings are of the Lord, gives energy to his faith. It is written–“The way of a man is not in himself.” (Jer 10:23.) It is written again–“This is the way; walk ye in it.” (Isa 30:21.) Thus does Scripture guard against Scripture. Here is dependence without passive inertion; diligence without presumption or self-confidence. Antagonal principles thus work together in harmonious combination.

The true liberty of the will is the power of acting according to choice, without external restraint. Divine agency, so far from hindering its freedom, removes the obstacle of a corrupt and tyrannizing bias. This let removed, it acts more freely, and more powerfully. The man is not moved as a machine, unconscious of its operations and results, but acted upon by intelligent principles. He is not carried along the way, but enabled to walk. He is “drawn,” not driven, “with the cords of a man,” not of a beast; and those cords are so wisely applied, that they are felt to be “bands of love.” (Ho 11:4.) He is enlightened, so that he sees; softened, so that he turns; “drawn, so that he runs.” (Song 1:4. Ps 119:32.) He is moved effectually, but willingly; invincibly, but without constraint. Divine grace acts, not as in a lifeless machine, but as in a purposing, willing, ever-working creature. Nothing is therefore distorted. There is no unnatural violence. It is “the day of the Lord’s power,” who “worketh in him to will and to do of his good pleasure.” His goings are of the Lord, who at once inspires the effort, and secures the success.

The world of Providence shews the same over-ruling agency. Man determines and acts freely in the minute circumstances of the day. Yet the active pervading influence, disposing every step at the right time and place, makes it plain, that his goings are of the Lord. Rebekah came to the well just at the moment, that Abraham’s servant was ready to meet her. “He being in the way, the Lord led him.” (Ge 24:27.) Pharaoh’s daughter goes out to bathe just at the crisis, when the infant Moses was committed to the water. (Ex 2:1-5.) Was this the working of chance, or some fortunate coincidence? Who can doubt the finger or the leading of God? A curse of extermination was pronounced against Eli’s house. The word was fulfilled by a combination of apparently casual incidents. David fled to Abimelech for relief. That very day Doeg was there; not in the ordinary course, but “detained before the Lord.” He gives information to his cruel master, and in a moment of anger the curse 1 was accomplished. Who can doubt but the goings of Doeg and of David meeting together were of the Lord?

1 1Sa 2:30-32, with 1Sa 21:6-7; 22:9-18.

All parties acted freely. What was false in Doeg was righteous in God, whom we adore as a sin-hating God, even while, as in the crucifixion of Christ (Ac 2:23), he makes use of sin for the fulfilment of his own purposes.

Man’s goings therefore being of the Lord, they must often be enveloped in mystery. How then can he understand his own way? Often does it run counter to his design. The Babel-builders raised their proud tower to prevent their dispersion: and it was the very means of their dispersion. (Ge 11:4-9.) Pharaoh’s “wise dealing” 2 for the aggrandizement of his kingdom issued in its destruction. Haman’s project for his own glory was the first step of his ruin. (Es 6:6-13.) Often also is the way, when not counter, far beyond our own ken. Little did Israel understand the reason of their circuitous way to Canaan. Yet did it prove in the end to be “the right 3 way.” As little did Ahasuerus understand the profound reason, why “on that night could not the king sleep;” a minute incident, seeming scarcely worthy to be recorded, yet a necessary link in the chain of the Lord’s everlasting purposes of grace to his Church. (Es 6:1.) Little did Philip understand his own way, when he was moved from, the wide sphere of preaching the gospel in Samaria, to go into the desert, which ultimately proved 4 a wider extension of the gospel. As little did the great Apostle understand, that his “prosperous journey” to see his beloved flock at Rome, would be a narrow escape from shipwreck, and to be conducted a prisoner in 5 chains. Little do we know what we pray for. “By terrible things wilt thou answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation.” (Ps 65:5.) We go out in the morning not understanding our way; “not knowing what an hour may bring forth.’ (Pr 27:1) Some turn, connected with our happiness or misery for life, meets us before night. (Joh 4:7.) Joseph in taking his walk to search for his brethren, never anticipated a more than twenty years’ separation from his father. (Ge 37:14.) And what ought those cross ways or dark ways to teach us? Not constant, trembling anxiety, but daily dependence. “I will bring the blind by a way that they know not: I will lead them in paths that they have not known.” But shall they be left in the dark perplexity? “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isa 42:16.) Often do I look back amazed at the strangeness of my course, so different, so contrary to my way. But it is enough for me, that all is in thine hands; that “my steps are ordered of thee.” (Ps 37:23. Comp. Pr 16:9.) I dare trust thy wisdom, thy goodness, thy tenderness, thy faithful care. Lead me–uphold me–forsake me not. “Thou shaft guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.”*

2 Ex 1:8-10, with Ex 14:30.

3 Ex 13:17-18, with Ps 107:7.

4 Ac 8:5-12,20,27.

5 Ac 27; 28:20,30, with Ro 1:10.

*Ps 73:24. Augustine mentions the weeping prayers and deprecations of his godly mother, on account of his voyage from Carthage to Italy. Her anxiety was grounded probably on his absence from her control, and the natural apprehension, that, when removed from her influence, he would plunge deeper into sin. But it proved in the end to be the Providential purpose for his conversion–‘In thy deep and hidden counsel’–writes the pious Father–‘listening to the cardinal point of her desire, thou regardest not what she thin implored, in order to accomplish in me what she ever implored.’–Confess. Lib. v. c. 8.

LXI. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 20:1, The discussion of wine is often a volatile subject. Ever since the temperance movement in the early 20th century, many Christian consider the use of wine a sin. It is not the use of wine that is a sin but the abuse of it. We do not wish to give a detailed study of the subject with this verse. Since it is usually one of the first verses quoted to condemn the use of wine in any form, we need to address the subject somewhat. The word “wine” is used 230 time in the Bible: 128 times it must be alcoholic; 104 times it is questionable/underdermined; it is never used where it must be non-alcoholic, 41 times it is a blessing; 45 times the modern “abstinence” view implicates God; 11 times it is forbidden; 18 times a lack of wine is a curse; 10 times (of which this verse is one of them) we are warned in the use of it.

The love of wine and strong drink is extremely dangerous. The victims usually destroy not only their own lives and reputations but, often, the lives of their family and loved ones. It, like all sins, is deceitful (Heb. 3:13) giving pleasure for a season (Heb 11:25). “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Pr 23:29-32). “Its raging power degrades below the level of the beasts. The government of reason is surrendered to lust, appetite, or passion. … All is tumult and recklessness. The understanding is gradually impaired. ‘The heart uttereth perverse things.’ (Pr 23:33.) Other sins of the same black dye follow in its train, often hurrying into the very jaws of destruction. Surely then whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. ” Bridges, p. 335.

B. Pr 20:2, All authority is of the Lord. As Christians we are to submit to them. Often those who seek to undermine the government think they are being persecuted for the cause of Christ when, in fact, they have only violated this passage. See Jer 29:7; Ro 13:1-7; 1Ti 2:1-2; 1Pe 2:13-3:7; 4:15.

C. Pr 20:3, “Far more difficult is it to gather back the waters once let out, than to restrain them within their proper bounds. To ‘leave off contention,’ especially when we see that we are in the wrong; or– if in the right–that no good will come from it–this ‘is an honour for a man, a noble triumph over the flesh.’” (Cf. Ge 18:8-9; 26:17-31; Jer 28:11; 1Co 6:7.) “But how much more commonly is strife fed by the folly of man’s pride, than extinguished by a peaceful and loving spirit! The meddling fool rushes into strife as his element: and thus becomes a torment to himself, and a plague to those around him. To return ‘a soft answer’ to ‘grievous words,’ and to keep out of the way of an angry person, is the path of wisdom. To ‘put on meekness and long-suffering,’ and to ‘let the peace of God rule in our hearts’–these are the marks of ‘the elect of God,’ following the example of our Divine Master. (Col 3:12-15.)” Bridges, pp. 336-337.

D. Pr 20:4, This verse is so clear that it needs no explanation. However, when applied spiritually volumes are spoken. “[D]oes not the most trifling difficulty hinder, where the heart is cold in the service of God? Let the professor ask himself–Have his prayers during his whole life cost him exercise answering to one hour’s ploughing? What has he given to God but the shadow of duties, when the world has had his full glow and energy? … And what else can the spiritual sluggard look for? The cold keeps him heartlessly from the house of God. His soul is therefore perishing for lack of good. … But heartless wishes, without the crucifixion of the flesh, will stop short of the promise.” Bridges, p. 337.

E. Pr 20:5, “The depths in the heart of man are not easily fathomed. … Observe a man of God, instructed by God. Natural sagacity of intellect is deepened and enlarged by spiritual light. His mind is enriched with the fruits of scriptural light. His mind is enriched with the fruits of scriptural study and meditation. Here are the deep waters of heavenly counsel. The talkative professor in his superficial judgment sees nothing. But a man of understanding will discover and draw out valuable instruction. … Often … men of comprehensive mind have little sympathy with general society. We may be in contact with them, without consciousness of their worth. The waters are deep; but there is no bubbling up. Yet a well-directed excitement will draw out flowing water from the well-spring of wisdom. And often the intercourse, hitherto lost, with a godly and experienced minister, or a soundly-instructed Christian, becomes most precious–‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.’ (Pr 13:20.)” Bridges, p. 338.

F. Pr 20:6, The Lord said, “That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Lu 16:15). May we often remind ourselves of this truth. “We all condemn the open boasting of the Pharisee. But too often we eagerly catch at the good opinion of the world. Contrivance is made to gain the shadowy prize! A seeming backwardness is only, in order that others may bring us forward. Care is taken, that it be known that we were the authors, or at least, that we had a considerable part in some work, that might raise our name in the Church. Sometimes we are too ready to take a degree of credit to ourselves, which we do not honestly deserve; while we shrink from real reproach and obloquy for the gospel’s sake.” Bridges, p. 339.

G. Pr 20:7, “This is the faithful and upright man, who is made righteous by the obedience of Christ; and walks by faith in him, and according to the truth of the Gospel his children [are] blessed after him; with temporal blessings; and, walking in the same integrity as he does, they are blessed with spiritual blessings here, and eternal blessedness hereafter (see Ps 37:26). It is an observation of an Heathen poet, that good things befall the children of the godly, but not the children of the ungodly.” John Gill, in loco.

H. Pr 20:9, Only the self-righteous man, the man who has never seen the depravity of his own heart, would boast that he has no sin. The Christian knows too well the wickedness of his heart. He knows that unless another, Who is sinless, answers for him that he has no righteousness. “A sinner in his self-delusion may conceive himself to be a saint. But that a saint should ever believe that he made himself so, is impossible.” Bridges, p. 342.

I. Pr 20:10, Again the Lord testifies of the wickedness of deceit and falsehood in commercial transactions.

Such practice has destroyed more than one business, yea even more than one nation. See also Pr 20:14 & Pr 20:23.

J. Pr 20:11, “Let parents watch their children’s early habits, tempers, and doings. Generally the discerning eye will mark something in the budding of the young tree, by which the tree in maturity may be known. The child will tell what the man will be. No wise parent will pass over little faults, as if it was only a child doing childish things. Everything should be looked at as the index of the secret principle, and the work or word should be judged by the principle. If a child be deceitful, quarrelsome, obstinate, rebellious, selfish, how can we help trembling for his growth? A docile, truth-loving, obedient, generous child–how joyous is the prospect of the blossom and fruit from this hopeful budding! From the childhood of Samuel, Timothy, much more of the Saviour, we could not but anticipate what the manhood would be. The early purity and right principles promised abundant and most blessed fruit.” Bridges, 344.

K. Pr 20:12, This equally true of our spiritual senses as well as our natural ones. We can no more make ourselves hear or see the beauties of Christ and His gospel than give sight to the blind or cause the deaf to hear.

L. Pr 20:13, Abundantly the Lord makes it clear that poverty comes to those who are slothful and lazy. “Use ‘sleep, as tired nature’s sweet restorer.’ So man requires it. So God graciously gives it (Ps 3:5; 4:8; 127:2.)

Without it ‘man’ could not ‘go forth to his work and to his labour.’ (Ps 104:24.) Thus recruited for the active diligence of the day, he opens his eyes, ‘the sweat of his brow he eats his bread (Ge 3:19), and is satisfied with it.’ But love not sleep for its own sake. ‘Let your sleep be necessary and healthful, not idle and expensive of time beyond the needs and conveniences of nature.’ … Man wishes for a long life, and yet wilfully shortens the life given to him, by dozing it away in sleep!” And Bridges quoting another, “I take it for granted, that every Christian, who is in health, is up early in the morning. For it is much more reasonable to suppose a person up early, because he is a Christian, than because he is a labourer, or a tradesman, or a servant, or has business that wants him.” Bridges, p. 346.

M. Pr 20:14, Again the commercial spirit of deceit and greed is noted.

N. Pr 20:15, Again our Lord exhorts us of the value of knowledge (spiritual knowledge) beyond that of earthly riches.

O. Pr 20:16, “Again and again are we warned against suretyship for a stranger (Pr 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18), – any new acquaintance, whose company may entice; much more for a strange woman, whose character has lost all credit. This is the sure road to beggary and ruin. If a man is so weak as to plunge into this folly, he is not fit to be trusted. Lend nothing to him without good security. Nay, if needful, take his garment as his pledge. The letter of the Mosaic law forbade this extremity (Ex 12:26-27; De 24:12-13, cf. Job 22:6; Am 2:8). But the spirit and intent of the law pointed at the protection of the poor and unfortunate, who were forced to borrow for their own necessity, and therefore claim pity. The command here touches the inconsiderate, who deserve to suffer for their folly, in wilfully plunging themselves into ruin. Nor does it in any degree incur the just suspicion of covetousness or close dealing. The love of our neighbour does not involve the forgetfulness of ourselves. It never can be wise to assist, where kindness only give advantage to hurry on to ruin.” Bridges, pp. 349-350.

P. Pr 20:17, Joseph Caryl, in his commentary on Job 20:14 said, “Holiness is sweet in the way and end too.

Wickedness is sometimes sweet in the way, but always bitter in the end.” Bridges, p. 350.

Q. Pr 20:18, “Wars for the purpose of ambition or aggrandizement can never be wisely made.” Bridges, p. 351.

R. Pr 20:19, Notice the connection of the talebearer and the man who uses flattering speech. “Oh! how many in self-indulgence and forgetfulness of their own obligations, because they have no employment for their hands, set their tongues to work! (1Ti 5:13.) Such men bring, as it were, the plague of flies with them (Ex 8:24); buzzing from house to house, from one neighbour to another, all the report of evil heard or done. A sharp reproof is their just desert, and an effectual means of driving them away. (Pr 25:23.)” Bridges, p. 353.

S. Pr 20:20, “If darkness be the punishment, is it not also the cause, of this atrocious sin? For surely even the light of nature must be extinguished, ere the child should curse even those, who under God have taught it to speak–the authors and preservers of it existence; it greatest earthly benefactors. Even an undutiful look, much more a word, is an offence against the commandment. What then must be the weight of guilt involved in the cursing of them! The deepest reverence is due them when they are dead. (Jer 35:1-10.)

What then must be the provocation of sinning against them, while they are living for their children, in all the active, self-denying energy of love and service! This cursing, according to the Lord’s standard, includes ‘setting light by father or mother;’ (Mt 15:3-6) wilful disobedience–a fearful, palpable mark of the last days (2Ti 3:2). How God regards it, let his own curse on Mount Ebal (De 27:16), and his judgment of temporal death, testify (Ex 21:15,17; Le 20:9; De 21:18-23).” Bridge, pp. 353-354.

T. Pr 20:21, Too often that which come with ease is spent foolishly. See 1Ti 6:9-10.

U. Pr 20:22, Often we suffer because we have done wrong therefore no cause for recompense. If we do well and suffer for it, the Lord exhorts us to rejoice, yea, even leap for joy (Mt 5:10-12; Lu 6:22-23). Only God is capable of rendering vengeance. See De 32:35; Ro 12:19; Heb 10:30. Lord Bacon said, “He that studieth revenge, keepeth his own wounds open.” Bridges, p. 355.

V. Pr 20:25, That which is holy, such as the tithe, is not to be devoured in profane and common use. Many bring a snare upon themselves by not giving unto the Lord that which belongs to Him. In the Old Testament, if a man used that which was holy unto the Lord or the tithe he was to add a fifth to it (Le 27:26-32; Mal 3:8-9; Mt 23:23). Is it not better to give the tenth than to use it in otherwise and have to pay thirty percent. Equally it is true that one should not rashly make a vow and then afterward consider if he did the correct thing. Many have been snared by vows hastily made without consideration. See Ec 5:1-7. “[A] man should first inquire before he vows, whether it is right for him to make a vow, and whether he is able to keep it; it is too late after the vow is made to inquire about the lawfulness or expedience of it, and how to find out ways and means to dissolve it and be clear of it; for it is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay.” John Gill, in loco.

W. Pr 20:26, See Pr 14:34. A wise ruler will remove all evil from the land. See also Pr 20:28.

X. Pr 20:27, This “spirit of man” is that which is spoken about in Ro 1:18-19ff; Ro 2:14-15, etc. whereby everyone knows that God exists and they are accountable to Him. It is by this that the Lord will judge the world in righteousness, Ac 17:24-31. Wicked man tries to hide this light and hates it, but the righteous come to it, Joh 3:20-21.

Y. Pr 20:28, “Punishment is indeed a necessary security against the infringement of the law (Pr 20:26). Yet a wise King will follow the example of the Great Sovereign, and ‘make judgment his strange work,’ and mercy his ‘delight.’ … But who does not know, that, while truth commands reverence, it is mercy that wins the heart?” Bridges, p. 362.

Z. Pr 20:29, “Every stage of life has it peculiar honour and privilege. … [T]hese pictures describe the use, not the abuse. … Yet the beauty of the grey head is most likely to be found, where the strength and glory of youth have been dedicated to God. The young plant, stunted, and deformed in its youth, will generally carry its crookedness into advancing growth. … Let youth and age however each beware of defacing their glory.” Bridges, pp. 362-363.

AA. Pr 20:30, “Chastisement is the Lord’s ordinance–the pain of the flesh for the subjugation of the spirit; sometimes even the ‘destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ (I Cor. 5:5.) It describes not the gently stroke, but the severity of parental discipline; not in pleasure or caprice, much less in anger, but for profit. (Heb 12:10.) The diseased body needs medicine no less than food, and indeed to give nourishment. The diseased soul needs chastening no less than consolation, and as the main preparation for consolation. But if the blueness of the wound–the mark of severe chastisement–cleanseth away evil, is it not the lesser evil, and the means of subduing the greater? Do not the Lord’s stripes cleanse the inward parts? Misery beyond measure miserable is the untamed stubbornness of self-will. A gentle stroke is first tried. When this remedy is ineffectual, the blueness of the wound is needful. …

Child of God! Think of your Father’s character. ‘He knoweth your frame. He doth not affict willingly.’ (Ps. 103:14; La 3:33.) Nothing will be given in weight or measure beyond the necessity of the case. But truly blessed are the stripes, that humble and break the proud will. Rich indeed are ‘fruits of righteousness’ from the conflict and suffering of the flesh.” Bridges, pp. 363-364.

LXII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. The love of what will cause proverty?

B. What is the beauty of old men?

C. What is a mocker?

D. Who made the hearing ear and the seeing eye?

E. Who has the right to recompense evil?

04.21 PROVERBS CHAPTER 21

Pr 21

LXIII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 21:30: There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. This plainly declares that the purpose of God cannot be hindered by the combined energies of man.

B. The following verses complement this verse: Pr 21:1-2,12-13,18,27, and Pr 21:31.

LXIV. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 21:1, The chapter opens by declaring the overruling providential workings of God by stating that the Lord controls the heart of rulers and He controls the rivers of water. The Lord turns each as He wills.

Numerous passages could be listed to support this prevailing truth that is declared throughout the Holy Scriptures. “The Great Sovereign turns the most despotic rule, all political projects, to his own purposes, with the same ease, that the rivers of water are turned by every inflection of the channel. While this course is directed, the waters flow naturally and unforced on their own level. The king’s heart he directs as a responsible agent, without interfering with the moral liberty of his will.” Bridges, p. 364. See the following passages: Ge 20:6, cf. Ps 105:14-15; Ex 14:18; De 2:30; 2Ch 30:12; Ezr 6:22; 7:27.

B. Pr 21:2, Though man thinks his ways are pure, little does he know his real motive. The heart, which the Lord only knows, that determines the action. The heart is so deceitful that it not only deceives others, but often itself. Every intelligent Christian knows this truth too well. “How differently do we judge of the same action in others, and in ourselves! Often do we palliate, if not justify, in ourselves the very habits, which we condemn in others. … There are no persons in the world, about whom we make so many mistakes as ourselves.” Bridges, p. 366.

C. Pr 21:3, This principle is stated many times in the Scriptures, cf. 1Sa 15:22-23. God is not as interested in one’s gifts as He is in the life walking in holiness and righteousness before Him. Though sacrifice unto the Lord is to be performed (Ro 12:1-2), it is unacceptable unless it is done from a holy heart.

D. Pr 21:4, No verse describes the depraved heart of man more than this one. Sinful man cannot do anything acceptable unto the Lord. It is easy for us to accept the “high look” and the “proud heart” as sin. These seem obvious. But unless our actions come from a heart acceptable to God they are sinful. For this reason the man plowing his field to produce food for himself and his family is sin. Note the comments of Bridges on this verse. “How can the plowing of the soil, in itself a duty (Ge 3:19), become a sin? The motive determines the act. The most natural actions are inculcated for Christian ends. They become therefore moral actions, good or bad according to their own motives. The man, who plows the soil, acknowledging God in his work, and seeking his strength and blessing––‘does it acceptably to the glory of God.’ It is essentially a religious action. But the wicked, who does the same work without any regard to God––for want of a godly end, his plowing is sin. His idleness is sin against a plain command. (2Th 3:10.) His industry is the sin of ungodliness, putting God out of his own world. The substance of his act is good. But the corrupt principle defiles the very best actions. (Tit 1:15.)” Bridges, p. 368.

E. Pr 21:5, Here we see that thoughts are useless unless they are followed with diligence. However, it is not the quick and hasty action that produces good fruit. It is the well-designed plan with deliberate action that is profitable.

F. Pr 21:6 & Pr 21:7, This is a picture of the “hasty spirit.” Ill-gotten gain brings judgment unto condemnation.

G. Pr 21:8, Here we see another contrast of the natural man and the man by grace. Unregenerate man can do nothing right, but the actions of regenerate man are acceptable unto the Lord because they are produced from a heart devoted unto the God.

H. Pr 21:9 & Pr 21:19 (cf. Pr 25:24), These verses show that a life of solitude is better than a life with society where contention reigns. How great the contrast! The comparison of the top of a house or in the wilderness (Pr 21:19) to that of a spacious, comfortable house reveal the extreme heaviness of heart and soul when living with a brawling, contentious, and angry woman. Such a woman is never content. To live with anyone of such a disposition is trying. When it comes from “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh,” who is to be “a crown to her husband” and a helper fit for him, it is indeed a severe scourge, yea, “rottenness to his bones.” Bridges said, “But how many bring this bitter trouble upon themselves! They plunge into the important connexion on adventure; with no thought of the duties to be done, the temptations to be avoided, the crosses to be borne. They never sought direction in the momentous choice. The wife, not being sought from the Lord, came not from him, and brought no ‘favour’ of him. Illicit pleasure, avarice, or waywardness, brought a calamity, that no external accomplishments, no advantages of riches or rank, could for a moment counterbalance.

“The husband in his claim for submission will remember, that he has found, not a servant, but a wife.

She, on her side, will not forget the beauty and order of graceful sacrifice and ready concession; and that her glory is departed from her, should she lose ‘the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit;’ lovely in the sight of man, and ‘in the sight of God of great price.’ (1Pe 3:4.)” Bridges, p. 372.

I. Pr 21:10, Again we find that the ungodly not only do ungodly deeds but all their thoughts are wicked.

Truly “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lu 6:45).

J. Pr 21:11, Bridges wisely stated, “The blow that strikes one, reaches two–– the scorner for punishment; the simple for improvement.” P. 373. Though capital punishment is not first for the prevention of crime, nevertheless, it does have its affect. How different is the wise from the scorner and the simple! The wise, through his daily teaching, receives instruction and retains knowledge. However, often the chastening rod must be applied even to the wise. When it is administered, the wise receives it to his profit. See Heb 12:5-11; Ps 94:12; 119:71; 16:7.

K. Pr 21:12, The righteous (wise) man not only learn from the good but also from the wicked. Pr 7:6-27 reveals to us how Solomon learned from the young man void of understanding and the wicked woman.

From this he instructed his son not to go in this way. A person who beholds the end of the wicked and follows in his steps is not wise.

L. Pr 21:13, Jesus said, “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” and “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Mr 14:7; Ac 20:35).

Little do we understand the wickedness of a covetous heart. It was this sin that revealed to Paul the wickedness of his heart (Ro 7:7-11). Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that we are not to keep company with the covetous (1Co 5:11) and that after being sanctified by the Holy Spirit one is no longer covetous (1Co 6:9-11). The Pharisees would not support their parents because of their covetousness and received the appellation of hypocrites (Mt 15:4-9). The rich man ignored Lazarus daily and when he cried in hell was not heard (Lu 16:19-31, cf. Jas 2:13; Col 3:12).

M. Pr 21:14, “Anger is a fire in the breast; and a restraining or causing it to cease is properly expressed by an extinguishing of it: this a gift or present does, as it did in Esau from Jacob, in David from Abigail; but then it must be secretly given, otherwise it may more provoke; since it may show vanity in the giver, and covetousness in the receiver; and the former may have more honour than the latter.” John Gill, in loco.

N. Pr 21:15, Note that the just not only does judgment, it is his joy to do so. This is what our Lord meant when He said those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Mt 5:6). It only joy to the just and not to the “worker of iniquity.” His delight is destruction (Ro 3:16-17).

O. Pr 21:16, Many who do not have a good heart make a profession of Christ but afterward fall by the wayside (Mt 13:3-8; 2Pe 2:20-22). The promise is only to those who endure to the end (Heb 10:38-39; I Joh 2:13-14; 4:4; 5:4-5; Re 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 21:17).

P. Pr 21:17, Though the Lord gives us “richly all things to enjoy” (1Ti 6:17), we must not love riches and pleasure. The Scriptures condemns those who are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2Ti 3:4). “The man, who gives his whole heart and time to the love of pleasure, and sacrifices to it all his prudence and foresight, is surely on the highroad to poverty.” Bridges, p. 379. Such was the case of the Prodigal (Lu 15:13-16). “Mark well, then, the danger and temptation, the need of unceasing watchfulness, that in the necessary use you keep within its due measure––the heart loosened here, and fixed above. (Lu 21:34). For should you be growing in the love of earthly pleasure, you shall be a poor man, indeed; growing indifferent to prayer; heartless and dead to God; fancying shadows to be substance, and despising the true substance as a shadow. Heavenly pleasures will lose their sweetness, as earthly pleasures are relished. ‘Certainly the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth.’ (Lord Bacon’s Essays. )

Our spiritual character is our glory. Personal holiness is indispensable to spiritual enjoyments. Keep then ever before you, as the witness of your better experience, the emptiness and bitterness of the world’s pleasures, and the all-sufficiency of your real portion.” Bridges, pp. 380-381.

Q. Pr 21:18, It is not unusual that the wicked must be judged so that the righteous might escape (Jos 7:24-26; Pr 11:8; Isa 43:3-4; Es 7:10). The promise of God to His children is comforting indeed. See Isa 54:17; Zec 2:8.

R. Pr 21:19, See Pr 21:9.

S. Pr 21:20, The Lord continues to point us to the wise for instruction as to how we are to live. To follow such a course will lead to treasure; that is, a life of using that which the Lord gives wisely. Conversely, the foolish spend all they have and do not lay up in store for troublesome times. The righteous not only lays up temporal treasures on earth, but he lays up treasures in heaven, Mt 6:19-21.

T. Pr 21:21, This verse describes the Christian’s life. Like the apostle Paul, he continually presses “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Php 3:14) and follows after (Php 3:13) that for which he was apprehended. “But this following after is not the toiling at a daily task; not a compulsory law, chaining the conscience against the inclinations of the will. It is delight, freedom, and enlargement (Ps 63:8); the rising flow of the heart filled with fearless love.” Then in a footnote Bridges gives the following from Taylor: “The will is in love with those charms, which draw us to God. And as no man will complain, that his temples are restrained, and his head is prisoner, when it is encircled with a crown; so when ‘the Son of God hath made us free,’ and hath only subjected us to the service and dominion of the Spirit, we are free as princes within the circle of their diadem; and our chains are bracelets, and the law is a law of liberty, and ‘God’s service is perfect freedom;’ and the more we are subjects, the more we ‘reign as kings;’ and the further we run, the easier is our burden; and Christ’s yoke is like feathers to a bird; not loads, but helps to motion; without them the body falls.” Bridges, p, 385.

U. Pr 21:22, This military truth beautifully conveys a spiritual lesson. The gospel gives the “weapons of our warfare” which indeed are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2Co 10:4-5). As before noted (Pr 21:16), all the promises are to him that overcomes. Therefore, the Christian is to put on the armor of God (Eph 6:10ff) and fight the good fight of faith (1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7). The kingdom of heaven suffers “violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mt 11:12, cf. Ac 14:22).

V. Pr 21:23, The Scriptures teach abundantly that we must guard our speech and, thereby, keep our “soul from troubles.” How often has the mouth been opened rashly and the tongue flowed unguardedly so that “our neighbour has been injured; God has been dishonoured; and bitter trouble of soul has been the fruit”? Bridges, p. 387.

W. Pr 21:24, The Lord placed the name on the person who has proud wrath. His name is “proud and haughty.”

The Scriptures portrays this person in such characters as Pharaoh (Ex 5:2), Sennacherib (2Ki 18:35; 19:21-22,28), and Haman (Es 3:5-6; 5:9).

X. Pr 21:25 & Pr 21:26, Another description of the slothful is given here. He desires but he does not exert himself to procure his desires. Not only is he lazy, but he is full of covetousness. It is not so with the righteous. He is industrious in that he not only provides for his own but he has to give to others, especially the poor (cf. Eph 4:28). This is true of many in a spiritual way. They long for communion and fellowship with God but are too lazy to use the means given to him for such. He is seldom found reading his Bible and spends little time in study and prayer. Bridges well said, “Whoever desires only, and refuses to labour to be a growing Christian daily, gives doubtful evidence whether he be a Christian at all.” P. 389.

Y. Pr 21:27, Here we find that no time is the sacrifice of the wicked accepted before the Lord. Though all acts outwardly appear good, one thing is lacking. The heart is dead in sin. “The service is therefore only formality or hypocrisy. (Mt 15:7-9.) There is no way of access; no ‘altar to sanctify the gift.’ Therefore it is presumption, self-righteousness, will-worship. There is no ‘faith, without which it is impossible to please God.’ (Heb 11:6.) The material act, considered in itself, may be good; but the corrupt principle makes the sacrifice an abomination. (Mal 1:7-8.)” Bridges, p. 390.

The sin is compounded when it is brought “with a wicked mind.” Such were the acts of Balaam (Nu 23:1-3,13), Saul (1Sa 13:8-15; 15:21-23), Absalom & Jezebel (2Sa 15:7-13; 1Ki 21:9-12; Isa 1:13-16), the adulteress woman (Pr 7:14-15), the Pharisees (Mt 23:14), and the antinomian professors (Jas 4:3). “And yet apparent acceptance is sometimes granted to the sacrifice of the wicked. God, as the moral governor of the world, externally rewards actions externally good. But never does he fail to punish the evil principle in those very actions, which are the subjects of his reward.” Bridges, p. 391.

Z. Pr 21:28, The last clause of this proverb appears to define the first. He who is in the habit of talking continuously is often not reliable in his conversation. He who is swift to hear is one that can be trusted.

AA. Pr 21:29, When a person can sin without blushing, it is a good indication that his heart is hard also. “Here lies the contrast–– The wicked man hardens his face against God’s ordinances. The godly directs his way by them; not waiting in inactivity for miraculous leading, but improving those ordinary means, which throw light upon every step. Temporals, as well as spirituals; trifles, as well as important matters, are brought under the eye of our gracious God.” Bridges, p. 393.

BB. Pr 21:30 & Pr 21:31, Though verse thirty is our memory verse, let us consider these two verses together. History is full of incidents that show that those who fight against God and His cause are not able to hinder His counsel. Equally true is the fact that man may make his preparations to defend himself, but all will come to nothing without the blessing of the Lord.

LXV. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What must one keep to keep his soul from trouble?

B. What must be changed before the Lord will accept a person’s labor?

C. It is better to dwell where than with an angry and contentious spouse?

D. What will happen to him who loves pleasure?

E. What does the soul of the wicked desire?

04.22 PROVERBS CHAPTER 22

Pr 22

LXVI. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 22:4: By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. The entire chapter speaks of true riches and character in contrast to that which is false.

B. Essentially every verse in this chapter reflects that which is found in Pr 22:4; however, the following verses are clearly related to it: Pr 22:1-3,7-9,11,14,16,22-27, and Pr 22:29.

LXVII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 22:1, What the world considers to be a good name is the opposite to that which the Lord considers good, Lu 6:26; 16:15. By this we see that a good name is attained by godly endeavors. Time was when society valued a good name, but few today regard this or give much attention to developing it. Many conclude that as long as they do not have any guilt of conscience for their actions that all is well with them and their name is secure. It is true that to be judged by man’s judgment is a small matter (1Co 4:3), we must equally folly the injunction to provide “for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2Co 8:21). While one should strive to maintain the family name in good report, it is of far greater importance not to bring reproach on the name of Christ and His kingdom. This must be diligently sought after more than one would seek for great riches.

B. Pr 22:2, From casual observation the rich and poor have little in common, but the Lord informs us that they meet together. The distinction is made only in outward appearance! They have the same birth in that they are born naked and helpless beings; they have the same natural relation to God; dependent on Him for their birth; under His providential rule; creatures of His moral government; subject to the same sickness, sorrow, infirmities, and temptations; die and subject to the same decimation; resurrected from death; stand equally before the Judge at the Great Assize. They meet together as sinners and unable to recover themselves from this condition and need the same righteousness to cover their woeful and naked condition. In the kingdom of God they meet together as one under the same banner of King Immanuel before the throne of grace, at the Lord’s table and together in the assembly of the saints. Here we are informed that the Lord is the one that placed them in their economic condition. God does not merely make us a men, He makes us as rich or poor, cf. 1Sa 2:7.

While there is no distinction before God between the rich and the poor (Ga 3:28), this does not remove the fact that there is rank before men, 1Ti 6:1-2; 1Co 11:1-16; Ro 13:1-6; Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:17-23; 1Pe 2:13-3:7. “God never meant to level the world, any more than the surface of the earth. The distinction of rich and poor still remains in his appointment, and all attempts to sink it must end in confusion. To each of us are committed our several talents, duties, and responsibilities both to God and man. Let each of us therefore be given to our own work, and “abide in our calling with God.” (1Co 7:27).” Bridges, p. 398.

C. Pr 22:3, Here is the answer as to why many men are caught when calamity comes. They are not prudent; they are simple (uninstructed, foolish, etc.) and are unable to understand the time, 1Ch 12:32; Da 2:21. “Not that the prudent man is gifted with supernatural knowledge. He only uses the discernment which God hath given him. He regards the signs of the times. He studies the word of God in reference to coming judgments; and he acts accordingly.” Bridges, p. 399.

D. Pr 22:4, The riches, honour, and life spoken of here are the true riches of God found in His grace and glory. Seeking these will always humble us at the feet of our beloved Lord and King. “A just apprehension of God will always lay us in the lowest dust before him.” Bridges, p. 400.

E. Pr 22:5, “A forcible image to shew, that nothing stands so much in a man’s way, as the indulgence of his own unbridled will. The man, who is most perversely bent on his purposes, is most likely to be thwarted in them. … Our happiness and security therefore lie in an humble submission to the Lord; desiring nothing so much as conformity to his will; dreading nothing so much as being left to our own waywardness.” Bridges, pp. 400-401.

F. Pr 22:6, It is obvious that this verse does not teach that the instruction and training given by parents is the means by which a child is regenerated from a state of death in sin to life in Christ Jesus. Too often this verse is given to provide either false hope or guilt to parents for a wayward child. We must never forget that “salvation is of the Lord,” Jon 2:9. While this is true, we must not rob this verse of the Divine promise given and believe God by obeying the command to train our “child in the way he should go.”

We must remember that this is not a suggestion from the Lord; it is a command. God here commands us to “train” (instruct; guide, catechize) our children. This includes training them in things spiritual as well as in things natural. It is to be done in the way (every way) he should go. Children are as “arrows in the hand of a mighty man” (Ps 127:4); therefore, the potential for instruments for good or evil hangs on the direction given by the parents. As Bridges wisely stated, “Everything hangs on his training. Two ways lie before him – the way in which he would go, headlong to ruin; and the way in which he should go, the pathway to heaven. … But all training, save on the principles of the Bible, must be injurious. To expand, without soundly enlightening the mind, is but to increase its power for evil. Far better to consign it to total ignorance, inasmuch as the uninstructed savage is less responsible, less dangerous, than the well-furnished infidel.” (P. 402.) Note the profound influence of godly mothers in the case of Samuel (1Sa 1:28; 2:18) and Timothy (2Ti 1:5; 3:14-15; Ac 16:1). Indeed, parents are commanded to train (“bring them up”) in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Eph 6:4. It is without question as to whether Christian parents are to instruction their children in the way of godliness. Those parents who neglect this Divine commandment have no reason to expect their children to follow anything but the depraved nature in which they are born. It is infidelity for parents to abandoned their responsibility by trying to excuse themselves because they are unable to regenerate their children.

Often parents seek to excuse themselves because of their ignorance of the Holy Scriptures. Nevertheless, the Divine command stands. The responsibility lies at the feet of the parents and nothing can remove it. They stand before God responsible to fulfill their duty and must expect nothing from the Lord unless they are faithful to His law. This principle holds true for natural and spiritual education as well. Therefore, if the parent does not know he is responsible before the Lord to learn so that he may “train” the children given to him. If this is not done, the child will be the victim of the parent’s ignorance. To leave the child to himself is to throw him into the downward stream that leads to corruption without boat or oar for deliverance.

Neither must we expect to enter the child into a mass of immoral students and expect him to escape the influence of his peers. It is equally certain that we must not linger in the task. While we may enter into the work too late, we cannot begin too soon.

The training must be practical and not mere talk. We must teach by example. The child learns much more by the eye than by the ear. Bridges astutely said, “A well-trained child gladly looks to his parent’s godliness as his model picture, to copy after. A wayward child eagerly seeks for the excuse of his own delinquency, and this discovery in parental example will harden him in infidelity and ungodliness.” P. 404.

“If then the promise is not fulfilled, it is because the duty is not performed. Never does God give a command, but he will give his sincere servant grace to obey it. The duty is not therefore to lie down in despondency, or even in heartless prayer, but to “go forward” (Ex 14:13) in painful obedience. With such a plain promise – the promise of “him who cannot lie, or repent,” and who will be true to every tittle of his word (Nu 23:19) – need we ever be cast down? – “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Ge 18:14.)

Cultivate then the exercise of parental faith; trusting, not to what we see, but to what God has engaged; like our father Abraham, “against hope, believing in hope.” (Ro 4:18-20.) Expect the fulfillment of the parental promise, as confidently as any other free promise of the gospel. (Such as Joh 6:37, JKB.)

Exercise faith in the full energy of Christian diligence, and in the patience of Christian hope. Leave God to accomplish his own gracious will.” Bridges, p. 405.

G. Pr 22:7, Though “the rich and poor meet together” (Pr 22:2), God has ordain one to rule and the other to submit. The Christian should seek to order his life so that will “owe no many anything but love,” Rm. 13:8.

Geier said, “Guard against that poverty, which is the result of carelessness or extravagance. Pray earnestly, labour diligently. Should you come to poverty by the misfortune of the times, submit to your lot humble; bear it patiently; cast yourself in child-like dependence upon your God.” Bridges, p. 407.

H. Pr 22:8, Here we again find that eternal principle of reaping that which we sow, cf. Ga 6:7-8.

I. Pr 22:9, “Ever remember—Christian—that God’s standard is sacrifice, not convenience; giving of our bread; letting the poor share with ourselves. (Job 31:17.) Nor must it be wrung from us by importunity.

‘God loveth a cheerful giver.’ His ‘charge is, that we be ready to distribute, willing to communicate.’ (ITim 6:17-18.)” Bridges, p. 408.

J. Pr 22:10, Note the connection of the scorner with contention, strife and reproach. If the scorner is not restrained he must be cast out. There can never be peace as long as the scorner is free to practice his ways. This is true for the family, church, or any institution.

K. Pr 22:11, True “pureness of heart” is only found in the regenerated man. However, there is a moral pureness that is attractive to the unregenerate man. “Pureness of heart sheds such refinement over the whole character, and pours such grace upon the lips, as attracts the admiration of those, who do not understand its source, and cannot appreciate its principle.” Bridges, p. 410.

L. Pr 22:12, Knowledge, true knowledge, is never despised by the Lord. True knowledge is guarded by the Lord so that it will stand forever; however, He will not allow error to stand. Though heresies abound, they shall all fall and be exposed for what they really are.

M. Pr 22:13, This verse shows that the slothful man is in fact a coward. He is afraid of everything and anything. He refuses to labor or to go without for fear that he will be harmed or injured. Yet the real reason for his refusing to labor is this lazy and slothful ways.

N. Pr 22:14, Again the Lord warns the young man against the trap of the wicked woman. Many men have been “forced” to “yield” to the “fair speech” and “flattering” lips of the “strange woman,” cf. Pr 8:21.

Though the man is without excuse, there is a weakness in him that is sometimes overpowered by the deceitfulness of the wicked woman. Indeed he that is “abhorred of the Lord” falls into such a deep pit to be never recovered. This pit is easy to fall into but it is difficult, if not impossible, to get out.

O. Pr 22:15, Notice that the verse declares that it is foolishness and not childishness that is bound in the heart of the child. The child should not be punished for being a child but he should be punished for being a wicked child. Yet we must not excuse the foolishness under the plead of childhood. God not only demands that the foolishness be driven from the child, He also states how it is to be done—by the rod of correction, cf. Pr 19:18; 23:13-14; 29:17. The rod is to be properly and justly applied, with the ruling principle of love, so that the child is corrected. As with our Heavenly Father, it is to be applied not for our pleasure but for the profit of the child, Heb 12:10. It must not be applied out of caprice (whim or impulse) or passion, but for the profit of the child. We must use the means of the Lord in faith and wait patiently for the promised blessing.

P. Pr 22:16, The poor here are not poor because of their slothful and lazy practice. It is those who are poor because of circumstances beyond their control. God ever considers such who are poor and will judge those who oppress them. Equally, those who favor the rich for gain will be brought to poverty in the end. The greatest poverty is to be denied by the Lord in the day of judgment.

Q. Pr 22:17-21, Here we are called to attention. We are to bow down the ear. We are to humble ourselves and to listen intently to the words of the wise and keep them in our heart. It is a pleasant things only if we keep the it in our hearts. Many know the words that bring wisdom and knowledge, but few keep (hide) them within the soul. Head knowledge is no substitute for heart knowledge. “But how powerless are even the words of wisdom without personal application! Let each for a while isolate himself from his fellow-men, and be alone with God, under the clear, searching light of his word. If prayer be cold; graces be languid, privileges be clouded, and profession unfruitful, is it not because religion has been taken up in the gross, without immediate personal contact with the truth of God?” Bridges, p. 417.

R. Pr 22:22-23, Here is another injunction from the Lord to warn us to not oppress the poor and afflicted.

Though they may not be able to plead for themselves, the Lord will take up their case for them and see that their enemies are judged.

S. Pr 22:24-25, “Sin is contagious. Alas! our corrupt constitution predisposes us to receive it in any form, in which it may be presented to us. … Friendship binds the eye; and where there is no light in the mind, no true tenderness in the conscience, we can see hateful things done by those we love, with blunted sensibilities. Common intercourse with a furious man is like living in a house that is on fire. His unreasonable conduct stirs our own tempers. One fire kindles another. Occasional bursts of passion soon form the habit. The habit becomes the nature. Thus we learn his ways, and get a snare to our soul. (Ps 106:35-36.) How soon does a young person, living with a proud man, get the mould of his society, and become imperious and overbearing! Evil ways, especially when they fall in with our natural temperament, are much sooner learnt than good, and are much more powerful to ‘corrupt good manners.’ (1Co 15:33), than good manners to amend the evil. we learn anger easier than meekness. We convey disease, not health.

Hence it is the rule of self-preservation, no less than the rule of God— Make no friendship with an angry man.” Bridges, p. 420.

T. Pr 22:26-27, “Repeated warnings have been given of this danger (Pr 11:15; 17:18; 22:1-2). Striking hands for a friend is often striking, and even wounding, our own hearts. The putting your hand to a bill may be almost signing a warrant for your own execution. At all events it is fraud to give security for more than you are worth; promising what you are unable to perform. [Emphasis mine, JKB.] The creditor may fairly in this case proceed to extremities—not with the debtor (whom he knows to be worth nothing, and whom indeed the law of God protected)—but with the surety. And why—the wise man asks—shouldest thou rashly incur beggary and ruin, so as to have the bed taken from under thee? ” Bridges, p. 421.

U. Pr 22:28, The landmark consists of markers which set the boundaries of one’s property. For a square block of land, some stones (arranged in a certain pattern) were set at the corners to designate the boundary and ownership of the property. When Israel entered into the promised land, God set the boundaries and said that the land was not to be sold forever (Le 25:23). “All sound expositors warn us, from this Proverb, to reverence long-tried and well-established principles, and not rashly to innovate upon them. Some scorn the ancient landmarks as relics of bye-gone days of darkness. Impatient of restraint, they want a wider range of wandering, to indulge either their own prurient appetite for novelties, or the morbid cravings of others for this unwholesome excitement. (2Ti 3:7; 4:3-4.) Endless divisions and dissensions have been the fruit of this deadly evil. the right of individual judgment oversteps its legitimate bounds; and in its licentious exercise ‘every man’ feels justified to ‘do’ and thing ‘that which is right in his own eyes.’ (Jg 21:25.)” Bridges, p. 422.

V. Pr 22:29, “A man diligent in his business; quick, ready, actively improving his time, his talents, his opportunity for his work; like Henry Martyn, who was known in his college ‘as the man who had not lost an hour.’ A mean sphere is too low for such a man. He shall stand, as Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel—all diligent in their business—did— before kings. … Diligence, even without godliness, is often the way to worldly advancement.” Bridges, p. 423.

LXVIII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is a deep pit?

B. How are contention, strife and reproach ceased?

C. What is to be chosen rather than great riches?

D. With whom should we not make friends?

E. How is foolishness driven from the heart of a child?

04.23 PROVERBS CHAPTER 23

Pr 23

LXIX. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse is Pr 23:23: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

B. This verse instructs us to buy the truth but not to sell it. We must ever receive the things that God has for those who love Him but we do not have the right to sell it nor to trade with it in any manner.

LXX. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 23:1-3, Often when one is invited to a meal he is tempted to ignore the Lord’s commands against intemperance. While the enemies of Christ accused Him of being gluttonous, no doubt, because He ate more than what they thought was right, we must not use this for a license to gluttony. The Christian should always consider this especially when sitting before the ungodly. As Bridges rightly said, “Think where you are; what is the besetting temptation; what impression your conduct is likely to make. Wantonness of appetite, or levity of manner, gives a plausible ground of prejudice to the ungodly, or ‘stumbling to the weak.’” P. 424. Christ warned His disciples of this so that they would not be ignorant of the ways of God, Lu 21:34-36. “God gives us our body to feed, not to pamper; to be the servant, not the master, of the soul. He gives bread for our necessities, man craves ‘meat for his lust.’ (Ps 78:18.) We are to ‘make provisions for the wants, not ‘for the lust.’ (Ro 13:14.) ... If a heathen (Seneca) could say, ‘I am greater and born to greater things, than to be the servant of my body’—is it not a shame for a Christian, born as he is, the heir of an everlasting crown, to be the slave of his carnal indulgences?” Bridges, p. 424. Note 1Co 9:27; 2Pe 1:5-6.

B. Pr 23:4-5, It is not a wrong to be rich but it is wrong to labor for riches. To labor for riches is to place all of one’s energy for “that which is not.” How foolish it is to set one’s eyes upon that which will fly away in a moment like a bird. Many people will diligently seek for the fool’s gold of this world and ignore the true riches of Christ. “For were the things of eternity really believed, would not the thoughts be fixed, and the heart be filled with them, with but little time or room for the engrossing vanities of life?” Bridges, p. 425.

C. Pr 23:6-8, “Kindly intercourse with our neighbours is a part of the courtesies of life. Yet we ought not to entertain the invitation of a niggardly man, who grudges the very food we eat, or of a deceitful man, whose friendship is a cloak for selfish purposes. The evil eye will peep through the covers of his dainty meats, and betray him, in spite of his effort for concealment. We judge him not by his words; for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. And while he saith, Eat and drink, it is but too plain, that his heart is not with us. (Lu 11:37.) ‘Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,’ than his dainty meats. ‘A poor man is far better than such a liar.’ Every morsel at his table is loathsome; and gladly would we retract, and lose the sweet words, with which we had unworthily complimented our host.” Bridges, pp. 426-427.

D. Pr 23:9, Often one tries in vain to stop the mouth of a fool only to find that matters are made worse. Did not our Lord say that we should not cast our pearls before swine nor give that which is holy unto to dogs?

(Mt 7:6.) While we must sow the bread of life to all, there is a time to remain silent and a time to speak, (Ec 3:7, cf. Pr 26:4-5; 9:8).

E. Pr 23:10-11, God continues to remind us that true religion has to do with the fatherless and widows. God takes special interest in the helpless and He will by no means allow their tormentors to escape punishment.

It is not only the property rights that are to be respected and guarded but their persons as well. See Jas 1:27.

F. Pr 23:12, “The frequent repetition of these counsels, implies an humbling truth, familiar to every day’s experience—man’s natural revulsion from Divine instruction, and his inattention to the words of knowledge. It is well to have these injunctions renewed from time to time. We all need ‘precept upon precept, line upon line’ (Isa 28:13); and that to the very end of our course. The best taught and most advanced Christian will be most earnest in seeking more instruction, and will most gladly sit at the feet of the Lord’s ministers, to hear the words of knowledge. Here lies the value of the Bible, as the one source of instruction, and the alone treasure-house of the words of knowledge.” Bridges, pp. 428-429.

G. Pr 23:13-14, As before stated (Pr 22:15), foolishness is bound in the heart of a child as well as in parents too. As the Lord is faithful to bring the rod of correction to us, so ought we to be faithful not to withhold correction from our children. If we withhold this correction from our children it declares to all that we do not properly love them (Pr 13:24). This is to be done, as Bridges said, “wisely, firmly, lovingly. Persevere notwithstanding apparently unsuccessful results. Connect it with prayer, faith, and careful instruction.” P. 429.

“We admit that it is revolting to give pain, and call forth the tears of those we so tenderly love. But while hearts are what hearts are, it is not to be supposed that we can train without discipline. If it be asked—will gentle means be more effectual? Had this been God’s judgment, as a God of mercy, he would not have provided a different regiment. Eli tried them, and the sad issue is written for our instruction (1Sa 2:23-25; 3:13). ... Except he be restrained, he will die in his sin. God has ordained the rod to purge his sins, and so deliver his soul from hell. [death, JKB] To suffer sin upon a child, no less than upon a brother, is tantamount to ‘hating him in our heart’ (Le 19:17).

“Yet let it not be used at all times. Let remonstrance be first tried. Our heavenly Father never stirs the rod with his children, if his gentle voice of instruction prevail. Continual finding fault; applying correction to every slip of childish trifling or troublesome thoughtlessness, would soon bring a callous deadness to all sense of shame. Let it be reserved, at least in its more serious forms, for willfulness. It is medicine, not food; the remedy for the occasional diseases of the constitution, not the daily regiment for life and nourishment. And to convert medicine into daily food, gradually destroys its remedial qualities.

“Some parents, indeed, use nothing but correction. They indulge their own passions at the expense of their less guilty children. Unlike our Heavenly Father, they ‘afflict and grieve their children willingly; ’ to vent their own anger, not to subdue their children’s sins. ... An intemperate use of this Scriptural ordinance brings discredit upon its efficacy, and sows the seed of much bitter fruit. Children become hardened under an iron rod. Sternness and severity of manner close up their hearts. It is most dangerous to make them afraid of us. A spirit of bondage and concealment is engendered, often leading to a lie; sowing the seed of hypocrisy—nay, sometimes of disgust, and even of hatred, towards their unreasonable parents.

“Other parents freely threaten the rod, yet withhold it. It was only meant to frighten. It soon becomes an empty and powerless sound. This again contravenes our Great Exemplar. His threatenings are not vain words. If his children will not turn, they will find them faithful and true to their cost. This threatening play is solemn trifling with truth; teaching children by example, what they had learnt for the womb (Ps 58:3), to ‘speak lies.’ Let our words be considerate, but certain. Let our children know, that they must not trifle either with them or with us. The firmness of truthful discipline alone can convey a wholesome influence. And defect here is a serious injury.

“We must learn however not to expect too much from our children; nor to be unduly depressed by their naughtiness. Yet we must not wink at their sinful follies. We must love them not less, but better. And because we love them, we must not withhold, when needed, correction from them. More painful is the work to ourselves, than to them. Most humbling it is. For since the corrupt root produces the poisoned sap in the bud, what else is it but the correction of our own sin? Yet though ‘no chastening for the present be joyous, but rather griveous’ (Heb 12:11); when given in prayer, in wisdom, and in faith, the saving blessing will be vouchsafed.” Bridges, pp. 429-431.

H. Pr 23:15-16, Truly the joy of any Christian parent is to find their children wise in the things of God. “But surely this child, now the father’s joy, is one, from whom correction has not been withheld. The ‘foolishness bound in his heart has thus been driven from him;’ and its place graciously supplied by a wise heart—a witness to the subsequent rule and promise—‘Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest.’ (Pr 29:17).” Bridges, p. 431.

I. Pr 23:17-18, Too often we look at the prosperity of the wicked and envy them. Here the Lord commands us not to envy them. We are to fear the Lord and know that He give us our lot in life and we are to be content with what He gives. The Psalmist Asaph was troubled by this (Ps 73), but when he took his eyes off them and considered their end he realized his error. When the end of sinners are compared to that of the Christians, the Christian should never be envious of them. That this is a common sin of men, Socrates was asked what was most troublesome to good men and he answered, “The prosperity of the wicked.” Bridges, p. 432. The fear of the Lord will keep His people from being overcome with this sin.

J. Pr 23:19-21, Again the Lord instructs us to listen to Him and the instructions given to us from Him. It is by hearing that the graces of God grow and mature. He who does not listen to the word of God will be destroyed. The first step to wisdom is hearing. This call to hear is to warn us against being among evil company. Being among people who practice ungodly ways usually cause excessive eating and drinking. “Can we be among the leprous without infection? ... The truest love is not to be sit down with them, but to labour for their conversion; and, if this be ineffectual, to avoid them. Young people! remember—‘Tinder is not apter to take fire, wax the impression of the seal, paper the ink, than youth to receive the impression of wickedness.’ Fancy not that the enemy intends even your present happiness. His malice holds out a poisoned bait. Poverty and shame are the temporal fruits. But the eternal ruin of his deluded victims is his far more deadly design.” Bridges, p. 434.

K. Pr 23:22, It is only fitting and the rule of nature that children are to listen to their parents in their youth and provide for them in their latter years. However, we are not left to reason and nature concerning this. This is the commandment of the Lord, Ex 20:12; Le 19:3; Eph 6:1-2; Pr 1:8; 6:20; etc. Sad indeed is it to see so many in our day that refuse to reverence and love their aged parents by not providing for them according to biblical principles. Conversely, it is a wonderful sight to behold children taking care of their parents when they are old and need the love, devotion, care, and companionship of their children. The last days are described as having men who are “disobedient to parents,” “without natural affection” (literally, lovers of kin), “lovers of their own selves,” and “having a form of godliness” (2Ti 3:1-5).

L. Pr 23:23-25, The truth is to be secured at all cost. This is truly the pearl of great price (Mt 13:45-46). This can only be bought without price (Isa 55:1), and yet something must be given up. The man who purchased the field with the hidden treasure (Mt 13:44) did not wish for it, he sold all that he had and bought it. As noted earlier, we are commanded to buy but are not given liberty to sell it. Indeed, no one who purchased the truth will ever be willing to sell it.

“A joyous sight it is to see children realizing their parents’ fondest hopes; providing ‘a wise heart’ (Pr 23:15-16), 16) by a diligent enquiry about this only gainful purchase; not content with receiving it by education, but making the contract for themselves; discovering that religion must be a personal concern, an individual transaction between God and their own souls. Cause is it indeed for greatly rejoicing, to see our righteous children thus enriched for eternity, in possession of a treasure which they can never spend, and which no troubles, no changes, no malice of hell, can touch. ... Will not the child feel the constraining obligation to fulfil his parent’s rejoicing thus vividly portrayed? Most unnatural must he be, if his heart does not glow with the desire thus to repay his father’s anxious love, and the yearning tenderness of her that bare him. They ask no other requital, than the joy and gladness of seeing a righteous and wise son. Selfishness itself might supply a motive; since parental gladness is the child’s own joy, walking in ‘ wisdom’s ways of pleasantness and peace.” Bridges, p. 437.

M. Pr 23:26-28, Truly any wise parent desires the heart of his children, for if you have the heart you have the whole person. However, it is more the delight of the parent that the child’s heart is given to the Lord.

“Many are the claimants for the heart. Heaven and hell contend for it. The world with its riches, honors, and pleasures; and science with its more plausible charms—cries- Give me thine heart. Nay, even Satan dares to put in a loud and urgent plea—‘If thou wilt worship me, all shall be thine.’ (Lu 4:7.) The loving Father calls— My son, give me thine heart. The answer too often is—‘I have no heart for God. It is engaged to the world. I cannot make up my mind to be religious, at least not yet.’ And so, even where there is no wickedness—nay, perhaps even some plausible semblance of piety, ‘the darling is given to the lion;’ the heart to the murderer. Not one is naturally ready with the gift to him, who alone deserves it. A few only hearken in a moment of conviction; and then, not till they have proved to their cost the falsehood and disappointment of all other claimants.” Bridges, p. 438.

“Having therefore given your heart, let your eyes observe his ways. (Pr 4:23-25.) Our heart given, gives all the rest. This makes eyes, ears, tongue and hands, and all, to be holy, as God’s peculiar. His word will be our rule; His providence our interpreter. The heart, no longer divided, is now at full liberty for the service. The eyes, no longer wandering, like ‘the eyes of a fool, in the ends of the earth’ (Pr 17:24), are now fixed upon an object supremely worthy, and abundantly satisfying.” Bridges, p. 441.

N. Pr 23:29-35, “A warning was lately given against keeping company with sensualists. (Pr 23:20-21.)

Here it is enforced by the most graphical delineation of the sin in all its misery, shame, and ruin. It is the drunkard’s looking-glass! ... Wisdom’s voice therefore is—Avoid the allurements of sin. ... Crush it in its beginnings, and prove that you have learnt the first lesson in the school of Christ—‘Deny yourself.’

Whatever be its present zest, at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (Comp. Pro 20:17.) Did it bite first, who would touch it? Did Satan present the cup in his own naked form, who would dare to take it? Yet it comes from his hand as truly, as if he were visible to the eyes. If poison was seen in the cup, who would venture upon it? Yet is the poison less dangerous because it is unseen? ... Seldom does any sensual indulgence come alone. One lust prepares the way for others. The first step is sure to lead onwards. The poor deluded victim cannot stop when he pleases. Drunkenness opens the door for impurity.

The inflamed eye soon catches fire with strange women; and who knoweth what the end may be?

Loathsome indeed is the heart of the ungodly laid bare. Drink opens it as far as words can do; and through the organ of the tongue it does indeed utter perverse things. ‘Blasphemy is wit, and ribaldry eloquence, to a man that is turned into a brute.’

“While we see the whole nature so depraved in taste, so steeped in pollution—we ask—‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ Praised be his name for a full deliverance from the captivity of sin, and of all and every sin, even from the chains of this giant sin. The mighty, though despised instrument is ‘Christ crucified; the power of God, and the wisdom of God.’ (1Co 1:23-25.) It is this, which when vows, pledges, and resolutions—all have failed; works secretly, yet most effectually; imparting new principles, affections and appetites. The drunkard becomes sober; the unclean holy; the glutton temperate. The love of Christ overpowers the love of sin. Pleasures are now enjoyed without a sting (for no serpent, nor adder is here) and the newly-implanted principle transforms the whole man into the original likeness to God—

‘Whatsoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.’” Bridges, pp. 442-444.

LXXI.REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Who despises the words of wisdom?

B. Who comes to poverty?

C. What should be put to a man given to appetite?

D. The father of the righteous shall __________ __________.

E. Labor not to be ___________.

04.24 PROVERBS CHAPTER 24

Pr 24

LXXII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses in this chapter are Pr 24:17-20: Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

B. The chapter begins by warning against envy and continues to warn against like sins: cf. Pr 24:1,8,11-12,15,17-20,23-25,28-29. The chapter ends by describing the ways and end of a slothful man. It is often such a person that is filled with envy against those who are blessed with a good supply of the wealth of this world.

LXXIII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 24:1-2, Though we were warned of being envious of evil men before (Pr 23:17), we need to constantly be reminded of the wickedness of our depraved heart, cf. Jas 4:5. Even godly Asaph was plagued with this sin, Ps 73:10-14. We should not study destruction by studying (envying) the wicked. “Let me, instead of studying the destruction, study the salvation, of my fellow-sinners.... Let me desire to be with the man of God, employed in this God-like work. The Christian is the only enviable person in the world. The seeming blessings of evil men are God’s heavy curses; and the smart of the stripes is a favor too good for them to enjoy. To judge wisely of our condition, it is to be considered, not so much how we fare, as upon what terms. If we stand right with heaven, every cross is a blessing; and every blessing a pledge of future happiness. If we be in God’s disfavor, every one of his benefits is a judgment; and every judgment makes way for perdition. Instead of envying sinners in their successful wickedness, dread their character more than their end, and rejoice that your Father never counted the poor vanities of this world a worthy portion for you.” Bridges, pp. 444-445.

B. Pr 24:3-6, Our society is taught that a house is built on the vain philosophies of natural wealth and iniquity. Such a house may stand for a while but it shall not stand forever. The wise person will build his house on the wisdom of God. “The soul, when consecrated as God’s house (2Co 6:16), is built on an enlightened understanding of divine truth: and every chamber is filled with the precious and pleasant riches of godliness. (2Pe 1:2-4.) Heresy is restrained by conceding supreme authority to the Bible.” Bridges, p. 445. Growth in grace (2Pe 3:18) is attained by growth in spiritual knowledge rather than growth in speculative knowledge. Equally, a wise man is strong. “Intellectual knowledge, wisely applied, has immense moral ascendancy. It restrains the King from unadvised wars (Pr 20:18); and, if forced into the field, instead of treading his perilous path alone, he ensures the safety of his kingdom by multitude of counselors. The man of spiritual knowledge is a giant in strength. ... Conscious ignorance is the first principle of knowledge. ... The Christian, ‘filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding,’ is also strengthened’ in his warfare ‘with all might according to the glorious power of his God.’ (Col 1:9,11.)

For “the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Da 11:32.)” Bridges, p. 446.

C. Pr 24:7, The wisdom spoken of here is not that which is produced by the world. Indeed “the world by wisdom knew not God.” If they had know who Christ was they would not have crucified Him (cf. 1Co 1:21-2:8). Bridges aptly said, “The man richly endowed with it [wisdom] comes forth with authority, and speaks at the gate among the wise. The fool, destitute of wisdom, is debarred from this honor. The simple and diligent prove, that the treasure is not really out of reach. But it is too high for the fool. His groveling mind can never rise to so lofty a matter. He has no apprehension of it; no heart to desire it; no energy to lay hold of it.” P. 446.

D. Pr 24:8-9, “What a picture is here of human depravity, in its active working, its corrupt fountain, and its fearful end! Talent, imagination, active mind, is so debased, as to be all concentrated upon Satan’s own work— devising to do evil. ... One sin gives birth to another. Countless multitudes follow in rapid and continuous succession. (Ge 6:5.) Did we fully realize this apprehension, the flitting moments of the day, each bringing with it an increase of guilt, could not slide away so pleasantly from us; not at least without shame and humiliation; without habitual application of the divine remedy. Job’s sensitive conscience carried his sons continually to the atoning sacrifice. (Job 1:5.) Bunyan (unlike many loose professors, who are never troubled about their thoughts) was deeply afflicted in the remembrance of one sinful thought. Nor let this be condemned as a morbid temperament. Is it not rather the tender sensibility of a heart humbled by the continual view of the great sin-offering? Our sensibilities rise in proportion to our spiritual apprehensions. Even a passing shade of sin, did we suitably realize it—it might well be a matter of poignant bitterness. A believing sorrow for heart-sins— however involuntary—is a clear mark of divine grace and teaching: issuing in deep humiliation, not with despondency. (Ro 7:15-25.)” Bridges, pp. 447-448.

Sad is the day in which we live where the thought of foolishness is made exceeding sinful by those who joke and engender laughter with those wicked and sinful acts condemned in the word of God.

E. Pr 24:10, Adversity is the lot of man (Job 14:1). Though the Lord gives many promises and comforts to the Christian during times of trouble (cf. Pr 3:11; De 33:27; Ps 50:15; 91:15; Heb 13:5; Isa 54:7), he still knows that he is apt to faint. “The strongest and holiest saint on earth is subject to some qualms of fear; not from the greatness of the danger, but from the weakness of his faith. (Mt 14:30.) Even those who had ‘endured a great fight of afflictions, who had taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods,’ still needed stirring exhortations and encouragements to Christian steadfastness (Heb 10:32-36; 11; 12:1-3). ... Remember—when we seek strength from our own resources; when faith gives way to distrust; praise to murmuring, hope to despondency; when relinquished pleasures vividly come to mind, and protracted toils press heavily—then we faint in the day of adversity. ” Bridges, p. 449. Let us ever remember that God gives His children strength to press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling (Php 3:13-14). See also Isa 40:29;2Co 12:9; Col 1:11. None shall ever stand in their own strength, but all shall continually stretch toward the finish line and not fall out of the race.

F. Pr 24:11-12, “Suppose a fellow-creature in imminent danger—as it were drawn unto death, and ready to be slain unjustly, or for wickedness. (Lu 10:30.) The magistrate standing in the place, and invested with the power of God— If he forbear to deliver, on the false pretence the he knew it not, the Lord will require it. This obligation, with all the responsibility of its neglect, is the universal law of the Gospel. (Lu 10:29-36.)

Whoever knows his brother’s danger, and forbears to deliver—doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? Will he not render? ... The rule includes all oppression, which has more or less of the character of murder.

“Excuses are always at hand for slightly passing over their sad condition— We knew it not—we knew not your state, how you came into it, or how to help you out of it. But the true reason is, as Bishop Sanderson has stated it—‘We want charity, but abound in self-love. Our defect in that appeareth by our backwardness to perform our duties to our brethren; and our excess in this by our readiness to frame excuses for ourselves.’ But doth not God, who hath a balance for every thought, know thy brother’s wants, the sorrow of his heart, and the grief that presses down his soul? Doth not he consider the excuse of ignorance to be the mere cover for selfishness? Vain is it to plead ignorance before the All-seeing God. He that pondereth the heart will thoroughly sift; his Omniscience will perfectly know; his retributive justice will render.

Disinterested kindness will be considered. But to forbear deliverance—whether from cruelty, selfishness, or fear of personal consequences—involves an awful account.” Bridges, pp. 450-451.

G. Pr 24:13-14, “Eating only can convey, what the most accurate description fails to give, a just perception of the sweetness of the honey-comb. (Jg 14:18.) Experimental knowledge alone gives spiritual discernment, and proves the gospel to be, not a golden dream, but a diving reality. And whoever mistakes honey for any other substance? Who would not instantly detect a counterfeit? And what intelligent Christian would mistake the semblance of heavenly wisdom for its substance? ‘Lord! I have long wanted the true manna; all my former food was nothing but empty husks.’ (Augustine.) Truly indeed the soul, hungering for bread, and feeding upon an experimental apprehension of Christian doctrine, realizes solidly what no formalist ever knows. ... The expectation of the finder, so far from being cut off, shall be infinitely exceeded.” Bridges, pp. 452-453.

H. Pr 24:15-16, “Hatred to the righteous is deeply rooted in the wicked man. He imagines, especially if he be in power, that he can tyrannize over them with impunity. But it is venturing upon a hazardous course—‘He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye.’ (Zec 2:8.) ‘I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest!’—struck the most relentless persecutor ‘trembling’ to the earth. The plots against their dwelling, the spoiling of their resting-place, may prosper for a while; but if the just man falleth seven times, overwhelmed with the assault, he riseth again (Ps 37:24), falling into trouble, not falling under it; yea, rather standing firm under it. Courage, then,--poor afflicted soul! Look thy foe in the face, and sing triumphant—‘Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy, though I fall I shall rise again. (Mic 7:8.) He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea in seven shall no evil touch thee. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust, that he will yet deliver. Cast down, but not destroyed.’ (Job 5:19; 2Co 1:10; 4:9.) Here is our conflict, and our security. The life is untouched; yea—it is strengthened, and ‘made manifest,’ by the successive supplies of upholding mercy. Many trials cannot overwhelm the righteous. But one is sufficient to sweep away the wicked. He falleth into mischief; and there is no rising again; no recovery, no remedy. He lies where he falls, and he perishes where he lies. Sinner! whatever be thy wickedness; the Lord save thee from the millstone of condemnation—the persecuting of the saints of God.” Bridges, pp. 453-454.

I. Pr 24:17-18, “To rejoice in the fall of an enemy, would be to fall deeper than himself; to fall not into trouble, but into sin; to break the commandment, which enjoins us to ;love our enemies’ (Lu 19:41-44), and to repay cursing with blessing and prayers. (Mt 5:44.) This selfish cruelty is most hateful to God. (Pr 17:5Zec 1:15.) It has often turned away his wrath from the criminal to the mocker at his calamity.” Bridges, p. 454.

J. Pr 24:19-20, “This fretting must be a deep-rooted disease, to need such repeated discipline. (Pr 24:1; 23:17.)” Bridges, p. 455. It is surely a waste of time and energy to spend it by being envious of those who will spend eternity in misery and pain.

K. Pr 24:21-22, “The connection between the fear of God and the King is not local or accidental. Our Lord and his Apostles have thus linked together the throne of his supremacy in heaven, and the throne of his majesty on earth. The one principle indeed is the spring of the other. Disloyalty has often been a libel upon godliness. But the Christian is loyal, because he is godly. (1Sa 24:6.) ... Solomon ‘puts God before the king, because God is to be served in the first place, and our obedience is to be given to the king only in subordination to God, and not in those things, which are contrary to the will of God.’ (Poole, cf. 1Sa 22:17-18Da 3:16-18; Ac 4:18-19; 5:27-29.) Man’s independence however naturally kicks against submission.” Bridges, pp. 455-456.

L. Pr 24:23-26, “God has given many laws against respect of persons in judgment. It is not good. Nay—rather he rebukes it as an hateful abomination. Let truth be considered, not favour. This is an evil in the Church, as much as in the State. No responsibility is more momentous in our sacred high places, than ‘doing nothing by partiality.’ Man, corrupt as he is, often abhors unrighteous judgment. A bad magistrate deprives us of the blessing of good laws. On the other hand, there is no greater national blessing, than a government rebuking the wicked. ... But we are not rulers. Yet are not many of us in authority—Parents—Heads of Families—Teachers and Guardians of the young? Uprightness and consistency alone can maintain that influence so essential to usefulness. For a spiritual ruler to say to the wicked—Thou are righteous, is indeed perfidious dealing with his Divine Master; cruel deceit to immortal souls; hiding the ruin, which he is bound to reveal; acting the part of a minister of Satan under the cover of a minister of Christ. His people will live to curse and abhor him, perhaps throughout eternity. Even the very people that hate both his Master and his message, will kiss his lips that giveth a right answer—a reluctant bur honorable witness to his faithfulness.” Bridges, pp. 457-458.

M. Pr 24:27. This verse was used by our forefathers when they claimed land in this country. Before building their houses, they built barns and shelters for their crops and animals and lived in them or in tents or wagons. Equally we must have our lives “prepared” before our hearts are fit to commune with the Lord. As we must prepare the material before we build the house, so must we prepare ourselves by building our lives on the foundation of that which is without us—the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

N. Pr 24:28-29, “Profit is the bait to the thief, lust to the adulterer, revenge to the murderer. But it is difficult to say, what advantage redounds to this evil witness, or what allurement belongs to the sin, save that which Satan himself feels—the love of sin for its own sake, or for the satisfaction that is vainly anticipated from the commission. Should we however be clear from the grosser forms of this sin; yet do we resist the unkind witness against our neighbor, in magnifying his failings, and measuring them with a far stricter basis than our own; rashly censuring his indifferent or doubtful actions; and censuring even his sins with an unchristian intention?” As for vengeance, Bridges says, “Humility and tenderness mark the self-knowing Christian, who forgives himself little, his neighbor much.” Bridges, pp. 459-460.

O. Pr 24:30-34, “The slothful is satisfied, that his usefulness should never begin. He is content with a life of utter uselessness. He willfully gives himself up to it; as if indolence was his supreme good, and every kind of exercise the object of his shrinking dread. Such a life can never approve itself to conscience, and assuredly will never escape the condemnation of God. (See Mt 25:26-36.) It is poverty to himself. He becomes his own enemy. The spring of solid happiness are impoverished, and the true end of life frittered away.

“But let us look at the spiritual sluggard. If a neglected field is a melancholy sight, what is a neglected soul! a soul which, instead of being cultivated with the seeds of grace, is left to its own barrenness; overgrown with the native produce of thorns and nettles. (Ge 3:18.) Time, talents, opportunities have been vouchsafed; perhaps the blessing of a godly education added, every encouragement for hopeful promise. But if diligence is needed; if the man must ‘labor and strive,’ then his field must be left, at least for the present. He must have a little more sleep first.

“Christian! is there no danger of this evil into our religion? No habit is so ruinous. It enervates, and at length stops, the voice of prayer. It hinders the active energy of meditation. It weakens the influence of watchfulness. The way to heaven is steep, rough, hard to climb, immeasurably long, forbidding in its present exercise and doubtful in its end, full of toil and discouragement, devoid of beaming hope and sunshine. ...

“Let our Father’s voice be instantly heard—“Son, go work to-day in thy vineyard. ” (Mt 21:28.) Dost thou not see, that it is overgrown with thorns? Look forward, not backward. Complain not, but decide. Pray not only, but strive. Always connect privilege with practice. Prove the principles of moral character, as well as spiritual experience. Aim at every active exercise, that may strengthen religious habits. ‘Surely, if we look to stand in the faith of the sons of God, we must hourly, continually, be providing, and setting ourselves to strive. It was not the meaning of our Lord and Savior in saying—‘Father, keep them in thy name’—that we should be careless to keep ourselves. ‘To our own safety, our sedulity is required.’” Bridges, pp. 461-462.

LXXIV. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is too high for a fool?

B. What is small if one faints in the day of adversity?

C. What kind of man is void of understanding?

D. Should you rejoice when your enemy falls?

E. The thought of what is sin?

04.25 PROVERBS CHAPTER 25

Pr 25

LXXV. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses in this chapter are Pr 25:9 & Pr 25:10: Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away. Or Pr 25:19: Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

B. Both will apply to the chapter though I will comment concerning Pr 25:9-10. These verses teach us that we should live honorably before man. Any who live such is a blessing to any society so much that the king’s throne will be established (Pr 25:5). Such a person will be advanced (Pr 25:6-7), at peace with his neighbor (Pr 25:8), and his speech will be beautiful and refreshing (Pr 25:11-13,25). Surely such a person is a faithful man (Pr 25:19) and rules his own spirit (Pr 25:28).

C. Now we come to the third section of this book. In our Introduction to this book, we divided it as follows:

Section I, Pr 1-9; Section II, Pr 10-24; Section III, Pr 25-31.

LXXVI. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 25:1, God preserved His word in many wonderful and marvelous ways. Just how these verses were preserved differently than the rest of the scriptures we are not told exactly except some men in the days of Hezekiah copied them. Solomon’s reign ended around 975 BC and Hezekiah began to reign around 727 BC, approximately two hundred years after Solomon. Nevertheless, “the New Testament fully authenticates this section of the book as a part of the inspired canon,” Cf. Pr 25:6-7 with Lu 14:7-10; Pr 25:21-22 with Ro 12:20; Pr 26:11 with 2Pe 2:22; Pr 28:1 with Jas 4:14. Bridges, p. 462. Bridges further stated,

“We are not reading therefore the maxims of the wisest of men. But the voice from heaven proclaims—‘These are the true sayings of God.”

B. Pr 25:2-3, Man delights in making know that which he knows and he prides himself in knowing things of God that no one else knows. However, it is the glory of God not to open many things to man. Of the vast things which God has made known to man, it is only a small part when compared to what the Lord has concealed. How little do we understand of the providential dealings of God? As Bridges said, “We study his dispensations of Providence, feeling that we had need pray oven them one and again, ere we venture to interpret them—Lo! these are parts of his ways; but how little a portion ‘is heard of him!’” Job 26:14.

“‘Lo! these are the outlines (marginal or boundary lines) of his ways, and the mere whisper (opposed to the crashing “thunder” of the next clause) we can hear of him.’—Dr. Good.”] See also Ps 77:19; 36:6.

C. Pr 25:4-5, Just as the fire will purge out the dross from the silver so that a worthy vessel may be created, a government will be established in righteousness when the wicked is purged from it. Righteousness exalts a nation (Pr 14:34).

D. Pr 25:6-7, “Let each of us lay himself to the work of casting down our high tower of conceit; cultivating a deep sense of our utter worthlessness, and carefully pondering that example, which is at once our pattern and our principle. Oh! think of Him, who was ‘fairer than man,’ being the most humble of men—nay—of Him, who was infinitely more than man, making himself ‘a worm, and no man.’ (Ps 45:2 with Pr 22:5.) Think of that day, which will set us all on our own true base; when ech of us shall stand before ‘the Great Prince’ (Re 1:5), just that, and that only, which he counts us to be? What will it be to be put lower; to be utterly cast out in his presence, whom our eyes shall then see to our eternal confusion!” Bridges, p. 466.

E. Pr 25:8-10, “Dissension under any circumstances is a serious evil. The considerate Christian will rather concede rights, than insist upon to the hazard of his own soul, and to the injury of the Church. (1Co 6:1-7.) Hasty strife must always be wrong. Think well beforehand, whether the case be right, or, even if it be, whether it be worth the contention. Duly calculate the uncertainty of consequence of the end. ... Often has a man brought himself to ruin by a hasty strife at law. Instead of triumphing, his neighbor has put him to shame. So long as ‘meum and tuum’ [Latin for mine and thine. JKB] and in the world, sin and Satan will stir up contention. ... Yet if, after all, strife be inevitable, then let us ponder, how much wisdom and rule over our own spirit is needful, to conduct it honorably to our profession. Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself. Shew him that the great object is not to make good thy cause, but to put a speedy end to the strife. ... And if, as often is the case, confidence is betrayed, the just consequence must be infamy to ourselves, that may not turn away from us. Backbiter will be stamp on our name. And many privacies hitherto unknown may be published in retaliation to our shame. “How many unholy heats would be restrained by the practice of these rules of wisdom and love! Obviously the most faulty is bound to yield. But if, as usually happens, he is too unreasonable to do so; let a generous, self-forgetting kindness deny ourselves the pleasure of a triumph, instead of standing upon punctilious forms, or waiting for an acknowledgment from the offender. And if we find it more easy to talk of our neighbor’s faults to others, than wisely and prayerfully to tell him of them alone, ask for self-discipline, and the mind of Christ. ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body.’ (Col 3:15.)” Bridges, pp. 466-467.

F. Pr 25:11-12, “The allusion is to the curiously wrought baskets of silver network, in which delicious fruits were served up. The beauty of the texture sets off the fruit with additional. So does a lovely medium enhance the attractiveness of truth. ‘How forcible are right words!’ (Job 6:25.) ... In general intercourse much depends, not only upon the word spoken, but upon the occasion and spirit of speaking. We must not only lay ourselves out to do good, but to watch the fittest seasons of doing it. ... We may think to relieve our conscience by speaking our mind. But to do it rudely and harshly, may put a stumbling-block in our brother’s way. The apples of gold in their beautiful cover, evidently implying good sense, and good taste with good things. A well-meaning absurdity rather brings contempt than conviction. (Pr 31:26.).

G. Pr 25:13, The snow under consideration here is not reflective of snow falling during harvest time. This would not be good during harvest time. The snow is that which was stored away under ground and kept in vessels to cool their drink in summer time as ice was a few years ago in this country. One cannot appreciate a cool drink like someone thirsty during hot, dry harvest season. Equally, is a faithful messenger refreshing to his master. John Gill said, “Gospel ministers are messengers, and faithful ones, whose feet are beautiful, and their words acceptable to souls to whom thy are sent, and are a sweet savour to him that sent them; and who will commend them as good and faithful servants, and appoint them ruler over many cities, and introduce them into his joy.” Commentary, IV:501.

H. Pr 25:14, “The last proverb described an invaluable blessing. This marks a destructive cruse. ... This is a true picture of the boaster; rich in promises, but performing nothing; exciting large expectations, then sinking them in disappointment. Whether it be a vain conceit of his own understanding, or an hypocritical desire to maintain a profession, it is a boasting over a gift of falsehood. If it be bad to promise and deceive, it is far worse to promise with an intention of deceive. This was the very character of the Great Deceiver. ... How sad to find this character in those, who stand in the place of God! The Church has ever been chastened with false teachers; ministering delusion, instead of instruction.” Bridges, pp. 469-470.

I. Pr 25:15, “The soft member breaking the hard bone may seem to be a paradox. But it is a fine illustration of the power of gentleness above hardness and irritation. ... So powerful is the energy of gentleness! Indeed among all the graces that adorn the Christian soul, like so many jewels of various colors and lustres, against the day of her espousals to the Lamb of God, there is not one more brilliant than that of patience. Its enduring spirit is a manifest fruit of regeneration (Jas 1:18-19); a clear exhibition of the mind of Christ

(Mt 11:29), and the practical resemblance of his own long-forbearance amidst our continued and most aggravated provocations. For, when we have been indulged with the privilege of the beloved disciple—‘leaning upon Jesus’ breast,’ nothing have we felt to be there, but gentleness, tenderness, and love.” Bridges, pp. 470-471.

J. Pr 25:16, “Satisfy the wants, but mortify the lusts of the flesh. Then the gifts of God become blessings to us, and we glorify him in them, and by them. ... Our affections can never safely flow out to any object, unless they are primarily fixed on God. ... In earthly pleasure, however, we can never forget, how slight the boundary line is between the lawful and the forbidden path. Sin and danger begin on the extremity of virtue. For does not the legitimate indulgence of appetite to its utmost point bring us to the brink, and often hurry us to the allowance of gluttony? Nay, even spiritual luxury may need self-control; lest it be excitement without deep principle, which must eventually prove unsubstantial and delusive. “But in eating the real honey of the Gospel there is no danger of excess. Never shall be know satiety in this delight. The increasing desire will be fully satisfied only in eternity.” Bridges, pp. 471-472.

K. Pr 25:17, It literally reads, “Let thy foot be seldom in....” “This rule illustrates one of our own proverbs, which has lost nothing of its significancy by traditionary usage. ‘Familiarity breeds contempt.’ This maxim was however never intended to give a chill to the flow of neighborly love, or to restrain its practical exercise. It only suggests that kindly intercourse cannot be maintained without a considerate feeling.

“Our earthly may be pressed too far. Kindness may be worn out by frequent use. But never can we come to our heavenly Friend unseasonably. Never is he weary of our importunity. His gates are always open; ‘blessed are they that are watching and waiting there.’ (Pr 8:34.) The more frequent the visits, the more welcome, and the more fruitful. What with man would be intrusion, with God is confidence. Earnestly does he invite to his closest and most endearing fellowship. And does his child presume upon this most gracious privilege? Far from it. While he has the ‘boldness of access;’ he seeks for ‘grace, whereby he may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.’ (Heb 12:28.)” Bridges, pp. 472-473.

L. Pr 25:18, “What a picture is here of cruelty and malice—nay—even of intentional murder! Three murderous instruments are before us, identifying the sixth and ninth commandments. The tongue, intended as ‘a tree of life,’ becomes a weapon of death. Who can bear the sin involved in this fearful perversion?

Often does the open perjury, as a sword and sharp arrow, pierce the fountain of life. And little better are those calumnies and unkind insinuations—all breaches of charity—uttered so freely in common conversation. Consider, ye that deal in such conversation, whether you could think of treating the objects of you defamatory discourse, as Jael did Sisera (Jud. 4:21), or as Joab did Abner. (2Sa 3:27.) Would you shrink with horror at the thought of beating out your neighbor’s brains with an hammer, or of piercing his bowels with a sword, or a sharp arrow? Why then do you indulge in the like barbarity; destroying as far as you can that reputation, which is dear to men as their life, and wounding all their best interests, by mangling their character? Other injuries a man may wear away or outline, but defamation, notwithstanding all retrieving circumstances to hear the wound, too often leaves a scar to the dying day.” Bridges, p. 473.

M. Pr 25:19, “The broken tooth and disjointed foot are not only useless for their respective offices, but a source of pain and uneasiness. So is an unfaithful man in time of trouble. ” Bridges, p. 474. Many men claim to be a friend but are only so in name. They appear to be a supportive and loyal friend, but later prove to be unfaithful to you. They give the kiss of Judas and sell you to the enemy. Thankfully, the Lord is a true Friend and never forsakes His own. Oh, the joy of having such a Friend!

N. Pr 25:20, “What could be more inhuman than taking away a poor man’s garment, or the coverlid of his bed, in cold weather? Such an act of cruelty was forbidden by the God of the poor. Again—what could be more unfitting than pouring vinegar upon nitre; which, instead of being serviceable, would only dissolve it with violent effervescence? Not less unseasonable would be the merriment of singing songs to an heavy heart. (Ec 3:4.) ‘Give wine’—is the inspired rule—‘unto them that be of heavy hearts. ’ (Pr 31:6; Ps 104:15.) But however great be the charms of music, they are ill suited to soothe the pangs of sorrow. A constrained song was a keen edge of the Babylonish affliction. (Ps 137:1-4.)

O. Pr 25:21-22, “In what heathen code of morals shall we find this perfection of love? Every system concedes largely to selfishness. None reach beyond ‘loving those that love us.’ Of which the true Lawgiver justly asks, ‘What reward have ye?’ (Mt 5:46-47.) ... The agreement between the Old and New Testament codes is most complete. Both were dictated by the same Spirit. Each stamps the other with divine authority. The law of love is not expounded more spiritually in any single precept either of Christ or his Apostles, than in this exhortation. We need not therefore disparage one system, in order to exalt the other. ‘The new commandment is that which we had from the beginning;’ old in it authority; ‘new’ only, as enforced by a new principle and example. (Joh 13:34; 1Jo 2:7-8; 2Jo 5.) To suppose that the gospel stretches beyond the measure of the law, would imply, either that the law demanded too little, or the Gospel too much. Neither supposition honors the law, as the unchangeable transcript of the divine perfections.

“There may be no open breach of the law, while yet the heart revolts from its high standard.

Circumstances may hinder open retaliation. Our enemy may be out of our reach, or may be too great to offend with impunity. But the grudge remains. There would be a pleasure at his misfortune. We think of him only in connection with our injuries. The spark may be confinced for years, adn on some favorable opportunity burst out into a murderous flame. (2Sa 13:23,28.) How many haltings and shiftings are there at best, before we fully embrace the obligation! How much of a retorting spirit, or measuring our conduct towards our enemy by his towards us! How much of a retorting spirit, or measuring our conduct towards our enemy by his towards us! And if on any point we have constrained our selfish hearts to return good for evil, what ministering to self-complacency, or self-righteousness!

“We are not bound to trust our enemies; but we are bound to forgive them. And yet too often our ‘love’ to them is only ceasing to quarrel with them. If we put off revenge, as inconsistent with our Christian name; yet do we ‘put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies—forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any?’ (Col 3:12-13.) ... We may profess our good-will towards our enemy, that we forgive and pray for him from our heart. But unless we are ready with the practical exercise of sympathy— feeding him when he is hungry, and giving him to drink, when thirsty—we are only the victims of our own self-delusion. “No man ever conquered his enemy’s heart by revenge; many by love. ... If thine enemy will not recompence thee fro all the good done to him, concern not thyself with that. The Lord shall reward thee.

The God of love will honor his own image on his own children. (Mt 5:44-45.)

“My enemy has no claim upon my life; yet he that bids me love him, claims and deserves my full obedience. (Joh 14:15.) We are the disciples of him, who died for his enemies. Did we but drink more largely into his spirit, this impracticable precept would be not our task or our cross, but our delight and indulgence.” Bridges, pp. 475-478.

P. Pr 25:23, “Who should tolerate the backbiter? He is a pest in society; in the circle of friendship; in the church of God. Neither his plausible garb, nor the good company who give him the hearing, can hide his real character. If the north wind driveth away the rain, let an angry countenance frown him from our presence. ... This is to ‘be angry, and not sin.’ Indeed not to be angry here, would be a sin.

“This tongue wounds four at one stroke— the backbiter himself, the object of his attack, the hearer, and the name of God.

“But if he [the backbiter] be rather welcomed than repelled, is not the willing listener thus partaker of his sin? Flee this deadly pest. Keep thine ears, as well as thy mouth, from the poison. Let thine angry countenance drive away either the slander from him, or the slanderer from thee. Where remonstrance cannot be given, a marked displeasure of countenance is often an effective rebuke to the shameless offender.” Bridges, pp. 478-479.

Q. Pr 25:24, “This proverb has been given before. (Pr 21:9.) Scriptural repetitions shew not want of matter, but the deep importance of the matter laid out. This Book presents a graphical picture of conjugal happiness, where ‘the wife is as the loving hind and the pleasant roe’—her husband’s most satisfying delight. (Pr 5:18-19.) Here is a vivid contrast of misery, from which the wide house provides no refuge, no rest.

“The relative position of the parties in the sacred ordinance is wisely appointed. Equality would only have provoked contention for superiority. The divine appointment preserves peace without degradation. If ‘man is the head of the woman,’ ‘the woman is the glory of the man’—the diadem in his domestic circle, and, upon her slightly lowered level, still his support, solace, and ‘help-meet.’ (Ge 2:18.) The brawling woman, revolting against her Maker’s rule of subjection, is no less a tormentor to herself than to her husband. ... Young man! ponder the deep responsibility of the marriage choice. Let it be manifestly the Lord’s choice for thee, not tine for thyself. ... Christian women! Think not these Proverbs unworthy your attention. Be it so, that you answer not to the revolting picture.” Bridges, pp. 479-480.

R. Pr 25:25, “Had Joseph’s brethren brought to their sorrowing father as many pieces of gold as grains of corn, it would have been nothing to the good news from a far country—‘Joseph is yet alive.’ Distant intelligence is naturally more cheering, than tiding in themselves equally interesting, nearer home. The long interval of these tidings; the lengthened separation form the beloved object; the anxiety necessarily excited by want of intercourse; the uncertainty of his welfare and prospects—all combine to make these cold waters specially refreshing to the thirsty soul. ” Bridges, p. 480.

S. Pr 25:26, “A righteous man in his proper character is ‘a well of life, a blessing in the midst of the land.’ But if he fall down before the wicked by his inconsistent profession, the blessing becomes a curse, the fountain is troubled, and the spring corrupt. What a degradation was it to Abraham to fall down under the rebuke of an heathen king; to Peter, to yield to a servant-maid in denying his Lord! ... When a minister of Christ apostatizes from the faith ... or compromises his principles from the fear of man, the springs and fountains of truth are fearfully corrupted. When a servant of God, of standing and influence, crouches and falls down under the wicked, the transparency of his profession is grievously tarnished. Satan thus makes more effective use of God’s people than of his own.” Bridges, p. 481.

T. Pr 25:27, Here we see the extreme importance of moderation every area of life. Gluttony is put beside self-glorification. Let us ever keep in mind the injunction of our Lord, “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Lu 16:15).

U. Pr 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is an easy prey to the invader. Any one may irritate and torment him. He yields himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passions, offering no resistance; like a city broken down and without walls, the object of contempt. Having no discipline over himself, temptation becomes the occasion of sin, and hurries him on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated. The first outbreak of anger tends to murder. Unwatchfulness over list plunges into adultery. ... Man may talk of self-control, as if the reins were in his own hand. But he who has been ‘born of the Spirit,’ and taught ‘to know the plague of his own heart,’ is made to feel, that effective self-control is divine grace, not his own native power. What then is to be done? On the first assault fortify the walls by prayer. Trust not to the strength of the citadel. Have not repeated defeats taught us the need of calling in better strength than our own? How could we enter into the conflict, much less hold on the fight, but for the promise—‘Sin shall not have dominion over us?’ (Ro 6:14.) Oh! for simple—cleaving faith, to draw out from this mighty source, energy, continual watchfulness, perseverance, triumphant victory!” Bridges, pp.483-484.

LXXVII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What is like apples of gold in pictures of silver?

B. What is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint?

C. What is to be done to the enemy who is hungry and thirsty?

D. Should one presume upon his neighbor in constant visitation?

E. How is the backiter driven away?

04.26 PROVERBS CHAPTER 26

Pr 26

LXXVIII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses in this chapter are Pr 26:4 & Pr 26:5: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

B. This chapter is designated as “The Fool’s Proverb.” See Pr 26:1,3-11, & Pr 26:12. The chapter opens by speaking directly of the fool and it continues by describing indirectly the actions of one who acts like a fool.

LXXIX. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 26:1, Of this verse Bridges opened by saying, “The richest blessings lose their value when unsuitably bestowed.” Thus is the case with snow in summer and rain in time of harvest, and equally is it displayed when a fool is promoted to a station that is not suited for him. None portrays this more than Haman. Let us learn from this “to adorn our profession with consistency. Seek that heavenly wisdom, which will make us worthy of any honor that may be appointed for us.” Cf. Lu 16:10. Bridges, p. 484.

B. Pr 26:2, Many have lived under a heavy heart by groundless fears. However, we should not fear a causeless curse any more than a wandering bird. Note the curses of Moab against Israel (Nu 22:4-6; 23:8; De 23:4-5), Goliath against David (1Sa 17:43), Shimei against David (2Sa 16:12), or those against Jeremiah (Jer 15:10). Such curses cause us to turn to God and dwell in peace remembering Ps 109:28.

However, we must never forget that if the curse is not causeless it will come, cf. 2Ki 2:24. All of the curses of God on the unbeliever will be fulfilled.

C. Pr 26:3, The fool, sad to say, will not be governed by reason nor persuasion. Such are self-willed and full of pride. While society and the world proclaim their wisdom of reason and logic by throwing out the rod, they commit two sins. They sin against God and the fool.; against God by rejecting His wisdom, and against the fool by allowing him to think he has succeeded in his folly. However, the rod is to be applied only after tender words and wise reasoning are neglected. The fruit of the rod wisely applied will produce submission and tenderness in the pliable. The rod often reveals in the fool his hardness and stubborn rebellion with determination not to humble himself under the mighty hand of God. “Sad indeed is it, that the child sometimes needs the rod intended for the fool’s back.” Bridges, p. 486.

D. Pr 26:4-5, “We are forbidden, and yet commanded, to answer a fool. One rule decides— Answer him not—the other— Answer him. The reason however attached to each rule explains the apparent contradiction. Both together are a wise directory for the treatment of the fool, according to the difference of character, time, or circumstances. Suppose a free-thinker or scoffer at religion, showing the desperate “folly of his heart by making a mock at sin” (Pr 14:9), by wittly and profane jestings, or specious arguments against the word or ways of God. Generally speaking, it would be better to follow Hezekiah’s command concerning Rabshakeh’s blasphemy—“Answer him not. ” (2Ki 18:36; Jude 9.) Jeremiah thus turned away in silence from the folly of the false prophets. (Jer 28:11.) If however we are constrained to reply— Answer him not according to his folly; not in his own foolish manner; “not rendering railing for railing.” (1Pe 3:9) Moses offended here. He answered the rebels according to their folly—passion for passion, and thus he became like unto them. (Nu 22:2-10; Ps 106:33.)

“But what may be at one time our duty to restrain, at another time, and under different circumstances, it may be no less our duty to do. Silence may sometimes be mistaken for defeat. Unanswered words may be deemed unanswerable, and the fool become arrogant, more and more wise in his own conceit. An answer therefore may be called for; yet not in folly, but to folly; not in his foolish manner, but in the manner which his foolishness required; not according to his folly, but according to thine own wisdom. Yet here our words would be sharp as rods. The fool’s back needs them. Such was Job’s answer to his wife; grace, convincing, silencing—“Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:9-10.)

“Oh! for wisdom to govern the tongue; to discover ‘the time to keep silence, and the time to speak’ (Ecc. 3:7); most of all to suggest the ‘word fitly spoken’ (Pr 15:23; 25:11) for effective reproof! How instructive is the pattern of our great Master! His silence and his answers were equally worthy of Himself. The former always conveyed a dignified rebuke. (Mt 16:1-4; 21:23-27.) The latter issued in the confusion of his captious enemies. (Mt 22:46; Lu 13:17.) Will not a prayerful meditative study communicate to us a large measure of His Divine wisdom?” Bridges, pp. 486-487.

E. Pr 26:6-9, “The fool is utterly unfit for service. When a message is sent by his hands, he makes so many mistakes, careless or wilful, that it is like bidding him go, when we have cut off his legs. ... How careful should we be to entrust important business to trustworthy persons! Fools are either unqualified for their mission, or they have their own interests to serve, at whatever cost to their masters. “Never would a lame man show his infirmity so much as if he were to pretend to feats of agility or strength. Never does a fool appear so ridiculous as when making a show of wisdom. It only creates disgust.

... Dangerous indeed is it to place unqualified persons in authority. It is like putting a sword or a loaded pistol into a madman’s hand. ... It is no more fit for a fool to meddle with a wise speech than for a drunken man to handle a thorn bush.” Bridges, pp. 487-488.

F. Pr 26:10, It matters not whether the person does not know the will of God (the fool) or sins against knowledge (the transgressor), God will judge both (Lu 12:47-48; Ro 2:5-6).

G. Pr 26:11, Man seeks to cover his true being, but the Lord pulls back the curtain and shows man what he is in himself. “Do any feel disgusted at the allusion? Let them remember that the emblem is far less filthy than the thing denoted by it; and that the whole race of animals does not afford anything so debasing as not to be far outdone by the excess of libertines, drunkards, and gluttons. We naturally turn away with sickening from this sight. Would that we had the same disgust at the sin which it so graphically portrays! Would that we might abhor ourselves for that which God infinitely abhors in us!” Bridges, p. 490. Cf. 2Pe 2:20-22.

H. Pr 26:12, “He holds himself fit to be a standard. ... He thinks himself wise, because he knows not what it is to be wise. His wisdom is ‘science so falsely called.’ (1Ti 6:20.) For he has yet to learn the first lesson in the school—his own folly—a lesson not to be learned without severe exercise. ... The natural fool has only one hindrance—his own ignorance. The conceited fool has two—ignorance and self-delusion. He has everything to unlearn (which is the hardest lesson in the school) before he can learn anything right. It shows some improvement when he becomes less positive.

“Christian Professor! Dread an ill-grounded judgment of yourself. The more confident a man is in error the more dangerous his state. Oh! beware of holding fast a delusion which the word of God closely applied would quickly dispel.” Bridges, pp. 491-492.

I. Pr 26:13-16, Truly the slothful man will give the widest excuse to cease from labor. “We wonder not that he shrinks from his work. He loves his bed of ease. Here he turneth himself as a door upon his hinges moving indeed, but making no progress. He works from one excuse to another, but never removes from his place. Difficulties hinder him from going forward. Conscience keeps him from going backward. And therefore, as the door upon his hinges, where he was one day, one year, there is he found the next. He moves within a scanty round of duties, always beginning, never finishing his work; determining nothing; not quite at ease; yet with no heart for exertion. “Yet—such is the strange union of self-complacency with folly—this worthless being—a mere ‘cumberer of the ground”—pronounces himself a genius, prides himself upon his sagacity, and looks down with contempt upon his more industrious companions—generally superior in attainment. This foolish dream of his own shrewdness fixes his standard. He has found the road to learning without any inconvenient exertion. Giving himself no trouble to think, he sees none of the most difficulties obvious to a considerate mind, and speedily arrives at most unreasonable conclusions. He will not be beaten out of his sloth. Any wise man could render a reason for his conviction. But he is wiser in his own conceit than them all.

“Self-suspicion is the first awakening of the soul—‘Search me, O my God.’ (Ps 139:23.)” Bridges, pp. 492-494.

J. Pr 26:17, “If we would honor our God in our Christian path, we must take time at every step, for prayer, and for the exercise of a sound judgment. Else we shall often rush on unbidden to our loss. ... To meddle with strife belonging not to us will surely bring it trouble—its own cross, not our Master’s. A wide difference is made between ‘suffering as a busy-body, and suffering as a Christian.’ It is alarming to those who have no adequate sense of the criminality to find the Apostle classify the one with ‘murderers, and thieves, and evil-doers.’ (1Pe 4:15.)

“Even with Christian intentions many of us are too found of meddling with strife not belonging to us. We constitute ourselves too readily judges of our neighbor’s conduct. Neutrality is often the plain dictate of prudence. Uncalled-for interference seldom avails with the contending parties; while the well-meaning mediator involves himself in the strife to his own mischief.” Bridges, p. 494.

K. Pr 26:18-19, “How little does the thoughtless man consider the misery, which his wantonness occasions to others! He bears no malice. He indulges only the pure love of mischief. He carries on a scheme of imposition as harmless play. His companions compliment him upon his adroitness, and join in the laugh of triumph over the victim of his cruel jest. But “sporting with their own deceivings” (2Pe 2:13) is a black mark of ungodliness. What the man calls sport (Pr 10:23), is the madman, scattering murderous mischief— firebrands, arrows and death. What are smoothly called ‘practical jokes’—such as are practised at school, or even at college—come under this awful charge. ‘There is little difference in this case betwixt fraud and fury. He that purposely deceives his neighbor, under color of a jest, is no less prejudicial to him than a lunatic that doth wrong out of frenzy and distemper. Yet this solemn line of distinction is drawn. The madman is irresponsible for his actions; the deceiver is accountable to God and his fellow-creatures. He that sins in jest, must repent in earnest; or his sin will be his ruin.

“’What hath a Christian—saith Bernard—to do with jesting?’ Let him practically observe the wholesome caution against it, as ‘not convenient.’ (Eph 5:4.) Let him cultivate the valuable graces of seriousness, consideration, and self-discipline. Let him study his Master’s image, embodying both the spirit and rules of his gospel.” Bridges, p. 495.

L. Pr 26:20-22, “The busy tongue makes work where it does not find it. Such is the despicable trade of the talebearer—employing his time in prying into other people’s business, ferreting out secrets, diving into family histories, intermeddling with their concerns: all this with the view of putting himself forward, as a keen, intelligent, and active man. ... He would be esteemed and honored by any means; and to magnify that idol self, he kills the name and esteem of others in sacrifice to it. Real virtue revolts form this base selfishness. ... The talebearer should be looked on as an incendiary. For his ‘tongue is a fire, itself set on fire of hell.’ ... To quench the flame, we must take away the fuel. We must remove the talebearer; stop him in his words; compel him to produce his authority; face him, if possible, with the subject of his tales. This decisive course will prevent a mass of slander and put him to shame. “Near akin is the contentious man. His mischief indeed is more open. His determination to have the last word is as coals, and wood to the fire. It keeps up the flame, kindled perhaps by a mere angry word or a contemptuous look; and which, but for this constant succession of fuel, might quickly have been extinguished. Do we never aim at the wit of a sharp answer, that ‘stirreth up anger,’ rather than at the wisdom and grace of ‘a soft answer, that turneth away wrath?’ (Pr 15:1.) ... One noiseless word may be the stab of death.

The talebearer’s wounds are however the most dangerous. They go down into the chambers—the vitals of the heart. One noiseless word may be the stab of death. But, if he escaped for a while, his secret sins shall ‘be set before his eyes,’ and his wanton trifling with his brother’s character be justly recompensed. (Ps 10:18; 52:1-5)

“Are we closely watching against these sins? Do we carefully damp the rising flame of contention? Do we resist the temptation to speak needlessly of the faults of others? Do we dread the character of a polished, well-educated, amusing slanderer? Should we be ready to give up the eclat of telling a good story, from the fear of wounding a good name? We may feel indignant at the charge of talebearing. Yet it requires no ordinary exercise of Christian discipline to maintain the silence of charity, and to regulate both the tongue and the ear within its well-advised limits.” Bridges, pp. 496-496.

M. Pr 26:23-27, “The sin here described is a disgrace to society! Yet is it often covered with a flattering garb, as the worthless potsherd with a thin coat of silver.” Bridges further wrote of such a person, “An open enemy could be much better borne. (Ps 55:12.)” P. 497. Such talkers are skillful and shred, but they can never escape the unveiling of God whereby their speech is proven to be false before all.

N. Pr 26:28, Bridges said, “Rarely do we see a solitary sin. One sin begets another. ... But again and again—watch against the flatterer. Alas! where is he not welcomed as a friend? From some favorable position he presents an attractive face. But a nearer view shows him as a subtle, murderous enemy, working ruin . (Ps 5:9; 10:7-10)” Bridges further wrote concerning the flatterer that “they please us least who praise us most.” Pp. 498-499. It is evident that the liar hates those to whom he lies.

LXXX. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. There is more hope of a fool than __ _____ ______ __ _____ ______ __________.

B. The words of ___ _____________ wounds deeply within.

C. Who is wise in his own conceit?

D. Why answer a fool according to his folly?

E. Why answer not a fool according to his folly.

04.27 PROVERBS CHAPTER 27

Pr 27

LXXXI. INTRODUCTION:

A. In my reading through Proverbs years ago and seeking to select a verse or two that would set forth the central theme for each chapter, I failed to select any for this chapter. Difficult as it is, I have selected at this time Pr 27:12 for our memory verse. “A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

B. Prudence is needful in every area of life and, therefore, it is a central virtue corresponding to every proverb. If one will conduct himself prudently he will most likely avoid the pitfalls and sins set forth in the proverbs found in this chapter.

LXXXII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 27:1; Jas 4:13-14 sets forth this verse clearly. There is no better interpreter of a verse than that found in the Holy Scriptures. However, we must remember that it is good to provide for the future. In fact, God tells us to do so. See Pr 6:6-8; 10:5; 24:27; Ge 41:35; Ac 11:27-29; 2Co 12:14. Sad is the day when society boast of spending their children’s inheritance. On the other hand, it is wrong to boast or glory in what one has. We must not be as the fool that trusted in his riches, Lu 12:13-21. While we do not live as if tomorrow will not come, neither do we boast of what we will do tomorrow. Indeed prudence will cause a man to wisely “take no thought for tomorrow” (cf. Mt 6:33-34) while he is diligent to gather his food in harvest time for the winter months or during times of famine (cf. Pr 6:6-8; Ge 41:35; Ac 11:27-29).

B. Pr 27:2, “‘Praise—says an old expositor—is a comely garment But though thyself doth wear it, another must put it on, or else it will never sit well about thee. If it cometh from the mouth of another, it soundeth most tuneably in the ears of all that hear it. Praise is a rich treasure, but it will never make thee rich, unless another tell the same.’ ... For though every man is his own flatterer (Pr 20:6), yet men usually know how to estimate pride in others, while they cherish it in themselves.” Bridges, p. 502.

C. Pr 27:3-4, “The wrath even of a wise man in the moment of folly is cruel. What then must be a fool’s wrath, where there is not a drop of heavenly water to quench the fire? It is indeed the weight of a stone or sand—intolerable, being without cause, measure, or end.” Bridges, p. 503.

D. Pr 27:5-6, Often “secret love” is used as an excuse for not being faithful to give the godly rebuke that is warranted. Prudence must be exercised so that the rebuke is not an excuse to vent one’s unjust anger or to expose one to unjust public ridicule. If Paul used “secret love” as an excuse by not rebuking Peter (Ga 2:11-14) he would have been guilty before God. Still it is to be done with a loving and Christ-like spirit.

Equally, the recipient is to receive such “rebuke” as a Christian. As Bridges remarked, “The mark of true godliness is an anxiety to have our faults pointed out; and a thankfulness to those who undertake the self-denying office.” To quote from Bridges again: “A faithful reprover is a very great help in our Christian course. He is to be valued above the greatest treasure. He that would be safe—says one of the ancients—must have a faithful friend, or a bitter enemy, that he may fly from vice by the monitions of the one, or the invective of the other.” P. 505.

E. Pr 27:7, “Abundance, instead of increasing the happiness of the possessor, deprives him of the rest which often belongs to a more scanty portion.” (Bridges, p. 506.) Equally is this true of the spiritual fool for the soul. Like the church of Laodicea that was “rich and increased in goods, and having need of nothing,” too often are people so contented with the luxuries of this life that the true food from heaven is loathsome to them. Such has no relish (desire) for the Bible, prayer, sermons, or the fellowship of the saints. May we continually pray that the Lord will bless us so that the things of His are sweet to our souls?

F. Pr 27:8, The bird is in danger when wandering from his place of safety, the nest. So is man who is not content with the things of the Lord. Wandering man continually desires to be somewhere or wanting something and, therefore, continually finds trouble. “Always wanting to be something or somewhere different to what and where he is, he only changes the imaginary for real troubles. Full of wisdom is it to know and keep our peace. ... The plain rule cannot ordinarily be broken without sin—‘Let every man, when he is called, there abide with God.’ (1Co 7:24.) Every step of departure, without a clear Scriptural warrant, is departure from God. We are safe in following Providence. But to go before it; much more to break away from its guidance (Jon 1:1-4)— a man thus wanders from his place to his own cost. Never can we put our foot out of God’s ways, but we shall tread the path back with a cross.” Bridges, pp. 507-508.

G. Pr 27:9, “Who does not feel the need of a brother’s or sister’s bosom, their hand, their heart? Cold indeed is social intercourse without individual sympathy. ... But the real unction and blessing of this hearty counsel, will be in proportion as we are living in communion with our Lord. Then indeed will there be ointment and perfume to rejoice the heart. That beloved ‘name which is above every name’ will be ‘as ointment poured forth,’ and ‘the house will be filled with the odor of the ointment.’ (Joh 12:3.)” Bridges, p. 510.

H. Pr 27:10, Friendship is a precious commodity and it ought to be guarded and sustained with extreme care.

David’s Jonathan sustained and assisted him far more than his jealous brothers, and Joseph received greater kindness among stranger than among his kin. Let us never forget our greatest Friend, Jesus Christ. “Here is a wise friend, who knows our need; a sympathizing friend, who feels our distress; a mighty friend able to cover and provide; a faithful friend, true to his word; a fast friend, who will never leave. (Heb 13:5.)

Young people, do you know him as your father’s friend? Make him your own in the hearty receiving of his Gospel. Cleave to him. He will never disappoint you.” Bridges, p 511-512.

I. Pr 27:11, The Christian parent’s greatest joy is to see his children serving in the kingdom of Christ. However, an ungodly child is the greatest sorrow to the Christian parent. Indeed Paul by inspiration spoke of the necessity of the children of ministers having good conduct.

J. Pr 27:12, Again we find that the man who is well read in the Scriptures has an understanding that others do not have. He is able to foresee evil coming and to either prepare himself for it or remove himself from the danger. Yet, the simple who know not their Master’s will are unable to see the danger and walk (often run) into it.

K. Pr 27:13, “This proverb also we have had before. (Pr 20:16.) But what conduces to the happiness of life it is needful to inculcate again and again to fix it deep in the mind. This may be an illustration of the prudence just described; forseeing evil, and, instead of rushing into it, avoiding it. For what can be more imprudent, than to trust a man, that is surety for a stranger, or for a strange woman? Such folly is utterly unworthy of confidence. And therefore take his garment, fully security for a debt. Rather incur the charge of selfishness, than by imprudence hinder yourself from helping more worthy objects. It is the perfection of Christian graces, that they do not entrench on one another. Kindness loses the name of virtue, when shewn at the expense of prudence. Yet caution is needed, lest in repressing an impulse, we crash or hazard a valuable principle. We would not too hastily frown upon a generous act; because it may have overstepped the bounds of prudence. Time, growing consideration, and experience, will correct the error. Meanwhile let not the discipline of prudence chill the glow of active, self-denying love. Let every grace be in its order, proportion, and combination, ‘that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ (2Ti 3:17.)” Bridges, pp. 513-514.

L. Pr 27:14, “When a man exceeds all bounds of truth and decency, affecting pompous words and hyperbolical expressions, we cannot but suspect some sinister end. Real friendship needs no such assurance. One act of love is more than many loud blessings. ... The rule towards our friend is—‘Love not in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.’ (I Joh 3:18.) The rule for ourselves is—‘Walk before God,’ not before men. (Ge 17:1.) Let worldly things and worldly men be little in your eyes. Man’s day will soon have passed away. (1Co 4:3, margin.) Eternity in all its substance and glory is at hand.” Bridges, pp. 514-515.

M. Pr 27:15-16, “There is rain without and within, both alike troublesome; the one preventing us from going abroad with comfort; the other from staying at home at peace. The storm within is however much the most pitiless. Shelter may be found from the other. None from this. The other wets only to the skin; this even to the bones. Contention with a neighbor is a sharp shower, over and gone. This is a continual dropping, the bane of a house, even though replete with every luxury.

“Whether the woman lusts for rule, or repines under the obligation to submit; either principle breaks the rank, in which God has placed her. Occasions always present themselves for the display of this unhappy temper. After the attempts to soothe and pacify her, the ‘return of clouds after rain’ betokens more showers, and dispels the hope which a passing sunbeam may have raised. Unrestrained by Divine grace, she becomes her husband’s torments, and her own shame. For as soon might we hide the wind that it should not be known, or the ointment of our right hand, that it might not bewray itself; as restrain her tongue, or hide her turbulence. Nay—as the wind pent up howls more frightfully; so the attempt to still her noise only makes her more clamorous.

“Such repeated warnings seems to be needful. ‘Fleshly lusts’ too often rule conscience and judgment in the important choice. ‘Such shall have trouble in the flesh.’ (1Co 7:28.) Prudence and prayer, not blind affection, give the only security of happiness and peace.” Bridges, p. 515.

N. Pr 27:17, “Man was framed not for solitude, but for society. (Ge 2:18.) It is only as a social being, that his powers and affections are fully expanded.” Bridges, p. 515. If man is to better himself in society he is to keep company with those of superior nature. The best of company is that of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no better way to sharpen ones character than to fellowship with Christ in His word.

O. Pr 27:18, Here is another passage that exhorts us to diligence. As we shall eat the fruit of our labors in nature, so is it in the Master’s service. “Our happiness is in receiving his word, and studying his will. Our honor is secured by his promises—‘If any man serve me, him will my Father honor.’” Bridges, p. 517.

P. Pr 27:19, “As in the reflection of the water face answereth to face; so in another heart we see the reflection of our own. (Ps 33:15.) Human nature has suffered no change since the fall. The picture of man’s corruption, drawn above four thousand years since, is man, as we see and know him now. The Apostle’s graphical delineation of the Christian conflict is as if we had been sitting before him for our own likeness.

(Ro 7:14-25.) This identity of Christian experience is most valuable.” Bridges, p. 517.

Q. Pr 27:20, The word for hell (lwav) is the designation for the abode of the dead. It is the place where the spirit abides after death and is often equated with the grave. Two things that devours (hell and destruction) are never full. Ever since Adam sinned the mouth of the grave is ever open to receive countless millions. It continues to grave for more. It is never full. Equally is destruction satisfied with just so much. The second law of thermodynamics well applies to man in that destruction is never satisfied. In the same vain, the eyes (desires) of man are never satisfied.

“Man is always seeking for what he can never find—satisfaction in earthly things. He toils after his object, and when he has grasped it, he toils still; the possessor of abundance, not of happiness. ... The summit of ambition, when reached, is not his resting-place; only the point, whence he stretches after something higher. All the affections of fallen man are filled with unquenched thirst. He may fancy his desires to be moderate. He may set bounds to them, and flatter himself, that he shall never overpass them. But give him a world, and, like the far-famed conqueror, he will weep for another, and sink at last into a wretched eternity of unsatisfied desires. ... How can an immortal being quench his thirst but from an infinite source? The soul was originally created to find a suitable and infinite gratification in the love of its Creator. And now that it is turned aside by the fall, it has an immortal depth, that craves to be filled. Nor do we speak here of refined and educated minds. The most unlettered being, awakened to a sense of his consciousness, might breathe out Augustine’s confession—‘Thou hast made us for thyself; and our heart can have no rest, till it rests in thee.’ And here the gospel meets the case—‘Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest.’ (Mt 11:28.) ... Here our desires are at once increased and satisfied. A fountain of infinite fulness is at our door. We are bid welcome to a haven of rest, to a bosom of peace and love. And when new-created in the image of God, and made capable of communion with him in grace, and of enjoying him in glory, can our desires be satisfied with anything less, with anything beside? Is he not now our supreme delight, our satisfying object, never leaving us without complete satisfaction for a single moment? (Ps 16:5; La 3:24.)” Bridges, pp. 518-519. Cf. Isa 33:17; Ps 17:15.

R. Pr 27:21, “He that is praised is not only much approved, but much proved. ... Praise is a sharper trial of the strength of principle than reproach. ‘If a man be vain and light, he will be puffed up with it. If he be wise and solid, he will be no whit moved therewith.’ (Bishop Hall.) ... But see a man humbled by praise, in the consciousness how little he deserves it, and ‘who maketh him to differ.’ (1Co 4:7.) See him made more careful and diligent, bearing his honor meekly, and the same man as before; here the furnace proves the real metal, and brings out ‘a vessel of honor, meet for the Master’s use.’ (2Ti 2:21.)

“Fear often is the trial to a minister of Christ. When he becomes the object of popular applause—his people’s idol; when men of strong impulse and weak judgment put the servant in the Master’s place—then he is in the fining-pot. He that is but dross consumes. Even if there be true metal, the man of God ‘is saved, yet so as by fire.’ Without painful discipline his usefulness would be withered, his spirituality deadened, his soul lost. (2Co 12:7.)” Bridges gave a footnote with quotes of others: “‘We should feel’—said the venerable Mr. Simeon in his own way—‘as if our ears were stung with blasphemy, when we discover any attempt to transfer the crown of glory from the head of the Redeemer to that of any of his servants’ Henry Martyn continually expresses his sensitive conscience upon this besetting temptation. Dr. Payson—a careful self-observer—mentions among this trials—‘well-meant, but injudicious, commendations!’

“Two rules strongly present themselves— Be careful in giving praise. [Rule 1, JKB.] Even the children of the world can discover the deadly tenacity of pride in our nature. ‘Do you know’—remarked M. de Stael on her death-bed—‘what is the last thing to die in man? It is self-love.’ We cannot therefore do our brother a greater injury, than by supplying fuel for pride by irregulated praise. Even if he be a public man, he is not always before God as in the eyes of the Church. It may be that the most eminent servant of God is one, of whom the Church has taken little cognizance. And at best we are far too short-sighted to take the accurate measure of our brother’s piety. We cannot weigh it aright without the balances of the sanctuary, which are fully in his hands alone, who searcheth the heart. Therefore till the day appointed for manifestation, it is well to judge each other, whether for good or evil, with becoming moderation. And to which—is it merciful to expose a weak fellow-sinner to the frown of a jealous God, by stirring up the innate corruption of his heart.” (Footnote by Bridges: ‘I do not know’—said Neff—‘that I ought to thank you so very warmly for what I have too much reason to fear the old man will be ready to take advantage of; his life being, you know, principally supported by praise.’— Biography, p. 369. ‘Every one here’—writes Dr. Payson to his mother—‘whether friends or enemies, are conspiring to ruin me. Satan, and my own heart, of course will lend a hand; and if you join too, I fear all the cold water, which Christ can throw upon my pride, will not prevent it from breaking out into a destructive flame. as certainly as anybody flatters and caresses me, my Father has to scourge me for it, and an unspeakable mercy it is, that he condescends to do it.’) For put even the finest gold into the furnace, how humbling is the spectacle of the dross that yet cleaves to it! Be not less careful in receiving praise. [Rule 2, JKB.] While our taste revolts from extravagant flattery, yet we are apt to think it kindly meant, and it is very rare not to take unconsciously a drop of the poison. But the praise of the church is by far the most insidious poison—so refined, so luscious! Specially when we feel it to be lawfully obtained, how hard to receive it with self-renouncing consecration to God! ‘Christian! thou knowest thou carriest gun powder about thee. Desire those that carry fire to keep at a distance. It is a dangerous crisis, when a proud heart meets with flattering lips.’ (Flavel.) May not even the habit of speaking humbly of ourselves be a snare of the devil? Would it not be safer not to speak of ourselves at all?

At least—to confine our conversation in strict sincerity to what we are, not what we appear to be, would be a ‘wise refraining of our lips.’ Guard against dwelling even in thought upon anything that brings man’s approving eye upon us. Delight mainly in those works that are only under the eye of God. Value alone his approbation. Ever think of the love of human praise as the most deadly bane of a Christian profession, to be resisted with intense energy and perseverance. (Joh 5:44; 12:43-44.)” Bridges, pp.520-522.

S. Pr 27:22, “The allusion is to the Eastern mode of beating off the husk from the corn by braying it in a mortar. Yet the husk sticks not so close to the grain, as foolishness to the fool. The beating of the mortar may separate the one. The other will not depart by repeated strokes. Much is said of the effectiveness of correction. But of itself it works nothing. What can it do for the fool that despises it? ‘The rod’ as an ordinary means, ‘will drive foolishness out of the heart of a child.’ But the child is here become a man in strength of habit, and stubbornness of will. As soon, therefore, ‘can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots,’ as those can do good, ‘who are accustomed to do evil.’ (Jer 13:23.)” Bridges, p. 522.

We too would continue to cling to our foolishness were it not for the Lord not merely crushing our hearts, but changing them so that we would submit to His teaching and follow His instructions. Even when we stray from the path He outlines in His word, He comes to us with His chastening hand and thereby humbles us. However, we would not bow to it unless He had first changed us and made us ‘willing in the day of His power” (Ps 110:3).

T. Pr 27:23-27, This section is one that speaks to those who are in authority. It is well if the husband/father tends to his own family and studies to know the needs of it. Equally does this speak of the minister. He is a sorry shepherd who travels to feed other flocks while his own is subject to the attacks of wolves and are hungry. Though a neighborly shepherd can supply and give luscious food to a flock, he does not know their daily needs as the shepherd who lives among the flock.

LXXXIII. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What part of man is never satisfied?

B. What kind of man foresees evil?

C. What is better than secret love?

D. What does not abide forever?

E. Should we praise ourselves?

04.28 PROVERBS CHAPTER 28

Pr 28

LXXXIV. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verses in this chapter are Pr 28:9,13,21: He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. ... He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. ... To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.

B. Easily one can see the relationship of these verses to each other. Though this is clearly seen, it is sad that man gives so little attention the word of God. Oh, that the Lord would move mightily on our hearts so that we give earnest heed to the Scriptures!

LXXXV.GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 28:1, The chapter begins by showing to us the continual influence of the conscious on man. Though God is leaving wicked man to himself for the present time, man continues to run from that which is right.

Adam did not know fear until he sinned (Ge 3:9-10). However, guilty man flees when no man pursues.

And while the conscious may be hardened so that wicked man practices evil with ease, it continues to be a goad to prick the mind of man to remind him that he must answer to his Creator. While the wicked flee and are afraid, the righteous are not afraid and are bold as a lion. (Cf. Heb 10:22; I Joh 3:21.) “The faithful and constant Christian will be bold to walk contrary to the course of the world; outfacing the scorn of men; valiant for despised truth; glorying in a persecuted name. Fearless is he of men. ... If there be a want of boldness, is there not a wound of conscience, neglect of prayer, or want of faith?” Bridges, p. 525.

B. Pr 28:2, “Is God concerned in the falling of a sparrow? (Mt 10:29.) Surely then much more in the control of kingdoms. (Da 4:25.) Did we realize more deeply our national dependence, we should see the clouds of anarchy and confusion working his wise, mysterious, or gracious purposes. Rival princes desolate the land with the horrors of civil war.” Bridges, p. 526.

C. Pr 28:3, “unrestrained power is often an engine of oppression; never more so, than when in the grasp of the poor. Place an unprincipled spendthrift in power and he is a destructive flood in his sphere: greedily serving every advantage by oppression to redeem his substance.” Bridges, p. 527.

D. Pr 28:4, Here the Lord instructs us that our actions are never neutral. We either promote the wicked in their rebellion against the law of God or we are in battle against them. Our very lives are a testimony against the ways of the wicked or they encourage the wicked to continue living contrary to the Lord. Well should we consider the words of Bridges: “So let us plainly show that His enemies are ours; that we hold neutrality in his cause to be treason.” Cf. Mt 12:20.

E. Pr 28:5, “Ignorance and knowledge are here contrasted, and each traced to their proper source. ... What a curse are learning and intellect without an humble heart.

“Sometimes knowledge, no less than ignorance, hinders a right understanding. ... When knowledge stands in the stead of faith; when man reasons, instead of submitting to Divine teaching; knowledge abused becomes a positive hindrance to a correct understanding.

“An undisciplined imagination is also a great hindrance to a spiritual judgment. ... But a ray of faith is better than a rainbow of fancy. ... The feeblest faith, grounded upon the fundamentals of the Gospel, proves a steadfast principle of endurance and triumphant energy, even when under the prostration of natural and intellectual power.

They that seek the Lord, babes though they may be in intellect, and ignorant in worldly things—shall have an accurate understanding of all things profitable, such as no ‘natural man’ can attain.” Bridges, pp. 529-530.

It is in seeking the Lord by studying His word and praying for discernment that one understands “all things.” Cf. 1Co 2:14-15.

F. Pr 28:6, Again the Lord commends righteousness above possessions. “How many will wish that they had lived and died in obscure poverty, with ‘a conscious void of offence toward God and toward man’ (Ac 24:16); rather than have been entrusted with riches; only in the perverseness of their ways to embolden them to sin with a high hand against God and their own souls!” Bridges, p. 533 .

G. Pr 28:7, We continually find throughout Proverbs that wisdom is equated to keeping the law of God. Here we find that those who disobey the word of God are those who have disorderly and undisciplined companions. Such a one brings shame to his father.

H. Pr 28:8, It is a horrible curse to be possessed with covetousness! Such a person who cares not how he comes into the possession of money to hoard it knows not that others will give it away. The covetous person does not know that godliness is great gain and brings contentment (1Ti 4:8; 6:6). A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses, Lu 12:15.

I. Pr 28:9, This verse is the explanation as to why many prayers are unanswered. Many desire the Lord to grant them their wishes who cares little for the word of God. The hearing of the law is more than a mere reading the Scriptures at home and praying. It is going to the house of God and giving heed to that which is given by the man of God. God will not be mocked.

J. Pr 28:10, We are warned against doing anything that will cause anyone to sin in other passages, cf. 1Co 10:32. The sin is worse when we would cause a righteous man to sin. The Lord will watch over His people so that the one who works to cause their destruction will fall into their own trap. The Christian is appointed to victory, Ro 8:35-39.

K. Pr 28:11, “To be truly wise, and wise in our own conceit, are two things often confounded, but essentially opposite. But though riches do not always bring wisdom (Job 32:9), the rich man often pretends to it, and ascribes his success to his own sagacity, though he may be manifestly simple and foolish. The Apostle therefore, with a reference to this besetting temptation, directs a ‘charge to them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded.’ (1Ti 6:17).” Bridges, p. 536. However, the wise poor man clearly exposes such and have a more stately character. It is indeed better to be poor in this world’s good and rich in the wisdom of God. Oh that God would give us such men who have understanding of the times, cf. 1Ch 12:32.

L. Pr 28:12, Righteous men in authority is that which cause a society to rejoice. This is true of any society; home, city, county, state, nation, congregation. Pray the Lord will raise up godly and righteous men to rule us.

M. Pr 28:13, “God and man each cover sin; God, in free unbounded grace (Ps 85:2); man, in shame and hypocrisy. ... The contrast is not between great sins and small, but between sins covered, and sins confessed and forsaken. Whoso covereth the smallest sin, shall not prosper. Whoso confesseth and forsaketh the greatest, shall find mercy. ‘Love covereth’ our neighbor’s sin (Pr 10:12); pride our own. The proud sinner naturally wishes to be thought better than he is. His sin must have some cover. He must at least give it a good name. (Isa 5:20.) He would cover it, if possible, from himself; putting it out of mind; banishing all serious thoughts; stifling conviction; and then trying to persuade himself that he is happy. ... Yet all these fig-leaf coverings (Ge 3:7.) for his nakedness only shew his determination to hold his sin, and his pride of heart, which would rather hide it from God himself, than submit to receive free mercy as a self-condemned sinner.

“These attempts however to cover sin shall not prosper. The voice of an offended God summoned Adam from his hiding-place to receive his sentence. (Ge 3:9.) ‘The voice of Abel’s blood cried from the ground,’ and the murderer became ‘a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.’ (Ge 4:10-12.) Conscience lashed Joseph’s brethren with the sin of bye-gone days. (Ge 42:21.) Saul’s covering his sin cost him his kingdom. ‘The leprosy of Naaman clave to Gehazi and his seed for ever.’ The proud accusers of their fellow-sinner were ‘convicted by their own conscience.’ ‘There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.’ Their darkest deed is wrought in the open face of an all-seeing God, and ‘set in the light of his countenance,’ to ‘be proclaimed upon the house-tops’ before the assembled world. ... Only the penitent confessor can be the pardoned sinner.” Bridges, pp. 538-539.

N. Pr 28:14, This proverb is a good follow-up of the previous one. Confession goes before godly fear. There is too little of this godly fear in our day. Well did Bridges say, “Faith without fear is self-confidence and self-delusion.” P. 541. Godly fear does not stop with fearing God; it fears sin. However, this fear is not a slavish fear. This fear produces happiness; the only happiness that is sure. He who properly fears God and sin is happy because he knows that his righteous comes from a source outside of himself and, therefore, he joyfully rests in the finished works of Christ.

O. Pr 28:15-16, Again we see the blessedness of having godly rulers. Note the connection of wicked, oppressive rulers and covetousness. It is no wonder that covetousness is so prevalent among cruel rulers.

P. Pr 28:17, “The first law against the murderer must not be broken down. Like the law of the Sabbath, it was in force form the beginning. ‘It was enacted and published before him, out of whose loins the whole world after the flood was to be repeopled; to show that it was not meant for a national or temporary ordinance, but for an universal and perpetual law. The reason given for the command confirms its universal obligation. To destroy ‘the image of God’ must be high treason against God himself. (Ge 9:6.) Again did God declare his mind in the Levitical law. No satisfaction must be taken for the murderer. Another reason is given—‘Blood defileth the land,’ and only the murderer’s blood can cleanse it. (Nu 35:33.) ... The death therefore of the murderer is an imperative obligation. It is miscalled philanthropy, that protests against all capital punishments. Shall man pretend to be more merciful than God? Pity is misplaced here. The murderer therefore of his brother is his own murderer. He shall flee to the pit, hurried thither by his own horror of conscience, by the sword of justice, or by the certain judgment of God. Let no man stay him. Let God’s law take its course.” Bridges, pp. 544-545.

Q. Pr 28:18, This is one of the many passages in the word of God that declare what a person is by his lifestyle. Indeed, the tree is known by its fruit, cf. Mt 7:15-23.

R. Pr 28:19, “Man was not born to be a stone without energy; or a machine, to be moved by mere passive force. Our true happiness is active dependence. Habits of diligence are the means of working it out fruitfully. The earth ‘bringeth forth of itself only thorns and thistles.’ But he that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread. The blessing comes, not by miracle, to encourage sloth; but in use of means, to stimulate exertion.

“The contrast to this plenty of bread is poverty enough. The prodigal is a warning beacon. ... Idleness is a sin against God, against our neighbor, against ourselves. ‘Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord’—is the rule of prosperity in this world’s concerns; much more in the momentous concerns of eternity.” Bridges, p. 546.

S. Pr 28:20, “A faithful man is opposed, not to the rich, but—mark the careful accuracy—to him that hasteth to be rich. A man may be rich by the blessing of God. He hasteth to be rich by his own covetousness. (1Ti 6:10.) He may be rich, and yet faithful. He hasteth to be rich at the expense of faithfulness. The faithful man makes no loud profession. Bet he bears to be looked at, even in the veriest trifles. (Lu 16:10.) He is true to his word. He fulfils his engagements. He has only one principle—‘unto the Lord;’ under his eye; in his presence; ‘to his glory.’ ... But the man who has no faith, can only walk in a crooked path. He leaps over every bound of principle. He hasteth to be rich. He cannot wait for God in the path of Christian diligence.” See 1Ti 6:9-11. Bridges, pp. 546-547.

T. Pr 28:21, Almost everyone is angered when judges and others in high positions show favoritism. However, we often fail to see our own sins in this area. We are quick to condemn the sins of those we do not care for while we soon look over and/or forgive the sins of those to whom we are close. This is seen by how gossip and backbiting goes on among groups and individuals. Naturally, it is all done in the interest of that which is right. At least it is often “justified” by saying the one has the subject’s best interest in mind.

U. Pr 28:22, Again and again, we are warned in the Scriptures of the wickedness of covetousness. We are commanded to beware of being covetous, Lu 12:15. Often this sin comes in through what Bunyan calls in his Holy War the eye-gate, cf. I Joh 2:16. Riches are not a curse, but the desire for them is. Abraham was rich (Ge 12:2), but it was Lot’s love for wealth that destroyed him and his household, Ge 19:30.

“Remember—Not he who knows, but who loves, most the things of heaven, will be most deadened to the riches of earth.” Bridges, p. 549.

V. Pr 28:23, Though the flatterer received more favor with man than the reprover, the one who reproves loves the one he rebukes while the flatterer only loves self. All his flattering is done solely to lift his reputation in the eyes of others. “He that cries out against his surgeon for hurting him, when he is searching his wound, will yet pay him well, and thank him too, when he has cured it. ... Let us study the spirit of our gracious Master, whose gentleness ever poured balm into the wound, which his faithful love had opened. A rebuke in this spirit is more like support of a friend, than the chastening of a rod.” Bridges, p. 550.

W. Pr 28:24, “The aggravation of sin is proportioned to the obligation of duty. A murderer is an heinous transgressor; how much more a parricide! To rob a stranger, a neighbor, a friend, is evil; how much more a father and mother! The filial obligation of cherishing care is broken. Ingratitude is added to injustice. What length of wickedness will such an hardened sinner stop at! Could we wonder to see him the companion of a destroyer? This sin is however often committed without sensibility, as if the children might dispose of their parents’ property at their own will. These robbers would ill brook the name of thieves. But God, who sees men as they are, and judges of them in sure balances, ranks them among ‘the wicked,’ and will deal with them accordingly. (Pr 21:7.)

“Surely it is no better, when the young spendthrift wastes his father’s property, and counts it no transgression to incur debts on his account without his knowledge or consent. (Pr 19:26.) Our Lord adverts to another species of robbery—the denial of the absolute duty of providing for parents; and this under the pretence of devotedness to God! (Mt 15:5-6.) But the gospel admits no compounding of one duty for another. (Pr 28:9.) The upright Christian will place all duties upon the same ground of Christian obedience. (Ps 119:5-6,80,128.)” Bridges, pp. 550-551.

X. Pr 28:25, “The contrast between the proud, and him that trusteth in the Lord, is very remarkable. It shows that pride is the root of unbelief.” As with the covetous person, I have never found a person filled with pride to be really happy or content. In his desire to have the pre-eminence, his nature is to stir up strife. “Christian! Dread the occasions of stirring up strife—the canker of vital godliness. Keep near to thy Lord. It was when the disciples were talking together by the way, instead of walking in immediate communion with their Master, that strife was stirred up. (Mr 9:33-34.) Bridges, p. 551.

Y. Pr 28:26, “None of us can safely presume, that his heart may not hurry him into abominations, that he cannot now contemplate without horror. (2Ki 8:13-15.) If Eve in a state of innocence could believe a serpent before her Maker (Ge 3:1-6); if ‘the saint of the Lord’ could worship the golden calf (Ex 32:2-5; Ps 106:16); if ‘the man after God’s own heart’ could wallow in adultery, murder, and deceit (2Sa 11:4,17); if the wisest of men, and the warm-hearted disciple just referred to, could sink so low—what may not we do? Surely ‘all men are liars.’ The best of men, when left to themselves, are mournful spectacles of weakness and instability.

“Blessed be our God! our standing is not on the uncertainty of man’s best purpose; but upon the faithful promise, the unchangeable will, the free grace, and almighty power of God; not therefore on ourselves, but on the Rod, on which the Church is immovably built. ... Let it be a standing maxim in religion to cultivate self-distrust; never to suppose security, where God warns us of danger, never to trust ourselves with our own keeping. We are too weak needlessly to expose ourselves to hazard. We cannot pray—‘Lead us not into temptation’—when we are rushing headlong into it—or—‘Deliver us from evil’—when we seem to invite its approach.” Bridges, pp. 552-553.

Z. Pr 28:27, It is often said that you cannot out-give the Lord and this is one of the many verses that support the statement. God never blesses covetousness, but He is ever merciful to those to freely give of their substances. Bridges stated that covetousness “combines with reason to contradict the word of God.” (P. 553.) It is better to trust our wealth in the bank of heaven than in the hazy reason of man. The promised blessing here is given by God and He shall make it good.

“Do we, the professed followers of Christ, lay these truths really to heart, testing our own principles and practice by them, and honestly intending to take them, instead of selfish prudence and expediency, as our rule and measure of conduct? Most honorable is it to the Christian profession, and a sure seal of blessing upon our family, when we forbear to plead family claims, as an excuse for contracting our liberality. Again and again does God ratify this engagement (cf. Mt 5:7; Lu 6:38.). Yet many, who are ‘earnest in contending for the faith’ of the Gospel, and who would resist at any cost the invasion of heresy—we fear—would be ashamed to expose the scanty limits of their liberality” (giving-JKB).

Many a curse is entailed upon this grudging spirit, both from God and man. And is there no danger here of the everlasting curse? Ponder it well—lest prudence and discrimination check the glow of charity, prove a cloak for selfishness, and obscure the light of Christian benevolence and love, which ought to shine before men in the profession of the true servants of God.” Bridges, p. 554.

AA. Pr 28:28, Continually we are reminded that the rise of the wicked to power is a judgment of God on a people. Thankfully, the wicked are only in power for a moment and they perish. Happy are the people when the righteous are increased. May we continually pray to our sovereign Lord and King for godly leaders to rule us.

LXXXVI. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What kind of person stirs up strife?

B. Who is wise in this own conceit?

C. What happens to the person that does not hear the law?

D. Who is it that hath an evil eye?

E. Who is wise son?

04.29 PROVERBS CHAPTER 29

Pr 29

LXXXVII. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse in this chapter is Pr 29:25: The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

B. The person who trust in the Lord will always follow His instructions and submit himself to the authority over him. Such a person will be free and have peace of mind and soul. More will be said of this verse when we come to it.

LXXXVIII. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 29:1, This is an awful picture of a stubborn and hardened rebel. Many children of godly parents or hearers of faithful ministers often fall into this class. With every means of reproof and instruction under the providence of the Lord, the neck is more hardened and the truth is despised. Eventually such is cut off in the midst of his wickedness and brought before the bar of Justice.

B. Pr 29:2, Again the Lord declares that righteous leaders are a deterrent to wickedness while they instill joy and peace to the people. Naturally the opposite applies when the wicked are in power.

C. Pr 29:3, A virtuous and wise son receives the instruction of his father and causes him to rejoice. A foolish son not only neglects instruction but he is also often immoral and spends his inheritance with harlots, cf. Lu 15:11-13,30. Bridges well said, “Folly brings its own shame and sorrow. ‘ The companion of the riotous and vain persons’ is readily found in fellowship with harlots, saddening his father, by spending his substance. One course of vanity leads to another. All end alike in ruin. He may possess the external endowment. But the love of wisdom is the only preservative from ‘besetting snares.’” P. 558.

D. Pr 29:4, God continually reminds us that the state of the nation is reflected in its leaders. Indeed wicked leaders is a sign of God’s judgment on the land, while it is equally true that godly leaders is a sign of God’s favor and blessing on a land. Concerning leadership in any society, “No respect will be paid to dignity, temporal or spiritual, except it be established with judgment.” Bridges, p. 559.

E. Pr 29:5, Flattery, like pride, is never seen in a good light in the word of God. Many men, and women, are destroyed by giving an ear to flattering words from the opposite sex. Not only must we guard ourselves against the words of the flatterer, but we must equally avoid falling into the wicked practice of using flattering speech. It not only works to destroy the hearer, but it dishonors the Lord. The Christian must not be guilty of flattering speech.

F. Pr 29:6, “There is always a snare in the ways of sin; always a song in the ways of God.” Bridges, p. 561.

G. Pr 29:7, “To ‘respect the person of the poor’ is no less unjust than to ‘honor the person of the mighty.’ But the righteous judge or advocate will consider his cause, judge it as for God, investigate it thoroughly, and take care that it be not lost from his own inability to defend it.” Bridges, p. 562. Remember that the unjust judge (Lu 18:2-5) would not consider the cause of the poor widow, but to keep her from wearying him, he avenged her of her adversary. “Well do those, who regard not to know, deserve their name— the wicked. Like Cain, they acknowledge no interest in their brother. (Ge 4:9.) Like Nabal—’It is no concern of mine.’ (1Sa 25:10-11.) ‘If the poor must be fed rather than starve’—it is casting food to a dog, rather than holding out an helping hand to a fellow-sinner. This total absence of the image of a God of love—this utter casting off his royal law—surely he will require it.” Bridges, p. 564.

H. Pr 29:8, Continually we are given pictures of the wise and foolish man. Here we find that he who is not wise is given to scornfulness. How we need wise men who will not fill their mouth with scornful speech; speech that is always speaking of others with contemptible words. No wonder the Lord hates those who are scornful and sew discord among the Lord’s people. Note it did not say that the Lord hates discord, but He hates the person who sews discord (Pr 6:16-19). May we pray for the Lord to give us men with true wisdom; men of humility and understanding the times, cf. 1Ch 12:32. We do not need men with a “know-it-all” disposition. We need men with true wisdom that can “turn away wrath”; not men to talk about turning away wrath. We live in an age of many talkers but few walkers. Brother Lee Roy Rhodes often speaks about those to “talk-the-talk but do not walk-the-walk.”

I. Pr 29:9, “It would generally be far better not to meddle with such a fool as is here described. We can only deal with him on very disadvantageous terms, and with little prospect of good. If a wise man contend with the wise, he can make himself understood, and there is some hope of bringing the debate to a good issue. But to contend with a fool, there is no rest, no peace or quiet. It will go on without end. He will neither listen to reason, nor yield to argument. So intractable is he, that he will either rage or laugh; either vent upon us the fury of an ungoverned temper, or laugh us to scorn.” Bridges, p. 565.

J. Pr 29:10, Though we live in a society where religious persecution is surpressed, the wicked hate the righteous as much as they ever did. The Christian always lives in conflict with the world. He who is a friend of the world is no friend of God, Jas 4:4.

K. Pr 29:11, “The man who speaks hastily and with conceit will be put to shame in his folly. He might have been ‘counted’ wise in his silence. But silence is beyond his power— He uttereth all his mind—tells all he knows, thinks, or intends, and runs on, until he has ‘poured out all his foolishness.’ It is sometimes thought a proof of honesty to utter all our mind. But it is rather proof of folly. ... Indeed the words of the fool—as an old Expositor remarks—’are at the very door—so to speak—of his mind, which being always open, they readily fly abroad. But the words of the wise are buried in the inner recess of his mind, whence the coming out is more difficult.’ This is the wisdom to be valued and cultivated. Many thing we may keep in till afterward, which will then be far better spoken than at the present moment. (1Sa 25:36.) We may find reason afterward to suspect what at the time we were fully persuaded of. There is often a lightness of faith—the fruit of sudden impulse, breaking out in sudden profession. Beware of a loose foundation. Men under the present excitement run through all the sects and parties of the Church, everywhere uttering their whole mind; ‘tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine’—’seeking rest, and finding none.’ (Eph 4:14.) How much better to take time for second thoughts, to wait, and weigh again!” Bridges, p. 567.

L. Pr 29:12, “A wicked prince makes a wicked people.” Bridges, p. 568.

M. Pr 29:13, “However men may differ; however one may oppress and despise, and the other envy or hate; however the poor may be tempted to murmur because of the oppressions of his richer neighbor; however the rich by usury or unjust gain may take advantage of the necessities of the poor— the Lord enlighteneth both their eyes—’He is no respecter of persons.’ (Ac 10:34.) Both are partakers of His providential blessings. (Mt 5:45.) Both are subjects of His Sovereign grace; ‘members of the same body,’ animated by the same spirit, appointed for the same inheritance; partakers of the same ‘great and precious promises.’

There was not one prize for the soul of the poor, and another for the rich. There was not one table for the meaner guests, and another for the greater.’ The poor Lazarus and the usurer Zaccheus have long met together in one common home; both alike the undeserved monuments of wondrous everlasting mercy;— the eyes of both enlightened, spiritually, eternally. (Lu 16:22; 19:9.)” Bridges, p. 569.

N. Pr 29:14, We have seen this before (Pr 29:4,7; 20:28). Righteous judgment always makes for a good society and a secure leader.

O. Pr 29:15, I can do no better than to quote from Bridges here, though I shall not give all he had to say on the matter.

“Discipline is the order of God’s judgment. Parents are his dispensers of it to their children. The child must be broken in to ‘bear the yoke in his youth.’ (La 3:27.) Let reproof be first tried; and if it succeed, let the rod be spared. (Pr 17:10.) If not, let it do its work. Eli gave the reproof, ‘but spared the rod.’ “Some give the rod without reproof, without any effort to produce sensibility of conscience. From this tyranny or caprice nothing can be expected. The combined influence not only ‘drives foolishness far away,’ but, as a positive blessing, gives wisdom. (Pr 17:15.) God’s own children grow wiser under correction.

“But look at the child left to himself—without restraint. A more perfect picture of misery and ruin cannot be conceived. His evil tempers are thought to be the accident of childhood. ‘They will pass away, as his reason improves. Time only can mend them.’ But in fact time of itself mends nothing. It only strengthens and matures the growth of the native principle. This, being a decided bias to evil, must tend to deadly injury. The mother cannot conjecture the future stature, health, talents, or prospects of her new-born infant. But of one thing she may be absolutely certain—a corrupt and wayward will. The poison however does not appear at first. No special anxiety is excited. The child is not nurtured in wickedness, or under the influence of bad example. He is only left to himself. Left! The restive horse, with his rein loosened, full of his own spirit, plunges headlong down the precipice. The child, without government, rushes on under the impetuous impulse of his own will; and what but Almighty sovereign grace can save him from destruction? Many a hardened villain on the gallows was once perhaps the pleasing, susceptible child; only left to himself, to his own appetite, pride, and self-willed-obstinacy.

“Turn we now from the ruined child to the disgraced, broken-hearted parent. The mother only is mentioned, as the chief superintendent of the early discipline; perhaps also as the most susceptible of the grievous error. For if the father’s stronger character induces him to ‘provoke his children to wrath’ (Col 3:21.); to rule rather by command than by persuasion; does not the mother’s softer mould tend to the opposite evil? And so far as she yields to mistaken indulgence, she bears the greater share of the punishment. It is not, that she is brought to trouble, or even to poverty; but to that, which is the most keenly-felt of all distress— to shame. Nowhere is God’s retributive justice more strongly marked. The mother’s sin is visited in the proportioned punishment. What greater neglect of obligation, than a child left to himself? What greater affliction, than the shame to which he brings her? Parental influence is lost. The reverence of authority is forgotten, as a by-gone name. (Pr 19:26.) The child rules; instead of being as a corrected child, in subjection. (Heb 12:9.) The parent fears, instead of the child; and thus virtually owns her own degradation. Instead of ‘the wise son, that maketh a glad father;’ it is ‘the foolish son, that is the heaviness of his mothers. ’ The sunshine of bright prospects is clouded. The cup of joy is filled with wormwood. The father’s mouth is dumb with the confusion of grief. The dearest object of the mother’s tenderness, instead of being the staff and comfort of her age, bringeth her to shame. Truly children, thus left to themselves, will mingle the bitterest cup that man can ever have to drink, and stir up the saddest tears, that ever eyes can have to weep. ...

“‘Take this for certain’—says Bishop Hopkins—’that as many deserved stripes as you spare from your children, you do but lay upon your own back. And those whom you refuse to chastise, God will make severer scourges to chastise you.’ At whatever cost, established your authority. Let there be but one will in the house. And let it be felt, that this will is to be the law. The child will readily discover, whether the parent is disposed to yield, or resolved to rule. But however trifling the requirement, let the obedience be, in small as great matters, the indispensable point. The awe of parental authority is perfectly consistent with the utmost freedom of childlike confidence. Nay—it is the very foundation of it (for the child can hardly appreciate the kindness of a parent, whom he thinks afraid to strike), while it operates as a valuable safeguard against a thousand follies of uncontrolled waywardness. But ever let us put the awful alternative vividly before us. Either the child’s will, or the parent’s heart, must be broken. Without a wise and firm control, the parent is miserable; the child is ruined.”

Then Bridges in a footnote give the following from the Memoir of Josiah Pratt in writing to his children.

“I earnestly entreat you to subdue the wills of your children most tenderly if you can. But if not, your duty and your love require measures, which shall enforce obedience. Commit your selves as little as may be into a contest with your children. But having once done this, you must maintain the contest till the child yields. Every such victory will make the next easier, and in all likelihood deter the child from entering on another contest. And you must make thorough work of it, if you would bless the child. The guile of the heart is seen in combination with its self-will, in trying to evade your authority. A very young child puts forth perhaps his first approaches to sin in acts of cunning and rebellion. Rely with unshaken confidence on that divine maxim—’Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’” Bridges, pp. 570-573.

P. Pr 29:16, Naturally wickedness will multiply when wicked people are increased. Therefore, the increase of wickedness in our day is due to an increase of wicked people. May the Lord bless us to be a light in the midst of this wicked age to His honor and glory. While wickedness will continue to increase until the Lord consumes the world by fire, the righteous will ultimately see the fall of the wicked. Noah saw it in his day and Abraham beheld the consumption of Sodom and Gomorrah. When Christ returns the saints will rejoice to say, “Alleluia; salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God; for true and righteous are his judgments—Alleluia; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth” (Re 19:1-6).

Q. Pr 29:17, “Once more the wise man returns to the subject of discipline. These repeated inculcations strongly shew its importance. The command is positive— Correct thy son. How can an upright judgment evade or explain away a plain, literal rule? This book of Proverbs is not out of date. Like every other part of the Sacred Volume, it is the Book for every age; ‘given by inspiration of God; profitable for doctrine, and written for our learning.’ To try therefore more self-pleasing rules, is to set up our will in opposition to God’s; reason or feeling in the stead of faith. It is making ourselves ‘wise above that which is written.’

“The measure and mode of correction indeed must depend upon the age, sex, temper of the child, the character, the aggravation, or the mitigated circumstances, of the fault. But let it be, like our gracious Father’s discipline, never more than can be borne. Make due allowance for any marks of ingenuous confession. Yet with a wise application of the principle, there must be no exception to the rule. Different tempers, like different soils, require corresponding difference of treatment. But discipline there must be; not relaxed in fondness, not pushed on in harshness; but authority tempered with love. If a gentle hand cannot control, a stronger hand must be applied.

“We may take rest without correction; but such rest will bring trouble in the end. The true rest is that, which our child will give; and that he may give it, the rule is— Correct. We may be assured, that God would not have so insisted upon it, if a blessing was not with it. If Eli was rejected, it was because in this matter he ‘honoured his sons above God.’ Those then ‘that honour him’ above their sons ‘he will honour.’ Pain is the present exercise both to parent and child, but the after blessing is secured. (Heb 12:11.) Ground well tilled, trees carefully pruned, ‘bring forth more fruit.’

“Observe how the objection of parental weakness is anticipated. ‘If I put my son to pain, will he not hate me?’ No—when ‘left to himself,’ he was a deep and anxious trouble. Now he shall give thee rest. Before—he ‘brought thee to shame.’ (Pr 29:15.) Now he shall give delight to thy soul. The momentary feelings of the child under correction will give way to the conviction of the parent’s wisdom and regard for his profit. (Heb 12:9.)

“Yet the rule against discouragement would not have been repeated, had there not been some parental evil to be corrected. ‘Provocation’ revolts, transfers confidence to most unworthy associated, and brings into ruinous temptations. Children claim a considerate treatment. They must not be driven by brute force. Authority must be tempered with love. The grounds of extraordinary commands should be explained to them. What is good should be liberally commended. The best construction should be put upon defective efforts. The distinction should be carefully drawn between weakness and willfulness, between heedlessness and obstinacy. Home should be gladdened with the invigorating joy of spring, and replete with every wholesome indulgence. Every attempt should be make to gain confidence, so that the child, instead of a cold trembling reserve, should run into our arms. But in this glowing atmosphere, forget not God’s rule.

The completeness of discipline is the father’s firmness combined with the mother’s tenderness; each infusing into the other the quality of each. A wise parent will put his seal to the testimony, that his well-disciplined education is the surest means of securing the children’s affection, gratitude, and reverence.

“In fine—on this important subject so often enforced—we are not taught to believe without promises, or to obey without precepts. The Book of Proverbs exhibits cause and effect—the certain consequence of a given course of action, whether good or evil. It sets out promise and obligation—promise fulfilled in the way of obligation. The promised blessing to godly parental discipline is written in beams of living light. If the grace of the promise be lost, it is only by unbelief in the promise, or by a presumptuous confidence in it (separating the end from the means) such as brings shame in the issue. It is not that God is untrue, but that we are unfaithful. God as given the promise. Man either slights, rejects or abuses it. He attempts to put aside the Scripture by an appeal to experience, instead of proving the faithfulness of God by ‘the obedience of faith.’ The commands—the directions—the promises—the blessing—all are the Lord’s. Put his word to the test. The simplicity and perseverance of faith will be richly honoured in his own best time and way.” Bridges, pp. 574-576.

R. Pr 29:18, “The vision—as appears form the contrast—is divine instruction. (1Sa 3:1.) The Ministry is the appointed ordinance to communicate this blessing, and therefore the main instrumentality of conversion, and subsequent Christian perfection.” Bridges, p. 576. There is no substitute for sound, biblical teaching to bring forth stable and happy saints. Too often the preaching of the gospel is treated lightly and looked upon as merely the opinions of men. Truly the people perish under a famine of hearing the word of God (Am 8:11-12.) No so much sometimes that it is not preached but because they refuse to hear. Light will do us no good if we refuse to open our eyes and neither will the preaching of the word of God profit us if we refuse to give attendance to hearing and obeying it.

S. Pr 29:19, We do not have servants in our household as it was once practiced, but the principle applies to any and all who live in our homes. Discipline must be applied to all who live in a home to preserve God’s authority and order. This must apply to any who might live in our homes as well as those who visit in our homes. This rule applies to relatives, friends, and those whom we might have to work in our homes.  “There is a proud as well as an humble silence; as plain a proof of an unsubdued spirit, as a pert and flippant answer. ... We must guard against harshness in our spirit. But with servants, as with children, authority must be maintained at any cost. And therefore, if a servant understand the command, and will not answer; if he will not be corrected by words, it were better to dismiss him, that to lower our authority, and countenance evil by yielding to his waywardness.

“The Scripture fully set out the duties of servants—’Not answering again. With good-will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to man.’ (Tit 2:9; Eph 6:7.) Sullen resistance to reproof is most inconsistent with the profession of a Christian; and, if the offender escapes the correction of an earthly master, he will be visited with the rod of his angry Lord, as a self-deceiver, or backslider from his high obligation.” Bridges, pp. 578-579.

T. Pr 29:20, “We have just been warned against sullen silence. The next warning is directed against hasty words. ... It is very difficult to deal effectively with him. Until the stronghold of his own conceit be shaken, argument and instruction are lost upon him. ... It is a special mercy to be preserved from hasty judgments, or expression of judgments. The first stamp upon a perfect mind is infallibly correct. On an imperfect mind it must be subjected to a careful scrutiny. It is sound wisdom to admit that our judgment may be mistaken.

Self-control and self-diffidence give solid consistency. This character of mind is most important in religious disputations. Be careful to defend or contravene nothing, till you have tested it by the true standard. Moses deferred judgment on the sin before his eyes, till he had brought the matter to God. (Le 24:12.) ‘Be swift to hear; slow to speak.’ (Jas 1:19.)” Bridges, p. 579.

U. Pr 29:21, “We have another valuable rule for domestic discipline; directing masters to a wise treatment of their servants. It is a grievous error to step ourselves, or to induce another to step out of the path, which a God of order has marked for us. Divine Wisdom has framed the constitution of society, assigning to each their station and their duties. If a servant aspire to be in the house anything but a servant, his character loses it value.” Bridges, pp. 579-580.

This proverb is not teaching that it is good to have the servant to become the son. It is instructing the master not to delicately allow a servant to live in his home. To do so is to allow the servant to be live a lazy and soft life. It is friends that are to be taken into our confidence (Joh 15:15), not servants. This appears to be the case with Ishbosheth and Abner (2Sa 3:8); David and Joab (2Sa 20:10); Solomon and Jeroboam (1Ki 11:26-28; 16:9-12).

V. Pr 29:22, “The general tendency of anger is ... here most truly described. Its active energy stirreth up strife. It quarrels even upon trifles—or matters, which a forbearing consideration might have satisfactorily explained. (Ac 15:39.) And when suppressed, but not laboriously mortified, how often does it become more intense, and break out more furiously—abounding in transgression! Indeed it is difficult to take a full view of the mighty power of this mass of sin. ...

“But let us not be satisfied with the outward constraint upon passion. God condemns the deep-rooted principle that gives it birth. Wretched heart! filled with soul-destroying corruption. Every, even the least, indulgence operates fearfully. So much time spent in excitement! So much more in the unquiet waiting for the desired opportunity! ... Oh! for the mystery and doctrine of the cross, to mould our temper into its genuine spirit and influence!” Bridges, p. 581.

W. Pr 29:23, “The world counts nothing great without display. But mark the substantial ‘honour that cometh from God only.’ ‘Heaven is my throne; and earth is my footstool; yet to this man will I look—to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit.’ (Isa 61:1-2.) Yea—’I dwell—saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity—with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit.’ (Isa 57:15.) Humility is indeed true greatness—’the crown’—as Mr. Howels finely remarks—’of finite beings, made and jewelled by the hand of God himself. Supremacy is the glory of God; humility is the ornament of his child.’ ‘I am but dust and ashes. I am less than the least of all thy mercies. I abhor myself. Sinners—of whom I am chief’—such are the self-abasing confessions of men great in Jehovah’s eyes. They shine with the reflection of his glory; but they turn away with genuine humility from their own shining.” Bridges, p. 582.

X. Pr 29:24, “Oh! how frightful is the history of thousands, whose fellowship with sinners has drawn them into fellowship with sin, and ultimately to take the lead in sin!—whose entrance into the path has led them step by step into the very depths of depravity!” Bridges, 583.

Y. Pr 29:25, “A snare brings a man into straits. He is not master of himself. Here Satan spreads the snare, and the fear of man drives into it. and a fearful snare it is, and ever hath been to thousands. Many, once entangled, have never escaped. It besets every step of the pathway to heaven, every sphere of obligation. The kings turns aside from strict integrity. The judge willfully pronounces an unrighteous sentence. The Minister faints under the cross; and to avoid it, compromises the simplicity of the Gospel. There is a timidity in acting out an unpopular doctrine. The people cannot bear the full light. The Sun of righteousness is therefore exhibited under a mist; but dimly visible; shorn of his glowing beams. The strictness of the precepts is unpalatable. It must therefore be softened down, modified, or explained away. Or inconstancy of profession must be quietly dealt with, lest the good opinion of some influential man be forfeited. Such is the power of evil shame! Such low thoughts, not only of God, but of immortal souls, and usefulness to our fellow-sinners! This time-service shews a man-pleaser, not a true ‘servant of God’ (Ga 1:10), and brings a blast alike to his work and to his soul.

“Every class of society exhibits this corrupt principle. ... They will set at nought all religion without fear; but such submissive slaves are they to the omnipotency of fashion, that they would ‘tremble very exceedingly’ at the suspicion of godliness attaching to them; thus ‘honouring’ a vain idol above the Lord of heaven and earth. Many would be bold to front danger, who would shrink from shame. They would fearlessly face the cannon’s mouth, and yet be panic-struck at the ridicule of a puny worm. Or even if some public excitement rouse an impulse of boldness for religion, in the more quiet atmosphere there is a cold timidity of silence. They shrink from the bold consistency of a living witness. They are afraid of the stamp of singularity. They are satisfied with a meager external decorum, with no spiritual character of privilege.

All is heartless delusion.

The fear of man bringeth a snare. And therefore they ask—not ‘What ought I to do? but, ‘What will my friends think of me?’ ... But how painful to see the children of God entangled in the snare! The father of the faithful twice denied his wife. His son follows his weak example. ‘Aaron fashioned the golden calf.’ ‘The man after God’s own heart’ sinks himself into the lowest degradation. Hezekiah, distinguished for his trust, gives way to his fear. The ardent disciple, even after the most solemn pledges to his Saviour, and after an act of great boldness in his defense, yields up his courage to a servant girl, and solemnly abjures his Lord.

Oh! do we not hear the warning voice against ‘entrance into temptation—against the weakness of the flesh?’ Let us run into our hiding-place, and cry—’Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.’ (Ps 119:117.)

Humbling indeed is the contrast between the boldness of the servants of Satan and the timidity of the soldiers of Christ! Who of us has not cause of painful self-condemnation?”

Bridges, quoting John Flavel’s Treaties on Fear: “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil; by the fear of man they run themselves into evil.”

Quoting from Bridges again, “Thank God—there is a way of deliverance. Faith unbinds the soul from fear. If fear makes the giant tremble before the worm, trust in the Lord makes the worm stronger than the giant. Neither the fury of the King, or of the people; neither the fire, or the den of lions, daunts and hurts him that ‘believeth in his God.’ ‘He that fears to flinch, shall never flinch from fear.’ Faith gives power to prayer. The strength from prayer makes us cheerful in obedience, and resolute in trial. Here is safety, strength, courage, peace. Nothing but faith gives the victory; but the victory of faith is complete. He only, who putteth his trust in the Lord, is prepared, when God and man are at contraries, to ‘obey God rather than man.’ (Ac 4:19.) A secret union with God is implanted in the soul by this faith; an union as mighty as it is secret; a sacred spring of life—the energy of God himself (Ga 2:20); triumphant therefore in the mightiest conflict with the flesh. The man, dependent on the world for happiness, is in bondage.” Bridges, pp. 584-586.

Z. Pr 29:26, “Many seek the ruler’s favour more than God’s, and sacrifice their consciences, and hazard their souls, to obtain it. But when they have bought it at such a price, what is it?—as easily lost, as it was hardly gained.” Bridges, p. 587. Little do men know that the judgment of God is more accurate and certain than any judgment given by man. The ruler, like all other men, shall stand before the Ruler of rulers.

AA. Pr 29:27, “Here is the oldest, the most rooted, the most universal quarrel in the world. It was the first-fruit of the fall. (Ge 3:15.) It has continued ever since, and will last to the end of the world. It is always kept up at the highest point. Each party is an abomination to the other. It is not only, that they are as contrary in character, as light is to darkness; but there is a mutual antipathy, that can never be softened down.

“Let us look at each of the parties in this open opposition to each other. An unjust man is an abomination to the just. Is it then his sin to be at such contraries with his fellow-sinner? No rather—it is the very holiness of his character and profession. If he have any apprehensions of the holiness of God; if through grace he is delivered form the love and dominion of sin, is not the sight of sin hateful to him? And while he abhors it most of all in himself, yet does not the watching of the evil in his own heart deepen his abhorrence and detestation of it in those around him? He would not spare it in those most dear to him. He appeals to his God in the burst of holy indignation. ‘Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.’ (Ps 139:21-22.)” Bridges, pp. 587-588.

LXXXIX. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. What kind of person utters all his mind?

B. What kind of person stirs up strife?

C. What kind of people considers the poor?

D. There is more hope for a fool than what kind of person?

E. What happens to a child left to himself?

04.30 PROVERBS CHAPTER 30

Pr 30

XC. INTRODUCTION:

A. The memory verse in this chapter is Pr 30:5-6: Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

B. We are continually reminded that we are to go to the scriptures for all that we think or do. We will say more of these verses as we consider it below.

XCI. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 30:1-3, Wisdom dictates that time and energy not be consumed by trying to identify the writer and other men mentioned in this verse. Nothing is known about Agur nor the men mentioned here. We should not speculate where the Lord is silent. The time spent searching for answers to the “secret things of God”  (De 29:29) is better spent by giving full attention to what is taught and seeking to apply it to our lives. It matters not who wrote the words, we know that the Author is God, and holy men wrote as they were “moved by the Holy Ghost” (2Pe 1:21.)

This wise man, as all men who are truly wise, did not consider himself to be wise. He knew that any wisdom that came from Him was given to him from the Lord. “Were these words of truth? Or were they the affectation of modesty? Or was it false humility, dishonorably denying the work of God? He was now speaking from the mouth of God. And how could he dissemble in his name? He spake the truth as it really is, as consciousness could not but speak; as self-knowledge under divine teaching dictated. For let a man take ‘the candle of the Lord;’ given him to ‘search all the inward parts of the belly’ (Pr 20:27); and what a mass of vanity will he find there! ... Whoever knows his own heart, knows that of himself, that he can hardly conceive of any one else being so degraded as himself.

“Add to which—it is the child or God comparing himself with his perfect standard. And in the perception of his own short-comings, the most discerning clear-sighted penitent feels, that he can never abase himself as he ought before his God—He would lie low, lower still, infinitely lower, in the dust. Holy Paul, comparing himself with the spirituality of the perfect law, exclaims—‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ (Ro 7:14.) Isaiah, in the presence of a holy God—cries out—‘Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.’ (Isa 6:5.) Job in the manifestation of the power of God sinks into absolute nothingness and unworthiness. (Job 40:4; 42:6) David in the full view of the wisdom of God is made to see the perverseness of his own folly, and take up the very confession of Agur—‘So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before thee!’ The nearer our contemplation of God, the closer our communion with him, the deeper will be our self-abasement before him; like the winged seraphs ‘before the throne, who with twain cover their faces, and with twain cover their feet.’ (Isa 6:2.) Well, therefore, may the wisest and holiest of men, though ‘renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him’ (Col 3:10), take up the humiliating confession— Surely I am more brutish than any man—Genuine humility is the only path of wisdom.” Bridges, p. 589-590.

B. Pr 30:4, It is no wonder that Agur saw his “brutishness” in contemplating such thoughts of the majesty of God. The incarnation of Christ, God manifested in the flesh, is indeed a sublime truth that knows no limits. To think of God, the Creator of the universe, sending His Son to earth and making Himself known to man is astonishing! Job 11:7-9 teaches us accordingly: “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” And 1Ti 6:16 says of Him that He “only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting.” As Bridges says, “How can we express him in words, or conceive of him in thought? Child of God! ‘Be still, and know that he is God.’ (Ps 46:10.) Restrain thy reason. Humble thy faith. ‘Lay thine hand upon thy mouth.’ Lie in the dust before him. ‘O the depth!’ (Ro 11:33)—open only to him whose ‘understanding is infinite.’ Cf. Ps 147:5; Isa 40:28.” Bridges, p. 591. Christ stated that no one knows the Father but Himself and none knows Christ but the Father, Mt 11:27; Joh 1:18, cf. Joh 5:37.

“There is a Son in the Eternal Godhead; a Son, not begotten in time, but from eternity ... co-existent with the Father in the same ineffable nature, yet personally distinct. ... Sovereignty—Omnipresence—Omnipotence is his. He too controls the winds and waters (Mt 8:26; 14:32), and establishes the earth (Heb 1:3), as one, who is in the visible ‘form of God, and thinketh it not robbery to be equal with God.’ (Php 2:6.)” Bridges, pp. 591-592.

The name of the Son is the Word of God (Re 19:12-13; Joh 1:1-3,14; I Joh 1-3). Indeed, Christ is the expression, the revelation, the manifestation of the Eternal God. To see Christ is to see God (Joh 14:7-9).

C. Pr 30:5-6, The wisdom and philosophy of the world is not pure. Even when worldly wisdom is correct, it is only because it is in harmony with the word of God. While the “secret things belong to the Lord our God,” the book is given to us that we may “know and do” what the Lord desires. The books of the world and worldly religions are not pure. Many impure and wicked things are encouraged, especially in such books as the Koran, the books of Mormons, the Jewish Talmud, as well as heathen writings.

“If every word of God is pure, take care that no word is slighted. How few range over the whole Revelation of God! To take a whole view of the universe, we should embrace not only the fruitful gardens, but its barren deserts, coming equally from the hand of God, and none of them made for naught. To take a similarly comprehensive view of the sacred field, we must study the apparently barren, as well as the more manifestly fruitful, portions. ... The whole Scripture is Scripture, and ‘all Scripture is profitable.’ (2Ti 3:16.)

Favoritism however is a besetting snare in the sacred study. A part is too often taken instead of the whole, or as if it were the whole. One is absorbed in the doctrinal, a second in the practical, a third in the prophetical, a fourth in the experimental, Scriptures; each seeming to forget, that every word of God is pure. Some clear defect in the integrity of profession proves unsoundness. The doctrinist becomes loose in practice; the practical professor self-righteous in principle. The prophetic disciple, absorbed in his imaginative atmosphere, neglects present obligations. The experimental religionist mistakes a religion of feeling, excitement, or fancy, for the sobriety and substantial fruitfulness of the gospel. All remind us of our Lord’s rebuke—‘Ye do err not knowing the Scriptures.’ (Mt 22:29.)

“So wisely has God linked together the several parts of his system, that we can receive no portion soundly, except in connection with the whole. The accuracy of any view is more than suspicious, that serves to put a forced construction upon Scripture, to dislocate its connection, or to throw important truths into the shade. Apparently contradictory statements are in fact only balancing truths; each correcting its opposite, and, like the antagonal muscles, contributing to the strength and completeness of the frame. Every heresy probably stands upon some insulated text or some exaggerated truth, pressed beyond ‘the proportion of faith.’ But none can stand upon the combined view and testimony of Scripture. Nor let it be sufficient, that our system includes no positive error, if some great truths be lacking. Let it be carefully grounded upon the acknowledgment— Every word of God is pure.” Bridges, pp. 593-594.

D. Pr 30:7-9, A correct understanding of the depravity of man will cause the wise man to know his weaknesses and draw near to God for divine grace and assistance to keep him from sin. Agur confession attests to the fact that he well understood his weakness. Though it was short, it spoke volumes. “A soul that knows its dangers and its besetting temptations, will live in the spirit of this prayer of the godly Agur—remove from me—far from me— as far as possible, vanity and lies. ‘Turn away mine eyes’—prayed a saint of God in the same watchful jealousy—‘from beholding vanity. Remove from me the way of lying. ’ (Ps 119:37,29.)” Bridges, p. 596.

E. Pr 30:10, “Those who take the most eager pleasure in finding fault are usually those, who can least bear the retort upon themselves. Take heed, lest, while thou are exposing ‘the mote in thy brother’s eye,’ thou be reminded to thy deeper disgrace of ‘the beam that is in thine own eye.’ (Mt 7:3-5.) A curse from thy injured brother may not ‘come causeless to thee.’” Bridges, p. 599.

F. Pr 30:11-14, a cursed generation described in four ways. 1. One of the most wicked practices is that of cursing parents. The cursing of a parent received that same penalty as that of blaspheming God, Le 20:9 with Le 24:11-16; cf. Isa 45:9-10; 2Ti 3:2. It is no surprise that the way one considers his parent is most likely the way he thinks about God. This is why it is essential that parents hold the proper place before the child and charge their children to respect the parent. Parents, maintain a united front and never allow yourselves to cause your child to think disrespectful of your spouse. To do so is to open the door of rebellion not only against the parent but also God. “The authority of parents, even in the lowest degradation, must be respected, when we dare not, must not, follow their examples. But what can be done to stay the threatened invasion of this devastating flood? Once and again let us remember, ere it be too late, discipline, wise, tender, early, discipline; prayer—pleading, patient, believing prayer; diligence—active, direct, prudently applied. Will not our God bless his own means, and give us yet to praise him? Trust, and doubt not.” Bridges, p. 600.

2. Self-righteousness is indeed a curse on the individual and society. Everyone despises a hypocrite. Our Lord spoke the most severe condemnations and maledictions against the religious Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and lawyers. Hardly a kind word was spoken of them and yet religion, even Christianity, has always been plagued with them. “Their religion, as of old, is mere ceremony; rigid in forms, but with an inveterate hatred of vital godliness. In the service of the Church they will go through the exercise of confession of sin, and supplication for mercy, as ‘miserable offenders’; still pure in their own eyes, with no conscious filthiness, from which they need to be washed. Nay—they will even at the Lord’s table, engage in a service, as full of contrition and self-renunciation as language could express; yet all this, not to humble the soul in sorrow and confidence, but to feed self-righteousness and delusion. All is formality, and ‘confidence in the flesh.’ ... For everywhere it is the great work of Satan to delude the sinner into a good opinion of himself. ... We often see this self-deceiver in the spiritual Church, exhibiting a full and clean profession to his fellow-men; while himself—awful thought!—living at an infinite distance from God. (1Co 13:1.) He has got notions of the grand doctrines of the gospel, and he finds it convenient to confess them. Salvation by free grace is his creed, and he will ‘contend earnestly for’ it purest simplicity. He conceives himself to distinguish accurately between sound and unscriptural doctrine. He deems it legal to search for inward evidences, lest they should obscure the glorious freeness of the gospel. All this is a cover for his slumbering delusion. His conscience is sleeping in ‘the form of godliness,’ while his heart is wholly uninfluenced by ‘its power.’ (2Ti 3:5.) ... But with all this, there is no mourning for his innate guilt and pollution; no sensibility of sin in thoughts, objects, motives, or prayers; no perceptible change from a proud, self-willed, or worldly spirit. All serves only to soothe his conscience. He is pure in his own eyes—in his own imaginary view and perverted judgment! Yet until he be disturbed in his complacency, how hopeless his condition! (Pr 3:7; 12:15; 16:2.) ... As the Lord leads us into the light of our own hearts, we behold ‘greater and yet deeper abominations.’ (Ezr 8:7.) The conscience purged from sin becomes more clear for the discovery of remaining pollution. Those who are most purified will have the deepest sensibility of impurity, and will most deeply value ‘the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness,’ with its free invitation—‘Wash, and be clean.’ (Zec 13:1.)” Bridges, p. 601-602.

3. The next generation pictures blind arrogance. There is nothing more haughty than a sinner proud in his wickedness and instead of humbling himself to the ground, he raises his lofty eyes in the presence of God. Often when in danger and great trials he is so proud that he considers that deliverance will come by his own wisdom and strength. In fact, until the Lord opens his eyes to his wicked condition, he will praise himself for any deliverance or gain that comes to him. The world continually teaches that man is to be proud and filled with self-esteem. Little does man know that it is his pride and haughtiness that cause much of the unrest and turmoil that is in the world.

4. The last generation pictures man as a monstrous beast. Little wonder that often the scriptures describes fallen man as such, cf. 2Pe 2:12; Jude 10. Of this generation Charles Bridges said, “God would thus shew us a picture of man left to himself. When the reins are loosened or given up, is there any length of wickedness, to which he may not proceed?” P. 603.

5. “Indeed the four generations teach us this lesson, most valuable, yet most humbling, thoroughly to know. Yet so depraved is man, that he does not understand his own depravity. Nothing is so much hidden from him as himself. (2Ki 8:13.) He keeps a good opinion of himself, by keeping the light out of the heart and conscience. His imagination fancies good, where there is nothing but hateful deformity. Under this self-delusion, we deal so gently and tenderly with sin, that no conflict is maintained with it, no sorrow or burden felt concerning it. How deeply do we need the searching light and convincing power of the Spirit of God, to shew us our abominations; to make us tremble at the sight of them; and to let us see, that our remedy must come from God every moment; that no partial change, no external polish, nothing less than the creating power of God, can reach the case for a cure! (Ps 51:10.)

“Adored indeed be the grace of God, if we be not in one or other of these generations! But let us remember—‘Such were some of us’—either disobedient to our parents, or self-righteous in the church, or proud and contemptuous, or cruel and oppressive. But we are washed from our filthiness. (1Co 6:11.) Therefore—‘who maketh thee to differ?’ (1Co 4:7) is the profitable recollection, when we are disposed to forget from whence we were raised, and to whom we own all that we have and are for his service.” Bridges, pp. 603-604.

G. Pr 30:15-16, four things that are never satisfied: the grave; the barren womb; the earth without water; fire. “Every indulgence provokes the appetite. ‘ The horseleech hath but two daughters. But we have’—says Bishop Sanderson (in his sermon of Php 4:11)—‘I know not how many cravings lusts, no less importunately clamorous than they; till they be served, incessantly crying, Give, give; but much more unsatisfied than they. For they will be filled in time, and when they are filled, they tumble off, and there is an end. But our lusts will never be satisfied. Like Pharaoh’s kine, when they have eaten up all the fat ones, they are still as hungry and as whining as they were before.’” In a footnote Bridges quotes Joseph Caryl in his commentary on Job from Job 20:20, “By the daughters of the horseleech may be understood covetousness and prodigality. Both then cry, Give—give. The former cries— Give, to keep; the latter cries— Give, to spend. Neither of them saith—it is enough.”

Bridges continues, “How blessed then is the state, to which the Gospel brings us—‘Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content!’ What a merciful deliverance from that ‘destruction and perdition,’ the certain end of lawless lust. (1Ti 5:6-10.) Happy child of God!—weaned from his old indulgence! disciplined under his father’s yoke! satisfied abundantly with his father’s love. Whether ‘he abound or suffer need’—he can say—‘ It is wealth—I am full, and abound.’ (Php 4:12,18.) Has he not found that, which answers every demand, supplies every need, and satisfies every desire? What but God can fill the soul, which God hath made, and made for himself.” Bridges,, p. 605.

H. Pr 30:17, the end of a rebellious child. “Agur here returns to the first generation—the unnatural despisers of their parents. (Pr 30:11.) He had before described their character. Now he links it with the punishment. Observe the guilt only of a scornful look, or the mocking eye, when perhaps not a word is spoken. Certainly if the fifth commandment is ‘the first with promise’ (Eph 6:2), it is also the first with judgment. ... How many confessions on the scaffold have borne testimony, that the first step towards the untimely end was contempt of parental authority and restraint! ... But even where there is no such literal fulfilment, the curse is not the less sure. Seldom do we see the disobedient rebels prospering, and blessed in their own children. Retributive justice visits them late, but certain; and the poignant anguish of many a disappointed hope, and many an arrow shot from their own bow, may bear to them the message of their chastising Father—‘Thine own iniquities shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.’ (Jer 2:19.)” Bridges, pp. 605-606.

I. Pr 30:18-20, four wonders of God’s creation: an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the sea; the way of a man with a maid. “The kingdom of nature is full of wonder, and these wonders full of instruction. Where the philosopher cannot give a reason, the humble disciple may learn a lesson. The depths of nature are the figures of the depths of sin—of the unsearchable deceitful heart. (Jer 17:9.) The eagle soars in the air with so lofty and rapid a flight, that the eye cannot follow her way. She leaves no sent nor footsteps, by which we might trace her, as the beast on the ground. (Job 39:27.) The serpent on the sand would leave its mark. But the serpent on the rock leaves no slime like the worm, no feathers like the birds; who then can mark its way? The ship, like the great monster of the deep, ‘maketh a path to shine after her.’ But while she ploughs in the midst ( in the heart) of the sea, her furrows are quickly closed up, and her way is untraceable. Not less mysterious is the way of a man with a maid. Eminently practiced is the seducer in ‘the depths of Satan,’ and a thousand arts does he employ to allure the affections of his unwary victim. And it is often as difficult to penetrate his designs, and to escape his snares, as to trace the way of the eagle, the serpent, or the ship. Let this be a warning to young and inexperienced females, not to trust to their own purity, or to the strength of their own resolutions, or to place themselves in unprotected situations.

“Equally unfathomable are the devices of the adulterous woman to entangle her prey, and to deceive her unsuspecting husband. Solomon has described the picture with striking and minute accuracy. (Pr 5:6.) Such a course of abomination, wickedness, and hypocrisy, as is scarcely to be conceived; indulging her sin as the sweet morsel under her tongue; feasting greedily upon her ‘stolen waters and secret bread;’ yet keeping up the semblance of innocence and purity; wiping her mouth, to prevent all suspicion, suffering no sign of the action to remain. A woman must be advanced very far in the way of sin, before she can present such unblushing a front. Yet every fresh indulgence of lust gives rise to new artifices, ‘hardening’ the heart more fully in the ‘deceitfulness of sin.’ (Heb 3:13.) Its fascinations blind it to its real character. Let then the first step be shunned, the most distant path, that may lead to temptation. Where shame ceases to accompany it, the ruin of the victim is accomplished. Abundant warning is given; solemn instruction—many beacons in the path—to show the certain end of this flowery road.” Bridges, pp. 606-607.

J. Pr 30:21-23, four unbearable things. “Who does not naturally condemn things out of place, as unsuitable and unseemly? Order is the law of the works of God in the world, no less than in the Church; and any breach of order is to be deprecated. Four such evils are here mentioned—two connected with men, two with women; the one class in the community, the other in the family.” Bridges, p. 608.

1. A reigning servant. “This is a serious evil in the family, whether it arises from the mismanagement of the master (Pr 29:21), or from his own intrigue (Pr 30:23.) He is obviously out of place; and ruling, where he ought to serve, he must bring disorder. (Ge 16:4.) The evil is far greater in a kingdom. Men of low birth may indeed rise honorably by their own merit to a high station. God may call them, as he did Joseph (Ge 41:41), to reign. The evil is the advancement to power of ignorant, unprincipled minions. Men of mean spirit cannot bear to be raised. Intoxicated by sudden elevation, these upstarts show themselves not only fools, but tyrants; swelling with all the insolence of their unseemly honor.” Bridges, p. 608.

2. A full fool. “Then look at the fool (not an idiot, but a wilful sinner) when he is filled with meat. Can we wonder that he should be a trouble and a curse; giving the reins to his appetite, and becoming yet more devoid of understanding than before?” Bridges, p. 608.

3. An odious woman who is married. “Look again into the inner room of the family. What is the origin of discord and palpable misery? An odious woman is in rule. She quarrels with all around her. Her ungoverned tongue and temper are an unceasing source of agitation. Had she known herself, much better for her never to have entered into the marriage bond; than to become the inseparable tormentor of her husband and family. Woman is to man either his greatest curse or blessing. If love be not the earnest of the sacred union, truly will it be a bond of misery, from which only the special mercy of God can deliver. Let the worldly portion of the wife be the last consideration. Take heed, lest worldly glitter open a door for remediless misery.

The odious woman, when she is married, if she be in authority, becomes a national evil. ... If marriage be the ordinance of lust, not of godliness, what wonder if an odious woman should be the result, a canker to every domestic comfort?” Bridges, p. 609. For examples of such women, study Jezebel (2Ki 9:30-37) and Herodias (Mt 14:8).

4. A handmaid who is heir to her mistress. This “evil noticed is a frequent source of family trouble— an handmaid, that is heir to her mistress. Want of discipline, simplicity, or integrity, leads to waywardness and self-indulgence; and the house, instead of being under wholesome rule, becomes a prey to envy and strife. The ill-regulated connection between Abraham and Hagar, when the servant became heir to her mistress—occupying her mistress’s place with her husband—became the source of most baneful contention. (Ge 16:4.)” Bridges, p. 609.

K. Pr 30:24-28, four objects of wisdom. “The mind of man spreads over the length and breadth of creation, and draws instruction from every part of the universe presented to his senses. Everywhere God teaches us by his works as well as by his word; by his works, small as well as great. ... Agur had before mentioned four things that seemed great, but were really despicable. Here he produces four things little upon the earth, but exceeding wise. Therefore despise them not for their littleness: but admire the wonder-working hand, which hath furnished these little creatures with such sufficient means of provision, defense, and safety. ... Truly nothing was made for naught. The world of instinct shews that which will put to blush our higher world of reason. ... Industry is commended to us by all sorts of examples, deserving our regard and imitation. All nature is a copy thereof, and the whole world a glass, wherein we may behold this duty represented to us. Every creature about us is incessantly working toward the ends for which it was designed; indefatigably exercising the powers with which it is endued; diligently observing the laws of its creation. ... The general lesson to learn from these diminutive teachers is the importance of acting wisely according to the principles of our nature, as the best means to secure the greatest quantum of happiness, of which they are capable. God has provided happiness for every nature, and for each its own happiness. In more particular detail how many of us stand condemned by the sermons of these little insects! Let us not be too proud to learn, or too careless to attend to, the humbling but most valuable lessons taught in this school of instruction: ‘A wise man will hear, and will increase learning.’ (Pr 1:5.)” Bridges, pp. 610-611, 613.

1. The ant: “The ants have already brought the lesson before us (Pr 6:6-8)— a people not strong; indeed so weak, that thousands are crushed by one tread of the foot; yet wise in preparing their meat in the summer. A quickening sermon do these little insects preach to us! They make preparation for the coming winter. What must be the thoughtlessness of making no provision for the coming eternity! whiling away life in inactivity, as if there was no work for God, for the soul, or for eternity! ... The ants are a people not strong. Yet—apart from their wisdom—what people are more diligent, more persevering, or more effective? ... Weakness, then, is no excuse for indolence, no occasion of despondency. Is it not rather the cheering exercise of faith? (2Co 12:9-10.)” Bridges, p. 611.

2. The cony: “As the ants prepare their meat, so do the conies their refuge. Feeble folk as they are, they secure themselves from impending danger, by making their houses in the holes of inaccessible rocks. Thus what they want in strength they make up in wisdom.” Bridges, p. 612. We are no less feeble than they are and our shelter is in the Rock of Ages. Weak though we are, let us ever hide ourselves in Christ.

3. The locust: “Observe ... the instinct of the locusts. Some insects, like the bee, are under monarchical government. But the locust have no king. Yet how wonderful is their order, going forth all of them by bands; like an army with unbroken ranks, and under the strictest discipline! ... Do not these little insects read to us a lesson on the importance of unity and unanimous movement? ... Many professors, instead of going by bands, prefer an individual coarse. They belong to no cohort. They are under no discipline. This unsettled principle can never issue in a Christian steadfastness. Unity, not diversity, brings ‘the good thing of the heart established with grace.’ (Heb 13:9.) The strength of the Church is—not as an army of irregular soldiers, a regiment in loose disorder, unconnected with each other; but when she goeth forth by bands, united, concentrated, well disciplined, every officer at his post, every soldier in his ranks, each under rule, helpful to each other and to their great cause! (Nu 2).” Bridges, pp. 612-613.

4. The spider: “And what lessons does the spider teach, of ingenuity, patience, and untiring labor and perseverance! ... She forms her web against the walls, as if she took hold of them with her hands. She frames her fine-spun house with such exactness of proportion, as if conversant with mathematical rule. ... Such assiduity; such ‘diligence’ in the work of our high calling, if it shall not bring us into the king’s palaces (Pr 22:29), will ensure the full reward of the man, whom the Great ‘King delighteth to honor.’” Bridges, p. 613.

L. Pr 30:29-31, four examples of stateliness: a lion; a greyhound; an he goat; a wise and strong king. “From all these many practical lessons may be learn by the man, ‘who will be wise, and observe these things.’ Let us have regard, not only to the various duties of the Christian life, but also to the manner and spirit of their performance. Cultivate not only the integrity, but the comeliness of the Christian character—‘the beauty’ and uniformity ‘of holiness;’ that there be nothing misshapen or distorted; that there be just proportion in all the parts and features. Christians should be attractive and engaging by the courtesy of their general demeanor. ... Any manifest want of comeliness in our going repels the world from the gospel of Christ. ... Nor let us forget to imitate the features of this comeliness here pourtrayed; to be fearless as the lion, when pursuing the path of duty, not turning away from any (see Ne 6:3,11); to desire the eager spring of the greyhound in our heavenly course: to be useful as the he-goat, as the leader of a godly band; and to maintain our proper authority in any place of trust, as parents or guardians of families; and not to allow any rising up against it.” Bridges, p. 614.

M. Pr 30:32-33, a warning against unholy use of the tongue. “This evidently applies to the preceding illustration— a king, against whom there is no rising. But if thou hast lifted up thyself in despising his authority (Ro 13:1-2); or even if thou has but thought evil; lay thine hand upon thy mouth, restraining the ebullition in silent and humble submission. ... “The thought of foolishness is sin.’ Yet it is more sinful, when it forces its passage to the mouth. Words increase the sin, show more of its power, and are more hurtful to others. Obviously it is wise to lay our hand upon our mouth, and to restrain the expression, when we cannot prevent the thought. Better to keep in the infirmity, than to give it vent. But when, instead of the hand laid upon the mouth, there is no discipline, guard, or restraint; ‘the mouth of the fool poureth out foolishness,’ overflowing at the lips, and bringing a flood of trouble upon the soul.” Bridges, p. 615.

XCII.REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. God is a shield to whom?

B. Agur asked not for riches lest he be full and do what?

C. What has two daughters that cry, “Give, Give”?

D. What happens to the eyes of the child that mocks and despises his parents?

E. What people are not strong but prepare their food in the summer?

04.31 PROVERBS CHAPTER 31

Pr 31

XCIII. INTRODUCTION:

A. It hardly needs to be mentioned that the memory verse in this chapter should be Pr 31:10: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

B. Since I recently preached on “The Virtuous Woman,” we will not study Pr 31:11-31. However, I will attach my outline, as well as the outline from Matthew Henry’s Commentary for your own studies.

XCIV. GLEANINGS FROM THE CHAPTER:

A. Pr 31:1-2, We do not know any more about King Lemuel than we did of Agur in the previous chapter. We do know that he, like other children of God (Ps 116:16; 2Ti 1:5; 3:15), he had a godly mother. A godly mother is as invaluable as a godly wife— far above rubies. Lemuel, like Samuel, appears to be a child dedicated from the womb unto the Lord. If there were more Hannahs there might be more Samuels. She not only prayed for the child and dedicated him to the Lord, she taught him the rightly by bringing him “up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).

B. Pr 31:3, Lemuel’s mother warns him against ungodly women. Earlier in this book Solomon warns his son to avoid wicked and unprincipled women (Pr 2; 5 & Pr 7). Here a godly mother is warning her son.  Many kings were destroyed this way. Judgment fell on David because of his sin with Bathsheba (2Sa 12:9-10). Solomon’s kingdom was destroyed because of his love for “many strange women” (1Ki 11:1-11). Truly the end of such sin without repentance is death.

C. Pr 31:4-7, Often, in close association with corrupt women is intemperance (cf. Ho 4:11). “The vice that degrades a man into a beast, is shameful to all, specially unseemly for kings. They are ‘the city set upon a hill.’ Men look, or ought to look, to them for guidance and example. What a sight for kings to drink wine and strong drink—to be given to it! Witness Elah (1Ki 16:8-9)—Benhadad (1Ki 20:16)—Belshazzar—‘the princes of Israel made sick with bottles of wine!’ (Ho 7:5). How was their high office and glory covered with shame! Sometimes it is pleaded as an excuse for sin. But if the drunken king forgets the law, and perverts the judgment, will he not be held responsible? Ahasuerus was doubtless responsible for his unseemly ocnduct to Vashti. Herod murdered the Baptist at an ungodly feast. Priest and prophet ‘err through strong drink.’ (Cf. Isa 28:7; 56:12.) A wise veto therefore is set for the rulers of the Church—‘not given to wine.’

“And yet the abuse of God’s blessing does not destroy their use. Wine is the gift of God. ‘It maketh glad the heart of man.’ (Ps 104:14-15.) Yea—by a bold figure of its refeshment—it is said to ‘cheer God’ also.  (Jg 9:13.) Yet it is not for kings—for their indulgences and sinful excitement, but for those that need it. As restoratives and refreshments cordials are seasonable in the hour of need. Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish; as the Samaritan gave it to the wounded traveller (Lu 10:34); as Paul prescribed it for ‘the infirmities’ of his beloved son in the faith. (1Ti 5:23.) Many a sinking spirit may be revived, and forget his misery under a well-timed restorative. The rule therefore of love and self-denial is—Instead of wasting that upon thyself, in the indulgence of appetite, which will only debase thy nature; see that thou dispense thy luxuries among those, who really require them. Seek out cases of penury and wasting misery.

Let it be an honor to thee to bring in the poor that is cast out into thine house, that he may forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Bridges, pp. 617-618.

D. Pr 31:8-9, “Very soundly does the wise mother inculcate mercy upon her royal son. This is one of the pillars of the king’s throne. (Pr 20:28.) He must be the Father of his people, employing all his authority to protect those, who cannot protect themselves. (Ps 72:12-14.) No case of distress, when coming to his knowledge should be below his attention. Thus our law makes the judge the counsel for the prisoner, who is unable to plead for himself— opening his mouth for the dumb. Thus should magistrates more carefully consider that no one should lose his just right from want of ability to defend it. Those who are, or appear to be, appointed to destruction, should have their fair and open course to plead and save their lives.” Bridges, p. 619.

E. My sermon notes on “The Virtuous Woman” and Matthew Henry’s outline are attached.

XCV. REVIEW QUESTIONS:

A. Lemuel’s mother told him not to give his strength to whom?

B. ____________ is vain.

C. The virtuous woman has the law of kindness in her ____________.

D. Give __________ to those that have heavy heart.

E. The virtuous woman is not afraid of ___________ for her household.

THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN

(Pr 31:10-31)

XCVI. INTRODUCTION:

A. Previously king Lemuel’s mother warned him against the evils of women, but here we find the instruction she gave him concerning the virtuous woman.

B. This is one of the most elegant pictures found in the word of God. There is nothing more pleasing to the eye and company than a virtuous woman.

C. Poetically, this is the alphabet of what a godly woman is to be. Like the hundred and nineteenth Psalms, each verse begins with one of the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This describes every area of what a woman is to be as a wife, a mistress, and a mother.

D. Every woman should commit this to memory and study it with a practical end in view continually.

E. A virtuous woman is a rare treasure. As Charles Bridges said, “Perhaps one reason of the rarity of the gift is that it is so seldom sought.” P. 620. Too often men seek for the outward beauty and achievements of a woman and fail to pursue those qualities that do not fade nor fail with age. A woman with such treasures will only increase in value with time. Abraham thought it so rare that he sent to a distant land for such a companion for Isaac. Adam was not complete without this precious gift—a price far above rubies.

F. Matthew Henry stated: “The person enquired after, and that is a virtuous woman—a woman of strength (so the word is), though the weaker vessel, yet made strong by wisdom and grace, and the fear of God: it is the same word that is used in the character of good judges (Ex 18:21), that they are able men, men qualified for the business to which they are called, men of truth, fearing God. So it follows, A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit, who has the command of her own spirit and knows how to manage other people’s, one that is pious and industrious, and a help meet for a man. In opposition to this strength, we read of the weakness of the heart of an imperious whorish woman, (Eze 16:30). A virtuous woman is a woman of resolution, who, having espoused good principles, is firm and steady to them, and will not be frightened with winds and clouds from any part of her duty.”

G. In a footnote, Bridges quotes Isaac Walton’s account of the wife of Bishop Sanderson to illustrate a virtuous woman: “A wife, that made his life happy, by being always content, when he was cheerful; that was always cheerful when he was content; that divided her joys with him, and abated of his sorrow by bearing a part of that burden; a wife that demonstrated her affection by a cheerful obedience to all his desires during the whole course of his life."

H. Who is it that is wise enough, skillful enough and strong enough to find such a precious treasure? Young men, make this one of your primary objectives in life! Do so by training and disciplining yourself at a young age to purpose that you will not lower yourself nor your standards for any other prize.

I. Ladies, if in looking at the virtuous woman you think you are falling too far below the mark the Lord would have you to be, do not console yourself by thinking that you are not like that and that is just the way you are. I would encourage you not to become discouraged neither if you believe you have missed the goal. I encourage you to repent of your wrongs and strive to emulate this woman as much as lies within yourself.

My main objective is to encourage you godly sisters in your calling.

XCVII. THE GREAT VALUE TO HER HUSBAND:

A. It is a great delight and peace of mind and soul for a husband to have complete confidence in his wife. When the husband is unable to completely trust his wife or have confidence in her judgment, he is unable to “safely trust in her.”

1. The virtuous woman will never put herself in a situation nor act in any way that will cause the husband to doubt her devotion to him.

2. The virtuous woman will not allow her decorum to be such that bring reproach to the character and honor of her husband.

B. Her economy is such that her husband is not tempted to unjust gain in order to provide for the home, nor will he have to leave the home to secure income in other places. Her life is filled with “how she may please her husband” (1Co 7:34). The virtuous woman does not consider this demeaning in her character.

1. Such is not always the case. Many examples prove otherwise.

a. Eve, the help-meet, became the tempter to Adam, Ge 2:18; 3:6.

b. Sarah directed Abraham to secure the seed by man’s wisdom instead of waiting on God’s time, Ge 16:1-6.

c. Rebekah deceived Isaac to secure the blessing on Jacob, Ge 27.

d. Micah discouraging David in worship to God, 2Sa 6:20-22.

e. Solomon’s wives drew his heart from the worship of God, 1Ki 11:1-5.

f. Jezebel stirred Ahab up to more wickedness, 1Ki 21:25.

g. Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God, Job 2:9

2. “Her husband’s comfort is her interest and her rest. To live for him is her highest happiness. Even if her minute attentions to this object are not always noticed, yet never will she harbor the suspicion of indifference or unkindness; nor will she return fancied neglect with sullenness, or by affected or morbid sensibility force on a feverish interchange of expression, which has little substantial foundation.” Bridges, p. 621. In other words, she will not treat him in a moody way with coldness and indifference.

3. “Though she is a woman of spirit herself, yet her desire is to her husband, to know his mind, that she may accommodate herself to it, and she is willing that he should rule over her. ... She makes it her constant business to do him good, and is afraid of doing any thing, even through inadvertency, that may turn to his prejudice, (Pr 31:12). She shows her love to him, not by a foolish fondness, but by prudent endearments, accommodating herself to his temper, and not crossing him, giving him good words, and not bad ones, no, not when he is out of humour, studying to make him easy, to provide what is fit for him both in health and sickness, and attending him with diligence and tenderness when any thing ails him; nor would she, no, not for the world, wilfully do any thing that might be a damage to his person, family, estate, or reputation. And this is her care all the days of her life; not at first only, or now and then, when she is in a good humour, but perpetually; and she is not weary of the good offices she does him: She does him good, not only all the days of his life, but of her own too; if she survive him, still she is doing him good in her care of his children, his estate, and good name, and all the concerns he left behind him. We read of kindness shown, not only to the living, but to the dead, (Ru 2:20).” Matthew Henry.

XCVIII. HER LIFE OF INDUSTRY:

A. The examples of her industrious life are drawn from the times in which the author lived. Nevertheless, we may be assured that such a woman is no less industrious in our time. This is a universal principle.

B. Note also that this does not picture the poor or “middle-class” society. This is true of the virtuous woman in every rank. The virtuous woman is equally industrious whether she is rich or poor or whatever her station in life is. The picture given here is that of a woman professing godliness that is adorned with good works, cf. 1Ti 2:10.

C. This is not the picture of a recluse. This is not the picture of a woman lying or sitting in the room in religious thought or continual reading the scriptures or an excellent book in theology or devotion. It goes without saying that it is not the pictures of a lazy woman wasting her time in useless entertainment or any idle activity. Such is not the Christian woman. The virtuous woman who is in poor health is industrious.

Mary Lee, the wife of General Robert E. Lee who was in poor health during the war, spent many days confined to her wheelchair or bed knitting and darning socks for soldiers. Like the little woman who anointed Christ, she did what she could (Mr 14:8).

D. Much of her sphere of influence was employed in personal and domestic labor. She worked willing with her hands, Pr 31:13. Such women, even of the highest rank, employed themselves in manual labor, Ge 18:6-8 (Sarah); Ge 24:18-20 (Rebekah) cf. Pr 31:12-14 (other daughters); Ge 29:9-10 (Rachel); Ex 2:16; 2Sa 13:5-9; Ru 3:11. Read biographies of godly women and you will find them to be women of industry. Such is ever the case. Bridges summarized it well with the following: “The virtuous woman goes before her servants in diligence, no less than in dignity; imposing nothing upon them, which she had not first bound upon herself, ruling her household most efficiently by the government of herself.”

E. She seeks wool, Pr 31:13.. She did not merely buy the garment; she made it.

1. Of this John Gill wrote, “To get them, in order to spin them, and work them up into garments; she stays not till they are brought to her, and she is pressed to take them; but she seeks after them, which shows her willingness to work, as is after more fully expressed. It was usual in ancient times for great personages to do such works as these, both among the Grecians and Romans: Lucretia with her maids were found spinning, when her husband Collatinus paid a visit to her from the camp: Tanaquills, or Caia Caecilia, the wife of King Tarquin, was an excellent spinster of wool; her wool, with a distaff and spindle, long remained in the temple of Sangus, or Sancus, as Varro relates: and a garment made by her, wore by Servius Tullius, was reserved in the temple of Fortune; hence it became a custom for maidens to accompany newly married women with a distaff and spindle, with wool upon them, signifying what they were principally to attend unto; and maidens are advised to follow the example of Minerva, said to be the first that made a web; and, if they would have her favour, to learn to use the distaff, and to card and spin: so did the daughters of Minyas, in Ovid; and the nymphs, in Virgil. When Alexander the great advised the mother of Darius to use her nieces to such employments, the Persian ladies were in great concern, it being reckoned reproachful with them for such to move their hands to wool; on hearing which, Alexander himself went to her, and told her the clothes he wore were wrought by his sisters: and the daughters and granddaughters of Augustus Caesar employed themselves in the woollen manufacture by his order; and he himself usually wore no other garment than what was made at home, by his wife, sister, daughter, and granddaughter. The Jews have a saying, that there is no wisdom in a woman but in the distaff; suggesting, that it is her wisdom to mind her spinning, and the affairs of her household: at the Roman marriages, the word "thalassio" was often repeated, which signified a vessel in which spinning work was put; and this was done to put the bride in mind what her work was to be.”

2. It is true that through our modern technology it is more economical to buy the material than to make it and sometimes through wise shopping it is less expensive to purchase a garment (from the clearance rack) than to make it. However, the principle of economy and labor applies today. Clothes acquired through labor are usually appreciated, taken care of, and thoroughly worn out. Through the pride of life, many clothes are acquired for great variety and hardly worn. This is a mark of this wasteful society.

3. She has wool and flax. This denotes the most expensive and the cheapest of materials. Her family is clothed with garments for all occasions, Pr 31:21-22,24-25.

4. Though clothed modestly, it was not drab and dull, Pr 31:22. Modest clothing is always decorous and becoming in a godly way.

5. Pr 31:23 implies that the clothes she provides are reflected in her husband. While some men have a good understanding of color coordination, many do not. Therefore, it is no reflection on their manliness to submit to their wives in this matter.

6. “Nay, by his appearing clean and neat in his dress, every thing about him decent and handsome, yet not gaudy, one may know he has a good wife at home, that takes care of his clothes.” M. Henry

F. Not only is she industrious in clothing, she is equally so in the procuring of food, Pr 31:14. She shops for the best buy. She looks for the best bargains and goes to great lengths to secure the food that is needful for the family. She does not simply provide food, but good nourishing food for her family. She plans to shop and plans in her shopping. Like a merchant ship she brings the choicest and finest food that is good for her family. The meal is not only in sufficient amount but it is with delightful variety.

1. She is quick to supply food to the family because she rises early, even “while it is yet night,” preparing the food for the day, Pr 31:15. Before I was old enough to go the barn early in the morning, I remember waking to the smell of breakfast being cooked by my mother.

2. She has servants, but she rises early still in preparation for the whole household. She set the example to her servants (maidens) in every way, Pr 31:15,27.

3. It is likely that what she made with her hands by means of the “spindle” and the “distaff” (Pr 31:19) was exchanged for the fine variety of food she brought “from afar” (Pr 31:24).

XCIX. WISE IN INVESTMENTS:

A. With wisdom she purchases property, Pr 31:16. This in no way justifies a woman engaged in a career of real estate. She did not go into the business of buy and selling real estate nor did she deal with selling the property of others for profit. She merely purchased a field for growing food for her household and supplying those things needful for the family. It is true that the possession of property increased the value of her family, but it in no way justifies the modern work practice of women.

1. She did not simply buy a piece of property, she considered the field. She considered the value of it and how it would benefit the family for good.

2. She purchased it with the profit she acquired through her industry. She did not put herself in debt nor make it difficult for the family and household.

3. She planted vines in the field and worked them with her hands. This virtuous woman was somewhat muscular; however, she did not look masculine like the women of today. Though strong, she was feminine in every way.

B. She sells her merchandise, Pr 31:24. “She trades abroad. She makes more than she and her household have occasion for; and therefore, when she has sufficiently stocked her family, she sells fine linen and girdles to the merchants .... Those families are likely to thrive that sell more than they buy; as it is well with the kingdom when abundance of its home manufactures are exported. It is no disgrace to those of the best quality to sell what they can spare, nor to deal in trade and send ventures by sea.” M. Henry.

C. A WOMAN OF PURE RELIGION:

A. Jas 1:27 instructs us that pure religion is ministering to the widows and fatherless (the poor). She made clothes for the poor, Pr 31:20. Cf. Ga 6:10; 1Ti 6:18; Heb 13:16.

B. Her speech is becoming a Christian, Pr 31:26. “She is discreet and obliging in all her discourse, not talkative, censorious, nor peevish, as some are, that know how to take pains; no, she opens her mouth with wisdom; when she does speak, it is with a great deal of prudence and very much to the purpose; you may perceive by every word she says how much she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others; and this not as assuming the authority of a dictator, but with the affection of a friend and an obliging air: In her tongue is the law of kindness; all she says is under the government of that law. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, but it shows itself in the tongue; if we are kindly affectioned one to another, it will appear by affectionate expression. It is called a law of kindness, because it gives law to others, to all she converses with. Her wisdom and kindness together put a commanding power into all she says; they command respect, they command compliance.

How forcible are right words! In her tongue is the law of grace, or mercy (so some read it), understanding it of the word and law of God, which she delights to talk of among her children and servants. She is full of pious religious discourse, and manages it prudently, which shows how full her heart is of another world even when her hands are most busy about this world.” M. Henry

C. “That which completes and crowns her character is that she fears the Lord, Pr 31:30. With all those good qualities she lacks not that one thing needful; she is truly pious, and, in all she does, is guided and governed by principles of conscience and a regard to God; this is that which is here preferred far before beauty; that is vain and deceitful; all that are wise and good account it so, and value neither themselves nor others on it.

Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any certain indication of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who has made his choice of a wife by it. There may be an impure deformed soul lodged in a comely and beautiful body; nay, many have been exposed by their beauty to such temptations as have been the ruin of their virtue, their honour, and their precious souls. It is a fading thing at the best, and therefore vain and deceitful. A fit of sickness will stain and sully it in a little time; a thousand accidents may blast this flower in its prime; old age will certainly wither it and death and the grave consume it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart is the beauty of the soul; it recommends those that have it to the favour of God, and is, in his sight, of great price; it will last for ever, and bid defiance to death itself, which consumes the beauty of the body, but consummates the beauty of the soul.” M. Henry.

CI. SHE EXALTS HER HUSBAND:

A. While she is laboring in domestic service, her husband is publicly know, Pr 31:23. “She adds to his reputation in the world (Pr 31:23): Her husband is known in the gates, known to have a good wife. By his wise counsels, and prudent management of affairs, it appears that he has a discreet companion in his bosom, by conversation with whom he improves himself. By his cheerful countenance and pleasant humour it appears that he has an agreeable wife at home; for many that have not have their tempers strangely soured by it.” Matthew Henry.

B. She is exalted “in the gates” through her husband, Pr 31:31. She is to complement (assist) her husband, not contradict (oppose).

C. From Pr 31:26, we know that she never speaks disrespectfully to her husband. Her tongue is used to exalt and honor her husband.

CII. SHE IS HONORED BY ALL WHO KNOW HER:

A. Pr 31:28.

B. Through her husband, her works are praised “in the gates,” Pr 31:31.

C. The following is taken from Matthew Henry.

1. She is a great blessing to her relations, Pr 31:28.

a. Her children grow up in her place, and they call her blessed. They give her their good word, they are themselves a commendation to her, and they are ready to give great commendations of her; they pray for her, and bless God that they had such a good mother. It is a debt which they owe her, a part of that honour which the fifth commandment requires to be paid to father and mother; and it is a double honour that is due to a good father and a good mother.

b. Her husband thinks himself so happy in her that he takes all occasions to speak well of her, as one of the best of women. It is no indecency at all, but a laudable instance of conjugal love, for husbands and wives to give one another their due praises.

2. She gets the good word of all her neighbours, as Ruth did, whom all the city of her people knew to be a virtuous woman, Ru 3:11. Virtue will have its praise, Php 4:8. A woman that fears the Lord, shall have praise of God (Ro 2:29) and of men too. It is here shown,

a. That she shall be highly praised (Pr 31:29): Many have done virtuously. Virtuous women, it seems, are precious jewels, but not such rare jewels as was represented Pr 31:10. There have been many, but such a one as this cannot be paralleled. Who can find her equal? She excels them all. Note, Those that are good should aim and covet to excel in virtue. Many daughters, in their father’s house, and in the single state, have done virtuously, but a good wife, if she be virtuous, excels them all, and does more good in her place than they can do in theirs. Or, as some explain it,

A man cannot have his house so well kept by good daughters, as by a good wife.

b. That she shall be incontestably praised, without contradiction, Pr 31:31. Some are praised above what is their due, but those that praise her do but give her of the fruit of her hands; they give her that which she has dearly earned and which is justly due to her; she is wronged if she have it not.

Note, Those ought to be praised the fruit of whose hands is praise-worthy. The tree is known by its fruits, and therefore, if the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. If her children be dutiful and respectful to her, and conduct themselves as they ought, they then give her the fruit of her hands; she reaps the benefit of all the care she has taken of them, and thinks herself well paid.

Children must thus study to requite their parents, and this is showing piety at home, 1Ti 5:4. But, if men be unjust, the thing will speak itself, her own works will praise her in the gates, openly before all the people.

(1) She leaves it to her own works to praise her, and does not court the applause of men. Those are none of the truly virtuous women that love to hear themselves commended.

(2) Her own works will praise her; if her relations and neighbours altogether hold their peace, her good works will proclaim her praise. The widows gave the best encomium of Dorcas when they showed the coats and garments she had made for the poor, Ac 9:39.

(3) The least that can be expected from her neighbours is that they should let her own works praise her, and do nothing to hinder them. Those that do that which is good, let them have praise of the same (Ro 13:3) and let us not enviously say, or do, any thing to the diminishing of it, but be provoked by it to a holy emulation. Let none have an ill report from us, that have a good report even of the truth itself. Thus is shut up this looking-glass for ladies, which they are desired to open and dress themselves by; and, if they do so, their adorning will be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

D. The virtuous woman should be given praise on a continual basis. Our country tips their hats to mothers one day out of the year and many, if not most, people think that is all that is needed. I do not say that it is wrong to have a “Mother’s Day.” I do wish it were on another day than the Lord’s day, though. Husbands, fathers and children should continually give godly praise to their wives, daughters, and mothers.

1. Husbands should tell theirs wives of their love and appreciation for what they do.

a. When is the last time you brought your wife flowers?

b. When is the last time you told your wife you love her?

c. When is the last time you thanked her for cooking your meals, washing and ironing your clothes, cleaning the house, etc.?

d. When is the last time you did something to let her know that you appreciate her.

e. When do you let others know of her virtues and your appreciation of what she does?

f. Are you thankful for the wisdom God has given to your wife and do you let her know? Do you listen to her suggestions, etc?

2. Fathers should not only seek to cultivate their daughters to be a virtuous woman, but they should encourage them by telling them as they show it in their lives.

a. When is the last time you brought your daughter flowers?

b. Do you tell your daughters that you love them and do they know that you love them?

c. Do you let your daughters know that you appreciate them as they try to cultivate virtuousness in their lives?

3. Children should seek ways to encourage their mothers (sisters) as they strive to be a virtuous woman.

MATTHEW HENRY ON THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN

(Taken from Online Bible CD program)

This description of the virtuous woman is designed to show what wives the women should make and what wives the men should choose; it consists of twenty-two verses, each beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order, as some of the Psalms, which makes some think it was no part of the lesson which Lemuel’s mother taught him, but a poem by itself, written by some other hand, and perhaps had been commonly repeated among the pious Jews, for the ease of which it was made alphabetical. We have the abridgment of it in the New Testament (1Ti 2:9-10; 1Pe 3:1-6), where the duty prescribed to wives agrees with this description of a good wife; and with good reason is so much stress laid upon it, since it contributes as much as any one thing to the keeping up of religion in families, and the entail of it upon posterity, that the mothers be wise and good; and of what consequence it is to the wealth and outward prosperity of a house every one is sensible. He that will thrive must ask his wife leave. Here is,

CIII.A general enquiry after such a one (Pr 31:10), where observe

A. The person enquired after, and that is a virtuous woman—a woman of strength (so the word is), though the weaker vessel, yet made strong by wisdom and grace, and the fear of God: it is the same word that is used in the character of good judges (Ex 18:21), that they are able men, men qualified for the business to which they are called, men of truth, fearing God. So it follows, A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit, who has the command of her own spirit and knows how to manage other people’s, one that is pious and industrious, and a help meet for a man. In opposition to this strength, we read of the weakness of the heart of an imperious whorish woman, Eze 16:30. A virtuous woman is a woman of resolution, who, having espoused good principles, is firm and steady to them, and will not be frightened with winds and clouds from any part of her duty.

B. The difficulty of meeting with such a one: Who can find her? This intimates that good women are very scarce, and many that seem to be so do not prove so; he that thought he had found a virtuous woman was deceived; Behold, it was Leah, and not the Rachel he expected. But he that designs to marry ought to seek diligently for such a one, to have this principally in his eye, in all his enquiries, and to take heed that he be not biassed by beauty or gaiety, wealth or parentage, dressing well or dancing well; for all these may be and yet the woman not be virtuous, and there is many a woman truly virtuous who yet is not recommended by these advantages.

C. The unspeakable worth of such a one, and the value which he that has such a wife ought to put upon her, showing it by his thankfulness to God and his kindness and respect to her, whom he must never think he can do too much for. Her price is far above rubies, and all the rich ornaments with which vain women adorn themselves. The more rare such good wives are the more they are to be valued.

CIV.A particular description of her and of her excellent qualifications.

A. She is very industrious to recommend herself to her husband’s esteem and affection. Those that are good really will be good relatively. A good woman, if she be brought into the marriage state, will be a good wife, and make it her business to please her husband, 1Co 7:34. Though she is a woman of spirit herself, yet her desire is to her husband, to know his mind, that she may accommodate herself to it, and she is willing that he should rule over her.

1. She conducts herself so that he may repose an entire confidence in her. He trusts in her chastity, which she never gave him the least occasion to suspect or to entertain any jealousy of; she is not morose and reserved, but modest and grave, and has all the marks of virtue in her countenance and behaviour; her husband knows it, and therefore his heart doth safely trust in her; he is easy, and makes her so. He trusts in her conduct, that she will speak in all companies, and act in all affairs, with prudence and discretion, so as not to occasion him either damage or reproach. He trusts in her fidelity to his interests, and that she will never betray his counsels nor have any interest separate from that of his family. When he goes abroad, to attend the concerns of the public, he can confide in her to order all his affairs at home, as well as if he himself were there. She is a good wife that is fit to be trusted, and he is a good husband that will leave it to such a wife to manage for him.

2. She contributes so much to his content and satisfaction that he shall have no need of spoil; he needs not be griping and scraping abroad, as those must be whose wives are proud and wasteful at home. She manages his affairs so that he is always before-hand, has such plenty of his own that he is in no temptation to prey upon his neighbours. He thinks himself so happy in her that he envies not those who have most of the wealth of this world; he needs it not, he has enough, having such a wife. Happy the couple that have such a satisfaction as this in each other!

3. She makes it her constant business to do him good, and is afraid of doing any thing, even through inadvertency, that may turn to his prejudice, Pr 31:12. She shows her love to him, not by a foolish fondness, but by prudent endearments, accommodating herself to his temper, and not crossing him, giving him good words, and not bad ones, no, not when he is out of humour, studying to make him easy, to provide what is fit for him both in health and sickness, and attending him with diligence and tenderness when any thing ails him; nor would she, no, not for the world, wilfully do any thing that might be a damage to his person, family, estate, or reputation. And this is her care all the days of her life; not at first only, or now and then, when she is in a good humour, but perpetually; and she is not weary of the good offices she does him: She does him good, not only all the days of his life, but of her own too; if she survive him, still she is doing him good in her care of his children, his estate, and good name, and all the concerns he left behind him. We read of kindness shown, not only to the living, but to the dead, Ru 2:20.

4. She adds to his reputation in the world (Pr 31:23): Her husband is known in the gates, known to have a good wife. By his wise counsels, and prudent management of affairs, it appears that he has a discreet companion in his bosom, by conversation with whom he improves himself. By his cheerful countenance and pleasant humour it appears that he has an agreeable wife at home; for many that have not have their tempers strangely soured by it. Nay, by his appearing clean and neat in his dress, every thing about him decent and handsome, yet not gaudy, one may know he has a good wife at home, that takes care of his clothes.

B. She is one that takes pains in the duty of her place and takes pleasure in it. This part of her character is much enlarged upon here.

1. She hates to sit still and do nothing: She eats not the bread of idleness, Pr 31:27. Though she needs not work for her bread (she has an estate to live upon), yet she will not eat it in idleness, because she knows that we were none of us sent into this world to be idle, that when we have nothing to do the devil will soon find us something to do, and that it is not fit that those who will not labour should eat.

Some eat and drink because they can find themselves nothing else to do, and needless visits must be received with fashionable entertainments; these are eating the bread of idleness, which she has no relish for, for she neither gives nor receives idle visits nor idle talk.

2. She is careful to fill up time, that none of that be lost. When day-light is done, she does not then think it time to lay by her work, as those are forced to do whose business lies abroad in the fields (Ps 104:23) but her business lying within-doors, and her work worth candle-light, with that she lengthens out the day; and her candle goes not out by night, Pr 31:18. It is a mercy to have candle-light to supply the want of day-light, and a duty, having that advantage, to improve it. We say of an elaborate piece, It smells of the lamp.

3. She rises early, while it is yet night (Pr 31:15), to give her servants their breakfast, that they may be ready to go cheerfully about their work as soon as the day breaks. She is none of those who sit up playing at cards, or dancing, till midnight, till morning, and then lie in bed till noon. No; the virtuous woman loves her business better than her ease or her pleasure, is in care to be found in the way of her duty every hour of the day, and has more true satisfaction in having given meat to her household betimes in the morning than those can have in the money they have won, much more in what they have lost, who sat up all night at play. Those that have a family to take care of should not love their bed too well in a morning.

4. She applies herself to the business that is proper for her. It is not in a scholar’s business, or statesman’s business, or husbandman’s business, that she employs herself, but in women’s business: She seeks wool and flax, where she may have the best of each at the best hand, and cheapest; she has a stock of both by her, and every thing that is necessary to the carrying on both of the woollen and the linen manufacture (Pr 31:13), and with this she does not only set the poor on work, which is a very good office, but does herself work, and work willingly, with her hands; she works with the counsel or delight of her hands (so the word is); she goes about it cheerfully and dexterously, lays not only her hand, but her mind to it, and goes on in it without weariness in well-doing. She lays her own hands to the spindle, or spinning-wheel, and her hands hold the distaff (Pr 31:19), and she does not reckon it either an abridgment of her liberty or a disparagement to her dignity, or at all inconsistent with her repose. The spindle and the distaff are here mentioned as her honour, while the ornaments of the daughters of Zion are reckoned up to their reproach, Isa 3:18, (&c.)

5. She does what she does with all her might, and does not trifle in it (Pr 31:17); She girds her loins with strength and strengthens her arms; she does not employ herself in sitting work only, or in that which is only the nice performance of the fingers (there are works that are scarcely one remove from doing nothing); but, if there be occasion, she will go through with work that requires all the strength she has, which she will use as one that knows it is the way to have more.

C. She is one that makes what she does to turn to a good account, by her prudent management of it. She does not toil all night and catch nothing; no, she herself perceives that her merchandise is good (Pr 31:18); she is sensible that in all her labour there is profit, and that encourages her to go on in it. She perceives that she can make things herself better and cheaper than she can buy them; she finds by observation what branch of her employment brings in the best returns, and to that she applies herself most closely.

1. She brings in provisions of all things necessary and convenient for her family, Pr 31:14. No merchants’ ships, no, not Solomon’s navy, ever made a more advantageous return than her employments do. Do they bring in foreign commodities with the effects they export? So does she with the fruit of her labours. What her own ground does not produce she can furnish herself with, if she have occasion for it, by exchanging her own goods for it; and so she brings her food from afar. Not that she values things the more for their being far-fetched, but, if they be ever so far off, if she must have them she knows how to come by them.

2. She purchases lands, and enlarges the demesne of the family (Pr 31:16): She considers a field, and buys it. She considers what an advantage it will be to the family and what a good account it will turn to, and therefore she buys it; or, rather, though she have ever so much mind to it she will not buy it till she has first considered it, whether it be worth her money, whether she can afford to take so much money out of her stock as must go to purchase it, whether the title be good, whether the ground will answer the character given of it, and whether she has money at command to pay for it. Many have undone themselves by buying without considering; but those who would make advantageous purchases must consider, and then buy. She also plants a vineyard, but it is with the fruit of her hands; she does not take up money, or run into debt, to do it, but she does it with what she can spare out of the gains of her own housewifery. Men should not lay out any thing upon superfluities, till, by the blessing of God upon their industry, they have got before-hand, and can afford it; and then the fruit of the vineyard is likely to be doubly sweet, when it is the fruit of honest industry.

3. She furnishes her house well and has good clothing for herself and her family (Pr 31:22): She makes herself coverings of tapestry to hang her rooms, and she may be allowed to use them when they are of her own making. Her own clothing is rich and fine: it is silk and purple, according to her place and rank. Though she is not so vain as to spend much time in dressing herself, nor makes the putting on of apparel her adorning, nor values herself upon it, yet she has rich clothes and puts them on well. The senator’s robes which her husband wears are of her own spinning, and they look better and wear better than any that are bought. She also gets good warm clothing for her children, and her servants’ liveries.

She needs not fear the cold of the most pinching winter, for she and her family are well provided with clothes, sufficient to keep out cold, which is the end chiefly to be aimed at in clothing: All her household are clothed in scarlet, strong cloth and fit for winter, and yet rich and making a good appearance. They are all double clothed (so some read it), have change of raiment, a winter suit and a summer suit.

4. She trades abroad. She makes more than she and her household have occasion for; and therefore, when she has sufficiently stocked her family, she sells fine linen and girdles to the merchants (Pr 31:24), who carry them to Tyre, the mart of the nations, or some other trading city. Those families are likely to thrive that sell more than they buy; as it is well with the kingdom when abundance of its home manufactures are exported. It is no disgrace to those of the best quality to sell what they can spare, nor to deal in trade and send ventures by sea.

5. She lays up for hereafter: She shall rejoice in time to come, having laid in a good stock for her family, and having good portions for her children. Those that take pains when they are in their prime will have the pleasure and joy of it when they are old, both in reflecting upon it and in reaping the benefit of it.

D. She takes care of her family and all the affairs of it, gives meat to her household (Pr 31:15), to every one his portion of meat in due season, so that none of her servants have reason to complain of being kept short or faring hard. She gives also a portion (an allotment of work, as well as meat) to her maidens; they shall all of them know their business and have their task. She looks well to the ways of her household (Pr 31:27); she inspects the manners of all her servants, that she may check what is amiss among them, and oblige them all to behave properly and do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her; as Job, who put away iniquity far from his tabernacle, and David, who would suffer no wicked thing in his house. She does not intermeddle in the concerns of other people’s houses; she thinks it enough for her to look well to her own.

E. She is charitable to the poor, Pr 31:20. She is as intent upon giving as she is upon getting; she often serves the poor with her own hand, and she does if freely, cheerfully, and very liberally, with an out-stretched hand. Nor does she relieve her poor neighbours only, and those that are nigh at hand, but she reaches forth her hands to the needy that are at a distance, seeking opportunities to do good and to communicate, which is as good housewifery as any thing she does.

F. She is discreet and obliging in all her discourse, not talkative, censorious, nor peevish, as some are, that know how to take pains; no, she opens her mouth with wisdom; when she does speak, it is with a great deal of prudence and very much to the purpose; you may perceive by every word she says how much she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others; and this not as assuming the authority of a dictator, but with the affection of a friend and an obliging air: In her tongue is the law of kindness; all she says is under the government of that law. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, but it shows itself in the tongue; if we are kindly affectioned one to another, it will appear by affectionate expression. It is called a law of kindness, because it gives law to others, to all she converses with. Her wisdom and kindness together put a commanding power into all she says; they command respect, they command compliance. How forcible are right words! In her tongue is the law of grace, or mercy (so some read it), understanding it of the word and law of God, which she delights to talk of among her children and servants. She is full of pious religious discourse, and manages it prudently, which shows how full her heart is of another world even when her hands are most busy about this world.

G. That which completes and crowns her character is that she fears the Lord, Pr 31:30. With all those good qualities she lacks not that one thing needful; she is truly pious, and, in all she does, is guided and governed by principles of conscience and a regard to God; this is that which is here preferred far before beauty; that is vain and deceitful; all that are wise and good account it so, and value neither themselves nor others on it.

Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any certain indication of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who has made his choice of a wife by it. There may be an impure deformed soul lodged in a comely and beautiful body; nay, many have been exposed by their beauty to such temptations as have been the ruin of their virtue, their honour, and their precious souls. It is a fading thing at the best, and therefore vain and deceitful. A fit of sickness will stain and sully it in a little time; a thousand accidents may blast this flower in its prime; old age will certainly wither it and death and the grave consume it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart is the beauty of the soul; it recommends those that have it to the favour of God, and is, in his sight, of great price; it will last for ever, and bid defiance to death itself, which consumes the beauty of the body, but consummates the beauty of the soul.

CV.The happiness of this virtuous woman.

A. She has the comfort and satisfaction of her virtue in her own mind (Pr 31:25): Strength and honour are her clothing, in which she wraps herself, that is, enjoys herself, and in which she appears to the world, and so recommends herself. She enjoys a firmness and constancy of mind, has spirit to bear up under the many crosses and disappointments which even the wise and virtuous must expect to meet with in this world; and this is her clothing, for defence as well as decency. She deals honourably with all, and she has the pleasure of doing so, and shall rejoice in time to come; she shall reflect upon it with comfort, when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when she was young. In the day of death it will be a pleasure to her to think that she has lived to some good purpose. Nay, she shall rejoice in an eternity to come; she shall be recompensed for her goodness with fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.

B. She is a great blessing to her relations, Pr 31:28.

1. Her children grow up in her place, and they call her blessed. They give her their good word, they are themselves a commendation to her, and they are ready to give great commendations of her; they pray for her, and bless God that they had such a good mother. It is a debt which they owe her, a part of that honour which the fifth commandment requires to be paid to father and mother; and it is a double honour that is due to a good father and a good mother.

2. Her husband thinks himself so happy in her that he takes all occasions to speak well of her, as one of the best of women. It is no indecency at all, but a laudable instance of conjugal love, for husbands and wives to give one another their due praises.

C. She gets the good word of all her neighbours, as Ruth did, whom all the city of her people knew to be a virtuous woman, Ru 3:11. Virtue will have its praise, Php 4:8. A woman that fears the Lord, shall have praise of God (Ro 2:29) and of men too. It is here shown,

1. That she shall be highly praised (Pr 31:29): Many have done virtuously. Virtuous women, it seems, are precious jewels, but not such rare jewels as was represented Pr 31:10. There have been many, but such a one as this cannot be paralleled. Who can find her equal? She excels them all. Note, Those that are good should aim and covet to excel in virtue. Many daughters, in their father’s house, and in the single state, have done virtuously, but a good wife, if she be virtuous, excels them all, and does more good in her place than they can do in theirs. Or, as some explain it, A man cannot have his house so well kept by good daughters, as by a good wife.

2. That she shall be incontestably praised, without contradiction, Pr 31:31. Some are praised above what is their due, but those that praise her do but give her of the fruit of her hands; they give her that which she has dearly earned and which is justly due to her; she is wronged if she have it not. Note, Those ought to be praised the fruit of whose hands is praise-worthy. The tree is known by its fruits, and therefore, if the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. If her children be dutiful and respectful to her, and conduct themselves as they ought, they then give her the fruit of her hands; she reaps the benefit of all the care she has taken of them, and thinks herself well paid. Children must thus study to requite their parents, and this is showing piety at home, 1Ti 5:4. But, if men be unjust, the thing will speak itself, her own works will praise her in the gates, openly before all the people.

a. She leaves it to her own works to praise her, and does not court the applause of men. Those are none of the truly virtuous women that love to hear themselves commended.

b. Her own works will praise her; if her relations and neighbours altogether hold their peace, her good works will proclaim her praise. The widows gave the best encomium of Dorcas when they showed the coats and garments she had made for the poor, Ac 9:39.

c. The least that can be expected from her neighbours is that they should let her own works praise her, and do nothing to hinder them. Those that do that which is good, let them have praise of the same (Ro 13:3) and let us not enviously say, or do, any thing to the diminishing of it, but be provoked by it to a holy emulation. Let none have an ill report from us, that have a good report even of the truth itself. Thus is shut up this looking-glass for ladies, which they are desired to open and dress themselves by; and, if they do so, their adorning will be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

05.000 GOD'S IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

05.01 GOD'S IRRESISTIBLE GRACE - Introduction

GOD'S IRRESISTIBLE GRACE 

Introduction 

This is an important subject in relation to the sovereign grace of God. One commits a great error if he treats it lightly. Likewise, an individual should not think he has all the answers concerning how God works on the heart of a dead sinner. Many people have deceived themselves by thinking they have all the answers concerning the new birth, they need to learn again "the first principles of the oracles of God." There are many views about the new birth and the means by which it occurs; some are irrational and preposterous, while others are illusive and misleading. The differences arise due to interpreting the Bible by one's system or doctrine. 

There is a system to the Bible and that it is quite basic and logical. However, the natural man cannot understand nor discern the truths of the Spirit of God, and the ways of God are foolish to the carnal mind. Furthermore, we should study God's Word objectively to understand its meaning, though all of us are biased in some way before we start.

05.02 The Subject

The Subject 

This document is a study of "Irresistible Grace" or "Efficacious Grace." Simply defined, this means that all those the Father gave the Son in eternity, the Holy Spirit quickens or makes alive spiritually sometime during their natural life. It may also be explained as that calling of God, which affects the lives of His people (the elect), by calling them "out of darkness into His marvelous light," and this calling can not be resisted nor hindered in any way--God shall call with such an effectual power that He shall fulfill His desire. The Scriptures designate it by several names: translated out of the power of darkness into the kingdom of Christ Jesus (Col 1:13); being born again (Joh 3:3); removing the hard and stony heart and putting in a heart of flesh (Eze 11:19); writing the law in the heart (Jer 31:33); regeneration (Tit 3:5); a passing away of old things and all things becoming new (2Co 5:17). I could extend the list but this is sufficient for our study. In every case, the soul is passive. The new birth is totally the work of God.

05.03 The Work of God Alone

The Work of God Alone 

The Scriptures plainly declare that quickening a soul to Divine life is only the work of God. In Jer 31:33, the Lord said that He would write the law in the hearts. In Eze 11:19, God said that He would give the new heart. In Col 1:12-13, it is God the Father that translated out of the power of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. In 2Co 5:17-18, those who were a new creation and for whom old things had passed away and all things had become new, were fashioned by God--verse eighteen state that the "all things" were "of God." Therefore, to avoid being tedious with many passages, I conclude that the new birth or the new creation is only the work of God. 

However, while it is uniquely the work of God, it is also the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. In Joh 3:8, Jesus stated that the new birth was the work of the Spirit, and that it was a sovereign work which acts and operates like the wind in nature--when He pleases, how He pleases, where He pleases, and upon whom He pleases. When Paul refers to the bondwoman and the freewoman in Ga 3:21-29, he states that the children of promise are those that are born of the Spirit. 

When Jesus spoke of the effectual call in Joh 5:21,24-26, He stated that He was active in the new birth, and He likened this quickening to a resurrection. Again in Joh 6:63, Jesus stated that the words that He spoke were spirit and life. (See Note 1)  

(Note 1: Those who think that preaching is the means of giving life to a dead sinner should study my article entitled The Power of the Word. It is a treatise upon the subject of gospel regeneration, showing the illusion of such a doctrine. Also it answers such passages as Ro 1:16-17; 10:6-17; 1Co 4:15; Phm 10; Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:22-23. In this article I show how Jesus uses His own Word and produces life in a dead sinner without the employment of any agent other than Himself.) 

Those who make the preaching of the Word the means that God uses to give life are in a dilemma because they cannot explain how God may regenerate a baby that dies in infancy or an imbecile or any other such persons. When you ask them about such cases, they usually give answers as: (1) God quickens them some other way; or, (2) we cannot shut up God in a system; or, (3) God works differently with the infant and imbecile than with intelligent persons; or, (4) I don't know. I assert that the Scriptures never give two or more ways of giving Divine life to a dead sinner--it is always done by God independent of sinful man. Nor do the Scriptures imply that God works differently with intelligent persons than with others when it comes to giving eternal life. If God does not work within the system of a person, then that person's system is wrong. When a person's system will not pass the test he usually tries to avoid the problem or answer it with human logic. He may even suggest that God does not save such infants or imbeciles. To this they avoid, or are ignorant of David's child and his statement concerning him in 2Sa 12:23, David said, "But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." The Scriptures (God's infallible Word) and David (a man after God's own heart) state that he and the child would be together again. Some maintain that David is only saying that the child is dead and he (David) will die too and be buried like the child. While this may be an interpretation of David's statement, the first interpretation I gave is also valid. If God can quicken one person without the Word being preached to him, He can all. However, the Scriptures are essentially silent concerning how God works with the infants or imbeciles. The wisest things for us to do about this problem is follow the injunction given in De 29:29: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (See Note 2.)

(Note 2: The signers of the London Confession of Faith addressed this problem with wisdom. On the subject of effectual calling in Chapter X, Article 3, they said, "Elect infants dying in infancy, are (Joh 3:3,5-6) regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and (Joh 3:8) how he pleaseth; so also are all other elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word.")

The person who maintains that God uses the preaching of the Word to quicken an individual affirms that we who deny this limit God. But do we? If all elect must hear audible preaching, God would be obligated to prevent any of His elect from dying in infancy, and keep any of His elect from the condition of being an imbecile. By this we see that those who maintain that the preaching of the Word is the means in giving life to a dead sinner are the ones who limit God. I contend that God quickens a person when He pleases, how He pleases, and the way He pleases. True, God may effectually call a person while a minister is preaching the gospel, but He may also call a person when no one is around and the person is all alone. God may quicken a person during a rain storm when a bolt of lightening strikes near him, or on a ship in a storm while it appears that the ship is going to sink. But whenever God irresistibly calls a person, no matter what the surrounding circumstances may be, it is God sovereignly acting by His mighty power.

05.04 The Passive Recipient

The Passive Recipient

As stated earlier, the receiver of the irresistible grace of God is passive; that is, he can do nothing to receive Divine life, nor can he help God in any way. Joh 1:13, states that it is "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" that one is born again.

If you remember, earlier the new birth was likened unto a resurrection, a birth, and a creation. By this it is seen that nature itself teaches that the recipient of the grace of God is passive. What did Lazarus do to aid the Lord in raising him from the dead? What does a baby do to aid in its birth? How did the absence of matter assist at the creation? The answer to all three questions is NOTHING! Therefore, we see that man can do nothing concerning his new birth.

There are some who claim that the recipient must cooperate with the Holy Spirit and that man is free to make a choice in the new birth. Was Lazarus free? Yes, free to remain dead! Is a baby free? Yes, free to remain in the womb of its mother! Was the absence of matter free in the creation? Yes, free to remain void! Likewise a dead sinner is free, free to remain dead! The only thing a dead corpse can do is rot away and stink. All a dead sinner can do is to rot away in his life of sin and stink from the foul odor of his state depraved being.

Listen to a few verses of Scripture and see if this sounds like a person needs to aid God. In Joh 6:44, Jesus said that no one could go to Him except the Father should draw him. Again, in Joh 10:27, Jesus said that His sheep hear HIS voice and follow Him. Does this sound like Jesus tenderly pleading and begging, trying to get someone to come to Him? Unless God works a work of grace upon the heart, that person cannot come to Christ. He does not want to come "because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be. So, then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Ro 8:7-8). Also a person dead in trespasses and sin cannot come to Christ because he does not have the will to come, nor can he hear the Word of God (Joh 5:40; 8:43). However, Ps 110:3 states that the Lord's "people shall be willing" in the day of His power, and in Mt 28:18, Jesus stated that all power is given to Him. To deny that we are living in the day of His power is to deny God's Word.

I realize that the word "power" in Mt 28:18, is the Greek word "exousia," and it carries the meaning of "authority." However, Thayer gives the basic meaning as "power" and the first definition as "power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; leave or permission." Since Christ has all liberty to do as He pleases in heaven and on earth and the Psalmist declares that the Lord's people are made "willing" in the day of His power, then, when Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and He gives to them eternal life, and all that the Fathers gave Him would come to Him, this shows an irresistible power (Joh 10:27-28; 6:37).

05.05 A Violation of Will

A Violation of Will

Some maintain that this is a violation of man's free will to choose for himself. But we saw earlier that if man is left to his own will (which is certainly not free), he cannot do anything but remain in his own dead state, and left to himself, he will die in that state because he loves darkness rather than light (Joh 3:19). Thereby, unless God exercises His omnipotent power upon the heart of a dead sinner, he will die in his sins. Neither can one say that it is a violation of man's will when God effectually draws him because God changes his heart so that he is willing in the day of His power (Eze 11:19; Ps 110:3). However, peoples have their wills violated continually and no one objects to it. For example, a man wishes to commit suicide and shoots himself. Later someone finds him and carries him to the hospital and the doctor saves his life. Is not this a violation of the man's will? You say, "Yes, but that's different." I ask, "What is so different about it?" If God did not exert His omnipotent grace upon the heart of anyone, who would be saved? None! Why would anyone complain because God effectually draws an individual to Himself and saves him from a burning hell?

05.06 That God Can't Judge

That God Can't Judge

Many people say that if this be so, God cannot rightly judge and condemn those who do not come to Christ since He did not make them capable of coming to Christ. First, they should realize that whatsoever God does is just and right whether we can comprehend His ways or not. Second, they should also realize that God has the right to do whatever He desires with His creatures. They should realize that human beings, though intelligent beings, are only the product of the Potter who made them from clay (Ro 9:21-24). Third, even though God does not regenerate them, He does not hinder them from coming to Christ. You say, "They cannot come." That is true, also they do not want to come, and anything God brings on them will not cause them to bow to His will. In Re 16:8-11, God poured out His wrath on some and instead of repenting, they blasphemed God. If God bestows favor upon the wicked, they still rebel against His ways. Isa 26:10 states, "Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord." Therefore, it matters not how God deals with them, they only fight against Him and do not wish to have any part with Him. God will put the wicked in hell for their rebellion and the sins which they treasure up against themselves. Who will dare to say that God is unjust in condemning the wicked? Who will dare say that God is unjust in saving the righteous?

Search the Scriptures and it is never found where any person stated that God was unjust in saving him. Would you charge God as being unjust because He saves you? Also, search God's Word and you cannot find the slightest implication that God is unjust for damning any person. Let us always remember that God's judgment is always right whether we understand His ways or not. Just because we cannot understand God or His ways, we should not be guilty of questioning His ways.

05.07 Summation

Summation

I have shown that God, by His efficacious grace, draws every one of His elect unto Him in the person of Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit. I showed that because of the elect being dead in sin, they could not help in their new birth in any way. Jer 13:23 states that if the Ethiopian can change his skin or the leopard his spots, then those who are accustomed to doing evil could do good. Therefore, knowing that the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots, it is impossible for a dead sinner to change his ways. However, when God wants a person changed, He changes him by His almighty power. Well did Ephraim speak when he stated, "Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord, my God. Surely after I was turned, I repented" (Jer 31:18-20).

Knowing that God loved an innumerable number of people before the foundation of the world and that He gave them to Christ to be their surety, it would be disparaging God to find that His people would be kept from His purpose because He did not have the power to bestow eternal life upon them. But, OH! What joy it is to know that His immaculate plan will not be thwarted in any way and that He will do all His pleasure (Isa 46:9-11).

05.08 Conclusion

Conclusion

I have only introduced the subject in this study and I realize that much more could be stated concerning this wonderful truth. However, I have only tried to give a brief summary of the topic and have not tried to exhaust it in any way. Also to try to go into the subject in every respect would be too voluminous for this time. I pray that God will use this to stir your mind to study the subject under the authority of God's Word. Remember that the reason you rejoice in this truth is because "it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Php 2:13).

Yes, great is the mystery of godliness, but how much more glorious to us when we find that God drew us with an irresistible, loving kindness, and that His sheep hear His voice, and that He gives (not offers) eternal life to them all (Jer 31:3; Joh 10:27-28).

With this I conclude with the words of Elisha Coles, "Rest not in this, that you 'know God,' but rather, that you are 'known of Him.'"

Jimmy Barber

Copyright 1991, 1999 by Veritas Publications

06.000 ETERNAL LIFE

Today there is moral decay and the philosophy of antichrist on every hand. People are claiming to be “born again Christians,” “filled with the Holy Ghost,” “followers of Jesus,” “in possession of eternal life” etc., yet, their lives show no change. Through modern, popular religious suasion, eternal life is thought to be nothing more than a ticket to a happy existence after death. The problem is God’s Word does not define eternal life according to man’s opinions. The Bible is a great deal more discriminating than man. Man likes to think that he and all of his kin and friends are alright and have nothing to fear. But is this Bible?

I do not wish to be harsh nor judgmental; however, I desire to speak “as the oracles of God” (1Pe 4:11) and as “thus saith the Word of the Lord.” God’s Word says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa 8:20). This I do not wish to be. My desire is to be faithful. And I know some will think me to narrow and unloving. To you, I ask that you study this article by God’s Word and not by your own opinions. I know that these things are not to be taken lightly and I have a sober heart as I write.

What is eternal life? We know that when God in His sovereignty moves upon the heart of an individual by the immediate power of the Holy Spirit and that person is regenerated, he has eternal life. And we can agree that that person will be with God in glory and nothing can hinder it. This is true of the elect infant who dies in infancy, or the thief on the cross. However, when we study God’s Word we find that God’s Spirit dwelling in the heart of His sheep works effectually so that they enter into eternal life as they travel in this world as strangers and pilgrims. It is this efficacious working of God that I desire to speak about in this article.

Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (Joh 17:3). Note that Jesus said that eternal life consists of knowing God as Father, and Jesus Christ as sent by God. This involves knowing the Jesus Christ of Scripture. To know that there is a God, yea, even one God is not sufficient for this the devils know. (Jas 2:19). Now one may ask, “Cannot one have eternal life by knowing God and not knowing Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture?” Listen to Christ, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: … he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; … At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father. and ye in me, and I in you. and he that loveth me shall he loved of my Father, and I will love, and will manifest myself to him. … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come onto him, and make our abode with him.” (Joh 14:7,9; 20:21,23) Many, many other passages could be produced to prove that to know God is to know Christ and to know Christ is to know God. But what if a person will not listen to God’s Word? Jesus said “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (Joh 8:43). And Jesus prayed in Joh 17:20 that His sheep hear and believe His word — the writing of the apostles.

Now what about the pagans who worship Buddha, Confucius, Allah, or some other false God? Though they may be very dedicated and religious, they reject and deny Jesus Christ. And God’s word says, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father,” (1Jo 2:23) In fact, when studying this verse in the context, it is seen that those who deny the truth concerning Jesus Christ are of antichrist—the wicked one. Listen to 1Jo 2:24-27, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us. even eternal life. (Note that eternal life is continuing in the Son and the Father.) These thing have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” Later John speaks of the spirit of antichrist which is in the false prophets and he tells the saints not to believe every spirit—preachers and teachers. Further, John states that because the Holy Spirit works effectually in the people of God they will not be carried away by the philosophies of the world and false teachers, and that they will hear and give heed to God’s word. Note 1Jo 4:4-6: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them (false teachers): because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They (false teachers) are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

Later John, the apostle of love, shows the contrast more: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1Jo 5:4-5). And Jesus said “the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (Joh 10:4-5). When speaking to those self-righteous Jews Christ said, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (Joh 10:26-28). Note that Jesus said “I give” not “I will give.” One language scholar stated that it is “not simply ‘I will give,’” but that it “is present and continuously appropriated.” (B. F. Westcott, The Gospel According to John). Hereby it is seen that eternal life is equated with “hearing,” “following,” and “knowing” Christ.

Yes, eternal life is not limited to the state of glory after the resurrection, nor is it simply being born again. Though eternal life begins in the life of God’s people when the Holy Spirit immediately works on the heart, it does not stop there. This eternal life, which is the effectual work of God, issues in hearing, following, knowing, and being obedient to Jesus Christ. If a person does not know Jesus Christ and is not following Christ, then, biblically speaking it cannot be said that he has eternal life. 

Jimmy Barber

July 1979, July 9, 2005

 

07.000 THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

 

(Though I wrote this article several years ago and quoted some leaders of that day, the message is unchangeable. For this reason, it is submitted for your consideration.)

 

Sometime ago I wrote an article entitled “God’s Thoughts and Man’s Thought” which appeared in The Abundant Life. In the article reference was made to the influence of the religion of humanism which is being propagated in the public (state) schools. At this time our desire is to bring to light why enlightened Christians cannot, in all good conscience, sacrifice the children which God has given to them on the altar of secular humanism.

First, let us see that each child born is really a gift from the Lord. Note the familiar passage in Ps 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” The psalmist goes on to declare that the man who has many children is well equipped in life as the soldier with a full quiver of arrows. This man is happy. However, the point is that the children are a gift (the Lord’s heritage) to the parents. This Jacob confessed to his brother Esau: “And he (Esau) lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, who are those with thee? And he (Jacob) said, The children which God hat graciously given thy servant” (Ge 33:5). Note that the children were given graciously by God. For parents to consider their children other than God’s gracious gift is a sin. For parents to raise the gracious gift of God contrary to the Scriptures is also a sin.

Second, parents are to raise the children according to God’s standards. Eph 6:4 tells us that God has commanded the father as the head and leader of the home to make sure that the children are educated after the precepts of the Lord: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” If this is not done the father must carry the major part of the blame as the leader and head of the family.

For those who might argue that education is not included in this passage, I draw your attention to the words “nurture” and “admonition.” The word “admonition,” according to R. C. Trench in Synonyms of the New Testament, p. 107, “is the training by word by the word of encouragement, when this is sufficient, but also by that of remonstrance, of reproof, of blame, where these may be required; as set over against the training by act and by discipline which is paidei,a” (nurture). Trench went on to say that though admonition is the milder term, “yet its association with paidei,a (nurture) teaches us” that admonition “is a most needful element of Christian education,” and that nurture without admonition would be very incomplete.

The word “nurture,” which is the stronger word of the two, without question refers to education in every area of life. J. H. Thayer in the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament gave the meaning of “nurture” as follows: “the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment).” Thayer went on to say that “in Greek writing from Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) on, it includes also the care and training of the body.” It is the word translated as “chastise” as found in Heb 12:5,7-8,11, and “instruction” in 2Ti 3:16. In Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 5, p. 596, it is stated that this word “denotes the upbringing and handling of the child which is growing up to maturity and which thus needs direction, teaching, instruction and a certain measure of compulsion in the form of discipline or even chastisement. Paidei,a (the Greek word) is both the way of education and cultivation which has to be traversed and also the goal which is to be attained.” Then in a footnote it is given – “In every age paidei,a implies for the Greeks a process of growth, and there is always a relation between the words for education and nourishment, originally almost identical in meaning.” The article extends for 30 pages showing the history and use of the word in the realm of education. Time will not allow us to study this in such detail. However, a brief survey of the verb form of this word, which carries the same meaning, will give us enough proof to show that the education of children in every area of life is taught in Eph 6:4. In Lu 23:16,22, the word is translated “chastise,” and refers to the scourging of Christ. In Ac 7:22, the word is translated “learned.” Here it shows the education which Moses received at the hands of Egypt: “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” In Ac 22:3, where it is translated “taught,” Paul states that he was “brought up in this city (Jerusalem) at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers ....” See Heb 12:6-7,10, where it is translated “chasten.” Much, much more could be given but this is sufficient for any individual to substantiate that fathers are to provide godly education to their children in every area of life.

Fathers, what kind of education are you providing for the “heritage of the Lord” which “God has graciously given” to you? If you have not considered this before, then, in all love, I beseech you to prayerfully become involved in the godly education of the children which God has entrusted to you. Remember that you shall have to give an account of this stewardship also. (See Lu 12:47-48.)

However, the mothers too have a part in the education of their children. In 1Ti 2:11-15, I believe that God’s Word teaches the importance of the role of the mother. The passage is a troublesome passage to many, and verse 15 has many different interpretations. Yet, let us consider the passage.

Paul stated in 1Ti 3:15, that he was instructing Timothy concerning how the ministry of the church should be carried out. In 1Ti 2:11-14, God’s Word states that the woman is not to teach nor to usurp authority over the man. The reason for this is because, first, the woman was created after the man, and, second, the woman is easily deceived. Then Paul states in 1Ti 2:15 that if the woman wants to be saved or delivered from silence she is to raise her children so that “they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” They cannot do this if she does not teach them around the house by precept and example. (Note the importance here of the woman being a keeper at home according to Tit 2:5.) The mother gets to speak loud and clear in the lives of her children. No wonder that Pr 31:28 says of the virtuous woman, “Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Mothers, when is the last time your children stood up when you walked in the room and blessed you? When is the last time your husband praised you? How have your children continued in their lives? Should you remain silent?

Let us also briefly look at Tit 2:3-5 in this light. Here it tells the older women to be “teachers of good things.” God’s Word lists several things for the older women to teach the younger women. This is to be done in order that “the Word of God be not blasphemed.” Since this is not being generally done in the day in which we live, the Word of God is being blasphemed.

Mothers, especially the older ones, please keep the roles given to you by our Lord and teach these things by precept and example to the younger women. I am thankful to see many younger women striving to fit this pattern. May God bless others.

These two passages should be sufficient to show that the instruction of children does not fall on the shoulders of the fathers alone. No, the mothers are also responsible. However, due to the role of the father as head and leader, he is to take the lead and over-all supervision in the education of his children.

Third, we need to see what the center of Christian education is. Christian education is not a morning chapel service along with prayer and teaching certain Bible facts. It must have a far more substantial foundation than this. There are many schools under the guise of Christian schools but are nothing more than humanistic schools sprinkled with chapel, devotions, and prayer.

Christian education must be founded upon the bedrock of God’s Word. Ec 12:13-14 gives the foundation for Christian education: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Note that God’s Word states that “the whole duty of man” is to “fear God, and keep His commandments.” This is in every area of life, not just in worship on Sunday, nor on Wednesday night. Every child must be taught that he is responsible to God and that ultimately he must give an account to God “whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Every subject taught, every method used, and every vocation desired must fall under the dominion to “fear God, and keep His commandments.”

The government would have us to believe that man was created for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is not true. God says that man was created for His glory: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hath created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Re 4:11). See also Col 1:16. Therefore, the children are to be taught that they were created for the glory and pleasure of God and not for their own glory and “pursuit of happiness.” Besides, true liberty is not doing what one desires, but doing what God commands in the Scriptures. From these passages alone (and many more could be supplied) it can readily be seen that to teach anything contrary to the truth of God is not of God. It is self-evident that the state schools teach contrary to God and Christ. In fact, the state schools are antichrist. This is because the foundation and the superstructure of the state educational system is in antithesis to that of God’s Word. It was established earlier that the parents are to educate the children only “in the nurture (discipline) and admonition of the Lord.” Since the state schools teach contrary to the Word of God we cannot, we must not, allow the “heritage of the Lord” to be subjected to the teaching of the devil. When the assertion is made that the state schools are antichrist, we do not mean that each and every person associated with the state schools are antichrist. The charge is made against the system. That some teachers and administrators are Christian is not denied. However, it is believed that they are working in a system which produces what R. J. Rushdoony calls “intellectual schizophrenia,” that is, it is a house divided.

Now I will show that the philosophy and environment of the state schools are contrary to God and His Word; that is, of antichristian principles.

First, it should be pointed out that the so-called “father of public (state) education,” John Dewey, and others who played a large role in the establishing of our present state educational system were religious humanists. (For a copy of the “Humanist Manifesto” I & II, write the American Humanist Association, 7 Harwood Drive, Amherst, New York 14226.) As humanists their philosophy is totally against God’s truth. For example note the statement by Paul Blanshard, a signer of the Humanist Manifesto II in 1973:

I think the most important factor moving us towards a secular society has been the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until he is sixteen tends to lead toward the elimination of religious superstition. The average American child now acquires a high school education, and this militates against Adam and Eve and all other myths of alleged history. (Taken from Homer Duncan’s valuable book Secular Humanism. It is published by Missionary Crusader, 4606 Ave. H, Lubbock, Texas 79404.)

There is much concerning this statement on which I would like to comment, but time will not permit. However, it is self-evident what the purpose of state education is to Blanshard.

Are Blanshard and the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II of 1973 really all that bad? Are they antichrist? This is strong language; can one really make such a claim? Well, let the humanists speak for themselves as we quote part of the 1973 manifesto. (It is obvious I cannot take the space to quote all of it and I shall follow the condensation as given by Analee McGraw in her booklet Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time Has Come. This can be ordered from The Heritage Foundation, 513 C Street, N.E., Dept. G, Washington, D.C. 20002)

Traditional dogmatic authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. Any account of nature should pass the test of scientific evidence; in our judgment, the dogmas and myths of traditional religions do not do so. … We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural God. … As non-theists, we begin with humans not god, nature, not deity.

We reject these features of traditional religious morality that deny humans a full appreciation of their own potentialities and responsibilities. Traditional religions often offer solace to humans, but, as often, they inhibit humans from helping themselves or experiencing their full potentialities. ... We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. ... Humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

Moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life. Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures. ... We strive for the good life, here and now.

This should be self-evident to anyone that those who give their approval to the humanistic system in anyway are giving their approval to the system and teaching of antichrist. Our Lord said that one cannot serve both God and mammon, but that one serves either God or mammon (Mt 6:24). 1Jo 2:22 states, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” This is strong language. But when we weigh the humanist’s own confessions with God’s Word we find that the humanists and their ways are of the devil (antichrist). Can we take the “heritage of the Lord” (our children) and subject them to the teachings of the devil? No, they must be raised in God’s “nurture and admonition.”

That the state schools teach on the humanistic philosophical level can be adequately proven over and over again. However, only one clear example is needed to prove this fact; the example of the state schools teaching evolution at the expense of special creation. (The humanistic philosophy in the state schools is broader in scope than the teaching of evolution, but space will not permit such an analysis. It reaches into every area of life – religion, ethics, values, counseling, group therapy, survival games, sensitivity training, as well as all of the fields of learning.)

That evolution is humanistic is seen in the quote given above from the 1973 Manifesto: “As non-theists, we begin with humans not god, nature not deity.” Even the 1933 Manifesto, which John Dewey signed, stated, “First: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. Second: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.”

No wonder the state schools reject special creation as found in the Scriptures. Can we as Bible believers take the “heritage” which God has given to us and subject them to such antichristian principles for nine months out of twelve? Can we expect to have the major influence on our children when they receive such overwhelming teaching contrary to God’s Word? No wonder the homes in our nation are destroyed when we are being told that we are only a higher form of an ape. The moral of the day is no better. If Christian parents do not provide or strive to provide godly education for the children which God has given them no one else will. Equally, we as Christians who do not have children should strive to support our brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to fulfill God’s Word in this matter. 1Jo 3:17-18 applies here also: “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

Not only is the teaching of the state schools against God’s Word, but the environment is also devilish (ungodly). Notice this statement by Senator Jesse Helms as found in the introduction of Homer Duncan’s book:

When the U. S. Supreme Court prohibited children from participating in voluntary prayers in public schools, the conclusion is inescapable that the Supreme Court not only violated the right of full exercise of religion for all Americans; it also established a national religion in the United States – the religion of secular humanism.

Since that time, our schools have been increasingly plagued with vandalism, crime, violence, drug abuse and promiscuity; and academic standards and achievements have been falling sharply year by year. Sad to say, our schools have reflected the disruption and discord of our society as a whole. As our nation faces the challenges of the 1980’s, it is time to recognize the obvious: America has been ignoring its spiritual and moral heritage, and that is the road to disaster.

Recently the writer read where it is considered to be more dangerous in Chicago for the state school teachers than for the police on the streets. Can we send our children, the “heritage of the Lord,” into an environment for twelve to sixteen years which is ungodly and antichristian in origin? It is certain – to do so is not raising the children according to God’s “nurture and admonition.” Neither is this teaching the “heritage of the Lord” to “fear God, and keep His commandments.”

We can rest assured that the state schools, which are government schools, teach the humanistic philosophies of our governmental leaders. That our leaders are humanist can be proven by their own words. I quote from pp. 13, 14, of Homer Duncan’s book showing that our President and Vice-President are humanists. (Just because our President claims to be “born again” and a Southern Baptist does not mean that he is Christian. His speech betrays him. And our Vice-President comes from a long line of Unitarian humanists.)

In April, 1978, “President Carter sent the following telegram to The American Humanist Association:”

Those who participate in the annual meeting of the American Humanist Association are furthering a movement that greatly enhances our way of life. As you know, the advancement of human rights has become the cornerstone of this administration’s actions at home and abroad. The work of your organization in this are is, therefore, especially gratifying to me, and I welcome this opportunity to applaud your important accomplishments. May you have a most productive and inspiring 1978 session. /s/ Jimmy Carter, President.

How is it that any individual who loves God can “applaud” an organization that is against God; that is antichrist? Is it not clear how our President supports bills and makes policies that are contrary to God’s Word? No wonder he desires to bring the state schools totally under the power and dominion of the government.

Vice-President Mondale, who has written in the past to The Humanist magazine, spoke in August 1970 at the 5th Congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union which was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his opening remarks he stated:

Although I have never formally joined a humanist society, I think I am a member by inheritance. My preacher father was a humanist – in Minnesota they call them Farmer Laborites and I grew up on a very rich diet of humanism from him. All of our family has been deeply influenced by this tradition including my brother Lester, a Unitarian minister, Ethical Culture Leader, and chairman of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists. (Vice-President Mondale’s brother, Lester Mondale, signed the 1973 Humanist Manifesto.)

Therefore, having seen that according to the humanists themselves, they consider humanism a religion, yet it is a religion of man (humans), not of God. It is antichrist, and, therefore, of the devil. Their goal is to bring in a perfect age, a golden utopia, by the evolutionary process of the power and wisdom of man. And one of their main vehicles for achieving their goal is the state educational system. (For further proof of this fact see R. J. Rushdoony’s book The Messianic Character of American Education.) Their desire as they strive to build their own utopia is to dethrone God and to enthrone man.

Do we not see the need to remove the “heritage of the Lord” from this ungodly system and labour to provide a system which is founded on God’s Word? The Scriptures teach that the parents (and the responsibility mainly lies on the fathers) are to bring the children up (educate) in God’s “nurture and admonition.” Man (children included) is the creation of God and is responsible to Him. These sinful (depraved) children are to be instructed after the precepts of God’s truth, and “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ec 12:14)

No, we cannot make children of God out of our children, nor can we implant divine life into their souls. But we can, and are commanded, to teach them truth and not the lies of Satan. If we do not do so, we disobey God and His Word. May God give us wisdom and the means to reclaim the ground which we have yielded to the government.

Lastly, we need to see the ultimate of education; that is, what is true education? I believe 2Co 10:1-5 will give us insight at this point, especially verse 5. It is self-evident that Paul is speaking about the ministry and objectives of the minister.

Nevertheless, the same principle will apply to the warfare of the educational process.

The minds and hearts of the children, being depraved, will cause the child to do everything contrary to the right ways of God. For instance, one does not have to teach a child (even an infant) to lie. The child will do this automatically because of his depraved state. Therefore the war is on! The child is to be taught not only to tell the truth (keep God’s commandments), but that he is responsible for not doing so (“God shall bring every work into judgment.”) Also, every subject is to be taught as it is in harmony with God’s truth. Paul stated in 2Co 10:5 that we are to cast down “imaginations (reasonings) and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” We should strive to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Truly we are at war!

This sort of teaching is a must if we are to raise the “heritage of the Lord” according to God’s Word. However, the child must be taught that true education is not knowing that there is a God; not knowing about God, but to know God Himself. The child must be taught that in order to attain this level of education he is at the mercy of the Sovereign God of the universe. No man can give this. We can discipline the children according to God’s Word, but only God can manifest Himself to the children (or to anyone else for that matter).

The child must not only be told that God is the creator and is sovereign over the universe, but the child must know it for himself. The child must know that because God is such, he (the child) is obligated to bring every thought and action under subjection to God’s authority. This can only be truly accomplished by having divine life implanted within the child. The child must be told that he “must be born again.”

No, the preacher, the parent, nor the teacher can give divine life, only God can do this. But we are to still teach the children according to thus saith the Lord. We are to do what God has commanded and not turn those minds over to the institutes of antichrist. God forbid that we allow the “heritage of the Lord” to be subjected to such things.

Then, in God’s sovereignty if He chooses to turn the hearts of our children unto Him so that they reach the height of the educational ladder we can loudly praise His holy name. And as stated above the truly educated person is one who knows God. (If a choice had to be made between knowing the three R’s, etc., or the Lord, our prayers should be for the Lord. But why should we have to rule out the three R’s? Why not seek to fulfill what God has commanded and pray for God to do the rest?)

Study 1Jo 2:20; 1Co 2:15-16 and Pr 28:5, and it will be clearly seen that he who knows God knows “all things,” judges or discerns “all things,” and understands “all things.” The world does not know that drunkenness is sin; they think it is a “sickness.” The world judges sodomy to be an “alternate life style” rather than an abomination of the Lord. The world (state schools) understands man to be an off-spring of amino acids, and that the universe just happened to come into existence. But he who knows God knows all things.

While much more could be said, and needs to be, I shall close with this brief introduction concerning the importance of Christian education. We should thank God that He is beginning to open our eyes to this needful subject. May we use every available means (time, talent, money, and prayer) to reclaim the ground we have lost. The battle is hard, but it is of the Lord. May we buckle on the armour, wield the sword, and march forward in the strength and power of Jehovah fighting the warfare that He has commanded. He is the Captain; His Word is the manual. Let us rise up and fight in this honorable battle to educate the “heritage of the Lord” according to His “nurture and admonition.”

Jimmy Barber
Copyright by Veritas Publications
February 25, 1991

08.000 FAMILY WORSHIP

FAMILY WORSHIP

 

 

          Family worship. How many times have we heard this subject mentioned with dread and fear. Often children sigh at the thought of it. On the other hand, parents blush while they justify their lack of conducting this blessed and holy daily event.

          Today is a day of entertainment. It does not matter what the occasion is, the people in the audience usually sit waiting for the speaker to entertain them. Therefore, it is a major accomplishment for a family to sit still and worship the Lord together in the blessed confines of the home. Family worship is not a time for entertainment nor frivolous activities. It is a time when the father gathers around him his blessed wife and children and leads them in devotion to the Lord of glory. Various activities can be included to perform this; such as, Bible reading, prayer, reading good books which instill and teach biblical principles, singing, Bible memorization, catechizing, and other such functions. However, my purpose is to emphasize the performing of family worship rather than particular ways of having it.

          In this study, I will address somewhat, first, the role of the husband/father in family worship. Second, I will discuss some of the functions which the wife/mother plays in this holy service. Third, I shall address some thoughts toward the children. While I do not expect children will be reading this, it is important for the head of the home to know what the role and function of children are that he may properly instruct them in family worship. Lastly, I will discuss some hindrances and objections which are raised against family worship.

          I recommend a book for you fathers along this line: The Family by B. M. Palmer and James W. Alexander. Many thoughts in this study come from this work and I will quote from it in this study. The two men originally wrote two separate works, but Sprinkle Publications took the two books and combined them in one binding. Sprinkle Publications address is P. O. Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. Though both books were written in the 1800's they are apropos for our day.

08.01 Exhortation to Fathers

Exhortation to Fathers

 

          Is family worship an option, or is it a basic principle of the Christian faith? I believe it is a basic part of the Christian faith. A study of Galatians chapter three reveals that the faith of New Testament believers is no different from the faith of Abraham. In fact, verses seven and nine state that the children of Abraham and those who have faith in Christ are one and the same. Since we have the same faith as Abraham, we need to understand Abraham's faith at it pertained to family worship.

          In Ge 18:19, the Lord said the following concerning Abraham: "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." God stated that Abraham would command his household and they would keep the way of the Lord. The things which God promised Abraham were to be given to him through him instructing his family in the ways of God. Therefore, by comparing this with Ga 3:14, it is seen that the blessing of Abraham comes on the Gentiles in the same way; that is, by living as faithful Abraham did. Husbands/fathers it is your responsibility before God to instruct your family in the Word of God and if you fail to do it you are sinning before God and your family. You are without excuse if you are not having family worship in your homes. How can you better love, nourish, cherish, sanctify, and cleanse (practically speaking) than by worshiping with your wife (Eph 5:25-30)? The Scriptures command you to love your wife. In fact, it is your responsibility to establish love in the home. Love begins in the home with the man. Ponder the words of B. M. Palmer:

 

The husband is the representative and organ of the love in which the conjugal relation has its ground. It is not necessary to show that love is the element in which the family moves, the atmosphere which sustains its life; or that it is the basis upon which marriage is contracted, and without which it is little better than licensed concubinage. This may be assumed. . . .

 

Let it be observed, then, in the order of nature this love beings with the man. He is the chooser; which explains the peculiar language in Ge 2:24: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife." It is not put the other way, although in reality it involves a heavier sacrifice when the woman leaves the home of her youth. But it is not her place to take the initiative. Woman must impose a restraint upon her affections, until she is challenged. Like the violet, she hides her sweetness beneath the leaf, until the hand is stretched to pluck her from concealment. She may arouse the love which shall draw forth her own in absolute response; but that love must first speak from another's lips, of which her own is but the echo. Since, then, this love is first cherished by the man, is first recognized and is first uttered by him, he represents it in its active and controlling power throughout life. His love must always go in the front. As he began, so must he continue to be its exponent and representative. It pertains to his office, as the husband, to lay the foundations of the new society and communion in love; and he is the organ through which it speaks its great commands.

 

If he (i.e., man) stands for God in the absoluteness of his rule, then must he take the justice, the tenderness and forbearance of the Divine Lawgiver as the tests of his own fidelity. He who rules for God in this primary commonwealth, must himself learn the law of love as the undertone of his own authority. (The Family, I:27-28, 33-34.)

 

          The man who loves his wife biblically also dwells with her in knowledge, 1Pe 3:7. This verse plainly declares that the husband is to know his wife. The world erroneously makes jokes that men cannot know nor understand women, but this verse contradicts such foolish thinking. The husband cannot better honor his wife as the weaker vessel than by dwelling with her prayerfully. Here we see that dwelling and praying are connected. Therefore, the man who biblically dwells with his wife will worship with her, and seeing she is the weaker vessel he is to lead her in this worship. If he does not, he does not properly honor his wife. In fact, the man who does not properly honor and love his wife does not love himself, Eph 5:28. No wonder men who do not obey the Lord in maintaining family worship in the home are often bitter toward their wife, Col 3:19. Equally, it may well be that we fathers provoke our children to wrath because we are negligent of family worship, Col 3:21. Oh, may the Lord smite the hearts of our men today that we would repent of neglecting family worship.

          It has often been said, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." I do not wish to underestimate the importance of godly mothers and their role in which God put them. However, I believe the influence of a godly father who teaches his children to fear the Lord will benefit society far greater than anything else. Our society has largely become a matriarchal society--a society ruled by women. One major contributing factor for this is men failing to lead their families according to the principles laid down in God's Word. While men are to lead, guide, and direct their family continually (De 6:4-7), God gave the father quality time to do this in family worship. Men, unless you order your domestic affairs so that you daily perform family worship in your homes you are not performing your proper love and duty to your wife and children.  James W. Alexander said:

 

You are, by Providence, set at the head of a family, to support it, instruct it, guard it, and in every way care for its, temporal and eternal good. ... When you return from the toils and distractions of the day, and sit at home, amidst the little quiet circle, you feel that you are among your chief wealth. This is your treasure. The law makes it your castle, and religion may make it your sanctuary. As your eye rests on the wife of your bosom, and the pledges of your mutual love, you silently give thanks to God, and sometimes your heart overflows in earnest wishes for the good of each beloved object. Withhold not a single defence or ornament from that Christian home, which is already the source of so many virtues and enjoyments. ... Have you no desire to honour God, in the midst of these his favours? ... It is amazing, and all but incredible, that any man who loves Christ, should be willing to preside over a family in which, from year to year, there is nothing to signalize it as belonging to the Lord. (The Family, II:232-235.)

 

          Husbands/fathers, here is an excellent place to instruct your family about those scriptural words which hardly anyone knows anything about today: justification, propitiation, righteousness, sanctification, atonement, reconciliation, redemption, surety, election, adoption, depravity (dead in sin), federal headship (in Adam/in Christ), predestination, condemnation, holiness (God's & man's), Christ's intercession, faith, and many other such topics. By doing this you will cause your family to better understand the preaching of the gospel. This will also fulfill such passages as 1Co 14:34-35. You are responsible before God to know the answers to the questions which your family asks you. If you do not know the answers God requires you to study His Word to find them and clearly explain them to your family.

08.02 Part II

Part II

 

          Now I will give some instructions to the wives/mothers and children concerning this subject. While the father is the head of the household and is to perform that which the Lord requires whether his family agrees or not, it is impossible for him to carry out family worship fully unless the family is corporative. The wife plays an extremely important role here. She will assist in building or destroying the home. This will reveal whether the wife is wise or foolish. Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands (Pr 14:1).

08.03 Exhortation to Wives

Exhortation to Wives

 

          Wives, God placed you to the a help meet (i.e. a helper fit) for your husband (Ge 2:18). Therefore, you are to be meet (fit) to help him in this area, too. You should follow his leadership and help him fulfill this duty. When the husband is not available to lead in family worship it is your duty to fill the gap and support him in this. It is like discipline. When the wife does not support the husband in discipline, she divides and destroys the family. A mother at home can tear down all the father seeks to build while he is at work during the day. Mothers, you have an extremely important role to live in glorifying the Lord by being a “daughter of Sarah” (1Pe 3:8). Mothers, throughout the day seek to reinforce what your husband is teaching in family worship. Notice how we are commanded to instruct our children:

 

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates (De 6:4-9).

 

          Those who try to explain this passage away by saying that it is in the Old Testament need to stop and consider that Christ Jesus used this passage during His ministry with the rich young ruler (Mt 22:37; Mr 12:30; Lu 10:27). Therefore, we are to teach our children continually the Word of the Lord. No man can completely perform this without the assistance of a godly wife. It is a joy to my soul to see my faithful wife instructing our children in the ways of the Lord as she supports me in being a proper father and leader of the home. Truly such women are of “great price” in the eyes of the Lord (1Pe 3:4).

          Wives, though you rank under the husband, you are not inferior. You must guide the home in unity with your husband. In fact, the Scriptures command you to do so. 1Ti 5:14 says, “I will that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” This passage speaks volumes to the modern ideas of the place women. It definitely states that the woman is to “guide the house.” It is evident that she is to do this under the authority of and in agreement with her husband. The wife is not to allow the day to pass by without directing the house. She is to guide it. It is by her direction that her domestic chores are accomplished and the home is functioning harmoniously for the husband when he comes home from work so that he can perform family worship in conjunction with his chores about the house. What better way for the wife to love her husband and children than by scheduling her days that family worship may be accomplished (Tit 2:4-5)? Many husbands are discouraged by their wives because she does not organize her domestic duties so that when he comes home he does not have the time to carry out family worship properly.

          Another discouragement to the husband is when the wife tries to discuss how to conduct family worship while it is being accomplished. Some husbands have been discouraged by the wife because she often expresses dislike toward activities which the husband seeks to incorporate during family worship. Husbands, you should have this settled with the wife beforehand. It is better that family worship be lacking than the time spent discussing the how-to's. The wife may be correct in the evaluation, but the time to discuss it is not during family worship. That should be discussed privately by the husband and wife. Wives, if your husband is just beginning family worship, do not discourage him by continually trying to improve on his job. Pray for him. If the opportunity presents itself you should aid and assist him, but do it submissively. (A man is full of pride if he will not listen to the suggestions and opinions of a godly wife. Remember, men. It is family worship.) If a wife has more spiritual maturity in the Scriptures she is not to seek to correct and instruct the husband during family worship. She is to be patient, pray for him, and when the proper time is available, discuss her differences with him in private. Wives, encourage, comfort, support, and reverence your husband biblically so that the family will grow together in family worship.

          There are some women who do not have responsible husbands or who are married to unbelievers, and some who are alone with children. What are they to do? They are to do what they can to instruct their children. If this is your condition, allow me to exhort and encourage you to maintain family worship. Do not shirk your responsibility nor excuse yourself because you do not have an ideal situation. You may think that you are helpless, but this is far from the truth. There were two godly women in the Scriptures who evidently had a great deal of influence in molding and shaping the live of a young man whom God later used to preach the gospel of Christ—Lois and Eunice (2Ti 1:5; 3:14-15; Ac 16:1-3). By studying these passages we find that Lois was married to an unbeliever. Why this Jewish woman married a Greek, we do not know. However, we know that she (along with her mother) was a believer in Christ. She instructed Timothy from the beginning from the Scriptures and obviously Eunice assisted her. In fact, the Greek word for child in 2Ti 3:15 is brephos. This word is used eight times in the New Testament: Lu 1:41,44; 2:12,16; 18:15; Ac 7:19; 1Pe 2:2; 2Ti 3:15. It is used to designate an unborn child, a new-born child, an infant, a babe (Thayer, 105). Surely, Lois followed the command of the Lord in De 6:4-9. Therefore, I encourage you to maintain family family worship. Do not be weary in well doing (Ga 6:10).

08.04 Exhortation to Children

Exhortation to Children

 

          Children should not think they are being deprived by having to sit still and worship God in their homes. Children who have parents that require them to listen attentively to their instructions from the Holy Scriptures have a rich heritage. Parents should not allow their children to think otherwise.

          Children, you should thank God for your godly parents who daily instruct you in God's Word. You have no idea what lies ahead of you. Loving parents are preparing you for the difficult times of the future by requiring you to attend family worship. Your godly parents desire the best for you. Their desire is not to make things hard for you; they desire to spare you all the difficulties and hardships they can. Children, listen! God commands you to give attention to the instruction of your parents—Pr 1:7-9; 2:1-9; 3:1-4; 4:1,20-23; 5:1-2; 6:20-21; 7:1-3.

          (Fathers, I suggest that you read this section to your children and discuss it with them. My desire is to encourage you and your children. I found that I was not able to present the material adequately for them. During family worship might be a good time for this. In fact, it might be better for you to read and study the material and condense it in in the best form for them. My prayer is that this will be bless by the Lord to display the rich connection between family worship and bringing your children up in the “nuture and admonition of the Lord.”)

          Children, family worship is God's main method of training you (Pr 3:11-12, cf. Eph 6:4). The Greek word for nurture in Eph 6:4 is paideia. It is used six times in the New Testament. It is translated as chastening three times, nurture one time, instruction one time, and chastisement one time. Thayer states that it refers to “the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment). It includes also the training and care of the body. Whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.” When we study how this word (and its root word) is used we find that it includes the training and education of children in every area of life. Ac 7:22 says, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” The word learned is the root of the word nurture in Eph 6:4. Paul's education in the Jewish religion was described with this word in Ac 22:3 by the word taught.

          Pr 3:11-12 declares that children are not to despise the chastening of the Lord. Heb 12:7-11 states that saints who were being unjustly persecuted for their faith too were not to despise the chastening of the Lord. The writer of Hebrews clearly teaches that chastisement is for our good. In fact, everything from instructions to corporal punishment is considered to be chastisement. The Lord uses everything in our life to chasten us that we “be partakers of his holiness.” Therefore, the word nurture in Eph 6:4, which is the word chasten in Proverbs and Hebrews, clearly teaches that fathers are to control every area of the child's education. It is evident that this educational process begins in family worship. Therefore, children listen to your parents as they direct and instruct you in family worship. Fathers, study the following passages for additional verses on this subject. I believe it will encourage you in teaching your children and conducting family worship—Lu 23:16,22; Ac 7:22; 22:3; 1Co 11:32; 2Co 6:9; 1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:25; 3:16; Tit 2:12; Heb 12:7-8,11.

          Children, encourage your father by giving your undivided attention during family worship. If you sit with an indifferent spirit and pouting, you discourage your father. (Fathers, you do a great injustice to your children if you allow such actions from your children. Your study of the words nurture, chastisement, etc. will reveal that discipline is part of training.) Children, as you learn to sit still and give your attention to the instruction which the Lord gives you you will be disciplined to sit still and listen to the man of God in the congregation as he proclaims the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

08.05 Part III - Difficulties and Objections

Part III Difficulties and Objections

 

          Now I direct your attention to some difficulties and objections to family worship. The major portion of this topic is copied from the last chapter of the second part of the book entitled The Family, by B. M. Palmer and J. W. Alexander. The whole chapter covers the subject of difficulties and objections so well that I thought you should have the blessing of reading it. However, I want first to give some concluding thoughts and difficulties connected with family worship.

          Ge 4:16, states that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord. Various arguments may be made as to what constitutes going out from the presence of the Lord; however, one things is certain, he left his family. It is true that leaving one's family does not necessarily denote separating one's self from the presence of the Lord. Yet, if the family habitually practices worshiping the Lord it is self-evident that the Lord abides with that family. Therefore, I believe that Cain's leaving the presence of the Lord is directly related with him leaving his family and family worship. This connection of the family, family worship, and the presence of the Lord should be a strong encouragement for fathers to have family worship. Fathers, will you leave the presence of the Lord (or should I say, cause the presence of the Lord not to abide in your home) by forbidding to have family? When one does not have family worship he, in effect, says that he does not want the presence of the Lord in his home.

          It is an assumed axiom that the foundation of any society is the home. If the Lord is lacking in the homes of a society, then it is destined to destruction. It is no wonder that those who desire to destroy or capture a society will attack the home first. The founders of our state education system, Horace Mann and John Dewey, accepted the Prussian philosophy, which was based on the Platonic ideology, that the children belong to the state and not the parents (home). Therefore, their desire to capture the children for the state involved the destruction of the family. I know this is an over-simplification, but it reveals somewhat why the modern family, as a rule, is bankrupt today. Much could and needs to be said about this. However, it would detract from the main theme of this article to do so. Yet, this is part of the difficulty that confronts us today; that is, the idea that the education (nurture and admonition of the Lord) of children belongs to others because the parents are not capable. Parents (fathers), you have all that is needed to properly instruct your children in the way of God—the Bible. God said for you to do it. The Lord will not give you a command you cannot perform. No, you will not do it flawlessly. You will fail. There are time when you will not do it because of sheer laziness. Many things will keep you from family worship, especially if you do not sanctify yourself in the Scriptures daily. It is essential that you daily sanctify yourself in the Word of God so that you will not be engulfed with the ideas and philosophies of the world and sacrifice your family on the altar of destruction. Do not be deceived by the false idea that you are not able to instruct your family and that this instruction is to be left to the “experts.” When a minister teaches that he or some congregational “official” should instruct your children, know that he is following the false philosophy of the modern establishment which is seeking to destroy the home and capture it for the state.

          Yes, it takes time to have family worship. It requires a well organized and structured home. It requires the head of the home to be disciplined. I know. I have failed miserably while writing these articles on family worship. I felt like a hypocrite and wondered why I even started writing on the subject. It would be easy to say that Satan has kept me from family worship, but that would be like Eve in the garden—passing the buck. I admit that he was involved, but the fault is mine. We fathers must not follow the Flip Wilson lie, “The Devil made me do it.” We must admit our sins, confess them, and repent of the them. We cannot expect the Lord to bless us otherwise: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Pv. 28:13). Therefore, fathers you may make as many excuses as you please, but you are fooling yourself if you think the Lord will bless you and your family as you desire Him to if you shirk your responsibility. We must follow the instructions given us by our gracious and merciful Heavenly Father and bring up our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). While this includes every area of life, it definitely includes family worship. It will require you to stop doing some good things in order to perform the best thing. Like Mary, you are to choose “that good part, which shall not be taken away from” you (Lu 10:11). When you press the dying pillow you will not regret time spent with your family in the worship of God at home. I have not heard of a father (or any parent) that confessed in his declining years regret for not spending more time in worldly activities with his family. However, I have heard (and read) of many who mourned because they did not spend more time with their family in the things of the Lord.

          I will conclude this study on family worship with the words of James W. Alexander. Do not think that his comments are out-dated. They are as applicable today as when he wrote them.

 

*******************************************

 

          The fact that an observance so important and fruitful should be widely disregarded, even in Protestant churches, may well give rise to serious inquiry into the causes of such neglect. Misapprehensions, objections, and difficulties, must certainly exist, or we should find it as universal as Sabbath-worship.

          Laying aside all flattering words, we may say plainly, that we regard the neglect of Family-Worship as springing from lukewarmness and worldliness in religion, and as a portentous evil of our day. Where piety is ardent and operative, it cannot but diffuse itself through the domestic structure. Where a man has the spirit of prayer, he will naturally be led to give vent to his devotion in fellowship with those whom he loves most of all on earth. We are ready to make allowance for the force of long habit, and the religious usages of particular countries, and will not hastily condemn those, who, in the midst of popery and neology, are governed by the customs of their vicinity. But even there, we have already observed, that as vital godliness advances, this service, or something equivalent, comes in, by a natural suggestion, or rather by a suggestion of grace. And where the custom of Protestant churches abroad, in any region, authorizes the disuse of domestic prayer, we scruple not to refer the origin of this disuse to the decay of piety in a former age. We have good reason to believe that all the Reformation churches were acquainted with family-prayer.

          A great accession to the piety of a Christian house will manifest itself in nothing more speedily, than in the necessity under which they will feel themselves laid, to come together in acts of worship. There may be persons who know not what it is. For one large class, however, no such apology can be made. They are sons of the church, introduced within its guardian care by baptism, and familiarized to the daily sanctuary, of which they can even now scarcely hear, or think, without recalling the image  of a sainted father, whose voice in their early years conducted them to the praise of God. When such persons, so instructed, established households of their own, with a daily memento of their youthful privilege, and their present neglect, in every hour at which God was wont to be worshipped under the paternal roof, and still deny the faith of their childhood, they not only sin, but sin knowingly and inexcusably. Nothing but the absence of devout affections can account for such a life.

          So great is our desire, however, to meet the neglecters of this service on any ground, that we will yield a ready attention to all their doubts, scruples, and objections; and for this purpose no better way suggests itself than that of supposing the replies which may be made to our preceding urgent beseeching, that the reader would enter upon Family-Worship forthwith. What arguments can we imagine, from his lips? “The service, as I have seen it, is a dull formality; and my house is as well without it.” Then you have seen it under great neglect or perversion. Like all religious services, it may be so conducted as to be both dull and formal. But no Christian observance, known among men, admits of more life, and none is connected with more sources of tender affection. Very ignorant, very stupid, or very irreligious people, may transform it into a tedious and burdensome routine, but this is not fault of the ordinance: they do the like with every sacred thing that they touch. We do not invite you to such a service, or to any dead formality, but to that which, under the influence of elevated emotion, may be made, and is daily made, a delightful and animating means of grace. True, it is simple, and lacks all the paraphernalia, and posture, and grimace of anti-christian rites, but in the households of the righteous it shines with a pure and hallowed attraction; and we appeal to those who have enjoyed it from their infancy, whether they do not regard it in retrospect with every feeling rather than that of weariness. Nay, the very reason why we would introduce the means under every roof, is that it possesses in so remarkable a degree the quality of inspiring the liveliest emotion.

          “Family-Worship may be well enough in itself, but it does not fall in with the customs of my house and my guests.” This is with some a valid arguments, and it must be admitted that there are customs of households and of society, with which Family-Worship will assuredly interfere. Such is the custom of late and irregular rising, agreeably to which the yawning inmates of a house straggle down to a breakfast-table, which stands for hours, awaiting the successive approaches of he solitary and moody participant; and that other custom, of passing a long evening, as it is called by the courtesy of fashion, at the theatre (at television—JKB), the card-party, the ball, or the not less unseasonable supper, or assembly. It is not the least of the advantages of domestic prayer, that it stands in open daily protest against these growing observances of the mode.

          “I have not time for Family-Worship.” In the hurry of our great cities, it is painful to observe the preference given to Mammon over God. Look at the living tide which rolls every morning down such a thoroughfare as Broadway! A stranger might be forgiven is he supposed that the life of each breathless banker, merchant, or clerk, depended on his reaching the commercial latitudes within a certain minute. But how many of these have prayed with their families? Some, we rejoice to believe; but the mass have no time for any thing but the world. Unless men will lose their own souls, and jeopard the souls of their children, they must take time for God. And the more busy, exhausting, and absorbing, any man's days are, the more does he need the deliberate abstraction of a quiet devotional hour, such as that of Family-Worship. “Were you formed for this world only, there would be some force in the objection, but how strange does such an objection sound in the heir of an eternity! Pray, what is your time given to you for? Is it not principally that you may prepare for eternity? And have you no time for what is the great business of your lives? Again, why do you not plead too, that you have no time for your daily meals? Is food more necessary to your bodies, than religion to your souls? If you think so, what is become of your understandings? Further, what employment do you follow? Is it lawful or unlawful? If unlawful, then renounce it immediately; if lawful, then it will admit of the exercise of family-religion, for God cannot command contradictions, and since he has commanded you to maintain his worship in your houses, that is demonstration that every calling which he allows you to follow will afford time for it. Finally, may you not redeem as much time from idle conversation, for trifling, [from the morning papers,] or even from your sleep, as may be sufficient for family-religion? May you not order your family devotion so that our domestics may attend upon it, either before they go out to heir work, or when they come to their meals?” (Davies's Sermons, Sermon xxix.)

          “Our family is so small.” How many are there of you? Are there two? Then, “Wheresoever two,” (see Mt 17:19-20.) John Howard and his valet, as they journeyed from place to place, used to have Family-Worship by themselves, if they could get no one else to join them. “Wherever I have a tent,” he would say, “there God shall have an altar.” If there be two of you, though it be but a Ruth and a Naomi, a mother and her daughter, your family is large enough to worship God, and to get the blessing of those who worship him.

          “'My family is so large; there are so many servants, and so many visiters [sic.], that I have not courage to begin.' If your family be large, the obligation to begin is all the greater. Many suffer by your neglect. And if your congregation be numerous, the likelihood that some good will be done is the greater, for there are more to share the benefit. And why want courage? Should not the very fact that you are acknowledging God encourage you? “Them that honour me, I will honour.” Begin it believingly, and in the very attempt courage will come.” (Hamilton's “Church in the House.”)

          “There are persons present in my house, whose superior age or intelligence deters me from the duty.” To this it must be replied, that if such persons are sober, wise, and generous, they will look not only with allowance, but with kindly regard on the endeavour; and if they are otherwise, it is too much to demand of an independent and a Christian man, that he should for an instant be governed by their caprices or their censure. The head of a family should assert his authority in his own house.

          “I am unlearned, and destitute of gifts.” Either misapprehension or pride suggests this objection. It is not a service which demands genius, erudition, or eloquence. You have education to read a portion of the Scriptures with propriety and solemnity. And you can so far gather your thoughts, by suitable premeditation, as to pour out a prayer to God for those whom you love, which will be all the better for its simplicity of expression. The families are few, in which the father need to tremble before his own dependents. Then consider that the gift of prayer is from above, and that He who aids in the closet, will aid in the family group. Unless, indeed, you labour under the evil consciousness that you are living in the neglect even of secret prayer, and then, as you have an additional sin to repent of, so you have an additional duty to perform. “What,” says President Davies, “have you enjoyed preaching, Bibles, and good books so long, and yet do not know what to ask of God? Alas! what have you been doing?”

          “My family are unwilling to unite in the service.” This is one of the worst things which can be testified of a family. Graceless, indeed, must those sons or daughters be, who could for an instant hesitate to accompany their father to the throne of grace, or who could throw any obstacle in the way of such an observance. You have strangely neglected the maintenance of parental authority, if any such temper really exists. The objection speaks loudly in favour of an early institution of family-prayer, that children may be accustomed to it from their earliest years, and not need to be reconciled to the holy custom after a long career of way-ward folly. But granting that the mortifying case is as you have alleged, it is only a new proof that you should vindicate your claim, as a Christian householder, to rule in your own house.

          “The truth is, I am ashamed to begin.” We seriously believe that this single reason operates with more force than all the others put together; and it is one with which we are constrained to deal honestly and solemnly. Men who have allowed their households to increase around them without any visible service of God, awake to some sense of their duty, and would attempt the performance of it, but for a secret dread of the sneer, even of a child or a servant. Religion frequently brings men to such a dilemma, and it is a test of sincerity. If the scorn of the world is to decide our conduct, we might as well abandon all service of God at once; but we know the lot of those who are ashamed of Christ. We choose to place the question on this ground, because the true piety of shame. But, in reality, the danger is, for the most part, one of the imagination. No such ridicule will commonly ensue, but rather inward approval and increased respect. And that feeling of strangeness, which accompanies the entrance on an unaccustomed work, will wear off, perhaps after the very first trial.

          Among these and similar objections which might be stated, we have not found one which really goes against the duty itself, or which contravenes the reasons heretofore given in this book. We are, therefore, bound to press the immediate performance of the duty, upon every sincere reader, in the assurance that so doing he will bless God for having enabled him to enter upon so delightful a service. The days of life are few. Children are rapidly growing into their habits for life. Some of them will soon be beyond your reach. Death will, before long, work strange separations. The night cometh. In prospect of that judgment which is nearly impending, be persuaded to lay aside all frivolous excuses, to take up the cross, and to be in your family, as well as elsewhere, a devout and unflinching servant of Christ.

          Before removing our hand from these humble labours, we must be allowed to add, that there are duties to be performed by those also who have never neglected the outward observance. To be what we have represented, Family-Worship must be something more than a form of recurring service, however grave, punctual, or decorous. It may degenerate into a rite as empty as the sprinkling of holy water, the recounting of beads, or the putting on of phylacteries. Under the agency of Infinite Grace, it is a mighty instrument for good; but we must concentrate every power, to bring out all its strength. No care can be too great, which shall make this daily service more seemly, more solemn, more instructive, more interesting, and more affectionate. We should prepare for it by preparing the heart. We should earnestly, and every day, make a deliberate and distinct effort to free ourselves form that apathy and that formality, which attach themselves to a customary service. We should come to it with eagerness and love, and should endeavour, by God's help, so to conduct it as to show to all in the house, that it is a delight, and that our heart's desire is, that all may find it a delight. We should regard it as a daily avenue to the very feet of our God and Saviour, and in this light as a privilege beyond all price. Like the kindred observance of the Sabbath, (with which it commonly stands of falls,) Family-Worship is observed to be most delightful to those who bestow the most pains upon it.

          We are too much disposed to rest satisfied with our avoiding the sin of those who altogether neglect domestic prayer. But how do we render it? Are we in earnest? Are we full of faith? Do our affections flow forth in it? Do we shun all undue haste? Is our deportment such, when engaged in this service, that all around us may bear testimony that it is a sincere tribute of our affections to God? Questions such as these may carry a rebuke to many householders. Perhaps one great cause of that declension of piety which we so generally lament in our country, is connected with the non-performance, of the ill performance, of this household duty. While we content ourselves with vague complaints, and wait for some reviving measures from abroad, here is a home-measure, which is at every man's door. So long as every family spies out the sins of every other, and bewails the coldness of the body at large, the evil only grows; but if each family, in reliance on God, were to awake to the duties of domestic piety, household discipline and instruction, and daily prayer, we should behold a gracious revival in all our churches. By the former method, no one house is benefited; by the later, every house would become a Bethel. When shall we see among us that deeply-pervading national interest in divine things, which animated all classes in Scotland, at the second Reformation? Mingled, as it doubtless was, with much misapprehension in regard to the connexion of Christ's kingdom with the civil polity, it was, nevertheless, a genuine fire, infinitely to be preferred to the tepid languors of our American condition in divine things. Nor can we hope for a restitution of this, until religion, and the service of God, be made the great business of every house. “Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Ps 85:4-6)

 

Jimmy Barber
Copyright 1992, 1999 by Veritas Publications

09.000 MAN'S FALL - GOD'S MERCY

MAN'S FALL - GOD'S MERCY

(A Study of Man's Depravity)

 

          There are many things that are being taught in the religious world today. Some of these things are true; however, sad to say, many of these doctrines are false. One doctrine about which the majority of the religious world is in error is the state of the natural man. The general belief concerning the natural man is that man is born innocent and remains in this innocent state until a certain age or until some point in his life. Nevertheless, the Scriptures teach just the opposite. In fact, the Word of God states that man, each and every human being without exception, is a sinner from the time of conception. In addition to this, man is in this condition to such an extent that he is unable to do anything to remove himself from this depraved condition. This doctrine is called "total depravity."

09.01 Definition

Definition

 

          Before we study of this teaching, we need to define the subject a little more. Basically, the doctrine of total depravity is, as stated above, that each and every human being without exception comes into being as a sinner and that he cannot do anything to remove himself from this sinful condition. Not only are all sinners, but they are in such a state of sin that every faculty of their body is affected by this sinful state.

          We might state this also in another way. Total depravity is, all the ways, thought, and actions of an individual are contrary to the ways, thoughts, and actions of God. Man does not desire to do what God would have him to do, neither can he by his own self do anything that is pleasing to God. This condition came upon all men through the sin of Adam. The only way that man can do what God would have him to do is to have the Spirit of God in him. An individual that is totally depraved loves to do his own ways, for his own self and does not love the ways of God, neither God, nor God's people, only himself. For proof of this, we need to go back to the beginning and see how man was created and fell from his original position.

09.02 Man's Dreadful Fall

Man's Dreadful Fall

 

          In Ge 1:27, we find that all mankind was created in the image of God in the first man Adam. Therefore, Adam, being in a righteous state and in communion with God, (because everything that God made was "very good") was placed in a goodly place in the Garden. Adam was given the blessings of happiness and responsibility in the Garden of Eden, as well as a home and fellowship with his Creator. As long as Adam did not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would live forever in the state of blessedness in which God had put him. But in the day that he did eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would be separated from this state of blessedness and would die. We find that Adam did eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and as soon as he had eaten of it, he knew that he was a sinful man. When God would come near, he would run and hide because he knew that he could not stand in the presence of God. Why? He had violated God's law and he was ashamed of himself in the sight of God. Even though Adam had tried to cover himself with fig leaves, he still had to admit to God that he was naked. Due to what Adam had done, he was dying a physical death which ran its course within 930 years. Also Adam was separated from walking with God and being before Him without blame. He had violated a commandment of God. He had missed the mark. He had sinned. He had been disobedient to God.

 

          We also know that we were disobedient to God because we were in Adam. Paul said that God had "made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Ac 17:26). In Ro 5:12, he stated, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. " In the Greek, "have" is not there. The translation should be "for that all sinned. "The meaning is that every individual that is a descendant of Adam actively sinned in Adam. And for that reason, death has passed upon everyone. You might ask the question, "Could it be that the reason we die is because we commit a sin after we are born?" Ro 4:14 states, "Where no law is, there is no transgression. "From the time of Adam until Moses, people died; nevertheless, there was not any law that condemned them as far as sins committed after they were born. This confirms the statement found in Ro 5:18, "by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation. "We also know that it is not due to actual sins committed after birth that infants die at birth. If they were pure and perfect, they would not die. Job 14:4 states that it is impossible for sinful parents to bring into the world a sinless being. The Psalmist also described the state that a child is in when he is born when he said, "Behold, I was sharpen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps 51:5). Ps 58:3-5 says, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear: which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. "This passage is describing the state of the wicked, and the Scriptures tell us that everyone was by nature in