The wicked versus the righteous

What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted. ~Proverbs 10:24 NIV

WorryThis verse sets forth the simple proposition that evil people, along with the righteous, will both get what they think about most.

What do wicked people worry about? First, to know who they are, we must define wicked. According to Merriam-Webster.com, the short definition is, “morally very bad; evil.”

In C.S. Lewis’ book God in the Dock, he wrote: “Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable.”

Lewis cleverly used this contrast between a hotel and a prison to illustrate how we view life based on our expectations. He says, “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

So what do evil people dread? A clue is given to us in Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

And what about the righteous? What are they thinking about? Galatians 5:22-24 finishes the thought:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Which one describes you?

Everything you need

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. ~Proverbs 4:10-13 NIV

Accept-RejectGod promises here that if you accept what he says, the years of your life will be long. That’s no small promise.

In Genesis 5:27, the word says, “Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.” Methuselah is the longest-lived character in the Bible.

The Bible is full of examples of people who were granted long life by the Lord. Likewise, the scriptures have plenty of examples of people whose lives were cut short because they didn’t do what God wanted. Among them are Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts chapter 5, verses 1-11:

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Your steps will not be disrupted. When you run, you will not trip and fall. In fact, the Amplified Version translates verse 12 as, “When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble.”

Instruction is the essence of God’s plan for your life. Guard it carefully. That’s quite a promise. You may not get another chance.

Are you safe?

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. ~Proverbs 2:12-15

besenHomosexual activist Wayne Besen is shown here shouting through a bullhorn into the window of a Boston church. He’s using a megaphone because he’s uninvited; He’s not in front of the group of former homosexuals. He is talking, though, hoping to be disruptive with words the crowd will be confused by.

Besen is just one of many often called upon by the media to discuss tolerance and hate, two subjects that arise when discussing homosexuality. He’s one example of many who are eager to pull people onto a wicked path.

Wisdom, on the other hand, is there to save you from the wicked ways of men. Men who are perverse. Men who have traded straight paths for twisted, dark ways. Men who delight in doing the very things God says are wrong. Men who are willing to lie and trick people in order to get what is wanted.

Perverse is defined by Merriam-Webster online as “wrong, or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive.” Psalm 101:4 says, “The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil.”

God offers his wisdom to protect you. Are you safe?

Stay out of trouble

Daily Proverbs

He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears. ~Proverbs 26:17 NKJV

If you’re a dog owner, you know one of the best ways to irritate your pet is to grab them by the ears. Gentle rubbing behind the ears is usually welcome, but most dogs truly hate having their ears roughed up.

Solomon’s recommendation in Proverbs 26:17 is that you choose to stay out of trouble whenever you can avoid it. You may be tempted to intervene in someone else’s quarrel. And once in a while, it may be necessary. But be smart: Deciding to grab a dog by the ears often means your fingers will be bitten.

Every person faces life situations that are stressful, challenging, difficult – even dangerous. The Lord promises Christians grace and wisdom in great measure to navigate these troubles.

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The listening ear

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear. ~Proverbs 25:11-12 NIV

JudgeThere is only one kind of gold. But there are two ways of receiving it.

First, there are “apples of gold in settings of silver.” That seems short for a really fancy kind of jewelry. More importantly, it parallels a just ruling.

Imagine the satisfaction of learning that a judge rules in your favor. That means that he really listened to you, and respected your argument.

The second is a liittle less satisfying, and a lot more difficult to do. Consider what “the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear” means. Again, it ends up being beautiful jewelry. But the circumstances are very different.

Merriam-Webster defines a rebuke as “to speak in an angry and critical way to someone.” Listening to a judge speak to you in this manner could be humiliating. But the difference here is the wise judge, and the listening ear. That’s a rare combination!

Are you listening – really listening – when someone gives you solid advice? If you are, it could be just what you need to hear.

Don’t falter!

If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? ~Proverbs 24:10-12 NIV

evangelism“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!”

~Charles H. Spurgeon

This passage is aimed squarely at you. And it’s promising great reward to those who obey. The Lord promises here to repay you, no matter what you’ve invested. No matter how much it cost.

Have you learned how to share the Gospel? There are several reputable organizations that will train you. Some will even take you out and show you how it works.

Maybe you’re one of the few Christians who is comfortable sharing your faith. If that’s true, good for you!

Learn to “give a defense for the hope that is within you.” Others may be counting on it.