An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. Proverbs 28:25
A wise man knows that arrogance and pride are always evil. There are not many things we can say are wrong always - but this is one of them. God said in James that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Embrace pride and you will embrace resistance to God's will and ways.
What we learn here about the arrogant man is that he stirs up strife. This is because the arrogant man considers himself right and first at all times and in all things. His pride will not allow him to consider others before himself. the ultimate example of this is Lucifer who, although the annointed one who covered - some say the highest angel in all of heaven - he decided he would be God. This arrogance stirred up the ultimate stife in all the universe. First it stirred up strife among the angels as a third of them followed him into his eternal insanity. They were subsequently cast out of heaven and are condemned for all eternity for following the pride of the devil.
On a much lower level, we too will find ourselves in strife when we are arrogant. An arrogant man will not humble himself. He will resist confessing sin - or even the thought of him doing something wrong. He will not serve others - but will demand that others serve him. He will not follow leadership - because he wants to lead - and then wants no one to question his leadership. His very demeanor will stirr up strife among others who will react to his arrogant ways.
What is portrayed against this strife-causing arrogance is a man who trusts in the Lord. He looks to God and relys on God's work in people's hearts and minds. As a result he does not have to have his own way. He does not view others as a threat. He can serve them and place himself lower than all others because ultimately he knows that God is in sovereign over all things. The greatest example of this is found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was God, He did not consider equality with God a thing to be grapsed - but humbled Himself and became a man. Christ's humility and trust in God led to very interesting places. He became a man - humbled himself to be a servant - and wound up on a cross being crucified for others. Yet, whereas Satan's pride and arrogance cost him everything - the humility and trust of Jesus in God won Him the name that is above every name. He was blessed for all eternity as the One Who saves. To say that Christ's humble trust caused Him to prosper is an understatement of monumental proportions!
But let's take a moment and leave the lofty courts of heaven itself and get in the trenches where you and I live every day. When we are arrogant and feel like we need to defend ourselves and get what our rights deserve . . . those actions will lead to strife. It is when we trust the Lord and lay down our rights that we will prosper. It is not when we take up the crown but when we embrace the servant's towel that we will prosper. Trust the Lord in every circumstance and become a servant to others. Allow the Lord to prosper you - and then use that prosperity to bring glory to God. This is the way to true happiness and to a blessed life. It may cost in the short term - but in the long term of a person's life it will lead to so much more - and to the ultimate blessings for all eternity!
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
Here is a proverb that agrees perfectly with what is said in the New Testament. We read in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is the truth of 1 John 1:9 stated in another way. Whereas the 1 John passage states this truth in the positive only, this proverb also warns us of the consequences and danger of not dealing with our sins.
The Concealer . . . First we are told about the fate of the one who conceals his transgressions. The word "conceal" means to cover - and has the idea of a cover up. This man is hiding his transgressions (word meaning a sin or rebellion - here against God and His Law and His way). Thus the concealer is not willing to bring his sin to light before God. He therefore hides his rebellion thinking that God does not see him. This same word was used to describe how Joseph's brothers tried to hide their sin when they dipped his coat in goat's blood and brought to Jacob. There was an attempted cover up by Joseph's brothers which eventually came to light. In the same way, we are warned against covering up our sins. They will come to light - and the way this happens in by a loss of the blessing of God.
Psalm 32:5 also speaks of his particular sin of hiding and trying to cover up our sin. The Psalmist says, "I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah." When he was trying to hide his sin from God, the Psalmist had nothing but grief and pain. When he faced his sin before God he received forgiveness. Hiding our sins is not only counterproductive - it is also ridiculously foolish. We serve a God Who is omniscient. He knows all things. When Adam and Eve tried to hide in the garden - it was out of shame and rebellion. The problem for them was that God could still see them - and did even as they committed the first sin. Cain answered God rebelliously when God asked where his brother Abel was. Cain must have thought God did not see - but he did - and Abel's blood was crying out to God from the ground. Moses thought he could kill the Egyptian and hide him in the piles of grain - but God saw - as well as some other Hebrews. HEre is a fact you should always remember. We can never hide our sin from a holy, omniscient God. He truly sees all! He warns his people, "Be sure that your sins will find you out!"
Proverbs tells us that this man who is trying to conceal his sin will not prosper. Prosper is the Hebrew word "tsalach" which means to succeed or to be victorious. This word has the idea of breaking out or breaking through - and has a military aspect to it. It spoke of how an army would break through their enemies - which was a sure sign that they were about to win the battle and defeat them. Proverbs says to us is that concealing our sins is way to ensure we will NOT PROSPER. God wants us to confess and forsake our sin. When we choose rebellion and sin against God, we are in serious trouble. We are facing judgment if we do not know Christ - or discipline if we do. What we need is grace - we need God's compassion. That is exactly what Proverbs is wanting to teach us. God wants us to know how to obtain His compassion when we sin?
How do we obtain God's compassion and restoration? First, we confess our sins and rebellion. What is fascinating here is the word that God uses to describe confession. The Hebrew word is "yadah." This word means to throw towards - to cast something towards. Here it means to throw off our sin and cast it towards God. It means that we are throwing all our sin and rebellion to God - with a desire for Him to show us forgiveness and compassion. What is wild is that this same word is used for praising God - meaning that we are casting our hands up into the air and casting our praises toward God. God does not want us to try to hold our sins close to us - He wants us to cast those sins away from us and toward Him for His compassion and grace!
There is a second thing that puts us in line for God's compassion and forgiveness. Some teach that all we need to do is to confess our sins and everything is fine with God. That is partially true. There is suppose to be a second attitude present. If it is not - I do not believe the Bible says that we will receive forgiveness. That attitude or action is to forsake our sins. This word means to abandon, desert, leave behind, completely neglect and STOP. When we come to God seeking His compassion and forgiveness - we need to come with a heart that says, "Please forgive me God . . . and I also want to forsake and abandon my sin." This is the kind of heart that finds compassion and forgiveness before God.
This verse is vital in us knowing the fellowship and grace of God. It is so important for us to grasp the call of God to deal with our sins and rebellion. I honestly believe that just as 1 John 1:9 is such a blessed verse - this verse in Proverbs 28:13 is as well. Oh that we would hear this and heed it as well. It would throw open to us the door to God's grace, mercy, and compassion that we need every day of our lives.
He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who cares for his master will be honored.
Today's proverb will instruct us on how to be blessed by your master or your employer. For those who lived as slaves in the day in which this proverb was written, it applied to those who cared for their masters. In our day, when slavery is not practiced as it was in Biblical days, it refers to our relationship with our employers - of for that matter - anyone under whose authority we find oursevles.
The picture used here is that of someone who is tending a fig tree. The one who does this task will get to eat from the fruit of the fig tree. There may be an encouragment here to serve over a long period of time, due to the fact that a fig tree is a tree that lives a long time. It is also one that matures rather slowly. A great reminder for us who have been conditioned to think a certain way in our "fast-food" society. We think if we serve a week, or month, or even a year or two, we should be rewarded richly. The use of the fig tree should point us to faithful service over the long haul - not just a few weeks, months, or years. When we serve faithfully over a long period of time - our master or employer will consider us worthy to be honored. This is especially the case with wise employers.
The word used for "cares" in the second part of this verse is the Hebrew word "samar." This is a word that means to watch over, keep, preserve, or guard. The idea is not of grudging service. It points to a careful watchfulness. IT refers to those who pay closer attention to what their master needs. It also reminds us that this kind of "care" is not done with a bitter, resentful heart. It is done with a loving watchcare.
There is another reason to live this way towards those in authority over us. When we do this, we are leaving the sweet savory aroma of Christ with them. They watch how we love and serve them - and wonder at what it is that motivates us to live as we do. There will most likely be some kind of reward or blessing for that hard work - but there will be something far more valuable than silver, gold, or awards. There will be the questions that we can answer as they ask, "Why do you work harder than anyone else? Why is it that you work this way without complaining? Why do you live this way - with such a different work ethic as well as a desire to honor me as your employer?" These are the questions that they should be asking as we work as unto God in their business. When they do ask, our reply will be first to give glory to God for our work ethic - and then to turn to the gospel whereby our hearts were transformed to be different than the rest of the world. You see, our work ethic - our willingness to work as unto God - our desire to care for our master/employer with love and hard work - are all for the purpose of glorifying God and the gospel of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. So . . . let me ask you in closing - through your work ethic have you glorified God today? Has how you worked made a way for the gospel that has changed your heart? You see, we do not work to bless our master for the reward of his favor alone. We work for our Lord and Master first and foremost for the glory of His grace and mercy. The fact that our earthly master notices and rewards us are just perks that come as we live to make much of our Heavenly Master.
The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, and each is tested by the praise accorded him. Proverbs 27:21
One of the wisest things ever said to me was said by a Australian professor at the seminary that I attended in Memphis, Tennessee. He told us that the most difficult test we will ever have in life is to experience praise and success. That will test you in ways you are not ready to handle - unless you have truly embraced the humility of Christ in your life. Today's proverb tell us the same thing - that we will be tested by the praise that is given to us.
The picture that is painted for us is that of a crucible and a furnace. These two things are used to refine silver and gold. The process begins with the base ore being put into the crucible. As the heat increases the valuable metal sinks into the crucible, while the junk rises to the top. The one refining the ore scraps the slag from the top of the crucible. Over time more impurities come to the top - and each time they are scraped off revealing purer and purer silver or gold. So the picture that is painted for us is that of a purifying process brought on by heat and stress on the metal.
In a similar way, we are tested when praise and success comes our way. We are faced with a choice when this happens. We can either believe our own press and think we really are awesome - or - we can be realistic about things and know that any goodness in us is solely due to God's grace and goodness. The opposite of this response is pride. We begin to take pride in ourselves and our accomplishments. We have the audacity to think we are the cause and the wisdom of our own works. Yet any good thing seen in us is the grace of God at work.
I've watched this process in the my own life and in the lives of others. Nothing tests us like praise that comes our way. I watched a very successful church that was praised begin to think they deserved the praise for what they were going. It was a trerrifying thing to watch God first remove His presence from the church - and then begin to discipline the church for their arrogance and pride. The moment we think that anything but God's grace is responsible for our success and praise, in that moment we have miserably failed the test.
A wise man knows that his first response to praise should be one of two things. Either he expresses gratefulness to the one who had praised him - or he immediately deflects the praise offered to God Who is truly responsible for what has happened. Let us therefore be wise and immediately take any praise given to us - and give it to God. May we realize that truly any good seen in us is a result of the grace and mercy of God. That is the way to pass the test of praise offered to us.
Like cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a distant land. - Proverbs 25:25
One of the joys that God has graced me with is to see my children follow Him in taking the gospel to the nations. As a result of such blessings, I also know the blessing of hearing of good news from a distant land. When my daughter was in Africa we would often plan a time when we would Skype together and talk. It was so refreshing to hear what God was doing in her life - and to know that He was faithful even thousands of miles away. When we would talk to her and hear such things, it was indeed cold water for a weary soul.
But there is a message from a far more distant land that should be infinitely more refreshing to our souls. It is the message of the gospel and it should be the best of all news that has come to us from the distant land of heaven itself. God has sent such a message to us - not by UPS or by FED-EX, or even by email or Skype. He sent such a message in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The message that God sent to us was not a message of pleasantries. It was a message of grace given to us because we were facing wrath for our sins. This message from a far land began as a child within the womb of a peasant girl - yet this was no ordinary child. The Message was God, yet man. The Message grew up as ordinary as any other child would have - and grew into a man. Yet the Message from a far land was no ordinary man. He did works unlike any other man - even raising the dead. Then there was a day when this Message from a far land was rejected and hung upon a cross - cursed of man, but more importantly bearing the curse from God. He died that day, was buried, but three days later rose from the dead. To many this does not sound much like good news from a far land. It sounds like injustice and a horror story.
This news, though, was about far more than what happened to the Message. It was about what happened to our sin and our state before God - who sent the Message in the first place. You see, our sin was paid for and forgiven - and our state went from one who is sinful, wicked, and worthy of punishment to one who is perfectly righteous in the sight of a holy God. So, indeed, this is good news from a far land.
Want to be refreshed? Then take the time to review the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the most glorious news ever heard from a distant land!
The desire of the righteous is only good, But
the expectation of the wicked is wrath. Proverbs 11:23
What do you want? That is a pretty general question - but it is the one that is addressed in today's proverb. The thing is that we are looking at what people want from the perspective of God, not just what people or the "market" wants.
From God's standpoint we are oing to watch Him put boh the righteous and the wicked man into the balances, weigh them and their choices, and state what each deserves. First we see that God places the righteous into the scales. He says that the righteous man's desires are only good. This coincides with what Jesus says in the Beattitudes. In Matthew chapter 5, we read the following, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." God not only is pleased with those who hunger and thirst for what He says is right - He promises wonderful levels of satisfaction for those who do. There is also another statement made in the Psalms that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. It is so important to know that when we are living for righteousness and pursuing what is right - God cuts us loose to enjoy as much as we want. That is why He says here that these kind of desires are "only good."
The wicked, though, have no sch guarantee. We read that the expectation of the wicked in wrath. It is helpful for us to see that word "expectation" here. The reason it is so important is because often what the wicked desire will give them an immediate positive feeling. The person who abuses alcoholic drinks has an immediate positive response as he feels better and is much more free in his expression of himself. But he can expect problems later. Having been a drunkard before I was saved I can concur with God's statement here. The expectation of the drunkard is only wrath and bad consequences. There is the hangover that comes in the morning. There is also the realization that the supposed freedom that you felt the night before took away your natural defenses against saying something stupid. Can't tell you how many times a Friday night bender led to a whole week of consequences with friends and aquaintences. Another area I want to address here is that of sexual immorality. The person who is sexually immmoral loves the immediate pleasure provided by it. Unfortunately, the crisis pregnancy, the positive STD test, and the broken relationships are not so pleasurable. The pornography may give us a temporary high feeling and sense of thrill as we look at it, but later the bondage that results, the pull into deeper perversion, and the way it leads people to treat the opposite sex as an object can be devastating.
The Word of God speaks of God's "judgments." These are things that God has said concerning certain behaviors in life. When we choose to disobey God and embrace our lfleshly lusts we do so because of the promise of pleasure and immediate satisfaction. The problem is that God has said what His response will be to such things. These are His judgments. He says that problems will result - disasters are on the horizon - and blessing will be forfeited. These judgments WILL COME upon those who choose to disobey regardless of what God says. They can expect the wrath of God when they rebel. God has made this very clear when He said in Romans chapter 1, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness ofmen who suppress the truth with their unrighteousness." God's attitude and actions toward ungodliness and unrigteousness have been settled from eternity past. Those who reject Him and His Word need to know that He has amply published the results of such behavior - and it has never been good. Therefore the truly wise man knows that blessings await those who embrace righteousness - but for those who chose a wicked lifestyle - only wrath awaits them.