When the wicked increase, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall. Proverbs 29:16
There is a principle at work here - and one that has been seen again and again in the world. The more the wicked increase in a society, the more that the society will turn toward wickedness. This is not a recent phenomenon - it has been happening ever since the fall of man. In fact, one of the most powerful examples of it was not long after man fell into sin.
We read in Geneis chapter 6 of this kind of situation. "Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose." The progression here is fascinating to see. First the wicked began to multiply. You might wonder why I think the wicked multiplied - and not the godly. The reason for this is because man is sinful - and will always orient himself toward his sin and ungodliness unless God intervenes by His grace to change things. The next step was that the wicked began to modify - and they modified God's intention for marriage. They married at will - based on something other than God's plan. This led to the wicked multipliying even more. The god-desired role of the family was perverted and rather than pass on godliness - men began to pass on and even grow in his wickedness.
We read in verse 5 of that same chapter of Genesis, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Two more things began to happen. The wicked began to magnify their wickedness. God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. The original intent for creation was to magnify the Creator, God. Now it was filled with men who magnified the creation, man. The second thing that happened was the the Wicked began to meditate on their wickedness. Every intent of the thoughts of their heart became evil continually. God's desire was for men to meditate on Him and His Word - instead, they meditated on their godless desires - which led to even worse conditions.
The wicked then turned to mayhem and murder in their wickedness. God said the following to Noah about this in verse 13 of chapter 6 of Genesis. “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth." James warns us in chapter 4 of his letter that the cause of our fighting is our lusts that wage war within us. This leads us to even kill so that we can fulfill our lusts that rage for more within us. The sad ending of all this is that the choices of the wicked led to the condemnation of the wicked. God destroyed that generation.
As we turn our attention back to our proverb - we see just what Solomon is communicating to his sons - and to all who would read these words. When the wicked increase, transgression among men increases as well. But in the end the righteous will see their fall. Wickedness cannot reign long in a land - it consumes it to a point of catastrophe. It did so in Noah's day - and we read that as it was in the days of Noah, so also it shall be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. The ungodly will always be ungodly - and the wicked will seek to multiply their wickedness. But what is there for us to learn from this - just don't be wicked? No, there is a message for us today - one that will magnify the grace of God in the gospel.
How can we keep the wicked from increasing? Every time a child is born - another ungodly heart enters the human race. We are fallen - and we multiply into more fallen men and women over time. The answer lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the ONLY way that we can stem the tide of the wicked multiplying on the earth. We must multiply! We must be about sharing Jesus Christ with all who are around us. We must take the one thing that can take a wicked heart and transform it into a godly one. That one thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus sent us into the world to make disciples of all the nations. As the early church took that mandate seriously they multiplied disciples - leading them to Christ - baptizing them as they identified with Christ - teaching them to obey all Jesus commands - and then doing it in each and every generation until the end of the age. This, and only this, can stand against the wicked and their wickedness multiplying in a society! May God give us grace to accept no substitutes in this matter - no political or social or military option which in the end will only fail. May we see that the glorious mandate to minister the gospel - and make disciples IS God's only answer for our world!
"As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man." Proverbs 27:19
How do you know what a man truly is? According to today's proverb this is known simply by knowing his heart. It is not the outside image that someone presents to us that truly reflects who they are. It is what they are in their hearts that matters - and that truly reflects who they are.
When we bend over and look into a calm pond on a clear day, we will see reflected in water the image of our face. That image will be a faithful reproduction of who we are - at least what our face looks like. We can trust what we see in that image. Then we read that just in the way that this happens - the heart of man reflects man. But the question we need to ask is this, "What do we see when we look into the heart of man?"
The answer to the above question has everything to do with when you are looking into the heart of man. At times we look into the heart of man and we see very wonderful things. The heart of man can reflect the glory of God. The heart of men can experience the depths of love, compassion, kindness, and relections of the God who created us. At other times we might cringe in horror as we see the depths of depravity in the wars and atrocities that have existed in the heart of men. The heights and depths we see from the magnificent beauty in a painting or a poem to the darkness of the most horrendous acts of violence and injustice must give pause to some who do not have the perspective of the Scriptures from which to understand these tremendous differences.
The Word of God helps us understand why mankind has such a Jekyll and Hyde history. We are the direct creation of Almighty God, and as such have astrounding capacities that reflect His character and person. Yet, we sold our birthright for a mess of porridge, when our head, Adam, chose to disobey God. That moment in history is called, the Fall. Without the Scritpures we will not grasp how far we fell in that moment. The glory of God we were to reflect was marred. The result is a world in which death reigns - and in which we see the heart of man at one moment blessing someone, and in the next cursing them. James tells us, out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing, my brothers, this should not be. Yet because of sin that is what happens. This reflects our hearts - for Jesus Himself said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
The heart of man reflects the man. That is the reality in which we live every day. And if we are honest with ourselves, we are often shocked at the things that are in our hearts. We may want to do the good, but in the end the very evil we hate seems to rule in our hearts. We may do good one moment - and in the next find ourselves with the most heinous of thoughts running through our minds. What are we to do? The heart reflects to us that we are fallen - we are sinful - we are in need of change. In this regard, and this one alone, I encourage you to listen to your heart. You will not hear such things unless the Holy Spirit is convicting you of the sin which is indicatve of our fall from God. Listen to what God is saying to your heart - and embrace the truth. This truth is that your heart reflects that you are guilty before God - in need of His mercy and grace. The truth is that you need the grace of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. You need your sins to be forgiven and to be made acceptable in God's sight by what Jesus Christ did at the cross. You need new life - to be born again - and to experience God's life which is the only life that can change us and reflect a different image in our hearts.
Jeremiah the prophet brought us a message from God. His message was that the heart of man is deceitful above all else, and is desperately wicked. No one can understand his own heart. But God is the one Who searches the heart - Who helps us understand our need - and Who then meets that need in what He has done through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we can only see our hearts in that light - in the light of the mirror of God's Word - then as our heart is reflected to us, we'd see our need and run to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, grace, and new life.
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!
There is a way which seems
right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12
Why is it that we cannot just trust our natural instincts concerning God and issues of morality and truth? If this proverb is true (and it is), then we face a very real danger when we trust what we think is right in our lives. When we live a self-directed life and a life that is self-oriented - we are going to have very serious problems. Why is this the case?
First of all, we need to see that for a time in this life - this proverb may seem like it is wrong. There are those who do what they think is right - and it seems to go well for them. I would agree with this assessment for the here and now - for life on this earth. But that is not what this proverb is saying to us. It is saying that the end of a self-directed life is death. The word end here is our old friend, "acharith," the Hebrew word meaning the latter end of things.
Things seemed to be going marvelous for the rich farmer who did not use his riches for the glory of God. Things seemed to be going well for the rich man who lavished abundance on himself, but did not even notice the starving Lazarus at his gate. Things seemed to be going well for Belshazzar the king as he feasted with his nobles and friends and drank wine out of the temple goblets and toasted the gods of silver and gold. Things seemed to be going well for many people who lived a life of luxury and self-indulgence here on earth. The problem is going to come at the latter end of their lives.
The rich farmer, after building bigger barns and saying he was set for life - experienced the end of his life - and had done nothing to prepare for eternity. The rich man realized as James said, the humiliation of his exalted position on earth, as he envied the destitute Lazarus' one in the afterlife. He begged for Lazarus to only dip the tip of his finger in water and touch the end of his tongue - for he was in agony in the fires of hell. Belshazzar soon grasped the infinite foolishness of serving the false gods of silver and gold - when the true and living God sent a hand to write on his wall. He learned that his self-directed life had been weighed in the balances - and he was found wanting. One can only hope he enjoyed that banquet that evening - for by the next evening he was dead and in hell - forever wanting in the sight of God.
These three are examples for us of the stupidity of the self-directed life. There are many others in Scripture and in life who follow their footsteps into hell. There is Dathan and Abiram who opposed God and received a non-stop trip to hell via the ground opening up and swallowing them and their families whole. There were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah who undoubtedly held the same concept of God keeping His morality off of their bodies. They wound up fried along with their cities as God's judgment revealed their latter end. And, lest we think that this ignoble end is only for those guilty of heinous sin - there are those who die every day as good ole boys - as "good" "moral" people. Their ultimate end was sealed when they decided that they were decent enough and did not need Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross to pay for their sins.
When you listen to the news, the entertainment industry, the religious elite, and the gurus of public opinion - you would think that the cross of Christ is foolishness (Gee that sounds like Paul in 1 Corinthians doesn't it). You would think that mankind does not need a religious crutch to lean on - mankind can solve their own problems without religion or some savior. But reality is this - mankind does not need a crutch. We would only need a crutch if we were injured. The fact is that we are dead! We need a whole new life. We might need a religious system if we only needed modification. The fact is that we are ruined. We need to be completely regenerated and made new. But the world for the most part rejects these truths revealed to us in Scripture. They have a way that seems right to them - that makes more sense. That is because "the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." It is because, "the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks (read thinkers here) search for wisdom; but we preach Christ curcified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
There is that way that seems to right to men - but in the end "THAT WAY" is actually the foolish and the stupid one. If they continue following it and reject the gospel . . . it will end in death - eternal death in hell. I know that is not popular in today's culture - either religious or secular - but nevertheless - it is the truth. If we are wise we will reject what the world calls wisdom - and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ - for that is truly wisdom that will last through all the ages and until the end of time.
Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin"? Proverbs 20:9Wisdom manifests itself by realizing that man is
sinful. That premise is rejected in most of today's society - especially among the elites who rule over the educational establishment and the world of counselling and psychiatry. The fact that they reject that man is by nature a sinner and is selfish and self-centered - dooms much of their efforts to educate and to help people deal with problems in their lives. Now there is a very bold statement - but also very true. One of the problems with modern Christianity is that we no longer feel the need in our postmodern society to have our worldview based upon the clear teaching of the Scriptures. One of the places that this is seen the clearest is in the area of the sinfulness of man and the ramifications of it in government, in education, in counselling, and in how we deal with people in our world.
The proverb here asks the simple question, "Who can say, 'I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?'" There are several assertions that are made here. First is that of the ability to cleanse ourselves from our sin. "I have cleansed my heart." This is the belief that by our own works we can change our own hearts. Unless we begin with the sinful, selfish natural tendencies of mankind, we will think that by our education and by our laws and codes, we can change a man's heart. Such an assertion is the height of foolishness. We cannot cleanse our own hearts from our sinfulness. But an educational system based upon humanistic assertions will think that we can change our hearts by being better educated. But honestly, that only provides for smarter sinners. The issues of the human heart will only be solved by the gospel of Jesus Christ whereby a heart can be redeemed and men can be regenerated.
The second question is whether a man can say he is pure from his sin. Religious around the globe seek to do this through a myriad of different plans. Some want to try to mortify their own evil desires - while others try to abolish the concept of evil and sin altogether. Purifying ourselves assumes impurity though - and thus religious efforts to do this may involve confession and absolution of some kind. Roman Catholicism tries to answer this question through their system of confession and penance which involves admitting your sin to a confessor/priest - who after offering forgiveness - then commands penance in the form of some kind of religious activity like saying a religious phrase like the Hail Mary or Rosary - or doing a good work of some kind to earn that forgiveness. In the end, whether it is through this system - or through a Hindu or Islamic system of obtaining forgiveness - it all boils down to a works mentality. We can earn our forgiveness through doing something for God.
Christianity paints a much different picture of the process of forgiveness. Any kind of law is given to restrict sin - but more importantly to show us how impossible it is to obey it - because we are rebellious sinners. The very fact that we cannot be made righteous or pure by the law - sends us running into the arms of Christ. We learn that it is only through what He did in his death, burial, and resurrection that we can be made pure in God's sight. He paid the price for our sin - and now offers to us His own righteousness - so that we can stand before God. The answer to these two questions is given by the gospel. First of all - none of us can say that we have cleansed our own hearts. The only cleansing that will matter is the one given when we receive it by faith. That cleansing comes when we look to Jesus Christ - and admit that only He can purify our hearts and change them to be godly. The second question is answered as well by the gospel. No one can say, "I am pure from my sin," without that purity coming as a gift from God as He makes us righteous with the righteousness and purity of His Son.
Wisdom rejects a man-centered, works-centered salvation. Only a fool would think that man can solve his own problems with God - without a direct interventioin by God Himself. Any education or counselling or governmental system that is based upon that wrong assertion will fail and be crushed under the weight of man's sinfulness. Without checks and balances designed to expose and correct the selfish and self-centered tendencies of the human heart, sin will run rampant in a society that hides its eyes and pretendes it does not exist. In such a world sin will be redefined again and again to cover-up the real problem - which is a wicked and sinful heart in men. In answer to the question posed by the writer of Proverbs, "No one can say that he has cleansed his own heart, or say that he is pure from his sin." That only happens by the grace and mercy of God as He works in us by the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Jesus said Himself, "No one comes to the Father, except through Me."
Ill-gotten gains do not profit, But righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 10:2
What is true treasure? When I think about this I go back to my childhood memories of the book Treasure Island
. My mind thinks of pirates and those who ride the high seas in search of that most illusive of all things - buried treasure. I consider the intrigue and the hidden motives and betrayals that await me as I read of a journey based upon a tattered treasure map. The air is heavy with excitement as the first shovel of dirt and sand is lifted on the very spot where the X is on the map. That excitement reaches fever pitch as the shovel thuds for the very first time on the chest itself.
Solomon tells us about a kind of treasure in this proverb. The phrase "ill-gotten gains," is actually the Hebrew phrase, "The treasures of wickedness." So we find that there are treasures that no matter how much they say they are worth - are actually worthless. When we seek our treasures here on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal, we are only gathering up the treasures of wickedness. In fact, unless we are locating the X on God's map - the gospel of Jesus Christ - everything we think is true treasure is only a chest filled with filthy rags. Let me explain further.
Solomon tells us in the second half of this proverb, "but righteousness delivers from death." What a powerful phrase he has just uttered. What a prophetic phrase it is as well. Any treasure that cannot deliver us from death is not a treasure at all. This is where we begin to see there is only one treasure that we should desire. The Scriptures say some interesting things about this Treasure. Jesus asked the question, 'What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Matthew 16:26
) There is an interesting question. What will you give in exchange for your soul? What amount of money or earthly treasure will pay the price for our souls? The psalmist answers that question when he says, 'No man can by any means redeem his
brother Or give to God a ransom for him—For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying
forever.' (Psalm 49:7-8
There is NO price in human terms that will ever be able to buy our souls. The problem is not with a financial price, it is with the currency that must be paid for our souls. Our problem is that the price tag is blood - blood of an holy sacrifice offered to God. The price is the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He paid the final and ONLY acceptable price for our souls. When he gave up His Spirit on the cross His final cry was, "Tetelestai!" That is a financial term meaning, "Paid in full!"
The cost for our souls is perfect righteousness. We must be absolutely holy and pure to come into God's presence. Any sin would merit His full wrath being poured out upon us. Coming into His presence without this righteousness would be as foolish as Nadab and Abihu's approach to God in Exodus. Their entrance without righteousness resulted in them being consumed by the fire of God instantly. Considering the fact that God tells us in His Word that all our righteousness is like filthy rags - we quickly see that we are in need of a righteousness that will stand before God.
Praise the Lord, God provided that righteousness Himself through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He came and fulfilled the Law. He came and lived a perfect life absolutely keeping all God's commandments and precepts. Then He took our sin upon Himself and paid the horrific penalty of God's wrath. Through His death, burial, and resurrecton God now forgives our sin and gives us the glorious exchange - His righteousness for our sin. By the grace of God we have been justified by God. Justified means, "declared righteous." As a result of being justified/declared righteous we can now stand before God - not in our own righteousness, but clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is the "righteousness that delivers from death."
All the treasures of all the ages piled as high as the heavens amount to nothing before our holy God. Added together they still amount to a sum of the "treasures of wickedness." All the achievements of all the people who have worked to attain them mean nothing in light of our sin. None of these things profit us - or have profited any son of Adam. What we need is the "righteousness that delivers from death." That righteousness was provided by God Himself. It is only attained when we receive it as a gift by the grace of God. It comes only through Jesus Christ. In light of these undisputable Biblical facts there is then only one question to be answered. Are you trusting in the treasures of wickedness to deliver your soul from death - or - are you trusting in Jesus Christ. Only He has the righteousness that delivers from death.
Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is good will. Proverbs 14:9
How a person views and deals with sin determines whether they are wise or they are foolish. Here we have Solomon teaching us the important lesson that how a man views the whole concept and reality of sin is vitally important. If we miss this - and decide how a person sees sin is not really important to us - we will find ourselves in the company of those who are fools. We will find ourselves allowing those who think sin does not even exist - be those who counsel us as to how we should have a sound mind.
The fact that we are bypassing this issue - especially when it comes to our worldview - is wreaking havoc on the church. Let me explain for a moment, because this issue is absolutely vital to us today. How a man views sin will ultimately either bless or corrupt everything he does. Most philosophies actually reject the idea of sin. They see our problem as a lack of education - or a lack of opportunity for people. Some even see the problem as believing that there is truth upon which we define and state whether actions and choices are sinful or not. They reject the very idea of sin - and consider guilt as a root problem for all people. The way they deal with this is to make truth an issue of individuality. Your truth is your truth - and you are free to live however you want based on what you consider to be true. Thus, if your truth states that there is no sin - that guilt is a bad thing - then that is true for you. This denial of sin goes further because it asserts that no one has the right to call your truth falsehood. You can imagine the problems this makes for a society in which everyone is a free agent, determining what is right or wrong for themselves. Actually it is not much different from the book of Judges where there was no God and every man did what was right in his own eyes. In this kind of society rules are constantly shifting like blowing sand. The end of this is a state in which a growing ungodliness and lawlessness begins to take root. By the way - this eventually leads to a culture of corruption and violence that is out of control. The people begin calling for someone to rise up and restore order - which in turn gives rise to a dictator who then re-establishes "order" according to "his rules." If you would like to know when this has happened in history, take a look at the Weimar Republic - which gave rise to Hitler's Germany. It has also happened in numerous examples of dictatorships of every stripe.
Mankind is best ruled by God's law established in their hearts by the work of His grace. But until men come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ - it is so necessary for a Law to be established because of the wickedness of man's fallen heart. Here we see why it is so important to define sin - and define it according to God's Word. If God has revealed Himself in the Bible, then we know how to define righteousness - truth - and what is and what is not sin. This becomes the bedrock of laws that are established in a nation. But the best thing - which our founders realized - is that men's hearts be ruled according to God's law. Our founders knew this - and thus were pinning their hopes on a heart initially ruled by God's 10 commandments. This set of God's laws would restrain so much sin and ungodly behavior - that then a society could be ruled by fewer laws. But where there is no law - there is no sin. Since our nation has rejected the 10 commandments as an illegal document by which to rule our nation, then we are left to the shifting sands of public opinion and man's evil heart to govern us. Is it any wonder that our laws continue to degrade - allowing just about any conduct to be considered legal - but not just legal - acceptable. In the end the Bible tells us where this will go - as men call good evil and evil good. Watch closely, dear saints, as more and more Biblical positions will be considered illegal by those who mock at sin. But there is even a greater evil that is foisted upon us by mocking at sin.
When sin is mocked - when the whole idea of guilt is abandoned - then there is no real reason for a Savior. The second half of this proverb states that among the upright there is "good will." The word used here for "good will" means "the favor of God." When the concept of sin is rejected by the philosophies of this present world - then there is no need for any kind of redemption from it. If we are not guilty of anything before God, then it seems pretty arrogant of God to call for the death of His only Son to pay for . . . "nothing." Follow where your philosophy ultimately leads you. If you mock at and deny guilt and sin - and this is where it leads. That is why we have modern day preachers in the church calling the death of Christ, "divine child abuse."
Without sin and guilt - there is actually no wrong behavior. But a corollary to this doctrine is that without wrong behavior - neither is there any real "upright" behavior either. All things become neutral - and the matter of individual hearts. You have no business in that society stating your view on anything. To do so is to risk the danger of being called "judgmental." The problem is that there IS WRONG BEHAVIOR! We all know it in our conscience. The only way to rid ourselves of this is to sear our conscience as with a hot iron.
The fact is that there is sin - whether men mock it or not. There is a guilt that comes with breaking God's Law. That guilt and that offense is real - and it poses a serious problem. According to God's Word, sin and guilt require accountability and punishment. There is an earthly punishment meted out by men in the governmental sphere (Romans 13
) - but the real problem is the divine retribution for rebellion and sin. The good will - i.e. grace - that the upright know is one given not by works, but by grace through faith. God has provided the way through Jesus Christ - His death, burial, and resurrection. That is given as a gift to those who respond when God grants knowledge and conviction of sin, repentance, and faith to the sinner through the gospel. When we look at the amazing thing God has done for us - and His infinite mercy in granting it to us - we have to come to the same conclusion that our proverb states to us today. Only a fool would disdain this grace . . . only a fool would disregard the wonderful work of God's conviction by the Spirit . . . and mock sin. By doing so, he also mocks the grace that is freely given to those made upright by it. He mocks the gospel.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 How we speak to others can either offer them a healing balm or a crushing blow. As we've read in Proverbs, the tongue has amazing power as it speaks words. That is also the case here - where we once again have a choice to make - this time with the words that we speak. The first thing we read of here is that there is such a thing as a healing, soothing tongue. The word here means a tongue that offering healing, a remedy. It refers to a restorative cure, a renewal from an illness or sickness. More is learned when we see a comparison drawn up about this healing tongue. It is compared to a tree of life. There is an image that we see a lot in Scripture. The tree of life was in the garden of eden - it is also in heaven at the end of the age. What is most interesting is that the tree of life refers to Jesus Christ. In the truest way - He is the tree of life. So we have another interesting parallel. Those who use their tongue for healing - for the restorative cure are as a tree of life. Our tongues are to be used to spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we do this - we are being a tree of life. THE tree of life is Jesus Christ - and when we share the life-giving, soul-healing message of the gospel - we too are being a tree of life. Remember that Jesus said that He was the light of the world - and He also called us to be the light of the world as we share the truth with others. Here we have the parallel - He is the tree of life and we can be a tree of life as well, sharing the gospel which is the only source to heal and remedy man's sin. There is another way that our tongues can be used though. We are told that when we have perversion in our tongues a different we see different results when we speak. Perversion refers to a distorted way of speaking - a deceitfulness which is said to come from a perversity, not just in how we speak, but in our very life and character. This fits the biblical description of the ungodly man - whose mouth speaks out of the abundance of what fills his heart. Perverse lifestyle equals a perverse mouth. The problem here is that when this man speaks - it crushes the spirit. The word for crush here is "seber" and it means to cause destruction and ruin. It means a fracture or a breach. When a man speaks in this perverse way - it is like a fracture in a leg or a breach in a dam. It causes great ruin in people's lives. Whereas the godly man's tongue brings a healing and a remedy - the perverse man's tongue only causes more damage in our already damaged world. Think of the number of times someone spoke perversely to you - and the destruction that such talk brings. Some might think it prudish to avoid such talk - but if you've watched the coarsening of our culture in the last 30 years - you know that such perverse speech only weakens our society. Even worse is the perversity of those who deceive with their perverted speech. Lies only bring destruction in the end - and the way that it crushes a spirit when the truth is learned is devastating. Thus, the perverse man crushes people's spirits. We've seen this several times in the book of Proverbs. The mouth and the tongue are very powerful things. The words we speak really do matter. As was said at the beginning of this meditation - those words truly can make or break a person's spirit. Be wise and use your tongue as a tree of life. Speak healing words to others and guard your tongue so that it is not loosed in talk that will crush the spirit of those who listen
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 11:4 If you asked most people if they would rather have riches or righteousness - most likely most would answer that they would like riches. That is due to two facts. First it is due to the fact that mankind is lost and ignorant of their true position before God. Second, it is due to the fact that the rich man in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man - has not yet had his message broadcast to the world as he would have wanted. Proverbs tells us that riches do not profit us in the day of wrath. If riches are all that we have - we are seriously in trouble. Note that we read here of the day of wrath. This refers to the day that God releases His wrath on those who have rejected His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That will be a sobering day indeed for the rich. They have stored up their wealth when they should have used it for the glory of God and the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. On that day, their riches will mean nothing. Honored on earth among men - riches are despised in heaven - unless they have been used for the glory of God. Two men would love to testify to this fact. The first is the rich man who did nothing to alleviate the pain and suffering of a poor beggar named Lazarus. He lay at the rich man's gate, his only ministers dogs that licked his sores. HE longed to be fed with the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. He received nothing from him. On the day of God's wrath - the rich man was cast into hell and Lazarus was taken into Abraham's bossom - to await the day he would be taken to heaven. The rich man - suffering miserably - asked that someone be sent to tell his brothers of this place. He knew that riches would not deliver in that day - only righteousness would do. The second man who would love to testify would be the rich farmer who thought he had it made because he had a bumper crop. Faced with filled barns already, he wondered what to do with his wealth. He decided to build bigger barns, fill them and then say to himself that he was set for life. He trusted riches, not righteousness. He lost. The Lord called this man a fool and told him that he would die that night - and what would he do for his own soul. Riches will not profit us in that day when we face the judgment of God. Only righteousness will do. Actually, only a certain kind of righteousness will do too. That is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That alone will stand in that awful day. Nothing else will matter except that we've repented and turned in faith to Jesus Christ. What He did on the cross will pay for our sins - what He did will allow us to be credited with a perfect righteousness that will cause us to be accepted before God. Only what He did - only His righteousness will matter. It will save us from death. In light of this truth - what are YOU trusting in on the day of God's wrath? You may think it is not coming - that God is too nice to judge anyone. The fact of Scripture is to the contrary. God will judge - He will call us to an accounting - and He will accept only one thing on that day to make us acceptable in His sight. Oh that we would be wise and run to the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. Oh that we would open our eyes and be aware of the horror of that day for those who trust anything other than the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. It alone can deliver from death. Any other thing will fail eternally. Now let me ask the question . . . On the day of God's wrath what do you want to have - riches or righteousness?