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.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22
Here is a proverb that is usually misunderstood because of the phrase that is used in it. The phrase to which I refer is where we are told that we will "heap burning coals on his head," when we are kind to our enemy. Of course, our intial thought is by doing good to our enemy - we will burn his head or melt it. Heaping burning coals on someone usually has that effect - scorching their head. But the phrase that is used does not mean this. It actually is a phrase that speaks of blessing another. Let's take a look at this phrase and how it counsels the wise man to act toward his enemies.
The call for the wise man is to give his enemy food when he is hungry and water if he is thirsty. The reason he is to do this is to act with mercy and with love - even toward someone who considers him an enemy. This is a way that the world sees that we are radically different than they are. We do not seek revenge on our enemies, but rather to show mercy - even as we have been shown mercy by God. It is important for us to remember that at one time we were enemies with God. He did not pour out his wrath upon us, rather He gave us mercy and grace. He had His wrath poured out upon His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ - and instead gives us grace to be made righteous in His sight. Therefore the call to be merciful and loving toward our enemies is a call to be like God Himself.
The problem comes when we look at why we do this. The passage says that by doing this we will pour burning coals upon our enemies - upon their foreheads. When we do this, God rewards us for acting in this way. One view of this is that conviction is in order - and that is what happens when the burning coals are put on our enemies. Thus this phrase is seen as judgment on them - because let's be honest - who wants their forehead burned up with burning coals? But the phrase used here is a Hebraism - a Hebrew expression they would understand - but we would not.
The picture here is of a very loving, very merciful deed toward our enemies. The idea here is of placing coals that are already hot into a clay pot or some other kind of insulated container. That container would then be carried, often on the head, to the person's fire pit, which has been extinguished. They would then take the coals and re-ignite their fire so that they could cook their food. This was a very loving and merciful act on their behalf, because it was not an easy thing to have a fire of coals lit for someone. This act of mercy and love would be very beneficial to the enemy - and would help to melt their hardened heart against the one who acted with such grace.
The wise man knows that winning an enemy is a difficult thing. He also knows that prolonging a fight is not to his advantage unless there is no way to reach his enemy - or his enemy is actively seeking to destroy him. In these cases one must defend himself. But if possible it is better to win over your enemy. There is a picture of this in the book of 2 Kings in the life of Elisha. The king of Aram was furious that Elisha could predict by God's power everywhere the Arameans would prepare to attack Israel. In a rage he sent his entire army to kill Elisha. As the army approached Elisha prayed that they would all be struck blind. Then he led them into Samaria where Israel could destroy them. But look at what God led them to do - and the result.
"When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” He answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel." It would have been easy to destroy the Arameans, but instead God led Elisha to counsel them to feed them with a feast. When they did so - it made their enemies turn away from their destrutive ways - and they no longer sent marauding bands into Israel any longer. Remember this, for it is wisdom of the highest order, mercy triumphs over judgment. Therefore God paid the judgment, and showed us mercy in Christ. Oh that we would be wise enough to do the same with our enemies. When we do, they will see a glorious display of the very gospel that is at the heart of what God is and does among men.
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you. Proverbs 20:22
Revenge is something that is very dangerous. We are told by today's proverb not to say that we ourselves will repay the evil done to us. Instead we are to wait for the Lord to be the One who saves us. There are two interesting examples of this - and Solomon was well aware of both of them. These two examples were Saul and David. They were the opposite ends of this issue of taking our own vengeance and repaying the evil done to us. They are also the difference between blessing and destruction.
Saul started out his career being wise in this way. When he became king some scoffed at him - and did not bring him any kind of present - on a day when presents were in order. Shortly after this God allowed a situation where Saul proved his worth - and showed that he indeed was fit and called to be king. When some wanted to bring vengeance on these men who rebuffed Solomon, his response was wise. He said that no one was going to be put to death, because God was gracious and had been good to His people. Thus Solomon allowed the Lord to defend him. But later in life Saul no longer followed the Lord - and began to be rebellious to God's purposes. When he faced a supposed wrong by the priests of the Lord - he reacted violently. Even though the priests acted without any knowledge of any kind of rebellion, Saul had the entire city, men, women, and children put to death. Thus was his reign marred by a continual desire to repay any suspected slight or evil done to him.
David was much different. He was wronged repeatedly by Saul and by those who followed him. Yet twice David rejected the opportunity to kill Saul - even when God put the opporutnity to do so. He saw Saul as God's annointed and therefore a man to be honored. His statement to the men with him who desired to put Saul to death was that God would be the One to bring Saul down - but David would not take his own vengeance and repay the evils done to him. David was blessed greatly because of this -a nd God greatly prospered his kingdom. God also blessed David with deliverance after deliverance.
Saul . . . he experienced something much diffferent than David. Saul went crazy - he was mad - he lost his mind. This is what happens to us when we think we have to defend ourselves against every slight and every evil done to us. This is a responsibility and a weight on our minds that we cannot carry. Soon the world itself is against us - and everyone and everything is suspect. This will make you lose your mind - just like Saul did. The way to peace is through forgiveness.
When we choose to forgive the evils done to us we are blessed. We are adopting the mind and heart of God, Who chose to forgive even though it cost His Son His life to do so. Our minds, when we forgive, are loosed from the constant torture of remembering the wrongs done to us. They are set free from bitterness which will consume our sanity like a dry forest is consumed by a fire driven by dry winds. We are free to give all our slights to God and allow Him Who sits on the throne to determine how to measure out justice and righteousness. Since there is only one ultimate throne in this universe - with only One Who sits upon it - truly, only He can mete out perfect justice. We are liberated from decisions taht are beyond our ability to make.
As long as we live in a fallen world there are going to be slights, problems, evils, and injustices that come our way. The wisdom that God offers to us today recognizes these things and gives us a way to deal with them without losing our minds. In the process we are protected from the deeper damage these things can do to us - and we are given the glorious priviledge of forgiving others - which is when we reflect both His character and His glory most.
A man's discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11
What is it that can give us the ability to be patient with others? What would we need to develop in our lives and our thinking that would make us someone who is quick to forgive and gracious to those who provoke us? That is actually what Solomon, through the Holy Spirit, is about to tell us. I don't know about you - but when I read this particular proverb, I get excited. Unbeknownst to everyone except all those who are around me - I can become impatient. When I get impatient, unfortunately other sins are soon to follow, like anger, resentment, and unforgiveness. Therefore knowing the thing that will allow me to be slow to anger and forgiving is vital to me. Let's take a look and see that that thing is.
Discretion is what the Bible says will make us slow to anger. And of course our very next question is, "What is discretion - and how does someone have it in their lives. Discretion is the Hebrew word, "sekel" and it means discretion received due to intelligence and good sense. But Zhodiates goes further in his definition describing just what this is. He says, "This intellegence is more than just mere book knowledge or learning about a particular subject. It has a greater significance and means insight or understanding. It is having this intelligence and insight that gives a person that ability to have patience." (Complete Word Study Dictionary, Zhodiates)
This intelligence and insight is ascribed to Abigail in the Word of God in 1 Samuel 25:3. She was said to be a beautiful women who had intelligence. That intelligence kept her entire family from being destroyed when her husband treated David with contempt. She found out about her husband's sin and lack of graciousness and quickly rode to meet David with a generous gift (which should have been given in the first place). David, for his part, was riding with a large group of valient men to avenge himself because of the anger that rose up within him when he was spited by Abigail's husband. It was Abigail's ability to discern what was about to happen to her family - that moved her to calm David's anger with a proper apology and gracious gift.
Anger tends to make us not think about what we are doing. It is usually a reaction to the fact that we cannot control our own situation and the people around us - or - it is a reaction to how we view the way we have been treated by others. Discretion makes us slow to anger. There are still times when we should be angry about how we've been treated - or - how others have acted. But it is better when we are slow to anger. That way our anger is not a reaction (esepecially the ones where we blow up at someone) - but a clear decision that is guided by reason and understanding - not just passion and perceived slight. We take a moment or how many moments are necessary to step back and think through what we are about to say or do. We take time to consider the other person - and to consider their situation. The old addage of walking a mile in their shoes is appropriate here.
The other thing that this understanding and knowledge will help us to consider is that it is a glory to overlook a transgression. Think for a moment what life would be like if everyone demanded instant justice on all matters where they think something wrong has been done to them. The world would be filled with vigilante justice everywhere. Life would consist of moving from one slight to another - demanding that there be payment for how we've been wronged. There would be no peace - and very few relationships would go well. Thus it is better for us to simply overlook a transgression (real or imagined). It is far better for most relationships to have a measure of grace and forgiveness (often the more the better!) than for them to demand instant justice at all times.
Taking these two things - discretion when faced with a wrong done - and forgiveness and grace when we experience another's transgression - are key to productive, happy relationships. It is so helpful to remember the grace given to us when these things happen. God did not demand instant justice with reference to our transgressions. He chose to show mercy - and later to forgive when the payment had been made by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been to His everlasting glory for ages. How we need to see this - and seek to emulate it in all our relationships in
life. That, dear saints, is wisdom - and it is to the glory of God.
I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. Proverbs 7:14-15We are continuing in this verse with the entiement and thinking of the harlot, the adulteress, as she seeks to lure a young man into her trap of sexual immorality. This verse is fascinating because it reveals that the adulteress has a religious side to her as well. Her comment to her prey is truly interesting because it speaks of someone who has gone and done their religious duty. Let's take a look at it today and seek to gain wisdom and reject stupidity as a result.Her statement is that her peace offerings are with her. The idea here is not that she has yet to offer them, but rather that her spiritual condition is one who is at peace with God - someone who has already offered this sacrifice to the Lord - and who, as a result, has some kind of stored up religious earnings. She thinks that she has religious credit on deposit - and therefore she can withdraw it in her current actions. This is the mindset of penance rather than repentance. Penance assumes that we can pay for our sins with some kind of religious ritual - and too often is seen as a payment up to date - with the result being that we can sin some more later. Repentance is a change of mind granted by God - with the result that by grace alone our sin is forgiven. Along with repentance is both restortation and regeneration so that we are truly changed. The one who has engaged in repentance IS changed by God - whereas the one doing penance is engaged in a works mentality where they have earned something from God.The adulteress here is stating that she is paid up - and has somehow earned the right to now engage in further sin. Having done her religious work - her religious duty - she is now free to live as she pleases. This is the danger of works-minded religion - it deceives the one practicing it into thinking that after they have sinned, they can just work some more - work a little harder - and all will be well. There is no transformation involved - just another IOU paid in full to God as they continue in their self-made menagerie of religous ritual.Today she has paid her vows . . . what vows? Evidently there is a supposed promise of reformation - but there is no action toward it coming any time soon. The next verse is so telling because in it she says, "Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly." Her comment is that having done her religious duty, having made worthless and empty vows, now she is free to engage in her sexual escapades. Her religion is merely a facade to further deceive whatever willing dupe is in her sites. She's ready to roll - now that she has played her religious game for the week - or the day - or however she works to maintain the illusion of being right with God. What a convenient religion this is. The danger here is that we will be drawn into an illicit relationship thinking that we are having adultery with a good person - a religious person. The reality is that we are walking over the pit that has been covered with leaves by the one hunting us. If we buy the lie and step over the hole, we will quickly find that what we've actually stepped upon is a trap. The lie was there to lure us into a false sense of safety. The reality is that we are now caught - and in grave danger.Just one last parting comment though - because this particular practice is even among those of us who are evangelicals. We need to be extremely careful that we are engaging in repentance before God and not just a protestant form of penance. When we come to confess our sins - we don't need to stop there. Too many (myself included unfortunately) just confess their sins - but do not go into the second part of 1 John 1:9. We are all about confessing a sin that makes us feel bad, feel guilty, feel caught - but are we truly interested in God's change in our hearts? The second half of that verse says that we also ask to be "cleansed from all unrighteousness." Here is the forgotten part. We need God to not only forgive - but cleanse us of the mindset and choices that led to that sin in the first place. We need to say to God, "Get rid of every 'unright' behavior, choice, thought, reasoning, and activity." There is where we can camp out for a while and have the Lord do a thorough heart searching in us. There is where we can be protected from the very sin these two verses reveal to us. We can move from penance to repentance - and in so doing - from merely salving our conscience for a few moments to true change.
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."
A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food. Proverbs 28:3 We have all heard stories of the oppressive who are rich. God condemns this kind of behavior. But when a poor man does the same - it is an even greater sin because the poor man should know better being among the lowly himself. Proverbs describes this man as a driving rain which leaves no food. The rain described here is one that is a deluge - a true drenching storm. It is described as being a "driving" rain. The word here means something that sweeps things away. It is rain that is so heavy and strong that it literally washes all the crops in an entire field away. It leaves nothing behind, completely destroying all that is in its path. The poor man who oppresses the lowly is best described in the parable of the debtors. Matthew 18 tells this parable of two men who owed money. One owed millions to the king - and there was no way of paying it back - even in a hundred lifetimes. When the king pronounced judgment upon him for his debt, the poor man begged for mercy. The king then acted with unimaginable mercy - forgiving the man every penny of his debt. It is one of the most poignent displays of mercy in all of Sripture. But what did the poor man do with this mercy and newfound freedom. The Word tells us that he went out and found a fellow lowly servant who owed him about 50 to 100 dollars. The fellow servant begged too for mercy - and asked for a little time. He promised to pay it all back. But the forgiven servant then grabbed the other by the throat and cast him into the prison till he was paid all that was owed to him. Indeed, this was a case where the poor was oppressing the lowly. When the other servants heard of this, they informed the king - who then called the poor oppressor to account. He was told that having received mercy - he should have shown it to others. Having been forgiven, he should have forgiven others. The end of the oppressing servant was to be thrown into prison and handed over to the torturers until every cent was repaid of his debt. This proverb does speak to us about the need for reciprocity in showing mercy. If we are the poor - we of all people should have great patience with the por who are around us. To oppress them is like being a driving rain that washes away everything. If there cannot be mutual grace among the lowliest of people, what is left. But there is a greater reminder given to us here. It is the reminder of the spiritual lesson before us. Just like the poor man in the parable, we need to forgive as we have been forgiven. We are the poor in spirit - the spiritually devastated and bankrupt. God has shown us astounding mercy in forgiving our sins and giving us His unmerited favor. Oh, how we should be ready to show that same mercy and grace to others - the ones around us just as poor, just as spiritually bankrupt - as an example of our Father's love. To do otherwise is to be a driving rain that leaves nothing behind. It is to offer no hope of forgiveness and grace among the lost. Our message is also to be our example. By God's grace - when we show grace - we will verify grace - thus offering grace to those who need grace. Don't be a driving hurricane that leaves nothing behind - be a gentle rain that waters so that fruit can be borne to God - fruit that will last - and thus our Father will be glorified.
The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him: What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows? Proverbs 31:1-2
Who is king Lemuel? According to some the name was a pet name for Solomon. Thus, this would make the woman speaking this his mother, Bathsheba. God called Solomon Jedidiah, which means "beloved of the Lord." Lemuel means "devoted to the Lord." Several commentators believe this may have been a pet name for Solomon used by Bathsheba. I love pet names. I have several for my children (which I won't mention because it might embarass them). Most pet names arise because of love - and most are spoken in love as well. How this was the case for Bathsheba.
This is described as being the "prophecy" that his mother taught him. Prophecy here is "massa" which means a burden or a load. It was a weight that his mother carried with her all her days - and it was truths as a result of that burden that she spoke strongly to her son. Considering what happened to Bathsheba and David it is easy to see why this would have been a burden to her. She may have heard whisperings in the palace all of her life - whisperings that were the result of her sin with David. Thus we can see that her burden would be to save her son from a similar fate by warning him of some things to avoid as a man - and especially as a king. Those words come later - for now let's take a closer look at that pet name - Lemuel.
Bathsheba speaks of Solomon as her son - as the son of her womb and the son of her vows. We can only imagine the difficulty and pain Bathsheba felt after her sin with David - and the loss of their child born of their sin. Would God ever give her another child? Had her sin cost her everything? These are the words of a woman who needed to know God's grace.
Ever wonder why Solomon was called Jedidiah by God? This means "beloved of the Lord," and was to be a sign to David and Bathsheba that this boy was dearly loved of the Lord. What a glorious picture of grace this is to us! And now that we see that his mother who carried him considered him the "son of her vows" it becomes even more precious to us. It is easy to see Bathsheba coming to her own repentance. These words may be her own Psalm 51 moment. She knew she should not have committed adultery with the king. She knew she should not have consented to the cover up with him - one in which she unwittingly was an accessory to the murder of her own husband. Oh the guilt and pain that must have racked her from day to day. Then came the death of her first child - the very child that resulted from her sin. It would be easy to see her sinking into utter despair and depression. Yet we see her doing this. Instead we see her turning to the Lord in repentance and in making new vows to God to be a woman of character and godliness! And how God accepted her brokenness as a gift and a prize. He gave her a son - and afterward God gave him a pet name - Jedidiah - the beloved of God - for the Lord loved this child that resulted from the grace on the other side of David's sin.
Here dear saints is the wisdom for today. Never give up on turning to God in repentance and in faith. Never turn away and think you've gone too far. If you do - think of Bathsheba and David. Think of the shame and disgrace of their sin - and the cost of the child afterwards. Then think of the name that Bathsheba called her son within the palace. Consider that this child of her vows was a constant reminder to her that the Lord loved him too! He heard her prayers and cries of confession. He too loved the child on the other side of repentance - as he does everything that is birthed after we break and turn to Him.
So, if you are tempted and tried - sorely grieving your own sins. If you struggle with whether God will receive you - welcome one so stained and damaged by rebellion and wickedness. Think of the lovely wafting sounds of "Lemuel!" sounding through the palace. She too had a pet name - one that reminded her of God's own name for her son. Think of a child that God gave a name to remind you that He loved him and that He forgave you. Think of a pet name - a name that was uttered with a smile upon Bathsheba's face. Think of that name that reminded her that though her sins were as scarlet - God washed them whiter than snow! That, dear saints, is wisdom - and it is also the glorious grace of God! May He ever be praised and glorified for shedding it upon us!
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 that truth stated in another way. Whereas the 1 John passage states this truth in the positive only, this proverb also warns us about 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 way). He is not willing to bring his sin to light before God. Therefore he hides his rebellion thinking that God does not see him. This 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.
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 - but when he faced his sin before God that is when he received forgiveness. Hiding our sins is not only counterproductive - it is also kind of silly. 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. The simple fact of all this is that we can never hide our sin from a holy, omniscient God. He truly sees all!
Proverbs tells us that this man who is trying to conceal his sin will not prosper. "Prosper" is tsalach and means to succeed or to be victorious. It 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 defeat their enemies. But what Proverbs says to us is that concealing our sins is a sure way to know we will NOT PROSPER! We will not break through to God - we will not break through to victory - we will not break through to see strongholds and sins overcome. And beyond that - we won't prosper spiritually period! If this was all this proverb said - it would be great counsel - but would leave us with just a warning. Yet God does not want us only to receive correction - He wants us to receive counsel.
The Lord 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. How do we obtain the compassion of God when we sin?
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 God desires here for us to receive compassion. Some teach that all we need to do is to confess our sins and everything is fine with God. That is true - if this second attitude is present. If it is not - I do not believe the Bible says that we will receive forgiveness. We also need 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 before God. Compassion means that God shows us mercy and a deep, kindly sympathy.
This verse is so key to us knowing fellowship and grace from God. It is so important for us to grasp the call of God to us 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. Believe me, if we do, we will obtain the grace, mercy, and compassion that we need.
He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. Proverbs 17:9
Wait a minute? Is God actually encouraging a cover-up? Why should someone conceal a transgression? Why would it be loving to not bring out a sinful situation? Solomon is not encouraging a cover-up, but rather is giving us wisdom as to how to be a loyal friend. The one who is concealing the transgression - is one who is doing so out of love. The love that this one seeks is a love that exists between husband and wife - a love between friends. It is love and a loyalty to the one that we love that keeps us from repeating a matter - repeating a sin. We choose to forgive and set such things aside. Rather than bring up a sin again - we choose to conceal such things. This is not a cover-up but rather forgiveness and releasing the one we love from having to constantly bear the guilt of their transgression before us. Solomon tells us that it is the one who "repeats a matter" who separates intimate friends. The word "repeats" is so vital here. It means that the issue has been brought up - it has been mentioned, but now it is over - and it will not be mentioned again - it won't be repeated! There has been forgiveness. When there is NOT forgiveness, such a breach will separate even intimate friends. This is the person who chooses to remind the one at fault again and again of their error. And this will separate good friends. The true friend - the one who seeks that intimacy with a friend - forgives and moves on - leaving the sin and choosing to remember it no longer. This is also true on a corporate scale within the church as well. When we go about repeating the transgressions of others - i.e. when we go about gossipping concerning how others have sinned - we will separate the church - there will be a split! Oh, how wise is the one who chooses to conceal the errors of others - rather than use them as a bludgeon to castigate them for their missteps. We forgive - we move on - and we seek love in that relationship. What we want is a return to intimacy and a restoration of relations. A wise man will do such things. A fool continues to tell others of their wrong - of how they blew it - and in the process - separates and splits things wide open. Seek love - choose to forgive and conceal the fact that they've blown it. That is seeking love.