He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor. Proverbs 21:21
What are you pursuing in life? It is not unusual to hear someone say that they are pursuing a career in some field of endeavor. When we hear someone say this we know that they are puting their energies and their time into study and practice of that discipline. It means that they have a goal in front of them and that goal is what guides them in much of what they do. Thus the question begs to be asked, "What are your pursuing when it comes to spiritual things?"
God points us to wisdom by telling us that there are two things that are very worthy of pursuit when it comes to spiritual matters. These two things are righteousness and loyalty. Today we will take a closer look at what it means to pursue these two things. We will also see in the rewards that God says come to those to follow this pursuit the reason why this is exceedingly wise.
When God says to pursue these things He uses the word, "radaph." This word means to chase or to follow after closely and with great effort and energy. The idea is that one is not just to pursue - but one is to overtake these things. The mindset is that we will not be content with a life without righteousness and without loyalty. These are things we must have - and thus in our pursuit we are passionate and totally committed. This is not a hobby or just something to add to our resume. This is a hot pursuit that is pleased only with the eventual 'catching' or 'having' of these things. Nothing else will do.
We pursue righteousness - which in Hebrew is "tsedequah." This word means righteousness abstractly - but when applied to how we live our lives it speaks of moral rectitude - of a desire to have our lives measure up to a standard of right and good that is found in God and in His Word. It speaks of living a life of justice in how we relate to others and especially how we relate to the poor and unfortunate. The word refers to a moral standard that is not set according to the world and its views. The moral standard and sentiment we embrace is that which is found in the pages of Scripture. Yet the righteousness we seek is not by law. The Scriptures which speak of this righteousness say that we obtain it by faith. It is not a set of rules - it is a person - the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately we pursue Him for only He can transform us and make us righteous.
We also pursue loyalty. The Hebrew word used here is "chesed" which refers to more than just a loyalty. This is the word that most closely relates to the New Testament word grace. It is the word that is used to describe God's love and commitment to His covenant people. It is easily translated, "covenant-love." Paul says to us in the New Testament to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. What we are to pursue in life is the grace of God. We live by grace - and advance in life by grace. In pursuing grace - we are kind of pursuing the One who is pursuing us. We pursue love and commitment. We pursue a selflessness that is evidenced by the love of God in Christ Jesus. Kind of cool here to see that even in an Old Testament proverb we are told to pursue righteousness by faith and a God who gives us such a righteousness by His loving, selfless grace.
What will we find when we give ourselves to such a pursuit? We are told of three things. First is that we will receive life. "Chayim" is the word for life here - and it simply means life itself. We are made alive when we pursue these two wonderful things. Consider the New Testament call to us - that when we pursue Christ, Who is the ultimate source of life - the ultimate way of life - and who is the life itself - we receive eternal life. This is the life of God, Who alone is eternal. We have a quality of life that can only be received from God Himself. Second in our set of three blessings is "righteousness." This is the same word as was used earlier - and it simply means that in seeking and pursuing righteousness - we receive righteousness as a gift by faith - through the grace of God. This does not mean we attain righteousness by our own choice of lifestyle. The fact is we are given righteousness by a gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are stunned to learn that when God gives us this gift - we are just as righteous as Jesus Himself - by God's wonderful gift - and as a result of that - we can be transformed to reflect that righteousness in all our ways. The third in this list of glorious benefits is honor. The word for honor here is "kavod" and it is the word God uses for glory. When we pursue the proper things - it is to the glory of God - and we receive from it the honor of His working in our hearts. What a glorious gift is ours - to receive the glory of salvation - the glory of God's righteousness - the glory of being at peace with God - the glory of His marvelous transformation of our lives. This is ours when we pursue the One Who in His mercy pursues us by grace.
Want to know what to pursue in life? Pursue God! That is the ultimate answer when all is said and done with today's proverb. It is a wise thing to pursue God - and to pursue His righteousness by His grace. This is both the ultimate pursuit in life and the ultimate prize! Oh the glories of pursuing the One Who pursues us! Oh the joy of capturing the One Who by grace captures our hearts. Pursue, dearest saints - pursue for you will find as you do - that you are gloriously pursued by the One Who loves you more than you could ever dream of being loved!
A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones. Proverbs 14:30
The heart is physically one of the most important organs of our body. If the heart is stopped the body will die. But what we read in today's proverb is not dealing with the physical heart. It speaks of the heart as the innermost region of our lives. The Hebrew mind looked at the heart as the central, spiritual, inward aspect of our souls. So when we look today at the issue of the heart and whether it is tranquil and strong - or whether it is tossed about and weak - means everything to the blessedness of the individual who struggles with issues of the heart.
The tranquil heart is the quiet one. What God is saying here is that this person's heart is strong and quiet. Their inner life is like the clear, mirror-like, state of the water in the early morning on a lake. This person's peace and calm is not disturbed by things that happen around it. The "soul-life" is strong and they can deal with problems and difficulties. There is an ultimate sense of peace here, because this one knows that God is sovereign over all things. They know they are in God's hand no matter what their circumstances look like. The Word of God is their comfort - and they will hold to it no matter what information in life seems to contradict it.
On the other hand there is a person who has "passion" in his life. The proverb tells us that this passion is like a rottenness in his bones. Things like jealousy, anger, over-zealousness, and envy run rampant in this one's heart. As a result there is no stability in him. These things run roughshod over his peace and contentment. There is a constant passion running wild within this man - almost pushing him from one extreme to another. And like a rottenness in his bones - he feels more and more like all stability and peace is gone from him.
One might wonder the source of such a peace. It is the knowledge of the gospel that brings us to peace with God. If there is peace between us and our God, then we are at peace with Him - and know peace in our souls. I've watched as strong believers have gone through the most trying of times, but they do so with tranquility. That is what the gospel of Jesus Christ looks like - and even more what it produces. If our sovereign God holds us and holds all the universe - we can trust Him.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20
What are you doing as you walk through life? Are you among those who are plotting evil or with the ones who are promoting peace. Today's proverb shows the contrast between these two things.
First we see those who are plotting evil. What is interesting about this is many who would fall into this category would not agree that they are plotting anything. Yet - because they choose to reject God's Word as truth - and instead make up an argument for their own truth - they are indeed plotting the demise of those with whom they speak. On the day of judgment they will learn the awful truth that their deceitful speaking misled many to where they now stand in the same judgment they do.
Our proverb describes the heart condition of those who devise evil. Their hearts are said to be filled with deceit. The word here is mirmah. It means to intentionally mislead someone by either distorting the truth or withholding the truth from them. The fact stands in all of history that God's Word IS truth. That eternal fact will never change. But there are those who do not acknowledge that God's Word is truth. They hold to another "truth" which is nothing more than error. Because they hold fast to their version of truth - they now hold fast to lies. This means that as they spread them - they are misleading others as to what is truth. They are also intentionally withholding from their students the truth of God's Word. This is deceitful - since truth is readily available to anyone who will read the Word of God with an open mind and heart. What is truly fascinating is the word used for the evil that these people devise. The word for "devise" used here means to plow or till the soil. Hosea uses this same metaphor when he speaks of how Israel was "plowing wickedness" and reaping God's justice as a reward for what they had sown (see Hosea 10:13
). The so-called truth of the ones who deny Scripture - is nothing more than a falsehood and lie that is deeply tilled into the hearts of those who are their students. This plowing with falsehood and evil will one day reap a harvest of judgment if God does not intervene. They are simply plowing evil into the hearts of men - and that plowing will one day reap the wrath of God.
The godly man or woman is one who is a "counsellor of peace." These are the ones who bring the truth from the Word of God and present it to men. They bring the gospel to those who realize that they are facing a dire future in their sins. To be a counsellor of peace is to be a man or woman who presents Christ to the lost. There is no peace for the wicked - but for those who humble themselves - there is great joy and peace. May God make each one of us a counsellor of peace - and an individual who works alonside the prince of peace so that the ultimate message of God's peace, the gospel, may be understood - received - and the cause of great joy to those who hear it with faith.
Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:25-26
Sudden fear, dread, terror that comes suddenly - all these are things that wisdom will protect us from in our lives. Now please do not misunderstand that this passage is not saying that bad things will never happen to good people. We all know that we've grieved over godly people who have been killed in car accidents and in other disasters. But what is promised here is that the godly - those who build their lives on wisdom - who are guided by the north star of God's Word - will not have the "onslaught of the wicked" when they are punished for their wickedness.
Let me quote several passages of Scripture to help us grasp this concept of the Word. Psalm 121
tells us of the protective care of the Lord. Verses three and four are especially comforting to us. "He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:3-4
) God promises great peace and protection to those whose lives are guided by His wisdom. But for the wicked God promises that this thing called, sudden terror and sudden fear will come upon them. Proverbs 1:26
-27 speaks of a "dread" that comes upon the wicked. It says that dread, calamity, and distress will come like a storm and like a whirlwind. Then again in Psalm 49
we read of the foolish and those who approve their foolish words this terrifying statement made by the Lord, "As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation." (Psalm 49:14
The above passages instruct us as to the end of the foolish who ignore and mock God's wisdom and Word. They will have a sudden end that will overtake them. In Psalm 73
David struggled with why the wicked often seem to have it so good in their lives here on the earth. He came to the point of almost losing his faith and betraying others who followed God with all their hearts. Then he said that he came into the sanctuary and saw the latter end of these who walk in wickedness and foolishness. He spoke of how suddenly they fall and are destroyed. No matter how good anyone has it here on the earth, they will one day face God in the judgment. No matter how awesome they have it now - there is a latter end for them when all their deeds will follow them to that place of ultimate payback or reward. The wicked who will not turn from their sinful ways will face this ultimate dread - but the godly who order their ways according to God's wisdom will not have this happen to them.
We are told in verse 26 that Jehovah will be our "confidence." The Hebrew word for "confidence" here is fascinating because of what is points to spiritually. The word is "kesel" and it means a sense of confidence and security. It also points to an area of the body - the midsection or specifically the area where our kidneys are located. The reason this is fascinating is because in Leviticus 3:4
; Leviticus 4:9
and Leviticus 7:4
this exact same word is used of sacrifices that were made before God. In Leviticus 3
it is used of the peace offering that was made before God. In Leviticus 4
it was the sin offering and in chapter 7 it spoke of the guilt offering. When we consider this word and its usage it paints a beautiful picture for us of what Christ does for us. These were all pictures of how these sacrifices would take care of sin and promise peace to those who confessed their sin and brought them to God for a payment for that sin. They were all precursors of what Jesus Christ would do through His death and resurrection. Thus the idea here is that our confidence is not in ourselves but rather in our Lord. That is exactly what this verse says - that Jehovah will be our confidence.
We are also told that our foot will not be caught in the snares of the wicked - in the things which their lifestyles bring upon them. Our foot will be firmly planted on a rock - the Rock Christ Jesus. We will have our lives firmly planted in the Word of God - which is the rock upon which the house that did not fall was built. The sand of the world system and its shifting views of truth and godliness will not stand in that day. Instead they will face the sudden fear and sudden onslaught of God's judgment in the end. But for those of us who love the Lord and live according to His wisdom, our ultimate fears are gone - taken away by the grace of God and the "kidneys of Jesus Christ" which were offered on our behalf as a peace offering, a guilt offering, and a sin offering which brings us into God's favor and protection. Learn to delight, not in yourself and your own strength, but rather in God who freely has given us forgiveness and grace in Christ Jesus our Lord!
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24
If you have ever lost a night's sleep due to fear or worry, you know what a blessing it is to have a sense of security and peace as you go to bed. That is what God promises to those who base their lives upon His wisdom. So today as we look at our proverb of the day, we will look at how wisdom grants us that peace and ability to lie down and have a great night's sleep.
The first thing we see here is that there is a promise given to us that we will not be afraid as we lie down at night. Why would we fear though? How does God's Word and Wisdom keep us from having fear in our hearts? According to first John 4:18
fear has to do with punishment. The one who lives according to God's wisdom does not have to fear punishment becasue he knows that God's grace has removed it from us. This as true in the Old Testament in the sacrificial system, and in the New through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. Therefore we know that the worst case scenario has been solved by the work of Jesus Christ.
There are other ways in which we know God's wisdom will watch over us. Much of the wisdom that we read of in the book of Proverbs deals with making wise decisions and staying away from things that are harmful to us. We are warned again and again in Proverbs that certain choices and certain paths will not be blessed. They may look good at first - and even bring pleasure initially, but in the end they are very harmful and dangerous. That is why when we give ourselves to walking in the wisdom of God that we will be able to lie down and not be afraid. We will be able to lie down and have sleep that is sweet. Basing our lives upon the Word of God - especially taking the advice and counsel of the proverbs that God has given to us truly will yield a peaceful life filled with His blessing.
I'll close today's post with a quote from the book of James, "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so
lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:13-18
) There it is for us in full view. When we live our lives by the wisdom that God gives to us - we will live a life that will be filled with the "peaceable" fruit that such wisdom brings to our lives.
Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another, Or he who hears it will reproach you, And the evil report about you will not pass away. Proverbs 25:9-10Here is another of those Proverbs that seems to directly contradict what has been said in the previous verse. Here it has to do with arguing your case with your neighbor. But the thing that truly helps us to understand this proverb is that it deals with arguing your case with your neighbor "alone." The ESV and the KJV bring this out.
When a person has a conflict with another person, the best way for it to be resolved is for the two of them to get together and to work it out between them.
This is what the writer of Proverbs is saying here. This proverb has to do with gossip more than anything else. When there is a conflict, take the conflict to the person with whom you have the conflict - and no one else. That is what the writer is saying when he says not to reveal the secret of another. When there is a conflict, we don't need to reveal that we have had one with everyone else. That is usually what happens when there is a fight. We decide to talk with everyone else - telling them about everything that has happened and every way that this other person has hurt us - or has wronged us. That is revealing the secret of another.
Here is a concept that I know is foreign to the church today. When we have a fight or disagreement with someone - that situation is to be treated as if it is a secret between us and the person with whom we've had the disagreement. It is to remain that way - until we've worked it out with that person. The reason we should do this is because God will give us grace - and give the person with whom we have the disagreement grace. But anyone we bring into the situation - will not have grace to deal with it. They will tend to take one side or the other - and soon factions will begin to develop.
When the person with whom we have the disagreement begins to hear that we've told others - new problems will develop. The passage here says that when the person with whom we've had the argument hears that we're talking to others about it - they will reproach us for doing it. There is an additional offense when this happens. There are already problems with this person - but now they feel that they are being slandered with gossip.
Now the next step in all this is that the argument begins to develop into a full-sized war. They begin to send out an evil report about you. They are so offended that you've begun to gossip, that they begin to gossip as well. Just as you decided to share the worst of your disagreement with others - they do the same. You feel greater offense but what they are doing is only what you've already done to them. The sad reality with this entire situation is that it will continue toward greater and greater bitterness until one or the other involved with be Christlike enough to humble themselves and begin working toward true healing. This involves actually talking about the problem to the person with whom you have the problem. What is so sad is that the vast majority of the time all that happens is that the two people eventually move to an uncomfortable silence between them. Their relationship becomes superficial - awaiting the next blow up that will come in the future.
Argue your case with your neighbor alone. That is wisdom. It will bless you - and honestly - it will bless your church as well. This would be such a cause for maturity in the church. We would have to confront lovingly when we have a problem with a brother - but from what I've experienced - we would also have stronger relationships in the church or wherever we are having problems. May God bless us so that we begin to take this very wise advice and have stronger relationships in every aspect of life.
"Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. Proverbs 4:6 Of all the great love stories that have filled the pages of books, this one is by far, the least familiar. Believe me there are plenty of love stories (which to be honest, many are more like lust-stories or idolatry-stories) that capture the minds of men and women. This love story though - doesn't get much book or screen time. I'm speaking of the love story between a man or woman and wisdom. That is what is described for us in this verse of chapter four of Proverbs. First, the father tells his son not to forsake her. The word "forsake" here means to abandon, to leave, to desert something or someone. How often has wisdom watched us teary-eyed as we descend into stupidity and foolish - crying out all the way, "Don't leave me!" Yet we leave - we abandon and desert wisdom and go out on our own. We return to her - often with the scars and the marks of sheer stupidity later - wondering how we left such a "hottie" for a "nottie." Sin and stupidity looked so good for a moment - in fact sin promised so much. Problem is that sin never delivered (and never does). If only we had not forsaken our love - our Wisdom. She would have guarded us. The word for guard here is our old Hebrew friend "shamar" which means to keep watch over, to preserve, to be careful and diligent. This was the word used for a doorkeeper or a guard. She would have protected us from the ravages of evil and the mistakes of foolishness. If only we would have listened. The love story here involves love itself. Wisdom gave all of herself to us. What we should have given in return was an equal love. The word for love here (aheb) means to have a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to possess - or to be in the presence of another. If only our love would have reached this level. If only we had desired wisdom and gotten fully attached to her. If only we had desired to possess her - to have her - and to keep her near. To be in the presence of wisdom whether it meant sage older men - or just a good book (actually THE good book). How often has Wisdom desired that we return the great love of the Father to us. If we would love like this - responding to Wisdom's call and Wisdom's protection - she would have literally "protected us" and "watched over" us. God has given us His Word - and has put it in a 31 chapter volume that holds great wisdom for us. How He desires that the love He gives us through Wisdom - through the Holy Spirit teaching and leading, and guiding us - would be returned. There is a love story that will bless us marvelously, if we will become a character in it. This love story promises to be one that will last throughout all the ages. It is almost as if this love story has existed all throughout time - and is available to anyone who will embrace wisdom - and hold wisdom fast. Know this - each and every day you awake and get ready to start your day - there is One who loves you more than you could ever imagine. There is a wisdom that He wants you to have - that will guard and watch over you for good and for blessing. This love is there if you will respond. The question then resounds, "Are you going to get involved, or are you just going to play the field?" How you answer that question will determine whether you enter into the most awesome love story ever - or just waste your life on bad choices.
When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7You mean to say that if my ways please God, I will never have an enemy? That is how too many people view this proverb. But the proverb itself assumes that we will have enemies when we are walking with the Lord. Then what does this proverb mean - and how can we know when God has done this on our behalf.
This passage teaches us that when our ways are pleasing to God that God does some wonderful things in our lives. He takes those who are our enemies and makes them to be at peace with us. It does not mean that we don't have enemies, it means that they are at peace with us instead of warring or seeking to destroy us. They may still be our enemy, but they will choose peace rather than to be in open conflict with us.
The stories of this are many in our society. J. Vernon McGee speaks of a man who hated him, but who was heard saying to others, "I hate the man, but he preaches the Word of God." That kind of thing is what this proverb is saying to us. The world will continue to hate us - but due to our lives being pleasing to God, they will see godly character in our lives. I know of situations where the ungodly came to the aid of believers not because they agreed with our theology or teaching, but simply because they knew the character of the person and vouched for them.
Let me take a moment here and say something about what this points to in the human condition. Why would the world be at peace with us when we choose God's ways? In fact, why should God's ways even be viewed positively? Ever wonder why our world values things like peace and joy and what we call good character? Think about it for a moment. Why, if we are supposed to be the result of survival of the fittest, do we not value a more cut throat kind of existance? Why would we value the weakest - and embrace values that would allow others to take advantage of us? Why shouldn't we value the thief and the one who crushes all others on his climb to the top? These should be things we value and admire if we are simply a process of evolutionary processes. Why shouldn't we admire Adolf Hitler and even thank him for trying to get rid of the more errant DNA in our worldwide gene pool? The truth is that we don't admire these things - we consider them evil and wrong - even among the most ardent evolutionists. Even thsoe who live this way have mighty struggles with their own behavior - somehow just knowing deep within themselves that they are not living right. But I want to ask this incredibly important question, "Who told them this?" The answer, though the world hates it, is in the Bible itself. Romans 2 speaks of the way that our conscience works in either approving and condemning our actions and attitudes. This is the mark of God in our world. It is the hidden proof that we are His workmanship - we are His creation. His original design - though badly marred by sin - still is written on our hearts. We may try to sear it from our memories and ignore it in our actions, but it still remains deeply written within us. When the ungodly are at peace with us due to our choice to act on God's character-transforming Word - it is only a testimony to this very spiritual DNA that is a remnant of His creative work before the fall.
God does not promise we won't have enemies. In fact just the opposite is told to us. If we desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, we will suffer persecution. Jesus faced enemies that desired and conspired to put Him to death. To say that God promises a carte blanche freedom from having enemies is to say that Jesus did not please the Father - and evidently His ways were not pleasing to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not promise freedom from enemies - He promises that when we do have them - He will choose to even make our enemies to be at peace with us. This is why we should choose the wisdom of God's ways and walk in them. There is a desirable-ness in how we live. There is an honesty - a joy - a freedom - a peace that will make even our enemies say good things about us. When this happens, we can know that God in His grace has worked in our lives - taking even those who oppose us - and making them testify of His grace that works in us when our ways are pleasing to Him.
For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Proverbs 26:20This is a proverb where something in nature is described, and then God compares it with a spiritual truth about life. Here we find a fire described in practical terms no one can deny - but in the end this fire that is going out is compared to what the Bible calls "the whisperer." Let's take a look at what we can learn here.
"For lack of wood the fire goes out." Here is the practical truth that no one can deny. When you have a fire, you have to continue putting wood on it if you want it to continue to burn. No wood means no fire. It will go out in a matter of hours. Just like this is true, God wants us to grasp something about contention among people. This contention is often due to someone called "a whisperer." Who is this whisperer - and what does he or she do that helps to keep contention alive?
The whisperer is one who murmurs. The Hebrew word is "ragan" and it means to murmur or to whisper. The murmuring that is going on with the whisperer is that of grumbling, criticizing, complaining, and slandering. Zhodiates says it refers to gossipping and complaining. The word is used in Psalm 106:25 to describe how Israel murmured and complained in their tents against the Lord in the time of Moses. Those who were the murmurers and whisperers were the trouble makers - the gossips - the ones who fomented rebellion in the hearts of the people of Israel. Their murmuring helped to destroy an entire generation - who became infected with it. This whispering here is what is causing problems - causing the contention that exists here. There are serious relational problems developing because of the actions of the whisperer.
Let me give a practical illustration. The whisperer does not like something done by leadership in the church. Instead of taking their problems to the leadership, which is the biblical way to deal with problems, they begin talking to a brother or sister about what they see and perceive. Soon, there are two people who are upset with leadership - and their number grows as the whispering campaign continues to grow and flourish. Soon small groups of whisperers get together from time to time and have roast pastor or elder - a delicacy that is loved by whisperers and gossips. Before long the majority of the church is being infected with this gossip that begins to gain steam around the fellowship. Until the whisperers are quieted and rebuked, there will be plenty of contention to go around. Some may leave the fellowship - while others stick around for the eventual power play to usurp the authority of the pastor/elder and take over themselves. There will be plenty of anger and frustration build as long as the whisperers ply their trade. The only hope for the fellowship is that they are silenced. When there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. There is the truth to be learned. Just like a fire without wood will die down - so a contention or church fight will die down if the whisperers can be silenced or removed.
How about you? Are you a whisperer? Does there seem to be contention around you all the time? If you whisper to others about the problems and the discontentment you have - don't be surprised if soon you have a circle of other malcontents who will aid and abet you in setting the church or friendship or marriage on fire. For those who love ashes and destruction - this is almost impossible to resist - but oh how we should resist it. No one ever gains by tearing something donwn and destroying it. Instead of whispering to men - try interceding to God. The difference in the result may shock you! As long as their are whisperers - there will be no real, long-term growth and blessing in the church. Next time you are tempted to become a whisperer - don't do it. Stop yourself in your tracks and fall to your knees in prayer. If you resist the destructive nature of gossip and whispering - you will find that the opposite of it is intercession and crying out to God. One creates contention - the other creates peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Which one will you choose?
Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it, than a house full of feasting with strife. Proverbs 17:1A quiet, very modest meal in a peaceful, quiet atmosphere is much better than a rich man's feast with its strife and contention. That is what the writer of Proverbs tells us. When you consider the table of Solomon as you read this - you realize that being the richest man with the most awesome feasts in history may not have been all that fantastic. You can see king Solomon thinking in his head that things may have been better without all the pomp and revelry that surrounded his royal banquets. We read today that the relative tranquility with which you take your meal may do more for you than the meal itself. You can have a feast fit for a king - and yet if is it filled with stress and strife - it will yield indegestion. You can find yourself sick as a dog when you are filled not just with food, but also with worry and the wrestlings of bad relationships. Thus a dry morsel of food with a quiet, gracious atmosphere is better than the finest feasts of the rich.This word "quietness" is a word we all would like to experience. It is the Hebrew word "shalvah" and it means a sense of security, prosperity, and quietness. It indicates a lack of anxiety and ease. The concept here of prosperity evidently does not speak of riches, but rather of the security and peace that come from not having to be concerned about things. Though the world may trick us for a time - we will eventually long for this more than for all that the world can give us. The other state of mind - strife - comes from the Hebrew word "rib" and means a controversy, a contention, strife. It arises from disputes and quarrels and usually involves open hostilities and a clamoring of others for action on their behalf. Oh, what a horrid meal is experienced when we try to enjoy a meal with this kind of atmosphere and attitude present. Peace and tranquility . . . these are often overlooked in our world's torrid search for wealth, riches, and affluence. Too bad that as they are overlooked and passed by the one searching for the other doesn't mark where they are found. The truth is that one day in spite of all the wealth, fame, and abundance of things - they will lon for peace. Better to have the simple meal and peace - than all the wealth in the world and an ulcer with it.