Category: Proverbs–BibleTrekToday

God turns the tables!

Scripture reading for May 15: Esther 5-7

“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” Proverbs 26:27 “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.” Proverbs 29:6

We must be careful when we plot revenge.  All judgment and vengeance is the Lord’s.  (Romans 12:19)  The Lord has a way of turning the tables on those who seek revenge and plot evil.  He has ways of protecting those who are innocent and those who are serving Him. 

Haman was thrilled with his position and his influence!  He boasted to his wife and friends of his good fortune and how he was the only one invited to meet with Queen Esther for a banquet.  (Nehemiah 6:1-12)  He was happy, except for one fly in the ointment: Mordecai the Jew would not show him honor by bowing before him!  He complained to his wife and friends who proposed a plan to hang Mordecai on a gallows 75 feet high!  This would have been high enough to display the execution above the walls of the city!  He had the gallows built and was ready for the next day.

But God was moving silently behind the scenes.  The king could not sleep, so he had the chronicles of his reign read to him.  He heard the story of a foiled plot to assassinate him–a plot Mordecai had exposed, thus saving his life.  He asked what had been done for this man and found out it had been overlooked.  He asked who might be in the court to honor Mordecai, and providentially, Haman had just walked in.  The king asked him what he would do to honor someone special to the king.  Thinking it was him to be honored, Haman proposed a grand public honor and was shocked when the king told him to honor Mordecai!  God turned the tables deftly and quickly!

The end of the story finds Haman hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai after being exposed as the one seeking to kill off all Jews, including the Queen!  It may look as if the wicked get by with their schemes, but not in the end!  Do you have thoughts of revenge or plans to get even?  Why not forgive and turn the table back toward God’s mercy before He turns the tables on you?

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God has the king’s heart!

Scripture reading for May 2nd: Ezra 1-3

The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” Proverbs 21:1

Are you worried when the politician of the wrong party gets into office!  Are you concerned when a leader may not make decisions you agree with or like?  Today’s reading reminds us that God is in control of all kings and He can turn their hearts to do His work.  We are to pray for our leaders and trust the Lord to turn their hearts to do His will!

Cyrus, King of Persia was named by the prophet Isaiah as the king God would choose to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.  (Isaiah 44:26-28)  This prophetic Word occurred over 150 years earlier in 688 B.C. when Babylon was the ruling world power.  Cyrus began to fulfil this prophesy by making the decree in 538 B.C. to rebuild the temple.  (Ezra 1:2-4)  He released Jews who were willing to go and work.  He also sent back the articles from the temple which had been taken by King Nebuchadnezzar some seventy years earlier.  (Ezra 1:9-10)   

Ezra lists the numbers of people who returned as well.  Priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants were all accounted for.  The whole company was 42,360 Israelites, not counting servants.  (Ezra 2:64-67) God keeps accurate records and knows each person by name.

As we look at what transpired after the decreed 70 years of captivity (Jeremiah 29:10), we are amazed at how accurately God predicted what would happen and when it would come about!  God is able to turn the hearts of those in leadership, and it doesn’t matter if they are believers or not.

Take time today and pray for our nation and it’s leadership.  We are far from where God wants us to be and our leaders are doing things that are contrary to God’s Word and will.  Remember how God uses leaders and nations.  When His people pray, He hears and acts.  “The heart of the king (president, judge, senator, congressman) is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse where ever He pleases.” Proverbs 21:1

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The wisdom of life experience!

Scripture reading for April 5: 1st Kings 12-16

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.  I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32 “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31

Old people are often marginalized in today’s world and it was no different in Solomon’s time.  Rehoboam became king.  His mother was an Ammonite, one of Solomon’s many wives.  Solomon had accumulated great wealth through forced labor and excessive taxation.  The people appealed to Rehoboam to lighten the burden and harsh yoke of his father and they would serve him.  He had to choose what to do and wisely consulted the elders.  (1st Kings 12:4-7)  They advised him to serve the people and lighten the yoke on them.  But Rehoboam rejected the elder’s good advice.

He next consulted his peers, young men he grew up with.  They advised him to answer the people with harshness and more taxes.  The new king refused to listen to the people or the elders but instead took the advice of his peers.  This divided the people and fulfilled the Word of the Lord to Jeroboam through the prophet Ahijah that Solomon’s kingdom would be divided.  (1st Kings 12:13-16)

This passage of Scripture reminds us of the importance of having ears to hear the voice of the Lord.  God is always ready to speak to us, if we are willing to listen.  Our hearts can easily be led astray by sin and selfish ways.  In the abundance of counsel there is safety,  but we must be discerning with whom we listen to.  We often find that those most easy to receive from are those we agree with.  The younger generation often does not value the advice of the older.  This often leads to division and strife as in this story.

Ask the Lord to help you with discerning His voice today.  Identify an “elder”  God has placed in your life who has been a source of wisdom for you.  Thank the Lord for that person today.  Call that person and thank them for their wisdom. 

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Fame, fortune and falling away!

Scripture reading for April 4: 1st Kings 9-11

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.” Proverbs 27:21

Fame and fortune bring lots of praise from the lips of men.  Everyone wants to be around a famous person and the rich have many friends.  These blessings can easily lead our hearts away from faith in the Lord and a vital relationship with Him.  God warned the Israelites that when they entered the promised land and settled down and became prosperous, they would be tempted to forget God.  (Deuteronomy 8:10-13)  Solomon found prosperity and fame to be a more difficult test than sexual lust. 

After Solomon finished dedicating the temple and achieving all he had desired to do, God appeared to him a second time.  God promised that He would hear the prayers said at the temple and watch over it.  God then warned Solomon against turning away from Him and going after other gods.  (1st Kings 9:6-9) 

But Solomon took 700 wives and 300 concubines from among the nations that the Lord forbid the Israelites to marry from.   God had warned that their hearts would be led astray to idolatry and His Word is always to be trusted.  (1st Kings 11:1-6)   Solomon’s heart was not fully committed to the Lord and he did evil in God’s sight!  He built high places for these gods of his foreign wives and they offered sacrifices, further angering God. God raised up adversaries against Israel, Hadad the Edomite and Rezon from Aram (Syria) were both hostile towards Israel.   One of Solomon’s own officials, Jeroboam, son of Nebat, also rebelled against the king.  Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt.

We all think that it would be wonderful to have what Solomon or some other famous figure has, but we must be reminded of how our hearts are tested by this.  The pride and power of prosperity can make one as drunk as wine!  God is jealous and will not tolerate idolatry.  Although Solomon had God appear to him twice and plainly bless him and warn him, Solomon made choices that took him away from the blessings and his walk with God.

Do you know someone who has fame or fortune, who is in a position of authority and influence?  What are some principles of walking with God that you would apply to stay close to the Lord?

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Taking a courageous stand!

Scripture reading for March 7: Joshua 22-24

Its been said that “if you don’t stand for something, then you will fall for anything.”  I am not ashamed to tell people publicly that I love Jesus Christ!  I have repeatedly told our children that our family serves the Lord and we are known as followers of Christ.  I don’t want the Lord to be ashamed of me because I have been ashamed of Him! (Luke 9:26)

Joshua was giving his farewell address to the people God had allowed him the privilege of leading into their inheritance.  He had lived a hundred and ten years and understood their propensity for stubbornness.   As he was ready to die, he made a strong declaration of faith to provoke them to serve the Lord.  Life and death are in the power of our tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) 

The closing chapter records the famous confession of Joshua:”. . .but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)  This confession has stood over the years as a beacon to fathers, pastors, and those who fear the Lord.  Joshua’s confession brought a positive statement from the Israelites as well!  (Joshua 24:16-18)  Despite their positive response, Joshua stated:  “You are not able to serve the Lord.  He is a holy God; He is a jealous God.  He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.  If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end to you, after He has been good to you.” (Joshua 24:19-20)

God knew His people well. He gave Moses a song and God’s prophetic word that told of Israel’s future unfaithfulness.  (Deuteronomy 32:15-22)  God had warned these leaders so that they could do what they could to preach and prepare the people to avoid the temptations of idolatry and unfaithfulness.  Joshua also knew God’s holiness and his jealous nature!  (Exodus 34:14)  God would not put up with these sins.  .  Prophesy was God’s way of helping His people and showing them love and care!

Have you made a bold confession of faith in Jesus Christ and received God’s promise of salvation? As a believer, have you been baptized in water to declare your faith? Today is the time to act on God’s Word! 

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Generosity is rewarded!

Scripture reading for February 24: Deuteronomy 12-16

In many cultures, the poor and needy are viewed as under the judgment of the gods.  These people are despised and live in the worst conditions on the fringes of society.  Children born in the families are destined to live in poverty, sickness, and usually have an early death. India has millions living in the caste system and viewed as nearly untouchable by their peers. The Hindu religion and the teaching of reincarnation and this caste system keeps the bondage in place.

The God of the Bible, creator of heaven and earth, is compassionate and merciful.  When He formed the nation of Israel and delivered them from slavery, He instructed them in the care of those society had looked down upon.  The orphans and widows were singled out for care by the Lord.   (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)  God promised to bless the Israelites for caring for them.  The alien was also to be cared for, because the Israelites were also aliens and strangers in Egypt and could identify with what it was like to on the outside of the economic and political power system.

God said that there should be no poor among His people. (Deuteronomy 15:4)  The reason given was that if they fully obeyed the Lord in keeping all His commands, God would so bless them that they would have an abundance to help others.  They would lend only and not borrow. (Deuteronomy 15:6)  They would also rule and not be in servitude. “. . the borrower becomes the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs: 22:7) 

God said that some would be poor among His people because of disobedience and they would need help.  Those who were fully obeying the Lord were to be generous with the poor.  They were not to be “tight-fisted” or “hard-hearted” towards their poor brothers, but to be “open-handed” and “freely lend”.  (Deuteronomy 15:7-10)  God said it was sinful to be stingy toward the poor brother! (Proverbs 14:31) He was indicating His love for those who are truly needy. God always pays well when we help the poor, for He promises to repay what we will give. (Proverbs 19:7)

Take time today to remember someone who is in need or suffering because of poverty. As the Holy Spirit guides you, be generous and give cheerfully. “A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)

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Our God provides everything!

Scripture reading for February 20: Numbers 34-36

The God we serve knows everything!  God told Moses about the boundaries of the land He was giving them and how to divide it when they took possession of it.  (Numbers 34:2) They had yet to own any of it.  They were to cast lots for their portion in the land.  “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)

As the Israelites entered the land and took possession of it, God had Moses appoint a leader from each tribe to oversee the assignment of the inheritance.  The only name that stands out in this list is Caleb.  He and Joshua were the only ones left from the generation twenty years old and older who had not perished in the wilderness on the way to the promised land. These two are examples of  the veracity of God’s promises.  “God is not a man that He should lie.” (Numbers 23:19) God alone knows the end from the beginning and He speaks to His people to build their faith, inspiring them to possess their inheritance.

In these last chapters of Numbers, we find provision for cities of refuge.  God knew that His people would need mercy.  Emotions get out of control and things happen.  Revenge instincts are strong and sometimes violence  that causes death erupts.  The cities of refuge were scattered throughout the land and provided a place where someone who had killed another could flee from the avenger of blood.  (Numbers 35:6)  These cities were Levite cities.  The Levites had no inheritance but were given cities and pastureland throughout the promised land to use and to minister to the people.  Six of these forty eight towns were cities of refuge. They were to mediate the serious situations when someone came for refuge.

Our God does know everything and has good plans for us.  He wants us to know those plans and walk by faith and claim our inheritance!  He has provided a refuge for any who sin through Jesus Christ!  Take time today to ponder some of these promises and by faith possess those that you need today!  Our God is on your side!

“What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

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Holy fear and clear vision

Scripture reading for January 24: Exodus 19-20

God carried the whole nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt with a display of His power in the plagues.  The Israelites were protected and experienced God’s deliverance as they walked out of Egypt, laden down with silver and gold and other valuables.  God’s presence guided them in the Pillar of Fire and in the Cloud.  God was in their midst and provided miraculously for them again and again in sending the manna and quail and then providing water from the Rock.  They knew God’s mercy, but lacked a healthy fear or respect. This holy fear or respect is a foundation for wisdom and life.  (Proverbs 1:7)

To help His people with holy fear, God led the children of Israel to Mt. Sinai where He gave instructions through Moses to the people.  They were to refrain from sexual relations, wash their clothes, and consecrate themselves to hear God’s voice speaking to them.  (Exodus 19:10-16)  On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud, and a loud trumpet blast.  When the trumpet sounded, everyone in the camp trembled with fear!  (Exodus 20:18-19) God’s voice speaking His law revealed His holiness.

God’s stated purpose was to instill in them the “fear of God to keep them from sinning.” (Exodus 20:20)  You might say He wanted them to have ’20:20 vision’ and understanding that sin brings death.  The ten commandments that Moses received revealed sin in the heart of man.  They are the mirror of our soul showing our need of mercy and forgiveness.  They drive us to God for mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is only by grace that we are saved from the penalty of sin. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

How has God instilled a holy respect in your life? Would you say that your vision of God is more of love and mercy that awe and respect? How does a healthy respect for the Lord keep us from sinning?

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid.  God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” Exodus 20:20

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Ancient civil disobedience

Scripture reading for January 19th: Exodus 1-2

Exodus 1:18-20 “So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives.”

Shiphrah and Puah were ordinary Jewish women who had a job to do.  As midwives, they would go to the homes of pregnant Israelite women and sit with them during labor and delivery, washing off the baby and attending to the mother and child.  Pharaoh gave an order to these god-fearing women to kill all the male babies.  It was a form of late-term abortion being practiced in Egypt 1500 BC.

Satan comes only to kill, steal, and destroy but God is a life-giver and life-saver!  These Hebrew women knew God and feared Him more than they feared Pharaoh.  They chose a path of civil disobedience that is a good model for us today.  They simply ignored Pharaoh’s order and did what was right in God’s eyes.   They continued to do what was right before God.  They knew that abortion was murder of God’s children.  God was kind to them, protected them, and He rewarded them with families of their own.  If you are faithful with the little, God can give you much! ( Luke 16:10-12)

Do an inventory today of the things God has given you stewardship over.  One thing is your influence and vote in our democracy.  Are you voting for those who will authorize abortion?   Are you giving approval to those who would perform abortions and kill off human beings made in God’s image?  Do you call the politicians that are trying to enact more laws to abort children?  Are you like Shiphrah and Puah, staying strong for God and protecting life whenever and wherever you can?  God rewards well and is pleased with “civil disobedience” that promotes His life-giving plans.

The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

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No more delay!

Scripture reading for December 13th: Revelation 10, Psalm 98, Proverbs 31

Revelation 10:4-7 “And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by Him Who lives forever and ever, Who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as He announced to His servants the prophets.”

John reveals to us that there are mysteries that remain about the final events of the last days before Jesus returns. He heard thunders speak, but was told to seal up their message. But John was also told that the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet would usher in a fulfilment of the mystery of God. This mystery is that God will send Jesus back as King of Kings to avenge all evil and set up His kingdom of peace on the earth. This is the call of all the prophets and priests. Each person should repent and get right with God, Who judges justly! It is the call of the Gospel, repent and believe on Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven and that you may have a place in God’s eternal kingdom! The Church is called to announce this Good News! No more idleness and no more delay, the fulfilment is near!

Psalm 98:8-9 “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the prophets and apostles who have gone before us and shared Your Word. Thank You for this revelation of Jesus Christ and the fulfilment of Your eternal plans to install Your Son, Jesus, as King of Kings and bring the kingdom of peace to earth. Use me today, and those who believe, to share the Good News of Your grace through Jesus and eternal life in the coming kingdom.

Proverbs 31: 27 “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

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