Scripture reading for November 27th: 2nd Peter 2, Psalm 86, Proverbs 19
2nd Peter 2:18-22 “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
Peter is a seasoned pastor and Apostle. He has watched Judas walk with Jesus and then go his own way, ending his life in suicidal misery. He evidently watched many others over his years of ministry start out right and then succumb to false teaching, fleshly enticements, or Satan’s deception. False teachers were in the church of his time and he plainly warned the people of God to beware. He used two very strong word pictures to describe what happens when a believer goes back to the world and the flesh. A dog may vomit up his food, but later the dog returns and eats it again. A sow, an unclean animal, washes herself but then goes back to wallow in the mud. The idea of a pig washing themself is somewhat humorous. Pigs wallowing in the mud is common! Thankfully, God is merciful to even use humor to help us!
Psalm 86:15-16 “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for this humorous but clear warning to keep moving forward in our relationship with You. Thank You that You are merciful and gracious to us and have given me strength through Your Word and the Holy Spirit to stay on the right path. Use me to warn others that may be falling away from Truth to avoid the mud, vomit and folly of a backslidden life.
Proverbs 19: 3 “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.”
Scripture reading for July 13th: Proverbs 30-31
As Proverbs comes to it’s conclusion, it ends with emphasis on the godly wife and mother. Wisdom was a virtuous woman in several locations in Proverbs. (Proverbs 8 and 9:1-12) The opposite of this virtuous woman was another woman, “Folly”. (Proverbs 9:13-18) Folly was a prostitute and lacked sense. She wouldn’t stay at home and was often on the prowl. Her door led to death and many were the number she had slain! (Proverbs 7:26-27)
Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the wife of noble character. This description of the noble wife has stood as a pattern for women throughout the ages of godliness and righteous living. This godly wife was a worker and trustworthy. (Proverbs 31:11-17) She got up and was busy providing for the needs of her household. She cared for the poor and needy with her excess. She was thoughtful for the future and planed ahead. She clothed her children with scarlet and her husband was honored in the city gate. She spoke with wisdom and clothed herself with dignity and strength. Her children and husband blessed her! She feared the Lord and will be rewarded at the city gate!
This woman is also like the Bride of Christ! The “Bride” is a worker and faithful to Jesus Christ. The Bride is busy and cares for the needs of the household of faith. She provides garments of scarlet–coverings of the Blood over all her true children! She reaches out to the poor and needy with gracious giving. She is mindful of the future return of the Bridegroom and makes preparations and is assured that She will be ready! She speaks with wisdom and is clothed by her Husband with dignity and strength! Her children and Husband honor her! She will receive her reward at the city gate and Her works will praise Her–The New Jerusalem!
I thank God for the godly women in my life that have modeled Christ’s character to me. I thank God for the Church of Jesus Christ! The Church also models godly wisdom to the world as we work diligently for the Master! He is coming soon!
Scripture reading for July 13th: Ecclesiastes 1-6
Life is hard to make sense of without God’s Word or knowledge. Man is left with darkness in his understanding and the futility of life under the sun. This life without God has no real purpose or meaning. It appears that we come about by accident and leave earth by calamity or slow death. Some live short lives and others relatively long lives. Some are blessed and others struggle with troubles and pain. Our days are short and they fly by.
Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived outside of Jesus Christ, decided to try to find meaning in life by pursuing riches, fame, and fortune. He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as a result of his quest! Solomon found no meaning in endless days of toil and work of man. (Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11) Man spends his time working and gathering and suddenly death takes us away. In a few years or less, no one remembers us or what we have done!
Solomon tried to find meaning through the pursuit of pleasure and material things. He tried wine and folly but found them meaningless! He built houses and planted vineyards and fruit orchards. He built lakes and had many servants. His herds and flocks were numerous and his treasury filled with silver and gold. He hired singers and entertainers and even bought a harem of beautiful women to enjoy as he pleased. He had no lack of anything his heart desired but by themselves, all was meaningless! (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)
Solomon noted that all his hard work would be left behind when he died and given to someone else who did not work for it. (Ecclesiastes 3:21-23) His conclusion was that if man would eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work each day, that was a gift of God. Without God, we can’t find meaning or enjoyment! (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)
“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Solomon concluded that God had made a time for everything under the sun. These times were in His hands and man must accept that with gratitude. Each person knows that he is an eternal being who will be judged by God one day. Life is not meaningless, but counts for eternity!
Scripture reading for July 7th: Proverbs 10-13
Contrast is a literary device used in many of the proverbs to help convey truth. One of the contrasts in today’s reading is of the righteous man and the wicked man. The righteous man is wise and fears the Lord and the wicked man is foolish and hates God’s Word and God’s laws. Let’s look at these two types of people and try to evaluate our own lives as we read about them. We can learn from good examples as well as bad examples! I often say that if a person is not good for anything else, he can always be a bad example!
Let’s look first at the foolish or wicked man. Proverbs 10:1 states that the foolish son brings grief to his mother. The foolish man is lazy and sleeps during harvest instead of working. (Proverbs 10:4-5) The wicked man’s mouth is filled with violence and his hatred causes dissension and strife. They speak perverse things. (Proverbs 10:11-12, 31-32) The wicked earn wages of punishment and poverty. (Proverbs 10:15-16) The fool finds pleasure in evil conduct and lives in fear and dread of punishment that is sure to come upon him. (Proverbs 10:23-24) The wicked have no hope! (Proverbs 10:28, 11:23) Their own ways insure judgment and ruin in their lives and in the lives of those around them. (Proverbs 10:27-29) The wicked may gain wealth, but it will not help them in the day of judgment! (Proverbs 11:4, 18) There will be shouts of joy when the wicked perish from the land. (Proverbs 11:10) God detests those with perverse hearts and makes sure they will be punished! (Proverbs 11:20-21)
What a contrast is the righteous man or wise son! He is a joy to his father! (Proverbs 10:1) His righteousness delivers him from death and hunger and lack. He is a worker and enjoys plenty because he gathers the crops during harvest season. (Proverbs 10:3-5) He is blessed and his memory is a blessing to those he has touched. (Proverbs 10:6-7) He is always open to correction and is teachable. (Proverbs 10:17) His mouth is a fountain of life and wisdom is found on his lips. (Proverbs 10:8-11) He is a man of integrity and rests securely. His love covers over many wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12) He enjoys a long and joyful life because his way is the Lord’s way! (Proverbs 10:27-29) He is rescued from trouble and escapes destruction because of his wisdom and faithfulness to the Lord! His life blesses the city he lives in and he prospers! (Proverbs 11:10-11) God delights in the righteous man because his ways are blameless! He is generous and gives, yet gains even more! (Proverbs 11:20,24-25) He is a tree of life and wins souls to the Lord’s way! (Proverbs 11:30)
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which way is the most profitable and blessed! If you are wise, you will enjoy the blessings listed for the righteous! If you are a fool and unteachable, no one can help you! The choice is yours!