Saturday, June 17, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 24, Wisdom Is A Safe Harbor In The Storm

In today's passage Solomon speaks of the security of godly wisdom. There is no security apart from the Lord. We can't trust the temporary things of this world for our security. But we can trust the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

First Solomon has something to say about money. Solomon is a man who has many things to say about money because he knows a lot about it. He understands there is a type of worldly security in money, but he wants us to understand that God will only bless money that is gained honestly. "The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it." (Proverbs 10:22) What type of wealth is he talking about? He can't be promising us wealth without work, for we've already noted in both Proverbs and Ecclesiastes that Solomon has a poor opinion of laziness. He also has a very poor opinion of dishonesty, which we've been studying this week. So I think what he might be saying is that we are free to enjoy the blessings God gives us as a reward for our good honest work. There's nothing sinful about enjoying the blessings of food on the table, a roof over our heads, bills that are paid, clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet, or any of the other things the Lord has given us the health and strength to work for. Our enjoyment only becomes sinful when we start believing we've done everything on our own, without Him. Solomon says there is no "painful toil" that comes along with the blessings God showers on us because we can enjoy them wholeheartedly.

But the dishonest person can't enjoy his wealth and possessions in the same way the godly person can enjoy them. He knows they weren't granted to him by God. He knows he didn't work for them. The only pleasure a dishonest person can take in his wealth is a guilty pleasure. "A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom." (Proverbs 10:23) Solomon says, "You're a fool if you enjoy doing wrong! Why would you want to defraud others? Why would you want to steal? Only a spiritually reprobate person could take delight in such things."

The one who has gained wealth by dishonest means will always be looking over his shoulder, wondering when or if he will get caught. "What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted." (Proverbs 10:24) A day of reckoning will eventually come. If no earthly judge finds the wicked person guilty, the heavenly Judge certainly will. Both the wicked and the righteous receive the reward they have earned. The righteous, who desired to live godly and honest lives, will be blessed. But the wicked, who lived in opposition to God and in opposition to their fellow man, will be sentenced to an eternity apart from the God they rejected.

"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever." (Proverbs 10:25) I'm reminded of the lyrics of a song by Edward Mote titled "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less". It says, "On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand." The winds of wrath will sweep over the wicked, carrying them away because they have no foundation, no security in Christ. But the righteous will never be shaken. Our security is in Christ alone. No one can take Him from us. No one, not even the devil of hell, can tear us down, because the foundation under us is Christ our Rock, and He can never be moved or shaken. Because Christ stands firm forever, we who belong to Him stand firm forever.

We see and hear a lot of dreadful things in this world. Schemes and scams abound. Those who are powerful and dishonest take advantage of the poor and needy. Sin is rewarded by the world. The movies and songs and books that top the charts are usually those which contain the most filth. The world rewards sin because sinners belong to the world. But Christ rewards righteousness because those who are righteous belong to Him. I would rather have the blessings given to me by Jesus than anything this world can give me, wouldn't you? The pleasures of sin are temporary but the rewards for godly living are eternal. Someday, if we still have news channels when Christ reigns over the world, we will hear nothing but good news when we turn the TV on. We will never again get our morning paper out of the box to see a horrifying headline. Deceivers will be no more. Cruel and inhumane people will not be here. Those who hate Christians and engage in religious persecution will be gone. The One who conquered the world spiritually when He died and rose again will conquer the world literally when He comes to reign as King of kings forever.

"All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:11-13)

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