Thursday, July 20, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 57, No Other Name

Today Solomon talks about some things he has observed from his position as king of Israel.

"Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts." (Proverbs 19:6) I bet everyone wanted to be friends with King Solomon in order to gain something from him.

"The poor are shunned by all their relatives---how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found." (Proverbs 19:7) He knows if he lost all his money he would lose most, or all, of the people who hang around him. For one thing, they would have no use for him if he couldn't do anything for them. For another thing, they might fear he would ask for help from them.

"The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper." (Proverbs 19:8) It's normal to love and care for ourselves. God created us with an instinct for self-preservation. Living by godly wisdom provides a measure of protection over our lives. It will keep us from engaging in foolish and harmful behaviors that could shorten the years we have on this earth.

The king now repeats something he said yesterday, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish." (Proverbs 19:9) Many a liar has stood in Solomon's courtroom. Isn't it infuriating when we know someone is lying straight to our face? He's had to endure this a number of times and he knows we have too, so he assures us God will deal with liars and false witnesses.

"It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury---how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!" (Proverbs 19:10) Have you ever heard the saying that having more money does nothing but make us more of who we already are? A godly person will respond to wealth differently than an ungodly person. An ungodly person will use his money to be even more wicked than he was before.

"A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense." (Proverbs 19:11) It's more honorable to shrug off an offense than to fight about it. This doesn't mean we're to be pushovers, but we're to do as the Apostle Paul instructed, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18) It's unseemly for the Christian to be a hot-tempered brawler who is easily offended. It's far better to maintain our dignity by agreeing to disagree. Jesus never got caught up in squabbles, even though His enemies would have loved to cause Him to lose His temper. He merely stated the truth of God's word and allowed His listeners to accept the word or not. I don't think any of us would consider Jesus a pushover simply because He refused to get embroiled in quarrels.

"A king's rage is like the roar of a lion, but His favor is like dew on the grass." (Proverbs 19:12) If I were standing in Solomon's court I'd tremble if he yelled at me, but I'd feel enormous relief if he smiled at me. As the king of Israel he wielded enormous power to either pardon or punish a crime. If we would fear an earthly king in this way, how much more should we fear the King of kings? How much more should we tremble at His word and hasten to obey Him? The Lord Jesus was of the same opinion, saying, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) We can either experience God's wrath or God's mercy; the choice is ours. His favor is like dew on the grass. His favor, as King David said, "is life". (Psalm 30:5) When I stand before the King someday, I want Him to show me favor. It won't be favor I've earned, but favor that Jesus Christ earned for me. For the sake of His Son, in whom I've believed, God the Father will grant me life eternal in the presence of my Savior. There is no other way to gain the favor of this King than through faith in His Son, for "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." (John 3:17) If we reject our only means of salvation, we reject the favor of God. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

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