Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 72, The Pulling Down Of Strongholds

Solomon provides us with some examples of what happens to the fool and to the wicked person, then he reminds us who we are in the Lord. He reminds us that we are not powerless. In Christ we have a mighty arsenal of spiritual weapons at our disposal. No stronghold can stand against us. No scheme of hell will prevail over us.

"Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead." (Proverbs 21:16) The dead mentioned here (rephaim in Hebrew) are lost souls who remain eternally conscious in the afterlife, separated from God forever. In the Old Testament we find reference to actual people called the Rephaim, who were giants, but the word was also used in a negative sense to indicate souls inhabiting the realm of dead. These are not happy souls rejoicing in the presence of the Lord, but those who wanted nothing to do with Him in life and now will never have anything to do with Him in eternity.

"Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich." (Proverbs 21:17) Self-discipline is needed if we intend to make anything of ourselves.

"The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright." (Proverbs 21:18) So often in the Bible we find a wicked person scheming against a righteous person only to have trouble boomerang back on him. When we get to heaven I think we will be amazed to find out how many times the Lord stood between us and trouble, how many times He threw up His hand and put a halt to the wicked schemes of our fellow man or of the devil himself.

Solomon now renders some marital advice similar to that which he gave us yesterday, "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife." (Proverbs 21:19) It's wise to date a person for a long time before marrying them. We need to see how they behave in a variety of situations and we need to observe the way they speak to others. We are not very likely to change them much once we've married them, so it's better to know up front what we're getting into. If the person we're dating seems hard to please, or if they complain all the time, or if they like to start quarrels, it might be best to get out now before we are legally bound to them.

"The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down." (Proverbs 21:20) We should save for a rainy day. The fool in Solomon's proverb lives only for today. He indulges himself in excess and doesn't plan for the future. But the wise person knows both how to enjoy today responsibly and how to save up for tomorrow.

"Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor." (Proverbs 21:21) Amen! Whoever follows our righteous Savior finds life eternal. Whoever rejoices in His love prospers in the faith, in all spiritual blessings, and even possibly in material blessings as well. The Christian life is an honorable life, a life for which the Lord will someday honor us by saying, "Well done!" (Matthew 25:21)

"One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust." (Proverbs 21:22) In this contest of brains versus brawn, brains win. Brains win in this case because they are guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Who can stand against the Lord? No muscles are strong enough and no weapons are sharp enough to fight against Almighty God. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Our weapons are not the feeble instruments made by human hands, but the full armor of God from Ephesians 6: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sturdy shoes of the gospel that can stand firm on any surface, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. What can stand against such mighty weapons? All the powers of hell and every stronghold of Satan must fall before a display of strength such as this! "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

Christ has won the victory for us and we have power in His name. We are more than conquerors through Him. (Romans 8:37) The gates of hell will not prevail over the kingdom of Christ. (Matthew 16:18) The Lord Jesus will soon crush Satan under our feet. (Romans 16:20) What shall we fear? Our God is for us!

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