These sayings also are from the wise:
To show partiality in judgment is terrible:
The one who says to the guilty, “You are innocent,”
peoples will curse him, and nations will denounce him.
But there will be delight for those who convict the guilty,
and a pleasing blessing will come on them.
Like a kiss on the lips
is the one who gives an honest answer.
Careful what you say…you might be giving someone a kiss. I suppose that might be motivation to not tell the truth for some of you. Especially if you’re talking to someone with Halitosis…”nah, I don’t want a kiss from you Mr. ‘I think it’s okay to eat onions and fish at the same time’ guy.”
Okay, now that that’s out of the way…
Doesn’t it drive you nuts to see someone get out of something they deserve? I mean seriously! Like those Enron guys. Do you remember how that whole thing went down? Or how about the banks who needed a bail out from the government to keep their doors open, but then used a bunch of the bail out money to give their highest ranking officials bonuses and vacations. Seriously?!?! Come on! You tanked the economy and you got rewarded for it. Don’t get me started on where the reward came from. You borrow money from China to pay bonuses to rich bankers? What!? I guess if you push banks to give loans to people who shouldn’t have loans, then you’ve got to reward them for taking the fall that you should’ve been hit with.
But, that’s neither here nor there. Except that it’s not. It’s right here. It’s right now. It’s a way of life for this day. The innocent are condemned and paying the price for the guilty and free.
Don’t take what I’m saying the wrong way. I’m not taking a political stance on one side of the aisle or the other. I’m not saying one party is right and the other is wrong. I’m not saying corporations are evil, nor am I saying that corporations are people too. None of that applies to what I’m talking about.
What I’m talking about is the principle of truth and consequences. It used to be that there were consequences for making mistakes. There were certainly consequences for lying and breaking the law. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Sure there is a great deal of that going on. There are still a lot of people who have to face the consequences of their bad decisions. And that’s a good thing. But, there are also a lot of people who never have to face the consequences of their bad decisions and the reasons they don’t have to face them are totally unjust.
So, here’s what we do. We all tell the truth. We all accept the consequences of our own decisions and don’t leave it up to courts and politics. Don’t tell an guilty person their innocent. Don’t try to get away with something when you’re guilty. Be honest. Tell the truth. Make decisions based on the truth and not politics or what is culturally acceptable at the moment.
Culture changes, truth stays the same.
Fear the Lord, my child, as well as the king,
and do not associate with rebels,
for suddenly their destruction will overtake them,
and who knows the ruinous judgment both the Lord and the king can bring?
It’s as if this is an important theme. Because once again we come across the phrase, “Fear the Lord.” I’ve talked about this several times over the course of this past year, but again, it comes up.
Fear means reverence. Fear means respect. But, fear also means fear. I don’t know why we have such a hard time with this in our culture. I don’t really know if the culture in which this book was written had a hard time with it, but for some reason we do. It’s as if God can’t be a good God if we also have to be afraid of him.
Really? Is that true in other areas of life? How about a pro-football player. They can be a good person, but tell me you wouldn’t be afraid of a 6 foot 13, 900 pound NFL lineman named Javarius if you crossed his path during the week! Or how about the IRS. We all understand that the government needs money to run (whatever your position on how much they need is not the issue), and the IRS is the institution that collects that money. But, we’re all afraid of the IRS. Okay, maybe that one didn’t help because now you’re just thinking about debt ceilings and government shutdowns.
How about this one, we like trains, planes and automobiles. They’re all good things. They get us from here to there. They get stuff we like to buy from there to here. They’re cool to watch. They’re fun to ride. They’re good things. But aren’t you also afraid of them all? Aren’t you afraid of the plane crashing? Aren’t you afraid of standing in front of a train barreling down the tracks? Aren’t you afraid of getting into a crash with another car? Aren’t you afraid of a 4,000 vehicle coming into your lane?
It is possible for good and fear to exist at the same time. It is possible for us to fear things that are good. Why shouldn’t we also be able to fear a good God? I mean, come on, if we’re afraid of Javirius, the IRS, planes, trains and automobiles, shouldn’t be be afraid of a God who is so big he could blink hard and wipe all those things out?
He’s a big God. We should fear him. But He’s also good.
Do not fret because of evil people
or be envious of wicked people,
for the evil person has no future,
and the lamp of the wicked will be extinguished.
It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to see evil people get ahead and succeed. It’s frustrating. It feels wrong. They’re going about getting ahead in the totally wrong way. They are breaking all the rules and doing all the wrong things. They are don’t care about who they hurt along the way as long as they end up a little further down the road.
It’s so frustrating!!!
Until you stop to think about it. For the evil person, this is it. This is all they’re going to get. This is all there is. They have no future. Sure, they may have a few good years ahead of them, but long-term – not so much.
“Great,” you say, “I’ve got a better ‘future’ than they do, but what about the here and now.” That’s hard. I know. It doesn’t seem just. But there is something I want to ask you.
Why are we so busy comparing ourselves with others who live on a completely different time scale than we do? Think about it. The time scale of the wicked is limited to what they can do and accomplish in this life. Not even that. They’re time scale is limited to what they can accomplish while they’re healthy enough to accomplish stuff. Their time scale of doing stuff is only 50-60 years.
They have to get as much as they can in that time because to them, this is all there is. After that, their lamp will be extinguished.
But our time scale is much longer and much different. This life is just the beginning. This life is the start of our future. This is the time when our lamp will burn its dimmest. Our future is much brighter than our present. And no matter how much the wicked acquire during their present, they will never be able compete with our future.
Think about it, if you had a dollar for every day you’ll spend in eternity, how much money would you have? How many days will you have? No matter how much the wicked can accumulate, it will never be infinite. There will always be an end. There will always be a finish line. There will always be a stop. There will always be a period.
But not so for us. So, why are we envious of them? Why do we fret we they succeed? Why do we care so much? If we had a good, honest perspective about our own future, we wouldn’t be so busy trying to keep up with them. We’d be doing everything we can to bring them to our future. Or give them all of our stuff so they can enjoy this life as much as possible.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice,
lest the Lord see it, and be displeased,
and turn his wrath away from him.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, or if you know me, you know I’m a pretty big Ohio State Buckeyes fan. And if you know anything about college sports, the you know that the biggest rivalry in all of college football is Ohio State vs. Michigan. One of my favorite things to say is: “I root for Ohio State and whoever’s playing Michigan.” The teams have spoiled each others chances at a national championship or a trip to the Rose Bowl on more than one occasion.
There is some deep rooted dislike of that team up north. Especially for those who are true Buckeyes fans in the state of Ohio. For those who are true Buckeyes, you know not to joke about Michigan. It’s serious. It’s so serious most of the time we don’t even use their name, they’re “that team up north.”
So, every time Ohio State does well, the icing on the cake is if that team up north does poorly. And if the Buckeyes lose, there’s always the hope that the team up north lost. Because even if you lose, it’s good news that they lost. I guess you could say we rejoice when they lose. Actually there’s no guessing. We absolutely rejoice when they lose!
Contrast that with my mom. She’s a wonderful woman. And she roots for the Buckeyes. But, she is a mother. And when a player gets hurt, it bothers her. And she has a hard time watching the post-game coverage and seeing the faces of the losing team. She likes watching the Buckeyes win, but it bothers her to see anyone lose. The rest of us in the house are laughing as the tears roll down their cheeks. Mom is about to cry for them as they lose while the rest of us are calling the players on the losing team sucka’s.
While this may be harmless when it comes to college football, (and none of us would be brave enough to call a 6′ 7″ 300lb Defensive tackle a sucka to his face) when we do this in real life, God has a problem with it. And that might be hard for you to understand. Unless your my mom.
To God, (and my mom) the losers aren’t just a statistic in a Win/Loss column. They are people with souls. And while the good guys may have one, certainly God’s heart breaks at the evil in the heart of your enemy that causes him to lose. Sure, God will rejoice with you one of His children. But it must also break His heart to see another of His children struggling.
Perhaps we all need a little more mom and a little less sucka.
Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again,
but the wicked will be brought down by calamity.
Fall down 7, get up 8. Or as Vince Lombardi said: “it’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Did you know that’s what the righteous do?
The righteous aren’t quitters. In fact, the righteous are the ones that have the biggest fight in them.
We are the ones who are the strongest warriors, the toughest overcomers and the enduring champions. We never give up. We never stop. We never quit. There is nothing to big for us because we have a God who is bigger than any of it. There is nothing that can stop us. There is nothing that can defeat us.
Sure there are things that can trip us up from time to time. We might get knocked down once in a while. In fact, we might go through times when we feel like we spend more time on the ground that we spend standing up. That’s a part of life. That’s a part of the fight.
But the thing is, we always get back up. If we get knocked down 7 times, we get up 8. If we get knocked down 99 times, we get up 100. We get knocked down. But we always get back up.
The question for you today is, are you standing up? If not, why?
Have you gotten knocked down recently? And you just don’t feel like you have what it takes to get back up? Well, let me reassure you, you do. Actually, Christ in you has the power to get you back up.
Did you get knocked down a long time ago, and you’ve just spend so long on the ground that you feel more comfortable on the ground than you do standing up? Because you’re not supposed to be there. You’re not supposed to be down. You’re supposed to be up, fighting the fight and winning the race.
So, if you’re not standing up, today is the day. Get up. You haven’t been knocked down too many times. You’ve got one more get up in you.
Do not lie in wait like the wicked against the place where the righteous live;
do not assault his home.
There is one thing that I just don’t understand. It is something that has never made sense to me. There are lots of things that don’t make sense, and they don’t make sense for a good reason. Calculus doesn’t make sense, because it’s hard. People who like soccer, doesn’t make sense. Women, don’t make sense. But we all know why those don’t make sense.
But, this thing has driven me nuts for a long time. Christians who attack other Christians. Churches who view other churches as the enemy. Denominations who fight against other denominations. That has never made sense to me. Of course, it makes sense when you think about it. We’re all human and want to succeed. So, when another church succeeds and ours isn’t, we get competitive. And there’s the obvious answer, if the devil can succeed at dividing us and taking our focus off of reaching the lost and put it on fighting with other churches then he wins.
But seriously people, there is no competition. The church down the street is not your competition. The church across town, is not your competition. The other church online, not your competition. Our goal is not to do better than the other churches. Our purpose as a church is not to be bigger than all the other churches. That’s not the goal or purpose of church.
The goal and purpose of church is to reach the lost. That’s the mission. That’s the goal. That’s our end game.
So, for those of you who love your church. That’s great! Just don’t look for opportunities to tear other churches down. Don’t lick your lips when you see another church struggling with something. Don’t be happy when a church closes its doors or splits. Don’t be happy when a church runs their pastor off or he fails. Don’t wait for their destruction. Instead, support them on their mission.
Let’s stop wasting our energy talking about what all the other churches are doing. Let’s stop wasting our energy comparing ourselves to other churches. Let’s stop trying to stay up with the jones church. That’s not the point and there is no point in that. That’s all sideways diversions from what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s easy to get distracted by others and want to compare ourselves to them. But comparison is a diversion.
Instead of all the diversions, let’s get focused on mission. That’s what will make a real difference in the world. And the funny thing is, if we all did that, there’d be nothing for us to compare each other to, cause we’d all be growing.