Google+ 01/23/13 Turn Back O Man!

Proverbs 19:1-5

 

Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool.

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.

People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord

Wealth makes many “friends”; poverty drives them all away.

A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape. 

 

Everyday that I get a chance to write about a passage in the Bible, I become more and more convicted about the truth and power of Scripture.  For at least the last 15 years of my ministry, I have read completely through the Bible each year.  I have used different plans and different techniques.  I have discovered that none of these methods is as effective as going to God in prayer, and letting Him speak to my heart about the precious subject He chooses to lay on my heart on any given day. Today's Scripture is a perfect example of God's will and instruction in our lives.  I re-discover, daily, the wisdom of Solomon.  Look at the opening line of our Scripture.  Solomon does not say anything about being rich.  He speaks about being poor and honest and warns us not to be dishonest and foolish.  Solomon does not paint the rich as fools.  Solomon describes the dishonest as fools.  Solomon and I will revisit that point in the last line of our Scripture.  God has convicted my heart, especially as I get older, that one of the most important commandments next to loving our God and our neighbors, is not to bear false witness to anyone.  Lying abounds in our world.  Lying even abounds in our churches.  I believe that is why there are so many warnings in the Bible about false witnesses and false prophets.  Solomon goes on to warn us about "emotionalism."  Everything in our society today is designed to invoke an emotional reaction.  Television uses "focus groups" to tell us where to laugh and cry in shows, movies, and commercials.  Many churches use very expensive visual and audio effects to encourage an emotional response.  All of these feeble attempts at invoking a reaction without knowledge, ruin people's lives.  We over-react when our emotion does not come from the knowledge that Jesus and Scripture provide us.  Our over-reaction often misleads others and causes them to act on, and believe in, things that are simply not true.  Solomon also reminds us that these "hasty, enthusiastic mistakes," result in people blaming God for their unfortunate, self-defining, negative circumstances.  This is Satan working through our lives, explaining that it is all God's fault.  If we analyze these situations carefully, we will find it was our foolishness that "got the ball rolling" on our path to ruin.  Before I was in fulltime ministry, I was in sales.  In order to attract "high-end" clients, I owned a Skybox for a major NBA team.  I must tell you that EVERYONE became my friend, particularly around playoff time!  When I answered the call to fulltime ministry and gave up my Skybox, ALL of my "friends" departed.  My poverty drove them away!  Thank you Solomon for reminding me of this.  My friends now are true friends, who fellowship with me because it is good for all of us.  They are honest with me and our Family of God works daily to be truthful and not be foolish.  We are a very emotional group, but our emotion comes from understanding the amazing God we serve and the joy and blessings He brings to our lives on every level.  This brings us "full circle" in our marvelous Scripture today.  Solomon gives his final warning by explaining that if we lie and bear false witness, we cannot escape the wrath of God.  Is there still a "wrath of God" in the New Testament?  Isn't all that "Old Testament stuff" gone since Jesus died for our sins?  Let's all repeat together a resounding "NO!"  Jesus died for our sins.  God loves us.  There are still rules and God expects us to follow them and repent and turn away from our perpetual sin.  Lying and bearing false witness are two of these perpetual sins.  If we refuse to change and continue these two practices, rest assured that we can count on experiencing the "wrath of God," sooner than later.  It may not be with a booming voice from heaven or a billboard on the highway, but we can count on the fact that no lie will go un-noticed by God.  So don't be a fool for God.  Be poor and honest. Be wary of the "friends" your foolishness attracts.  If we are not careful, we will find ourselves living the lie we started.  Don't blame God!  It wasn't His doing.  Rather follow the wisdom of the Scripture and "Turn back O Man, and foreswear thy foolish ways!"