Proverbs 28:1

Be Bold in Christ’s Righteousness

The wicked [KJV: “lawless”] flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

I love the 23rd Psalm, particularly the verse that says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The man or woman of God, who like David has been made righteous by the righteousness imputed to him by Christ, confidently expects the goodness and grace of the Lord to follow him everywhere he goes (Romans 8:28). The natural person should expect exactly the opposite. He should look over his shoulder, anticipating only wrath and anger (Romans 2:8).

We’re told by modern psychologists that humankind’s problems stem from a guilt complex. If we could only get rid of our guilt, we’d be able to toss off our fears and anxieties, our phobias and our psychoses. But the Bible says that our guilt can only be washed away by the blood of Christ. Guilt is real, and its cause is self-seeking sin and the rejection of God’s truth.

Throughout Scripture, the Messiah is known as the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:9; Hosea 5:14; 11:10; Revelation 5:5). Christ is that Lion and His righteous ones may be as bold as He is. No longer beset with guilt that causes him to fear, the Christian can look forward with confidence (Philippians 3:13). His Master and Brother is not just king of the jungle but King of Kings.

Scriptural Examples

Adam and Eve. Following their sin they hid in the garden. Why? Because they were afraid. Although they were naked before the Fall, (perhaps covered with a shimmering glow of righteousness), it was the shame and guilt of their sin that exposed their nakedness to their eyes, and brought fear (Genesis 3:9-10).

Caleb and Joshua. While the other 10 spies at Kadesh Barnea were fearful of giants, these men were bold as lions and confidently argued for an immediate attack and occupation of what God had promised (Numbers 14:6-10).

Prayer of Application

Sovereign Lord, you are truly the Lion of Judah. Even today You are in control of all things. Make me bold, Lord, in the knowledge that through Your strengthening, I can do all things.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28: Introduction

Proverbs and the Christian Life

Proverbs 28:9 should be memorized by everyone who embraces the name “Christian.” It states simply, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.” What arrogance to think that we can disregard God’s precepts — His law — and believe that He will regard our prayers. Some teach that a person can be saved and yet continue to live in a state of sin. Now while it is true that we all sin (1 John 1:8), 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in [Christ] must walk as Jesus did.” That is, the believer must walk in righteousness, leaving old habits and patterns of sinful behavior in the past.

Repentance is crucial to the Christian life. Take a look at the back of your hand. Pretend for a moment that the back of your hand is the practice of sin in your life. Now turn your hand over and look at your palm. We’ll call the palm side of your hand the Christian life. Just as when we turn our hand toward its palm the back of our hand turns away, so when we turn to Christ we turn away from the practice of sin. That is what repentance is. When we are saved and encounter the righteous and holy God, we should want nothing to do with sin. Yet sin is still “at work within [our] members(Romans 7:23). Paul cries out with us, “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord(Romans 7:24-25).

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:23-27

Prepare for the Future in Diligence and Faith

23) Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; 24) for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. 25) When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, 26) the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. 27) You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed you and your family, and to nourish your servant girls.

I don’t own any flocks or herds, not even a single goat. I do have a modest portfolio of common stocks, but I never made it to the goal of “financial independence.” I like to say that I could retire tomorrow, but only if I were to die next week. (Since the time this was written, I have retired, and continue thank God as the Source of all I have.)

The wealth of this world is fickle and fleeting (Matthew 6:19), and in the final analysis, cannot be relied upon to provide us with so much as a cup of coffee in the future. We are to rely upon God as the ultimate source of all we have. He is absolutely reliable, and our hearts can rest content in the knowledge that if all our investments flop, and our pension plan goes bankrupt, and if the Social Security system fails, God will provide for all our needs (Isaiah 58:11; Philippians 4:19). But does this knowledge preclude us from being diligent about providing for the future? These verses pronounce an emphatic “No!”

Scriptural Examples

Jacob. Jacob diligently tended Laban’s flocks and then carved out of them massive flocks and herds of his own. When he returned to his homeland, he had plenty to take with him. By his careful preparation Jacob ensured food for his large family and nourishment for his servant girls (Genesis 30 and 31).

Boaz. Boaz personally looked after his flocks and his fields. He exercised diligence in his work and in his provision for the future (Ruth 2:1-16; 3:6-13).

Prayer of Application

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to trust You alone as the Great Provider of all things. But then help me to do my part in providing for my needs and for those of my family.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:22

Only God Can Grind Sense into a Fool

Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him.

My parents once took us on a trip to the Grand Canyon. We also saw the Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff, which is the site of ancient Indian ruins. There, we saw the foundations and subfloors of ancient houses that had crumbled in the rush of years and harsh elements.

Everywhere we looked, we saw smooth concave holes in the venerable stone floors. These, the guide explained, were mortars, where grain was ground with a pestle. By crushing the grain between the movable pestle and the immovable mortar, the chaff was removed and the edible portion of the grain was exposed. Then the grain was ground to meal under the same pressure. The mortar and pestle is a great tool for processing food, but that same tool is useless for processing fools.

The late Charles Colson founded Prison Fellowship because he knew that if people were to be truly penitent for their sins, they needed to be reconciled to God. Today, in prisons across America, men and women are meeting the Savior in their jail cells because of the work of prison ministries. No, you’ll never remove the folly of a fool by grinding him with a mortar and pestle. But God can do it by Him who was ground to death for our folly, and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25).

Scriptural Examples

Ahaz. This foolish king of Judah suffered bitterly because of his unfaithfulness. But after it all, “in his time of trouble, Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord(2 Chronicles 28:22).

Manasseh. Again, a foolish king brought trouble upon himself and his kingdom. Unlike Ahaz, Manasseh called upon the Lord and the Lord delivered him from it (2 Chronicles 33:1-20).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, thank You for all prison ministries. The gospel is the only real hope and the only way that folly can ever be removed from a fool. Give them grace to continue their work.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:21

Use Care in Giving and Receiving Praise

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

Part of God’s testing us involves praise, both its giving and receiving. Derek Kidner says an alternate reading might be, “we stand revealed by what we praise” (p. 168).

If you are anything like me, you like to have others say nice things about you. Honest praise lifts us up and puts a spring in our step. We feel accepted. Praise is okay as long as we maintain a proper perspective and are not puffed up by it. Charles Bridges says, “It is a dangerous crisis when a proud heart meets flattering lips” (p. 521). The heart is deceitful beyond imagining (Jeremiah 17:9) and often flattery or the praise of others is its fuel.

How do we avoid the temptation of becoming a legend in our own mind? One way — not recommended — would be to marry the quarrelsome and critical spouse (Proverbs 27:15-16). But there is a less painful way. Remember to “live your life for the Audience of One,” to borrow a phrase from Os Guinness. Let God be the source of your praise, if you qualify for any. Live to please God and not others. Then, by seriously attempting to match your life against God’s Word, you will be kept in humble submission to His grace.

Scriptural Examples

The Pharisees. Some say none of the Jews believed in Jesus. Oh, but they did! In fact, many of the Jewish leaders believed in Him, but were afraid to confess Him because they loved the praise of others more than the praise of God. Don’t get caught in their trap (John 12:42-43).

Paul and Barnabas. With their popularity they could have started their own TV ministry and cashed in on their stardom! But no. They were eager to give all credit to God. Like them, let’s live for our Audience of One (Acts 14:11-15).

Prayer of Application

Lord, I need the gospel every minute. First, to remind me I am dead and without hope except through You. Then to remind me who You are a holy, all-powerful, and loving God.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:20

Find Satisfaction in Christ Alone

Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.

I recently attended an annual automobile show in Cleveland. There, shining brightly beneath floodlamps were new cars from all over the world. Hundreds of us “lookieloos” feasted our eyes on glistening new paint and soft leather bucket seats. Such are the eyes of people. We see it and we want it.

The main force that keeps the automobile industry churning out new models every year is the truth of this verse. People want something newer and prettier and more expensive than our neighbor’s. It is what has built American industry. But it is a treadmill to nowhere. Its end apart from God is “Death and Destruction.”

Augustine said, “O, Lord, thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” Christ is where the “buck” of restlessness and dissatisfaction stops. We will never find peace and contentment (Philippians 4:11-13) until we find it in Him.

What is it about Christ that beckons us? Christ gives us a new perspective on life, a new sense of purpose, and a faith in the Sovereign God that submits to His reign over our lives. By faith, we enter the rest of God and find a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). Let us make every effort to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:10-11) and be satisfied in the One who gives us all things freely to enjoy (Romans 8:32).

Scriptural Examples

The woman at the well. Jesus approached this Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink. He then spoke of her lover and five former husbands. Why do you suppose she had had five husbands and was now living with a man? Could it be that she wasn’t satisfied? Christ spoke to her of her thirst and how by normal water it is never satisfied. Only He could give her living water, the drink which satisfies eternally (John 4:5-26).

Prayer of Application

Lord, the blessings of plenty can become a curse if they become an end in themselves. Help me to tell others of the genuine satisfaction in Christ.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:19

Look into Your Own Heart and Know Everyone

As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

One Sunday, a young man complained to his mom saying, “I don’t want to go to church today! I mean, it’s boring and the people there are all a bunch of hypocrites. I’m just not going to go!” His mother responded, “But son, you have to go!” “Give me one good reason!” he demanded. “You’re the pastor,” she said.

The point is, when your pastor has just finished scolding you from the pulpit for your pet sin, and you begin wondering how in the world he found out about it, stop wondering. Chances are that he simply looked into his own heart and came to know what was in yours, too.

Like looking in a mirror and seeing my face, by looking into the thoughts and intents of my heart (Hebrews 4:12), I can get a pretty clear picture of my character. When contrasted to the perfect Word of God, I have to admit that it is ugly. But, in the proverb’s larger sense, I am looking at the heart of every man and woman who has ever lived, save One. We are all corrupted, none of us seeks after God. No one does good. No, not even one (Psalm 14:1; Romans 3:9-18).

But the search awakens in me a deeper understanding of the love of a Savior who, while I was yet His enemy and dead in trespasses and sins, died for me (Romans 5:6). I need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ every day. But I cannot appreciate its truth completely until I have understood the depths of my own sinfulness, and therefore the heights to which I am called heavenward in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).

Scriptural Examples

Paul. Paul searched his heart and saw in it two contrasting principles at work. On the one hand, he wanted to follow God, but on the other hand, his sin nature kept pulling him in the opposite direction. Isn’t Paul’s experience yours (Romans 7:1-25)?

Prayer of Application

Father, how can I ever thank You for sending Christ to die for me and to pay the price of my redemption. Now saved, I long for the day when I shall meet Him face to face.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:18

Do Your Work as Unto the Lord

He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored.

Back in my college summers I worked as either a laborer or carpenter. My dad would say to me as I went to work, “Make a profit for your employer today.” I found that he meant if my hard work made a profit for my employer, I’d make a profit, too.

The wise employee who tends to his employer’s needs will himself be honored and enriched. At least that’s the way it is supposed to work. Books could be filled with tales of unscrupulous employers who failed to pay the worker his wages or who absconded with the company’s pension funds.

As Christians, we need to understand that it is our heavenly Father who signs our paychecks. Everything we have, or ever will have, comes from His hand. Somehow, we have lost confidence in the providence of God over all our affairs. But that doesn’t make it less true.

What it boils down to is this: If you are seeking justice in the work you perform every day in your employer’s service, or even working for yourself, look to the One True Employer to provide it (Colossians 3:22-24).

Scriptural Examples

The faithful servants. In this story, Jesus illustrates the rewards given out in the kingdom of heaven to those who have been good and faithful servants. We need to work for the reward that never perishes, laboring in the field of the Lord for His glory and profit and for our eternal joy (Matthew 25:14-23).

The fig tree. In order for a fruit tree to bear fruit, it needs attention. Jesus spoke of a man telling his servant to cut down an unproductive fig tree. The man begged to be allowed to dig around the tree and fertilize it. The owner honored his servant’s wish and gave the tree one more chance (Luke 13:6-10).

Prayer of Application

Oh, Father, whatever I do, help me to do it unto You and for Your glory. Lord, I thank You that every calling is a sacred calling and all labor has its focus in Your honor.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:17

Brothers and Sisters, Disciple One Another

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Back in 1980, a friend of mine and I began a businessmen’s Bible study. On one occasion, a young man joined our study and one morning he told us why he had come. “I just like the openness of this group,” he said. “I feel free to share my troubles and heartaches here, and to receive help from teaching, prayer, and godly advice.” This is foundational in the Christian life—teaching and encouraging one another (Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

The Christian life needs to be lived in intimate fellowship with others who share our precious faith. The writer to the Hebrews enjoins us to “encourage one another daily,” to the end that “none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness(Hebrews 3:13). This can be done neither in the context of a “loner” mentality nor that of a large group. There has to be personal intimacy, and this is only possible in the small group or in one-on-one discipling relationships.

If you are not involved in a small group or discipling ministry of some kind, I urge you to get involved. The only requirement is to be serious about living for and glorifying the Lord Jesus, and a consequent desire to be sharpened in your walk with God and, in turn, to sharpen others.

Scriptural Examples

Job. Eliphaz the Temanite spoke of his friend Job’s discipling ministry. Job’s words had supported those who had stumbled and had strengthened those who had faltering knees. What a blessing to be a person like Job (Job 4:3-4)!

The men on the Emmaus Road. After the crucifixion, two men were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus when a stranger appeared and spoke to them about the prophecies that had been fulfilled in Christ. Later, they recognized the stranger as the Lord Jesus, who had just discipled them (Luke 24:13).

Prayer of Application

Father God, thank You for my brothers in Christ, who share common experiences on the road of faith. Help me to take seriously my responsibility to encourage and disciple others.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 27:15-16

Don’t Be a Quarrelsome Spouse

15) A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; 16) restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.

This is the fourth time we have encountered the quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 19:13; 21:9, 19). She’s like the Chinese water torture, where drips of water upon a person’s forehead gradually drive him insane. In these verses, the quarrelsome woman has become uncontrollable. To try and gain the upper hand is like trying to stop the wind from blowing, or changing the oil in your car by carrying it in your hands.

But why is she uncontrollable? First, the home is run by her timetable and plans or there is trouble. Second, she is not willing to change her preconceptions. Third, she will not listen to reason and will throw reason back into her husband’s face. He gets buried by the words of his argumentative spouse and there is no peace. What a difference between this woman and the woman of Ephesians 5:22, who is submitted to her husband as he is submitted to the Lord.

But wives do not have a corner on the quarrelsome market. Overbearing, hard-headed husbands are legendary, and so I have alluded to them in the principle above. Husbands and wives, submit to one another and love one another. Be forgiving of one another and do not drive your partner to an early grave.

Scriptural Examples

Queen Vashti. King Xerxes summoned his wife to appear before him, but she refused to come. Enraged with anger, and concerned that her contentiousness might cause the other women of the nation to despise their husbands, too, Xerxes proclaimed that henceforth Vashti would be dethroned and never again be allowed to enter his presence. The submissive Esther took her place eventually (Esther 1:10-20).

Prayer of Application

Father, the family is Your oldest institution. Help us to follow the guidance of Your Word to the end that we would live peacefully with one another and bring glory to Your name.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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