Proverbs 29:27

Hate Sin, but Love Sinners

The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

In the introduction I spoke of the polarity between the “righteous” and the “wicked.” No middle ground exists. One must score 100 percent to be counted in the realm of the righteous — a score impossible for people — but not for God (Mark 10:27).

By His grace alone, God saves some. They are regenerated, given new hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). Though justified in His sight, we still carry the stain of sin. Those “born from above(John 3:3) are armed with the gospel and sent out to the ends of the earth to gather His people together (Matthew 28:19-20).

Everyone should be confronted with the gospel of Christ in love. There, but for the grace of God, go we. Their sin is despicable, but we need to love them enough to give them the opportunity to be freely saved. Others may hate us and revile us and say all manner of evil against us falsely, yet we are to pray for them and do good to them (Matthew 5:44-45).

I believe Proverbs 29:27 will reach its full application in the age to come, following the judgment. Then the wicked in hell will be truly detested by the righteous, as they come under the permanent wrath of God. Then they will be hated, even as they also hate the righteous in heaven. God will bring glory to those who reached out to them in love.

Scriptural Examples

Cain and Abel. The wicked’s hatred of the righteous came early in history. Righteous Abel was murdered by Cain. This bloodshed is but a foreshadowing of the evil done by the wicked upon the righteous ever since (Genesis 4:8-10; 1 John 3:12-13).

Paul. Paul wept over his Jewish brothers who would not respond to the gospel he preached. He loved them and even wished that he could be judged in their place (Romans 9:1-3; 10:1).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for saving me and imputing to me the righteousness of Christ. Help me to fulfill my role in the Great Commission, so that all may hear of Your salvation.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:26

Have Confidence in God Alone

Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice.

This principle builds upon the previous one. We need to fear God and have complete confidence in God alone. People, try as they may, can never take the place of our God.

Take our federal government for instance. It has become in the eyes of many the all-seeing, all-knowing father. It promises to provide for our needs and to eliminate all the problems that beset us. Many politicians have set themselves up as gods, controlling the purse strings and morals of the nation.

The government has declared war on poverty, crime, drugs, illiteracy, and on and on. But poverty, crime, drugs, and illiteracy go on and on. We hear that the Social Security system is going bankrupt. Medicare is toppling. Welfare rolls continue to grow. Meanwhile, the government is being revealed for what it is: mere fleshly humans attempting to solve what only God can solve.

Only Almighty God deserves our confidence. Only He has proven consistently trustworthy. Have you ever tried to get an audience with the President of the United States? God is available to you at this very moment, wherever you are. He answers our prayers with justice; with your best interests at heart. If you were to get a few minutes with the president, would you get satisfaction or only a few promises and some excuses? I think you know the answer.

Scriptural Examples

Felix. This deceitful ruler kept Paul in prison for two years hoping to please the Jews on the one hand and to extract a bribe from Paul on the other (Acts 24:25-27).

The rulers of this age. Paul wrote of these crucifiers of Christ as coming to nothing. While here, they act either wittingly or unwittingly as servants of God. But ultimately, God is in control of all governments (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, thank You for hearing and answering prayer. And thank You for treating Your subjects in justice and mercy, so unlike the treatment most of us get from our governments.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:25

Fear God Alone: He Will Keep You Safe

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

An entire book would not suffice to tell all the stories Scripture gives us of the men and women who exemplified both the thesis and antithesis of this principle. Here are but a few.

Scriptural Examples

Noah. He preached righteousness and built a huge ship, all to the taunts of people who were to die. Noah and his family were kept safe (Genesis 6:5-7:7; 2 Peter 2:5).

Joseph. He did not fear the fury of Potiphar’s wife, but said, “How can I sin against God?” God prospered him (Genesis 39:9).

Aaron. He bowed to the demands of the Israelites and made them a golden calf to worship (Exodus 32:22-24).

Joshua and Caleb. They trusted God while the other spies feared the “giants” in the land. God honored these men, while the others were snared in unbelief (Numbers 13:30-31; 14:22-24).

Saul. He told Samuel he failed to follow God’s command to destroy all the cattle of the Amalekites because he was afraid of the people and gave in to them (1 Samuel 15:24).

Pilate. He feared the people and the loss of his position, so he allowed the Son of God to be executed (John 19:1-16).

Peter. He succumbed to the fear of people in denying his Lord (Matthew 26:75), and accommodating those Jews who wished to return to the Law for salvation (Galatians 2:11-14).

Moses. He feared God rather than the power of Pharaoh and God kept him safe. “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ of more value than all the riches of Egypt/em>” (Hebrews 11:26)
.
Brothers and sisters, how we need to follow the example of Jesus, “who endured such opposition from sinful men,” yet was faithful to the Father, even to death on the cross (Hebrews 12:1-3). Others have no power over us that is not allowed them by our God. “If God is for us, who can be against us?(Romans 8:31).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your providential care for Your people. You alone are to be feared. Let no Christian be intimidated by what others can do to him. Rather, let all fear You.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:24

Beware the Threefold Trap of an Accomplice

The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy; he is put under oath and dare not testify.

Way back in Proverbs 1:10-19, we saw the trap set by those who lie in wait to steal or shed innocent blood. The trap would catch only themselves. This proverb gives us a glimpse of the threefold trap that awaits those who fail to obey chapter one’s warnings, and so become accomplices of the criminal.

Suppose I decide to join some guys who are burglarizing houses in my neighborhood. I am asked to wait outside the victim’s home and give a signal if danger nears. Pretty easy, huh? But something goes wrong. A secret alarm alerts the police who catch my companions red-handed. I am called to testify in court as a witness. My problems have just begun.

What do I do? I have three choices. I can (1) keep my mouth shut, (2) perjure myself by lying, or (3) spill my guts and tell the truth. The first alternative violates a command of God regarding testimony: “If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible(Leviticus 5:1). Perjury also breaks God’s direct command (Malachi 3:5; 1 Timothy 1:10), and carries with it penalties in the human court. The third alternative gets me a prison term, and perhaps even more fearful, the eternal malice of the other burglars.

The best alternative is to never become the accomplice to a thief or any lawbreaker. Even if one is never caught, the God who sees all things will repay him according to his sin.

Scriptural Examples

Jesus. He was put under oath and refused to testify. But Jesus’s failure to testify was in accordance with the prophetic words of Isaiah 53:7. He had done nothing worthy of punishment. In silence He set His face like flint toward Calvary refusing to answer the charges laid against Him (Matthew 26:63).

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, to break the law of God or the government ever so slightly is foolishness. I thank You, Lord, that You have set my feet on a straight path. Give me power to live a life of obedience.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:22-23

Beware the Root of Pride that Brings Anger

22) An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. 23) A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

Not all anger is sinful. But this kind of anger is sinful through and through. What causes it? Verse 23 answers that point-blank: Sinful anger has as its root the sin of pride.

The prideful person has many reasons to be angry. First, his “rights” are higher and wider than anyone else’s and are easily stepped on. Second, he knows everything, so conflicts easily arise. Third, his needs are greater than others’ and always less satisfied. Fourth, his ambitions are greater and easily thwarted. The prideful person tends to live in a state where anger is always lurking just below the surface.

Peace lives in the person of “lowly spirit(Matthew 5:3). First, this person understands that we are to subordinate our “rights” for God’s glory. Second, he or she realizes there is much that he or she does not know. Third the “lowly spirit” is mainly interested in the needs of others. Fourth, the “meek” person’s only ambition is to please God, so he or she cannot be frustrated if money, power, or position are denied. Finally, unlike the prideful, the person of a lowly spirit has peace with God. Any honor that he or she has is imputed solely by the One to whom all honor belongs: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Scriptural Examples

Haman and Mordecai. Haman stirred up dissension as a hot-tempered man full of pride and ambition who hated the Jew Mordecai. Haman’s pride brought him low, while the lowly Mordecai was exalted to a position of honor. (Esther 8:1-2).

The prodigal’s brother. While his brother was taught a lowly spirit in the far country, this man stewed in his prideful anger. He refused to join in the celebration welcoming his prodigal brother home (Luke 15:28-32).

Prayer of Application

Lord, keep me from the pride that goes before a fall. Unrighteous anger shows our pride, but the fruits of humility are love, joy, peace, and all the other traits of the lowly spirit.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:21

Beware of Expectations and Entitlements

If a man pampers his servant from youth, he will bring grief in the end.

In 1981 I started a company which grew to 120 employees in seven years. During that time, I sometimes made the error of promising my employees more than I could deliver. I didn’t do it deceitfully or to manipulate them. I was naively optimistic and had never had more than one employee in my former businesses. But whether the promises were fulfilled or not isn’t the point. I should have managed their expectations more carefully.

If an employee, or a family member, is allowed to have his or her expectations grow beyond reality, you are sure to get grief when disappointments come. When tough times hit, and expectations are not met, morale goes south. How much better to manage the expectations of those under your authority. Then when those tough times come, they are more acclimated to taking lumps with you. When times get better, that fat bonus comes as a welcome surprise.

A regular gift to someone, even though done out of kindness, may quickly become in his eyes an entitlement. If the gift is then withheld in the future, its withdrawal becomes an injustice. Also, if you pamper your employee and never hold him accountable, he will begin to expect the same in the future. The point is, we need to be careful in raising the expectations of others, because they will come to view our hopeful promises or current treatment of them as an entitlement.

How do we avoid this trap? The best way is to set goals and put them in writing. Hold everyone who is looking to you for leadership accountable for his actions, whether he is an employee or your child. Make sure everyone understands that this year’s bonus is given only because the company made certain financial goals. Tell them not to expect it next year. Condition others to expect reality and they won’t be disappointed and give you grief.

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, thank You for Your many precious promises. You will never fail us. But help those of us in authority to help others see reality in their expectations of You and of us.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:20

Beware of “Foot in Mouth” Disease

Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

“Foot in mouth” disease is closely related to that common ailment “diarrhea of the mouth,” and should be avoided like the plague. Its symptoms occur first in the mind. A sufferer begins to think he knows pretty much everything about everything. Suddenly his mouth opens, and before he can get his brain in gear, out comes a gusher of words. No tourniquet or coagulant yet devised can stop the oral bleeding that ensues. On most occasions, these outbursts are followed by a reddening of the facial skin tissues as the sufferer’s foot glides slowly from the ground to his mouth and becomes firmly imbedded between his upper and lower jaws. Those so infected should go on a strict diet of humble pie until the symptoms disappear.

I confess I am sometimes susceptible to this disease, and am forced to ask God to forgive me. I pray He is cleansing me of it, but just when I think I’m healed, it’s b-a-a-a-a-ck. Do you have this problem? We need to weigh carefully the words that we speak, and avoid “foot in mouth” disease.

Scriptural Examples

Jephthah. This judge of Israel rashly vowed to sacrifice the first thing that walked out the door of his house when he returned from battle. Sadly, it happened his daughter was first out of the door (Judges 11:1-40).

Saul. In his conceit, Saul spoke in haste on the day his son Jonathan brought victory to the army of Israel over the Philistines. Were it not for the intervention of the troops, Saul would have put his son to death for eating a little honey (1 Samuel 14:1-52).

The Lord God. The words of God are never spoken in haste, nor need to be taken back. On the contrary, the words of God are flawless, like silver refined in the furnace (Psalm 12:6).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, keep me from putting my foot in my mouth by speaking before my brain is in gear. I am your representative, Lord, and I need to choose my words with care.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:19

Back Up Your Words with Action

A servant cannot be corrected by mere words; though he understands, he will not respond.

The godly servant should respond to the words of his master without delay. But alas, such is not our natural inclination. Most of us will not respond to mere words. To prove my point, get out on a freeway. How fast is everyone going without regard to the law or the threat of a speeding ticket? I rest my case.

Mom tells her little Johnny to take out the trash. Johnny refuses. Mom raises her voice, but still no action from Johnny. Finally she says, “Young man, just you wait ’til your father gets home!! You’ll get it then!” But Johnny knows he won’t really “get it.” Sure enough, dad gets home and takes out the trash himself.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure(Jeremiah 17:9). Left to ourselves, we are “beyond cure.” But God Himself has provided the cure in the person of Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. The new birth gives God’s people a desire to do His will. As servants of God, we should then respond to His words without delay. If we don’t, guess what? Our heavenly Father stands ready to back up His words with swift but loving discipline.

Scriptural Examples

Joseph. Sold into Egypt, Joseph found himself a servant. He was exemplary in his service and rejected the sexual advances of his master’s wife. He suffered for his loyalty to God, but in due time was raised to great heights (Genesis 37; 39; 41.)

Job. Job was God’s servant and a master of men. But following his beating at Satan’s hands, he complained, “I summon my servant but he does not respond, though I beg him with my own mouth(Job 19:16).

Jonah. He claimed to be God’s servant, but when given instruction by God to go to Nineveh and preach there, he headed in the opposite direction (the book of Jonah).

Prayer of Application

Father, help me as a leader to stand ready to back up my words with actions. But help me also to follow Your command willingly and quickly, as well as the commands of those in authority over me.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 29:18

Covet Divine Instruction

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.

The KJV translates the first line of this verse: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” That translation has led many to think it’s speaking of a vision for the future. But the proverb’s “vision” is really divine revelation, or more precisely, “instruction.” The Hebrew word para is the word used in Exodus 32:25 when the Israelites “cast off restraint” (see below). This is emphasized by the antithetical parallelism of the second phrase: “but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

When the Ten Commandments were ripped from the walls of our public schools in America, the skids were greased for America’s descent into lawlessness. This act of violence against God’s Law has had exactly the result predicted by this proverb. Our public schools have disintegrated, and with them the moral and spiritual character of our nation. I thank the Lord for godly teachers who are the only glue holding the schools together!

The school bulletin board is not the only venue where God’s instruction has been thrown out. In many churches across America, the clear teachings of God have been set aside in favor of “politically correct” human teachings (1 Timothy 4:3). If that happens in your church, you can be sure that your congregation is in decline as people begin to cast off restraint.

Scriptural Examples

The Israelites.When Moses returned from the mountain with the first tablets of the Law, he found the people had “cast off restraint” and were “running wild.” Aaron had succumbed to the demands of the evil crowd and had constructed a golden calf for the people after the desires of their own evil hearts (Exodus 32:19-25).

The Israelites. The prophet Hosea spoke of a time when the people of God would be destroyed for lack of knowledge as they rejected the divine instruction of God (Hosea 4:1-6).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for Your Word, a gracious gift to us. We need Your counsel before us on a consistent basis. Without its clear moral instruction, restraints are removed.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley

Proverbs 29:16

Rejoice to Be on the Winning Team!

When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall.

Back in my California college days, the New York Yankees were a perennial powerhouse. I had been a Chicago Cubs fan from my youth. But the Cubbies were perennial losers. I hated the Yanks, but my best friend loved New York. One day I asked him why. “Because they are winners,” he replied, “and I like winners.” I thought that made sense, so that day I became a Yankees fan … well, at least until the Dodgers and Sandy Koufax moved to L.A. in 1958.

If one could count up the apparent score in the game of life today, it would appear that the “wicked” are ahead “60-zip.” Our cities teem with crime. Sin abounds. Every day we read about some new act of terrorism. People reject the true God and cling to worthless idols. We might be tempted to think that the battle was over, and that the righteous have been defeated, conquered by the hosts of evil. But the Bible says the game isn’t over: not by a long shot.

Jesus said that it will not be the strong or the rich or the super intelligent who will inherit the earth. No, He said that it will be the meek (Matthew 5:5). Who are the meek? The meek are those who have humbly put their trust in Jesus Christ, that through Him the victory over sin and evil has been won. The game clock is still ticking, and those who are Christ’s are down in the trenches getting dirty. But one day soon, the whistle will blow and the game will be over. On that day, the righteous meek will witness the abrupt downfall of the wicked.

Scriptural Examples

The pre-Flood people. Their millions were teamed up against God and a man named Noah. It looked like they would prevail until it began to rain (Genesis 6–7).

The Babel builders. These guys were the “movers and shakers” of their day. Their real problem was that they liked to do their moving and shaking in opposition to God (Genesis 11:1-9).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for the Cross. It is foolishness to a world that seems to be winning now, but when Christ returns in power, they will cringe in fear and find no place to hide.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley