Proverbs 20:1

Don’t Be Deceived by Alcohol

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Deceit occurs when promises are made that will not be kept. Beer commercials all promise fun, popularity, and peer bonding. There is an element of truth there, but for many the promise of alcohol reverses into a curse of pain and suffering. The beer commercial has sucked many into a life of pain.

Murders, drunk driving, child molestations, wife beatings, and other crimes are often committed by people who’ve been drinking. Much of the homelessness in America is due to alcohol abuse. Trouble dogs the trail of the compulsive drinker.

Nowhere in Scripture are we told not to drink alcohol. But we are warned often of its deceit and of the serious consequences of its misuse. Paul may have been thinking about alcoholic beverages when he wrote that although something may be lawful, it is not necessarily constructive or beneficial. He declined to be brought under the power of anything or let anything be his master (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23). Alcohol will try to be your master. Don’t be deceived by it.

Scriptural Examples

Noah. After the Flood, Noah planted a vineyard. He then got drunk and passed out naked in his tent. This led to Ham’s sin and Noah’s subsequent curse upon Canaan. Noah was deceived and his sin had lasting consequences (Genesis 9:20-21).

Lot. Lot also got drunk and lay in his tent — twice. Lot’s daughters slept with their father, and the product of these incestuous unions were the Moabites and the Ammonites, two of Israel’s most pestiferous enemies (Genesis 19:32-38).

Elah. He was partaking heavily of wine in the palace at Tirzah when Zimri, one of his cavalry officers, sneaked in and assassinated him, succeeding him as king (1 Kings 16:8-10).

Prayer of Application

Father, many of life’s activities promise one thing but deliver the opposite. Give me the wisdom of self-control and moderation in all things, bringing glory to You in all I do.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20: Introduction

God’s Saving Grace

Proverbs 20:9 asks a rhetorical question: “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’” The obvious answer is: No one who has ever lived…except one, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:10-20). By God’s saving grace, the righteousness of Christ, who lived the perfectly sinless life that Adam did not, is imputed to the believer. Also by God’s grace, the believer’s sinfulness was imputed to Christ. He bore our sins on the cross. It was a double imputation: our sin to Jesus; His righteousness to us. And it was all because of the saving grace of God.

God’s saving grace stands in direct opposition to our merit. Grace is by definition an unmerited favor — it is undeserved. Even works that are said to be done with the assistance of God’s grace are opposed to saving grace. Saving grace is based upon Christ’s merit alone. That’s why Paul said in Galatians 5:4, “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” And the Apostle tells us again in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Don’t trust in your church membership, your loyal service, or any other thing for salvation. Trust in Christ alone.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:28-29

Beware of the Ultimate Lie

28) A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil. 29) Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.

Even if the Bible didn’t teach it, justice makes sense as an eternal concept. Otherwise, Adolf Hitler mocked justice when he committed suicide in his Berlin bunker. But he only fled the hands of angry people to fall into the hands of an angry God.

In the verses above we see the person who mocks justice by lying and who also “gulps down evil” (v. 28). All the while he sets a trap for himself. In the end, his contempt for justice will form the basis of his judgment because he scorns the free gift that God offers (Romans 8:1).

Have you ever wondered what would be the biggest lie one could tell that would be a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10? John says one who claims to be a Christian but who does not do what Christ commands “is a liar and the truth is not in him(1 John 2:4). I believe that to mock Christ’s atoning work, all the while posturing as His follower, is the ultimate lie. Peter says it would have been better not to have known the way of salvation than to turn one’s back on the Savior (James 1:5)(2 Peter 2:21). Beware of mocking the ultimate Judge (Acts 17:31).

Scriptural Examples

Joseph’s brothers. They lied to their father, giving him false evidence that Joseph was dead. They mocked judgment but received mercy at the hands of their brother and were spared (like us) the punishment they so richly deserved (Genesis 39:8-12).

The Pharisees and teachers of the Law. While posing as men of God, these men told the ultimate lie. They practiced godliness with their lips, but their hearts were far from God (Matthew 15:7-9). Jesus mocked these mockers, these “blind guides” who nibbled at righteousness but gulped down evil (Matthew 23).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, may I never betray You by paying You lip service yet living a life that belies what I say. I can only do this through the power of Your Spirit sustaining me.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:27

Listen to the Word’s Instruction

Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

The Word of God is true (John 17:17), complete (Revelation 22:18-19), sufficient for correct doctrine, and perfects our behavior in human relationships (2 Timothy 3:15-16). We are not to be led astray by every wind of doctrine that blows down the pike (Ephesians 4:14). How do we protect ourselves from error? We are to chew on the solid food of the Word, putting it into practice, and thereby learning to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14).

Throughout the history of the church and particularly in our day, people have brought in heresies that God calls destructive and damnable (2 Peter 2:1). Many even deny Christ is Lord. But we are called by Christ to be discerning (Luke 12:57). When we stand before Him to give account of ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:10), we will each be held accountable for errors we have made in following false teachers. Therefore, let’s do like the Bereans who didn’t even take the apostle Paul’s word for it. They searched the Scriptures to see if what he was telling them was so (Acts 17:10-11). Open your ears and eyes to the Word.

Scriptural Examples

Noadiah. Nehemiah prayed God would remember this false prophetess who had tried to intimidate him in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:14).

Hananiah. He prophesied falsely that Babylon’s yoke upon Israel would be broken and peace would be restored. Jeremiah told him because he had taught rebellion against the Lord he would die that very year. In the seventh month, Hananiah died (Jeremiah 28).

The Nicolaitans. These men compromised the teachings of Christ with those of the pagan world and taught both idolatry and immorality (Revelation 2:6,15).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, thank You for giving me a mind that can discern truth from falsehood, and the living Word that is essentially clear in its teaching. Feed me from it that may I be steadfast.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:26

Honor Your Father and Your Mother

He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace.

This is a picture of corruption in its most radical form. Here is a son who is fed, educated, clothed, and kept in safety throughout his childhood and youth. He is nurtured, loved, and tenderly disciplined by this couple who disregard their own needs and comfort for him. Then, when he is an adult, he steals his father’s home and possessions and evicts his mother, throwing her out on the street to fend for herself.

God commands that we honor our parents (Exodus 20:12). The command was placed before the commandment against murder and came with a promise. Those who kept it could expect long life in the land God was giving them. What of those who failed to keep it? Proverbs 30:17 gives us a picture of the punishment they could expect. Their eyes would be pecked out by the ravens. They would be consumed by the vultures.

Scriptural Examples

Cain. In Genesis 3:15, Adam and Eve were promised that an offspring (seed) of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. I believe they thought Cain would be this one, not realizing that the promise would be fulfilled centuries later in Christ, the seed of Mary. What a shame Cain was to his father and mother who had expected so much (Genesis 4:1-16).

Absalom. Absalom’s father was David. Absalom rebelled against his father and sought to set himself up as king over Israel (2 Samuel 15:1-14). He lay with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel (2 Samuel 16:20-22). Ultimately, Absalom’s death at the hands of David’s army caused David tremendous pain and torment. Surely Absalom dishonored his father (2 Samuel 18:33).

Timothy. Timothy was a man who honored his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1:5).

Prayer of Application

Dear God, thank You for my parents and for their self sacrifice in raising me from infancy. They were not perfect, but they deserve my respect and love. Help me to honor them.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:25

Use Wisdom in Administering Rebuke

Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.

Derek Kidner points out three kinds of minds here: the scorner, the simple, and the one of understanding (p. 135). The first mind, he says, is closed, or hardened. The second is empty. And the third is open. In the case of the scorner, there isn’t much in the way of corrective action one can take to cure him of his closed mind. One hundred lashes won’t impress a fool as much as a simple rebuke to a person of discernment (Proverbs 17:10).

But the scorner’s severe punishment is valuable to the simple mind. He needs a warning shot fired across his bow. God’s law is full of examples of this wisdom in action, a few of which are examined below. I’m afraid that our criminal judicial system has lost sight of these truths in America today.

The man of understanding has an open mind and needs only a mild word of rebuke to correct the error of his ways. He responds to the Word of God applied to his sin by confessing the sin and repenting of it (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Scriptural Examples

The idolater. The Law said that if a person enticed another to worship other gods, the people were to stone him to death so that all Israel might hear of it and be afraid (Deuteronomy 13:6-11).

The liar. In the same way, if a person took the witness stand and scornfully bore false witness against someone accused of wrongdoing, he was to receive the same punishment as the man he sought to harm would have received if guilty. This was done so the people would hear of it and be afraid (Deuteronomy 19:16-21).

David. His great sin against Bathsheba and Uriah may have gone unpunished (on this earth) were it not for the admonition of God through a prophet named Nathan. Nathan rebuked the king, and David’s heart softened (2 Samuel 12:1-13; Psalm 51).

Prayer of Application

Lord God, how wonderful is Your Law. Its quick and severe punishment deterred the simple mind from sin. Lord, give us understanding and wise judges in our courts.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:24

Live a Life of Self-Control

The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth!

This verse presents a picture which would be very humorous were it not so tragic. The glutton has his hand in the mashed potatoes and gravy and is so sleepy from his overeating that he can’t find the strength to take another bite. Tragically, he is so intent on consuming food that he is himself consumed.

God calls each of us to self-control and a life of spiritual fruit-bearing (Galatians 5:22-23). We need to eat for the sustenance of our bodies. Eating is pleasurable, but it can also be taken to extremes. There are many such pleasures in life that, while not expressly forbidden, are sin when taken to extremes. We are to avoid the sinful desires of the flesh that war against the soul. We are to do this as a testimony to the pagans, bringing glory to God (1 Peter 2:11-12).

God has given the Christian food unto everlasting life, even the Bread which comes down from heaven, our Lord Jesus (John 6:31-35). Those who come to Him will never be hungry or thirsty, neither will they die (John 6:50). Feast on this Bread, and don’t be consumed by the things of this world.

Scriptural Examples

Esau. He was so concerned with getting some food in his mouth that he sold his birthright as the first-born son to his younger brother, Jacob. The writer to the Hebrews said of Esau that he was a godless man (Genesis 25:30-34; Hebrews 12:16).

The Israelite rabble. They complained about the manna God had so richly provided and began to crave other food they had enjoyed in Egypt. The Lord was angry with them for not trusting His provision (Numbers 11:4-32).

The Cretans. Paul tells Titus about these men and their lazy and gluttonous lifestyles. He quotes one of the Cretans’ own poets, Epimenides, to prove his point (Titus 1:12).

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, help me to live a life of self-control. Cause me to understand this life is best spent in the pursuit of spiritual things and not in the satisfaction of the lustful flesh.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 19:23

Fear God: Your Life, Satisfaction, and Security

The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

An old cigarette ad said something like “Smoke Chokers, they satisfy.” I tried them and all they brought me was a persistent cough, wheezing lungs, and the promise of an early grave. On February 11, 1970, I quit smoking. So many things in life are like that ad. They promise satisfaction but deliver the opposite.

Sin promises us excitement, fulfillment, and even security, but delivers hangovers, guilt, disease, and bankruptcy. God is not like that. He delivers what He promises: every time, all the time. He promises life, and fulfills that promise with joy and peace. He promises satisfaction and He delivers the knowledge of Himself and the release of guilt and shame that truly satisfies the soul. He promises eternal security and guarantees in His Word that He will deliver that, too (Hebrews 6:17-20).

Scriptural Examples

Noah and the pre-Flood crowd. The whole earth teemed with those who had no fear of God, who laughed at the giant ship Noah was building. Noah preached of God’s righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), all the while preparing for the flood. When the rains began, and the earth belched forth waters from beneath the ground, those who had refused to fear God were visited with trouble, while Noah and his family lived (Genesis 6–8).

The Passover keepers. The final plague on Pharaoh and his people would kill all the firstborn in Egypt. But the angel of death would “pass over” the houses of those who feared and obeyed God. Those keeping the Passover were to prepare a lamb, roasting it over the fire and putting its blood on the doorframes and lintels of their homes. The Passover foreshadowed the sacrifice of the true Lamb of God, who died for us, and by whose blood keeps us from the evil day (Exodus 11:1-12:30).

Prayer of Application

Lord, by Your mighty power You saved me. How can I not then trust You for all things? Thank You for being my life, the satisfaction of my intellect and spirit, and my portion forever.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:22

God Honors Your Willingness

What a man desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar

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Even knowing the Lord’s sovereignty, we Christians sometimes experience frustration. Some years ago, my brother Bill went to China on a summer mission. While there he received an appointment to teach English at the University in Qingdao. However, upon traveling to Hong Kong for further briefings, he was advised that the bureaucrats in Beijing had denied his appointment. He was greatly disappointed. God honored Bill’s willingness to go and serve,but had another agenda for him. He would go on to Taiwan, meet his future bride, and then enroll in seminary in Mississippi.

God is interested in your heart (Jeremiah 17:10). To be poor and yet want to give richly to God is of great value in His sight. On the other hand, to be rich, but to withhold from God as if you were poor, is to be a liar. God covets our loyalty and our kindness to others. He judges us on that basis. God wants your heart. It is your faith that pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Scriptural Examples

Abraham. God commanded the patriarch to sacrifice Isaac. Ultimately, God stopped him and provided a ram as the sacrifice. But God honored Abraham because of his willingness to follow the command. He had proved his faith by the act (Genesis 22:2-14; Hebrews 11:17-19; James 2:21-22).

David. He wanted to build the temple and God was pleased with the desire that was in his heart. Nevertheless, because of the blood that was on David’s hands, God turned this duty over to David’s son Solomon, who reigned after him (2 Chronicles 6:8-10).

The poor widow. Jesus viewed her gift to the temple treasury as greater than all the others because she showed that she was willing to give all she had (Mark 12:41-44).

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, what a comfort to know that You look upon my heart and reward me for the desire that is there, regardless of the ultimate outcome. Help me to stick my neck out.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 19:21

Be at Peace: Ultimate Victory Is Assured

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

The natural person frets over the evening news wondering where this messed-up world is headed. He hopes that his “luck” holds long enough so that he can get through it. But the Bible denies that chance or luck exist. Instead, it teaches God is using all of life’s circumstances toward the accomplishment of His purposes (Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17, for instance).

Since the Fall, people’s devices and God’s purposes have been in direct opposition. People worry this world will fall either to nuclear holocaust, pollution, over-population, global warming, AIDS, or some combination of those disasters. What they fail to understand is that if God had allowed sinners to reign over the world without His restraint, we would have destroyed ourselves by now.

We look at the wicked hearts of Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and Saddam Hussein and think they are aberrations in a world of pretty good people. In reality they represent every person (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3), because each of us is capable of such lawlessness. Only the restraint of God, foiling the devices of people and working out His own purposes, keeps us from plunging into the abyss. For those in Christ, victory is certain.

Scriptural Examples

Pharaoh. The Lord used Pharaoh’s treachery for His own holy purposes. In hardening his heart, God removed any restrictions and let it seek the lowest depths of its own radically corrupt nature (Exodus 5-14; Romans 9:17).

Sihon. This Amorite king was asked by Moses to merely allow the Israelites safe passage through his country. But God hardened Sihon’s heart, and he sent out his army to attack the Israelites. They killed both Sihon and his army, and took over all of his territory (Numbers 21:21-24; Deuteronomy 2:30).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, thank You for the Word, where we understand You are overseeing the events of this world to the pleasure of Your will, for Your glory, and for our ultimate benefit.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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