Some If Thens from Proverbs 2

The wise teacher of the book of Proverbs shows us some conditional statements that if we would heed them our lives (and deaths) would be easier and filled with blessings. Note these in Chapter 2.

If you receive my words and treasure my commands, making your ear attentive to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding… (Vs. 1, 2)

If you call out for insight, raise your heart for understanding…(Vs. 3)

If you seek wisdom like silver and search for it like hidden treasures, then…(Vs. 4)

Then you will understand the fear of the Lord (5), Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path (7, 9), You will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress (16).

The proper conclusion to these “if then” statements are found in “you will walk in the way of the good and keep the paths of righteousness” (20). You will inhabit the land, and remain in it (21).

Wouldn’t we be richly blessed if we would seek the knowledge of God’s ways and follow them.

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Turn Back To God

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

These words were written and spoken to God’s people in the Old Testament. However, it is a principle that is still true today. Jesus put it a little differently in the New Testament.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

Still another reminder of the same principle is found in James

“Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:9–10).

Our Lord will receive us and heal the wound of sin in our lives if we will humble ourselves under His mighty power (1 Peter 5:6). There has never been a time in my life when there was a greater need for our country to return to God like today. So much of our past was tied to serving God. But today we are filled with rebellion even hatred toward God’s sovereignty. We have like sheep gone astray and need the guidance of the good shepherd. Jesus preached the call for repentance and change of action (Luke 13:3). Unless we do turn back to God we will perish.

There is yet another principle that is important. To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48). The USA has been a favored nation by God. He gave us so many blessings that we cannot count them. With these blessings comes the responsibility to live humbly before our God.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Turning our country back to God begins with turning my heart toward God and humbly obeying His will. I must also guide my family, my church, my schoolmates, neighborhood etc. in the way of God.

Dear Father,
Please rule in my heart. Help me to walk in your ways. Guide me and lead me in paths of righteousness. Help me to influence those in my life to do the same. Father forgive me and our country for running counter to how You have told us to live.

Be Ready and Turn to God!

Getting serious about overcoming sin is a full time job needing whole hearted effort. Jesus told us to turn away from the world and follow Him. Repentance means to turn. One must change his mind and heart while he changes the direction of his affection. We can no longer love the world nor the things of the world.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).

There are some sins that are going to be much harder to stop than others. It may take much prayer, fasting, help from other Christians and Bible study to overcome them. Our Lord does expect us to grow and to become stronger eventually. There is nothing that breeds success more than success. The more often I put the devil to flight the more often I will grow stronger.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

This is a precious promise. There is relief from temptation when we lean on God and resist the devil. We can have a season of refreshing and celebrate victory in Jesus. However, never can we ignore the fact the will not give up he will come back and he will attack us at our weakest place. We need to take time every day to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-13). Be instant in season and out of season means to be ready every moment to defend our souls against the wicked one.

Thank God for Listening

Having a God that listens to my prayers is wonderful. Why should He love me so much? I don’t know why I just know that He promises to hear us (1Jn 5:14). But did you know we can live in such a way that God will stop listening to us?

The writer of Proverbs warns us clearly…

“Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but will not find me. 29  Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, 30 would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, 31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. (Proverbs 1:28–31).

A tragedy that can well be avoided if we will seek God “If we look for God wholeheartedly, you will find me” (Jer 29:13). Jesus promised if we ask, seek and knock we will find, the door will open, and God will hear (Mt 7:7).

What an amazing God we have. He wants to fellowship us (1Jn 1:7-9). He wants us to draw near Him so He can draw near to us (Ja 4:8). I plan on seeking the Lord while He may be found and calling on Him while He is near (Is 55:6).

Great Mothers In the Bible

The Bible contains many references to women, some of which show the nature of good motherhood. Consider:

Jochobed who so cared for Moses, that she broke the law to keep him safe and teach him the faith of God (Exodus 2:1-3,9).

The mother who appeared before King Solomon who loved her child so much she was willing to give him up forever, rather than see any harm come to him (1 Kings 3:16-27).

Hannah who gave her son back to God to serve.

The mother of James and John who loved her boys so much that she wanted them to be seated at the right and left of the Lord’s side and not herself (Matthew 20:21).

These pictures of mothers in the Bible may not be perfect, but it is a practical picture because we learn valuable lessons from their examples.

There truly isn’t a sweeter gift than that of a good mom. Children should count themselves very fortunate when they have a mother that loves them, cares for them, teaches them, and guides the to a belief in God and the Bible.

There Is None Like You!

Jeremiah is one of my favorite prophets from the Old Testament. He has a heart that bleeds for his people and is fiercely loyal to God. The way he words various forms of praise rival even the great psalmist David. Listen to these beautiful words.

“There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might. 7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. (Jeremiah 10:6, 7)

He sees God’s greatness and captures just exactly what every person ought to feel in His presence. Sadly, God’s people were more loyal to the false gods than the one True God. He points men to the “One true God; He is the living God and everlasting King, At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. ” (Vs. 10). Jeremiah shows how “foolish and stupid the idols made of wood truly are.

Do we sometimes worship more the things made by man than the God who made us? If we do, we will be sorely disappointed at the judgment where we will give an account to God (2Co 5:10).

God Regards the Prayers of the Destitute

“For the LORD builds up Zion; he appears in his glory; he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (Psalm 102:16-17).

God’s people find blessings in the Lord God. One of the greatest being a God who listens to our prayers (James 1:5; 1 John 5:14; John 9:31; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 5:15; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Psalm 66:17-20). Not only does He listen, but He acts in our favor. Isn’t it odd that with such a privilege that men don’t pray more? Many only pray as a last resort or pray without trust that God will hear and answer.

Jesus was clear that what we ask in His name we shall receive (John 16:24). Let us be careful to pray within the guidelines for proper prayer.

Prayer should always rehearse the awesome God with His great qualities lauded and extolled. We are approaching deity, and we are after all less than He in all ways.

Prayers should be ardently filled with supplication and humility. I’m reminded of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), she made her requests with fervor and tenacity and determination, knowing that her many pleadings would be heard. Jesus demonstrated this persistence in the Garden (Matthew 26:39-45) and in His prayers for the unity of His disciples (John 17).

Prayers should not be selfish. In Jesus example prayer He asked for the blessings of food for the day not only for Himself but for others as well (Matthew 6:11). We are to pray for all people (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We should pray for those in need both physically and spiritually (Galatians 6:1ff; 10).

Prayers should include what God desires. Let us pray for the works of the church. Remember to include those who are lost and we need to evangelize them. We should pray for the widow and orphan knowing that it is God’s will that we tend to their needs (James 1:27).

Prayers should include a call for help to become more like God (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:25-27). After all, we are praying to the one who can strengthen us and make us new (Matthew 5:8; 1 Peter 1:22).

God wants to bless us. He longs to hear our prayers. We ought to hone our prayer skills to become real prayer masters.

Blessed Is The One Who Finds Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13–14 (ESV)
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.

Learning truth and applying it makes one wise. There is great value in spending our time on earth wisely. Applying our hearts to wisdom is better than earning money, collecting diamonds, silver, or gold. Blessings of greater value are in store when we learn the truth from God’s word.

When we fail to gather wisdom and then live by it we bring unnecessary hurt upon ourselves. A wise person walks in security, and does not stumble in foolishness. God created us to think and reason. We are to “prove all things and hold fast to the good” (1Th 5:21). We are to “not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ep 5:17). It is time now to “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ep 5:15).

Being righteous is synonymous with being wise, while foolish people are akin to sinners. The wise find true life (Pr 3:22) for their souls. They have no fear in death. The wise have sweet sleep and no fear of sudden terror. Whereas the fool comes to ruin. The difference is “inclining your heart to understanding” (Pr 2:2) equips you with the knowledge of God (2:5). God grants wisdom to those who seek diligently for it (Ja 1:5). How many of us are seeking to know God’s word to build our store of wisdom and not falter in sin and foolishness? Knowing God and following His ways are prime purposes in this life.

I’d Rather Have Jesus

Rhea F. Miller and George B. Shea wrote this beautiful song together.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I’d rather be His than have riches untold
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world wide fame
I’d rather be true to His holy name

Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today

There is no one that I can think of who wanted to have Jesus than the apostle Paul.

Philippians 3:8–10 (ESV)
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”

“Earth holds no treasure but perish with using however precious they be” (Tellit Teddlie). Your wealth will fail you, but Jesus never will. So many have traded their heavenly home with the Lord for the trinkets and trash that soon will pass. The rich man never considered the value of his soul and only thought of how much he had. He died leaving all his riches behind. Our Lord taught us not to “lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal” (Mt 6:19).

It is paramount to seek only the Lord because we cannot pursue both wealth and God (Mt 6:24). Being rich on earth and bankrupt in heaven is a sad condition.

Jesus can give us much more than what wealth has to offer. He gives joy, happiness, love, hope, peace and true contentment.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27)

Peace comes because of the salvation He purchased for every person who will accept it. (Jn 10:15). What a valuable asset to have the saving blood of Jesus to wash away our sins (1Jn 1:7-9; Jn 8:31-32).

Would you rather have Jesus? What will you truly own if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?

Forget Not All His Benefits

Psalm 103:1–5 (ESV)
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

This is one of my favorite passages in the Psalms. It reminds me of just how blessed I am by the God of heaven. Think of the word “benefits.” It means to receive good, rewards, to receive advantages and blessings. Just this morning God woke me up with birds singing and the moon still shining, soon a beautiful sunrise filled the sky. I didn’t deserve such a show but God sent it for us to enjoy.

Even greater is the blessing we receive in redemption. Again, I didn’t deserve it (Ro 5:8; Ep 2:8). He set the plan for salvation before the foundation of the world even before any of us were created (Ep 1:4).

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Being crowned with God’s mercy is a high privilege and honor. I don’t know why God loved me so. But, I am so glad He does. I believe that God hedges us about with His care and love. We should stop and think long and hard about how blessed we are to be His children.