Sin Jenga

Proverbs 28

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Proverbs 27 was like an onion, or a parfait because everyone likes parfaits. Proverb 28 however is more like a banana. It is more straightforward in its message. It could rightly be summed up as the destiny of good and evil. It is a series of contrasts between those who do what is right and those who do not.

The author calls out those who are well acquainted with poverty and suffering and yet, given the chance, oppress others suffering in the same ways. This sin is greater than those who have never known hunger and are oppressive. For a poor man to be placed in authority who becomes oppressive utterly destroys the hope of the poor. This is like a game of sin Jenga, stacking one sin upon another and hoping that it does not fall down.

In many facets of life we see sinful people praising sinful ways. They promote sin as something to be desired. Truthfully they have great advertising though. Sin is often that which is most physically pleasurable and is easily obtainable. It often helps people to temporarily forget their troubles and sorrows. Temporary is the key to all of this though. Each way that man chooses to sin is fleeting and temporary. The pleasure ends and emptiness is left. The good times come to a close and the pain returns with a vengeance. They believe that the easy way through life is to not care or get involved. But that ultimately leads to a life of loneliness and sinful ways that leave us numb to the good and the bad.

Another point from this passage is that evil men do not understand, or do not want to understand, the judgement of God. Knowing God makes us accountable to someone other than ourselves. It is painful enough for some to deal with their own conscience. It is as inescapable as our shadow after all. Then you add on the thought of God knowing everything that we do. For some people that is just too much. They can numb themselves of their guilt through drugs, alcohol, and other activities but they can never numb themselves from God’s presence. This is why, for some, it is preferable to give in completely to sin and run from God. It is better for the moment but God’s word tells us that it is better to be with Him. All will eventually stand before Him to be judged. At that time they will realize the futility of their efforts to numb themselves in sin’s embrace.

I mentioned earlier that our conscience is unescapable. It is the conscience of the guilty that cages them with bars of fear. A fear that haunts them night and day. They live in fear of being discovered in their sin. Those who are truly bold in their sin are in fear of being proven wrong in their assertions. They make excuses for actions which no one has challenged or questioned. The righteous however are freed from such fears. They can be bold, not because they are without sin, but because they admit their sins and make attempts to remove them from their lives.

I have often been frustrated at people who I know from experience are horrible ungodly people yet they prosper far more than I do. You know who I am talking about. They are the ones that seem to have it all and everything always goes their way. Yet they are the most vile, slimy, loathsome examples of humanity. As my faith and understanding of God’s ways increased, I began to understand that they think that they are successful. Others see them as being successful as well, even I did for a time. But what they are building has no foundation. Everything that they gather around them is perishable. They might as well be gathering bread which will rot and mold. Ultimately, they will be clinging to nothing more than fuzzy green clumps of rotted material. That is what they place their hope in. The righteous however place their hope in God. The one who is eternal, imperishable. I like that image a whole lot more than the image of what the wicked will be holding onto.

To be continued…

 

Jeff Ransom

Enduring Faithfulness

Job 27-30

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Tuesday, December 20

Yesterday, we tackled Bildad’s question to Job about the righteousness of man before a Holy God.   With a new frame of mind, we can answer and confidently place these words of Job in our heart:

“I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;  my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” – Job 27:6

Our conscience, our friends, and our family are not our judge, only the Lord God Almighty.  If he has made us new through repentance, then that we are indeed.  Do we continue in sin? NO! (Rom 6:1).  Do we walk around saying, “You are not my judge!” NO! (Heb 10:24) We become part of the church, pray, study, do good works, give cheerfully, share His good news, not to earn merit badges for the Kingdom of God but as loving and faithful acts of a pardoned people.  No matter our past or present circumstance we must not conceal what God is/can do in us.  Today, you can move forward declare and renew your innocence through Him.

“I will teach you about the power of God;   the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal” – Job 27:11

Along the same vein, another reflection for today comes from the second half of today’s reading (Job 29 – 30).  Job essentially is contemplating the “good ole days”, before his fortunes turned south.  The power, the respect, the friends, and the wealth he once enjoyed all are gone.  While our fall might not equal Job’s, far too often when things take a turn for the worse, we quickly forget about the faithfulness of God.  We become as the children of Israel, longing to return to slavery so our belly can be momentarily filled. (Ex 14:20) We cry out, “God, why have you taken this from me?” yet we forget who gave it to us in the first place.

Your present life may not include the finite features of your past.  Death, debt, despair, and destruction may have become more commonplace; however, there is one infinite feature that is constant: the love and faithfulness of an unchanging God.  Look upon the past not to remind you of the “good ole days,” but of his enduring faithfulness; use the lamp unto your feet to know that your future is secure, no matter what life’s storms may bring.

-Aaron Winner

God’s Home – My Heart (I Chronicles 17-20)

Sunday, November 20

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I am just going to be honest here. This is the fourth devotion I have written after reading through 1 Chronicles Chapters 17-20. David always intrigued me after hearing that he was a man after God’s own heart and there is so much in these chapters to learn.

Chapter 17 opens with the acknowledgement that David is no longer living in caves or sheep pens, yet is unable to be content because God is living in a tent. David wants to build God a home! Nathan, the prophet, gives the ok. God quickly sends Nathan back to tell David, “no thanks”; explaining He was content walking with his people tent to tent. In chap. 17:10 God says, “I tell you that Yahweh will build you a house” and proceeds to explain how salvation will come through David’s family and an eternal home established. That had to be David’s ultimate WOW moment. And he had plenty to choose from.

David had the opportunity to receive Gods blessing with humility or pride. He chose humility and poured out his heart before God in thankful praise. It is a beautiful moment captured in scripture of a true servant’s heart, broken in worship before his God.

After hearing God’s promise of a Messianic Kingdom, David was emboldened to conquer his own kingdom and began attacking and driving out all enemies from the Promised Land.  18:14 says that Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went. The verse goes on to say that David “reigned over all Israel; and executed justice and righteousness to all his people.”

David was doing what he knew to do externally to display God’s power, but battles with perceived enemies do not conquer the inner enemies of the soul and do nothing to build a home for God in our heart.

Chapter 19 offers plenty of wisdom regarding the importance of choosing good friends and advisors; along with a good lesson why you should not expect the worse from perceived enemies when they come offering peace. David faces some undeserved bad treatment, no doubt, and seems to change his focus. He sets aside his covenant to honor God with his life and tries to mask over bad decisions through ill treatment of others. He began trusting in chariots and horses and leaving the fighting to others while he stayed home and lusted after another man’s wife.

In Chapter 20, when David received the spoils of war that others fought on his behalf he brutally destroys the people because they were related to the giants he fought in his youth.

So, what does all this mean for our lives? God isn’t needy. God is a provider. He loves to walk with us and will live with us in any situation. The home he desires is an inward one in our hearts.  When we try to cover up sin in our lives and believe we are able to hide our heart from God, our guilty conscience can be found on full display in our poor treatment of others.

If we are to win our personal battles and take ground for the kingdom of God within our own hearts, we have to stay committed and focused and willing to walk daily in God’s mercy and maintain a humble attitude for every victory that unfolds.

Glennis Walters