Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 26 June 2022:
Deuteronomy 22:1-4 – “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother.”
God expects you to go out of your way to help another person when you see a need, at your own expense, expecting nothing in return. You cannot ignore the needs of others and still claim loyalty to Jesus.
Deuteronomy 22:5 – “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
God expects people to maintain identity markers for male and female and prohibits transvestitism. To be clear, it is an “abomination to the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 22:6 – If you come across a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young.
God wants you to protect production capacity while consuming – show enough restraint to avoid killing geese that lay golden eggs. In verses such as this one, God is commanding a specific action while also teaching a general principle by which to live.
Deuteronomy 22:8 – When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.
God expects you to go out of your way and use your own resources to ensure that others are not hurt by what you do.
Deuteronomy 22:9 – You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole yield be forfeited, the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard.
God wanted to instill habits of holiness in all that His people did. He also wants you to be organized in order to maximize your efforts and the potential value of your resources.
Deuteronomy 22:14 – …and accuses her of misconduct and brings a bad name upon her, saying, ‘I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her evidence of virginity,’
God knows the human tendency to blame and condemn others in order to avoid social responsibility.
Deuteronomy 22:16 – “And the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to marry, and he hates her.’”
Parents have a responsibility to protect the purity of their children. The behavior of children affects the honor of the parents.
Deuteronomy 22:18 – “Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him.”
God’s way is to publicly humiliate those who would publicly humiliate others. A major theme throughout the Bible is that God will generally treat you the way you treat others, though His grace far exceeds anything we could imagine or perfectly emulate.
Deuteronomy 22:21 – …then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
God takes fornication far more seriously than society. As Christ’s Ambassador, how do you address fornication? Why did John the Baptist lose his head? Are you willing to speak offensive truth and proclaim the need for repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation?
Psalm 73:25-28 — Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…. For me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
What is your goal in life? How do you measure your success, and where do you want to be when it is all said and done?
Today Asaph says, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” We are in danger of stumbling too if we begin measuring success the way the world does, if earthly accomplishments and prosperity become our markers. Likewise, we risk maligning God if we start judging His love, justice, mercy, and grace from our earthly perspectives of our afflictions – “How could God let this happen?” If our life goals are prosperity-based, and if we see God as a means to our ends, we will find ourselves trapped in the spirit of the disgruntled psalmist, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.” (Psalm 73:13) The key to life is to make your life goal the same as God’s goal for your life, and His goal for your life is Him:
- John 17:3, 15-19, 21-23 — And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth…. that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Success is unity with Him, knowing Him more and more every day, and making Him known more and more each day, and God will use seemingly ‘good’ and ‘bad’ circumstances to accomplish that goal in your life – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28, 29) As the latter verse states, not all things (people and circumstances) are good, but God works all things together for His good and perfect purpose, which is not just to give you a comfortable life until you die, but rather to conform you to the image of His Son, so that you would like Jesus. Our goal through good times and bad should be to rejoice knowing that God is Sovereign and is using every circumstance to grow us up in Christ, and our measure of success through it all should be that we are closer to Jesus than we have ever been before.
If Moses’ success depended on his life-long endeavor of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, his whole life would have been viewed a complete failure since Moses was not permitted to cross the Jordan River due to his sin at Meribah (Numbers 20); but God’s goal for Moses was something much greater than achieving a temporal goal – it was Himself. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) In fact, Moses did make it to the Promised Land, but in a far more glorious way than he could have ever imagined – “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.” (Matthew 17:1-3)
How much different would your life be if sought the Lord as one searches for a great treasure?
- Matthew 6:21 — For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Matthew 13:44 — “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
- Hebrews 11:24-26 — By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
- Ephesians 3:8 — To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
With the goal of increasingly knowing Him and making Him known each day, endeavor for your last day on earth to be your best day on earth.
Proverbs 26:4, 8 – “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself…. Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool.”
There is a danger of becoming like who you challenge. How we respond to sinners often reveals the sin within our own hearts.
Proverbs 26:6-9 — “Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”
You are Christ’s messenger – don’t be foolish as mentioned above. You must be very careful that your words and deeds don’t become a distraction for others from Jesus. On the contrary, let your speech and behavior be a testimony to the power of God in the life of an ordinary person. The Bible can be used improperly if not used in the Spirit. Bible knowledge is not Bible wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is hurtful. Often God’s word is misused in ungracious and inappropriate ways by people with self-centered, self-serving, self-righteous motives. We are commanded to speak the truth – in love. When truth and love go together, this is true love.
Proverbs 26:8, 10 – “Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool…. Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard. Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”
Do not partner with fools because their ways are only hurtful, unpredictable, and unreliable.
Proverbs 26:11 — “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”
Repeating the sin you have been forgiven for through the blood of Jesus is just disgusting. Do you see it that way?
Proverbs 26:12 – “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
Perhaps the most defining trait of the fool is his inability to be humbly self-aware, introspective, and teachable. The Bible reveals the holiness of God, the reality of the human condition, and to Way to bridge the great divide between God and Man, which is Jesus. Only the power of the Holy Spirit, received through faith in Jesus can enable you to see what is impossible to see through mere intellect. Spiritual growth requires spiritual humility. Don’t be prideful in your spirit.
Again, wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. If you think you are wise, your pridefulness may be blinding your own foolishness. Wisdom can only come from God, and God says His thoughts are infinitely removed from yours. Wisdom only comes through revelation, not through human reason. Revelation only comes through the Holy Spirit working through much prayer and God’s word. Do you want to know what you should do? You must pray, pour into God’s word, walk in obedience, and listen for that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 26:13-15 – “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’ As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.”
People come up with all sorts of excuses for why they ‘can’t’ do what they should do. Laziness and complacency are parts of human nature that must be overcome by the Spirit. Christians are hardworking, don’t take shortcuts, and don’t miss an opportunity to do good while they have a chance.
Proverbs 26:16 – “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.”
Laziness is a spiritual issue and unacceptable for God’s servants. Spiritually blinded, the lazy usually don’t think they are lazy. Lazy people always seem to have a way of justifying their laziness. The Bible calls this foolishness.
Proverbs 26:17-23 – “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!’ For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart.”
God calls us to bring peace into situations, not to add to discourse. We should never get involved in quarreling or gossip.
Proverbs 26:27 — “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.”
Don’t get wrapped up in competition with other people, trying to undermine them. When you fight other people, you get hurt too. As the old saying says, “Don’t wrestle with a pig in the mud because you both get dirty and the pig likes it.
Proverbs 26:28 – “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
Both lying and flattery are signs of an ungodly heart, both motivated by selfishness. Flattery is telling people what they want to hear for personal gain (or simply to avoid the pain of telling someone the truth). Flattery selfishly tells people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Flattery comes with a hidden agenda. It is deceptive and destructive. Lying and flattery are extremely destructive and unloving, a disregard for the Greatest Commandment of love given to us by the Almighty. True love speaks the truth in love.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 June 22: Today, focus on knowing God more fully and making Him know as your life’s goals, and do everything else in a way that supports your ultimate goal – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)