Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 14 August 2022:
Judges 13:1 — The LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
Notice God’s discipline of the nation lasted for decades.
Judges 13:4 — Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.
God expects parents to prepare themselves to raise godly children and then guide them in godliness at the earliest of age.
Judges 13:8 — Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: ‘O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.
Oh, what a different world it would be if more parents sought the Lord’s guidance and direction in raising their children as did Manoah. The Bible says that a primary purpose of marriage is to raise up godly children (Malachi 2:15). Parents are accountable before God for how they raise their children. Proverbs tell parents, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6),” and the key to parenting is to teach children “so that [their] trust may be in the Lord (Proverbs 22:19).” Parents have no greater responsibility in life.
Psalm 92:1, 2 – It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night….
Praising the LORD from the beginning of the day until the end is good for you. Make this your habit. Sometimes you might not feel you have a heart of praise. Praise anyway and see how your heart changes.
- Psalm 92:5-7 – How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever.
Only a fool rejects God and His wisdom, trusting in their incredibly limited and perishable knowledge. Why not go to the Creator of the Universe to guide you through your life?
Psalm 92:6 – The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this….
If you cannot find reason to praise the LORD all day, understand that it is because there is a problem with your senses. You need to adjust your focus, get tuned in with God. You cannot see what is obvious because of a heart problem.
Psalm 93 — God is all powerful, omnipresent, omniscient, unchanging, and perfect. He loves you perfectly and provides what is perfect. We can trust God completely though we cannot possibly understand what He is doing.
Psalm 93:1 – The Lord reigns.
How much you really believe this will determine how you respond to any situation, whether you will trust and obey Him or instead sin.
Psalm 94:7, 8 – …and they say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.’ Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise?
Sinners have lost perception of the holy, omnipresent God and of His Sovereignty as LORD. They are the “dullest of the people.”
Palm 94:11, 12 — The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile. Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law.
Throughout the Bible, God points out that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Isaiah 55:8) So, Proverbs counsels: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil….. Do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:5-12) How important is Bible study in our daily walk with the Lord? Here are just a few thoughts from Psalm 119: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Read all of Psalm 119 to understand more. I give thanks that God has given us so many resources and tools with which to study His Word, I pray that more and more Christians would return to God’s Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
Psalm 94:12, 13 – Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.
God’s discipline is painful but is intended to be a blessing to teach you how to live in the future while growing closer to God each day. Those who don’t despise God’s blessings and who are willing to learn will be blessed. Those who defy God’s discipline and insist on repeating their folly will be cursed.
Psalm 94:19 – When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
In times of trouble, fear, pain, or sorrow, it is God’s comfort and support that you need.
Psalm 94:20 – Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?
If a person, an organization, or a nation defies God’s commands, they are defying God Himself. If a nation makes laws promoting what God condemns, the nation has become an adversary of God.
Psalm 94:23 – He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out.
God is patient and gracious, but He will deal with all unrighteousness. Condemnation comes to those who reject His Son, Jesus.
Proverbs 14:1 – The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
It is much easier to tear something down than to build it. It is harder to save up money than it is to spend it. It takes a longtime of consistent performance of behavior to build a good reputation, but it doesn’t take much bad behavior to lose it. Trust is hard to gain but easily lost. Things that matter most in your life require daily diligence and perseverance. What you did yesterday won’t make up for what you don’t do today. Each day, above all else, guard your heart.
Proverbs 14:2 – Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
Our actions reveal how we really feel about God in our hearts. When we sin, we prefer something more than God. Though we find ways to justify our sin and make light of it, the Bible calls it spiritual adultery and idolatry. We will make excuses for our sin by blaming something other than ourselves – circumstances, chemistry, upbringing, external instigators, etc. However, how we respond to our circumstances is our choice, and that choice reveals what is truly in our hearts. For example, rude, disrespectful people don’t make you angry, they reveal the anger that is already in your heart. So, the question is “Why is there anger in your heart?” As it has been said, “The heart of man’s problem is the problem with man’s heart.” Consider Amaziah’s story in 2 Chronicles 25. The Bible says, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart (2 Chronicles 25:2).” Amaziah was a “church-goer” who followed the rules but not out of genuine love for the Lord. He believed in God, and knew that God’s rules “worked,” to generally bring prosperity to a person’s life, but in his heart, his king and lord was himself. Rather than “seek[ing] first the Kingdom of God,” he desired to build his own kingdom on earth. The truth of his heart was eventually revealed, not in crisis, but rather in success. He became proud and began to worship idols (merely a tangible representation of his adulterous heart). Eventually, his heart had become so hard, he refused to listen any longer to God’s word (“I don’t have time to read the Bible”), and he was destroyed. “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways (Proverbs 14:14).”
Proverbs 14:4, 23 — “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox… In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”
To accomplish our purpose, we are going to have to get dirty, get out of our comfort zones, takes risks, and work very hard, consistently for a long time, not requiring instant payoffs to stay motivated. To be successful, we have to be willing to do what the unsuccessful are not willing to do. We are going to have to be willing to sacrifice pleasure for purpose, for a time. This requires perseverance, a critical character trait for Christians. As Psalms say today, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24)
However, it takes more than just hard work. Enduring success requires more than just the ability to work hard to produce. It requires building production capacity. You can only do so much by yourself. You need to invest in an ox (production capacity) to continue to grow and to do the work you can’t do by yourself. Are you just getting by day-to-day or have you found your ‘ox’ to grow beyond your own capabilities?
Proverbs 14:5, 25 — “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies…. A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.”
Lying is cosmic treason for an Ambassador of Christ. There are obvious lies and less obvious lies. When you point people to a “truth” other than Jesus, such as modern ethics, morals, or common sense, you are lying far worse than when you misrepresent yourself or a situation. A truthful witness proclaims Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Proclaiming any other ‘truth’ is to be a false witness and a liar.
Proverbs 14:7 – Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
Don’t waste your time seeking wisdom from those who do not know the Source of Wisdom, Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 14:10 – The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
You don’t really know what is going on in the lives of others. Be patient with them and serve as a constant source of healing by always pointing to Jesus.
Proverbs 14:12 — There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Follow the instruction of God’s word through the Holy Spirit rather than your own intellect.
Proverbs 14:14 – The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
Contrary to the beliefs of many in various “Grace” movements, believers do experiences consequences and discipline for disobedience. God gives salvation through grace and disciplines us for our sanctification.
Proverbs 14:26 — In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
If we are walking with the Lord, we can walk confidently into the battles and through the storms of life. One thing to notice in the Bible is that God rarely keeps His people from the battles and storms but rather guides and protects them through the battles and storms, revealing Himself to His people and the watching world in the process. God didn’t keep Noah from the flood but through it. Paul had to endure terrible persecution, storms and catastrophe on the high seas, imprisonment, and eventually martyrdom. Yet, in all these cases, God worked miraculously to bring glory to Himself through His servants. Through hard times suffered by many faithful servants in the Bible, God was glorified before a watching world, and the faith of God’s people was only strengthened for greater challenges ahead. In his prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one (John 17:15).” It is in the battle and storms of life that we bring glory to God when the watching world sees the power of God working through our lives making all the difference.
Proverbs 14:29 – Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Those slow to anger truly understand the forgiveness that they have received through Jesus and the truth of the Gospel. Understanding the Truth changes how you respond to others as love compels you to forgive.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 Aug 22: Today, pray and meditate upon the Sovereignty and Holiness of God and the implications to your daily living. Meditate upon what it means to serve the KING on this earth. Consider what the Bible means by, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) Visualize trusting God and obeying Him regardless personal cost. (Job 13; Psalm 92, 93) Also, pray for the nation, that there would be a reawakening of God’s people, a corporate repentance, and a Spirit-filled revival across God’s people that would influence the government to honor God in its legislation. (Psalm 94:20)