YEAR 2, WEEK 11, Day 7, Sunday, 19 March 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 19 March 2023:

Job 8:8-10 — For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?

Bildad, unlike many today, understood the foolishness of a person trusting in his/her own understanding from his/her exceedingly limited experience and perspective. He reminded Job of the generations of testimony handed down proclaiming the faithfulness of God. Of course, he wasn’t telling Job anything Job didn’t already understand. It is amazing how many in this generation have so quickly rejected the faith of their parents.
Bildad’s counsel to Job was all based on a false assumption that Job’s pain was punishment from God for sin. Bildad’s words were true but misapplied because Bildad spoke of what he could not understand. Bildad was being judgmental because He assumed to know God’s judgment of Job.

Psalm 32:1 – Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 32 begins and ends with enthusiastic testimony about the blessings of being forgiven by the Lord and cleansed of all iniquity by the Lord’s redemption. (Psalm 32:1, 2)

The psalmist begins his personal testimony by telling of his intense burden of being racked with guilt over hidden sin, which affected him spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically – “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3, 4) The first step to receiving forgiveness is having genuine remorse for having sinned against God, a good guilt, or “good grief,” which leads to repentance, rather than the destructive, self-centered guilt, self-pity, a victim mentality or martyr complex.

  • Psalm 38:4 — For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:10 — For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
  • Isaiah 66:2 — But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
  • Psalm 51:17 — The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

In his guilt, the psalmist repented and confessed His sin to the Lord — “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5) With genuine repentance and confession comes forgiveness, and with forgiveness comes freedom, peace and joy –

  • 1 John 1:9 — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • Psalm 103:12 — As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
  • Isaiah 43:25 — I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more….
  • Isaiah 1: 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

However, we must be careful not to use our freedom in forgiveness to drift back into the sins that God abhors and that destroy –

  • Galatians 5:1 — For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
  • Galatians 5:13, 14 — For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • 1 Peter 2:16 — Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Then the psalmist warns the godly to “offer prayer to [God] at a time when [He] may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.” (Psalm 32:6) The psalmist may have had the great flood of Noah’s day in mind here when he provided this imagery. We must not presume upon God’s grace, delay in repentance, and continue in sin. There comes a time when our opportunity has passed to avoid God’s discipline, punishment, and judgment.

  • Isaiah 55:6 — “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near….”

Then the psalmist describes two types of people, those who are guided by the spirit and those who are led by the flesh, those who listen to God and those who listen to their own instincts and desires. The psalmist describes those who ignore their conscience (see Romans 1) as animals and warns – “Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle…. Many are the sorrows of the wicked….” (Psalm 32:9, 10) Too often we ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which leaves us responding to the consequences of our own bad decisions, like a mule which must be guided by force. How much better is it to listen to the Holy Spirit’s rebuke and to repent than to receive a hundred blows? “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10) Wisdom is being guided by the Holy Spirit and having the internal discipline to obey without requiring external discipline to keep you on track. The key is humility as opposed to pride –

  • Psalm 49:20 — Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish.
  • Proverbs 11:2 — When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
  • Proverbs 29:23 — One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
  • Matthew 5:3-10 — “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Isaiah 2:17 — And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

The psalmist concludes, “Steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:10, 11) Don’t let anything stand in the way of you experiencing the abundance of joy that comes from receiving God’s forgiveness and walking obediently in His grace.

Proverbs 19:2 – Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Think before you act.

Proverbs 19:3 – When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

You can’t blame God for your foolish actions and their results.

Proverbs 19:4, 7 – Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend…. All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him!

Proverbs 19:11 — Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

When offended, are you glorious or inglorious, sensible or senseless?

Proverbs 19:14 – House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

God gave you the person you married for a reason.

Proverbs 19:18 – Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

External discipline is a wall of protection for those who lack internal discipline, giving them a hope for the future. If you love someone who lacks internal discipline, you must protect them with rebukes.

Proverbs 19:20 – Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

A wise person is humble enough to accept rebukes and discipline and the protection that comes with them.

Proverbs 19:21 — Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Such an important verse! Isaiah 55:8, 9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The key to life success and fulfillment is to align our thoughts and ways with God’s thoughts and ways, but contrary to popular secular humanist teachings which have crept into even much modern theology, we cannot do this on intellect alone. A better education won’t do it. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14) The key is to truly “know” Jesus, which was His final recorded prayer for us recorded in John 17 – “’For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) This is your goal in life. Know Jesus and make Him known.

Proverbs 19:16-17, 22 – Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed…. What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.

Your relationship with and obedience to God determine your life fulfilment and success.

Money can buy friends, just not real ones.

Proverbs 19:24 – The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.

Knowledge without action is worthless. True theology is not conceptual but rather applied. There may be much about the Bible you don’t understand, but if you apply what you do understand, you will have a tremendous impact on the world for God’s glory. Start with unconditional forgiving and giving and see what happens.

Proverbs 19:25 – Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.

The wise don’t need pain to learn obedience. Animals are trained with beatings and treats, but godly people accept the gentle instruction of the spirit.

Proverbs 19:27 – Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Never will you lack the requirement for daily Bible study, prayer, and Christian fellowship.

Proverbs 19:29 – Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and beating for the backs of fools.

If you are taking a beating, you may be getting persecuted, or you may be a fool. Many fools claim persecution when they are really receiving prosecution.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 March 2023: Listen humbly to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, confess your sins today, without delay, turn away from evil, and rejoice in your freedom in Christ.

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