Proverbs 16:6 Atonement.

Proverbs 16:6 Atonement.

Atonement for one’s iniquity is required of us all, but none of us can provide this for ourselves – it has to be provided by the LORD (Cf. Ex. 30:10; Lev. 16:30; 17:11; 23:28). Atonement establishes the covenant with his people (Ez. 16:63). Truth and mercy both are needed. The truth is we are sinners. However, without mercy this leaves us hopeless. This is the proper fear one needs to have for the LORD. Only when we receive the atonement he provides can we then depart from iniquity. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil” (Pr. 8:13a Cf. 14:16).

Proverbs 16:4 The Predestination Of The Wicked.

Proverbs 16:4 The Predestination Of The Wicked.

Predestination is a doctrine which has been the centre of attention and trouble for centuries. Indeed, the trouble goes back to the first entrance of evil in Genesis. This question of evil continues to vex many, simply because its very existence raises problems. However, we must ask ourselves why this is so. Since the prevailing worldview of secular humanism, which is either athieistic or agnostic at best cannot, or rather chooses not to acknowledge the knowledge we all have of God, they can really have no objection to evil based upon their own presuppositions, nor even conceive of categories such as truth and error, or evil and good. The very problem itself presupposes a God who created everything and is all-powerful, and who could, if he so wished it, simply not have allowed the entrance of evil or its existence. However, only if they also presuppose that this God is also good, would they then even be able to conceive of God perhaps not wanting to prevent it, and then not so good after all.

From the biblical perspective, the fact remains, that among other things, God “the LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom” (Pr. 16:4 Gen. 1-2). All human beings are created with one ultimate purpose – to glorify their creator (Cf. Is. 43:7; Rom. 11:36). However, not all will enjoy him, as the Westminster catechisms put it. Some will glorify him by being objects of his wrath. It is as if the wise man knew that the number one question which humanity asks, when asked to acknowledge the true creator God of the bible is, how can this good God, who declared all that he had made was good and very good, being thus the very standard of good himself and no other, also create “the wicked for the day of doom.” However, in this verse he provides the answer. Nowhere in the Genesis account do we find that God created evil. He did declare that he alone knew what was right and what was wrong, the truth of which we, in and through our first parents failed to acknowledge (Gen. 3).

In fact, our God cannot sin, nor is he the author of it, including for anything which he has made (Cf. I Jn. 1:5). “For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Js. 1-13-14). Two groups of words are significant here-God as not the author of sin (“He Himself”), and man, who is at fault for evil, “by his own desires is enticed.” There are two authors, and two only of evil in the world, man by his own evil desires, and the evil one, that serpent from the garden, who continues to entice many to lead them astray with their own evil desires. We know from the example of Job that “the wicked are reserved for the day of doom” (21:29). However, we also know that Satan was the author of the evil that occurred with respect to Job. Paul in fact stated that God makes his wrath and power known in the death of the wicked (Rom. 9:22).

Proverbs 16:2-3; 21:1-2 Integrity.

Proverbs 16:2-3; 21:1-2 Integrity.

Sinners always think, in their heart of hearts, that their ways are pure, because the standard used is that of one’s own eyes, one’s own perspective (v. 2a; 21:2a). Appearances, even to one’s own self, are often different than what is actually in one’s core, the heart or spirit (v. 2b; 21:2b). It is hearts and spirits which the LORD weighs, and they are too often found wanting. Integrity is when what we think in our core, our hearts and spirits, is in harmony with what we see in our words and works. This is the thought we find at 16:3. If our works match thoughts in harmony with the LORD’s, then we will have integrity, and our works will be established (Cf. 3:6; Ps. 37:5). As the wise man stated at 21:1, the heart is not beyond the LORD’s sovereign direction and control. However, this does not absolve anyone of their sin, because he will render judgment based on what he knows is in men’s hearts, and the deeds which express these thoughts (24:12).

Proverbs

Proverbs 16:1 Knowledge, Speech, And God’s Sovereignty.

Biblical epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, presupposes human thought within the sovereign will of God. Human beings do not cooperate with God in this exercise, rather, divine sovereignty establishes human freedom. God’s sovereign will is beyond human knowing, but He has given us the capacity to reason with the revelation He has given. When we plan and make decisions, it should always be with the caveat – “if the Lord wills.” “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jer. 10:23) It is also the LORD who will give us the words to say when called upon to speak (Cf. Mt. 10:19).

Proverbs

Proverbs 14:27, 30 A Sound Heart.

Perhaps it demonstrates how far we are from the biblical conception of wisdom that the couplets of contrast in this book strikes some of us as odd. Physically it is certainly true that a sound heart is life to the whole body. One can imagine that even in the age of Solomon this was understood. “But envy is rottenness to the bones.” (v. 30) In the word, the heart refers to one’s core. So what we learn here is that envy is the chief enemy of a sound spiritual and psychological existence. It goes to the core of a person and destroys one from within.

Envy makes one their own worst enemy. Envy is more than covetousness. It is not only wanting what is another’s, it is wishing and scheming that even if one cannot have it, they do not want the other to enjoy what is rightfully and lawfully theirs. It is being grieved at another’s blessings (Cf. Ps. 112:10). It is a most pernicious evil and brutal form of self-destruction. Those who fear the LORD in the inward parts, and delight themselves in His word and wisdom, are protected from this. “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.” (v. 27)

 

 

Proverbs

Proverbs Part 2: Chapters 16-31

Proverbs 12:4; 18:22; 19:13-14 A Prudent Wife Is A Gift.

If a Christian woman truly wants a Christian man, she should also be one after God’s own heart, who prizes the Lord and her own faith as more precious than silver or gold. Solomon said “he who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the LORD.” (Prov. 18:22) However, there are two kinds, for he also said that a contentious wife is like a continual drip, but “a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Prov. 19:13-14) In other words, a prudent wife is a gift, a crown to her husband, more to be prized than riches. However, a bad one is a continual source of pain and anguish, a rottenness that goes to a man’s core (Pr. 12:4). Choose wisely, for by their fruit you shall know them (Mt. 7:15-20).

Proverbs

Proverbs 14:27, 30 A Sound Heart.

Perhaps it demonstrates how far we are from the biblical conception of wisdom that the couplets of contrast in this book strikes some of us as odd. Physically it is certainly true that a sound heart is life to the whole body. One can imagine that even in the age of Solomon this was understood. “But envy is rottenness to the bones.” (v. 30) In the word, the heart refers to one’s core. So what we learn here is that envy is the chief enemy of a sound spiritual and psychological existence. It goes to the core of a person and destroys one from within.

Envy makes one their own worst enemy. Envy is more than covetousness. It is not only wanting what is another’s, it is wishing and scheming that even if one cannot have it, they do not want the other to enjoy what is rightfully and lawfully theirs. It is being grieved at another’s blessings (Cf. Ps. 112:10). It is a most pernicious evil and brutal form of self-destruction. Those who fear the LORD in the inward parts, and delight themselves in His word and wisdom, are protected from this. “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.” (v. 27)

 

 

Proverbs

Proverbs 12:12-14 From Root To Fruit.

Those who covet the fruit of other peoples labour the wisdom scriptures regard as wicked. This speaks not only to individuals but it also speaks to government confiscatory tax regimes, built on the premise that those who have owe it to those who have not. The bible mandates charity where charity is due, but these systems are built on coveting and envy. There is a contrast here. The wicked want the fruit of another’s labour, whereas the labour of the righteous is the fruit of a good heart (v. 12). The wicked are ensnared by their lies-the transgression of their lips (v. 13 Cf. Pr. 18:7). The righteous, by contrast, speak words which are the fruit of what is true within them (Cf. Pr. 13:2; 15:23; 18:20). In the end, both will receive the fruit of their own work (v. 14 Cf. Pr. 1:31; Is. 3:10-11).

Proverbs

Proverbs 12:10 God Cares About All His Creatures.

“A righteous man regards the life of his animal.” (v. 10a) One can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their animals. The righteous are those who heed God’s law with respect to one’s animals. The law states, “Do not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” (Dt. 25:4) Paul saw in this law a sure basis for a paid ministry of the word (I Cor. 9:9-11; I Tim. 5:17-18). If one does not care for their ox, they certainly will not care for the minister of the word, especially when that word condemns such maltreatment of man and beast. Those who reject God’s law with respect to their animals are like Balaam striking his donkey for having more sense than him (Nu. 22:22-34). One’s animals were also to enjoy the Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:10; Dt. 5:14). By contrast, even “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (v. 10b)

Proverbs

Proverbs 13:17; 25:13 A Faithful Ambassador.

I’m sure the leaders of many countries, both past and present, would testify that a faithful witness is indeed hard to come by. His master doesn’t not need to worry if his message is not going to be sent or not delivered correctly. It is a huge relief for that master to know that the message he sought to convey has been delivered faithfully. A faithful ambassador knows they are a sent one-their commission as well as their message comes from a higher authority. John the Baptist was like this (Cf. Lk. 3:16-17), as was Jesus Himself (Cf. Jn. 17:4). So should we be (Mt. 28:18-20). “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (II Cor. 5:20 Cf. Eph. 6:20)