Proverbs 30:8-9 – Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Proverbs 30:8-9
8
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

-When the Lord Jesus give us the model prayer, He directs us to ask the Father for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11); why does He limit the request to just daily instead of asking for some extra to keep back?  The Lord understands how prone we are to go astray.  If we have too little, we will sin and bring reproach to God; if we have too much, we will become confident in our own strength and forget the Lord.  It can be a hard truth to bear, but sometimes the answer to the question of why the Lord has not given us more than we have is because we cannot handle it.  The Lord specializes in making people prosperous; unfortunately, history has shown that prosperous people do not specialize in maintaining godliness.

Isaiah 43:10-13 – I Will Work

Isaiah 43:10-13
10
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

-The Lord asks a question in verse 13 that really needs no answer and yet everyone should carefully consider it; He says, “I will work and who will allow it?”  All things exist at the Lord’s discretion; all things persist at the Lord’s discretion.  He didn’t need permission from anyone to create the universe and He doesn’t needs anyone’s permission to judge the inhabitants of this universe.  If you look around and don’t physically see God, you might be able to convince yourself that He is not there or that He is not watching; but it’s Him, it’s always been Him, and there is no other god with Him.

Matthew 13:54-58 – Without Faith

Matthew 13:54-58
54
And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

 -Consider how displeased the Lord must be with the lack of faith demonstrated in this account; particularly in contrast with the great acts of faith told of in Hebrews.  If you are not familiar with Hebrews 11, it is a who’s who of the spiritual giants from throughout Biblical history.  Consider the giants of faith described in that chapter; now consider that for every one of these faithful men and women, there are hundreds of examples of similar people who failed similar circumstances because they lacked faith. That’s the hidden lesson of Hebrews 11, not who made it in, but how many didn’t.  There are only 16 names mentioned in Hebrews 11; 16 from the time of Adam until the time of the early church.  Now certainly there are other groups who are mentioned and still more who could have been included, but that’s still billions of people whose names aren’t there; not because they weren’t rich enough or strong enough- but because of unbelief.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]“; does the Lord sound pleased in the above scripture from Matthew 13?  More importantly, when the Lord steps on the scene in your life, is He pleased with what He finds?

Isaiah 6:8 – Here Am I; Send Me

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

-How do you serve the Lord?  Some people have the opportunity do big things that grab a lot of attention while others busy themselves in small matters that no one else notices; rest assured that both are equally important in the Kingdom of God.  I find in the Christian race, however, another group that seems to grow larger every day; those who simply do nothing.  When asked why, they will say that no one asked them to do anything.  Take a moment and reflect on Isaiah’s call in this section of scripture.  The Lord called for someone to go and Isaiah answered the Lord.  Why would we wait for someone to ask before we busy ourselves with the Lord’s business?  We should serve the Lord because He asks us to.

Hebrews 6:17-20 – True To His Word

Hebrews 6:17-20
17
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
-Someone giving their word is a sign of good faith in our culture.  How far a person is willing to go and what they would sacrifice to keep their word defines that person’s integrity.  How far would you go to keep your word?  God gave us His Word; He promised that He would save us from ourselves. (Genesis 3:15)  How far did He go to keep His Word?  He went to Earth, He went to the cross, and He went to the death to keep it.  He “magnified [His] word above [even His] name” (Psalm 138:2) and in doing so, He made His word the most important thing in the universe.  When the Lord makes a promise, you can count on it.

1 Chronicles 29:11 – Power and Pity

1 Chronicles 29:11
11
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

-As the Creator and Lord of the entire universe, it stands to reason that everything in the universe should bow down before God and show Him the fear and reverence He deserves.  If He says “jump”, our only response should be “how high?”  But God is not a “jump, how high” God; for as “a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” (Psalm 103:13)  God will tell us why we need to jump; He will tell us what bad things will happen if we don’t jump and what blessings await for those whose do.  He will give strength to those who are having trouble jumping and He even provides mercy to those who decided not to jump.  He offers us more than we deserve and He gives us every chance to accept what He offers.

Genesis 7:21-22 – The Breath of Life

Genesis 7:21-22
21
And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

-Imagine the solemnity in the Lord’s voice as He inspires the words in verse 22.  Almost the entire human race has just died and this is their epitaph. The Lord is reminding us that it was He Himself who breathed life into each of them. (Genesis 2:7)  He is reminding us that although humanity had become wicked beyond imagining, they were more than just pieces of trash to be tossed away.  Judgment must come, but the Lord does not take vengeance with joy.  “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?”  (Ezekiel 33:11)

Matthew 7:21-23 – After this, the Judgement

Matthew 7:21-23
21
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

-Do you believe that there is a judgment coming on the other side of life?  That the Lord will open the books and judge both the quick and the dead?  (1 Peter 4:5)  Imagine the Lord asking you one question: “Why should I let you into Heaven over Hell?”  What do you plan to say to Him on that day?  I’m certain that many of us could tell of great things we’ve done and how our good should outweigh our bad, but can we really expect the Creator of the universe to be impressed with even our grandest achievements?  So the question remains, Heaven or Hell, why should you get in?  If your answer is anything other than (or anything in addition to) the blood of Jesus Christ when that day comes, the result for you can only be Hell.  “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

Proverbs 6:27-33 – If You Play With Fire…

Proverbs 6:27-33
27
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

-Imagine holding an open flame to your body.  In only a moment, you would be permanently marked as the heat seared your flesh.  Apply that same idea to the consequences of the choices we face every day.  In only a moment, our actions can leave a permanent mark on our lives.  While it hopefully goes without saying that sin can quickly lead to bad consequences, consider that there is nothing inherently sinful or evil about fire.  So it is with many things in life that end up hurting us; while certain things may not be inherently sinful, traveling unwise paths can still be very risky.  What is just as dangerous is trusting your own sense of reason when determining which way to go in life.  How then can we know which way to go?  “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Psalm 115:3-7 – Beautiful Feet

Psalm 115:3-7
3
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

-They have feet, but they can’t walk; why would anyone want to serve a “god” that can’t walk?  Think about how far Jesus walked for us:  He took on human feet and walked the earth to reveal the truth of God’s Salvation and “preach deliverance to the captives” of sin (Luke 4:18); He walked into the mountains and deserts to pray for strength to finish the job He alone could finish (Luke 5:16); and when the time was right, He walked the hill to Golgatha and laid His life down on the cross (Matthew 27:31).  There is no beauty in the feet of a lifeless idol, but “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)