Category Archives: Anger (unrighteous anger)

When The Righteous Increase, The People Rejoice

Let us pray for an increase of righteous, godly people in our churches, communities, government, states, nation, and across the world. Let us seek righteousness in God’s word and through relationship with Him. Do not pursue the deceptions of worldly teaching on what is righteous and what is wicked for Satan revels in deception as those that claim God all the while rebel against His ways.

Proverbs 29

Warnings and Instructions

1A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

2When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

3A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.

4The king gives stability to the land by justice,
But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.

5A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps.

6By transgression an evil man is ensnared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices.

7The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern.

8Scorners set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away anger.

9When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

10Men of bloodshed hate the blameless,
But the upright are concerned for his life.

11A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.

12If a ruler pays attention to falsehood,
All his ministers become wicked.

13The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.

14If a king judges the poor with truth,
His throne will be established forever.

15The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

16When the wicked increase, transgression increases;
But the righteous will see their fall.

17Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also delight your soul.

18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.

19A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.

20Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

21He who pampers his slave from childhood
Will in the end find him to be a son.

22An angry man stirs up strife,
And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.

23A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

24He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life;
He hears the oath but tells nothing.

25The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

26Many seek the ruler’s favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD.

27An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Reward of Humility And The Fear Of The Lord

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life. Pause and ask the Spirit to guide you and speak to you as you read Proverbs today. May He open our eyes to the truth of God’s word and how it applies in our lives. May we be humble enough to identify and admit where we need to make changes.

Proverbs 22

On Life and Conduct

1A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.

2The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The LORD is the maker of them all.

3The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

4The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.

5Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.

6Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

7The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

8He who sows iniquity will reap vanity,
And the rod of his fury will perish.

9He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.

10Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out,
Even strife and dishonor will cease.

11He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.

12The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

13The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!”

14The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.

15Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

16He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

17Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;

18For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.

19So that your trust may be in the LORD,
I have taught you today, even you.

20Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,

21To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you?

22Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Or crush the afflicted at the gate;

23For the LORD will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them.

24Do not associate with a man given to anger;
Or go with a hot-tempered man,

25Or you will learn his ways
And find a snare for yourself.

26Do not be among those who give pledges,
Among those who become guarantors for debts.

27If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take your bed from under you?

28Do not move the ancient boundary
Which your fathers have set.

29Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.

There is much wisdom, much treasure, in Proverbs. Read it slowly and carefully. Reflect on how each part applies in your life and the lives of others around you. Pray for insight and help to make necessary changes in your life to come more in line with God’s wisdom and advice rather than “how you have always done things” or “how the world does things” or what is “normal”.

Only God is truly wise, so let us listen and obey.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Foolishness of Man Ruins His Way

As relevant today as when it was written. Timeless wisdom from Proverbs.

Proverbs 19

On Life and Conduct

     1Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

      2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,
And he who hurries his footsteps errs.

      3The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the LORD.

      4Wealth adds many friends,
But a poor man is separated from his friend.

      5A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will not escape.

      6Many will seek the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

      7All the brothers of a poor man hate him;
How much more do his friends abandon him!
He pursues them with words, but they are gone.

      8He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.

      9A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will perish.

      10Luxury is not fitting for a fool;
Much less for a slave to rule over princes.

      11A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

      12The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor is like dew on the grass.

      13A foolish son is destruction to his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.

      14House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

      15Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.

      16He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless of conduct will die.

      17One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD,
And He will repay him for his good deed.

      18Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.

      19A man of great anger will bear the penalty,
For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.

      20Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
That you may be wise the rest of your days.

      21Many plans are in a man’s heart,
But the counsel of the LORD will stand.

      22What is desirable in a man is his kindness,
And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

      23The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

      24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish,
But will not even bring it back to his mouth.

      25Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd,
But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.

      26He who assaults his father and drives his mother away
Is a shameful and disgraceful son.

      27Cease listening, my son, to discipline,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

      28A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice,
And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.

      29Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And blows for the back of fools.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

War and Politics are Messy, and Bitterness Brings Rottenness to the Bones

War and politics are messy… and they are not new. Even those serving YHWH are not immune to experiencing or being pulled into these things. It is a good reminder for us to pray for our leaders to make righteous decisions and draw closer to the LORD. They need His help!

We also see that the bitterness and desire for revenge that Joab held on to toward Abner led him to betray the king and murder a man no longer at war.

2 Samuel 3:6-39

Abner Joins David

      6It came about while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David that Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. 7Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” 8Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David; and yet today you charge me with a guilt concerning the woman. 9“May God do so to Abner, and more also, if as the LORD has sworn to David, I do not accomplish this for him, 10to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.” 11And he could no longer answer Abner a word, because he was afraid of him.

      12Then Abner sent messengers to David in his place, saying, “Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel over to you.” 13He said, “Good! I will make a covenant with you, but I demand one thing of you, namely, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see me.” 14So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16But her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” So he returned.

      17Now Abner had consultation with the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18“Now then, do it! For the LORD has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin; and in addition Abner went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and to the whole house of Benjamin.

      20Then Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21Abner said to David, “Let me arise and go and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may be king over all that your soul desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

      22And behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much spoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why then have you sent him away and he is already gone? 25“You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you and to learn of your going out and coming in and to find out all that you are doing.”

Joab Murders Abner

      26When Joab came out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David did not know it. 27So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he struck him in the belly so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel his brother. 28Afterward when David heard it, he said, “I and my kingdom are innocent before the LORD forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29“May it fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and may there not fail from the house of Joab one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who takes hold of a distaff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.

David Mourns Abner

      31Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and gird on sackcloth and lament before Abner.” And King David walked behind the bier. 32Thus they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.

33The king chanted a lament for Abner and said,
“Should Abner die as a fool dies?

      34“Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As one falls before the wicked, you have fallen.”
And all the people wept again over him.

35Then all the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was still day; but David vowed, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.” 36Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, just as everything the king did pleased all the people. 37So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the will of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death. 38Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39“I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

Proverbs 15

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.

      2The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

      3The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.

      4A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

      5A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible.

      6Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.

      7The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so.

      8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

      9The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness.

      10Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way;
He who hates reproof will die.

      11Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD,
How much more the hearts of men!

      12A scoffer does not love one who reproves him,
He will not go to the wise.

      13A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

      14The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.

      15All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

      16Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.

      17Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

      18A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But the slow to anger calms a dispute.

      19The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns,
But the path of the upright is a highway.

      20A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.

      21Folly is joy to him who lacks sense,
But a man of understanding walks straight.

      22Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they succeed.

      23A man has joy in an apt answer,
And how delightful is a timely word!

      24The path of life leads upward for the wise
That he may keep away from Sheol below.

      25The LORD will tear down the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

      26Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD,
But pleasant words are pure.

      27He who profits illicitly troubles his own house,
But he who hates bribes will live.

      28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

      29The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

      30Bright eyes gladden the heart;
Good news puts fat on the bones.

      31He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.

      32He who neglects discipline despises himself,
But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

      33The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom,
And before honor comes humility.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Go of Anger, Jealousy and Bitterness; It Will Consume You

Saul was harassed by an evil spirit from the LORD because of his disobedience. It seems after that he was consumed with jealousy and fear. He was no longer rational. He just wanted to “get David”. It would seem this could serve as a warning for us also. We may not want to kill someone, but we can be vulnerable to jealousy and irrational desire to “get even” or “beat someone”. It can lead us in a bad direction, lead us away from the LORD. Rather, we should seek the LORD’s help to overcome any anger, jealousy or bitterness toward others. It only consumes us if we let it remain.

1 Samuel 22:6-23

      6Then Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered. Now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him. 7Saul said to his servants who stood around him, “Hear now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8“For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” 9Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by the servants of Saul, said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10“He inquired of the LORD for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

      11Then the king sent someone to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were in Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13Saul then said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he would rise up against me by lying in ambush as it is this day?”

      14Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, even the king’s son-in-law, who is captain over your guard, and is honored in your house? 15“Did I just begin to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any of the household of my father, for your servant knows nothing at all of this whole affair.” 16But the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!” 17And the king said to the guards who were attending him, “Turn around and put the priests of the LORD to death, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not reveal it to me.” But the servants of the king were not willing to put forth their hands to attack the priests of the LORD. 18Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn around and attack the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned around and attacked the priests, and he killed that day eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19And he struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; also oxen, donkeys, and sheep he struck with the edge of the sword.

      20But one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 22Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person in your father’s household. 23“Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life, for you are safe with me.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be Doers of the Word Rather Than Just Hearers

As I mentioned while covering the first half of James 1, there is much to cover and we should be sure to go through it slowly and thoughtfully, careful not to skip over important points.

James 1:19-27

    19This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

      26If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Listen first, genuinely, before speaking. This is tough for a lot of folks, including myself at times. Avoid anger. Put aside wickedness. Receive the word with humility, avoiding defensiveness and avoiding the arrogance of assuming we already know everything, but really receiving the word and letting it transform us. YHWH does not want simply hearers of the word though, but doers of the word. In doing the word of YHWH, in abiding in his perfect law, we will be blessed.  Let us recognize also that when James refers to the perfect law of God, the law of liberty, he is talking about the Tanakh (the Torah and the writings of the prophets). The New Testament was not written yet. Clearly James did not find the law obsolete.

Control our tongue lest we hurt others and distract from YHWHs glory as we represent him. Let us help orphans and widows in their distress and remain set apart from the world, unstained by its wickedness, ready to be used by the LORD.

Prayerfully reflect on these and be sure to focus on a few for your life today. This guidance will help bring you closer to walking the way the LORD wants.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Arrogance, Manipulation, Mistrust and Anger Lead To Trouble

Samson was very strong indeed, when the spirit of the LORD was with him. However, we see in Judges 14 a flaw that ultimately becomes his downfall even more than what he experiences here. He seems to lack wisdom in whom to trust and allows himself to be manipulated by women with whom he is interested.

One can have a debate about whether or not he should be marrying someone he did not feel he could trust for sure. However, he knew he did not trust her and thus was not telling her the secret at first. However, he allowed her crying to manipulate him and ultimately gave up his secret for the wrong reasons. He did not do so because of a loving and trusting relationship with a woman who was to become his wife. He did so because of crying and manipulation. He ultimately is manipulated again similarly by Delilah and to his ultimate downfall.

Let us take care and use wisdom in whom we trust and why. Let us neither be the person who makes a decision based on manipulative tears nor the person who uses the manipulative tears to coerce someone.

Imagine if she could have simply come to her soon to be husband and told him the truth, that she and her father were threatened. Perhaps Samson could have protected her and they could have built a trusting relationship. It is also fair to point out that Samson brought on some of this situation by pursuing a Philistine instead of an Israelite wife and also by arrogantly making a wager about his riddle. The Philistines and Israelites did not like one another and he antagonized the situation. We see also that he has an unrighteous anger and he goes and kills others who were not even involved and steals from them to pay his debt. Samson is not a righteous man, and yet the LORD saw fit to grant him strength and use him to bring victory to the Israelites against the Philistines. YHWH’s ways are not our ways. He chooses at times those whom we would not expect.

 

Judges 14:12-20

Samson’s Riddle

     12Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13“But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.”

14So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

      15Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?16Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people.

18So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

Perhaps one aspect which I find very interesting to reflect on is easy to miss as we think about the mess Samson made. There seems little argument that Samson was like a bull in a china shop. He breaks things. He is not acting in a righteous manner. Yet YHWH was using this situation to create “an occasion against the Philistines”.

Judges 4

4However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

So I am once again reminded to take care in what assumptions I make about whom YHWH chooses to use and how. I am also reminded not to assume every time something gets messy that somehow it is not YHWH’s plan. Sometimes he does use conflict for his purposes, sometimes he uses unrighteous people to his righteous purposes.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Remove Grief and Anger From Your Heart

Ecclesiastes 11 is an interesting chapter. He seems to suddenly give financial advice. I would need to reflect or study longer on verse 1, but in verse 2 he is clearly talking about diversifying assets / investments. He then seems to lay out some principles about rain and trees which seem to indicate that there are simply some things we cannot predict perfectly or control. It builds upon the end of verse 2.I find it particularly on point when he points out that those of us who are looking for a perfect time to do something, he refers to sowing seed, may never have a harvest. If we always wait for the perfect time, it never comes.

He then ties it back in towards YHWH by reminding us that just as in these events (e.g. rain, wind, trees falling, etc.), we will not always understand the will of YHWH, our Father.

He finishes the financial advice by encouraging us to diversify again. Do not sow all your seed in the morning or evening, but do both.

He then pivots in verse 7 and highlights that we should enjoy the good times in life because there will certainly be hard times. I think he gives forth bad advice in verse 9, encouraging us to follow the impulses of our heart and then promptly warns us that we will be judged by YHWH for these actions. Following impulses by our hearts is plain bad advice. Perhaps he did not mean it the way it sounds. After all, he clearly warns that we will be judged for it.

Jeremiah 17:9

   9“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

Clearly we should not “follow our hearts, but rather YHWH himself”.

He closes with some very good advice to not let grief and anger in our heart pull down our joy in life. Life is fleeting and we must not waste it on our own impulses or on grief and anger in our heart.

Ecclesiastes 11

Cast Your Bread on the Waters

      1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

      6Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.

      7The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.

      9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Leadership Qualifications for the Church

Paul provides some timeless guidance on how carefully we should choose leaders within our church body. They high standards and appropriately so. Someone not only needs to meet these standards to lead in the church but also to remain in leadership within the church. If they fall, even if they repent, one must still consider very carefully if they are “beyond reproach” and if it is appropriate for them to retake a leadership position again. The emphasis is really about helping those they lead to grow closer to YHWH and it is not about maintaining the career interest of the leader.

1 Timothy 3

Overseers and Deacons

     1It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

      8Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

      14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

I think this is an valuable standard to consider for all of us who wish to lead lives pleasing to YHWH, whether or not we take a formal position in the church. Prayerfully reflect and ask the Spirit to show you, without bias and defensiveness, how you and your household stack up to this standard. Ask him help to lead you in change as needed or continued growth in these areas. Pray for one another in this regard, that we would grow toward this standard.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.