10/19/14

From Gary... Bible Reading October 19



Bible Reading   

October 19

The World English Bible


Oct. 19
Proverbs 30-31

Pro 30:1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle: the man says to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:
Pro 30:2 "Surely I am the most ignorant man, and don't have a man's understanding.
Pro 30:3 I have not learned wisdom, neither do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
Pro 30:4 Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know?
Pro 30:5 "Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Pro 30:6 Don't you add to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.
Pro 30:7 "Two things I have asked of you; don't deny me before I die:
Pro 30:8 Remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me;
Pro 30:9 lest I be full, deny you, and say, 'Who is Yahweh?' or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Pro 30:10 "Don't slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
Pro 30:11 There is a generation that curses their father, and doesn't bless their mother.
Pro 30:12 There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, yet are not washed from their filthiness.
Pro 30:13 There is a generation, oh how lofty are their eyes! Their eyelids are lifted up.
Pro 30:14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and their jaws like knives, to devour the poor from the earth, and the needy from among men.
Pro 30:15 "The leach has two daughters: 'Give, give.' "There are three things that are never satisfied; four that don't say, 'Enough:'
Pro 30:16 Sheol, the barren womb; the earth that is not satisfied with water; and the fire that doesn't say, 'Enough.'
Pro 30:17 "The eye that mocks at his father, and scorns obedience to his mother: the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, the young eagles shall eat it.
Pro 30:18 "There are three things which are too amazing for me, four which I don't understand:
Pro 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maiden.
Pro 30:20 "So is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, 'I have done nothing wrong.'
Pro 30:21 "For three things the earth tremble, and under four, it can't bear up:
Pro 30:22 For a servant when he is king; a fool when he is filled with food;
Pro 30:23 for an unloved woman when she is married; and a handmaid who is heir to her mistress.
Pro 30:24 "There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise:
Pro 30:25 the ants are not a strong people, yet they provide their food in the summer.
Pro 30:26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.
Pro 30:27 The locusts have no king, yet they advance in ranks.
Pro 30:28 You can catch a lizard with your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces.
Pro 30:29 "There are three things which are stately in their march, four which are stately in going:
Pro 30:30 The lion, which is mightiest among animals, and doesn't turn away for any;
Pro 30:31 the greyhound, the male goat also; and the king against whom there is no rising up.
Pro 30:32 "If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if you have thought evil, put your hand over your mouth.
Pro 30:33 For as the churning of milk brings forth butter, and the wringing of the nose brings forth blood; so the forcing of wrath brings forth strife."
Pro 31:1 The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.
Pro 31:2 "Oh, my son! Oh, son of my womb! Oh, son of my vows!
Pro 31:3 Don't give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
Pro 31:4 It is not for kings, Lemuel; it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes to say, 'Where is strong drink?'
Pro 31:5 lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the justice due to anyone who is afflicted.
Pro 31:6 Give strong drink to him who is ready to perish; and wine to the bitter in soul:
Pro 31:7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Pro 31:8 Open your mouth for the mute, in the cause of all who are left desolate.
Pro 31:9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and serve justice to the poor and needy."
Pro 31:10 Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies.
Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her. He shall have no lack of gain.
Pro 31:12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Pro 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands.
Pro 31:14 She is like the merchant ships. She brings her bread from afar.
Pro 31:15 She rises also while it is yet night, gives food to her household, and portions for her servant girls.
Pro 31:16 She considers a field, and buys it. With the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard.
Pro 31:17 She girds her waist with strength, and makes her arms strong.
Pro 31:18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp doesn't go out by night.
Pro 31:19 She lays her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
Pro 31:20 She opens her arms to the poor; yes, she extends her hands to the needy.
Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Pro 31:22 She makes for herself carpets of tapestry. Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Pro 31:23 Her husband is respected in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
Pro 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and delivers sashes to the merchant.
Pro 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing. She laughs at the time to come.
Pro 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Pro 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn't eat the bread of idleness.
Pro 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her:
Pro 31:29 "Many women do noble things, but you excel them all."
Pro 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised.
Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands! Let her works praise her in the gates! 

 
Oct. 19
Philippians 4

Php 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
Php 4:2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same way in the Lord.
Php 4:3 Yes, I beg you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the Good News, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice!
Php 4:5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Php 4:6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.
Php 4:9 The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Php 4:10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity.
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it.
Php 4:12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Php 4:14 However you did well that you shared in my affliction.
Php 4:15 You yourselves also know, you Philippians, that in the beginning of the Good News, when I departed from Macedonia, no assembly shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you only.
Php 4:16 For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my need.
Php 4:17 Not that I seek for the gift, but I seek for the fruit that increases to your account.
Php 4:18 But I have all things, and abound. I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God.
Php 4:19 My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Php 4:20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
Php 4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.
Php 4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar's household.
Php 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.


From Jim McGuiggan... The realisable best


The realisable best

When interpreting scripture we need to keep in mind that while it comes (ultimately) from the Lord God, it deals with and relates to sinners and not sinless archangels. If we don't keep that in mind we'll sneer at some of what we read (as poor ignorant Sam Harris, the very vocal atheist does) as encouraging low moral standards. We need to remember too that in dealing with sinners God means to save them and not destroy them, that he means to raise them rather than smother them.

"But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." Exodus 21:23-24
There is much in the OT law that sophisticated moderns are tempted to smile indulgently at, if not to sneer. It's too easy to live in a society created and shaped by the Hebrew-Christian traditions and Scriptures, thoroughly blessed, and then from that privileged position, to stand in sneering judgement on them. It's like so much that is modern and sophisticated, it's a shallow and thankless response.

Away from the Scripture (and yet, not away from it) paramilitaries and other gangsters curse and rage against the law, break and malign the law, kill and plunder in spite of the law and then, when they're caught, they insist on being treated under the terms of the law they abominate and destroy. They sneak behind an authority figure, strike him dead without warning and then whine that police are carrying out a shoot-to-kill policy. (I'm not expressing a judgement on a shoot-to-kill policy.) If the law were as bad as they profess it to be, why on earth would they want to be judged under it? Why would they want authorities to abide by it? It must have something going for it when they prefer not to be judged by their own standards but by the law they despise and rage against.

There are those who respond in this way to the biblical Law about which they are so ignorant. Ignorant not only about what it actually says and means, but about its ultimate goal, the understanding it shows not only about the situations it faces but also about the people it is dealing with in those situations.

T.E. Jessup instructs us well when, speaking of ethical pursuits, he says, "We are to seek that which is appropriate, that is, both good and possible in a society not yet ripe for the full and free exercise of the ideal life." Yes, yes, I know we aren't to water down the will of God but, again, as Jessup has rightly reminded us, "Love sees not only what it could do if the conditions were favourable, but also what it can do under conditions as they are." This is precisely what the Scriptures say God has done.

And G.A. Chadwick insists: people of goodwill and critical ability will recognise that public laws and institutions curb, educate and elevate societies (providing, of course, they are wise and good laws). He also rightly insists that "legislation must not move too far in advance of public opinion. Laws may be highly desirable in the abstract, for which communities are not yet ripe." Many of those who sneer at the biblical laws (as codified) know in their bones that they themselves help to enact laws that don't go nearly as far as they would wish. They recognise that the principle behind a law may be wondrously deep and rich and that the statute will carry people in that direction even though the people are not yet up to the full measure of the principle.

Are we to take 'an eye for an eye' (Exodus 21:24-25), rip it out and isolate it from a covenant founded on grace, sustained by grace and culminating in grace? Are we to suppose that this nation, which was created and shaped to nurture a spirit of forgiveness, kindness and neighbourliness, is urged to demand burning for burning and eyes for eyes? No, these were public sentences to be carried out if and when administrative justice and the needs of the situation required it. There were criminals in ancient Israel as there are criminals in modern society. Like it or not, the innocent and law-abiding need protection and if the law would not defend them, God help them! (And he will!) If circumstances were ideal in this life and in human society there would be no need for laws or punishments dealing with deliberate crime or wilful negligence. As long as our situation isn't ideal "the realisable best will be given cheerful precedence over (the unattainable) ideally best." [It isn't possible for humans always to know when someone is making no real attempt to reach the "attainable". But we trust God to right all wrongs and he can be depended on to do that--Genesis 18:25.]

God's heart's desire was never the rupture of a marriage union or the practice of polygamy, but evil entered human relationships and abuse with it. Since these evils entered, laws were given to regulate them so that the lives of the vulnerable, often divorced women, did not become intolerable (Deuteronomy 24:1-5). The seduction of young girls might well result in their being unable to marry later so the seducer of a virgin was required to marry and provide for her (Exodus 22:16 and other texts on caring for wives).

Laws of retribution not only persuaded the victims that they mattered, they put a limit to the punishment that could be handed out to the transgressor. They saw to it that a hungry man didn't have his hands cut off merely for stealing a loaf or that an angry man wasn't executed for slapping a fellow-citizen. They placed the exercise of judgement in the hands of recognised authorities and sent a signal to other would-be offenders that criminal behaviour wouldn't be tolerated (21:24-25). At its best, punishment is not "revenge"—it is one of the witnesses of the righteous foundations on which the nation is built and by which it maintains itself. People matter! Both criminals and victims! [Note Deuteronomy 25:2-3 about over-punishing.]

A close and fair look at all the covenant texts in this area will show that the OT has much to teach those benevolent bunglers in high offices whose over-Christianized views lack contact with reality-has much to teach them about punishment, rehabilitation and social justice. Some training in Biblical Ethics, especially OT ethics and jurisprudence might do wonders for all of us. You might find this of interest.

Questions and Answers: "Their Worm does not Die" by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=29

Questions and Answers: "Their Worm does not Die"

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Q.
What does “their worm does not die” mean in Mark 9?

A.

At the end of the chapter in Mark 9, Jesus began a brief discourse with His disciples, explaining that their spiritual well-being should be the paramount concern in their lives. In order to illustrate this point, He commented that if their hand offended them, it should be cut off, or if their foot made them sin, it, too, should be amputated. This figurative language stressed the point that whatever stood in the way of faithfulness to God should be discarded. Jesus concluded that it was better to be rid of stumbling blocks than “to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’ ” (Mark 9:43-44,46,48).
The word “hell” in this passage is actually the Greek word Gehenna, meaning “Valley of the Son(s) of Hinnom,” which was the name given to the valley south of the walls of Jerusalem. This valley was notoriously connected to the sinful, horrific practice of child sacrifice associated with the pagan god Molech. Josiah, the righteous king of Judah, in his efforts to restore true worship, ransacked the pagan worship arena and “defiled Topheth, which is the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech” (2 Kings 23:10). As a result, the valley became a refuse dump for discarding filth, dead animals, and other garbage (see Jeremiah 7:32). By the time of Jesus, the Jewish community associated Gehenna with spiritual death (Lenski, 1946, p. 407).
Interjected into Jesus’ explicit description of Gehenna, was the statement that in this horrid place, the “worm does not die.” The worms—described in Isaiah (66:24), and pictured by Jesus in Mark 9—are maggots, which would be associated quite naturally with the rotting filth of a refuse heap. The twist to Jesus’ phrase is the fact that the worm in hell “does not die.” Concerning this, Lenski wrote: “The fact that it does not die means that its work is eternal. ...The bodies of the blessed shall shine with glory and eternal bliss, but the bodies of the damned shall be like rotting, putrid corpses that have the worm within...” (p. 408).
This passage surely must represent one of the most graphic mental pictures ever painted by our Lord—which should cause each of us to reflect seriously on the possible stumbling blocks in our own lives, and what we can do on a daily basis in order to avoid them.

REFERENCE

Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of Mark’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).

From Mark Copeland... Somatic Therapy For Wise Living (Proverbs 4:20-27)

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

               Somatic Therapy For Wise Living (4:20-27)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our study of chapter four thus far, we have seen Solomon make two
   appeals concerning wisdom,
   which I entitled...
   a. Childhood Memories Of A Wise Man (4:1-9)
   b. The Two Paths (4:10-19)

2. Solomon's third appeal to wisdom (4:20-27) makes metaphoric use of
   body parts...
   a. Such as the ears, eyes and mouth
   b. Such as the heart and feet

3. I like to think of this section as "Somatic Therapy For Wise
   Living"...
   a. Somatic means "of or relating to the body"
   b. Somatic therapy normally refers to holistic treatment designed to
      integrate the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects
      of one's being
   c. I am using it accommodatively in this lesson for the sake of
      illustration

[If we are to live wisely, then we need to apply "somatic therapy".
Let's begin with the fundamentals, what we might call...]

I. SOMATIC THERAPY 101

   A. INCLINE YOUR EAR TO WISDOM...
      1. "My son, give attention to my words; incline your ears to my
         sayings." - Pr 4:20
      2. In other words, careful attention to words of wisdom is
         required
      3. If we have ears to hear, then we must use them, leaning forward
         to listen if necessary
      4. Similar to the Bereans, who "received the word with all
         readiness" - Ac 17:11
      -- Do we make good use of our ears, listening carefully when
         wisdom is shared?

   B. FOCUS YOUR EYES ON WISDOM...
      1. "Do not let them depart from your eyes" - Pr 4:21a
      2. The eyes should be fixed on wise teaching
      3. This implies careful reading of that which imparts wisdom
      4. As Paul charged Timothy: "give attention to reading" - 1 Ti 4:13
      -- Do we make good use of our eyes, reading things that help make
         us wise?

   C. APPLY YOUR HEART TO WISDOM...
      1. "Keep them in the midst of your heart" - Pr 4:21b
      2. The heart in the Bible often refers to the mind or affections
         of a person
      3. This implies meditation upon those things we have heard or read
      4. As Paul exhorted the Philippians:  "...meditate on these
         things" - Php 4:8
      -- Do we spend time contemplating the wisdom we hear and read?

   D. THE BENEFITS OF SOMATIC THERAPY...
      1. "For they are life...and health..." - Pr 4:22
      2. Wisdom's words are life-giving and creative - Believer's Bible
         Commentary (BBC)
      3. And they are health to the whole body because they deliver a
         person from the sins and stresses that cause so much illness
         - ibid.
      4. As Jesus said:  "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and
         they are life" - Jn 6:63
      -- Do we let the wisdom of God give us a better life for both body
         and soul?

[Wise living truly involves more than just the inner man.  We must use
the whole man, including the eyes and ears that God gave us.  As we
continue, let's progress to the next level...]

II. SOMATIC THERAPY 201

   A. FOR THE HEART...
      1. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the
         issues of life" - Pr 4:23
      2. Diligence is required to guard the heart (the mind, the
         thoughts)
      3. For it is the fountain from which all actions spring - BBC
      4. As Jesus revealed concerning sin:  "For from within, out of the
         heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications,
         murders, thefts..." - Mk 7:21-23
      -- Are we careful about what goes into our hearts (minds)?

   B. FOR THE MOUTH AND LIPS...
      1. "Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far
         from you." - Pr 4:24
      2. We must not use our mouths and lips to lie or otherwise mislead
         others
      3. As Paul commanded:  "putting away lying, let each one of you
         speak truth with his neighbor..." - Ep 4:25
      4. Again:  "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but
         what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart
         grace to the hearers" - Ep 4:29
      -- Are we careful about what comes out of our mouths and lips?

   C. FOR THE EYES AND EYELIDS...
      1. "Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right
         before you." - Pr 4:25
      2. This suggests singleness of purpose, but it can also be take
         rather literally
      3. In a day when the mass media bombard us with publicity designed
         to arouse our animal appetites, we must learn to keep our eyes
         on Jesus. - BBC
      4. As Jesus warned, the eyes can be a conduit into the soul of man
         - cf. Mt 6:22-23
      -- Are we careful upon what we let our eyes linger?

   D. FOR THE FEET...
      1. "Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be
         established." - Pr 4:26
         a. Think about the direction in which your feet are taking you
         b. Work toward walking on established ways, not the unstable
         c. In this, the Lord is willing to assist us - cf. Ps 37:23;
            40:2; Pr 3:6
      2. "Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from
         evil." - Pr 4:27
         a. With the Lord before you, don't let the allurements of the
            world distract you
         b. Should you take a step in the wrong direction, quickly step
            back
         c. Again, the Lord is willing to help - cf. Mt 6:13; 26:41;
            1Co 10:13; 2Pe 2:9
      -- Are we careful about where our feet are taking us?

CONCLUSION

1. Through proper "somatic therapy" we can live wisely...
   a. Using our ears, eyes, and mouths in ways that are wholesome
   b. Filling our hearts with good, so that it is good that proceeds
      from our hearts
   c. Watching where our feet are taking us, turning away when headed in
      the wrong direction

2. How are we using our bodies as we go through life...?
   a. Do we listen attentively to the spoken Word of God?
   b. Do we read carefully the written Word of God?
   c. Do we apply God's word to our heart and soul?
   d. Are we careful about what we see, say, and hear?
   e. Are we watching the direction our feet are taking us?

Fail to apply the lessons of "Somatic Therapy 101" and "Somatic Therapy
201", and we will fail to succeed in the course of life...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Two Paths (Proverbs 4:10-19)

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                        The Two Paths (4:10-19)

INTRODUCTION

1. The acquisition of wisdom is stressed repeatedly in the fourth
   chapter of Proverbs...
   a. "Get wisdom! Get understanding!..." - Pr 4:5
   b. "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all
      your getting, get understanding." - Pr 4:7

2. The importance of wisdom is further illustrated by two paths...
   a. Described in Pr 4:10-19
   b. We must take one path or the other

[In this study let's first summarize the two paths, and then take a
closer look at the metaphor used to describe one of them...]

I. THE TWO PATHS

   A. THE PATH OF WISDOM...
      1. The way of wisdom - Pr 4:11
      2. The consequences of choosing this path
         a. "...the years of your life will be many." - Pr 4:10
            1) As stated before - Pr 3:1-2
            2) Generally speaking, this is true, for wisdom leads one
               down the path more likely to bless the body with good
               health - cf. Pr 3:7-8
         b. "When you walk, your steps will not be hindered" - Pr 4:12a
            1) The reason for this was also stated before - Pr 3:5-6
            2) A person on this path has the Lord assisting them!
         c. "And when you run, you will not stumble." - Pr 4:12b
            1) Life can be hectic, there will be times when decisions
               must be made quickly
            2) Those on the right path are less likely to make mistakes,
               for they have chosen the way of wisdom
      3. In light of such consequences, the following admonitions are
         given - Pr 4:13
         a. "Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go"
         b. "Keep her, for she is your life."
      -- The path of wisdom is what God would have you take!

   B. THE PATH OF THE WICKED...
      1. The path of the wicked, the way of evil - Pr 4:14
      2. Note the strong admonitions regarding this path - Pr 4:14-15
         a. "Do not enter the path of the wicked"
         b. "Do not walk in the way of evil."
         c. "Avoid it, do not travel on it."
         c. "Turn away from it and pass on."
      3. Reasons to avoid to avoid this path
         a. One easily becomes obsessed with doing evil - Pr 4:16
            1) Sin is addictive, and enslaves - cf. Jn 8:34
            2) It dulls the senses, requiring ever more to satisfy - cf.
               Ep 4:19
         b. It becomes a life of wickedness and violence - Pr 4:17
            1) Sin is violent in every form
            2) For it damages our relationships with either God, others,
               or self!
      -- The path of the wicked is what God would have you avoid!

   C. THE TWO PATHS CONTRASTED...
      1. The path of the just is like the shining sun - Pr 4:18
         a. Just as the sun becomes brighter and brighter as it rises to
            reach its zenith in the sky
         b. So those who walk down the path of wisdom are progressively
            enlightened
      2. The way of the wicked is like darkness - Pr 4:19
         a. They go through life stumbling again and again!
         b. In their ignorance, they know not why! - cf. Ep 4:17-18
      -- Thus one path leads to increasing brightness, the other to
         blinding darkness

[Which of the two paths will we take in life?  To encourage us to make
the right choice, let's take a closer look at the metaphor used to
describe those who follow the path of the just...]

II. THE METAPHOR OF PROGRESSIVE BRIGHTNESS

   A. THE METAPHOR OF THE SHINING SUN...
      1. Describes a progressive brightness, not simply brightness
      2. Describing the sun as it rises in the sky until it reaches its
         zenith ("unto the perfect day")
      -- Thus the path of the just is one of progressive brightness

   B. COMPARED TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE...
      1. It is to be a life of progression
         a. We begin as babes, but designed to grow - 1Pe 2:2
         b. We are to grow in grace and knowledge - 2Pe 3:18
      2. Though not always the case with some Christians
         a. Whose lives are not characterized by progression, but
            staleness or even regression
         b. Who fail to grow because spiritual amnesia and blindness
            - 2Pe 1:8-9
         c. Who grow weary in well doing - cf. Mal 1:13
         d. Who think its time to retire spiritually, contrary to mind
            of Paul
            1) Who believed the inner man could be renewed daily - 2 Co 4:16
            2) Who believed that we should ever press forward - Php 3:
               13-15
         e. Instead of being like the sun that shines ever brighter,
            they are like the fiery meteorites which flash for a moment
            and then flame out!
      -- Does the metaphor of progressive brightness describe our life
         in Christ?

[The Christian life and the path of the just are to be similar:  with
progressive brightness and no decline.  How can we ensure that such will
be the case in our walk with Christ...?]

III. MAKING LIFE WITH CHRIST PROGRESSIVELY BRIGHTER

   A. JESUS IS OUR LIGHT...
      1. He is indeed "the light of the world" - Jn 8:12
      2. We must therefore remember "that our path will brighten, not
         because of any radiance in ourselves, but in proportion as we
         draw nearer and nearer to the Fountain of heavenly radiance."
         - Maclaren
      3. The nearer we draw to Him, the more we shall shine - cf. 2 Co 3:18
      -- We are simply reflective luminaries (like the moon); Christ is
         our sun!

   C. WE DRAW NEARER TO THE LIGHT...
      1. Through devotional use of our Bibles
         a. For that is how Christ reveals Himself to us
         b. His words and that of His inspired apostles enlighten us
      2. Through diligent practice of prayer
         a. For that is how we draw near to God and Christ - cf. He 4:
            14-16
         b. Prayer ushers us into the throne room of God
      3. Through doing the commands of Christ
         a. Which ensures that the Father and Son will abide with us
            - cf. Jn 14:21,23
         b. Obedience brings us into a closer relationship with Christ
      -- These are simple steps that lead us on the ever brighter path
         of righteousness

CONCLUSION

1. There are only two paths, just as Jesus described two ways...
   a. One leading to destruction - Mt 7:13
   b. The other leading to life - Mt 7:14

2. Which path will you take...?
   a. The path of the just, that leads to increasing brightness?
   b. The path of the wicked, that leads to blinding darkness?

The choice is yours; let Jesus be your light if you want to chose the
path of the just... - cf. Ep 5:8

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Childhood Memories Of A Wise Man (Proverbs 4:1-9)

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                Childhood Memories Of A Wise Man (4:1-9)

INTRODUCTION

1. In Pr 1-9, we find Solomon pleading with his children to seek after
   wisdom...
   a. Through a collection of discourses
   b. Extolling and illustrating the value of wisdom time and again

2. In Pr 4:1-9, we find Solomon sharing recollections of his
   childhood...
   a. Of his own father (David)
   b. Exhorting him to seek after wisdom

[As we examine these "Childhood Memories Of A Wise Man," we will find
important principles in raising children to be godly and seekers of
wisdom.  The first memory might be stated in these words...]

I. "I WAS TAUGHT BY MY FATHER"

   A. HIS FATHER HAD ACCEPTED HIS RESPONSIBILITY...
      1. To teach him - Pr 4:3-4
      2. A responsibility placed by God on fathers - cf. Ep 6:4
      3. Not given to churches or schools per se
         a. They may serve as aids
         b. They should not become crutches
      4. For they are inadequate to teach as God intended - cf. Deut 6:
         6-9
         a. God's Word is to permeate the household
         b. Something the church and school alone cannot provide
      -- Blessed are children that have fathers who accept their
         responsibility!

   B. WHEN FATHERS FAIL TO FULFILL THEIR CHARGE...
      1. They will be held accountable
         a. Eli tried to correct his sons - 1 Sa 2:22-25
         b. But failed to his power to restrain them - 1 Sa 3:10-13
      2. The responsibility has to be taken up by others
         a. Timothy was blessed to have a godly grandmother and mother
            - 2Ti 1:5
         b. They evidently taught Timothy the Scriptures as a child
            - 2Ti 3:15
      -- Blessed are children that have mothers who provide where
         fathers do not!

[So Solomon was taught by his father, one of the greatest gifts a father
can give to a child.  But we note also the following recollection from
verse 3...]

II. "I WAS TAUGHT WHILE TENDER"

   A. THE TEACHING OCCURRED...
      1. While young enough to be impressionable
      2. Open to what the father has to say
      -- While he was willing to do what the father says

   B. TEACHING OFTEN OCCURS TOO LATE...
      1. After the child gets into trouble
      2. After the child begins to question everything parents say
      -- When a child is more likely to disregard or disobey

   C. TEACHING NEEDS TO BEGIN EARLY...
      1. Long before they are in school with other children
      2. Where peer pressure and poor behavior will encourage them to
         disobey authority
      3. Where even some teachers will encourage them to reject parental
         authority
      -- Before the child is exposed to unsavory influences

[Teaching by a father needs to occur while the child is still in a
position to be shaped and directed in the right way.  Now for another
thought we can glean from Solomon's childhood memories...]

III. "I WAS TAUGHT BY AN ANXIOUS FATHER"

   A. THE ANXIETY OF HIS FATHER IS IMPLIED...
      1. By the exhortations:  "Get wisdom! Get understanding!" - Pro 4:5
      2. By the warnings:  "Do not forget, nor turn away...do not
         forsake" - Pr 4:5-6
      -- His father was anxious regarding his son's learning

   B. FATHERS TODAY NEED TO BE ANXIOUS...
      1. In view of what is going on in schools and society in general
         (violence, sex, drugs)
      2. In light of what is happening in many churches (apathy,
         worldliness, apostasy)
      -- Community and sometimes the church no longer provide supportive
         roles

   C. FATHERS ANXIOUS FOR THEIR CHILDREN...
      1. Will take the time to teach their children when they need it
      2. Will implore God for wisdom in raising their children
      3. Will be willing to sacrifice success and prestige in business
         to spend time with children
      -- Fathers, do we have anxiety over the welfare of our children?

[Finally, consider what Solomon's father was anxious for him to
learn...]

IV. "I WAS TAUGHT THE IMPORTANT THINGS"

   A. HE WAS TAUGHT TO VALUE WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING...
      1. To make wisdom the principal thing in life
         a. "Get wisdom! Get understanding!" - Pr 4:5
         b. "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in
            all your getting, get understanding." - Pr 4:7
      2. To love, exalt, and embrace wisdom
         a. "...Love her, and she will keep you." - Pr 4:6b
         b. "Exalt her, and she will promote you..." - Pr 4:8a
         c. "...She will bring you honor, when you embrace her." - Pro 4:8b
      3. To appreciate the benefits of wisdom
         a. "Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you..." - Pro 4:6a
         b. "She will place on your head an ornament of grace;" - Pro 4:9a
         c. "A crown of glory she will deliver to you." - Pr 4:9c
      -- Solomon's father wanted him to be wise above all else

   B. FATHERS OFTEN STRESS THE TRIVIAL...
      1. Too often, if a father spends any time with his children it is
         on things like:
         a. Sports
         b. Mechanics
      2. Too often, the principal concern of fathers is that their
         children get:
         a. College degrees
         b. High paying jobs
      3. Yet such things are potentially harmful!
         a. Worldly success presents many temptations
         b. Many children have been destroyed by the careers encouraged
            by their parents
      -- Without wisdom and understanding, our children will not be able
         to handle success!

CONCLUSION

1. Solomon could look back on his childhood memories with happy
   recollections...
   a. I was taught by my father
   b. I was taught while tender
   c. I was taught by an anxious father
   d. I was taught the important things

2. Because Solomon's upbringing stressed the value of wisdom...
   a. We should not be surprised of his answer when given a choice
      - 2Ch 1:7-10
   b. Who chose wisdom over riches, honor, and long life, and was
      blessed by all - 2Ch 1:11-12

3. Who would not like a son like Solomon?  To have such a son, we must
   be like his father...
   a. Not perfect, but still "a man after God's own heart" (David)
   b. A man with a similar attitude toward God's word - cf. Ps 19:7-11

Fathers, are we telling our children these words...?

   "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in
   all your getting, get understanding." - Pr 4:7

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Fatherly Counsel For Godly Living (Proverbs 3:1-35)

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

               Fatherly Counsel For Godly Living (3:1-35)

INTRODUCTION

1. Proverbs chapter two presents Solomon as a father encouraging his
   son...
   a. To diligently seek after wisdom - Pr 2:1-4
   b. To appreciate the benefits of diligently seeking wisdom - Pr 2:
      5-22

2. In chapter three, we find Solomon imparting wisdom to his son...
   a. With six keys for a good life - Pr 3:1-12
   b. With praise and illustrations of the value of wisdom - Pr 3:13-24
   c. With six negatives for a wise life - Pr 3:25-35

[I like to think of this chapter as containing "Fatherly Counsel For
Godly Living," and imagine sitting at the feet of Solomon as he imparts
wisdom by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.   We first hear him speak
of...]

I. SIX KEYS FOR A GOOD LIFE

   A. THE KEY TO A LONG AND PEACEFUL LIFE...
      1. Heed the guidance of your father (parents) - Pr 3:1-2
      2. The same thought as expressed by Paul - Ep 6:1-3
      3. Place more stock in this secret to longevity, than those given
         by the world
         a. Diet, exercise, etc., are important
         b. But here is a commandment of God with promise!
      -- Do we honor our parents by giving them careful heed?

   B. THE KEY TO POPULARITY...
      1. Some think the way to popularity is good looks, intelligence,
         or athletic ability
      2. The qualities of truth and mercy are key to lasting popularity
         - Pr 3:3-4
      3. Truth and mercy are more enduring, because they are more
         endearing!
         a. They find great favor in the sight of God - cf. Mt 5:7,37
         b. Likewise in the eyes of men
            1) No one likes a liar
            2) Mercy (compassion, forgiveness) is admired by many
      -- Are we developing the qualities of truth and mercy in our
         lives?

   C. THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL VENTURES...
      1. Have the Lord "direct" your paths - Pr 3:5-6
         a. The word "direct" means to make smooth or straight
         b. The Lord can help our journey in life go smoother with His
            blessing
      2. To ensure that the Lord directs your paths...
         a. Trust in Him with all your heart - cf. Ps 37:3-6,23-24,
            34-36
         b. Acknowledge Him in all your ways - cf. Jm 4:13-16
         c. Don't lean on your own understanding - cf. Pr 28:26
      -- Do we involve the Lord in our decision making?

   D. THE KEY TO GOOD HEALTH...
      1. Do not be arrogant, fear the Lord, and depart from evil - Pro 3:7-8
      2. Do not underestimate the harmful effects of anxiety and stress
         a. Some authorities suggest that 50% of all illnesses may be
            psychosomatic
         b. Our body's immune system is certainly weakened by anxiety
            and stress
         c. Guilt is a major cause of anxiety, and can weigh heavily on
            our body - Ps 32:1-4
      3. There is also the physical cost of sin
         a. E.g., the effects of drunkenness (cirrhosis of the liver)
         b. E.g., the effects of fornication (STDs)
      4. Yet if we truly fear the Lord...
         a. We will depart from evil - Pr 16:6
         b. We will be freed from much anxiety, stress, and many
            diseases
         c. And that will be good for our bodies! - cf. Pr 14:27
      -- Is developing the fear of the Lord part of our "wellness
         program"?

   E. THE KEY TO PROSPERITY...
      1. Give of your best to the Lord - Pr 3:9-10
      2. In the OT, that involved paying tithes and putting God first
         a. When tithes were not given, it resulted in hardship - Mal 3:
            8-12
         b. When God was not first, likewise - cf. Hag 1:6-11
      3. In the NT, it is not that much different
         a. Put God and His kingdom first, and we enjoy His providential
            care - Mt 6:31-33
         b. Give cheerfully and liberally, and God will empower us to
            give more - 2Co 9:6-9
      -- Do we give to the Lord the "first fruits" of our time, energy,
         and money?

   F. THE KEY TO ACCEPTING THE LORD'S DISCIPLINE...
      1. Value divine chastening as the actions of a loving father - Pro 3:11-12
         a. Even the righteous may be allow to suffer - cf. Job 1:8-22
         b. And God may deem fit to compensate for it even in this life
            - cf. Job 42:10-13
      2. Whatever persecution or hardship God allows, it is for our good
         a. We should expect discipline, if we are His children  - He 12:7-9
         b. But it will produce the fruit of holiness and righteousness,
            if we let it - He 12:10-11
      -- Do we appreciate the positive role of discipline in our lives?

[How blessed many lives would be if people implemented these "Six Keys
For A Good Life."  Perhaps to encourage us to heed such wisdom, Solomon
proceeds to describe...]

II. THE VALUE OF WISDOM

   A. SEEN IN SOLOMON'S PRAISE OF WISDOM...
      1. Provides true happiness for those with wisdom and understanding
         - Pr 3:13
      2. Profits one more than silver and fine gold - Pr 3:14
      3. More precious than rubies, nothing we desire can compare with
         her - Pr 3:15
      4. Offers length of days, riches, and honor - Pr 3:16
      5. Her paths are ways of pleasantness and peace - Pr 3:17
      6. A tree of life to those who take hold of her, happiness for
         those who retain her - Pr 3:18
      -- Do we share Solomon's high estimation of the value of wisdom?

   B. SEEN IN GOD'S USE OF WISDOM...
      1. God used wisdom in His acts of creation - Pr 3:19-20
         a. To create the earth and heavens - Gen 1:1
         b. To break up the depths of sea, and create the clouds above
            - Gen 1:6-9
         c. Its beauty and harmony were made possible by the use of
            wisdom - Pr 8:22-31
      2. Consider the implication for us
         a. The same wisdom is being offered to us! - cf. Jm 1:5-8
         b. To provide our lives with harmony and peace - cf. Jm 3:17-18
      -- Don't we want to have the same divine wisdom guiding our lives?

   C. SEEN IN WHAT WISDOM CAN DO FOR US...
      1. To make our lives "a thing of beauty and joy forever" - Pr 3:
         21-22
         a. By offering wisdom and discretion
         b. Which give "life to your soul and grace (adornment, beauty)
            to your neck"
         c. Just as Jesus desired to give to His disciples - Jn 10:10;
            15:11
      2. To make our lives safe and secure - Pr 3:23-24
         a. To help us walk safely
            1) Our steps will be directed by wisdom
            2) We thus avoid many of the pitfalls experienced by others
               - cf. Pr 2:8; 4:12
         b. To help us sleep securely
            1) For we will not be anxious about what may come
            2) For the Lord will guard His saints - cf. Ps 3:5; 4:8
      -- Don't we want to have lives filled with grace and security?

[With such praise of the value of wisdom, perhaps we will be more open
to what Solomon has to offer.  Sometimes wisdom comes in the form of
various "thou shalt not" directives.  Thus we now have...]

III. SIX NEGATIVES FOR A WISE LIFE

   A. DO NOT BE AFRAID...
      1. Of sudden terror or trouble from the wicked - Pr 3:25
      2. For the Lord will be your confidence and keep you from harm
         - Pr 3:26; cf. 14:26
      3. Besides, fear is indicative of weak faith - cf. Mt 8:26
      -- Let faith replace fear in your life

   B. DO NOT DENY GOOD...
      1. Especially when we owe it and have it - Pr 3:27
      2. As Christians we owe everyone love - cf. Ro 13:8
      3. We should not deny those we can help - cf. 1Jn 3:17
      4. Remember, to know to do good and not do it is sin - Jm 4:17
      -- Do good unto all men as you have opportunity (Ga 6:10)

   C. DO NOT DELAY GOOD...
      1. When it is in your power to do it today - Pr 3:28
      2. Too often, delay is a cover for selfishness, a secret hope the
         matter will be forgotten
      3. We may not have another opportunity - cf. Pr 27:1
      -- Procrastination in doing good is a great evil

   D. DO NOT DEVISE EVIL...
      1. Especially against your neighbor, who lives nearby for safety's
         sake - Pr 3:29
      2. A neighbor expects you to be neighborly, and rightly so
      3. A heart that devises evil is an abomination to the Lord - cf.
         Pr 6:16-18
      -- Think well of your neighbor, that he and God might think well
         of you

   E. DO NOT STRIVE WITOUT CAUSE...
      1. Especially if he has done no harm - Pr 3:30
      2. Left unchecked, strife can easily escalate - cf. Pr 17:14;
         18:6
      3. Strife can easily ruin one's reputation - cf. Pr 25:8-10
      -- Leave vengeance to God, and seek to overcome evil with good (Ro 12:18-21)

   F. DO NOT ENVY OPPRESSORS...
      1. Do not envy an oppressor (lit., a man of violence) , nor choose
         his ways - Pr 3:31
         a. As seen earlier, the oppressor is eventually caught in his
            own snare - cf. Pr 1:15-18
         b. The Lord is the avenger of those who oppress the poor - cf.
            Pr 22:22-23
      2. The Lord will bless the upright and just, the humble and wise
         - Pr 3:32-35
         a. But He will curse wicked and perverse - cf. Pr 21:12
         b. He will scorn the scornful, and shame will be the legacy of
            fools
      -- Don't be jealous of the prosperity of the wicked, they will
         never be as rich as the righteous!

CONCLUSION

1. So we find that "Father Counsel For Godly Living" includes...
   a. Six keys for a good life
   b. A high estimation of the value of wisdom
   b. Six negatives for a wise life

2. This chapter does not begin to exhaust the wisdom God offers...
   a. More will be shared in the discourses to come in chapters 4-9
   b. Much is to be found in the proverbs of chapters 10-31

Of course, Christ is the ultimate repository of wisdom and knowledge
(Col 2:3), and many commentators suggest passages like Pr 3:13-20 to be
veiled references to Jesus.

Are we willing to let the wisdom of God in all its manifestations guide
us in this life...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011