In Proverbs 14:19-25 we note how God corrects our natural thinking concerning our present and future state.
DESPISED AND PERSECUTED NOW, WE WILL REIGN ONE DAY
We normally think of Christians, as being dominated, and persecuted by evil men, which is often the case throughout most of the world. The Bible reminds us that in this present evil world system, Christians are often reviled and persecuted by those who despise and hate God.
But Jesus encourages us with His promise in John 16:33 “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Remember the story of Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, as it is told in Genesis 37 through 50? Joseph is a type of Christ and each of us who are Christians. Though Joseph was despised and persecuted by his brothers, in God’s sovereignty, he ended up on the throne of Egypt, ruling over his brothers, as well as all of Egypt. Though Christians who actively live for Christ are often despised, rejected, persecuted and martyred; there is coming a day, according to II Timothy 2:12, when Christ returns to reign, that we will reign on this earth with Him.
So Proverbs 14:19, I Corinthians 6:2, II Timothy 2:12 and Revelation 20:4 all agree that one day “The evil will bow before the good: and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.” It happened in Bible times not only to Joseph, but also to Moses to whom Pharaoh bowed. The Babylonian empire bowed to faithful Daniel. Persian nobles bowed to Mordecai, Esther’s uncle as recorded in the Book of Esther.
We learn in Proverbs 14:20 that in this world, we have fair weather, fickle friends as long as we have money and stuff that money buys. But when stripped of our money and possession, we soon learn that our friends forsake us.
The Prodigal Son, whose story we read in Luke 15, illustrates this truth. He rebelled against his father and demanded his inheritance even before his father had died. His father gave him his inheritance and the son traveled as far away from his father as he could go. There he attracted many fair-weather friends who enjoyed being with him as long as he had money to spend on them. However, when the money ran out and he was left broke. all his friends forsook him and he ended up in a pig pen slopping hogs.
Thank God, the story does not end there. It was in that desperate condition that the Prodigal Son came to himself and returned to his father, willing to be a hired servant, hoping just to exist. The gracious father who is a picture of our Heavenly Father, would not hear of it. Instead he fully welcomed back his son with all the rights and privileges of that relationship. This illustrates how God deals with us when we repent and turn to Him.
Proverbs 14:21 warns us that to have the selfish attitude of the world is unbecoming of Christians. Rather, of all people, we should be the first to show selfless mercy, love and kindness to those in need. To such God blesses.
Verse 22 confronts us with the choice to devise with others to take advantage of and do evil to others; or to do good. It should not surprise us that God blesses those who do good to those in need.
Verse 23 gives us a basic lesson in economics. Many who live in perpetual poverty and have learned to depend on government subsistence need to learn this lesson. Work is the way out of welfare and the way to acquire wealth. Idleness leads to poverty.
I am glad I was taught this basic lesson in a Christian elementary school taught by a Christian teacher back in the 1940’s. As a result, I have never even considered depending on others or on government to supply my needs. Government which gives aid to those in need should require each one who is physically able to earn their way by doing whatever they are physically and mentally able to do, beginning with picking up trash off the streets and highways of their communities and removing graffiti, as well as many other worthwhile public projects. No able-bodied man or woman should be a free-loader.
Furthermore, those caught littering by throwing cigarette butts or trash out of their car windows should join the ranks of those who help clean up roads and highways for several hours without pay.
Verse 24 concludes the thought in verse 23 of working to get ahead. One who lives and works for the glory of God, living economically without debt, saving and investing wisely; will acquire a degree of wealth. I have spent my life preaching the Gospel and pastoring churches, never bargaining nor being dissatisfied with what I was paid. During that time we were able to send our two sons and our daughter to a Christian college.
In the sovereignty of God in 1980 I found myself without a church and without a salary in my late 40’s for a period of about eight years, sojourning in Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the most beautiful places in which we have ever lived. During that time I worked at whatever I could find, interim preaching in churches and selling cars and insurance. My wife and I also learned to drive school buses. During that time we learned for the first time basic facts concerning investing money and buying our first home.
Then at the age of 56 God opened the door for me to return to the pastorate in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I continued with my final church working to age 78. During those final 31 years we went from a net worth of 0 to a comfortable net worth that enabled me to retire debt free with a comfortable house and car. Now on Social Security and with some investments, we live a comfortable debt free life.
A TRUE OR FALSE WITNESS
I conclude this study with verse 25. “A true witness delivers souls: but a deceitful witness speaks lies.” This is a verse for every Christian, but especially for every preacher. Are we preaching the Gospel and delivering souls from an eternity in Hell, or are we false teachers, denying or questioning the truth of God’s Word and allowing those to whom we minister to continue on the broad road to Hell?
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