Are you a fool like Nabal?

1Samuel 25 to 28 Today’s COVID-19 is yesterday’s Nabal’s. Today many who go to the market but find the shelves bare and the person in front of you has the last package of toilet paper. Tempers rise, and the next thing you witness is a free-for-all in words and actions.  This is Nabal to a ‘t.’

Sometimes God sets out to protect his own even when they don’t think they need it. While David is caring for Nabal’s sheep, the fool Nabal cares only for his roll of ‘tp.’ He is a fool and selfish.  Nabal refuses to bless David for caring for his sheep.  When David’s men return with a ‘no’ answer, he makes a rash vow to rid the planet of Nabal just because he wouldn’t share. That is when God steps in sends in His cavalry in the most unexpected form: Abigail, who is “wise and beautiful.” She had planned for such a time as this and quickly prepared dinner for David and his men. While David is grumbling about Nabal, God is preparing a feast to humble him. It was Abigail’s plea that opened his eyes. 

 Back home, Nabal is feasting on his foolish response. But, God did not forget, and Abigail wisely said nothing until Nabal was sober. In the morning, Abigail tells Nabal that she provided dinner for David and his crew. Like Eli, Nabal had a stroke; dying ten days later. He had plenty to share, but it was his wife that got the glory.

There are lessons for us: share while you have plenty, be careful of your words; you may have to eat them. God uses the most unexpected person or persons to humble us when we fail to consult him.

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“I Have Plenty of Time”

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Nahum 2: Eternity is Just Around the Corner

Our world is consumed with “fluff” meaning that which is without substance. It wants what “feels good.”  The city of Nineveh was like that; trusting in its captured riches at the expense of others. Like Nineveh, today when we speak to others of the goodness, holiness and sure justice of God they answer “What? Me Worry?” about eternity? I have plenty of time.

Learn the lesson of the man who built his barns; sat back and said; “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate.” But God said “you fool, this very night your life will be demanded back from  you…” [Luke 12] That was the mindset of Nineveh. God gave Nahum a message of both hope for the Judahites whose riches had been plundered by them and a message of imminent destruction for Nineveh. They had had 100+ years of blessing from God’s decree of judgment but like so many today said–tomorrow I will worry about eternity.

God is slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness but he is also “a zealous and avenging God.” He also “will certainly not allow the wicked to go unpunished.” God loved Judah; God loved Nineveh and God loves you. He may allow the storm to continue but one day the storm will pass and the sun will shine forth. God will bring an end to suffering and He will make all wrongs right again.

The Ninevites trusted in their walls but it was washed away in a single night. What do you trust in?

“Some trust in chariots and others in horsesbut we trust in the Lord our God.” [Psa 20]

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“I Saw That,” God!

hebrews 4 god sees all2There have been some really terrifying and horrible things happening lately both near and far. That is because although we live in an earthly environment with earthly values, man fails to consider that this is not our end—eternity is. Due to technology, we are witness to the atrocities facing many of our holy brethren, to quote Hebrews. Our hearts scream “why” and “how” can this be happening. We fail to realize that this is not a new phenomenon. As far back as Cain killing his brother Abel we have seen that men have a mindset that they are invincible. That is why Cain felt empowered to kill. What he did not consider is that as we saw in Hebrews 4, nothing is hidden from the Lord God Almighty. All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him who is holy righteous and is omnipotent. Cain soon found out, as many who have this warped mindset, there will be an accounting. That is why we can boldly state as the psalmist:  no matter what man considers his “just” action against me, we can ask: “what can mere man do to me?
Jesus reminded us of this principle: Mat 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

We know and trust that God will set the record straight one day.

Men distort what we say in an effort to confuse. Their thoughts are evil, and like Cain, they take the advantage to attack and sometimes even wait to take our lives. Sometimes they are even successful in that attempt. That is why we must remember that although they think  “The Lord does not see, Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed. [Psa 94:7] they will find out that they are the fool because God will not be mocked, for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. [Gal 6]

 

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Fool for Satan’s Sake or Wise for Christ’s Sake?

proverbs 4 wisdom2a The author of Hebrews reminds us we must be trained by experience as we gather wisdom from those who are themselves mature, in fact, the aged, or the elder amongst us. They have learned to discern both good and evil and now are passing on that to the next generation as the psalmist said to do. [Ps 78]  Daily we are in a spiritual battle against unseen foes and need both our armor and wisdom to defeat this deadly foe. We find it in the Word of God which is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. [2Tim 3] God’s promise is sure; He is always ready to give his children wisdom.[James 1]

Solomon knew this well for that is the one gift he asked of the Lord. Two times he reminds his children, and us, that it begins when one actively listens with mind and body. Just like our heavenly Father, Solomon tells his children that they are to listen so that they may gain discernment which is being able to judge between good and evil. They are to acquire wisdom which is the supreme gift and to do that they must lay hold of his words and hide them in their hearts. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” [Ps 119]

But why is wisdom so critical? Without wisdom, we are fools for Satan’s sake. With wisdom, we are wise for Christ’s sake.

Read this also here: https://www.facebook.com/bible.org/

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Prov 7 “Simpleton or Mature?”

ImageRecently a post was written to young men/women about life after high school. It was interestingly similar to an instructional manual and could have come right out of Proverbs 7! Listen to some of the advice offered: To the gals: If a guy calls you at 2 AM to “hangout”…he is not boyfriend material. To guys and gals: go to church…not just because your parents instructed you to do it, but because in church God speaks and you need to hear his voice; now is the time to strengthen your relationship with God and follow his plan. To guys and gals:  keep your morals and standards high. The poster asked: Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will you feel like the minority? Absolutely. Should you change to fit in? Absolutely not! This poster has it “right on.”

After giving instruction to his son in chapter 6 along with a list of the things God hates, the  father in chapter 7 instructs his son (also applicable to daughters) about what God loves and that begins with being morally pure. Five times he uses the word “keep.” As a dad I implore you to “keep” my words and treasure them. “Keep” my commands and obey my instruction as you would the pupil of your eye. “Keep” wisdom so intimately close that she may “keep” you from the man/woman who fails to “keep” his/her feet at home. Why this concerted effort in using this word? The father knows that without this the adolescent before him will fall victim to the ways of the seducers of the world. Bob Deffinbaugh wrote: “Being simple is a stage in the development of every person, very much like adolescence….being simple is one short step from being a fool, so this critical period in life must be lived very carefully.” As a child still under the parent’s roof he/she is going through a stage and therefore must be instructed. It is not a sin to be simple but it is a sin to not grow from simpleton to maturity. That was the sin that the author of Hebrews spoke about: “But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”

As Proverbs 7 closes there is a profound warning to those who ignore and become the fool:  “Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways – do not wander into her pathways; for she has brought down many fatally wounded, and all those she has slain are many.” The warning is clear. “when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. Do not be led astray” [James]

Beloved, perhaps you are the parent of a simpleton because of their age or because of their naiveté. How are your parenting skills holding up in this time? Will you choose to instruct those under you with the tool that God has given to you? “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The last is critical…training begins in the home so that the child of God may leave the nest with a pure and reverent conduct.

 

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Discernment or Folly? What Would You Choose?

Today we open the most precious Holy Word and read Prov 26. King Solomon in his wisdom has given us a chapter dedicated to helping us see with our eyes and mind that we may be discerning.

We have two English words that we can interchange: fool and dullard, which in Hebrew is the word [kesil]. The Jewish Study Bible defines it as: “The dullard is not merely a man of low intelligence. He is the kind of fool who is obtuse [that is not quick or alert in perception, author’s addition] because of smug overconfidence.”  Why should we study the “fool or dullard?” Pro 10:13 “Wisdom is found in the words of the discerning person…” Discernment is a gift that God has rightly given to those who are serious about being wise. Solomon prayed for such discernment in 1Kings 3:9 “So give your servant a discerning mind…” Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil. “Just as our Lord did not forbid us from discerning the character of fools, the Book of Proverbs commends this assessment as a necessity for those who would be wise.” [Bob Deffinbaugh]

ImageProv 26: The Characteristics of the Dullard: 1-7: Because he is unwise, it is not fitting that he should receive positions of honor in which decisions for country and kingdom are needed. He has neither the skills nor the wisdom to make just decisions. Vs 3: they only say a fool/dullard learns is by the “school of hard knocks” and even then it must be as something that is not just once but ongoing! Vs 4 & 5 seem to be contradictory at first but at second glance we learn that there are times when a response is neither warranted or needed because it would only lead to further folly or there are times when we must answer them to protect them and ourselves. Vs. 6 and Vs 9 is a warning similar to Matt 7: 6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet and turn around and tear you to pieces.” A fool/dullard has no ability to appreciate or consider God’s Word as holy nor does he seek that. ICor 1:18 “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,” Why is this? Vs 7 “he handles an aphorism about as well as a lame man can walk. The fool does not understand, has not implemented, and cannot explain the proverb. It is useless to him even though he repeats it.”

Prov 26: The Folly/Actions of the Fool:  8-12 vs 8: it is counterproductive to honor a fool just as it is so giving power and honor to one who is unprepared. Vs 10 he who hires a fool reaps what he has sown; a costly and foolish undertaking—folly! Vs 12 sums up this section. The dullard/fool is self conceited in his own eyes and although you spend generous amounts of time seeking to make him wise it appears to be  a lost endeavor. They are smugly overconfident.

So what is the question we must ask ourselves today? Image Remember this principle when you read this chapter: The fool has many plans but God is the author and orchestrator of that which will bring about His work. If we are a parent it would be wise for us to discern if our children are leaning in this way recalling the wisdom of: Prov 22:6 “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” Or if this chapters speaks to ourselves and we see our reflection in the mirror it would be wise for us not to walk away as James indicates we might, and remain in our “folly.”  We would be wise to learn from the character and consequences of the dullard and then implement strategies to be discerning.  Here are two helps: 2Tim 3:16-17 “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” Psa 119:11 “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You”

 

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The Kingdom Mindset

ImageLong ago I thought I had learned what a mindset is but then again…we all need a refresher course once in a while. So today while gathering my thoughts for Matthew 7 I was struck with this phrase: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is wise.” It was an aha moment. It is not just being busy about the doing, I must have the mindset to hear and then to apply. I then remembered the words in Revelation these words which are repeated over and over: “blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it,” So not only will one be wise but also blessed if they hear and then obey/do.

Remember the book “Secret Garden” with its intrigue and wonderful imagery? Matthew 7 is much like a secret garden. Jesus walks us down the paths of life sharing the beauty of one whose mindset is keyed into righteous kingdom living. As Jesus teaches he uses several illustrations which would be familiar sights to the listeners to not only garner their attention but also as a visual reminder when they meet these same examples in their daily life. For example: beams of wood, doors and knocking, gates—both wide and narrow, paths that are smooth and paths that are filled with pebbles, sheep and wolves, healthy vs unhealthy trees, foundations of homes—rocks or sand, rain and wind. The point of his teaching was to show those who wish to follow Him must consider the cost and the path they want to follow. One path leads to destruction, the other to blessing…the “aha moment.”  If we  hear his words and do them we will be wise as opposed to those who hear but reject. The rejecters are like the fools of Proverbs.

In essence Jesus is giving us these four kingdom principles/paths:

(a) Seeing yourself first before you “open mouth-insert foot” in your criticism of another. Therefore, remove your own speck or beam before you judge another.  

(b) Knowing when to share the holy gospel message and when to walk away—there will be dogs and hogs who knowingly choose to trample, bite, devour and those who enjoy wallowing in the mud rather than accept the holy message of redemption. Therefore, be discerning.

( c) Pray with a kingdom focus in mind: asking, seeking, knocking. Answers come to those who are willing step out and begin at the beginning: asking. God is the Father of Lights in whom is no variableness of turning and He gives good gifts to those who ask. Trust Him for this.

 (c) Applying the Golden Rule as a basis of life—in other words have the “Law of Kingdom Choices” mentality. Dwell on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise. [Phil 4:8] Whatever we focus on will be the guiding principle of how we respond to others and they in turn to us.  

As Jesus taught this chapter the crowds were rapt with attention and so should I be. My mindset should be focused on His words and His teaching…but often my mind wanders. He is the true Messiah with the words of life and I must make the choice to listen, heed, and obey if I want to be wise and also to blessed. The beginning point for me is the asking, seeking, knocking.

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