The Rewards of Humility

Thursday, January 29, 2015, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Not Be Silent.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 22 (selected NASB).

The Prudent

3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.

For those of us who are in Christ Jesus by faith, we have the Lord Jesus as our strong tower to whom we can run when we are faced with the temptations of the flesh and of the devil. He is our refuge and our strength from whom we draw strength and courage so that we can resist the devil, flee temptation, and draw near to God. He also gives us the discernment and wisdom to sense danger and evil ahead and to seek the refuge of the Lord. Yet, we have to draw on that strength, and we have to listen to that still small voice speaking sense into our minds and hearts so that we do run to the Lord, and so we don’t give in to sin.

If we don’t listen to the voice of the Spirit, and we keep going ahead, then we face the consequences of our sin, whether they are natural consequences or divine discipline. Yet, if we do walk in the fear of the Lord, and we do listen to his voice, we are rewarded with his spiritual blessings - his provisions, his wisdom, his peace, and his joy. I know this is true from personal experience. I know what it is like to resist the Holy Spirit and to not heed wisdom, and to face much heartache as a result. I also know what it is like to walk in the fear of the Lord, to listen to his voice, and to take refuge in him when tempted. And because of that, I know the peace that surpasses all human understanding. It is awesome!

The Pure of Heart

9 He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor…
11 He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

Our hearts are the center of our emotion, temperament, mind, and spirit. In our hearts we feel and express compassion, kindness, sympathy, loyalty, devotion, faithfulness, concern, and comfort, etc. - We feel joy or sorrow. We are courageous or fearful. We have fortitude or we give up. We get hurt or we feel comforted. - Our hearts are the core of who we are – our personalities, gifts, talents, passions, desires, etc. God said we are to love him with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind. In other words, He wants us to love him with our whole being of which our hearts are the center.

Purity means to be wholesome, innocent, decent, honorable, and unblemished by the things of this sinful world. We were made pure by the blood of Jesus Christ, and yet we must also walk in purity by God’s grace, and in his power and strength. To walk in purity, we must desire it (love it), and we must obey our Lord and do what he says. We must also not play with sin or allow impure things to enter into our minds. So, if we are pure of heart, it means that the core of our being, our minds, emotions, passions and desires are centered in Jesus Christ and in his word and that our desire is for God and for his truth and to walk in his ways. This shows that we truly love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength.

To be pure of heart also means that we have the heart of God. What this means is that we love what he loves and we hate what he hates. We desire what he desires and we flee from what he says is evil. It also means that we love like he loves, and we feel the compassion that he feels. Obviously not one of us will do this perfectly because we still live in flesh bodies and we will still battle with that flesh from time to time. Flesh is selfish, so we have to guard against selfishness, and we have to be sensitive to hear God/Jesus, and to be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings when he says that we need to give to someone, or to help others, or to minister to needs, or to say a word of comfort or encouragement to someone who is hurting or to those who are trapped by sin’s deceitfulness. We are so blessed when we allow God’s heart to be our heart, and when we follow the promptings of the Spirit, and we obey his voice, and he uses us to touch other lives with his love.

The Foolish

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
He who is cursed of the Lord will fall into it.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

A sluggard is someone who is lazy and unproductive. In this case, the lazy person makes excuses for why he can’t do what he knows he should be doing. He or she portends danger that may or may not exist in reality, or that may be very far reaching and not a real threat at all. By making excuses, he or she is able to continue putting off what they know they must do but do not want to do. This laziness could be related to making a living for oneself, or to keeping up with daily responsibilities of house and family, or it could be spiritual in nature. Many Christians know that they should be in the Word daily, learning at Jesus’ feet, and doing what he says, and yet they don’t do it. They know they should not be involved in certain behaviors and that they should be following the Lord Jesus in surrender of their lives to him, and yet they keep putting it off. They prefer personal comfort to commitment and their own pleasure over pleasing the Lord.

An adulteress is not merely one who seduces others into sex outside of marriage or who is involved in an extramarital relationship. Adultery can be emotional (romantic) or it can be spiritual. The Bible talks much about spiritual adultery. One who is adulterous is unfaithful to the one with whom they have a contractual or covenant relationship. When we commit adultery, either against our mate or against our Lord, we are breaking our vows of commitment and we are giving to another “lover” what should be exclusive in our relationship with our spouse or with God. For instance, when we give our hearts, passion, desires, emotion, loyalty and commitment to someone else other than to our spouse or to God, we commit adultery. It is one of Satan’s traps he uses to get God’s people to forsake their Lord and their marriage relationships and to run after “other lovers.”

Yet, our Lord desires that we be faithful, steadfast, loyal and committed to him and to our spouses, and that we stray not from either one. He desires that we be prudent and pure in heart, and that we remain faithful to him in all that we do. And, when we do stray, he wants us to call upon him in humility, and to entrust ourselves to him in surrender to his will and purposes for our lives. If we call for help, he will heal us. If we call to him for salvation, he will deliver us from the grave, and he will give us new lives in Jesus Christ for eternity. If we think we can handle things ourselves, soon we should realize that we can’t and we need the Lord. And, when we call upon him in faith, he will forgive our sins, he will set us free of our slavery, and he will free us to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Amen!

Not Be Silent / An Original Work / December 3, 2012
Based off Psalm 30

O Lord my God, I’ll exalt You.
I called for help, and You healed me.
O Lord my God, You brought me from
the grave. You spared me from hell.
Sing to the Lord, you saints of His;
Praise His holy name today.
Weeping may remain for a night;
Joy at break of day. Our debt He did pay!

O Lord my God, I said, “I will
Ne’er be shaken.” Secure, I felt.
O Lord my God, You forgave me.
Confident I stand in You.
When I could not see Your face
I was dismayed. I called to You.
O Lord, You are my help. You were
merciful to me; By Your grace set free!

O Lord my God, I’m so thankful for
Salvation through my Jesus.
You turned wailing into dancing;
Clothed me with Your joy today,
That my heart may sing To You
and not be silent. Praise Your name.
O Lord my God, I will give You
thanks forevermore. My Lord, I adore!