INTERESTING FACTS : James Madison, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECRETARY OF STATE; FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
"A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven."
"I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way."
Daily Reading : PROVERBS 24 - 26
TEXT : PROVERBS 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. 25:15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone. 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
THEME : WISDOM
When you look at Jesus - God, come in the flesh, you will notice one important fact; namely, He is always appropriate. Being appropriate for the occasion, whatever the occasion might be, is the secret to wisdom. Some Christians want only to hear pleasant words, and there is a place for that, certainly. Others believe every sermon should be with the intention of leading a soul to Christ. Obviously, there is need for that. Yet, true wisdom is to know when to speak a word of comfort, when to encourage, when to instruct, or when to rebuke. Appropriateness, suitability, and pertinence is true wisdom. Thus, we need to constantly read and study the Bible. The subject matter in the Word of God is varied. It is like a pharmacy. The right medicine must be applied [prescribed] for the sickness it is designed to help or cure. One pill does not cure all ills. Likewise, a truly wise man or woman knows when and what to speak a word, that is - a correct word, in the proper season of someone's life. It all depends on the need.
"A word fitly spoken - על אפניו al ophannaiv, upon its wheels. An observation, caution, reproof, or advice, that comes in naturally, runs smoothly along, is not forced nor dragged in, that appears to be without design, to rise out of the conversation, and though particularly relative to one point, will appear to the company to suit all.
Is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - - Is like the refreshing orange or beautiful citron, served up in open work or filigree baskets, made of silver. The Asiatics excel in filigree silver work. I have seen much of it, and it is exquisitely beautiful. The silver wire by which it is done they form into the appearance of numerous flowers; and though these wires are soldered everywhere at their junctions with each other, yet this is done with such delicacy and skill as to be scarcely perceptible. I have seen animals formed on this filigree work, with all their limbs, and every joint in its natural play. Fruit-baskets are made also in this way, and are exquisitely fine. The wise man seems to have this kind of work particularly in view; and the contrast of the golden yellow fruit in the exquisitely wrought silver basket, which may be all termed picture work, has a fine and pleasing effect upon the eye, as the contained fruit has upon the palate at an entertainment in a sultry climate. So the word spoken judiciously and opportunely is as much in its place, as the golden apples in the silver baskets." [Adam Clarke]
However, reproof must fall on ears willing to hear it. When you rebuke or reprove a wise man, he will love you for it since his [or her] goal is to become wise. Yet, when you reprove a scorner, you get a blot on yourself. They are not interested in becoming wise. Sin is more pleasing than righteousness. Sin feels better, gives immediate satisfaction in many cases, and is the easier path - even though it leads to [eternal] death in the end. Therefore, the fool wants no reproof. Their mind is made up to sin against God's laws, instructions, and commands, and to reprove him or her is not fruitful. A reproof is only productive on the ears of a humble, wisdom-seeking individual. Be sure you are seeking wisdom. It is the principle factor in life to keep you from a million evils.
Solomon here shows how much it becomes a man, 1. To speak pertinently: A word upon the wheels, that runs well, is well-circumstanced, in proper time and place - instruction, advice, or comfort, given seasonably, and in apt expressions, adapted to the case of the person spoken to and agreeing with the character of the person speaking - is like golden balls resembling apples, or like true apples of a golden colour (golden rennets), or perhaps gilded, as sometimes we have gilded laurels, and those embossed in pictures of silver, or rather brought to table in a silver network basket, or in a silver box of that which we call filigree - work, through which the golden apples might be seen. Doubtless in was some ornament of the table, then well known. As that was very pleasing to the eye, so is a word fitly spoken to the ear. 2. Especially to give a reproof with discretion, and so as to make it acceptable. If it be well given, by a wise reprover, and well taken, by an obedient ear, it is an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, very graceful and well becoming both the reprover and the reproved; both will have their praise, the reprover for giving it so prudently and the reproved for taking it so patiently and making a good use of it. Others will commend them both, and they will have satisfaction in each other; he who gave the reproof is pleased that it had the desired effect, and he to whom it was given has reason to be thankful for it as a kindness. That is well given, we say, that is well taken; yet it does not always prove that that is well taken which is well given. It were to be wished that a wise reprover should always meet with an obedient ear, but often it is not so. [Matthew Henry]
Patience, it is said, is a virtue. Thus, though some are fools now there is always hope for change. The servant of the LORD must not strive but be gentle, able to teach, and willing to forbear long with those he or she instructs. Learning takes time even with the most diligent student. How much more for that one who shows potential to change, to repent and be wise, but is slow in learning? There must be much time spent on the smoking flax ready to go out yet indicates they may want salvation. A true fool will never change. However, there is hope for the sinner who entertains the notion of a life in Christ. Yet, the price paid by the teacher is patience. To suffer long with a candidate for salvation is the price of winning souls. Further, it is a soft tongue that makes learning easier.
"By long forbearing is a prince persuaded,.... To come into measures, and do that which his council and ministry advise him to, and to which he may seem at first very averse; but by a mild and gentle representation of things, by an humble submission of them to him, and by frequent remonstrances and patient waiting, his mind is softened, bent, and inclined to take their advice, and pursue the measures suggested to him; which, had they been pressed with heat, haughtiness, and haste, would have been rejected;
and a soft tongue breaketh the bone; or "hardness", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; soft words, or words delivered in soft language, remove hardness and roughness from the minds of men; and work upon, influence, and bend men, whose wills are obstinate and stubborn, and make them pliable and tractable: so David, with a soft tongue, wrought upon Saul, his enemy; and Abigail, by her soft language, turned the mind of David, who was bent upon the destruction of Nabal, 1Sa_24:16; see Pro_15:1. Jarchi interprets this soft tongue of prayer and supplication, by which severe things against sinners are removed from them; and so he understands the former clause of the forbearance of God, which gives encouragement to sinners, to persuade him in their favour by repentance and prayer; see Mat_18:26." [John Gill]
How pleasant on the mountains are the feet of them that bring good news! Everyone loves to hear the opening words of an approaching friend when they say - "Hey, did you hear the good news?" This is, as the verse says, as cold water to a thirsty soul. You have had times of great thirst when water, that is - cold water, refreshed your spirit and soul. So is good news. It refreshes your mind and spirit so the day is brighter and life has new hope. You are renewed by good news. Therefore be a bearer of good news. The words of a talebearer are burdensome and create trouble in life. Talebearers and gossips bring bad news, no matter how curious you may be to hear it. Yet, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "good news" and you are called to bring it forth to the thirsty sinner. However, never cast your pearls before swine. Not all men have faith. Therefore, seek to be a courier of good news, delivering it to the parties for whom God intends it.
"As cold waters to a thirsty soul,.... Water is naturally cold; and is by classic writers expressed by "cold" itself (c), and is very refreshing to one athirst through heat: or, "to a weary soul" (d); to one wearied with labour; or to a traveller weary with travelling, especially in hot countries, as in the deserts of Arabia, or in places where it is rare to meet with a brook, stream, or fountain of water; which, when he does, it is exceeding pleasant and agreeable to him;
so is good news from a far country; so acceptable is it to hear from a friend in a distant part of the world, and particularly to hear good news of him. Such is the Gospel; it is good news, and glad tidings of good things; it brings the good news of the grace, and favour, and good will of God to men; of his appointment and provision of a Saviour for them; of the incarnation of Christ; of salvation being wrought out by him for the chief of sinners, which is free, full, and for ever; and of peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life, through him, And this comes "from a far country"; from heaven, the better country than Canaan, which was a type of it, or any country in this world, and which is afar from hence; the Gospel comes from God in heaven, and it is a report concerning that; it is good news to saints, of an estate they have there, an inheritance, a house, a city and kingdom prepared for them there: this news is brought by the prophets of the Old Testament, who diligently inquired of salvation by Christ; by the angels at Christ's incarnation; by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ; by Christ himself, who was anointed to preach good tidings to the meek; and by his apostles, and all the faithful ministers of the word: and the message they bring is good news; not to carnal and self-righteous persons, but to sensible sinners; and to them it is as cold waters to a weary or thirsty soul; it assuages the heat of the law, and the wrath that works in the conscience; it quenches the thirst of carnal things, and after a man's own righteousness; it revives and refreshes his weary drooping spirits, and fills him with a joy unspeakable and full of glory; as Jacob's spirits were revived on hearing the good news of Joseph, Gen_45:26. " [John Gill]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "YOUR WORDS REVEAL YOURSELF!"
In the end, what you say is who you really are. Your words reveal yourself. That is, what you choose or permit to come from your mouth is who you are in reality. This is the reason Jesus teaches that you shall give account for every [idle] word that comes out of your mouth. [Mat_12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.]
What an exhortation! Every word! Perhaps this is so important because God declares death and life are in the power of the tongue. Since this is the case, think of the potential you have for bringing life to those you love. Words can kill or make alive. They can bring hope and faith. Words can communicate the greatest of all virtues - love. Still, in any case, your words reveal your character, your inner man, your true self. With Jesus warning in mind, how much more should you seek to have a "guard" put in front of your mouth that will only allow words that are appropriate to come forth. More so, that the same guard will not permit those words that bring death and have their origin in Hell itself to come from your lips.
"The good character of a wise and virtuous man implied. He is one that has rule over his own spirit; he maintains the government of himself, and of his own appetites and passions, and does not suffer them to rebel against reason and conscience. He has the rule of his own thoughts, his desires, his inclinations, his resentments, and keeps them all in good order. 2. The bad case of a vicious man, who has not this rule over his own spirit, who, when temptations to excess in eating or drinking are before him, has no government of himself, when he is provoked breaks out into exorbitant passions, such a one is like a city that is broken down and without walls. All that is good goes out, and forsakes him; all that is evil breaks in upon him. He lies exposed to all the temptations of Satan and becomes an easy prey to that enemy; he is also liable to many troubles and vexations; it is likewise as much a reproach to him as it is to a city to have its walls ruined, Neh_1:3." [Matthew Henry]
No liar, that is - habitual liar, has a place in the Kingdom of God. The Holy Scriptures are definite on that point. [Rev_21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.]
God hates, among many other things, the lying tongue. The reason, is found in verse 28 of Proverbs 26. Those who lie hate and have obvious contempt for those whom they lie to. It is a form of death, and there can be no death in His Kingdom. Further, when a person is a habitual liar there is no love. You know that God is love. Further, you know that anyone who dwells in love dwells in God Himself.
1Jn_4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1Jn_4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. /1Jn_4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1Jn_4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Therefore, watch your words. Your words reveal yourself. Hence, be found walking in love using your words appropriately as you are instructed in the Word of God.
"A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it,.... That is, a man of a lying tongue, that is given to lying, hates those that are hurt and crushed by his lies; the reason why he hurts them with his lies is because he hates them; and, having hurt them, he hates them, being made his enemies, and from whom he may expect and be in fear of revenge: moreover, he hates those that are troubled at and disturbed with his lies; or the "contrite" (p) and humble men: or those who "smite" or "strike" (q) him, as some render the word, actively; that is, reprove him, and bring him to shame for lying. The words are by some translated, a "contrite" person, or everyone of "the contrite ones, hateth a lying tongue" (r); such as are of a broken and of a contrite spirit, and that tremble at the word of God, or are hurt by lies, these abhor a liar. The Targum is, "a lying tongue bates the ways of truth;'' and the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "a lying tongue hate truth"; and so the Vulgate Latin version, "a lying tongue loves not truth"; for nothing is more contrary to a lie than truth; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin; both to itself and to the persons flattered by it: or, "makes an impulse" (s); a pushing, a driving away; it drives away such as cannot bear its flatteries: and pushes on such that are taken with it, both into sin and into ruin." [John Gill]