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Bible Pathways - July 26, 2008


July 26

Proverbs 23

Highlights In Today's Reading:

The 'thirty sayings of the wise' continue. The woes of too much wine are vividly outlined (23:29-35). We see more sayings of the wise (24:23-34). The advisers of King Hezekiah compiled more proverbs of King Solomon as read here from 25:2-26:28.

We are definitely not qualified to disagree with God who said: Hear thou, My son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the (right) way. Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty. . . . who hath wounds without cause? . . . They that tarry long at the wine. . . . At the last it biteth like a serpent (23:19-32).

It seems normal to stand up for our rights — to fight back against those who treat us unjustly or to get even by inflicting suffering upon those who offend us. But, it is a serious sin to be delighted when an enemy suffers and seems to reap what we think he deserves. It is even more serious to harbor a secret hatred and a desire to bring about his downfall: Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him (24:17-18).

Attitudes of bitterness, revenge, hatred, or ill will toward anyone are self-destructive and they are indications that we are not living nearly as close to Christ as we should. Let us not love in word, neither in tongue (talk); but in deed (action) and in truth (I John 3:18). We are not to regard anyone as an enemy, since we were all created in the image of God and Christ died to save all of us without an exception. Let us pray that those whom we might consider "enemies" may become disciples of Christ and our brothers and sisters in Him.

No one is justified in taking revenge; we are definitely not qualified to be judge, jury, or executioner. We dare not assume the position of God, who said: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath (opportunity for God's wrath): for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 10:30). If we are unjustly treated, we should pray for our offender. All thoughts of hatred and revenge are temptations of Satan; but the indwelling Holy Spirit will enable the Christian to reject them and instead be merciful and forgiving rather than hateful toward a wrongdoer.

Our reaction to the unkind behavior of our offenders reveals whether we are controlled by the Holy Spirit or by our old sinful nature (Romans 8:1-9). Blessed are the meek (submissive to the will of God): for they shall inherit the earth. . . . Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:5,10).

Thought for Today:

It is because God had mercy on us that we should be quick to be merciful to others.

Christ Revealed:

As the One who rewards those who repay evil with good (Proverbs 25: 21-22). If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink (Romans 12:20). Jesus commanded: Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,35).

Word Studies:

23:20 riotous =b> gluttonous; 24:26 kiss his lips =b> a fair answer is as pleasant as a kiss on the lips; 25:9 discover not a secret to another =b> do not betray another man's confidence; 26:24 dissembleth =b> harbors deceit.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Country: Antigua and Barbuda (64,000) in the Leeward Islands of the eastern Caribbean • Major languages: English and local dialects • Religious freedom • 83% Protestant; 11% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Keep the Word of God and pray to Him who has given you an open door into His presence (Rev. 3:8).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 3

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:10

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