Proverbs 12 – According To Good Sense

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela in July of 1918 in the village of Mvezo, in Transkei, South Africa. “Rolihlahla” in the language of his country means “pulling the branch of a tree,” but more commonly translates as “troublemaker,” and it fit like a glove. Before the death of his father when he was nine years old, he was baptized into the Methodist Church. He went on to become the first in his family to attend school. After the death of his father (and probably because of the prejudice of the British ruling class educational system) he was coerced into taking the first name “Nelson.”

Nelson Mandela & Mikhail Gorbatchov

Nelson Mandela & Mikhail Gorbatchov (Photo credit: Anastasios Fakinos)

At the law firm where he clerked, Mandela befriended a member of the ANC and Communist Party, as well as Nat Bregman, a Jewish communist who became his first white friend. Attending communist talks and parties, Mandela was encouraged that whites and blacks were blending together as equals. However, he said later that he did not join the Party because its atheism conflicted with his Christian faith, and because the South African “Apartheid” struggle was racially based rather than a product of class warfare.

Becoming increasingly political, Mandela marched in support of a successful bus boycott, and continued his higher education, working on his BA at night. Deciding that armed resistance was inevitable, he was arrested for subversive activities, and served 27 years in prison before public pressure brought an end to the oppression and persecution of the South African’s he so dearly loved. After his release, he then became the first black President in the history of the nation, and quickly became the patron saint of the oppressed people of the world.

Nelson Mandela outlasted Communism, as well as the oppression and persecution of Apartheid, and his story brings to mind the wisdom of at least two of the Proverbs in chapter 12:

The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous will stand.

A man is commended according to his good sense,
but one of twisted mind is despised.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 11:14 – Guidance

Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety

Everyone at some time in their life needs guidance from others.  When we are children, we need the guidance of our parents, of course (though we often begin to think otherwise as teenagers).  It is often desirable to obtain the guidance of counselors at school or the guidance for planning our education that can be provided at college.  We often seek guidance from professionals who are experts in various fields, such as financial planners, attorneys, and accountants.  And sometimes we merely need the advice of a trusted friend.

Ephesus, in modern Turkey, is the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and one of the best places in the world to get the feeling for what life was like for early Christians in Roman times.

Ephesus, in modern Turkey, is the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and one of the best places in the world to get the feeling for what life was like for early Christians in Roman times.

God, in His wisdom, has always known what is best for us; and He certainly knows the value that other people with experience in different matters bring to our lives when we need them.  Though not the only reason, this is one good reason that God’s word is so full of admonishment about the commandments to listen to the elders of our congregation – those whose job it is to “shepherd the flock” (1 Peter 5:2).

The scriptures list some specific qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 that those who are to serve as elders should have.  Many of these qualifications have to do with how he is thought of by others in the community, which is not surprising, since one’s reputation is most often a product of his behavior. The result of experience combined with admirable behavior is the sort of wisdom that God’s word teaches throughout the Book of Proverbs.

The leadership of our shepherds  is one that comes with an awesome responsibility, for they will be held accountable for their failure to lead the flock in a manner that is responsible in the Lord’s eyes.  They must constantly be on guard to ensure the scriptural teaching of God’s word, and for seeing to the spiritual well-being of His sheep.  Paul considered this responsibility so great that he summoned the Ephesian elders to meet with him over many miles journey as he bid them farewell in Acts 20:18-35.

It is absolutely true that many small but strong congregations function well without the benefit of qualified elders.  But where there are sufficient numbers in a congregation that qualified men are available to serve, it is imperative that such men are carefully chosen so that the souls of the local people are well nurtured and protected from false teaching which may lead to apostasy.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Book of Joshua (Part 1) – Into the Promised land

The Book of Joshua begins with God affirming the commission of Joshua as Moses’ successor and instructing him in his duties.  Then comes the job of moving an entire nation of people across the Jordan River into Canaan, followed by the actual task of setting about to take the land that has been promised to them.

Crossing into Canaan (Joshua 1-5)

  • God commissions Joshua, giving him His instructions and charging him with responsibility for His people (Joshua 1).
  • Joshua sends two spies to survey the land, particularly Jericho (Joshua 2:1).  At the house of Rahab, they receive her kindness and she gets a promise from them that she and her family will be saved when the invading force enters (Joshua 2).  This is an important event leading to the coming of Christ for two reasons.  First, Rahab is directly in the genealogical line of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-5).  Secondly, it demonstrates God’s saving grace for others in addition to the Israelites.
  • The Jordan River is the only flowing body of water in ancient Palestine. It winds its way from the north into the Sea of Galilee, then empties at the southern end of the sea and resumes its serpentine path until it ends completely in the Dead Sea. Although it is only 70 miles from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the river winds 200 miles. Before it enters the Sea of Galilee, it drops 800 feet, then another 600 feet on its way to the Dead Sea. The Jordan River as it leaves the Sea of Galilee.

    The Jordan River is the only flowing body of water in ancient Palestine. It winds its way from the north into the Sea of Galilee, then empties at the southern end of the sea and resumes its serpentine path until it ends completely in the Dead Sea. Although it is only 70 miles from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the river winds 200 miles. Before it enters the Sea of Galilee, it drops 800 feet, then another 600 feet on its way to the Dead Sea. The Jordan River as it leaves the Sea of Galilee.

    The Israelites cross the Jordan into Canaan (Joshua 3-4).  The Levitical priests are instructed to carry the Ark of the Covenant 2000 cubits (about 1/2 mile) ahead of everyone else.  In a scene most reminiscent of the crossing of the Red Sea, God causes the waters of the Jordan to stand apart and rise, leaving dry ground for first the priests with the ark, and then the people, to cross over.  This highly symbolic event was orchestrated by Joshua at God’s instruction to demonstrate to the people visibly the leadership that had now passed from Moses to Joshua.

    • Twelve stones (one for each tribe) were gathered from the Jordan and placed as a monument for their descendants to be reminded of this historic event.
  • God’s people observe the first Passover in Canaan (Joshua 5).
    • The sons of Israel (sons of those who had died in the wilderness wandering) are circumcised to prepare for God’s work.
    • After first eating the fruit of the promised land, the manna ceased the next day (Joshua 5:10-12).
    • Joshua encounters a divine manifestation of the Lord in Joshua 5:13-15.

Taking the Land in Canaan (Part 1- Joshua 6-8)

  • In the second battle for Ai in Joshua 8, the Israelites tricked the soldiers of Ai, pretending to run away. This drew the soldiers of Ai from the city. A second army of Israel rushed into the city and set it on fire. Then the city was defeated.

    In the second battle for Ai in Joshua 8, the Israelites tricked the soldiers of Ai, pretending to run away. This drew the soldiers of Ai from the city. A second army of Israel rushed into the city and set it on fire. Then the city was defeated.

    After seven days of marching with the Ark, a final blow of the trumpets and a shout by the people brings the walls of Jericho down (Joshua 6:1-21).

  • Achan’s sin (taking some of the “devoted things” for himself brings about death for about 3,000 in defeat at Ai (Joshua 7).
  • Renewed by the Lord, Joshua takes 30,000 and sets up an ambush that with the Lord’s aid, leads to the fall of Ai.  Joshua builds an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, and writes the law of Moses on stones.  With half of the nation, the Levitical priests, elders and all on either side of the Ark in front of Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, Joshua blesses them and reads every word of the law (Joshua 8).
/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 10:3 – Nourishment

“The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”

Passover_feastAt first reading, this verse may seem to be about physical nourishment as in food.  But it seems clear that  it relates more correctly to the hunger for righteousness, as in the beatitude of Matthew 5:6 (“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”).  The Lord will fulfill that need for the righteous, just as he will not withhold wisdom from those who ask for it (James 1:5).  But as the text states, He will thwart the craving of the wicked.  This may not mean that evil never finds its way, but God will not give those who seek it any aid in doing so.

This translation, however, does not preclude the other interpretation stated above.  We should well remember Jesus’ words of comfort in  Matthew 6:25“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Book of Numbers (Part 3) – Balak, Balaam, and Boundaries

The key events of chapters 20 -35, as listed below, include some very important events, as well as some defining moments. In chapter 20, both Miriam and Aaron die.  This chapter is also where Moses strikes the rock for the second time – this time not following God’s command – the event for which neither Moses nor Aaron will be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Other key events in the following chapters include that of the bronze snake, apostasy at Peor (see this previous post for comments on those two events), victories over Canaan, prescription of the land boundaries, and much more.

The Move From Kadesh to the Plains of Moab

Balak and Balaam

  • Messengers from King Balak of Moab offer riches to the prophet Balaam to come to Moab and curse the Israelites (Numbers 22:1-20).

    Messengers from King Balak of Moab offer riches to the prophet Balaam to come to Moab and curse the Israelites (Numbers 22:1-20).

    Balaam rejects Balak’s first summons – Numbers 22:7-14

  • Balaam and the donkey – Numbers 22:22-35
  • Balak meets with Balaam – Numbers 22:36-40

Balaam blesses Israel

Baal worship at Peor – Numbers 25:1-18

The Second Census – Numbers 26

Laws for the land

Schedule of feasts and sacrifices

The serious commitment of vows

Vengeance on Midian – Numbers 31

Settlement in TransJordan – Numbers 32

Locating events in the Book of Numbers

Locating events in the Book of Numbers

Summary of Journey  (Egypt to Canaan) – Numbers 33

Boundaries ordained for Canaan

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 30 – Lest He Rebuke You

Chapter 30 begins another section of the book of Proverbs, actually ending the format that began in chapter 10.  The superscription says that these are “the words of Agur son of Jakeh.”  Some believe this may be a nickname for Solomon, but that seems unlikely, as the writing style is completely dissimilar.  There is nothing else in the scriptures that mentions this Agur.  The claim by this writer that he is stupid is surely not true.  The wisest thing that this blogger notes in his writing is from verses 5-6:

Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Creation_005All of the word of God is important without question.  But when word tells us essentially the same thing more than once in different Scriptures, it behooves us to take notice that it must be singularly important. Deuteronomy 4:2 says “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.”  Deuteronomy 12:32: “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.”  The warning becomes much stronger in Revelation 22:18-19, and the consequences are spelled out in no uncertain terms.

No matter what the intentions, people have often found themselves in precarious positions by trying to “help God out.”  That goes for trying to so by our actions (as Abraham did by going into Hagar in an effort to fulfill God’s promise of offspring.  And it can be justifiably applied to the interpretation of Scriptures.  God’s word tells us plainly that God created the heavens and the earth by speaking it into existence (Genesis 1, Psalm 33:9, Romans 4:17).  Yet some people, because of either their weakness of faith in God and His divine word, and/or a desire to please men in their vanity about their own wisdom feel the need to suggest that God needed to use evolution to achieve His purpose.

Since the beginning, man has never gone wrong by putting his faith in the unchanging word of God, and that time-tested truth can always be counted on.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Book of Numbers (Part 1) – Census and Dedication

English: Model of the tabernacle, as seen in I...

English: Model of the tabernacle, as seen in Israel, Timna Park Deutsch: Modell der Stiftshütte in Israel, Timna Park. Originalgetreu nachgebaut und begehbar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Book of Numbers is integral to the other 5 Books of the Law.  The events overlap a great deal with what is written in Leviticus.  In Hebrew, this book is most appropriately named Bemidbar, which loosely translated, means “in the desert – or wilderness.”  The key events for chapters 1 through 10:10 are as follows:

Census and Levite Instructions

  • Chapter 1 – God commanded Moses to take a census in the Sinai wilderness of all of the people of Israel; and specifically exempted the Levites from this census, appointing them care over the tabernacle and its furnishings – including responsibility for taking it down and setting it back up when camp is moved (Numbers 1:47-51).
  • Chapter 2 – The Lord reveals the arrangement of the tribes when encamped around the Tabernacle.
  • Chapter 3 – The Lord gives Moses commandments about the Levites; claiming Levites for His own to be priests in Israel, and redeeming all of the first born of the tribes (Numbers 3:44-51).
  • Chapter 4 – The Lord orders a census of the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites, and spells out the duties for the sons of Kohath in Numbers 4:4-15, the sons of Gershon in Numbers 4:24-28, and the sons of Merari in Numbers 4:31-33.

Cleansing of the camp

Completion of the tabernacle

/Bob’s boy

___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 28 – Character

Sunrise_over_MauiThis chapter has plenty of verses comparing the righteous to the unrighteous.  Verse 1 (“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion”) and verse 6 (“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways”) caught our attention.  The former perhaps having more to do with conscience than the latter.  But both obviously addressing matters of character.

Always trying to do the right thing definitely has multiple benefits from the perspective of both verses.  Peace of mind, confidence, and never having to look over your shoulder are worth a lot.  The satisfaction that  comes from having that kind of character is priceless.  By “walking in integrity,” we come out ahead now, and we surely will come out ahead when our walk in this world is done.  Many radio and TV show “man on the street” type of interviews often revolve around the question of  “what would you do for a million dollars?”  Money can’t buy any of those important things we just mentioned, so why should our integrity be for sale?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 27 – On Trusted Friends

Proverbs 18:24 reads: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  We all know that there are different degrees of friendship.  There are some that are little more than acquaintances in reality.  At different times in our lives, there may be those whose company we enjoy immensely; and we may we even spend countless hours with such.  But when times get tough, can these friends be counted on to stand by us?  The truth is – not always.  Verse 10 of chapter 27 advises:

“Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,
and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity

friendship01The first part of the verse has a couple of things to take away from it.  First, it entreats us to know our true friends.  “Your friend and your father’s friend” exemplifies a very long-standing relationship.  Fair-weather friends and mere companions will come and they will certainly go.  But one who remains our friend over a very long time has stood the test of time because that friend will have been there through the good times as well as the bad.  The other thing to take away from it is more important – that we do not forsake such friends.  We are to be the sort of friend that stands the test of time for them, for there will come a time when they need us to be there for them.   How sad if we should fail them in that time.

Having understood and lived according to the first part of the verse, the second part is self-evident.   When we have built such a relationship in concert with such a friend, it is to that friend that we will turn in time of tragedy, and often that may means doing so rather than turning to a relative.  How much better for the Christian today, if the friendship has been built with a “brother” (or sister) in Christ -with the type of friend that will encourage us, as well as hold us accountable to our commitment to the Lord?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

O T Facts (Second Book of Law) – Exodus

Exodus

The book’s name comes from the Greek noun exodos, meaning “a going out” or “departure.”  God leads His people out of Egypt by way of Moses, has the Tabernacle constructed, and dwells among His people.

On the first Passover, the Israelites who painted their doorways with blood were passed over when the angel of death came through the land of Egypt (Exodus 11).

On the first Passover, the Israelites who painted their doorways with blood were passed over when the angel of death came through the land of Egypt (Exodus 11).

Exodus 3 – the burning bush – God calls Moses to do His will

Exodus 4 – Moses returns to Egypt

Exodus 7:14 – 10:29 – Plagues 1 through 9

Exodus 11-12 – 10th plague and the Passover

Exodus 14 – Crossing of the Red Sea

Exodus 19 – Arrival at Mount Sinai

golden_calfExodus 20 – The Ten Commandments given

Exodus 24 – The Covenant Confirmed

Exodus 25 – 31 – Instructions for the Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant

Exodus 32 – Covenant breach \ the golden calf

Exodus 36 -39 – Tabernacle Constructed

Moses makes the tabernacle in the wilderness

Moses makes the tabernacle in the wilderness

Exodus 40 – Assembly of the Tabernacle \ the Glory of the Lord

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.