The Blessings of the Righteous

The Blessings of the Righteous

Scripture: Proverbs 10:6, John 3:16, Matthew 19:19
Date: 01/31/2015  Lesson: 5
The book of Proverbs tells us that wisdom is righteousness, and "righteousness" means to walk according to God's commands.
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Hello friends, I'd like to welcome you back to another study hour - Sabbath school study hour. We've been studying through the book of Proverbs and today we find ourselves on lesson #5 dealing with the blessings pronounced on those who are righteous. We'd like to welcome those across the country and around the world that are joining us through the various television networks and also those of you watching online at the amazing facts website. If you would like to follow along with our study today but you don't have a lesson quarterly dealing with Proverbs, you can download today's lesson at the Amazing Facts website. Just 'amazingfacts.

org'. We also have a free offer we'd like to tell you about, it's a book written by Joe Crews entitled 'alone in the crowd' and we'll be happy to send it to anybody who calls and asks. The number for our free offer is -788-3966. That's -study-more and you can ask for offer #714. A great little book - we'd be happy to send it to anybody who calls and asks.

Again, the title of the book is 'alone in the crowd.' Well, before we get into our study this evening, I'd like to also welcome our local congregation from the Granite Bay - thank you for coming out. Let's begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father, we thank you for the wonderful opportunity to study Your Word. We thank you for the book of Proverbs that has such great wisdom - practical guidance for everyday living. So we ask your blessing as we open up Your Word.

Guide us into a deeper and a fuller understanding of truth, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Amen. I'd like to invite doug Batchelor to come forward and lead us in our study this evening. Thank you Pastor Doug. Thank you Pastor Ross.

Hello everyone. Welcome to our local study group and our friends that I know are watching from all over the world. And just a few days beyond the taping of this program, we're going to be with our friends in jamaica and so we're looking forward to that experience - and it'd be my first opportunity to preach there. I was there years ago on vacation and then in about four weeks or not long after this broadcast, we're going to be in the Philippines again, to do a meeting all around the world and it's amazing that, in the Philippines, they watch the Sabbath school program. And so, it's just so encouraging to know that, while we're in a comparatively small studio here, we have a large class and we're very thankful that you're tuned in.

I don't know if I've mentioned, it's intimidating to try to teach Proverbs because, here, you're taking the words of who is ostensibly the wisest man who ever lived, besides Jesus, and I'm going to explain it. And so you already feel like you're at a loss because you're trying to explain the words of the wisest man who ever lived. But we're going to do our best and today, as Pastor Ross mentioned, we're on lesson #5 dealing with 'the blessings of the righteous' and we have a memory verse that comes from Proverbs 10, verse 6. And if you have your Bibles, I encourage you to say it along with me. We'll say it out loud.

Proverbs 10, verse 6. Are you ready? "Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked." Now I should probably mention right here at the outset of our lesson, that we're going to be doing our best to be covering the passages that go from Proverbs 10, verse 1 all the way through Proverbs 13 so we've got a big assignment. We're going to try and cover Proverbs 10, 11, 12, and 13 in our time. And the writer of the lesson has done a pretty good job of trying to categorize some high points that are mentioned here in the study. The lesson title, of course, is 'blessings of the righteous.

' Now, I thought that it'd probably be good to start with a definition because we're going to talk a lot about the righteous as opposed to the wicked. And when you look up the word 'righteous,' it means 'a person or conduct that is morally right, good justifiable, upstanding, lawful, excEllent, and virtuous. That's sort of a - is a summary of what's all poured into that word 'righteous.' And I kind of come from the hippie era and we used to say, 'righteous' in, kind of, hippie jargon and you have to detach yourself from that. You know, they'd say, 'that was a really righteous concert.' And, of course, if it was the righteous brothers it made sense, but other than that it didn't make any sense at all. But anyway, righteousness, in the Bible is, of course, the opposite of wrongessness and so, it's everything that is bad.

Proverbs, here Solomon is constantly contrasting appropriate behavior for a believer from that which is inappropriate and - just if you look under Sunday's lesson, it says, 'righteousness is holistic.' And I'm just going to read through one - Proverbs 10, verses 1 through 7. I want you to notice something here: "a wise son makes a glad father but a foolish son is the grief of his mother. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death." - Verse 3, "the Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but he casts away the desire of the wicked. He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot." - Or decay. Now, did you notice something that appeared through those seven verses? Contrast. It's a three-letter word that's in almost all the verses except 5 - yeah. It's 'but.

' You ever ask someone, you know, 'could you help me with something?' They say, 'aw man I'd just love to help you. I would - I - 'but' - and then what does that mean at that point? It means, 'uh that changes everything, doesn't it?' And so he's making a total opposite contrast and it's just the polar opposites of behavior. It talks about the wise son and the foolish son. Treasures of wickedness but righteousness. "the Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but he casts away the desire of the wicked.

" And so he continues to contrast these two things. Now all of this is really summarized in 'love for God and love for your fellow man.' A lot of this has to do with behavior and how we treat each other and that, really, is summed up in - what are the two great commandments Jesus summarized? Love the Lord with all you heart, mind, soul, and strength - and your neighbor as yourself. Where does that passage - what is Jesus quoting when he says, 'thou shalt love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.' Is that the first time it appears in the Bible or is Jesus simply quoting Scripture? Deuteronomy chapter 6, "hear o Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." And then 'thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself.' Did Jesus make that one up? He's quoting Leviticus - just think about the war in 1918 - he's quoting Leviticus 19:18. So when Jesus said, 'a new commandment I give unto you,' - I've had a lot of dear Christians say, 'we don't have to keep the Ten Commandments anymore because Jesus gave a new commandment.' Why did Jesus call that a new commandment? Because it's from the old testament. Because it was a new concept for them that the whole law could be summarized in the simple principles of 'love for God and love for your fellow man.

' Love is the perfect definition of righteousness. Let's face it, if you really love God and you love your neighbor, will you do what's right? And so, when you break these things down that Solomon is talking about, that kind of sums it up pretty well. Alright - and I believe I've got someone who is going to read for me, in a moment. We're going to jump to Monday - Proverbs 13:14, who's first in line? Mrs. Batchelor.

Okay, we'll get to you in just a second. Now, this is the section dealing with - and it's the longest section, I'll tell you right now, it's dealing with the mouth of the righteous. In fact, you'll notice that, even in the first few verses that we read it said, 'blessings are on the head of the righteous but violence covers the mouth of the wicked." Does that really mean violence covers their mouth or that violent words were in their speech? Matter of fact, in the book of Proverbs - and this is in the new king James version - you'll find that the word 'mouth' is used 50 times, the word 'lips' occurs 41 times, and 'tongue' 19 times. Now, this week, Karen was reading 'adventist world' and she said, 'here's a great amazing fact, doug.' And I used it or, at least part of it, during our 'Bible answers live' program. So I want to give credit to whoever the author is.

I do apologize, I don't have it written here. It's about the marvels of the human voice. The call of a howler monkey's voice can be heard up to three miles away, but an elephant's voice is deeper. The Song of a humpback whale can cross an ocean. But of all the voices on earth, none is as versatile as the human voice.

Each person's voice uses a marvelous sound-producing mechanism that is more intricate and complex that any musical instrument. Much research and study has gone into attempts to understand the human voice and scientists have tried, in vain, to reproduce it with computers, but it always sounds unnatural. Any of you have any of these computer programs that will, like, read to you and they always sound very (robot noises) no emotion in the words, no nuance in the words, and even the very expensive ones, you can quickly tell it's a computer-generated voice. A human voice can produce a range of several octaves in sound. The average person - two octaves.

Singers can go four octaves and - that's, of course, a good singer - a few rare people - by using just two wedge-like projections of ligament and muscle called 'vocal cords.' These sounds are amplified by built-in resonators in our head called 'sinus cavities.' It's amazing that in order to sing a high c, a sopranos vocal cords must vibrate - open and close - ,200 times per second. On the other hand, a bass singer's lowest note only requires 40 vibrations per second. Besides singing, our voices are capable of producing the most complex variations in speech. To control speech sounds, 72 sets of muscles work with split-second timing. In talking for one minute, the tongue, jaw, and lips make at least 300 separate movements.

At the same time - I'm becoming very conscious of what I'm doing right now, even as I'm reading this. (Laughter) at the same time, our vocal cords are vibrating and our respiratory muscles force out the right amount of air and if this isn't complex enough, just think of the many inflections a voice is capable of making - ranging up to nearly 500 audible pitches. One can vary the tone tremendously from a shout to a delicate whisper. Trained singers can hold a note for a long time, whereas an auctioneer can speak in hyper-fast staccato. Then it goes on to say - you know the Bible spoke about one man that spoke unlike any other? You remember when they went to arrest Jesus? They came back and said, 'never a man spake like this man.

' And so there's a lot of power in words. We've probably all seen or heard stories where somebody was in a football game or a boxing match or something like that and they were just down and out - about to lose - and somebody, a coach or somebody, gave them a pep talk - they went and they turned everything around because they'd been inspired by the meanings of these vibrations that go through the air, we call 'words.' So words can accomplish great good. They can also accomplish great harm. How many of you can remember something someone said that was cutting and painful to you years ago, but you've forgotten millions of conversations that were, sort of, meaningless - but just a few words. And can you also remember some very kind words and loving words that touched your heart.

We don't know what Jesus looked like. What we know about Jesus is what he said. He was called 'the word.' Karen and i, years ago - it was, actually, an 'it is written' partnership meeting where george vandeman, I think, was introducing Mark finley as he was moving into that position. And Paul harvey was the speaker at this event. Any of you remember the radio commentator Paul harvey? Those of you who are younger, you missed out, but everybody would stop around noon, all around the country, to listen to what Paul harvey was going to say during lunchtime because he just - tremendous power of words and - and he just gave a wonderful talk at that occasion about what a gift speech is and how powerful words are and we should use them carefully to do good because we don't really appreciate how lasting the influence of our words are.

There's a proverb I heard years ago, I think it's attributed to islam and mohammad, that this man had been gossiping about everybody in his town. They went to mohammad and said, 'what shall I do?' And he said, 'well, you need to go get a bag full of goose feathers.' And he said, 'during the night while you're victim's sleep - the ones you've been talking about, go to their doors and place a goose feather at the door of everybody that's asleep that you've been gossiping about.' And so he dutifully did that and he came back in the morning exhausted and he said, 'well, now what should I do?' And he said, 'well, now go collect the feathers.' He said, 'well, that's impossible. They've all been blown away by now.' He said, 'exactly. That's with Your Words - once you speak them, you can never recall them.' Any of you ever send a text message by accident and then you have to send a follow-up message that says, 'disregard that message.' And all that does is make everyone look at that original message much more carefully, right? So once you speak those words and they go out into space, someone told me that if you had the right equipment - sophisticated enough - that you could go to some distant planet and you could tune that equipment towards earth and you could hear frequencies that have come from earth's radio 50 years ago. That once they go out into space, they continue endlessly.

They get a little thinner but they just keep going and going and going. And you ever wonder how we can talk to people on the moon with our radios? Just think about that. Words - those vibrations - what did God use to create everything? He spoke. He spoke. So, with that in mind - better get back to our lesson - the power of words.

Alright. Karen, why don't you go ahead and read Proverbs 13, verse 14. Alright, "the law of the wise is a fountain of life to turn one away from the snares of death." Now that's in Proverbs 13:14. You notice words? Fountain of life - if you read in Proverbs 10, verse 11, "the mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked." So here, in our assignment for today, we've got both Proverbs and Proverbs 13, it talks about how a mouth could be a fountain of life, especially in the desert regions that - where the Bible originated, water was very precious. Read in psalm 36:9, for example, "for with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

" Again, the Word of God, it's like a fountain of life. How many of you remember the story of the woman at the well? And Jesus says to her in John :13, "whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." You know, somebody that every likes to talk to is usually an encouraging person. We'd all like to have a friend or someone you can talk to that they're a good listener, and they can be positive and encourage you. Those people are in pretty high demand.

There are folks that will - they'll go visit their doctor - I've had doctors say before, 'some people will set up an appointment and there's really nothing wrong but they just want someone to talk to.' It's a pretty expensive conversation. But if someone has somebody that will encourage them, they become a well of life. And Jesus, he said, 'I am the water of life.' Of course, it's His Words that give us that water of life. It's refreshing. Who was it? David - that said, 'as the deer pants after the water brook, so my soul pants for thee' - or long's after thee.

And that's how we ought to be for the Word of God - to hunger and what? Thirst thirst for righteousness. Okay, yeah, in a moment we're going to have somebody read Proverbs 13:13. Thirteen - triple three. Oh, maybe it's 13:3, thank you. Yeah, that'll be next.

Proverbs 10 - I'm going to read verses 13 and 14, "wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding. Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction." A couple ways you can tell a foolish person is a foolish person: one is by what they do and the other is by what? What he says. What they say. You know, concerning Jesus it said 'he was a prophet mighty in deed and in word.' And so, you know, a lot of the essence of who you are is summed up in what you do and what you say. And I think we all know that there are some people that will talk the talk but they don't walk the walk.

Well Proverbs - Solomon is saying that you can identify, sometimes, a foolish person, by the words they speak. Matter of fact - well, I tell you what, I don't want to keep ron hanging with his verse. Go ahead and read Proverbs 13:3 for us. "He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction." Now, isn't that kind of counseling us to be careful what we say? You can also read in Proverbs :19, "in the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lip is wise - his lips is wise." You know I - periodically we get - well, we get a lot of mail here at Amazing Facts - matter of fact, Pastor Ross might correct me but I think we got a report - you know, we just started a new year and we're doing some reporting and our correspondence department - I think they answered some 42,000 e-mails and letters. Can you imagine that? The people on our team - we get questions and we answer them all.

They may not be good answers but we answer them all and we try and write everybody back. And, you know, i, of course, can't do it all myself so we have a great team that helps with that. But periodically we'll get a letter and someone will say, 'pastor said 'such and such' and he misspoke' or 'he said something wrong' or - and - or, you know, 'he made this little quip' you know, if you don't write out your whole sermon and you're preaching or teaching somewhat extemporaneously, things slip. And I have to write - and I quote this verse: "in the multitude of words sin is not lacking." A loose translation would be, 'if you talk a lot, there's more chance you're going to say something wrong.' "But he who restrains his lips is wise." Matter of fact, there's another verse I quote where Solomon says, 'even a fool is counted wise when he restrains his lips." So if a fool wants to create the sense of wisdom, just don't say anything and you can maybe keep people thinking you're a lot smarter than you are. So a lot comes out by Jesus said, 'out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

I want read a verse for you - this is not Proverbs, this is Ecclesiastes - but it is Solomon. So if you go to Ecclesiastes 5 - Ecclesiastes 5 - now, of course, this is a Sabbath school study, some of you are going to be watching us in the morning before you go to church and this is good counsel, "walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil." What is the sacrifice of fools? When he says, 'draw near to hear rather than' - what do you suppose the 'rather than' from hearing? Speech. Talking. Keep reading and you get the context. "Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.

For God is in heaven and you on the earth; therefore let Your Words be few. For a dream comes through much activity and a fool's voice is known by his many words." That ought to really make a lot of pastors ponder. It does me. You've got to be careful. "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools.

Pay what you have vowed-better not to vow than to vow and not pay." So all of this - in the first five verses of Ecclesiastes 5 - is talking about things related to 'be careful what you say' and 'you can snare your soul with your lips,' Solomon also says. So, okay, back to Proverbs. Speaking - let me see, let's go to Proverbs 11:2 - we're still talking about some of these Proverbs that deal with speech. Proverbs 11, verse 12, "he who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding hold his peace." So, you know, sometimes - when it says he despises his neighbor, that means he's gossiping about his neighbor - "but a man of understanding" - doesn't say everything he knows or sees or hears. He keeps it to himself.

Proverbs 11:13 - next verse - "a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter." What does that mean? You ever had a friend you confided in and you maybe told them something that they thought was really interesting - you said, 'now let's - this is off the record, let's keep this between us' or 'just something I want you to pray about. It's personal.' And they say, 'oh yeah, you can trust me.' If you ever hear a reporter doing an interview and you say something off the record, forget about it. No such thing. I did an interview with a reporter and they asked a question. I said, 'well, if this is off the record I can.

..' Headlines - that's the first thing they'll say, you know, they just win you over, but you want to be very careful of what you say and you need to have - if you want to have friends, you need to know how to, when it says 'conceal a matter' you need to know how to keep people's confidence and not say everything you know. I knew this sister, she was a Christian - actually worked as a postmaster in a small town and people would try to engage her in gossip when they came to pick up letters and drop letters off or get postage and they'd tell her things and they'd try and draw her and she would never ever say anything negative about anybody. And you just couldn't get her to do it. She was just convicted by Christ that if you can't say something nice about somebody, don't say anything at all. And I just really admired her because not all of us have that much restraint.

Jesus said, you know, Matthew :36, "but I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by Your Words you will be justified, and by Your Words you will be condemned." And one reason - wait a second, that's not fair. We're saved by grace, why would we be judged by our words? You know why Jesus can judge us by our words? 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And so what comes out of your mouth is revealing what's really in your heart. And so you're being judged by your heart.

And so, one of the ways we can do just a little self-test - it says in, what is it? Corinthians 13, 'let everyone prove himself whether he be in the faith.' One way to prove yourself is to say, 'am I talking about people? Am I saying negative things? What's coming out of my mouth? Am I being encouraging? Am I being positive? Am I uplifting Christ with my words? Do I glorify God with my speech or do I sometimes have the lips of a fool and say things that are bringing people down. Now, that brings us to psalm , verse 3. This is probably something you could say as a prayer, "set a guard, o Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips." Am I the only one who sometimes struggles to control what I say? In spite of that beautiful little speech I made about not gossiping, I remember one, I did a worship on gossip and before an hour went by, I caught myself gossiping. How can you change something like that? So when you pray, "set a guard, o Lord, over my mouth" you're asking for the Holy Spirit to just be in your heart and guide you in your speech, because if you don't have the Holy Spirit, you'll say the first thing that comes to your mind. And it's really a miracle when God can change your speech.

I think I've probably shared with you before, prior to my being a Christian, I knew all the curse words and I used them all too. And once I became convicted that was wrong, I just had to pray and say, 'Lord, you're going to have to help me because it just - it's entrenched. It's like, if I should tell you to try to carry on a conversation and don't use the words 'the,' 'a,' or 'it,' could you do it? That's what it's like for a person that grows up cursing; it's like you're taking out all the superlatives in there - they're vocabulary. I said, 'Lord, if I'm going to change this, it's going to take a miracle.' And I prayed and I just felt - I got to the point where if felt absolutely helpless and then the Holy Spirit did something. He set a guard on my lips and I noticed every time I was about to say one of these words I would know ahead of time.

And the only thing I can liken it to is like there was a bit in my mouth - like a rider with reins and the Lord would pull on my tongue and it would just stop - like an emergency brake. And that was actually very exciting for me. It wasn't a bad thing - that told me God was real because whenever I got ready to say it, it's like the Holy Spirit was doing something for me I couldn't do for myself. Same thing with gossip - it's the same thing. The Holy Spirit has to do that.

One more time - 141, verse 3 - it's a good promise, "set a guard, o Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the doors of my lips." That's a psalm - I wonder what the melody was. Proverbs 11:9, "the hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered." Proverbs 12:6, "the words of the wicked are, 'lie in wait for blood,' but the mouth of the upright will deliver them." You know, I though - I'll read you a little statement from the book 'councils for the church' page 81, "there are many ways wherein we might acknowledge our Lord and many ways wherein we might deny him. We may deny him in our words, by speaking evil of others, by foolish talking, jesting, and joking, or idle unkind words or by prevocating - speaking contrary to the truth. In our words we may confess that Christ is not in us. That's one of the most telling things is when you're heart changes - 'out of the abundance of the heart' our words'll change.

Okay, Tuesday, 'the hope of the righteous.' All through the Proverbs - you know, as you read through these sections, it just jumps from one subject to another and so it's really very interesting. Proverbs 11:1, "dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight." Now, why did he say that? Is he talking about the bathroom scale where you check your weight? Whenever you - and hopefully you don't have a dishonest scale there because you're not helping yourself. But in - when you went to the Market in Bible times, at every cash register there was a scale because you often bought things by their weight. And they had one of those - you've probably seen them, the little - the little balance - you've probably seen the Judges above courthouses - the blind lady justice where she's blindfolded - she's holding up the scales. Well, they'd put a little weight, like a one ounce or half ounce side and then they'd put the equal amount of the product you're buying on the other side and you'd know exactly how - but if you are an unjust merchant, they'd drill out those weights sometimes - it'd say '1-ounce' on it but they'd put lead in it or they'd hollow it out so it's actually lighter so you're not getting as much product.

And so you're being deceived and they had all these little tricks. It's like the - you've heard about the butcher that - he had - he wasn't totally honest. At the end of the day a lady came in, she said, 'I'm having company, I need to have the fattest chicken that you've got. Well, he had already started cleaning out the counters. He said, 'well, let me go back and I'll see what I've got.

' And he came out - and he only had one chicken back there. Everything else was gone. And he came out and he said, 'this is our biggest chicken. She looked at it and she said - she put it on - or he put it on the scale and he put his thumb on the scale so it looked heavier than it actually was. And she said, 'oh, two pound chicken.

' She said, 'you know, I think I need something a little bigger.' He said, 'alright, I'll be right back.' So he goes out, walks back to the freezer, comes back - same chicken - throws it up on the scale, presses a little harder with his thumb. She said, 'you know, I'm still not sure that that's going to be enough.' She said, 'I'll take them both.' Unjust scales will backfire, but a just weight is his delight. Proverbs 11:2, "when pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom." Isn't it hard to teach a proud person? You ever try and teach somebody that says, 'oh, I know, I know, I know?' They're called 'teenagers.' No. When a person says they know everything - when you're humble, there's wisdom - you're teachable. And God'll give you wisdom if you're willing to learn.

With pride comes shame. Isn't that something like the verse that says, 'a haughty spirit comes before a fall?' Can you think of some examples in the Bible where people were shamed by their pride? Peter boasted, 'though all these forsake you, I'll never forsake you.' Who did it the worst? Peter. It wouldn't have been near as bad if he hadn't boasted about it. Proverbs 11:3, "the integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them." Perversity, here, is obviously the opposite of integrity. Someone said, 'integrity' - or character - 'is who you are when no one's watching.

' A person of integrity is just as honest when no one is watching as they are when people are watching. That's what real integrity is. In Proverbs 11:5, "the righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness." Now someone look up for me 2 Corinthians 4, verse 18. You'll have that in just a second? Okay? Now, before we go any farther, I want you to know that the verses that we just read, Proverbs :1, 3, 5 and I'm going to read Proverbs 11:4 - I'm mixing them up here - it tells you what the positive side is. This is under Tuesday, 'the hope of the righteous.

' It says, 'his delight, God'll guide them, he will direct them, he'll show them the way.' So it's not just, you know, sometimes people read Proverbs, it's like the cup half empty or the cup half full? If you read where it says "the righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall in his own wickedness." You could look at that and say, 'oh man, the wicked are going to fall. I don't want to fall.' Or you could look at it and say, 'forget about the wicked, I'm going to look at what the promise of the righteous is. So you could look at all these Proverbs and look at the curses that are in them and you could feel, 'wow, Proverbs is a really negative book.' Or you could look at all the Proverbs and say, 'look at all the promises that are in them' and say it's a really positive book. Every one of these things that is separated by the word 'but,' you could read the positive side of that or the negative side of it. There's a lot of promises in here that are promised to the righteous and I think that's what they're want us to focus on.

And then again, it says in Proverbs 11:7, "when a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes." But it's telling you, obviously, that you do not perish. It reminds us of that John 3:16 verse. Alright, go ahead, read for us 2 Corinthians 4:18. "While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

" And so here he's highlighting - Paul is talking about - Proverbs is telling you that the wicked person and the foolish person is - they're looking at just what the immediate visible result is. Solomon is saying, 'if you're really wise, you'll realize there's a God and that the results go beyond that and sometimes the reward isn't immediate, but if you're doing what's right he'll direct your path, he'll deliver you, you'll be the delight of God, he'll show you his way. There's all these promises and you have to believe that because you're not looking at those things which are seen. Alright, and then in a moment I'm going to have somebody read psalm 41:1 and 2, but let me read Proverbs 11:8, "the righteous is delivered from trouble," - anyone want to claim that promise? That's pretty encompassing, isn't it? Is there a time of trouble coming to the world? Is there going to be a time of trouble unlike any other trouble? Who said that? Jesus. Jesus - Matthew 24 and Jesus is quoting Daniel 12, 'at that time Michael will stand up' - I think this is verse 1 - 'that great prince that stands for the children of your people, and there'll be a time of trouble such as there never has been since there was a nation even unto the same time.

' Great time of trouble. How'd you like that promise 'the righteous is delivered from trouble?' That's where you get the word tribulation, it's like 'trouble-ation.' But the wicked, they don't have that promise. "And it comes to the wicked instead." Now, can you think of some examples in the Bible where it looked like the righteous were about to be destroyed but instead it backfired on the wicked? All prime the pump and give you a couple. Maybe you can think of some. You remember when Peter was put in prison by herod the King? Herod killed James.

He put Peter in prison. He was going to execute Peter? But what happened? Angel. An angel came, Peter's delivered. Did you read the end of the chapter? What happens to herod? Angel of the Lord strikes him, he dies. So the one who was going to be the persecutor, he ends up dying and the fisherman, who was in the top security prison, he continues living and preaching.

How about mordecai and haman? You know the story of Esther? So an edict is made to exterminate all of God's people on a certain date, but God intervenes and the gallows that had been built to hang mordecai, who ends up getting hung on those gallows? Haman. Haman. Who built them? It just backfired. "The righteous is delivered from trouble and it comes to the wicked instead." Does that really happen in the Bible? Daniel. Alright, there's another one, Daniel.

The political enemies of Daniel, that wanted him eaten by the lions, Daniel makes it through the lions' den - God shuts their mouth - but what happens to them? They're thrown in. And the Egyptians, who were going to enslave the Israelites, the Israelites go free and the Egyptians get swallowed by the red sea. The soldiers that threw shadrach, meshach, and abednego in the furnace, they survived the furnace but the soldiers get burned up. You can just look at - there's many, many examples in the Bible how the Lord steps in - Jeremiah - king zedekiah puts him in a prison because he's prophesying that Nebuchadnezzar is going to come and there's going to be great slaughter. And the guy in the dungeon, Jeremiah, is one of the only ones that finds mercy from Nebuchadnezzar and he lives after the whole siege and the war is over.

Zedekiah has his eyes put out and he dies in jail. I mean, the Lord can turn things around. What made the difference? God delivers the righteous. Now does that mean righteous people never perish? No. Yeah it does.

In the long run. They never perish eternally. They might die, but can you really kill a righteous person? No. You can kill the body. Jesus said, 'don't be afraid of him who kills the body but they can't touch your soul.

Fear him who can destroy soul and body in hell.' Alright, it goes on to say in verse 11 - I'm sorry, verse 17 of chapter 11, "the merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.' What kind of man? The merciful. "The merciful man does good for his own soul" and it makes you think about that verse in Matthew 5:7, "blessed are the merciful." Mercy comes to the merciful. Alright, you're going to read for us, I think, psalm - someone's going to read psalm , verses 1 and 2. "Blessed is he who considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; thou will not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.

" Well that's a lot of promises. It's saying that if you're merciful to the poor, God says, 'I'll deliver you in the time of trouble' - there's another time of trouble promise - the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, he will be blessed on the earth, you will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. That's just saying that a righteous person - God promises to take care of them. Now, again, there are exceptions. We all know and we've read of righteous people that maybe died in concentration camps, or they died in war.

They might be on a plane that crashes. It doesn't mean that a righteous person is never going to experience any kind of calamity or trouble. But, by far and large, you'll see that God blesses those that trust in him. That do follow him. Mark 11:26 - in the Lord's prayer it says, "but if you don't forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you.

" So when it's talking about being merciful, it doesn't just mean to the poor. Can we sometimes be unmerciful in not forgiving others for smaller offenses than what God forgives us of? You know the parable of the unmerciful debtor? Matthew 18? Man owes the King 10,000 talents - can't pay - king says, 'okay, you know the rules, you're going to a debtor's prison, everything you have is going to be sold' - big debt - and the man says, 'have pity on me. Give me time and I'll pay it all back.' He says, 'okay, I'm going to forgive you.' He forgives the whole thing. He goes out and he finds a fellow servant that owes him a hundred pence - small amount - and he takes him by the throat and he puts him in a debtor's prison for just an insignificant amount - compared to 10,000 talents it's nothing. And at the end of that parable, it turns out that the unmerciful debtor - he goes back to the king and the King says, 'you wicked servant, I forgave you that whole debt because you asked me.

Shouldn't you have also had mercy on your fellow servant as I had pity on you?' And so he puts him back in jail to suffer the penalty for the original offense because he wouldn't forgive his brother. Now what's a good reason for us to be merciful to others? I - how much mercy do we get? From the - we're like that servant in the story when you think about how much we've been forgiven. And, you know, it's hard for us to be pretty short with other people. It doesn't mean you never hold a person accountable for what they do. Alright - and then he closes that parable in Matthew 18 by saying, 'so, likewise, will my Heavenly Father do unto you if you each, from your heart, does not forgive every man his brother his trespasses.

And so the Lord wants us to forgive. Wednesday, 'the truth of the righteous.' Now this emphasis is on truth. Proverbs 13:3, "he who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction." Proverbs 13:5, "a righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame." So, again, we're back on words, but it's talking about - now it's talking not just about chatter and idle words, it's talking about lying and truth and so one of the characteristics of the righteous is what? TRuth. Honesty and what they say. Now, I had a sermon years ago, called 'the truth about lying.

' Actually, it was a two-part series because it's a big subject. And, believe it or not, even Christians - there's a lot of ways you can be dishonest without telling a bold-faced lie. You can be deceptive with your body language - with a shrug of the shoulders - by only telling half a truth that might deliberately lead a person to what you know is going to be a false conclusion. Christians ought to be crystal clear. Ellen white wrote, in the book 'my life today' page 331, "lying lips are an abomination to him.

He declares" - and, by the way, that's a quote from the Bible, 'lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.' "He declares that into the holy city there will in no wise enter anything that defiles or whatsoever works an abomination or makes a lie. Let truth telling be held with no loose hand or uncertain grasp. Let it become part of the life. Playing fast and loose with the truth in dissembling to promote one's own selfish plans make a shipwreck of faith. He who utters untruth sells his soul in a cheap Market.

His falsehoods seem to serve in emergencies. He may thus seem to make business advancements that he could only gain - that he could not gain by fair dealing, but he finally reaches the place where he can trust no one. Himself a falsifier, he has no confidence in the words of others." You know, if you meet someone that doesn't believe anything anyone else says, it might be that they are not always clear with the truth and so they superimpose on others their own characteristics. So the Lord wants us to be honest. One of the characteristics of righteousness is truth.

Jesus is the essence of truth and if we're going to be a people that are going to be sharing the biblical truth with people, should we be honest to someone about little things like when we're going to pay them back or where their missing rake is? Or, you know, just take your pick. Now, you know, we get interesting questions. 'Bible answers live' - if, you know, if a 5-year-old wants to understand the birds and bees and asks mommy and daddy some direct questions, it doesn't mean you've got to tell him everything all at once. You know, even Jesus said to the disciples, 'there's many things that I still have to say to you, but you're not able to bear them.' And so, you know, parents will share certain truths as people can handle them. But Christians should never be dishonest because, you know, when you start telling your kids, 'where'd those presents come from?' 'Santa claus.

' And you might be thinking it's a great family joke and, you know, I know there's a lot of people that joke innocently about that but, you know, someday you're going to be telling them, 'oh, there's really no santa claus and you're telling them the story about Jesus they're going to say, 'how do I know that he's not like santa claus? It's just, you know, a more elaborate fable.' And so, it's very important to just always speak the truth, not only to your children, but to everybody. The truth is a - who was it, Mark twain that said, 'people have such a high regard for the truth because it's so rare in the world.' It's such a rare commodity. So that should be one of the characteristics of the righteous. Alright, then - there are several Proverbs that deal with riches. Now did Solomon know anything about that subject? Yeah.

Jesus even referred to Solomon - his wealth - and part of his wealth was not only the splendor of his palace, but his attire. The queen of sheba, when she saw even the apparel of his servants, her breath was taken away. It was breathtaking. And Jesus said, 'even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like the flowers of the field.' But - so he was rich. Everything in his kingdom was gold.

Proverbs 13:11, "wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase." Have you met anybody before that wants to get rich quick? Or have you met somebody before who has a scheme how you can get rich quick? It usually involves giving them your money for something. Have you ever heard a program on the radio and it says, 'I've made millions and I want to show you how to do it too?' You know, those things are usually how they continue to make millions, not how you make millions. They're selling you something. But who are the ones that end up really being millionaires? The ones who win the lottery or the ones who, through careful planning, saving, spending, working save it? "But he who gathers by labor will increase." Now someone's going to read for me Proverbs 13:4. I'll let you get all lined up.

I'm going to read - I'm going to jump ahead of you. I'm going to read Proverbs 13:7 and these are all about riches. "There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;" - can you think of someone in the Bible that was rich in temporal things but really didn't have anything? There was a short man that climbed a tree - that's a clue. Zaccheus - it says he was very rich, but was he satisfied? No. He felt poor - and when he found Jesus was he ready to unload his riches because he had found real riches? You know the rich young ruler? Jesus said, 'sell what you have, give it to the poor, you'll have treasure in heaven.

Take up your cross and follow me.' He couldn't do it. He went away sad because he had great possessions. It makes you think of this verse that says, "and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches." Jesus said to that young ruler, 'you'll have treasure in heaven.' Alright, go ahead, read for us Proverbs 13, verse 4. "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." Alright, now when it says in the Bible, 'made fat,' that actually is translated, 'be made rich.' In the Hebrew's mind, when it talked about fat, it talked about the richness of the land. It meant the cream and the milk.

It was talking about the honey - just the very best of the land. And it's just talking about one who had an abundance. "A lazy man desired and he has nothing, but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." That's the ni - new king James version of that. Proverbs 13:8, "the ransom of a man's life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke." So I'm - Solomon was aware that riches can sometimes get you out of trouble. It's not necessarily appreciated, but is it sometimes true that if a person's wealthy they can afford a room full of attorneys they might get a different kind of justice than the people who get a public defender? I wonder if he was alluding to that.

Alright, then Thursday is our last section. 'The reward of the righteous.' Someone's going to look up for me Proverbs 13:13 - and you'll have that in just a second? I'm going to read Proverbs 13:9, "the light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out." Who wants to rejoice? This whole lesson's about righteousness. Are the righteous the sad ones or the happy ones? They're the happy ones. John 3:16 - it's in our lesson - "for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but" - there you've got that but again - contrasting - perish or everlasting life? What are the two choices that the world has? Live forever or perish. And then - go ahead, read for us Proverbs 13:13.

"Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded." So, you know, this section is talking about the reward. 'The righteous rejoice, they will be rewarded.' And then it says in Proverbs 13, verse 20, "he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." And so you've got the two extremes there. You've got the ones who rejoice - they're rewarded, they're wise - and then you've got the ones who are destroyed, their light is put out, and they perish. It just makes you think about the final appeal that Moses made when he stood before Israel and he said, 'hear, o Israel, I set before you this day two options:' - I'm paraphrasing - 'on one hand I've got life and good and blessing; on the other hand I've got death and evil and cursing.' You've got the way of the righteous - life, good, and blessing, or you've got the way of the wicked - death, evil, and cursing. Now, would that ever seem like a difficult choice? But what choice is most of the world making? They're making the foolish choice of evil - you know, selfish gratification, death, evil and cursing.

And Solomon says the wisdom is 'do what the righteous do and you'll end up with better life now and eternal life - life, good, and blessing - forever. So you can see that in all these Proverbs. It's contrasting the life of the righteous with the life of the foolish and the wicked and there's really no contrast - or there's no comparison - between the two. Well, friends, that takes us out of time for our lesson today. I'd like to remind you we do have a free offer.

You can not only send and request this - actually you can call and request it. The number again is 866-788-3966 - that's 866-study-more. And when you do, it's offer #714. Or you can read it right now, just go online to 'amazingfacts.org' and you can read the book 'alone in the crowd' by Joe Crews. Out of time for today's study.

Thank you so much for joining us. God bless you and we'll study together again next week. Amazing Facts - changed lives. Nobody was there to defend me. Nobody was there to protect me.

My question was: 'why did that happen to me God? Why didn't you intervene?' Once I hit my teenage years, everything just started coming out. I felt embarrassed about what had happened because for so long I felt it was my fault. There were times that I prayed but it was prayers of resentment and anger and just yelling at God. I was so confused, so depressed and I could not bear any more of the pain. You know, what's the point of living? It's might as well just die.

I started cutting myself but I heard a small, still voice and it said, 'stop! Give me a second chance.' And right there I just felt something completely different. I felt a presence there and I put everything down and I went to my room and I just started crying. I realized that me and God connected so well and I no longer saw him as just a God that no longer cared, but I actually saw him as a father and I continued praying. One day I was sleeping. My mom came to the bed and she said, 'connie, he's here.

He's in town and the Lord impressed me that you need to face the situation. It's time for you to forgive.' When something so drastic and so painful has happened, forgiveness is very hard because you're vulnerable. You let go of that ego - that pride - that has taken over you for so many years. I prayed and when we confronted the situation it was the most amazing moment where we could pray, we could cry, and we could forgive. And because of that, I'm able to help others and tell others that there is hope and there is someone that does care.

Together we have spread the Gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day.

What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift. Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'.

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