Words of Truth

Scripture: Proverbs 22:20-21, Exodus 22:21-27, Ephesians 5:20
Date: 02/28/2015 
Lesson: 9
"It is not enough for the student to listen or even to understand intellectually, what is being taught. Some people who have a lot of biblical facts in their heads have no real knowledge or experience with the Truth itself."
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Hello friends, I'd like to welcome you, again, to Sabbath School Study Hour. To those joining us across the country and around the world, a very special welcome to you and also to our local audience here in Granite Bay - the members of the Granite Bay church - thank you for joining us again this evening. We've been studying through our lesson quarterly on the book of Proverbs and today we find ourselves in lesson #9 dealing with words of truth. The prime passage that we're looking at is Proverbs chapter 22 and 23. We would also like to let you know about a free book that we have - those joining us online and on the television, you can ask for offer #187 is it possible to live without sinning? We'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks.

The number is 866-788-3966. You can also read the book for free online at the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org. Well, before we begin our study, let's just bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Dear Father, we thank you that we can gather together to study the Bible. We recognize that the Scriptures are filled with practical wisdom for everyday living but, even more importantly, it directs us to the source of all true wisdom, and that being God.

Father, we ask a special blessing upon our time together. Guide our hearts and our minds as we open up the Scriptures, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross.

And thank you, our class, for your patience. For those that are watching, just to give you a little behind-the-scenes story, ms. Batchelor and I left the house in plenty of time to get here for the regular time when we record our Sabbath school program, and they had a 14-car accident on the interstate. It didn't look like anyone was seriously hurt, but it just totally locked up interstate 80. And so, we had some quality time together just parked and I called in and said, 'tell them just keep on singing.

' So thank you for waiting. I'm sorry that we're late. You know, we promised last week that we'd give you a little report on some very exciting things that happened. A couple of weeks ago, pastor ross and I and the amazing facts/afcoe team were on the island of jamaica and we had some very exciting experiences there - did a week of prayer at the northern caribbean university and then we went on to the city of Kingston to do a national rally. And so, we just have a little video clip we'd like to roll in now and give you a report on that little mission project.

' Here in jamaica we've had some really exciting experiences here just driving around the country. For one thing, we stopped at a wind farm where they have these big electric windmills, so we could videotape an amazing fact, and the lady who was the security guard guarding the windmills, she was a little apprehensive about our taping there. So we gave her a caveman book and she softened and said, 'go ahead, videotape.' When we came back from our videotaping she said she had already started reading the book. She had Bible questions, that led into a Bible study. She asked questions about the Sabbath.

Then she opened her heart. Then we had prayer together. We went from that experience, driving down a hot road on our way back to the hotel, and there was this man pulling a roller bag full of very heavy car parts down the road. We asked him if he needed a ride. He looked like he was really struggling.

He had a long way to go. He was a little apprehensive because I think he thought we were going to charge him. And we said, 'no, climb in.' We found out he was a seventh-day adventist who's been watching the program for years and he was just beside himself that he was with Amazing Facts in a car. We are so thankful. We had no idea how many people are being impacted by the ministry on this island.

Well, that was really exciting. We had a wonderful experience there in jamaica and we want to send greetings to our extended class there that we know tunes in and joins us for our study. Well, as Pastor Ross said, we're continuing in our study on Proverbs. And I'm learning a lot. I hope you are.

I've been trying to read through the entire book of Proverbs as we prepare. Even though we can't always go point by point through every proverb in our study time. And lesson #9 words of truth - our memory verse is Proverbs 22, verses 20 and 21, and this is in the new king James version here in your lesson. Would you like to say that with me? You ready? "Have I not written to you excEllent things of counsels and knowledge, that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?" What is worth more than truth? I can't think of anything and - especially is it needed in our day and age now when everybody believes that everything is relative. There are certain absolutes and I believe in what you call 'absolute truths.

' I don't claim to know absolute truth. That's a different thing. But believing there are absolute truths, I think, is crucial for a Christian in this morphine culture where it seems like everyone says, 'well, that's good. And that's the truth for you and I've got the truth for me and everybody has their own truth and your truth will give you your, you know, happy end and my truth will bring me my happy end.' And to me, that is so absurd because you would never want to go to a brain surgeon that had that approach on medicine. You would not want to get on an airplane where a pilot comes over the loudspeaker and says, 'well, some pilots believe in certain aviation laws and others believe in different aviation laws and today we're going to try something new because I'm sincere.

' So you know that there are absolute truths and people may not understand a lot, but that doesn't mean there isn't an absolute truth. And God is the truth. We have a number of verses and - just to get you set up, someone should have John 1:14 - and you'll have that in just a moment, okay. Proverbs 23:23, "buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding." Any of you remember in Isaiah 55 it says, "ho ye - that everyone who thirsts come ye to the waters. He that has no money, buy ye and eat without money and without price.

' And here it says, "buy the truth, and do not sell it." Nothing is more valuable than truth. Now, why is that? Think about this for a moment. Who is the embodiment of truth? Jesus is. Jesus is. He said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.

' So anytime we embrace the truth or anytime we reject the truth or we dismiss the truth or we deny the truth, to some extent you are accepting/denying, embracing/rejecting Jesus, more or less. And that's why truth is so important and honesty is so important. Go ahead, we're going to have you read John - the Gospel of John 1:14. "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of The Father, full of grace and truth." Jesus - full of grace and truth. He was the embodiment - he still is - of truth.

And Jesus said - and we often quote this verse in John 8:32, "and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." You know, how many people in the world are in bondage, living trying to fulfill lies. You think some of the pitiful - I mean, you know, I don't want to sound - I don't want to make it sound like Christians are arrogant but we're confident - I am - about what I believe. And I used to believe a lot of really bizarre things and they, you know, they leave you in bondage. There are dear people in the world and, again, I don't mean to be critical, but they believe that rats and monkeys and cows are reincarnated relatives and they spend their lives trying to give them sacrifices and offerings and what a terrible bondage that kind of faith is. And people that live in fear of spirits that they always have to appease and they've got to wear these charms and fetishes all the time and - ceaseless works and things they have to do to try to appease these Gods and devils they're afraid of.

And when you know the truth about God and the goodness of God and the love of God and who he is and what he wants, it is so liberating. An example: before I was a Christian I believed that if you're good, you die and go to heaven and if you're bad, you die, you go to hell. Some of the schools I went to taught 'and there you burn through ceaseless ages.' So I had two choices: 1) I could not - you ever thought about how awful that is? I mean, can you think of anything more awful than the concept that you might be consigned - and that most of the people in the world that are lost - will be consigned to eternal torture. You know, the world was horrified when we heard on the news a little while back about a captive that isis burnt to death. And just the idea of even the seconds or minutes that that took and the suffering involved.

And everyone is horrified and they say, 'how barbaric those people are.' And then Christians will stand up and say, 'but if you don't behave, God is going to do that to you forever and ever and ever.' And when you get done saying 'forever' fifty times, you better say it another fifty times and you haven't started. And after a billion years of burning go by, you still haven't technically begun because it's forever. Now when I learned the truth about what the Bible says about hell - there is a lake of fire and there is punishment, but it says that the wicked are burnt up. They're consumed. They're devoured.

They perish. And everyone gets according to what they deserve. I saw the justice in that. I even saw the love of God in that and I could finally breathe. And I could finally say, 'God is a God of love.

' And that truth - I just really felt like I could finally think seriously about being a Christian because I could never love a God like that before. So knowing the truth - and that's just one of a thousand doctrines. Knowing the truth sets you free. Knowing the truth about health sets you free and you start to realize, 'oh man, I've been killing myself. I had no idea.

And I wondered why I was feeling miserable. I never made a connection between my health habits and my diet and how I felt.' And finally I realized that. I thought, 'oh man, I knew - I wish I knew this as a kid.' My mom just tanked us up with tea and twinkies before we went to school. And I used to think - man, I was bouncing off the walls, getting bad grades and - I wish I knew all that back then. So the truth sets you free.

And, of course, Solomon reiterates that several times. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.' And you can also read in John :37, pilate said to Jesus, 'are you a king then?' And Jesus answered, 'you say, rightly that I'm a king. For this cause I was born and for this cause I've come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.' You know, when you long for truth and you're looking for truth, the words of Jesus resonate with you. There's something inside that it just rings a bell and you go, 'that's true.

' And you just know it. And, of course, pilate, after he heard that, it did something for him but he dismissed it and said, 'what is truth? Who can really know?' How sad, for someone to stand in the presence of the embodiment of truth and shrug and say, 'what is truth?' And walk away. Can you imagine how he's going to feel in the judgment when he realized how close he was to perfect truth? The truth incarnate and he shrugged and said with sarcasm, 'what is truth?' And walked away. Proverbs 22:1. Now we're really beginning this section.

Our assignment in our study today is Proverbs 22 through Proverbs 24. We're bouncing - it's not all sequential because, you know, sometimes there's topics that Solomon talks about and so our lesson's divided up a little more topically. Proverbs 22:1, "a good name is to be chosen rather than riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." You know, having a life where you have a reputation for honesty, you live a life of integrity - there's nothing that can beat that. There's nothing really more valuable than that. Then to - and to be able to pass that on to your kids, that you have a reputation for believing in God - a good name.

Let me give you some other verses on this. If you jump back to Proverbs 10 - I don't know if you remember reading this one - verse 7, "the memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot." Ecclesiastes 7, verse 1, "a good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of one's death than the day of one's birth;" it talks about a good day - a good name. And the reason he says 'the day of one's death' it's because you - it's when you end the race, as a Christian. And so, for a believer, if you end victoriously, the Bible says, 'blessed in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints.' Then you jump to Proverbs 22, verse 8 - no, I'm sorry, Proverbs 22, verse 3, "a prudent man sees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." And this - by the way, you know, I don't know if you've noticed, there are certain Proverbs that we've read that, later in Proverbs, are repeated verbatim. Now the Proverbs may have been edited and compiled - Proverbs of Solomon, if you read, it says Solomon uttered thousands.

There's not thousands in the book of Proverbs. So you don't have them all. And some of them were repeated almost verbatim, with just slight differences and so we understand that hezekiah and some of the scribes during his time, they assembled a number of these, but that proverb we just read is repeated verbatim in Proverbs 27:12. It says there, "a prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished." It says that twice. What's an example of that? A prudent man - or woman - foresees evil and hides themselves, but the simple pass on and are punished.

' It means that you listen to traffic reports and you avoid the accidents. A prudent person foresees it and they find another way around - I told Karen, as soon as I saw the brake lights I said, 'I ought to turn off here. That doesn't look good up there.' And I passed on. The simple pass on and are stuck. Well, it means you look down the road and there's a lot of roads you can look down.

You might look down the road financially. You and I probably know people that saw that there was a housing bubble and they decided it was time to sell their house at the top of the Market. That's prudent. Some people who are simple, they make investments and they don't watch them and they don't think and they go on and they see everything pull out in front of them. So looking ahead is just - that's wise.

Thinking ahead - you see trouble down the road, going around it or stop. Don't go right off into the middle of it. Proverbs 22, verse 8, "he who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail." Now, here you've got sowing and reaping - of course there's not just dealing with agriculture. There's a number of passages in the Bible that talk about how you can't plant melons and, you know, expect to get strawberries. What you plant is what you're going to get.

Galatians chapter 6, verses 7 and 8, "do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Now what does he mean, 'sowing to the flesh?' First of all, I think Paul is alluding to something Solomon is saying here. Sowing to the flesh would be if you're living for the carnal life instead of the Spiritual life, that's all you're going to get. And you'll reap death from that. Job 4:8 - now who came first, job or Solomon? Job.

So it could be that Solomon read what job wrote. Job 4:8 says, "even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same." Didn't Jesus say, 'he that lives by the sword, dies by the sword?' What you sow you're going to reap and it's often true that people die the way they live. And you can't be sowing wild oats and praying for crop failure. You're going to reap what you sow. Proverbs 22, verses 17 and 18, "bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise," - what does he mean 'bow down thine ear?' Have you ever had to lean towards something so you could hear - a little more closely? I should have brought them today, I didn't think about this, but Karen'll testify that, you know, you get a little older and your hearing's not as acute as it used to be.

Any of you ever cup your ears to hear something better? It really works. And I've caught myself several times, especially in a crowded room - there's a lot of background noise and someone's talking and I can't hear them and I go - it makes a big improvement. Just that little bit works like a parabolic dish and it - so you know what I did is I thought, 'I don't want to go around all the time like this so I went and got a plastic salsa bowl that had the shape of a parabolic dish and I cut it in half and I took a hanger and I made, like the ladies would wear a hair band, and I've got it and it's hanging in my office and it puts these two things - I thought, 'I'm going to patent this.' I call them 'elephant ears.' And you just put it - put it like that and you just set it on your head - no batteries squealing - it's battery free and wherever you aim your head it doubles your hearing just like that. Isn't that right, dear? She thought I looked so corny because you look like mickey mouse. I only wear them around the house but I still - I've got to call it in because it's so simple.

Don't have to hold your hand up and you just turn at everybody. You look really dopey but it works. So when Solomon says, 'he that bows down his ear,' it means that you're tuning in. You ever see someone lean over to hear a conversation a little better? "Bow down thine ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.

" What you hear with your mind and in your heart will come out of your mouth. Alright, next section - someone's going to read for me, in a moment, Proverbs 23, verses 10 and 11 - would that be you, John? And I'm going to read Proverbs , verses 22 and 23. This is under the segment for Monday, robbing the poor. "Rob not the poor, because he is poor... For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

" Some people take advantage of the poor and it backfires, is basically what it's saying. Even coming over here tonight, sequestered in the car listening to the traffic report, they had little tidbits of news and they talked about a landLord that - how he was exploiting - here, someone locally - how he was exploiting the poor, charging incredible prices - very unsafe conditions. A place finally burned down and he said, 'oh, but I couldn't take care of the place and I didn't have enough money.' And they came to find out that he was bringing about $360,000.00 a year and he was exploiting the poor and they lost everything. I don't know if you've ever heard some of the terrible stories about people who are trying to get legal citizenship and they get attorneys that claim to be immigration attorneys and they say, 'I can take care of everything for you. Give me $300.

00 and I'll get it all taken care of.' And, you know, people are so desperate and they need help and they know they can't do it themselves and they'll cash out everything they've got and they'll give $300.00 to this attorney who won't do a thing or they just ignore them or they say, 'oh, your case is too difficult.' And there's nothing that person - try and get money back from an attorney. And they exploit the need of people and take advantage of the poor. Go ahead, read for us Proverbs :10 and 11. "Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of The Fatherless: for their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee." So again, well there's a couple things here, once he says, 'don't remove the ancient landmarks.' And when you bought property back then, they would set up stones or, you know, they didn't have metal stakes, really, to drive in the ground. So usually there were stones and sometimes a large stone, there'd be some writing on it or etching on it and say, 'this is a corner Marker for these people or this property.

' Some of you remember the story in the Bible where ahab wasn't satisfied with how much land he had for his garden and he wanted to take the property of a neighbor named naboth. And when naboth said, 'look, you know, this is our family inheritance. I really don't want to sell it.' Working with jezebel, he had him killed so that he could take his land. And so this is talking about removing the ancient landmarks and also, 'do not enter the fields of The Fatherless.' You know the poor - fatherless - they can't, you know, sometimes rich people have more power. They have more influence and they can exploit and take advantage of the poor that don't have the means to fight them.

Have we seen, even in our culture, that if you've got enough money and you can afford a really good defense team, in some cases you can almost get away with murder. And so, the - yeah, the rich sometimes can take advantage of the poor. But what does it say in both these verses? 'the Lord will plead their cause, for their redeemer is mighty. He will plead their cause.' Do you want to go into court against God and try and go up against him? So when we take advantage of people, how does the Lord feel about that? He's not happy. Yeah, you're going to be on the losing team.

You don't - it's - it really angers him. He wants us to show mercy to the poor. A few more verses on this theme about robbing the poor. Ecclesiastes 5, verse 8, "if you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice" - we just gave a case of that - "and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them." In other words, nobody really gets away with anything forever because someone is always watching and even the highest official answers to God and so there's going to be a payday is just what Solomon is saying there in Ecclesiastes. Exodus 23, Moses addresses this same principle, "you shall not pervert the judgment of the poor in his dispute.

Now, you know what I like about what Moses said? Moses said - can you have discrimination both ways? Can you have discrimination of giving preferential treatment to the rich because they're rich? Can you also give preferential treatment to the poor? Yes. And Moses actually addresses both sides of that. He said, 'you know, you'll not show preference to the poor. If they're being unjust they're being unjust and you'll not show preference to the rich. You shall have' - any of you know what that figure is that they have above the courthouse with scales? Blind justice.

Blind - it's a lady that has a blindfold on, meaning that justice is going to be weighed based upon the facts and not based upon who you are, how much money you have, who you know. It's just going to be based upon the evidence and that's what Moses is saying, pick Judges. Jethro said that will rightly administer. Why did they not want Samuel to be their judge anymore? Because Samuel's sons began to take over doing judgment and it says they took bribes and the people could not get justice. They said, 'give us a king and we don't want this anymore.

' Zechariah 7:10, "do not oppress the widow or The Fatherless, the alien" - strangers from another country - "or the poor." - And this is coming from a prophet. God doesn't want us to take advantage of people who might be vulnerable. Matter of fact, what should be the Christian characteristic? To take advantage of people that might be exposed or vulnerable or to guard them, protect them, take them in, care for them? They need a friend. They need a little - they need an advocate. Blessed are the peacemakers; they'll be called the children of God.

Job 31: - I love the book of job. I mean, when you read the book of job, you know you're reading - you're reading from people that were living 200 years back then. You're pretty wise. They were pretty profound in what they said. Job, now, is pleading with his friends - just to give you the background - and he said, "if I have kept the poor from their desire, or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or eaten my morsel by myself" - in other words, hoarding things.

When I went to military school, you didn't want to get up and walk away from your plate because you never knew what your fellow cadets would do. And it was sometimes like a jungle and a lot of kids actually ate with their arms like this so that nobody could stab their ice cream sandwich or whatever was on their tray. And I just - I remember that one time a captain came by and someone was hoarding their food and he pushed their face right down in it. But it's a picture of somebody who is not wanting to share and that's what job is talking about. "Or eaten my morsel by myself" - you run off and hide - any of you ever see a dog get something and they run off.

They don't want anyone else snatching it. "Or eaten my morsel by myself, so that The Fatherless could not eat of it (but from my youth I reared him as a father, and from my mother's womb I guided the widow)" - he's saying 'this is what I've done.' - "If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or any poor man without covering; if his heart has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; if I have raised my hand against The Fatherless, when I saw I had help in the gate," - that's where judgment was done - "then let my arm fall from my shoulder, let my arm be torn from the socket." - Job is vowing before his friends. He says, 'I have taken care of the poor. I've pled the cause of the fatherless. I've been a defense.

I've clothed the naked.' And he's saying, you know - they're saying, 'oh, this is happening to you because you didn't - you're doing something unjust.' And job said, 'no.' Being jealous of the wicked. Another segment here that conjures up some interesting thoughts. This comes from Proverbs 23:17, "do not let your heart envy sinners," - now he's not even saying outwardly. In your heart don't envy sinners - "but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day." Now, I won't ask for a show of hands but I expect, if you're human and you're at all like me, which may not be the same thing, that you've had your moments where you have seen the wicked prospering with their yachts on their private island surrounded by every pleasure and luxury and comfort and ease. And in your quiet moments you've thought, 'wow, that looks pretty nice.

Wish I could have that.' And - but they don't have God. And so he's saying, 'don't let your heart envy sinners - "but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;" David talks about this. Matter of fact, if you look in psalm 37 - we're going to look at several verses because the whole psalm, really, addresses this principle. Psalm 37, I'll read verses 1 and and somebody's going to be going to Proverbs 24:1 and 2 for me. Who has that? Okay, katrina, in just a moment.

Psalm 37:1 and 2, "do not fret" - what does 'fret' mean? Worry, be anxious - "because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb." Just pause for a moment. When you think about who some of the richest people in the world are - billions of dollars - and you're struggling financially, you never have a fleeting thought of coveting your neighbor's house or think, 'oh, that would be nice. I wish I had that.' Would you want to trade places with them in the judgment day? What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? And so, don't envy them because, yeah, they might be prospering now, they might be looking like they're having a great time now, but how long will that last compared to what God is offering you and me. It just goes back to that old analogy that you would ask a kid, 'do you want a scoop of ice cream right now, or do you want five scoops tomorrow? And so often they'll say, 'I want a scoop right now.

' You want a nickel now or do you want a dollar in a year? 'I want a nickel now.' And, you know, we never fully outgrow that. But you've got to keep the eternal perspective. And so, when you see the wicked prospering, what does David say about how long our lives are? It's like a vapor. It's like a moment. Yeah, they're flourishing and they're prospering for a moment and I can name a whole lot of very rich people that are dead now, right? And they decompose just as fast as the poor unless they're embalmed or cryogenically frozen or something like that.

So why would you envy them? David goes on - now did David see both sides? I mean did - David knew what it was like to just, you know, follow the sheep around in the hot hills or the cold meadows of Bethlehem. And he also knew what it was like to live in a palace with the King and then he had to run from the palace and live in a cave. Then he went back to the palace. I mean, he had the whole perspective. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

" Do wicked people sometimes seem to succeed in their white-collar crime? Yes. And you're saying, 'why does the Lord? Wow, they're just piling on the money. Look at that nice car they're driving. Look at that penthouse apartment in New York. All their conniving, it seems to be paying off.

' David says it may look like they're bringing wicked schemes to pass. Don't fret. Don't envy them because it's a moment. It doesn't last, right? "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret" - it only causes harm. I told Karen, a few minutes ago while we were in traffic - you know, you feel a little helpless.

I knew you were all sitting here and, you know, we come from, oh it's 15 miles or so to get here and I told Karen, 'I'm real tempted to drive off in the emergency lane here because' - I said, 'you know, I'd just tell the police that I've got - we're getting ready before a live audience to record something. I've got to go. And I used to just - I'd wring my hands and get all tight inside and I told Karen, 'you know, I must be growing because I just figure God's in charge. If I can't make it, I can't make it. And you've just got to wait until the Lord works it out.

Fretting doesn't do anybody any good. You know what the number one medication is - sold - in north America? Antacids - things related to stress and ulcers. Yeah, and depression - that's another big one. But yeah, folks are just - "do not fret. It only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth." Now does Jesus quote that? 'Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked will be no more' - rich or poor, they'll be no more. You need to pity them, don't envy them. You ever feel sorry for the rich? Not very often, do you? But think about it, they're going to be lost too. And does the Lord love their souls? You know, I think we need more ministry also for people who have means - "for yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.

But the meek shall inherit the earth," - this is where Jesus is quoting - "and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." So yeah, for a little while, it might look like they bring wicked schemes to pass and the wicked are prospering and it looks like they've got power and control and you can just get all wound up over that. I start thinking about politics sometimes and you can get exasperated when you see the things that are happening both in our country and other places. Alright, someone's going to read for us Proverbs - katrina - 24:1 and 2. "Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; for their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking." Yeah, it's not only here saying, 'don't envy them.' It says don't be around them because what they're talking about, it'll vex your soul. And they're devising evil and you get caught up in that.

You can actually be accused of being an accomplice. So when you hear people conniving and scheming, don't even be with them. Don't desire to be with them. 'Oh, but they're rich. They're powerful.

' If they're wicked, you're better off to be with the humble and the wise. "And their lips talk of troublemaking." Proverbs 24:19 - still in Proverbs 24 now. We'll be going back and forth. "Do not fret because of evildoers nor be envious of the wicked; for there will be no prospect for the evil man; the lamp of the wicked will be put out." Rich or poor, the lamp of the wicked will be put out. That's very sad.

So you don't need to envy someone else's success. The best remedy for this spiritually dangerous problem is to just remember what the reward is that the Lord has promised us. And when Jesus came into the world, could he have come rich if he wanted? Sure. How did he come? He was poor. Yeah, he identified with the poor.

Who was it? Abraham lincoln used to say, 'God must love poor people 'cause he sure made an awful lot of them.' So yeah, Jesus said, when mary gave him a gift - you remember what - sometimes it can be abused - the idea of caring for the poor. Mary gave Jesus this gift when she anointed his feet and Judas said, 'why, that ointment could have been sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor.' And Jesus said, 'the poor you will always have with you.' You know, until the end of time there's always going to be people that are less for - now governments don't ever say that, do they? No. They say, 'we've got a solution to eliminate poverty.' But Jesus said you'll always have poor, you know why? Because some people are blessed more than others. Some people are wiser. Some people are more capable.

Some people are more talented. Some people are more industrious. It's not popular to say those things, but they're just practical truths. So you're always going to have variations in any society. And Jesus said you'll always have poor with you and you'll have oppoortunity to show love and mercy.

He said, 'me you'll not always have with you.' What he was saying to mary magdalene. And Ephesians 5 - tying off this subject about the poor - Ephesians 5, verse 20, "giving thanks always for all things to God The Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." So the - the solution for our tendency maybe to covet someone else's mansion or their nicer things or clothes or cars or position or whatever it might be - is. Thank the Lord for what you do have. It sort of smothers - gratitude for your blessing sort of smothers fretting over what somebody else might have. Alright, what we put in our mouths is our next section.

Genesis 3:3 - does it make a difference what we put in our mouths? I already set it up so you know. Why is there sin in the world today? Think about all the misery and the suffering and the struggle and the problems between good and evil and what triggered it all? God said, 'you are free to eat everything I've blessed. There's just one thing you should not eat. Do not eat that.' And the devil said 'go ahead and eat it.' And, evidently, adam and eve thought, 'don't make such a big deal out of just a little something to eat.' But where did that end up going? It doesn't make a difference. "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.

'" I did a sermon once years ago called below the nose and above the chin. It kind of narrows it down. So much of our trouble has to do with - you know God gave us two nostrils and two ears and two eyes but one mouth and most of our trouble has to do with what goes in and what comes out of our mouths. One tongue and look at all the trouble it can start. But Proverbs actually talks about diet and appetite and control over those things.

Proverbs 23, verse 1, "when you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; and put a knife to your throat" - now is there a word picture for you? - "Put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are a deceptive food." Now what does that mean? Well, I can extrapolate a few different things from this passage. For one thing, when you sit down with a ruler and you're having a feast, don't become so preoccupied with the cuisine that you - you lose all dignity and you say, 'wow!' And you just - maintain control. You've got an opportunity to maybe build a relationship, to talk - whatever the purpose of the meeting or the meal is and just show restraint is one thing that he's saying there. Another thing he's saying - and he says 'put a knife to your throat if you're a man given to appetite because sometimes you might be invited to a meal and there's an agenda and you will pay for that meal another way.

Do you know what I mean? And so, I don't know if you know anybody that has ever done something nice for you, but you're almost afraid to ever take a favor or a gift from them because they will remind you of it. I had a relative that whenever they gave you anything or did anything for you, they would ask you about it every time. 'So how's that sweater I gave you?' 'It seems to be healthy. Sweater's doing fine.' You know, I'm just - they bring it up but it's like then they'd ask for a favor and it's like you're paying for it - over and over again. You know what I'm talking about? So I don't want to sound ungrateful but Solomon is saying you better be careful because "do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.

" Now what about Daniel when he was in Babylon? Did he have a chance to eat from the ruler's cafeteria? Yes. But it was a deceptive food in that things around the table may have had a couple of problems. One, probably some of the stuff had been offered to pagan idols, but beyond that, it was in the unclean category and the wine was alcoholic and Daniel said, 'give us simple food.' And so, you know, eating the wrong thing. You ever notice that poor people often eat beans and rice and rich people eat escargot - snails, frogs' legs - I remember, I ate the weirdest things when I went out to dinner with my father. I tell people in my testimony, I say, 'yep, I ate frogs' legs and I ate turtle and I ate snails and I did all that while I was in a restaurant.

Then I went in the cave and I ate beans and rice - a little rattlesnake and squirrel but mostly - mostly beans and rice. So it may also not be healthy. It's a deceptive meat. Read on in Proverbs 23, verse 6, "do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. 'Eat and drink!' He says to you, but his heart is not with you.

The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words." Now that's what I'm talking about earlier - a miser. What's a miser? Someone who hoards. Someone they're - they're grasping, they're thinking about what they're going to get from you and so - in the east, often relationships, covenants, deals were sealed with a meal and it's also saying 'do not be tempted to enter into a bargain.' What did - how did esau lose his birthright? Wasn't it over a meal? Yes. He was desiring his brother's - yeah, it wasn't even good food. It's just - it was red beans.

I mean, it may have been healthy but it wasn't extravagant in any way. Sold his birthright for beans. And so it might cost you. Jacob said, 'sure, sit down, we'll eat, but before I feed you, you know that birthright? I mean, what difference is a birthright. Wouldn't you like to trade me your birthright? Smell the beans.

' Did esau later regret that? Yeah. So there's a lot of ways you can understand that. But while we're talking about what you put in your mouths, it's not just what you eat. The Bible says, 'whatever you do, whether you eat or whether you drink, do all to the glory of God. Now, does it make sense that if it's possible to eat and drink to the glory of God? We all agree that it is.

It says - we're commanded to do it so it must be possible. Is it possible not to eat and drink to God's glory? So, Noah - the Bible says Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. The Bible says Noah walked with God. But Noah planted a vineyard. And it wasn't a total accident.

He may have been depressed, who knows what happened, but he then let the wine ferment and he drank and the Bible says that he 'was drunk and became uncovered in his tent.' Now somebody is going to read for me Habakkuk :15. You're going to do that in a minute, brian? Just a moment. Habakkuk 2:15. So does Proverbs also have some things to say about alcohol? Yes. It wasn't just Noah.

You can think of a number of people in the Bible - they were drinking and they made some very bad decisions. I remember when I was in the mountains and I didn't want to quit drinking and I remember my friends - I had a couple of Christian friends that said, 'doug, Christians shouldn't drink.' And I argued, 'Jesus turned the water into wine.' And you've probably heard that before. And then, when they convinced me that he probably made grape juice, then I said, 'well, but Jesus said it's not what goes in your mouth that defiles you, it's what comes out of your mouth.' So I can put whatever I want in my mouth as long as I pray. Have you heard that argument before? Yes. But have you noticed that people putting alcohol in their mouth, it does affect what comes out? Yes.

(Laughter) yeah. Alright, go ahead, read for us Habakkuk 2:15. "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness!" That's what we just read about with Noah. And you've probably seen more than you want to remember, with people that were disheveled because they were inebriated and they kind of lose their self respect. I won't go into what I saw, but we did a mission - lived at a mission - Karen and I went back to New Mexico.

Right off the reservation they had a notorious bar - it's since closed, praise the Lord - called the turquoise bar. They couldn't sell alcohol on the reservation back then, but immediately across the reservation somebody had built a bar. And a number of the navajo people struggled with alcohol - as I'm sure many do today. And because that was the first place you could buy alcohol right off the reservation, it was right just up the road from our mission office. We just - not only were there a lot of deaths - a lot of fighting - a lot of abuse - a lot of indignities.

I mean, it was just awful what we saw - what alcohol did to people. Which makes me think of what Solomon is saying in Proverbs 23. This is part of our passage - I know we talked about this earlier because proverb - Solomon talked about alcohol in an earlier chapter, but he really gets into it here. Proverbs 23:29, "who has woe?" - Now you notice we said - it says here - Habakkuk says, 'woe to him.' What's 'woe?' Is woe good or bad? Bad. It's - it's - yeah, 'oy vey' is what you would say in Hebrew and that's like when Isaiah said, 'woe is me.

' 'Oy vey iz mir.' You ever heard that yiddish expression? Yeah, woe is me. And it's the opposite of what Jesus said when he said, 'blessed.' It's almost like cursed. It's misery. "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?" Now Solomon is doing something here, for this proverb, he doesn't do anywhere else. He gets out of the chiastic pro and con of all the other Proverbs and he just lets loose and just says, 'you want to have all kinds of misery and problems' - and he just - there's not even a poetic rhythm to it anymore and he just comes on as strong as he can.

"Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those that linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper." - Serpents and vipers in the Bible, what are they analogous of? The devil. - "Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things." How many cruel, wicked, mean things have fathers said to their children and their spouses and wives too, probably, when they're drunk? Your heart - your eyes will see strange things. "...you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast," - now how wise is it to take a nap on the top of a mast in a boat? Now I lived on a couple of sailboats - one on the caribbean and one in the mediterranean - and when the boat is rocking like this, when you get up on the mast - the mast is rocking like this. And so there's a whole lot of time that mast is not even over the boat.

You fall out of the mast and you're in the drink. And if you're at sea, you could drown. The boat could leave you behind. And to sleep on the mast - you're supposed to be up there as a lookout hanging on for dear life. They didn't have the, you know, osha-regulated crow's nests up there back then.

And a lot of boats I went on, you climbed up the rope and you just hung on for dear life. There was no harness when I was a kid living on these boats. They had no safety harnesses. You had to hang on with both hands. And it talks about the recklessness of what alcohol does - how much death it causes.

"...one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 'they have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it.'" Years ago someone wrote in to dear abby - any of you remember dear abby? Yes. And she was always pretty hard on alcohol and what it did to the society and people that drank. Someone wrote in and they said, 'you know, dear abby, you're awful hard on alcohol and a little bit is really not bad and just a case in point, it relaxes you. I was having a few drinks and I lost my balance and I fell down the stairs and the doctor says because I was drinking I didn't break any bones because I was relaxed.' And abby, of course, wrote back and said, 'you realize, of course, you wouldn't have fallen down the stairs if you weren't drinking?' And so people say, 'oh, you know, they beat me. I don't even remember.

How'd I wake - I got this black and blue Mark - missing teeth - I didn't even feel it.' Wounds without a cause. "They struck me, but I was not hurt. They beat me, but I did not feel it." You know, the old cowboy movies, before they had to take the bullet out, they'd give them a shot of whiskey because that's, you know, all they had back then. 'Oh, I didn't feel it.' "When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?" You know what he's describing there? People that barely sober up and they go seeking it again. That's alcoholism.

That's not a new problem. That goes back all the way to the beginning. So, you know, I don't want to take that farther than necessary, but let me give you a couple more. Isaiah 5:11, "woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!" And some people were falsely accused of being drunk. I can think of two cases in the Bible.

You know what they are? Hannah. Hannah - when the Holy Spirit was poured out the crowd said to the disciples, 'they are full of new wine.' Now, the reason they said 'new wine' is they were mocking because, when people were staggering up the streets they said, 'oh, drinking again?' They said, 'no, it was just new wine.' And so it was a sarcasm when they said, 'oh, they're full of new wine.' You see? You understand? New wine was not alcoholic and people used to say, 'oh, I wasn't drinking. It was new wine.' And so the crowd was mocking the disciples and said, 'oh, I suppose they're full of new wine.' Meaning they were drunk. But they weren't. They were full of the holy spirit.

And last section - I'll just read a couple of these - our responsibilities. It says that in Proverbs 24:11 and 12, "deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter." - People who were stumbling towards their destruction - they're drawn towards death and you want to do all you can to save them. I remember, you know, it probably sounds strange to you in telling you this story, but when we were in New York city doing something - one of a few occasions - and the streets are just, you know, always bustling with people and tourists and we were not far from the 42nd street area when we did our net New York program. And I just remember that - I grew up in New York city and I was standing and I looked and I saw the light had just changed and the cabs in New York, they don't - when the light's green, you better get out of their way. And they just - one of them just came - the light changed and he was already on his way when the light changed so he didn't even slow down - started going through - and this kid who was talking to his family - wasn't even looking - and he didn't know the light had changed and he just started off into - right in front of this cab and if you're a parent, you kind of instinctively go like that.

I don't know if any of you remember before seat belts when you had kids in the front seat? And whenever you hit the brake, your arm went out. Any of you remember what I'm talking about? Yes. And I still do it today. Karen's sitting next to me, I hit the brakes - I just - I figure I should catch my kids. But I stopped this kid and his family saw that he was - he was just plowing off and I stopped him and I thought to myself, 'he would have died if I hadn't done that.

' And I didn't get an award or anything and I'm not asking for it now - maybe it sounds like I am. But it's talking about there, it says, "deliver those who are drawn towards death and hold back those stumbling for the slaughter." Wouldn't any of you do that? Uh huh. What about if you see people that don't know the Lord? Are they stumbling towards death? Are they plowing towards the slaughter? And we ought to be doing all we can to try and interfere with their destruction, you know, bring them to the Lord. Get their attention. Pray for them.

Plead for their souls. And then, the last section, again, it says - Proverbs 23:23, "buy the truth and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding. The Father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice. My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.

" So there's a plea there. the Lord says, 'give me your heart. Love the truth. Buy it. Do not sell it.

Live a life of wisdom and you'll be blessed and others around you will be blessed. Well, we are out of time for today's study, but we do have a free offer, mentioned at the beginning. Hopefully you saw that. And it asks a very provoking question. You'll like the book.

It's called is it possible to live without sinning? Send it to you for free. You can read it online for free also at amazingfacts.org and if you would like a copy of this, it's 866-788-3966. God bless you until we study his word together again next week. 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'. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo.

From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, Biblehistory.com is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit 'Biblehistory.com'.

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