The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of sin hold him fast.
Reading this, I find myself so grateful for the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, bringing us the free gift of salvation. He has made it possible for us to be freed from the cords of sin, granting us the freedom to say, “No”, to sin.
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
In a world dark with sin, black with the rejection of God, a righteous life is a light breaking forth like the dawn. Matthew Chapter 5:14, says. ” You are the light of the world”, and 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. In Proverbs 4, notice the verse says it is the PATH of the righteous which is like the first gleam of dawn. It is not what we say, but it is the way we walk with Jesus, our actions, as we live out our Christian life that casts light on a sin-darkened world.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways aknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Very familiar verses, but when I meditated on them this time, I was encouraged by their truth. To not lean on our own understanding can apply to very aspect of life – a sudden financial tragedy, catastrophic illness, death of a loved one, personal problems in marriage, all areas of our life. We are commanded to lean not on our own understanding of any given situation.
God, Who loves us deeply, is not surprised by the events in our lives, but has all of His resources ready and available through Christ to meet every need. Our job is to lean on Him, and not to trust in our frail grasp of life.
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.
Knowing the true instructions – wisdom, understanding, and truth- come from God, why would we want the world’s viewpoint? Of what good is the counsel of those who do not know God nor walk with Him? We are the children of God. Our counsel comes from the wisdom and beauty of His Word, His love letter to us.
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline, for understanding words of insight, for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
Who wouldn’t want to be a man or woman known to have a reputation for being insightful, just, fair and honest? The purpose of Proverbs is to teach us those principles which will guide us as we seek to live a life of righteousness in this world.
It’s like we are beginning a course of study. In a college handbook, it might be listed under “Humanities” 101: how to live wisely in regard to life, in regard to God and in our relationship to other men. Resource Book: PROVERBS, Credit Hours: a lifetime. Cost: a willingness to learn about living life God’s way, by His instruction.
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Isn’t this so human. “Follow Me”, Jesus said, and Peter turned and said but “What about him?” We are called to follow Christ, yet we are constantly watching our brothers and sisters to see how they are doing. We are responsible for our walk with God, our eyes should be on Him, our obedience to Him. What He does with or for, others may be our concern in prayer, but it should not affect our walk with Christ. Our walk is OUR walk. As He chooses for us, He provides for us. We are His testimony, His ambassadors.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The Greek word for “blessed” here, means” to pronounce happy or blessed”. Jesus did not hesitate to confirm Thomas’ belief by showing Thomas His hands and feet. He also does not hesitate to pronounce that we are blessed and happy for believing without seeing.
Remember, when we are longing for the fulfillment of our faith, when our desire is to be done with this world, that Jesus has pronounced us happy an blessed even as we wait.
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…”
This is profound. Pilate would have no power over Jesus at all, except that God the Father has allowed it, and Jesus Himself, surrendered to it. I think it frightened Pilate to hear those words. If he could have seen with spiritual eyes the 10, 000 angels guarding our Lord, Pilate would have dropped dead of fear on the spot. But this is an eternal plan. This is the fulfillment of prophecy, the final act of salvation. The innocent, sinless, Lamb of God would die for the sins of all mankind and usher in the age of grace and forgiveness.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” ‘I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
Step back from the earthly arena, and look at the scene as though you were viewing it from heaven. Those who are supposedly representatives of God, look upon Jesus and challenge Him. They do not recognize Him, nor the truth or grace He has brought to this world. Jesus and Isaiah said it best: their eyes are blind; they cannot see. Spiritual blindness is worse than physical blindness, because if a man is spiritually blind, his soul is dark. Thanks be to God for the Light of Jesus to give us spiritual sight.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one…”
The manifestaton of who God is in the person of Christ – we share in that. Why? So that we may be one as they are one. What does that mean? The Father and the Son are one in purpose, one in love, one in forgiveness. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and our subsequent salvation, They have granted us the amazing gift of being a part of that: to be one with them in purpose, in forgiveness,and in love.