Proverbs 30:5: "Every word of God [as recorded in the Bible] is pure [uncorrupted, true, without error]: he [God] is a shield [protector, defender] unto them that [or 'of those who'] put their trust in him [rather than relying on their own resources]."
According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, "This proverb speaks of the purity of the Word of God and of the security of those who trust in God."
Since there are two different but related thoughts in the above verse, Pastor Delany has done a Bible study on each one. Their titles and links are as follows:
-- "Every Word of God is Pure"
Here are some excerpts from the "Every Word of God is Pure" commentary:
"1e. Creation (natural revelation) tells us a few things about Him [God] (i.e., His existence and His power), but it does not and cannot enable us to KNOW Him in a personal way.
"• In fact, with natural revelation of the creation alone one might easily make some wrong conclusions about God.
"• In the natural world we live in today (and in Agur's day), apart from divine revelation one might conclude that God created the world as it presently is.
"• And what is the world like? It is violent -- animals eat other animals; people kill people. It is full of immorality in the sphere of human life. The creation seems to be working against mankind--with its thorns and thistles, storms, droughts, etc. It is full of suffering and death.
• Apart from divine [godly] revelation concerning how the world came to be as it is, fallen men [referring to everyone who descended from Adam and Eve] could easily misread and misinterpret what they see in the world and wrongly attribute it to God."
"• Some of the pagan deities [gods] were considered to be evil and cruel and could only be satisfied by human sacrifices to appease their wrath [stop them from being angry]."
"2d. He [Agur, the man who wrote this proverb] has found the answer to all his questions in God's pure Word [i.e., the Bible]."
-- "He is a Shield"
Here are some excerpts from the "He is a Shield" commentary:
"2i. God is a shield--but only to those who trust in Him. There is no protection offered to those who trust in other things: self, our own wisdom, might, riches, other men, earthly things, etc."
"5b. There are no errors in anything the Bible says on any subject about which it speaks: promises, history, science, origins, psychology, anthropology, salvation, and prophecy--when rightly divided."
"5f. When we trust what God says in His Word and act upon it, GOD Himself will be our shield, protector, and shelter."
In addition to explaining how God acts as a shield in Christians' spiritual battles, the "He is a Shield" commentary has interesting information on shields and bucklers.
Story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael
Genesis 16:1: "Now Sarai [Sarah] Abram's [Abraham's] wife bare [brought forth for] him [Abram] no children [in other words, Sarai was childless]: and she had an handmaid [a servant], an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar."
Genesis 16:2: "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD [God] hath [has] restrained [kept, prevented] me from bearing [children, or becoming pregnant]: I pray thee [I ask you, or please], go in unto my maid [Hagar]; it may be that I [Sarai] may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened [listened] to the voice of Sarai."
Genesis 16:3, 4: "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her [Hagar] to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he [Abram] went in unto Hagar [and had sex with her], and she conceived [got pregnant]: and when she [Hagar] saw [realized] that she had conceived, her mistress [Sarai] was despised in her eyes [which means that Hagar hated Sarai]."
Genesis 16:5: "And [blaming Abram for her problems,] Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid [Hagar] into thy [your] bosom [or 'to you, Abram--for marriage and sex']; and when she [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, I [Sarai] was despised in her eyes [or 'was heated by her']: the LORD judge between me [Sarai] and thee [you, Abram]."
Genesis 16:6: "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, [the fate of] thy maid [Hagar] is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee [pleases you]. And when Sarai dealt hardly [harshly, cruelly, unkindly] with her [maid, Hagar], she [Hagar] fled from her [Sarai's] face [or 'Hagar ran away from home']."
Genesis 16:7: "And the angel of the LORD [probably referring to an appearance of Jesus Christ, the Son of God] found her [Hagar] by a fountain of water in the wilderness [the uninhabited land between Egypt and Canaan], by the fountain in [on] the way to Shur."
Genesis 16:8-9: "And he [the angel] said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou [where did you come from]? and whither wilt thou go [where will you go]? And she [Hagar] said, I flee [I am running away] from the face [presence] of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her [Hagar], Return to thy mistress [Sarai], and submit thyself under her hands [humble yourself, and serve and obey her]."
Genesis 16:10: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her [Hagar], I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, [so] that it shall not be numbered for multitude [which meant that Hagar would have such a large number of offspring, or descendants, that they couldn't be counted]."
Genesis 16:11: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her [Hagar], Behold, thou art with child [you are pregnant], and shalt [shall] bear [give birth to] a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD [God] hath [has] heard [about] thy affliction [your pain and suffering]."
Genesis 16:12: "And he [Ishmael] will be a wild man [i.e., fierce, untamed (uncontrollable), violent]; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand [will be] against him [in other words, Ishmael's descendants will always be at war with other people]; and he [Ishmael] shall dwell [live] [in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East, especially during Bible times] in the presence of all his brethren [relatives]."
This story shows that there are consequences to our actions, and sometimes, in the long run, as they did for Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and the Jewish people, they turn out to be bad for us and others, especially when we leave God out of the decision-making process.
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GotQuestions.org has written two articles relating to the above story. They are as follows:
-- "What is the story of Sarah and Hagar?"
-- "Who was Hagar in the Bible?"
-- "Who are the descendants of Ishmael?"
A Person's Character and Conduct Go Together
Comparing people to trees, and their words and actions to fruit, Jesus said:
Luke 6:43-44: "For a good tree bringeth not forth [does not produce] corrupt [bad, rotten] fruit; neither doth [does] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his [its] own fruit. For of [from] thorns[,] men [people] do not gather figs, nor of [from] a bramble bush [a rough, tangled, prickly shrub that grows blackberries and raspberries] gather they [do they gather] grapes."
By listening to what we say and watching what we do, others can usually tell what kind of people we are.
Hebrews 13:2: "Be not forgetful [remember, don't forget] to entertain [be hospitable to] strangers: for thereby [because by doing so, or by entertaining strangers,] some [people, like Abraham and Lot--see note below*] have entertained angels [messengers from God] unawares [unknowingly, by surprise]."
The above verse reminds us that, as Christians, we should always be hospitable (friendly and welcoming to strangers and guests).
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*As mentioned above, Abraham and Lot were visited by angels (one of whom was Jesus Christ, the Son of God) before God destroyed the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. That Bible story is recorded in Genesis 18 and 19. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2018-19&version=KJV
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GotQuestions.org has several articles about angels. Here are the links for three of them:
-- "What does it mean that we should entertain strangers because we might entertain angels …?
-- "Do angels appear to people today?"
-- "Are there angels among us?"
Speaking from experience, King David wrote:
Psalm 55:22: "Cast [throw] thy [your] burden [heavy load; i.e., things you have to do, your cares and worries, etc.] upon the LORD, and he shall sustain [strengthen, comfort, help] thee [you]: he [God] shall never suffer [allow] the righteous [referring to born-again Christians, who have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ--see note below*] to be moved [shaken, utterly cast down]."
"The Biblical Illustrator" contains a good example of the meaning of the word casting. After a brief introduction to his explanation of the above verse, one commentator wrote:
"… Now, our text [Psalm 55:22] teaches--
"I. That the Lord is within my reach. He is near me, I am to cast my burden upon Him. Now, this is just what we don't do. We kneel, and sigh, and pray about our burden, that we may cast it on the Lord, but we don't do it. We look up and sigh, and resolve that we will, but nothing comes of it. Some years ago I was staying in a Swiss city, and from the windows of my hotel I looked out on the bridge that crossed the Rhine [River]. At the middle of the bridge there was a tiny wayside chapel, and as the peasants went to market they set the heavy basket down on the steps while they turned in to pray. Then they came out and took up their burdens again. That is how many people do with their troubles--they pray about them, and then pick them up again. What folly [foolishness] it is to call that casting! On the other side of the parapet [a protective wall along the edge of a bridge, roof, balcony, etc.] there swept the swift current of the Rhine. Now, if one should take up the load with both hands, and swing it with all his might over the side, and then let it go whirling through space until it splashed into the waters, and went, swept away for ever--that is casting. …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/55-22.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "Verse 22," "Our burden-bearer")
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*Meaning of imputed righteousness, according to an online Bible dictionary: On the cross, our sins were given (imputed) to Jesus, and when we are born again, his righteousness is given to us.
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We're all sinners due to Adam and Eve, and Christians are righteous due to Jesus Christ. To help us fully understand the meaning of imputed sin
and imputed righteousness
, GotQuestions.org wrote the following articles:
-- "What is imputed sin?"
-- "Why does Christ's righteousness need to be imputed to us?"
The Importance of Prayer
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said this to Peter, James, and John, who went there with him and had fallen asleep while he prayed to God concerning his upcoming crucifixion:
Matthew 26:41: "Watch [be on your guard] and pray [to God], that ye enter not into temptation [that you won't yield to or be overcome by temptation to sin; in this case, referring to future events, as when Peter lies by denying three times that he knows Jesus]: the spirit [the human mind and heart] indeed [truly] is willing [to bear the trials of one's faith], but the flesh [meaning 'human nature'] is weak."
Jesus' advice to his disciples also applies to us.
Proverbs 23:24: "The father of the righteous [morally good] [child] shall greatly rejoice: and he [the man] that begetteth [begets, or becomes the father of] a wise child shall have joy of him [or her]."
In his commentary on the above verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says, "The character and lifestyle of the children affects the joy of the father."
He goes on to explain that:
"4. The character of the child (righteous and wise) could have two different applications -- earthly and spiritual.
"a. In the earthly realm
"• Parents can instill in their children many of the qualities emphasized in the Bible and in Proverbs in particular.
"• This would include a strong work ethic, being diligent, doing one's best, saving and not wasting money, good use of one's time, the importance of learning, the importance of obeying the law of the land, careful use of one's tongue, being a good citizen, being a good neighbor, honesty, integrity, etc.
"• Even an unsaved son can be wise--at least in the ways of the world. And in that realm too, wisdom exceeds [surpasses] folly [foolishness, lack of good sense] …
"• An unsaved son can also be 'righteous' before the law -- blameless before the Law, as Saul was before his conversion.
"» An unsaved son can make RIGHT decisions.
"» He can do that which is right before the law = a law abiding citizen.
"» He can be right in that he is moral and of high integrity.
"» There are lots of unsaved people who are moral and do that which is right--at least before the eyes and law of man.
"• A father who has instilled these good virtues into his children can have JOY as a result--if the son demonstrates these qualities in his life …
"• On an earthly level, a father can have a certain amount of joy in his children, even if they don't get saved.
"• At least they learned something… at least they learned to be wise in an earthly sense.
"b. In the spiritual realm
"• The principles we have seen in Proverbs 23:24 (though most were given to be applied in the earthly sense), also have great spiritual application.
"• If the child applies these principles of wisdom and righteousness to entering into a relationship with God by faith, then he has elevated these principles to a whole new level.
"• And he has elevated the JOY of a godly father to a whole new level.
"• A father whose son listens and obeys and demonstrates wisdom in earthly things AND applies it to his relationship to God will have even GREATER joy! …"
The above quote was taken from Pastor Delany's Bible study on Chapter 23 of Proverbs, verses 24-28, which can be found here: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_24-28/.
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I want to wish a
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
to all of the wonderful dads
around the world.
2 Corinthians 9:7: "Every man [and woman and child] according as he [or she] purposeth [purposes, intends] in his [or her] heart [or 'in whatever way he (or she) wants to give to others and to God (via church),' by volunteering time and talents, giving money, offering assistance, etc.], so let him [or her] give; not grudgingly [unwillingly], or of necessity [because he (or she) has to do it]: for God loveth [loves] a cheerful giver."
Giving, both to others and to God, should be done voluntarily and cheerfully.
Story of the Woman "Taken in Adultery" (A Lesson for Hypocrites)
John 8:1-2: "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives [a mountain ridge near the city of Jerusalem]. And early in the morning [at dawn the next day,] he came again into the temple [in Jerusalem], and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them."
John 8:3-4: "And the scribes and Pharisees [see Note 1 below] brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst [middle] [of the assembly, or crowd, referring to the group of people who had gathered together to hear Jesus speak], They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act."
John 8:5: "Now Moses in the law [in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22] commanded us, that such [a person] should be stoned [actually, the verses say the adulterer and adulteress shall both be 'put to death' or 'die,' not 'be stoned']: but what sayest thou [what do you say]?
John 8:6: "This they [the scribes and Pharisees] said [to Jesus], tempting him [to sin, and fall into their trap; i.e., they wanted him to choose between setting the woman free, thus contradicting the law of Moses, and sentencing her to death, which was the responsibility of the Roman government], [so] that they might have [a reason] to accuse him [of wrongdoing]. But Jesus stooped [bent] down, and with his finger wrote on the ground [see Note 2 below], as though he heard them not [didn't hear them]."
John 8:7-8: "So when they continued asking him [the same question], he lifted up himself [he stood up], and said unto them, He that is without sin among you [probably, in this case, referring specifically to the sins of adultery and fornication], let him [be the] first [one to] cast [throw] a stone at her [see Note 3 below]. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground."
John 8:9: "And they which heard it [what Jesus said] [referring to the scribes and Pharisees who had accused the woman of adultery], being convicted by their own conscience, went out [of the temple] one by one [one after another], beginning at the eldest [the oldest (or perhaps most reputable) man, meaning the one with the highest office or best reputation], [and continuing] even unto the last [one, meaning the youngest, or lowest ranking, man]: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman [was left] standing in the midst [of the crowd]."
John 8:10: "When Jesus had lifted up himself [from the ground, or stood up], and saw none [of the scribes and Pharisees] but [only] the woman [because all of her accusers had left], he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine [your] accusers? hath [has] no man condemned thee [judged you worthy of death]?"
John 8:11: "She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee [consider you worthy of death]: go [your way, or go home], and sin no more."
According to Albert Barnes:
"… This passage [of scripture, referring to the above story] … teaches us:
"1.that Jesus claimed no civil authority [or 'no authority to enforce law and order'].
"2.that he regarded the action of which they accused her as sin.
"3.that he knew the hearts and lives of men.
"4.that men are often very zealous [intense, passionate, pushy] in accusing others of that of which they themselves are guilty. And,
"5.that Jesus was endowed with [or 'possessed'] wonderful wisdom in meeting the devices [tricks] of his enemies, and eluding [evading] their deep-laid plans to involve him in ruin …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-8.html, "Verse 11")
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For more information about the scribes and Pharisees, read the following articles:
-- "Who were the scribes that often argued with Jesus?"
-- "Who were the Pharisees?"
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Like one of the visitors to the GotQuestions.org website, you may be wondering, "What was Jesus writing in the dirt/sand when the Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery?" Their answer can be found here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-writing-dirt.html.
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Regarding casting stones, Albert Barnes wrote:
"Let him first cast a stone at her -
In the punishment by death, one of the witnesses threw the culprit from the scaffold, and the other threw the first stone, or rolled down a stone to crush him. See Deuteronomy 17:6, 7. This was in order that the witness might feel his responsibility in giving evidence, as he was also to be the executioner. Jesus therefore put them to the test. Without pronouncing on her case, he directed them, if any of them were innocent, to perform the office of executioner. This was said, evidently, well knowing their guilt, and well knowing that no one would dare to do it."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/john-8.html, "Verse 7")
2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord [Jesus Christ] is not slack concerning [is not slow in fulfilling or keeping] his promise [to return to earth--see note below*], as some men [and women and children] count slackness; but [he] is longsuffering to us-ward [or 'is patient toward us'], not willing that any[one] should perish [be tormented in hell], but that all [people] should come to repentance [meaning he wants everyone (not just a chosen few, as is suggested by those who believe in predestination--see note below**) to change their minds, from 'rejection of Christ to faith in Christ,' and be born again, or saved (from hell), according to the Bible]."
End-time events predicted in the Bible are rapidly approaching. They include the following:
-- First will come the rapture (in which born-again Christians will be given spiritual bodies and be taken to heaven in the "twinkling of an eye" (i.e., as fast as you can blink), per 1 Corinthians 15:52).
-- That will be followed by a seven-year tribulation, when the Antichrist and false prophet will be in charge. During the first half of the tribulation, there will be a false peace. Unfortunately, during the next three and a half years, many horrible events (like the plagues in Egypt during Moses' time) will take place on the earth. They are described in detail in the book of Revelation.
-- At the end of the tribulation, Jesus will return to earth with the armies of heaven to fight against the armies of the Antichrist at the Battle of Armageddon. Many of the Antichrist's followers will be killed, and the Antichrist and false prophet will be captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire. Soon after that, Satan will be chained in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.
-- During that thousand years (known as the Millennium), Jesus will rule and reign as King over all people who were saved during the tribulation, and all children who are born after the tribulation, and there will be peace on earth.
-- After the thousand years are over, Satan will be freed from the bottomless pit. Then his followers will rebel against God and be killed. They'll all stand before God on judgment day and, along with Satan, spend eternity in the lake of fire.
No one knows when the above events will take place. It's easy to be saved now, but someday it will be too late. Consequently, if you want to be saved (and know for sure that you'll be taken to heaven during the rapture, or to to heaven when you die--whichever comes first), you should do it now.
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For a detailed explanation of God's plan of salvation, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
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*Jesus' return to earth (referred to as "the second coming") is explained in the following articles:
-- "What is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?"
-- "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"
-- "What is the end times timeline?"
-- "Surviving the end times - what do I need to know?"
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Regarding 2 Peter 3:9, one Bible commentator wrote:
"The fact that the fulfillment of the Lord Jesus' promise to return for His own (John 14:2-3) lingers [is delayed] does not mean that God has forgotten His promise, was lying, or cannot fulfill it. 'The Lord' seems to be a reference to Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Peter 3:15). It means that He is waiting to fulfill it so people will have time to repent. Unbelievers left on the earth will be able to repent after the Rapture, but it is better for them if they do so before that event. Multitudes will be saved during the seven-year Tribulation … , though it will be harder for them to be saved then than it is now (2 Thessalonians 2:11).
"'In Greek the notion of repentance is of a change of outlook, in Hebrew thought a turning round and adopting a new way of life. The two are not incompatible.' …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-peter/3-9.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
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**Many people are confused when the Bible refers to "the elect" because they think it means that, rather than allowing us to have free will, God chooses who will and won't be saved. This is known as predestination, or the doctrine of election. To help clear up the confusion, GotQuestions.org wrote the following article: "How can I know if I am one of the elect?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/one-of-the-elect.html.
The Gospel is Never Preached in Vain (Without Success or Results)
Speaking through his prophet Isaiah, God said:
Isaiah 55:10: "For as the rain cometh [comes] down [from heaven, referring to the clouds in the sky], and the snow [also comes down] from heaven, and returneth not thither [do not return there (to heaven), meaning they don't go back up in the same form (i.e., as rain and snow) as they came down], but [they] watereth [water] the earth [the soil], and maketh [make] it bring forth [plants and flowers] and [cause them to] bud [sprout, germinate], [so] that it [the moisture that the rain and snow provide] may give seed to the sower [the person who plants the seeds], and [provide] bread to the eater [or 'food for animals and people']:"
Isaiah 55:11: "So [likewise, in a similar manner] shall my word be that goeth [goes] forth out of my mouth [referring to the gospel and truth, as revealed in the Bible]: it [my word] shall not return unto me [God] void [empty, without results], but it shall accomplish that which I [God] please [take pleasure in, intend], and it [my word] shall prosper [succeed, thrive, flourish] in the thing [purpose] whereto [to which] I sent it."
God has a plan for everything.
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Concluding his comments on verse 11, Albert Barnes wrote:
"… This proves:
"1. That God has a design in giving his Word to people. He has as distinct an intention in his Word as he has in sending down rain upon the earth.
"2. That whatever is his design in giving the gospel, it shall be accomplished. It is never spoken in vain, and never fails to produce the effect which he intends. The gospel is no more preached in vain than the rain falls in vain. And though that often falls on barren rocks, or on arid sands; on extended plains where no vegetation is produced, or in the wilderness 'where no man is,' and seems to our eyes in vain, yet it is not so. God has a design in each drop that falls on sands or rocks, as really as in the copious [abundant] shower that falls on fertile [fruitful, high-yielding] fields. And so the gospel often falls on the hard and barren [unproductive, unyielding] hearts of men. It is addressed to the proud, the sensual [pleasure-seeking], the avaricious [greedy], and the unbelieving, and seems to be spoken in vain, and to return void unto God. But it is not so. He has some design in it, and that will be accomplished. It is proof of the fullness of his mercy. It leaves people without excuse, and justifies himself. Or when long presented - apparently long in vain - it ultimately becomes successful, and sinners are at last brought to abandon their sins, and to turn unto God. It is indeed often rejected and despised [hated]. It falls on the ears of people apparently as the rain falls on the hard rock, and there are, so to speak, large fields where the gospel is preached as barren and unfruitful of any spiritual good as the extended desert is of vegetation, and the gospel seems to be preached to almost entire communities with as little effect as is produced when the rains fall on the deserts of Arabia, or of Africa. But there will be better and happier times. Though the gospel may not now produce all the good effects which we may desire, yet it will be ultimately successful to the full wish of the widest benevolence [kindness], and the whole world shall be filled with the knowledge and the love of God."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/isaiah-55.html, "Verse 11")
This was God's message to all people, delivered by his prophet Isaiah. Although applicable to the ways of God in general, its main focus is on forgiveness, especially the forgiveness of sin.
Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your [human] thoughts, neither are your [human] ways my ways, saith [says] the LORD. For as the heavens [the visible heaven, or starry skies] are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher [or greater] than your ways, and [so are] my thoughts [higher, or greater] than your thoughts."
Albert Barnes has some excellent examples of human forgiveness versus God's forgiveness in his commentary on verse 8, which says, in part:
"1. People find it difficult to pardon at all. They harbor malice [hold a grudge]; they seek revenge; they are slow to forgive an injury. Not so with God. He harbors no malice; he has no desire of revenge; he has no reluctance to forgive.
"2. It may refer to the number of offences. People, if they forgive once, are slow to forgive a second time, and still more reluctant to forgive a third time, and if the offence is often repeated they refuse to forgive altogether. Not so with God. No matter how often we have violated his law, yet be can multiply forgiveness in proportion to our faults.
"3. The number of the offenders. People may pardon one or a few who injure them, but if the number is greatly increased, their compassions are closed, and they feel that the world is arrayed against [opposed to] them. Not so with God. No matter how numerous [large a number of] the offenders - though they embrace the inhabitants of the whole world - yet he can extend forgiveness to them all.
"4. In regard to the aggravation of offences. People forgive a slight [minor] injury. However, if it is aggravated [serious], they are slow to pardon. But not so with God. No matter bow aggravated the offence, he is ready to forgive. It may be added:
"5. That his thoughts in regard to the mode of pardon are far above ours. The plan of forgiveness through a Redeemer [the Lord Jesus Christ] - the scheme of pardon so fully illustrated in Isaiah 53:1-12 [click here to read it: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2053%2CIsaiah%201-12&version=KJV], and on which the reasoning of the prophet [Isaiah] here is based - is as far above any of the modes of pardon among people, as the heavens are above the earth. The scheme [plan of salvation] which contemplated the incarnation of the Son of God [in which God the Son (Jesus) took on human form and came to earth to die for our sins]; which proffered [offered] forgiveness only through his substituted sufferings [since he was tortured and punished for our sins], and in virtue of his bitter death [on the cross], was one which man could not have thought of, and which surpasses all the schemes and plans of people. In this respect, God's ways are not, our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-55.html, "Verse 8")
In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 13:12: "For now [while we are here on earth,] we [Christians] see through a glass [like a foggy mirror or frosted window], darkly [imperfectly]; but then [when we get to heaven,] [we'll see clearly (or our understanding will be complete) because we'll be] face to face [with God, and everything and everyone who is there]: now I know in part [or 'now I have partial knowledge and understanding of all things']; but then [when I get to heaven] shall I know [I shall know] [people and things personally, or have a personal knowledge of them,] even as also [just as] I am [or will be] known [personally to others and to God]."
In the above verse, Paul was explaining to Christians the difference between earthly and heavenly knowledge and understanding.
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Regarding 1 Corinthians 13:12, Albert Barnes wrote:
"… But then shall I know -
My knowledge [in heaven] shall be clear and distinct. I shall have a clear view of those objects which are now so indistinct and obscure [unclear, unknown]. I shall be in the presence of those objects about which I now inquire; I shall 'see' them; I shall have a clear acquaintance with the divine [or 'with God's] perfections, plans, and character. This does not mean that he [Paul] would know 'everything' … but that in regard to those points of inquiry in which he was then interested, he would have a view that would be distinct and clear - a view that would be clear, arising from the fact that he would be present with them, and permitted to see them, instead of surveying them at a distance, and by imperfect mediums.
"Even as also I am known - 'In the same manner' …, not 'to the same extent.' It does not mean that he would know God as clearly and as fully as God would know him; for his remark does not relate to the 'extent,' but to the 'manner' and the comparative 'clearness' of his knowledge. He would see things as he was now seen and would be seen there. It would be face to face. He would be in their presence. It would not be where he would be seen clearly and distinctly, and himself compelled to look upon all objects confusedly and obscurely, and through an imperfect medium. But he would he with them; would see them face to face; would see them without any medium; would see them 'in the same manner' as they would see him. Disembodied spirits [supernatural beings, such as angels], and the inhabitants of the heavenly world, have this knowledge; and when we are there, we shall see the truths, not at a distance and obscurely, but plainly and openly."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-corinthians-13.html, "Verse 12")
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Also commenting on the above verse, John Gill wrote:
"… but then shall I know, even as I am known
; in the other world and state [referring to heaven], he [Paul] signifies [indicates] that he should know God, Christ, angels, and glorified saints [i.e., born-again Christians who are in heaven], and all truths in a perfect manner, even as he was known of God and Christ perfectly, allowing for the difference between the Creator and the creature; his sense is, that he should have as full and complete a knowledge of persons and things as he was capable of; it would be like, though not equal to, the knowledge which God had of him; and which would be attended with the strongest love and affection to the objects known, even as he was known and loved of God …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/13-12.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")
In a letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:
Romans 3:28: "Therefore [referring to what Paul said in the preceding verses (i.e., that we are all sinners and can't save ourselves)] we conclude [come to the conclusion] that a man [or woman or child] is justified [declared righteous in God's sight, or saved] by faith [in the Lord Jesus Christ; i.e., by believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay for all of our sins and by receiving him as his (or her) personal Savior] without the deeds of the law [of Moses, referring to God's moral law, which means that we're saved by faith alone, not by doing good works or obeying the Ten Commandments]."
It goes without saying that everyone, especially Christians, should always obey the law and do good deeds. However, the point of the above verse is that we can only be saved (born again) through faith (by believing that Jesus shed his blood on the cross to pay for our sins and by trusting him as Savior), not by doing good things. Paul confirms this fact, and tells us why it's true, in the following verses:
-- Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
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Justification by faith is explained very well in the following article: "Why is justification by faith such an important doctrine?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/justification-by-faith.html.
This was a prayer to God, probably from King David:
Psalm 119:18: "Open thou [or 'Lord, please open'] mine eyes [my spiritual eyes], [so] that I may behold [read and understand] wondrous things out of thy [your] law [referring to the wonderful, delightful, marvelous things that are written in the Bible, such as those listed in Mr. Guthrie's commentary--see note below*]."
*In commenting on spiritual blindness, T. Guthrie (in Speaking to the Heart) wrote:
"… III. The eyes of the blind being opened, they behold wondrous things out of the law of God. Open a blind man's eyes. With what amazement, happiness, overflowing joy, will he gaze, nor tire gazing, on all above and around him, from the sun blazing in heaven to the tiniest flower that springs in beauty at his feet! And let God open a sinner's eyes, the Bible will seem to him a new book, and he seem to himself a new creature. He will see his heart, and wonder at its wickedness. He will see the Saviour, and wonder at His love. He will see how God has spared him, and wonder at His longsuffering. He will see salvation as the one thing needful, and wonder he could have taken a night's rest, ventured to close his eyes in sleep, till he had found peace with God …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/119-18.html, "Sermon Bible Commentary")
Lessons From the Ant (for Lazy People)
Proverbs 6:6-8: "Go to [observe, watch] the ant, thou sluggard [you lazy person]; consider her ways [learn from the ant], and be wise: Which [referring to the ant,] having no guide, overseer [supervisor], or ruler [or 'without having someone to tell her what to do' (i.e., doing things by instinct)], Provideth [provides] her meat [or 'searches for food'] in the summer, and gathereth [gathers] her food in the [time of] harvest."
Proverbs 6:9: "How long wilt thou [will you] sleep, O sluggard [lazy person]? when wilt thou [will you] arise out of thy [your] sleep [or 'when will you wake up and get up']? "
Proverbs 6:10-11: "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber [a period of light sleep (dozing) or inactivity], a little folding of the hands [bringing the hands together] to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth [one who travels, meaning step by step, or gradually], and thy want [your inability to have--or buy--the things that you want or need] [shall come suddenly and unexpectedly,] as an armed man [as when a robber attacks a defenseless person and steals his or her possessions]."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, the above verses are about using our time wisely and changing bad habits.
In verses 6-8, we learn that ants are good examples for us to follow because:
-- They are self-motivated.
-- They are diligent (conscientious) and hard-working.
-- They don't pretend to be busy when they really aren't.
-- The don't procrastinate or make excuses for not doing things (such as 'it's too hot')
-- They don't put pleasure above work.
-- They make good use of opportunities to work.
-- They store things up for the future.
This is what the commentary on verse 9 says about the dangers of laziness. To the question "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?" the pastor responds as follows:
"3. HOW LONG is a good question! Every once in a while, it might do us all good to chart out what we do with our time…
"• How long do we sleep?
"• How long do we lie on the couch and vegetate?
"• How long do we sit in front of the TV or computer?
"• How long do we spend reading the Word [i.e., God's word, the Bible]? In prayer?
"• After making a chart of how our time is spent, we might see some areas that need prioritizing… rearranging…
"4. WHEN is a good question too. 'When will you arise?'
"a. The lazy man is challenged to consider how long he sleeps.
"b. Then he is challenged to DO something about it--get up!
"c. When? When will you get up? When will you change your bad habits?
"d. If we are wasting time, we too should be challenged: when are you going to do something about it? When are you going to change?
"e. Arising is the answer to sleeping too much--just get up!
"f. Notice how simple God's answer to this lazy man's problem is: Arise! Get up! You don't need a 12 step program to deprogram yourself from old habits… just obey… arise…"
If you want to read one or both of Pastor Delany's commentaries, here are the links:
-- Verses 6-8: "Go to the Ant"
-- Verses 9-11: "How Long Wilt Thou Sleep?"
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GotQuestions.org has articles relating to this verse. They are as follows:
-- "What does the Bible say about laziness?"
-- "What is a sluggard?"
We Can't Fool God!
Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart [or mind, which is the source of our thoughts and actions, emotions, desires, etc.] is deceitful [dishonest, untrustworthy, misleading] above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? [Answer: Nobody but God.]"
Jeremiah 17:10: "I the LORD search [examine] the heart, I try the reins [test the people], even to give [rewards or punishment to] every man [and woman and child] according to his [or her] ways, and according to the fruit of his [or her] doings."
In other words, God knows our hearts (our true character) and judges us--and will reward, discipline, correct, and/or punish us--according to everything that we think, say, and do during the course of our lives on earth.
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The Bible says that no one is able to meet God's standards of perfection:
-- Romans 3:10: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
-- Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Consequently, whether we are morally "good" or "bad" in human terms, we are all sinners in God's eyes.
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According to the Bible, unsaved people must pay (be punished) for their own sins, which means that when they die, they'll end up in hell and the lake of fire:
-- Revelation 20:12, 13, 14: "And I [the apostle John, in a heavenly vision] saw the dead, small and great, stand before God [on judgment day]; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
-- Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
-- Revelation 20:15: "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
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Jesus has already paid for the sins of all born-again Christians, so after salvation, we may occasionally need to be disciplined or corrected by God, but we'll never be sent to hell or the lake of fire. This is explained in the article entitled "Does God punish us when we sin?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-punish-sin.html.
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If you want to be saved (from hell) and go to heaven when you die
, you'll learn what to do by reading one or more of the tracts listed in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Build Your House Upon a Firm Foundation (i.e., the "Spiritual Rock," the Lord Jesus Christ)
Near the end of his sermon on the mount [see note below*], Jesus said:
Matthew 7:24, 25: "Therefore whosoever [whoever] heareth [hears, as through preaching] these sayings of mine [Jesus was referring to everything that he taught during his time on earth, not only what was preached during his sermon on the mount], and doeth [does] them [Jesus was referring to the person who obeys his words, or does what he says], I [Jesus] will liken [compare] him [or her] unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended [came down from the sky], and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it [the house] fell not [did not fall down, or collapse]: for it was founded [built] upon a rock."
Matthew 7:26, 27: "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine [i.e., the words of Christ], and doeth them not [does not obey my words, or do what I (Jesus) say], shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it [the house] fell [down]: and great was the fall [downfall, destruction, ruin] of it."
Jesus taught that there are consequences to our actions. In the above verses, we learn that wise people read and obey the Bible; foolish people do not.
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GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question, "What does it mean that the wise man built his house upon a rock?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/wise-man-built-house-rock.html.
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*The sermon on the mount is recorded in Matthew, Chapters 5-7, which can be found here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7&version=KJV
Jesus Heals a Blind Man (Bartimaeus)
Mark 10:46: "And they [Jesus and his disciples] came to Jericho: and as he [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people [a large crowd], blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side [or 'on the side of the road,'] begging."
Mark 10:47-48: "And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth [who was passing by], he began to cry out [shout], and say, [because he believed that Jesus was the Messiah,] Jesus, thou [you] son of David [since Jesus was a descendant of King David], have mercy on me. And many [people] charged [told] him [Bartimaeus] that he should hold his peace [be quiet]: but he cried the more a great deal [he shouted even louder], Thou son of David, have mercy on me."
Mark 10:49-50: "And Jesus stood still, and commanded him [Bartimaeus] to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort [cheer up], rise [get up]; he [Jesus] calleth [is calling] thee [you]. And he [the blind man], casting away his garment [throwing off his loose outer clothing or covering, such as a cape, coat, or blanket], rose [stood up], and came to Jesus."
Mark 10:51: "And Jesus answered and said unto him [the blind man], What wilt thou that I should do unto thee [what would you have me do for you]? The blind man [Bartimaeus] said unto him [Jesus], Lord, [I'm hoping] that I might receive my sight."
Mark 10:52: "And Jesus said unto him [the blind man], Go thy [your] way; thy faith hath made thee whole [your faith has made you whole, or 'your faith has healed you, spiritually and physically,' meaning Bartimaeus' faith in Jesus had saved him and restored his sight]. And immediately he [Bartimaeus] received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way [to Jerusalem]."
Concerning the phrase thy faith hath made thee whole in verse 52, Barton Johnson, author of the "People's New Testament" Bible commentary, wrote:
"Bartimæus' faith was shown, (1) by his going to Jesus; (2) by his belief that Jesus was the Messiah; (3) by persevering against opposition; (4) by casting away all that hindered; (5) by obeying Jesus when he was called; (6) by following and praising him [Jesus] after he was cured."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pnt/mark-10.html, "Verse 52")