Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked (KJV). The English translation of the Greek Old Testament reads this way, The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of the just: but untimely grief shall cover the mouth of the ungodly (Brenton). Another English reading goes like this: Blessings are upon the head of the righteous; but the mouth of the wicked concealeth violence (Jewish Publication Society Translation). The thought seems clear enough, which is those who are righteous will be blessed, but those who are in rebellion have hidden within a violent, conniving heart. None of this escapes the Lord. Proverbs 15:26, The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but gracious words are pure (ESV). The one who loves the Lord and obeys, the Lord blesses him. The one who looks on the Lord and turns away has nowhere to go to hide from the Lord. RT
Not long-ago Haller Funeral Home called me and another to pick up a body that recently passed away. I was on a two-man team, the lesser experienced of the two. It was a melancholy situation. There on the bank of the creek lay an 18-year-old young man. Was it an accident? I heard his grandmother say, to another, he was having a party with his friends, and alcohol was involved. I heard the coroner say that he needed to be taken to Montgomery County for an autopsy, because it appeared there was physical evidence of a struggle. We picked up the once-living young man and left the scene.
Melancholy. It gets one to think (it did me) for what purpose did his life serve? In Ecclesiastes 7, the preacher (Solomon) said one needs to go to the house of mourning in order for the end of life to be imprinted upon those still living. For what reason is this needed? So many try to avoid “end-of-life” issues because of the morbid nature of it all. the Holy Spirit, through Solomon, said this was not wise. For one to go to the house of mourning, it helps to teach that we all will end of up at the funeral home. To make an imprint on the living, let us see those who have died laying still in a coffin.
The stupidity of people, myself included at one time in my life, is remarkable. “Nothing is going to happen to me! Quit your worrying! I will see you tomorrow!” Tomorrow never comes. In my life, as I reflect on it now, I have been but a few times, maybe only twice, on the cusp of death. As I think about it, I can’t help but to thank the Lord for His mercy. For on the cusp of death, I was not prepared. There are a host of people unprepared to meet the Lord. Unprepared because they don’t know the Lord, that is they have not obeyed the holy will of God. They are unprepared because they don’t know the Lord, that is, they don’t take time to read and understand His will for their individual lives. Unprepared, because if there is something that is “known” it is information or knowledge that came from another and is not one’s own. Unprepared! I was once there. No more. I took seriously my responsibility to the Lord, knowing that before Him I will stand one day, judged by the things the Lord did say.
I had better come to know them (John 12:48; 2 Cor. 5:10). I was once stupid because of ignorance. If I am stupid any longer, it will be the result of neglect. Paul wrote, For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad (ASV).
The “good” and the “bad” are not measured by how the individual identifies or determines what is good or bad. The good is the initial response one makes to die with Jesus. More than that, the good is the life one lives with Jesus. Again, from Paul, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me (Gal. 2:20).
What is the bad? The bad is when one tries to live life not following the good mentioned above.
Who of us have not been engaged in frivolity and senseless pleasures, and now look on those things as a time of vanity?
The evil philosophy of secular progressivism generates in society life as meaningless. What inherent value does the political philosophy of progressivism contribute to society? Because of it, the life of a child in the womb has no value; a natural progress from this is the life of man has no value. If one asserts to the contrary, what is the value of life when progressivism uses evolutionary philosophy has it core foundation from which to move? The advancement of science has many looking at life as completely absurd and meaningless. Technology is the religion of the day, and that religious ideology is completely a matter of self-absorption. How is the human condition in life improved by science and technology when science is nothing but organized knowledge to help explain (a value in and of itself), but scientists interpret the data with a completely meaningless philosophy of life (such as life coming from non-life)? And what can a person say about technology?
God is completely eliminated, or almost so, and many live life saying there is no point or accountability. It is progressivism (life has no accountable eventuality) that generates massive murders in society, even if the deranged person is a conservative in his own personal philosophy.
“What’s the point? Let me do much harm and run away with self-extinguishing practices, for there is no one to whom I am accountable!”
On the other hand, Godly wisdom FAR out paces benefits to and for the community, more so than liberal philosophy ever can. It is this way, because liberal philosophy seeks to liberate constraints in many areas of life, one of which is moral guidance. It is self-interest in the immediate that is the focus, not the interests of others toward the end of life. This is empty.
My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
There is no meaning to life without there being meaning in life; but meaning in life is generated from one of two sources. It is either something generated from within, or it is something generated from without. Solomon sought to determine meaning to life from the source within (“under the sun”), but he could make no sense of it. He determined that meaning in life can only be understood when there is recognition that life comes from God, and only this way can one make sense of the perplexities of life that man has contributed to and corrupted so badly, and even then he can hardly make sense of it. Nevertheless, the recognition that life came from God is important, but it is only the foundation from which one builds his/her life; the follow-up is to obey the “giver-of-life,” or God.
Many people (most people) assign meaning to life, but they are not sure if the meaning individually assigned is correct, and British philosopher John Powys saw this clearly in his reply to Will Durant’s inquiry; in the meantime, a person does the best one can. In the end, however, one perhaps wonders why he/she even existed in the first place! What is my place in the world? Why was I born at this time and in this place? What did I do to make the world better? Why did I use this standard of right/wrong rather than that standard of right/wrong? Will anyone remember me? What is my legacy? And on and on the questions are asked. Without clarity of knowledge and understanding, the last remaining bit of hope is taken away when life is over because the individually assigned meaning is vanity.
A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated (Proverbs 14:17, ESV). We have seen it time and again, the quick-tempered man is the one who puts a wedge between himself and others. It is not because the quick-tempered one is wrong in his thinking or opinion, but that he thoughtlessly reacts or replies with a disposition and words that pushes the one with whom he has conversation against the figurative wall. Whatever good may have otherwise come flew away because the evil device (quick-tempered) got in the way of words that could have been well placed.
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps (Proverbs 14:15, ESV). The word “simple” is given a better translation “naïve” in the NET. The Contemporary English Version reads, “Don’t be stupid and believe all you hear.” This is the idea, but lest one think more than should be thought, take note of the Lord’s word elsewhere. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18, ESV). Critical thinking is to be an identifying marker of the saints (cf. 1 John 4:1). The saints in Berea challenged Paul by critical thing, and saints should do the same today. Thus, it is not wrong to challenge the integrity and veracity of the Scriptures, but it is wrong when one sees that they do stand the test of critical thinking and then fails to obey the Lord’s New Testament will revealed therein. The apostle Paul went into the Jewish synagogue each Sabbath day to “reason” with the Jew from the Scripture concerning Jesus, and New Testament saints today will reason with another concerning the same.
The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways (Proverbs 14:14, ESV). This is another way of saying one will reap what he sows. The backslider is not one that sins on occasion, for we all do, but sliding back away from the Lord is not our intention. On the other hand, those who sin have put themselves in position to slide down that slippery slope where no traction can be gained. Before long, one’s thinking and life swirls out of control. A good man, however, has the path of righteousness plainly laid before him, and all obstacles are easily seen. Thus, he avoids the slippage. When he does sin – for all sin – then he goes straight to the Lord in penitence because the Lord has not allowed the traction of his feet to be worn away. The Lord’s fruit is sweet.
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief (Proverbs 14:13, NKJV). There is an old proverb that says laughter is the best medicine. Surely we can see value in this, but is that always the case? Others have said they had to laugh at something because if they didn’t they would cry. In both cases, laughter has associated with it some unfortunate circumstance in life that receives attention. Some, unfortunately, laugh at sin. These people think their sinful action will go unchecked by the Lord. They fail to understand that the Lord has a mind like a “steel trap.” Nothing escapes. One can be sure their sin will find them out.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV). One of the great things about life is the fact the Lord gave to each of us a mind; a mind wherein we can think whatever it is that we want. Many have used their minds to think of great and inventive ideas, while some have had destructive thoughts. Whatever it is that is thought by man, that which is the most important is his standing before the Almighty. It may be that man does not think this is important, but in time, his thoughtless thought will reveal itself in a particular action. This is destructive (of course). The unfortunate thing about those destructive thoughts is just how unaware people are about this way of thinking. One can find the truth, however, if he looks outside himself. Until he does, all that will be found (or thought) is a way that seems right. Not much to hang one’s thinking cap on!
The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy (Proverbs 14:10, NKJV). In his prayer of dedication, Solomon appealed to the Lord to hear the prayers of all who turn toward to newly built Temple, reflecting the affliction in the land and in the hearts of those plagued with sin (1 Kings 8:38, ESV). Who has no affliction of the heart on occasion? Perhaps there are more who struggle with this than others know, but certainly the Lord knows! Those who don’t struggle in the same way, be sure to pray for those who do. The heart of a person is where the very issues of life are stored (Proverbs 4:23). Those issues are both the joys and sorrows that all carry. When the joy is overwhelming, let us praise the Lord. When the sorrows are weighty, let us turn to the Lord, for only He can relieve us of our burden (1 Peter 5:6-7).