PROVERB PRACTICALS Narrow Is The Way, Proverbs 10:29,30, Audio
|<![if !vml]><![endif]><![if !vml]><![endif]>
Proverbs 10:29,30, The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity. The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
Often as I sit in my living room easy chair with my feet up, watching television, while eating snacks, I am urged to get out of my soft comfortable chair and jump up and down or get aboard some strange machine and contort my body in ways that my body does not want to do.
Other TV celebrities face me and show off their new found body, improved though the use of diet plans like Nutri-system, Jenny Craig, or Weight watchers.
It seems that the call to improve the body, to exercise the body is coming from every direction.
Every so called guru of fitness has invented some gadget or method that will transform your body into a perfect specimen of humanity.
Chuck Norris tells me boldly that muscles will bulge in places where I never expected bulges and because of this, my strength will increase.
According to these fitness gurus, all of us with the right use of these machines, methods or diets can look 10 or 20 years younger, and our lives will be transformed in a way that others will wonder how such a thing could happen in such a short time.
And for many, getting others to wonder about their beautiful appearance is satisfaction enough, for the physical image you project to others seems to be all that many strive for.
But thereís a catch! You have to follow the way of the guru religiously or you will not reach wondrous plateaus of fitness.
Now this is the worldís way to fitness, this is what the world concentrates on, the continuance of the fitness of the body, but it seems that the world forgets that the body is just another thing that perishes.
Jesus gave us the right priority of life when He told us, For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the most beautiful of bodies but lose his own soul?
Paul knew of this priority when he told Timothy in I Timothy 4:8, For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Bodily exercise is good, but in the scheme of things according to Godís word it is an activity that brings low profit.
High profit activity has to do with godliness and that is what our proverb also preaches, for the way of the Lord is strength to the upright.
Where does the greatest profit come from, where do we get our greatest strength?
Do we get it from the gurus of fitness, No for the Bible tells us the way of the Lord is strength to the upright.
And on the contrary workers of iniquity who reject the way of the Lord only find paths of destruction and on those paths the loss of their own soul.
Again we are given to ponder paths where happiness is found but also paths where misery is found.
Remember this is what must be learned by our young people, for if they do not learn this from the word of God they are destined to walk a path of misery.
Now ponder the first part of this proverb, The way of the LORD is strength to the upright
It does not say the Lord is strength to the upright, although that is true, but it says the way of the Lord is strength to the upright.
So the upright are to contemplate the way of the Lord and in that contemplation the upright will find strength.
Paul said that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
He did not say I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
He is saying here that just having the knowledge that he can do all things through Christ will strengthen him.
Having this sure knowledge of Christís support brings him confidence, brings him strength, gives him backbone.
He walks through life knowing that Christ walks with him for Christ said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.
Knowing that truth alone gives strength, for you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have a backer for all you do in Godís will.
A son sees the walk of his father, he sees the way of his father and wants to be a chip off the old block.
How often we see a small boy emulating the ways of his father.
A son will find strength just by knowing his fatherís way.
The upright can stay upright just by knowing Godís way.
The way of the Lord, the way in which he walks is strength to the upright.
It is the way that confirms the upright in his uprightness.
The way of the Lord is the standard by which the upright measure their uprightness.
The closer the upright man or woman keep to that way, the more their hearts are encouraged to continue and progress in it.
And as they progress in it they will find themselves better fitted for both service or any suffering they may be called upon to experience.
Contemplating Godís way will keep the upright in the way of integrity, it will keep the upright pure from sin, it will give him boldness to do Godís work in difficult times.
According to Job the more that we do for God the more we will do.
Job 17:9, The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
The more we meditate and know the way of God the stronger and stronger we will become.
The more we study the way of the Lord and then by the power of Godís Spirit conform to that way, the stronger in the Lord we will be, for we will be becoming like the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is what is to take place with the upright for as Paul told the Romans in the eighth chapter:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This is the exercise of high profit in which the upright will be engaged.
Our conformance to the image of Christ is directly proportional to the closer we are to the knowledge of Godís way.
The challenge is to study Godís way, to study Christ who is the way.
The gurus of fitness preach a disciplined way for the body that requires daily exercise, daily dieting, daily discipline, and self sacrifice.
Now this is the way of the world toward the preservation of a body which will perish.
Shouldnít we then at least make that much effort toward the knowing of the way of the Lord that will not only give strength in the here and now but give strength throughout eternity?
For just ponder what happens to those whose world is wrapped up around the preservation of the body.
Our proverb tells us: destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
As we have taught in previous lessons the upright are perpendicular, vertical, straight, single minded, predictable for they operate by the way of the Lord.
But the workers of iniquity are not so, for they lean and tilt, they are crooked, they are double minded, they are unpredictable for they operate according to the dictates of other men who are also unstable.
They have no eternal standard by which to measure uprightness so they are crooked.
They get their desires fulfilled by hypocrisy and iniquity but this always leads to destruction as their portion.
The workers of iniquity have no eternal strength for the only way they have to contemplate is their own way or the way of fallible men who follow and promote other fallible men.
They are blind and always look for other blind men to lead them.
Jude says they are raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
So you see their ultimate end as the blackness of darkness forever, regardless of any success that their way of life may bring them.
We are given Psalm 73 as a reminder of this end and an encouragement to join with the upright in serving our God.
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Now that puts things into proper perspective doesnít it?
And our next proverb continues this theme for Proverbs 10:30, tells us this:
The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
Do you remember the radio commentator named Paul Harvey?
For many years he came on the radio with his familiar catch phrase, "Hello Americans, Iím Paul Harvey. You know what the news is, in a minute, you're going to hear ... the rest of the story."
The rest of the story.
One thing you can be sure of is that God tells the righteous the rest of the story.
Just as the psalmist found out when he went into the sanctuary of God and understood their end he heard the rest of the story.
And here in this proverb we are given to hear the rest of the story for: the righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
It is so easy to forget the rest of the story when we concentrate on what is happening in the world today.
It definitely seems that Satan is having his way in all areas of life.
The powers that be are his tools to accomplish the course of this world he desires but praise be to God for God tells us the rest of the story.
Now hearing the rest of the story takes faith for it flies in the face of all that we see.
But our proverb tells us to believe that God is still in charge and He assures us that the righteous will come out on top and the wicked will be banned from the earth.
As we have taught in previous lessons it all depends on the foundation upon which your life is built.
Everything that lasts, everything that keeps on keeping on depends on a foundation which lasts, a foundation which keeps on keeping on.
The righteous man is founded upon Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages, for he has come to the conclusion that the world promoted by Satan has no rock that will last the test of eternity.
The righteous man has agreed with God that his righteousness is no better than filthy rags and if he is to survive he must appropriate the righteousness of another, the man Christ Jesus.
The righteous man hides behind the omnipotence of God and can see the rage of death and hell upon earth as they seem to prevail but in this position he finds safety from every evil thing.
He knows that the land upon which he lives is but a temporary home for he knows that God has a better plan for him for he knows of a mansion that is reserved in his name.
He sees wars that come, with marching feet and beat of the drum but is not moved by them for he has Christ in his heart.
He sees nations rage as he approaches of the end of the age but is not shaken for he has Christ in his heart.
He knows by faith that God is still on the throne, that he is Almighty and that he cares for his own, not just today and tomorrow but throughout all eternity.
So he says let come what may, whatever it is, and he rests upon the fact that he has indeed Christ in his heart.
God has told him the rest of the story and the rest of the story is that: the righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
Now the wicked definitely inhabit the earth but only for a moment.
How long have the wicked been in control of the world?
In the light of eternity it is but for a moment.
The wicked have no title to this earth but our Lord said in:
Matthew 5:5, Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
And in Psalm 37:29 there is no mention of the wicked for, The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
And the promise of I Corinthians. 3:21-23, Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23And ye are Christís; and Christ is Godís.
And to insure the exclusivity of ownership by the righteous this promise in Revelation 21:27, And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lambís book of life.
The difference between the righteous and the wicked is one of looking.
What do the righteous look for?
They look for a city whose builder and maker is God.
They look up, for their redemption draweth nigh.
What do the wicked look for?
They look for a city of their own making.
They look for their New Yorkís, their Chicagoís, their Londonís their Berlinís.
They look for cities with foundations built with hands, cities that will perish along with the wicked.
But the righteous shall never be removed.
We can depend upon that for God said it.