The Be Quietudes

September 20, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Talking itself is not a sin. Christianity is a verbal religion, and the Gospel is communicated by words. “Faith cometh by hearing” (Romans 10:17). However, the Bible does emphasize that we should not talk sinfully.

The “Beatitudes” are found in the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:3-11

The beautides describe the conditions for expeiencing blessedness, and they prescribe what some of the blessings are. Those who are blessed, according to Jesus, experience God’s favor, and are marked by the types of attitudes and actions which are pleasing in God’s sight, and which bring contentment, peace, and happiness to one’s life.

For this lesson I have borrowed the name “beatitude” and applied it to the idea that there are times when it is more blessed to be quiet than to speak up: “The Bequietudes.”

1. Blessed are those who don’t gossip, for they will not make things worse.

Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

Proverbs 26:20

Gossip ends when nobody is willing to repeat it – the way a fire ends when there is no fuel left to burn.

2. Blessed are those who LISTEN, for they will gain understanding.

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Proverbs 20:12

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

Matthew 15:10

You can’t listen while you are talking. When people are talking all at once, it causes confusion. You learn more by listening than by talking. God gave you two ears and one mouth – take the hint, and try to listen at least twice as much as you speak.

3. Blessed are those who THINK, for they shall renew their minds.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

The Gospel is intended to engage your intellect as much as your emotions. Christianity is not mysticism. Serious thinking is hindered, not enhanced, by talking.

4. Blessed are those who READ, for they shall gain knowledge.

And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Isaiah 29:12

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

II Timothy 2:15-16

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:11

It’s difficult to talk while you’re reading (unless you’re reading aloud!) Read the Bible. Read books about the Bible. Read other books, too, but be careful what you read. Don’t read things that do not edify.

5. Blessed are they who CONTEMPLATE, for they shall be prepared.

Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:31-33

Your mind is a temple. A temple is where man meets with God. Serious decisions are made during periods of silent contemplation, not audible conversation.

6. Blessed are they who MEDITATE, for they shall be glad in the Lord.

My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Pslam 104:34

Meditation is deep thinking; unlike contemplation, though, it is not always thinking about a pending decision. It is where you seriously and silently consider what you have learned about God in His word. Meditation is an acquired taste that tastes better the more seriously you take it.

7. Blessed are they who DON’T BUTT IN, for they shall not look foolish.

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Proverbs 18:2

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it [is] folly and shame unto him.

Proverbs 18:13

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: [and] he that shutteth his lips [is esteemed] a man of understanding.

Proverbs 17:28

It is important to analyze a situation before getting involved. A person with a reputation for wisdom is more trustworthy than a person with a reputation for being a know-it-all or a busybody. People have less of a tendency to trust someone that is shooting his mouth off all the time.

7. Blessed are they whose words are few, for they shall give a better account.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Matthew 12:34-36

One of the best evidences of what is in your heart is what comes out of your mouth, but, just because you are thinking something, you don’t have to say it. There needs to be a probationary holding pen (filter) before the words formed in your mind are deemed fit to come out of your mouth.

ability to not speak

(photo courtesy of: https://www.challies.com/a-la-carte/a-la-carte-august-28-3/)

Sticks and Stones

March 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 2 Comments
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The Words of God are not harmful, but high-handed disobedience to the Word of God can do worse than stones that break our bones.

But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Numbers 15:30-36

Once, God sent the prophet Elijah to seek a widow woman, who would be able to provide him sustenance.

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

I Kings 17:8-12

She got angry and used harsh words. She probably wanted to use those sticks to beat Elijah and break his bones, but she didn’t. Instead, she obeyed the Word of the Lord.

You have probably heard the old adage: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” According to the Bible, though, words have power, and they can actually be more dangerous, more harmful, and more powerful than sticks and stones.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:6-8

It’s not the sticks breaking bones that we ought to worry about. It’s the sticks kindling a fire.

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 12:18

One kind of harmful word is a cutting word – “a cutting remark” we sometimes say – but the tongue of the wise is health. The Word of God is sharp, but it makes the one who gets cut healthier, not sicker.

A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

Proverbs 13:2

What goes out of our mouths can produce spiritual fruit or poisonous fruit. A good rule of thumb is not to produce any fruit from our mouths that we wouldn’t want to eat ourselves.

A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

Proverbs 25:18

A maul will break bones. Lies are a type of unwise words that do not always sound harmful because of their deceitfulness.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 18:21

A person who loves to hear himself talk will not always be guilty of saying something harmful, but we must constantly remember that we are going to have eat the fruit that is produced by what we say.

As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

Proverbs 26:21

A person who gossips is like someone throwing fuel on a fire. The harmful fire that spreads through gossip can be snuffed out many times simply by keeping our mouths shut. Matthew 12:34 says that, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” but that doesn’t mean I always have to let everyone know what’s on my heart. Before speaking, I need to make sure that I am filled up with the Word of God and with the Spirit of God, so that what comes out is helpful, not harmful.

Arise: Naboth’s Vineyard, Ahab’s Vice, and God’s Vengeance – Part 3

December 2, 2009 at 11:23 am | Posted in Arise | 8 Comments
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In Part 1 and Part 2 we met:

I. The Pious Patriarch (Naboth)
II. The Pouting Potentate (Ahab)
III. The Poisonous Puppeteer (Jezebel)
IV. The Pestering Prophet (Elijah)

Elijah tells Ahab in I Kings 21:19: “… Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.”

And concerning Jezebel:

The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

I Kings 21:23

Here we see an example of the Preeminent Precept. It is a precept that is key to the understanding of the whole Bible. The Preeminent Precept is that God is holy and God is just, and He shall judge righteously. Under this preeminent precept there are three principles I want to look at very briefly:

No. 1. God is not mocked.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Galatians 6:7

Don’t be fooled. Don’t let anyone else fool you. And don’t fool yourself. No one “gets away with” sin. Ahab and Jezebel tried to make a mockery of God. They sat on thrones and ruled over men and women – but there was One Who ruled over them – and held them accountable.

Following up on the guarantee that God will not be mocked is the principle of sowing and reaping. We reap what we sow. And the second principle under the Preeminent Precept is:

No. 2. Sin contains its own seeds of destruction.

Things done in the Spirit – love, joy, hope – have seeds of life in them. Sin has its own seeds – seeds of death. Drugs and alcohol seem like such harmless fun – but the Bible says at the end they bite like an adder – a poisonous snake. When you take a drink or use drugs, you’ve grown a flower which looks harmless, but it will bloom into deadly poison.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Proverbs 23:31-32

When you decide you are jealous of someone or you want to hurt someone else out of spite, you are taking a bite out of a piece of fruit that may taste sweet, but it will make you as sick as a dog.

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

Proverbs 26:27

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Ecclesiastes 10:8

If you decide to step outside God’s boundaries of sexual purity, and flirt and fool around and experience a little emotional pleasure or physical pleasure, then you have scattered some seed on that side of the fence, and the branches will grow out into every part of your life, and cause God to have to come and hack them down and throw them into the fire.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

I Corinthians 6:9-10

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:15

1. God is not mocked.
2. Sin contains its own seeds of destruction.
3. God will repay.

… it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Romans 12:19

When Cain slew Abel – the first murder – Abel’s blood cried up to God from the ground. All throughout the Bible, the cries of the oppressed, the helpless, the wronged, cry out to God. He hears them and He is just and righteous, and He will make things right. The blood of Naboth and his sons cried up to God from the earth… and God determined to repay.

Be very careful about your actions in this life. You can do wrong to someone in this world in such a way that the earthly powers can not make it right. But you can not wrong someone and cover it up in such a way that God will not find it out and avenge the wronged person. You will have to “get over yourself,” because you can not “get over” on God.

The Preeminent Precept is preeminent because it must be grasped for a proper understanding of the Gospel. We don’t always grasp God’s perfection, and His fairness, and His justice, and His holiness – because we don’t have anything to use for comparison. We ourselves are so tainted with sin that we see “fairness” through a dark and cloudy lens of self-interest. God is light – but we have attempted to reduce the dramatic contrast of the Light by making ourselves seem bright, too. Until we see how black with sin our own heart is – until we see the hopelessness of the midnight of our soul – until we realize that we are buried in a pit of sin and unrighteousness – we will never fully realize how bright and shining and gloriously radiant God is.

Ahab had a glimpse of this:

And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.

I Kings 21:27-29

But Jezebel did not. Three years went by. As she and Ahab sat around the royal dinner table enjoying the herbs from the garden which used to be Naboth’s vineyard, did Ahab jump every time he heard a dog bark?

The preeminent precept is that God is just and holy and righteous, and that He will judge sin. It held true in the case of Ahab and Jezebel. God’s promises always come to pass.

We have seen:

I. The Pious Patriarch
II. The Pouting Potentate
III. The Poisonous Puppeteer
IV. The Pestering Prophet
V. The Preeminent Precept

In part four we will look at:

The Poignant Payment


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