Sunday Morning Coffee: Dwell Safely

Proverbs 1:33.

 “But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

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Do  you struggle with fear?  When there is something you cannot control, do you find your mind wandering down paths that keep you awake at night, worrying about what may or may not happen?  Dwelling on the “but what if”  things in life?

The prelude to this verse, all of the first chapter of Proverbs,  speaks of the importance of learning wisdom; of paying attention to spiritually mature people; of avoiding foolish people who tempt us into doing that which is evil.

God tells us that He has called us to wisdom, but we have refused it in favor of satisfying self.  Then, when we are in trouble because of our own sinful choices, He will not hear our begging and pleading. He speaks of scorners and fools who laugh in derision at God’s Word, and will not hear His pleading.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.Image result for Proverbs 1:8-9

This entire chapter is full of  counsel that, if we would only hear and follow it, will preserve us from the consequences of rebellion and rejection of God.  I like the picture in verses 8-9.  The words of godly parents, when we heed them, are  ornaments of grace for the head, and precious chains around our necks.

Perhaps you didn’t have godly parents.  Perhaps you never heard about Jesus, never looked at a Bible until you were grown.  That’s sad, but it is never too late to begin to study God’s Word.  It is never too late to gain the wisdom that comes with obedience to God.  It is never too late to enjoy, even in difficult times, the blessing of the knowledge that “The eternal God is thy refuge; and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

 

Who Will Escape?

Isaiah 33:13-14. “Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge My might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”

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People everywhere are commanded to hear and acknowledge God’s acts and power. The passage goes on to name the classes of people to be punished by God:  Sinners in Zion, who are afraid; hypocrites who are surprised with fear of everlasting fire.

Then the question:  Who is going to be able to escape the wrath of God?   The time of reckoning  draws near, and all who have held themselves as above reproach, above sin and its results, above God Himself, will realize that there is no escape for them.

The next few verses will tell us who will escape, though. God always leaves the door of hope open.

 

In That Day

Isaiah 19:16-18. “In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts, which He hath determined against it. In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts: one shall be called, The city of destruction.”

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“In that day” is the immediate fall of Egypt as well as its future fall when Christ returns. Judah will become the instrument of judgment. The attitude of Egypt toward Israel would be changed, even to the extent of five Egyptian cities adopting Hebrew, the language of Israel, as its common tongue.  This particular prophecy could be considered to have been fulfilled when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, and Hellenistic Greek became the common tongue in Canaan and elsewhere and was adopted in Egypt (where the Septuagint Version was produced.

In verse 18, the “city of destruction” or literally Ir-ha-heres, could indicate the destruction of idolatry. That destruction took place after the successive invasions of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, and Greeks.

In that day also brings us to the coming of the second advent of Christ, when the land of Judah becomes the center of world government and is a terror to those who resist it.

Rest from Sorrow and Fear

Isaiah 14:3. “And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.”

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There will be peace.  Israel will be done with the arduous cycle of disobedience, punishment, and restoration.  Her enemies will be finally defeated, and there will be peace.

I love the promises of this passage. The Day of the Lord will be one of mercy, grace, and victory for His people.

No Escape

Isaiah 13:7-8. “Therefore shall alll hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another: their faces shall be as flames.”

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The judgment of God is nothing to be shrugged at. It will be terrible. There will be great fear, such fear that people will experience pain similar to that of a woman in childbirth.  Their faces will be red with shame as their sin is dealt with. There will be no escape.

Sunday Morning Coffee:A Setback

I was doing so well. Got my staples out of the incision, was feeling really good. Then I went to a store with Terry, stayed on my feet for maybe half an hour, walked a little, stood still  a little. Knew I needed to get back to the car. Little pinchy twinges in the right lumbar.

“NO!”  says I to myself. ‘I’ll be fine once we get home and I can stretch out on my bed. This is just a temporary setback.”   But I knew.  Really, deep inside, I knew.

My right-side lumbar pain is back. Not the one the surgery targeted. That seems fine. The one that started this whole mess two years ago, that’s what is rearing its ugly head.

So I’m back to resting, not sitting much, using the bed Terry set up in the living room. And maybe I can get ahead of it. If I have to, I’ll start taking my pain meds again.

What did I do to cause this?  Probably nothing. I’m always careful these days.  I took my cane with me, even though I don’t use it at home any more. It just happened.

So, how can I make a spiritual application here?  Always, it’s  good to look for that. It helps me to understand that God knows all about it, and I don’t have to  try to figure out.

First, it’s yet another opportunity to trust Him.  He knows I’m supposed to go back to work in  just a little over a week. He knows  what I can tolerate as far as sitting is concerned, and He will make a way for me to be able to deal with my situation. In my head, I know this is true. My emotions, however, are less stable and will take more convincing.  That’s one reason why we need to follow what we know to be true, not how we feel. Feelings change from moment to moment. God’s truth is always the same.

Second, it’s  an opportunity  to give Him my fear. I don’t like pain. I don’t like knowing that I will be dealing with pain, at some level, for the rest of my life. I have a condition, not an illness that will eventually be healed. Conditions like mine don’t disappear. The pain can be treated and eased,  but the underlying problem will not disappear.  I have to  give that to the Lord on a regular basis. Give Him my fear, and grab the promise, again, that He will be with me through the valley of the shadow of death. I’m not being melodramatic here.  I’m just looking to the future. If I don’t learn to trust Him now, through the small stuff, then I won’t trust Him later.

Faith, I’m learning, is a step-by-step journey. One step, one hour, one day at a time.

Please, Stop!

Rarely do I use this blog as a commentary on current events. Today I’m stepping away from that policy, because I’m appalled (not surprised, just appalled) at some of the behaviors on both sides of the political spectrum.

The anti-Trump riots are disgraceful.  I watched a video yesterday in which a gang of hoodlums was physically banging on a car, threatening the driver, while chanting “Peaceful Protest! Peaceful Protest!”  Right.  Fires, flag burning, vandalism and threats that there will be casualties in order to effect change?  NOT peaceful protests. Not even close.

Then I hear some stories from the other end of the spectrum:  A Muslim woman being verbally abused and intimidated because she was wearing her hijab.  An American-born college woman who was both verbally and physically abused by some street thugs because she is Latino. Both these people were informed that now that Trump will be President, they’re going to get what’s coming to them. There is no excuse for such behavior. Mr. Trump would not condone it, and it’s not what he’s been talking about.

I don’t care which side of the political playing field you are on–such behavior is never helpful, never right, never appropriate.

At this point, I’m not personally touched by such evil.  We live in a calm and quiet neighborhood where such behavior is not condoned and would be shocking to everyone, Liberal and Conservative alike.  But if it doesn’t stop, if people don’t get their heads on straight, it could very well be that this evil will spread from the cities into the surrounding suburbs and beyond.

I find it completely disgusting that college students are being pampered with therapy dogs and depression treatment, even having tests canceled, because their candidate lost. How pathetic is that!  They are crying and moaning, while at the same time other young people their age are out on the battlefields of the MidEast, working to protect people who do not have the privileges of this republic. I know which ones I would choose to stand for my own freedom!

I believe that the only real healing in our land will be a spiritual revival. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can calm people’s hearts and turn this ugliness around. We need to remember that Satan is at the root of all of it, on both sides. Anger, hatred, threats, actual violence–this is not of God.  It is of Satan.

We need to pray. We need to learn to forgive, to heal, to come together.  “Divided we fall” is just as true as it ever was. Please, stop this madness.  Stop the hatred, the vitriolic speech, the threats and the violence.  It is gaining nothing. It never does.