Precepts In Proverbs
Devotional Number 3
How to Keep from Being a Casualty
When it comes to the book of Proverbs we have some of the simplest, the most understandable sound advice that a person will ever hear. The reason is that the Proverbs were written from a father to a son. Solomon wanted his son to grow up and serve the Lord. The verses are all short so they are simple. A fact that is very distressing is that while Solomon wrote this book to his son and in simple terms described how to keep from being a casualty, Solomon failed at this task. Solomon’s son Rehoboam also failed to follow this simple advice as well. Solomon couldn’t live up to his own instruction. He knew how to keep from falling but yet he fell. In this proverb we will look at for steps that will help us from becoming a casualty.
- Don’t slack off – Proverbs 4:2 (KJV) “For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.” The word forsake means to loosen. The point here concerning the Bible is don’t loosen what you know. One of the major reasons for a disaster in your Christian life is a person will come to a place where they think that all the battles are over. The greatest temptation to be hurt is not in the midst of a crisis but it’s after the victory. The reason is because we think we have won the battle and the tendency is to let down your guard and slack off somewhat. Notice in verses 3-4 Solomon received these words from his dad. Proverbs 4:3-4 (KJV) “For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” After things in the Kingdom had somewhat calmed down and David was not fighting for his life anymore David started to relax. The Bible says this was a time when Kings went out to war. David knew where he was supposed to be and that was on the battle field. David tarried in Jerusalem instead of going out to war and sent somebody else to do his fighting. David spent six years running and avoiding Saul and after all the fighting he decided to relax. When Christ was tempted out in the wilderness the Bible says when Satan realized that he could not cause Christ to stumble that Satan departed for a season. That meant he was going to come back to tempt him again. We need to be careful when we win a spiritual battle because the war has not been won yet. As long as we are wearing a robe of flesh the war is not over. The war will be over when we get to Heaven.
- Try to see things from God’s point of view – Proverbs 4:8 (KJV) “Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.” Exalt means to erect or to elevate. What Solomon is saying we need to create a desire inside of us to look at divine heavenly wisdom and make it the greatest thing in our life. We need to exalt or elevate or erect wisdom to such a point in your life that you consider wisdom as the greatest thing. What is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to see things as God seems them. A wise person can look at a situation and see exactly what God is doing in it. A wise person knows when something bad comes into their life that it was what God wanted so by wisdom they learn from it because God knows best. When we fall into a pit and get discouraged and bad things are happening and we’re going through an emotional and spiritual battle here are a couple of questions that will help us climb out of the pit:
- Does God still love me? One of the greatest realizations we can come to is realizing that there is nothing that we can do that will make God love us anymore. We can’t do anything bad that will cause God to love us any less.
- Is God just as powerful now as when He parted the Red Sea? God has not changed. He is just as powerful today as when He parted the Red Sea.
- Does God know things that I don’t know? He know a lot of things that we don’t know. He’s not always going to explain things to us. If He has not revealed the answer then God is saying we don’t need to know. We only need to trust. Our faith is built up by trusting Him.
- Has God ever done anything to keep us from trusting Him?
It is of special note that Solomon also failed to do this point. Moses gave a warning to this specific point. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 (KJV) “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” God gave this warning to Solomon but he failed to head this warning. A warning here is that we can raise our kids in a great church but if we are not leading by example our kids will grow up and make the wrong decisions.
- Guard yourself from drifting – Proverbs 4:13 (KJV) “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” Not an immediate apostasy from truth but guard yourself from drifting a little at a time. The primary thing that will cause us to drift is the wrong crowd. In the following verses Solomon mentions they four times. Proverbs 4:16-17 (KJV) “For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.” Solomon is talking about the people who will slip into our lives and will cause us to drift spiritually. In verse 14 Solomon warns about friends who are wicked and their hearts are full of wickedness. Proverbs 4:14 (KJV) “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.” Some wicked people will masquerade as friends but in their heart they are so evil that they can’t even go to sleep unless they hurt somebody. How is that evil or wicked people cause the slight drifting in a Christian’s life? When people start backsliding there is not usually an immediate departure. They will gradually start drifting. Here are three ways that evil people will make you drift:
- They use substitution – The liberals that are attacking the Bible are not outright denying that the Bible is God’s Word. They practice substitution. Preachers will substitute bibles like the NIV for the true Bible. Some people will give you advice that is contrary to the Bible or what your parents say.
- Intimidation – Soul winning churches are starting to fade out of the ministry. See how the church is doing in the bus ministry. If they are cutting back they are retreating. The devil will try to intimidate you and keep you from doing what is right.
- Peer pressure – The devil has a hold on the newspapers and they are putting out propaganda and putting pressure on God’s people. The media is distorting reality. Perverts have infiltrated the media, TV and movies and newspapers are trying to make it appear that what is wrong is right. Solomon married 1000 women who used peer pressure to pressure him into tolerating their idols. Next Solomon accepted them.
- Protect yourself from falling – Every Christian has some weaknesses. We need to find out what these weak areas are and protect ourselves form them. Here are four areas that we need to protect.
- Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We don’t know ourselves as good as we think we do. The heart is the place where evil thoughts are born. The heart is where pride will find a home. Solomon found this out because of all his wives.
- Guard your mouth – Proverbs 4:24 (KJV) “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” The mouth will speak out of the abundance of the heart. Many times we need to hold our tongue and think before we speak. Once something is spoken out it is impossible to take it back.
- Guard your eyes – Proverbs 4:25 (KJV) “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” The eyes are so crucial because whatever goes in the eyes goes eventually to the heart. We need to force ourselves to stay focused on that which is good.
- Guard your feet – Proverbs 4:26 (KJV) “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” Ponder in this verse means to roll flat or pack down. We need to prepare the place we are going to walk in very comfortably and consistently. We need to have some fences in our lives that will protect us and keep us on the right path. Solomon and his son both failed at these points. The reason is that they had no fences. No fences means no path means no way to keep your feet on the path and going in the established way.