“A sated man loathes honey, but to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet” (Proverbs 27:7 NASB). God has filled the cups of some to the point of overflowing, but rather than sharing what is in their saucer, they have thrown it away and wasted it. You would think being blessed with an abundance would lead to an abundance of thankfulness. Sadly, the opposite sometimes occurs. An abundance may lead someone to trample what is wholesome and good and would be appreciated by others. It is a sad fact there are others starving while food rots in our fridges and others freeze while clothes we will never wear sit in storage. Maybe its time we donate our castoffs and eat more leftovers so we can use the savings to help others. Someone who does not have as much will greatly value these efforts.
“Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6 NRSV). Criticism is not always an attack, and a kiss is not always a sign of affection. We have to consider the person behind these actions. If the person is typically a hateful person, their kisses are most likely a manipulation. They do not have our best interest in mind. On the other hand, if we have gathered good and wise friends around us (as we should, cf. Proverbs 13:20), we ought to trust them when they advise or even criticize us. Their advice may wound us, but we should know they have our best interests in mind. A real friendship cannot exist when everyone must tiptoe around and restrain themselves for fear of the friendship dissolving. Our true friends help us become better people (cf. Proverbs 27:17). We need to assume our friends have our best interests in mind and listen when they warn us or try to correct errors in our lives.
“Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed” (Proverbs 27:5 NASB). It is only when we know of our problems that we can do something about them. Somewhere along the line the notion of love has been twisted. Most now consider it “loving” to hold your tongue and let your friends embarrass themselves and make foolish mistakes. We don’t want to offend, so we conceal our love. Such love accomplishes nothing. Even worse, it gives our friends and loved ones a false sense of security. They think everything is alright because no one has told them any differently. Consequently, they feel no need to change. Open rebuke, however, can wake one up and change one’s life for the better. This is the kind of love we need and the kind of love we must find the courage to give.
“Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4 NASB). We don’t like to face the heat of someone’s anger or wrath, and we often don’t like ourselves when we experience these emotions. We easily see the danger of such emotions; they are obviously and visibly wrong. In comparison, jealousy seems quieter merely lurking in our minds. Jealousy, however, makes us bitter and greedy and it seeps into every area of our lives. Wanting something and not getting is the cause of nearly every conflict in our lives (cf. James 4:1-2). Adultery, theft, lying, and even murder often have their roots in jealousy. There is no end to the damage jealousy can do to our lives. We can combat jealousy, though, by trusting God, showing thankfulness for what we have, and learning to give to others generously.
This article is not about the movie “Noah,” it is about Noah. I haven’t seen the movie, but I have read Genesis and I know what the Bible has to say about Noah. Even had the movie tried to be accurate to the Biblical account it would not have been as meaningful and spiritually impacting as the words God has already inspired. Noah was a great man of God and we should all be more like him.
Noah lived blameless in a time of unparalleled wickedness. We think things are bad today, but the state of pre-flood world is unlike any we have experienced. It was completely evil with the exception of one man (Genesis 6:5, 11-12). Every thought and intent was wicked. There was literally (and I’m using the word correctly) no good in these people. Yet, despite all of this, Noah walked with God and was found blameless in his generation (Genesis 6:9). Noah shows us a valuable lesson we need to hold on to in an ever darkening and sinful world—it is possible to live right in the eyes of God despite what everyone else is doing.
Noah was a great dad. Ezekiel 14:14-18 uses the examples of three righteous men: Noah, Daniel, and Job to explain that everyone is accountable for their own lives and sins. This text explicitly says that these men could only deliver themselves with their own righteousness and not their sons nor their daughters. Yet, we know that Noah’s sons and their wives were also saved from the flood. 1 Peter 3:20 records there were eight souls saved on the ark (note this passage also denies that animals have souls like men otherwise there would have been a lot more than 8 souls). If they were saved, it was because they lived righteous before God as well. Noah, as a righteous man, must have passed his faith on to his sons and their wives–they didn’t just ride in on the coattails of his righteousness. Perhaps they were “converted” in the 120 years between God’s declaration of a flood and the actual event through Noah’s example and his preaching. Whatever the case, this world needs more dads like Noah.
Noah is an example of faith and obedience. God warned Noah of something that was unknown to the world at that time (they didn’t have rain let alone floods), yet Noah was moved with Godly fear (cf. Hebrews 11:7). God gave Noah very specific instructions on how to build the ark in Genesis 6:14-16 and Noah did according to all that God commanded him (Genesis 6:22). Noah did exactly what God said to do. If he had changed the dimensions or the materials of the ark, he would not have been obedient. He didn’t take the view of many today that God’s Word is more like a guideline and we should just follow our hearts. If Noah’s heart had led him to build the ark out of pine, he and his family would have perished. Noah obeyed God completely and immediately. If we have a faith like his, we will too.
Noah showed us what it means to sacrifice and worship God. After the flood was over and they departed from the ark, Noah’s first recorded action is to build an altar and worship God (Genesis 8:18-20). Upon this altar, he gave perhaps the most precious sacrifice man has ever offered to God. There were only seven pairs of clean animals and birds taken on the ark (Genesis 7:2-3). From this number, Noah took of every clean animal and bird and offered them to God. These were animals that were to be food for Noah and his family and there were not many of them. This is what it means to sacrifice and this is worship that was meaningful to God (cf. Genesis 8:21-22). We need to have more people who are willing to sacrifice and worship like Noah. God is calling us to be living sacrifices (cf. Romans 12:1-2). When is the last time we really pushed ourselves in service to God to do something that is difficult and uncomfortable? When is the last time our faith cost us something?
Noah was not a perfect man. On one occasion, he even became drunk. Nevertheless, he stands as an example of one would not let himself be conformed to the world, an example of one who was dedicated to his family, and one who whole heartedly served and obeyed God. Let’s be more like Noah.
“A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them” (Proverbs 27:3 NKJV). Fools create heavy emotional baggage. The abuse which results from a fool’s unjust and misguided anger creates an a great deal of anguish in one’s life. It torments us to know we are suffering because someone jumped to conclusions and didn’t take the time to talk with us or check the facts. It would be easier to carry a heavy stone or bags of sand around than the fool’s insults and accusations. There is comfort, however, knowing that we have favor with God when we endure harsh, unjust treatment with patience and continue to do what is right, 1 Peter 2:19-25. A fool’s opinion really doesn’t matter. We need to strive to forget their insults and live for God.
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2 NASB). Bragging is not a habit of the wise. Self-praise is meaningless and annoying (cf. John 8:54). It does more harm to a reputation than it helps. We would be better off not having others know of our skill or accomplishments. It is a good feeling when another praises you, but even if no one ever does, God will know. This should be enough. After all, we should be striving to please God, not man.
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1 NASB). Planning is good, but we need to acknowledge the will of God and our limitations (cf. James 4:13-16). Otherwise we fall into one of two pits (or both). The first is arrogance. We really don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow and what we will be doing. To pretend otherwise is arrogance. We may have a good idea, but sometimes life throws us a curve and one day the entire world will be thrown a curve when Jesus returns. The second is laziness. Sometimes our “planning” is really procrastination. We don’t really know, however, if there will be a tomorrow. We cannot live in the future, the only day we have to act is today.
“The Lego Movie” comes complete with adventure, a few laughs, some good moral lessons… and an inane song that gets stuck in your head: “Everything is Awesome.” The song plays over and over again trying to brainwash the characters into believing everything is awesome, but everything is not awesome in the movie or in real life. In fact, most of life is not awesome. Dictionary.com defines awesome as: “inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear; causing or inducing awe.” As slang, it is used to mean something is “terrific” or “extraordinary.” There is not much that can hold up to this definition. Let’s consider a few things that are and are not awesome.
Sin is not awesome. Sin separates us from what is truly awesome—God (cf. Isaiah 59:1-2). Since sin has entered the world, work has become a source of pain and frustration (cf. Genesis 3:17-19) and even if one becomes successful, no real satisfaction is found without God (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:4-11). The world is full of wickedness, corruption, and lies. None of this is awesome. What is awesome, however, is that God in His love sent a sacrifice to pay for our sins (cf. John 3:16, Romans 5:5-10). Now, obedience to the gospel cleanses us from all our past sins (cf. Acts 2:38, 22:16) and walking in the light assures us of a continual cleansing and fellowship with God (1 John 5:7)—that’s awesome!
Suffering is not awesome. This life is filled with sufferings and pain that make us groan and long for something better (cf. Romans 8:18-24). The godly face persecution (cf. 2 Timothy 3:12). In addition, there is the misery and suffering brought on by the unjust actions and callousness of man. There are men, women, and children without food and clothes and nothing but shallow words to comfort them (cf. James 2:14-16). None of this awesome. What is awesome, however, is our eternal home with God. It is a place prepared for us (John 14:1-3) where there is no sin, suffering, hunger, pain or tears and we will always be in the presence of God (cf. Revelation 21:1-4, 22:3-5)—that’s awesome!
Lost souls are not awesome. Most people are on the broad path to destruction (cf. Matthew 7:13-14). Many of these souls will never hear unless someone goes to them with the God’s Word (cf. Romans 10:14-17). Even worse, many are being led astray by false teachers (cf. 2 Peter 3:16; Ezekiel 13:1-4, 9-10). None of this awesome. What is awesome, however, is God has made His will known to man, recorded it, and preserved it through the years so that we might know the narrow way (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:19-21)—that’s awesome! In addition, He has given us the mission to take His word to others and help them find the narrow way (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 4:1-7)—that’s awesome too.
Far too many people are going through life pretending everything is awesome when it is not. While I am all for celebrating life and rejoicing, pretending everything is awesome will keep us from changing and from helping others. As we look at our lives on this earth, we must realize there are changes and improvements we need to make. Only when we seek and obey God can anything awesome be in our lives. He is the Awesome God and anything that is awesome originates with Him. Apart from Him, nothing is awesome.
“A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin” (Proverbs 26:28 NASB). We must see lying for what it is—an act of hatred. We may think a little lie doesn’t do any harm or even that it does good for others by preventing embarrassment and hurt feelings. Flattering another, however, merely opens someone to more embarrassment and adds feeling of betrayal and shattered trust to the mix as well (cf. Proverbs 27:6). Lies are used to comfort and console others, but false comfort and consolation makes the matter worse. In matters of grief, it makes someone go through the grieving process twice—once when the loss occurred, then again when they realize all the comforting words they used to overcome are fake. If something is not firmly rooted in the truth, it is not helpful. If we love someone, we will have the courage to tell them the truth even when it is uncomfortable and might hurt their feelings (cf. Proverbs 27:5).