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All down through the annals of time, history records for us certain comparisons of good versus bad, of law abiding versus law abusing, of righteousness versus unrighteousness. Present-day man has not yet discovered how to use these records to educate himself because the heart of man is always at odds with his Creator and Sustainer. He fails to recognize the fact that he should use these records to his benefit. Man, seemingly, wants to play the part of the reader to benefit himself only; while, in fact, he should play the part of the follower and follow in the footsteps of Yahshua, thereby edifying the Body of the Messiah. Since the book of Proverbs is full of such comparisons, let us learn from them.
Following the Babylonian captivity, a large number of believers remained in the land of their captivity. A brief historical event concerning these people is recorded for us in the book of Esther. The book of Esther itself is a drama about a certain crisis in the history of Yahweh's People. The first five chapters of the book lead up to the crisis point in the drama. With providential preservation, we shall see how quickly the table is turned and dark clouds give way to bright sunshine.
While the king had gathered the princes of his provinces together for a great feast, he ordered his queen to come to the festive occasion to show off her beauty to the group:
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him, Est 1:10-12.
By refusing, the queen made a large breach of etiquette by this public rebuff of an absolute monarch. This action led to her being disposed of as the queen (“If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she,” Est 1:19) and the selection of Esther as her successor after a beauty contest was held (Est 2:2-17).
Esther was a ward, and cousin, of Mordecai, who was employed in the service of the royal court (2:5). Mordecai gained favor in the king's eyes when he uncovered a plot to kill the king (Est 2:21-25). But the real culprit of this drama is Haman, a high executive officer to the king. Haman had extracted from the king a command that all should show Haman reverence by bowing to him (Est 3:1-2). Mordecai, refusing to show such reverence to a man, was placed on Haman's "black list." When Haman learned that Mordecai was a Jew, he entreated the king to have all the Jews destroyed (Est 3:12-13), where the high point was to be the public hanging of Mordecai on the gallows which Haman constructed in his own courtyard.
The stage is now set for the climax, but the expected climax does not come. Through a petition to the king on behalf of her people to spare her life, since Esther was a Jewess, Esther persuades the king to reverse his earlier command and to execute the real enemy, Haman, upon the very gallows which had been built for Mordecai.
Yes, as Haman's riches were gained by lawlessness, so they profited him nothing. As Jer. 17:11 says,
As the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days and his end shall be a fool.
Thus, Haman exemplifies the first part of Prov. 10:2, "Treasures of lawlessness profit nothing." One can also see how Mordecai exemplifies the latter part of the same verse: "But righteousness delivereth from death." The same thought is brought out in Prov. 11:4-6:
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: But righteousness delivereth from death. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: But the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: But transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
One can also note that the story of Noah and the worldliness which existed at his time exemplifies this same scripture from Proverbs. Yes, Yahweh promises deliverance, where tragedy is turned to triumph, if we endure to the end.
Fill 'Er Up
Too many people in this world are most concerned with filling their stomach with all kinds of food to sustain their physical life. Certainly this is a necessity, but in a very short time the energy derived from the food is used up and the body needs more food. As Matt. 6:33 says,
Seek ye first the Kingdom of Yahweh, and His righteousness; and all these things [the necessities of life] shall be added unto you.
If we feel we should fill ourselves with something more profitable to us in the long run, we should fill up on those things that endure. We should fill ourselves with praise and thankfulness to Yahweh for what He has done for us in the past and what He promises to do for us in the future.
By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to Yahweh continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices Yahweh is well pleased, Heb. 13:15-16.
The prophet Habakkuk offered such praise in chapter 3 of the book that bears his name. The underlying theme of the book of Habakkuk is faith:
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith, Hab 2:4.
In chapter 3 we find Habakkuk's faith glorying in assurance, as he praises Yahweh for the events in the history of His People (Hab 3:3-15) and he praises Yahweh for his confidence for the future of His People (verse 18).
Even as Habakkuk's days seemed dark to him, so do ours at times; as he resolved himself to wait patiently, so should we. By doing so the dark clouds shall be removed to let the bright sunshine come through. Then we shall surely have good reason to cry aloud with joy as Habakkuk did in chapter 3, where in verse 1 "Shigionoth" means to cry aloud, either in pain as Habakkuk did in verse 16, or in joy as he did in verses 18 and 19. If we remain true to His Word, then Yahweh has promised us that we will not grow hungry as we read in Prov. 10:3, first part:
Yahweh will not suffer the righteous to famish.
One can take this food not only to mean physical food but also spiritual food, for if we have faith as Habakkuk did, then Yahweh will certainly provide a table in the wilderness. In the last part of Prov. 10:3, Yahweh makes another promise - if we seek worldly pleasure in this life, as did the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21, then we shall be cast aside. Don't let this happen to you. Place your trust and faith in those things which can neither be corrupted by moths and rust nor stolen, for as Matt. 6:21 reads, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Physically speaking, we must, of necessity, periodically sleep so that our body can rebuild. Without physical rest we would become totally exhausted and soon have a physical breakdown. But, speaking spiritually, we must never rest. If we do, then we will have a spiritual breakdown. One can never build up one's spiritual foundation through inactivity. If we do this, Satan will more than likely gain a toehold in our lives, and after a toehold comes a foothold, then a leghold and finally a bodyhold, where he would have complete control over our lives.
In Romans, chapter 7, Paul tells about the two laws that coexist within our body - the law of the mind and the law of the flesh:
For I delight in the law of Yahweh after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank Yahweh through Yahshua Messiah our Master. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of Yahweh; but with the flesh the law of sin, Rom 7:22-25.
Paul tells us that he delights in the Law of Yahweh which he serves with his mind. This we must do also if we are to build up a strong spiritual foundation which cannot be impregnated by the wiles of Satan.
Paul traveled extensively in the known world of his day, preaching Yahshua and gathering new believers into Yahshua's Body. Paul truly was a wise son as Prov. 10:5, first part, says,
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son.
However, one of Paul's fellowlaborers, Demas (see Col 4:14 and Philemon 24), did not weather the storm, as he loved the physical part of this world too much,
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia, 2 Tim 4:10
Demas is an example of one who sleeps in the time of harvest and is as a son who causeth shame. See Prov. 10:5, last part.
We who profess to be members of Yahshua's Body must take heed to the warning given to us in Prov. 10:5. We must not fall asleep on the job; we must not neglect our duty and our commission of preparing the inhabitants of this world for the soon-coming Kingdom of Yahweh. The person who sleeps during this time of harvesting will certainly suffer shame and loss when he comes face-to-face with his Judge.
Hatred - Love
In I Samuel, beginning with chapter 7, we read of the life of Saul, Israel's first earthly king. We read of his physical characteristics and his military victories. In chapter 15 we find that he disobeyed Yahweh when he failed to completely annihilate the Amalekites, verses 1-9. As a result he is told by Samuel that Yahweh will take his kingdom away from him and give it to David, verses 25-28. In the next few chapters we see how Saul becomes jealous of David, 18:1-9, and pursues him to kill him, 20:33, because Yahweh was with David now and no longer with Saul.
Saul ordered all of his men, including his son Jonathan, to kill David. But David and Jonathan were very good friends, as they loved each other, so Jonathan told David of Saul's plan to kill him.
Fleeing from Saul, David came to Nob and requested bread and Goliath's sword from Ahimelech the priest, I Sam. 21:1-9. The chief herdsman of Saul, Doeg, the Edomite, observed this meeting, verse 7, and told Saul. Believing that Ahimelech was conspiring against him, Saul had Ahimelech and his family killed, save one, Abiathar, one of Ahimelech's sons.
The above episode is an example of how hatred for a person, Doeg's feelings toward David, caused strife between Saul and Ahimelech, and is surely an example of Prov. 10:12, first part, which says that "Hatred stirreth up strifes."
Another example of this is the strife between Abraham and Hagar caused by Sarah's feelings toward Ishmael. See Gen. 21: 9-14. To exemplify the last part of Prov. 10:12, "But love covereth all sins," one can look at another event in David's life and how he obtained Bathsheba as his wife. David desired Bathsheba to be his wife, but she was already the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David then conceived a plan by which he would send Uriah to lead the army into a battle in which Uriah would surely die. This occurred as we find that Uriah was killed, II Sam 11:24. In II Sam 12 Nathan told a parable to David in which David answered that the guilty person should be put to death, verse 5. When Nathan explained to David that he was the guilty person, David recognized his sin, verse 13, and fasted and prayed the prayer found in Psalm 51. Here we see how Nathan's love toward David helped show David his guilt. The love which covers all sins, as written in Prov. 10:12, is not our love but the love that others feel toward us which causes us to recognize our guilt for which we ask Yahweh for forgiveness. See also I Pet. 4:8.
Another illustration of the love which Nathan felt for David is the feeling that each of us, as members of Yahshua's Body, have toward the other members. We are to love our brethren (“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear Yahweh. Honour the king,” I Pet. 2:17), and we are to have this same spontaneous love for each one (“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another,” I Cor. 12:25). Truly this is wisdom that we can all apply to ourselves, both young and old alike.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer
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