March Madness Proverbs Day 21

March 21, 2007

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Today’s chapter is Proverbs chapter 21! Read it, then come back here!

From the Life Application Bible:

Verse 1: In Solomon’s day, kings possessed absolute authority and were often considered to be like gods. This proverb shows that God has ultimate authority over world rulers. Although they may not have realized it, the earth’s most powerful kings have always been under God’s control. (See Isaiah 10:5-8 for an example of a king who was used for God’s purposes).

Verse 2: People may mistakenly think they are doing right, but God sees the motives of their hearts. We often have to make choices in areas where the right action is difficult to discern. We can help ourselves make such decisions by trying to identify our motives first and then asking, Would God be pleased with my real reasons for doing this? God is not pleased when we do good deeds only to receive something in return.

Verse 3: Sacrifices are not bribes to make God overlook our character faults. If our personal and business dealings are not characterized by justice, no amount of generosity when the offering plate is passed will make up for it.

Verse 5: Faithful completion of one’s work is a great accomplishment. Being a diligent worker does not come naturally to some people; it is a result of strong character. Don’t look for shortcuts that result in inefficiency. Work hard as if in the service of God.

Verses 11-12: It is usually better to learn from the mistakes of others than from our own. We can do this by listening to their advice. Take counsel from others instead of plunging ahead and learning the hard way.

Verse 13: We should work to meet the needs of the poor and protect their rights for someday we may be in need of such services ourselves.

Verse 20: This proverb is about saving for the future. Easy credit has many people living on the edge of bankruptcy. The desire to keep up appearances and to accumulate more drives them to spend every penny they earn, and they stretch their credit to the limit. But anyone who spends all he has is spending more than he can afford. A wise person puts money aside for hard times. God approves of foresight and restraint. God’s people need to examine their life-styles to see whether their spending is God-pleasing or merely self-pleasing.

Verse 27: The kind of worship (“sacrifice”) described in this proverb is no better than a bribe. How do people try to bribe God? They may go to church, tithe, volunteer, not because of their love and devotion to God, but because of they hope God will bless them in return. But God has made it very clear that he desires obedience and love more than religious ritual (see 21:3; 1 Samuel 15:22). God does not want our sacrifices of time, energy, and money alone; he wants our heart – our complete love and devotion. We may be able to bribe people (21:14), but we cannot bribe God.

Verse 31: This proverb refers to preparing for battle. All our preparation for any task is useless without God. But even with God’s help we still must do our part and prepare. His control of the outcome does not negate our responsibilities. God may want you to produce a great book, but you must learn to write. God may want to use you in foreign missions, but you must learn the language. God will accomplish his purposes, and he will be able to use you if you have done your part by being well prepared.

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