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September 13

Pastor’s Note

Today Proverbs 23 reminds us that there is a time to refrain from correcting our critics or teaching the obstinate: “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words” (v.9). In Proverbs 24 we see the call to respecting earthly authority in the words, “Fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise” (v.21). And in perhaps the most quoted chapter in 2 Corinthians we see an almost poetic recitation of our call to represent Christ and his message of reconciliation to our generation.

— Pastor Mike

Proverbs 23-24

23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
 observe carefully what [1] is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
 if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
 for they are deceptive food.
Do not toil to acquire wealth;
 be discerning enough to desist.
When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
 for suddenly it sprouts wings,
 flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; [2]
 do not desire his delicacies,
for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. [3]
 “Eat and drink!” he says to you,
 but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten,
 and waste your pleasant words.
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
 for he will despise the good sense of your words.
10 Do not move an ancient landmark
 or enter the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Redeemer is strong;
 he will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction
 and your ear to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
 if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14 If you strike him with the rod,
 you will save his soul from Sheol.
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
 my heart too will be glad.
16 My inmost being [4] will exult
 when your lips speak what is right.
17 Let not your heart envy sinners,
 but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
18 Surely there is a future,
 and your hope will not be cut off.

19 Hear, my son, and be wise,
 and direct your heart in the way.
20 Be not among drunkards [5]
 or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
 and slumber will clothe them with rags.

22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
 and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
 buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
 he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad;
 let her who bore you rejoice.

26 My son, give me your heart,
 and let your eyes observe [6] my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit;
 an adulteress [7] is a narrow well.
28 She lies in wait like a robber
 and increases the traitors among mankind.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
 Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
 Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine;
 those who go to try mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
 when it sparkles in the cup
 and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a serpent
 and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
 and your heart utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
 like one who lies on the top of a mast. [8]
35 “They struck me,” you will say, [9] “but I was not hurt;
 they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
 I must have another drink.”
24:1 Be not envious of evil men,
 nor desire to be with them,
for their hearts devise violence,
 and their lips talk of trouble.

By wisdom a house is built,
 and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
 with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
 and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
 and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Wisdom is too high for a fool;
 in the gate he does not open his mouth.

Whoever plans to do evil
 will be called a schemer.
The devising [10] of folly is sin,
 and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.

10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
 your strength is small.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
 hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
 does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
 and will he not repay man according to his work?

13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
 and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
 if you find it, there will be a future,
 and your hope will not be cut off.

15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
 do no violence to his home;
16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
 but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
 and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
 and turn away his anger from him.

19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
 and be not envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future;
 the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21 My son, fear the Lord and the king,
 and do not join with those who do otherwise,
22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
 and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

More Sayings of the Wise

23 These also are sayings of the wise.

Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
 will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
 and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 Whoever gives an honest answer
 kisses the lips.

27 Prepare your work outside;
 get everything ready for yourself in the field,
 and after that build your house.

28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
 and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
 I will pay the man back for what he has done.”

30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
 by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
 the ground was covered with nettles,
 and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
 I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
 a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
 and want like an armed man.

2 Corinthians 5

Our Heavenly Dwelling

5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on [11] we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. [12] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling [13] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Footnotes

[1] 23:1 Or who
[2] 23:6 Hebrew whose eye is evil
[3] 23:7 Or for as he calculates in his soul, so is he
[4] 23:16 Hebrew My kidneys
[5] 23:20 Hebrew those who drink too much wine
[6] 23:26 Or delight in
[7] 23:27 Hebrew a foreign woman
[8] 23:34 Or of the rigging
[9] 23:35 Hebrew lacks you will say
[10] 24:9 Or scheming
[11] 5:3 Some manuscripts putting it off
[12] 5:17 Or creature
[13] 5:19 Or God was in Christ, reconciling

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