The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. (Proverbs 18:8) (Proverbs 26:22)
2 matching verses. Gossip sounds to be yummy stuff according to these. And it is, as we all know. Most of us would have indulged in it one time or the other, I guess.
Spoken in hushed tones or with a beginning like, "I'll tell you something, but please don't tell anyone." "Promise me you won't." And then comes out the mystery stuff.
The writer of these verses sees the words of gossip going deep into the person. Perhaps like a seed falling into healthy soil. And as the seed sprouts and puts up a stem and leaves, so the words of the gossip comes back from inside the person who has heard it and sends it into another receptive ear. The cycle then goes on and on bringing grief to many.
Believer's tend to involve themselves in gossip, not the worldy type though; it's called "spiritual gossip"
Whatever it be, the end result is pain, quarrels and misery.
Paul the Apostle specifically included the term while writing to the Corinthians. He said, "For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (2 Corinthians 12:20)"
Some noteworthy tips for us from Proverbs regarding "gossip"
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11:13)
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. (Proverbs 16:2)
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19)
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. (Proverbs 26:20)
So, "To gossip or not to gossip"??? "NOT TO" surely!!!
Proverbs 2- (Proverbs 16:33)
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Proverbs 16:33)
Long back when I and my wife were in our spiritual infancy, we had a decision to take. I had resigned from my job as Physician in a hospital as I as too busy with my work and had very little time for God and also my family. We decided to start our own medical clinic, so that I could have enough time for spiritual matters and could spend more time together as a family. Those were the days when we did not have spiritual gifts of revelation.
We did not know which place would be ideal for opening a clinic, so we placed the matter in God's hands and waited for an indication from Him. After a few days since we did not get a clear sign, we cast lots with names of different places that we thought would be good for starting a clinic. Some were small towns and some big cities in Kerala. Then we prayed, "Lord, let us pick up the lot of whichever place you think would be best for us."
The lot that was picked up read "Eraviperoor." It's a small town in Kerala. We now know (after 14 years) that the decision was from the Lord for I had a successful stint there as Physician for 14 years. The beginnings of my work for the Lord was laid there. 14 years, the Lord used me there to minister to believers and unbelievers alike.
Rarely do we cast lots now, for the Lord speaks to us through dreams and visions regarding the things we ask of Him. God is good; all the time.
Proverbs 3- (Proverbs 15:17)
Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. (Proverbs 15:17)
Have you ever sat at the dinner table loaded with the best of foods and felt like not eating because of a strained relationship with whom you are living with- wife, husband, children, parents? Your favourite dish is on the table, but you don't feel like eating because of grief!
In some homes, when there is a fight, one or the other member usually says, "I don't feel like eating tonight." No amount of persuasion can change their hearts because they have lost their appetite because of a lack of love.
The writer of this proverb is basically saying that love is an essential ingredient even while we are at the dinner table. Satisfaction does not only come from the things that are on the dinner table, but from the joy of sharing and caring while we partake of the food.
There are some families where everyone eats separately and go about their business, whether it be work or school or college. Other than family prayer, eating together at breakfast or dinner can be a time where one can share the joys of being together as a family. Can we find the time? It's always possible if we want to.
Proverbs 4- (Proverbs 12:27)
The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions. (Proverbs 12:27)
Do we prize our possessions? Do we take efforts to preserve the blessings that God gives us? Or do we just fritter it away, not giving adequate importance to it?
We read of such a happening in the Old Testament; The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction." (Exodus 24:12)
When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God. (Exodus 31:1
This was so sacred, yet in a moment of rage Moses destroyed them both.
"When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain." (Exodus 32:19)
He had been in the presence of the Lord 40 days and nights, eating no bread and drinking no water and then had received the stone tablets from the Lord. He had lost something invaluable.Now what was to be done? Perhaps after his anger had subsided, he must have thought about it deeply and prayed to the Lord about it. Later, we read; At that time the LORD said to me, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden chest. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the chest." So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. (Deuteronomy 10:1-3)
Moses now had to chisel out 2 stone tablets and carry it to the top of the mountain. And God reminded him that he had broken it.
Jesus healed the man who was invalid for 38 years at the pool of Bethesda, but later told him,
"See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." (John 5:14)
Valuing our possessions, keeping the blessings that we receive from the Lord is important. May the Holy Spirit help us in that.
Proverbs 5- (Proverbs 18:11)
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall. (Proverbs 18:11)
Imaginations run rife when people have wealth but no godly perspective. As the writer of Proverbs says, "It is their fortified city and they imagine it an unscalable wall."
Wealth may guarentee the best of treatment, but it cannot guarentee health and long life. Wealth may guarentee the best of homes, but it cannot guarentee peace and joy within.
But the Bible provides certain guarentees for those who love God, acknowledge Him and call upon Him.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." (Psalm 91:14- 16)
Being wealthy is not a sin and the Bible says that the blessing of the Lord brings wealth, but it must never in our imaginations become our fortified city or unscalable wall.
For the believer:
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)"
Proverbs 6- (Proverbs 26:14)
As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. (Proverbs 26:14)
Ever heard of Christian sluggards? Well, they are a class of their own.
Sluggard is defined as a slothful person. "Slothful" perhaps is related to "Sloth" (anyone remember Sid the sloth from Ice Age)(my kids loved part 1........ Sloth is a very slow paced animal.
There are many churches where some believers just never get there on time for the service. Not it's not the travel or any other hindrance, plain laziness and tardiness of believers that often drives the minister crazy, especially if it is a small congregation.
In the book of Joshua, we read a very salient point regarding the life of Joshua.
Early in the morning Joshua ....... (Joshua 3:1)
Joshua got up early the next morning ......... (Joshua 6:12)
Early the next morning Joshua ....... (Joshua 7:16)
Early the next morning Joshua ........ (Joshua 8:10)
He had a very different lifestyle. And that's why he was so successful.
Unless a believer is working nights or is too sick, it is good if he/she is in the presence of the Lord early in the morning. Quite time can be quite a time if we have quiet around us. Just us (you) and the Lord.
It is said of Jesus in the Word, ....for zeal for your house consumes me (Psalm 69:9)
How about you brother, how about you sister. How's your zeal for the Lord and for his house?
I have asked my congregation in the past when I have seen regular late-comers whether they would do the same if they were to catch a flight!
Would they wait for you?
Reporting time -3 hours prior to the flight.
I think if the same were put in Church manuals, many would plan to cancel their membership.
Speaking about sluggards, the writer of Proverbs puts down some interesting thoughts. Let's end with that.
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! (Proverbs 6:6)
How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? (Proverbs 6:9)
As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is a sluggard to those who send him. (Proverbs 10:26)
The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)
The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. (Proverbs 15:19)
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth! (Proverbs 19:24)
A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)
The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside!" or, "I will be murdered in the streets!" (Proverbs 22:13)
I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. (Proverbs 24:30, 31)
The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!" (Proverbs 26:13)
As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. (Proverbs 26:14)
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. (Proverbs 26:15)
The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly. (Proverbs 26:16)
Proverbs 7- (Proverbs 12:2)
A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but the Lord condemns a crafty man. (Proverbs 12:2)
Ever seen crafty believers? If you have been a believer for quite a while, it's possible that you have encountered many.
It's true that they are saved and are worshipping the Lord but some of their older traits have yet to leave them. Not really a new creature yet. The old things have not passed away.
In Psalm 18 we read the following:
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. (Psalm 18:25, 26)
Truly, the Lord deals shrewdly with the crooked.
In the book of Acts, we read of a man named Simon who had practiced sorcery in Samaria, but when he saw the miracles that God performed through Phillip, he himself believed and was baptized. He even joined Phillip in his ministry, so as to say. But later on when he saw believer's receiving the Holy Spirit when Peter and John placed their hands on them, he offered them money to get the power. He was sternly rebuked by Peter who said,
"May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. (Acts 8:20,21)
Sadly these days, this is what many who are in the ministry are trying to do. Trying to buy the power of God with money and when they do not succeed, they settle for counterfiet powers which seal their fate.
These are the ones, who will in the end tell the Lord,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' (Matthew 7:22)
But the Lord will have only one answer for them and that is: 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:23)
Better be faithful and blameless and try to keep ourselves pure, for that is what God desires from us.
Proverbs 8- (Proverbs 10:22)
The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.
What’s the point in having wealth but having trouble added to it? But this sad fact is what we see around us always. Perhaps you have a neighbour or relative who doesn’t know the Lord but has all the riches of this world. They may appear content outwardly and in the presence of others, but mostly they lead a miserable life. Trouble brews in their life physically, mentally and within their families. Sometimes we may feel envious of their wealthy lifestyle like Asaph the psalmist (But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 73:2, 3)But finally he realized the futility of the existence of such people-- Surely you(God) place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! (Psalm 73:18, 19)
Perhaps your blessing from the Lord is delayed, but be assured that when it comes, there will be no trouble added to it. You will be able to enjoy His abundant mercies (within biblical limits!!); no strings attached.
Proverbs 9- (Proverbs 16:20)
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
The book of proverbs is one of practical wisdom and here is a verse that speaks of heeding instruction. There’s so much of instruction going on in the Christian world and new believers are often confused as to what is right and what is wrong. The best way to know is by checking the Word Of God and still if one is confused, wait at the feet of the Lord for Him to guide us in the right path. If one is a seeker of the truth, the “Spirit of truth” will guide us in all the truth. When you are confused and seek the Lord with all your heart regarding a certain matter, He will reveal the truth to you. God may send someone to you and speak about your “topic of confusion” without you even asking that person. The truth may be revealed to you from a book that you accidentally read and God will confirm it through various sources. If you are his child, He will guide you in the right path. His promise, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” stays true even to this day and it will forever. God bless you.
Proverbs 10- (Proverbs 22:9)
A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.
Giving gives great joy. And if the giver gives without expecting anything in return, that’s a great achievement. Jesus once said, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:12-14) Of course that’s for those who are capable of giving banquets. But the rest can give according to their generosity, with the scale ranging from 1-100.
Even in the Old Testament times God was concerned about the poor and He placed certain laws for helping them.
“Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:10)”
"'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'" (Leviticus 23:22)
"'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. (Leviticus 25:35)
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)
It is God’s will that we be concerned about the poor and help them, so that we “walk the faith” and glorify God.
Proverbs 11 - (Proverbs 14:21)
He who despises his neighbour sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' " "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:25-37)
We often justify our “not helping others” by asking questions and proving our point, but Jesus knows our hearts. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.(Matthew 5:7)
Proverbs 12- (Proverbs 28:14)
Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
If one fears the Lord, he/she will always be living a life pleasing to the Lord. There are many who accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, but then they are so attached to the world that they live as they please. Often they harden their hearts and then they land up in troubles, which could have been avoided if they obeyed the Lord and His word. The Lord is gracious and long suffering, merciful and abounding in steadfast love, but we must not trespass the limits that He has kept for us as Christians. Solomon was blessed abundantly by God, but he trespassed the laws that God had for him and the anger of the Lord burned against him. If we fear the Lord we will be careful with our words, with our deeds and in all our dealings with others knowing that the Lord is always watching us. It’s not because we fear that we do these things; it’s because we love the Lord, because what He did for us is unsurpassable.
Proverbs 13- (Proverbs 10:6)
Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:6)
In the book of Esther we read the following, "Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. "And that's not all," Haman added. "I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate. His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy." This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the gallows built. (Esther 5:11-14)
Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high............That's the height of pride and arrogance. One doesn't need a 75 feet high gallows to hang a man of say, maximum 6 feet high. But that is what Haman & co. decided.
The Bible says, "For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." (Psalm 1:6)
Mordecai was a righteous man and God was not willing to hand him into the enemy's hands. The fasting and praying of Esther and Mordecai were answered. God turned the tables literally and we read,
"Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, "A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman's house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king." The king said, "Hang him on it!"
So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's fury subsided. (Esther 7:9,10)
How true the Bible when it says, "Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. (Psalm 34:21)"
So what then about the one who was targeted.
Again we read in the book of Esther,
"Mordecai left the king's presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration." (Esther 8:15)
"Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful." (Esther 9:4)
Praise God for His faithfulness.
Proverbs 14- (Proverbs 10:22)
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22)
Do you think the Lord will add sorrow to the blessing that He has given you? This verse says he won't.
If we cannot enjoy a blessing, can it be called a blessing? The answer is 'no', but only upto an extent because sometimes a blessing becomes a blessing only in the fullness of time. It's like a family inheritance that has come to your name, but you are still a minor and cannot really have authority over it until you reach a certain age.
Even regarding spiritual blessings, the fullness of some of these can be enjoyed by us only with the maturity that we attain in the presence of God. And maturity doesn't come easily. It takes years. It's a process and when we really do mature we are able to enjoy the depths of the blessing.
A woman who desires a child is overjoyed when she knows that she is pregnant, but the blessing has just concieved in her body. It has to grow, it has to mature, she has to wait before it really becomes a blessing that she can really enjoy.
What's that blessing that the Lord has given you but you are not able to enjoy to the full? Wait & pray, let the Lord do His work. He will make it a source of great joy in your life.
The Bible says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7)
May God bless you.