Tag Archive: Wisdom



20Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square. 21On top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech. 22How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?23Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” —Proverbs 1:20-23

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There are many things that set the Holy Bible apart from other books of antiquity. One simply is how people respond to it. Out of all books of antiquity it is unique in that almost every world view attempts to come to the Holy Bible, have it validate their belief system, or, on the other hand, they attempt to use it against itself to disprove it’s authenticity. These arguments run the gamut from being absurd and silly, to requiring extensive study by believers to provide an adequate answer against the charges. This charge, in particular, has surprised me for a couple reasons. First, due to its absurdity, and because I have heard it more than once. One would be most inclined to think the more absurd a charge is the rarer it becomes. Yet, there are those examples where there are shallow and boundless absurdities which we hear time and time again. This is one such charge.
 photo 383_zpsac971fa1.gifThe charge regarding Proverbs is that it denotes and thus “proves” a kind of polytheism. Polytheism is simply the belief in many gods, appropriately from the Greek’s, who had their own mythology concerning many gods and demi gods, “Polys” meaning “many.” At any rate, it has been argued that wisdom, which is personified more than once in Proverbs, is indeed reference to another god rather than an attribute of God. I find this to be quite an odd argument because of the fact that personification of concepts within forms of writing is such a prevalent instrument. From pop lit to the archaic, personification has been used in everything from these abstract concepts, like wisdom, to nature and animal forms. This being the case, to jump to such a literal conclusion is quite silly. Yet, here it is.

To somewhat prove the case that this isn’t a separate god speaking, but rather the one and true God, we only need to look at the gender of this personification. Wisdom is regarded as a female, while God is almost always depicted as male, when we take into account the personal pronouns which reference God Himself. This is nothing against the female gender mind you, quite the contrary, but what it does symbolize is God’s role when we come to him for salvation. He provides for us and we, the church, are His bride. The irony of this view, made even more ironic because it is argued from the point of view of feminists, is that if one is to hold that the female gender is derogatory in symbolism, and that we, that is all human kind, are referred to in a the female gender, it requires a derogatory view of the self if one is remain in complete coherence with that view.

What we have here is not a literal personification, but rather an abstract personification of one of the attributes of God. Verse 23 says:

“Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.”

To, “pour out,” is a not uncommon phrase in Scripture which is attributed to God, for God holds the cup of wisdom and pours it out to anyone who repents. Thus, the wisdom spoke of here is not a deity, but a part of God, not apart. There are a couple other curiosities to this verse which speak of and to wisdom. One of these I believe to be so profound that I have not grasped the real gravity of it. Thus, if there are any out there with insight, I would appreciate further clarification in the comments section immediately below this post.

It is interesting, but wisdom is said of speaking in four locations. This is the profoundness of which I speak. These are, out in the open, in the public square, on the top of the wall, and at the city gate. Instead of the Scripture saying, “Wisdom cries out…,” it gives us these four specific locales. Why? Though I do not claim to understand the full significance, and I have an inkling there is more, I think there are a few things we can safely and scripturally determine to be the case here. “Out in the open,” may refer to the fact that even outside men, independent of them, this Godly wisdom exists. “In the public square,” can signify that among men God’s wisdom calls to us.

“At the city gate,” I believe may need some clarification. Unlike contemporary cities, cities of antiquity were often surrounded by a wall and often had one or several gates that led into or out of the city. These gates were closed at times at certain hours and most definitely when the city was under siege. When someone was said to be at the gates, it is equivalent to saying, “Someone is at the door.” Meaning that one was or is on the other side. Thus, when wisdom calls out from the city gate, she is not crying out from inside, but from outside! This is symbolic of the human heart who has erected walls or strongholds against the wisdom of God, and God Himself. Despite this wisdom still cries out. “She” cannot be silenced.
 photo atthegates_zps04295a45.jpg“On top of the wall,” is a metaphor for this wisdom being loftier than man’s wisdom. Though it can be among men, it is greater than man and his own knowledge, reason or logic. As I had said before, the polytheistic argument is used other places in Proverbs. This includes Proverbs chapter 9. Here, in Verse 3, the lofty metaphor is repeated once more.

“She (wisdom) has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city.” —Proverbs 3:9

Saint Thomas Aquinas quotes it another way:

“Wisdom sent her maids to invite to the tower.” —Proverbs 3:9

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Aquinas himself uses the verse to attempt to prove that the Sacred Doctrine is more noble than other sciences, but does liken the metaphor to its transcending nature:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others whether speculative or practical.” —Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is interesting to note that chapter 9 holds a lot of similarities to chapter 1. However, what we can gather from all this is that there is this transcending nature to wisdom and not only that but, there is also the apparent meaning that wisdom is everywhere, though not all men choose to recognize or hear it. This is utmost importance do to it being repeated. As we continue in chapter 1 this becomes more apparent.

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mocking and fools hate knowledge.” —Proverbs 1:22

It is quite fascinating that we are able to define what we are simply on what we love or hate. That’s worth repeating. We define what we are simply on what we love or hate. If we love to mock we become mockers. If we hate knowledge we become fools, and if we love our simple carnal ways, we become exactly that. This extends to even truth in general, of which God is a part. Those who love truth will see it, while those who hate the truth will avoid it altogether. Yet, truth and wisdom call out to us from their lofty positions to change our ways. To hate mockery, the carnal, and to love knowledge. All this so we might become respectful, spiritual and wise.


1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- 5let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance- 6for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” –Proverbs 1:1-7

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After having a rather difficult night last night, I sought out the Bible for comfort and opened it to Proverbs. Not only was I comforted, but rather convicted as well. We often turn to the scriptures in times of difficulty or trouble, but how much less do we do sometimes during periods of comfort? This was my own personal conviction, I am so willing to open the bible in such times of hardship, either spiritual, emotional, or physical, but I am much less apt to do so in times of peace. I am glad for this conviction because conviction is a form of instruction which leads unto a beneficial end. Though, I must admit, it isn’t always comfortable in and of itself.

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I realized something else as well. I have read Proverbs completely through (and indeed all of the sacred doctrine), but I have never embarked on a deep study of Proverbs, which shocks me somewhat. I am a fan of studying philosophy and philosophies. I find man infinitely interesting including the formulation of belief structures and sciences. This is generally speaking and does not reflect on what my viewpoints are concerning a particular philosophy, but studying them I do enjoy. Even in the study of opposing viewpoints, I feel I have honestly gained some wisdom and this is both to my benefit and my shame, for the Lord has shown me that I can continue to study, do what I enjoy, but focus more on the Holy Writ rather than on the words of ancient dead men. How much more important are the words of He who is still alive and those who live in Him?

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So this is what I embark upon now, to study the words of one of the wisest men who has ever lived. King Solomon. If I love philosophy so much, why is it that I have put this off or it has never occurred to me. Partially its because, although I have always enjoyed the book, and speaking to its credit, it is one of the perfect books for randomly opening and reading. I could say the same about Psalms as well. This was my main method of study in Proverbs, the closing of eyes and pointing of the finger to illuminate verses contained within. This does serve some benefit, but I feel I have missed some of the fullness of the knowledge contained within.

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During Solomon’s time, as it has been said, Israel was as close as it ever has got to being a world, “superpower.” King Solomon reigned during this time and his wealth of spirit, wisdom and material is unequaled. Therefore, he and his writings are great candidates for deep philosophical reflection. They are comforting, sweet, funny at times, insightful, contain deep mysteries, and can be even scary. Yet, all emanates from this man who deeply loved the Lord, as did his father David, and it is seen throughout. His love of the Lord is not only the love directed at the Lord Himself, but extends indeed to the Lord’s ways, means, and the knowledge or wisdom of the Lord.

It is a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. In fact, one could be reminded of the writings of Marcus Aurelius and his “Meditations,” when reading Proverbs, if one were so tempted to make a comparison. Yet, in reality, there is no comparison, for the wisdom of the world and the knowledge of God are two different things altogether. While one may be practical in the ways of the world, the other concerns divine things and thus is all the much greater. Yet, even these divine revelations have practical applications, for the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

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Proverbs starts out giving a “mission statement” about the book as a whole. In this Solomon gives us his desire and intention for the book:

1The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 2for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair.” —Proverbs 1:1-3

Man is a master at self-deception. Despite evidence to the contrary, we often think we have everything under control. That we have provided a safe house against enemies, catastrophe, heartbreak, hardship and temptation. How arrogant and silly we can be! More often then not, despite our best efforts, we find ourselves in great tribulation and challenge. Some of this, at times, is due to our own ignorance and self-pacification. In times of comfort, we let our guard down and are assaulted sometimes as a consequent of those ignorant choices we have made. This is why prudence is so important. To be prudent is to be careful and wary of the future in our choices. Sure, we can never completely stop these hardships, but we can protect ourselves from being our own worst enemy in being prudent. This prudence only comes through instruction, especially that which comes the divine source.

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Solomon never shies away from his mission. Simply, it is Solomon’s conviction to teach. Not only on these principles of wisdom, but also on how to understand the words. Further, he desires to provide instruction on prudent behaviors, of which are included moral choices, justice and fairness.

4For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- 5let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.” –Proverbs 1:4-5

There is an interesting juxtaposition which can be made here. This shows the true extent of the wisdom shared in Proverbs. In verse 4, Solomon mentions the simple and the young. Those who lack knowledge and wisdom. Not only is this book for them, but also, in verse 5, Solomon mentions the wise, the learned and the discerning. This is an ingenious way to basically say that these words will never be irrelevant or untrue, nor is there any end to the wisdom contained within. If the wisdom can apply to both the simple and learned then there is no end to the extent of the wisdom and thus can only be divine in nature. King Solomon is not sharing the wisdom of man, practicality, but the wisdom of the Lord.

6For understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” —Proverbs 1:6-7

First off let me say that the fear of the Lord and what it is exactly is a rather large topic and one I hope to visit further, for as soon as I think I understand it, some other element becomes apparent. Yet, it is interesting to note that elsewhere Solomon mentions the fear of the Lord as being a kind of humility. Being the case, we can see humility as well is the beginning of wisdom or knowledge. Yet, fools are haughty and despise wisdom and instruction, for such things strike against their pride. Again, to my shame I can see this lesson evident in my own life. I have forsaken knowledge and wisdom before for the mere purpose of preserving my pride. How interesting that pride can be more false than it already is.


“Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the Dead.” -Galatians 1:1

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Among other things, the beauty of the Bible is explicitly manifest in God’s ability to speak through it. Many verse are not hindered by a singular interpretation, rather God can use any verse to address any number of things. One of the only things that is required is that it doesn’t contradict any other Scripture. If it does then this “veiled” wisdom cannot be from God (see my note concerning John 14:27, “On The Lord’s Peace and in Which You’ll Read a Few Notes Concerning Biblical Interpretation”).

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Here, Paul, as he does in later verses (see my note concerning Galatians 1:11-12, “On Paul’s Source and The Shifting of Name”), reveals His source of the Gospel, and He who sent Him to the Gentiles to preach the message of reconciliation. This message He did not get from any man, but rather through direct revelation from Jesus Christ. In fact, according to Galatians 1:18-19, Paul didn’t meet any of the apostles until three-years after his ministry had begun. By this verse, we also see that Paul didn’t regard Jesus Christ as a mere man. This is not only important in the context of Scripture, but also in response to the popular belief that Christ was a mere man, though possibly a prophet of some sort.

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"The Conversion of Saul," by Caravaggio. oil on canvas. c. 1600

Yet, Paul states, that he was neither sent by men (the apostles), or by a man (a mortal Jesus). Rather, his knowledge came from the Son of God, and the Father, who raised the Son to a life surpassing mortality, due to His obedience and righteousness. In addition, we who are in Christ, have our passport stamped so that when our mortal bodies pass away, we, in a likeness of Christ, will arise to life, worthy by grace and covered in the blood of the Lamb.

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“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” -1 John 1:7


“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him.” -1 Corinthians 15:20-23

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"The Transfiguration", by Lodovico Carracci. oil on canvas, c. 1594

I find that my inquisitive nature is both a blessing and a curse, as will become apparent in my commentary concerning this passage of Scripture. The mind is a astonishing thing, though it can also serve evil, but it was gifted by God that we may seek out the wonderful mysteries of Him. Yet, our faith must surpass our own understanding, for God is beyond the reason of man. Rather than use this as an excuse, the inability to reason God and His ways, is perfectly reasonable. If we were able to reason God, we would need to be Him, which is impossible. Much like you can know a person, you can’t really know them to a full degree unless you are actually one in the same, which trespasses against the law of identity. Thus, we see only as a poor reflection and though we can approach God using the mind, the fullness is unattainable.

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We can stretch our minds to have great understanding of the Lord, and such wisdom is provided by Him, but there is a line past which man cannot reason, where thought becomes defused, a chaos of reason, if you will. This is an important thing to realize, if one who is as inquisitive as I am begins to get tripped up from unanswered questions, as it used to do with me. A couple other things to realize are:

  • Just because you don’t have an answer, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
  • Answers can be hard to come by, but most often they come not from teachers or pastors, but from the Lord Himself.
  • If the mind of man is corrupt and evil, how can we possibly fully comprehend that which is perfect and good? Perfect goodness cannot be fully comprehended.
  • If you have pondered it, chances are someone else has as well, therefore a answer, or rather partial answer, is bound to be available somewhere.
  • If you feel your questions eating at your faith, this is really a manifestation of pride. Wait on the Lord to provide an answer, if the question is that important to you, remain in prayer.

In this verse, it tells us Christ was the Firstfruit. What is meant by this? Christ at the time of His resurrection, arose with a new glorified body. One that is free of decay and will never pass away. He was the first to receive such a body, but won’t be the last. While Christ justly received His new body, we, those who belong to Him, will receive it according to His grace. If death came through the disobedience of one man, as 1 Corinthians tells us, how much more can the perfect obedience of Christ negate the disobedient act of he who cursed all man?
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Again, His body is the first of the new bodies which we will be granted at the time of our passing from death into life. Christians will be raised again, with the blood of Christ covering us and we will be seen as righteous, through grace, and we will acquire our new bodies through the Son of Man. Our bodies will be unperishable and not be bound to the physical world and it’s laws as we now know it.

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This certainly is a glorious truth that we eagerly await. When the Lord comes in glory we will be free of the struggle, the pain, the anguish, and the disgusting nature of sin which stains us all. What a glorious day it will be! However, here my inquisitive mind interjects and asks a question, I almost can’t help but ask, and as of now I have no answer. The question is this:

If Christ is the Firstfruit, and I have faith He is, then how could He talk with both Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-9)? Were they not resurrected?

One answer seems rather obvious. Elijah never died, but was whisked off to heaven in a whirlwind accompanied by a chariot of fire and horses. For this reason I believe the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11:1-14 will be Enoch and Elijah, for both in the scriptures did not experience physical death, but were taken straight up into heaven in bodily form. Thus, both have yet to die, which the two witnesses will be subject to before being raised up again to life.

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The famous Hank Hanegraaff, who is well renowned for providing biblical answers, said on his blog concerning this question:

“There is no reason to think that they (Moses and Elijah) had yet received permanent resurrected bodies.”

Truly, the Bible doesn’t say that at all. Both were beloved by God and may have been called from Abraham’s Bosom to speak to the Lord. Also, the fact that the transfiguration occurred at this very time, might indicate, that in this miraculous event, Christ was transcending the world prior, of course, to His crucifixion. However, this is all speculative, and exactly what form Moses, whom the Law was given, and Elijah, whom was the restorer of the Law, took might be a mute point when juxtaposed with the “pre-incarnate” glory manifest in Christ. Whatever the answer is, perhaps it lies in the chaos of reason and I would not even be able to grasp a full answer, and thereby the inquisitive nature is overshadowed by that of faith. My faith in the Scripture, which I have no reason to disbelieve, tells me that Christ was indeed the Firstfruit, and Moses and Elijah were in form of something different than the glorified body, for Christ had not yet became glorified, so the opportunity for the two men to receive their new bodies had not yet come to pass.

We must be wary not to include those things in the Bible that it does not say. In this case it does not say that they, Moses and Elijah, were in bodily form, so there is no reason, truly, to conclude that they are. Though, again, at least one, Elijah, could have been. Another form is possible, for we know people after their earthly death go into Hades, or Abraham’s bosom. Therefore, it follows that they still exist in some form and perhaps it was this form that, at least Moses took, on the Mount of Transfiguration. Finally, the mountain itself is unknown, but three suggestions have been made concerning its identification, though admittedly this is somewhat irrelevant. The three candidates offered by scholars and tradition are, Mount Tabor, Mount Hermon, and even Mount Sinai, the latter being the most unlikely of the three due to its location.

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Thanks again to Terie for her insight, a true Princess of The Lord and The Queen of Grammar. 🙂


“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'” -Romans 3:10

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The world tells us that there are both good and bad people who dwell within it. Such distinctions are usually relative in nature, and are dependent on a person’s actions, rather than their heart. While it is true that action is a manifestation of a person’s axiology, man lacks the wisdom to see what goes on within the intermediate between heart and action, for within this lacks an evil unseen to all but God. We know from scripture and the words of Christ our Lord, that it isn’t just action that makes people evil, but the desires of their hearts and those ideas or carnal contemplations that are manifest in the mind, heart and spirit.

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While the Law is based on solid truth and ideals, man’s law is not. Rather, it is based, again, on ethical, and even cultural relativism. Thus, what is proper or ethical according to one man’s heart may not be the case with another. This suggests the unreliability of man’s conception of right or wrong, though I would agree that God has instilled a natural faculty of judging such things.

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God’s wisdom far surpasses that of man, and though man may conclude he is a good person according to the extent of what he has done, this is not how God judges trespass. A person may conclude he is good due to the fact he has never killed anybody, but Christ says different. He states in Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 21-22:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

What is good isn’t based on action, for we can sin in the heart, both willingly and unwillingly. Therefore, despite man’s idea of goodness, the true ideal, the one of God, says that indeed none are good. Everyone has sinned, and will sin. Christ say’s in Mark Chapter 10, Verse 18:

“No one is good-except God alone.”

Jesus said is in response to a man who fell to his knees before him, and referred to him as, “good teacher,” and inquired what he must do to inherit eternal life. Christ responded with the aforementioned statement, in addition to, “Why do you call me good?”

Though Christ’s response provides some questions, these are resolvable, and we discover His reply hints to His true nature. Jesus never denied He wasn’t good, merely inquired why the man had stated this to Him. Christ was certainly good and He was good because He was The Lord. As Christ states in John 14, Verse 7:

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”

This not only suggests the Trinity, but shows us that there is no good one, except for the Lord. Therefore, we are all blotted by iniquity and sin, and thereby, all mankind is in need of a great savior to be cleansed of this sin and to overcome it. This is what Christ has done for us, provided the cleansing power of His blood, that it may wash away our sin when we come to Him even as we are, sinners.

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“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” -Luke 9:62

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I’m sure on occasion poets look at the words of Christ and if they don’t admonish or worship Him, they must certainly salivate with envy. I half jest, but indeed Christ’s words are so beautiful they resonate throughout our lives and through all of creation. Yet, Christ came for much more than linguistical aesthetics. Christ’s words are remarkable in that, within such a phrase like this, there are found many different meanings and they hold untold riches for those who seek Him and the wisdom that is found in the Lord. This simple phrase spoken by Christ is anything but. It holds not only a warning for us, but also vast hope for the Christian in regards to their spiritual journey.

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"The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah," by John Martin. oil on canvas, c. 1852

Genesis Chapter 19 contains the infamous account concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These two sister cities were the epicenter for all forms of detestable vileness and evil. The Las Vegas of its day. Or possibly worse. Maybe even Detroit (Kidding). Indeed, the cities were so disgusting that the Lord decided to purge them from the face of the earth forever. However, in Sodom there lived a man named Lot. Lot lived there with His family, and God, in His grace, decided to spare Lot and his family from the destruction that was coming, due in part to Lot’s sheltering of two angels He had sent into the city, and because he was indeed the nephew of Abraham, who was greatly beloved by God. Yet, there were strict conditions. The angels told Lot and his family in Genesis 19, Chapter 17:

“Flee for your lives. Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

Despite these pretty straight forward and urgent instructions, Lot’s wife looked back as they fled, and as the angels had warned, she was indeed turned into “a pillar of salt.” Explanations for how this could have occurred range from the natural, the miraculous, and even to ancient technology theories. Yet, the how isn’t as important as the why. Why simply by looking back did she perish and turn into a large pile of the mineral adored by horses the world over?

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Lot’s wife, who some scholars believe was named “Idis,” didn’t merely look back out of some fleeting uncontrollable curiosity, but rather she looked back on the city of Sodom with longing eyes. She saw the sinful city life she was accustomed to being razed to the ground and she felt sorrow and longing. Thus, becoming a large heap of a crystalline preservative was her fate. It is a little bit of a confounding situation, for though Lot was just, as 2 Peter tells us, one wonders why they dwelled in such a detestable place. Furthermore, by the mere fact she looked back, that alone suggests that “Idis” was indeed caught up in the sin of Sodom to some degree or fashion.

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Yet, be that as it may, this example gives us insight into one meaning behind Christ’s words, and that is, when we become a new creation in Him, we should not look back with desire to who we were before, for this can only lead to death. Why run back into the burning ruins of sin that the Lord Himself has delivered you out of according to His grace? You have been delivered, bought with a price, and the Lord has answered your prayer. Why fight the Lord and crawl back towards what would be your demise? A heart that longs for sin has no place in the Kingdom of God. Christ has granted us a reprieve that we may escape the destruction that is to come and even now it is ongoing, so on that date and time, which the Lord has set by His own authority, we may be long afar from that destruction which will cover the whole earth.

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"Sodom and Gomorrah," by Jan Brueghel The Elder

Secondly, realize that no matter where you were and what you were, your Lord has delivered you. You have been deemed worthy by grace to be covered in the blood of the Lamb, thus, again, do not turn around and regret your decisions or the bad choices of the past, for those too are forgiven. Such regrets are like a tether or lead, they may allow us to scamper about and even move forward somewhat, but essentially they still hold us firmly in place. Christ has cut these bonds from us and let not regret, nor worldly sorrow, keep you from partaking and drinking from the Cup of Life. Do not strive to place yourself back into bondage, but rather persevere. Do not tarry or grow weary, keep your eyes on Christ and the prize that is offered, for those who do, their paths will remain straight, but those whose eyes wander, so does the path of their plow, guiding them into rocky soil, danger and eventually death. May The Lord be praised that even wanderers such as myself can be set straight again by His grace and directed out of, and away from, the city of destruction.

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“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7

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"The Conversion of Saul," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

Let us not compare our Christian walk or spiritual gifts with anyone else in the Body of Christ. Romans 12:6-8 makes it abundantly clear that we differ in gifts and those godly manifestations expressed in the body. These are from God and are granted to us by His grace. This is important to realize, for even these blessed gifts by the Lord can be used by our sinful nature to feed our pride.

The enemy loves to turn our work for the Lord into something sinful. It’s not to say the work of the Lord in and of itself is sinful, of course not, but rather that we ourselves may sin in our efforts to be in complete obedience with our Lord. We may have the gift of prophecy and we may serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, or show mercy. Yet, a hidden danger might lie in wait, for instead of acknowledging the source, we may use these gifts to feed our pride. This verse suggests that Paul himself was tempted with this as he followed obediently to complete God’s great works.

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"Apostle Paul," by Rembrandt. oil on canvas, c. 1657

Yet, God in His wisdom knew that this would hinder the great work He was doing through and with Paul. This partnership would have been spoiled if the apostle would have become conceited. So, there was given to Paul a thorn in his flesh, “a messenger of Satan,” to torment him. What this “thorn” actually was has been debated for some time. These range from a physical malformation or defect of some sort, to a sin that tormented Paul. Regardless of what it was, we know that this “thorn” kept Paul grounded with the Lord, and he eventually found that “thorn” to be a blessing, for without it Christ’s power wouldn’t be able to “rest on him” to the degree it did.

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Outside Christ, who was perfect, even the most amazing men of God in the scriptures had grievous faults, which should give us some hope. It certainly does me. Moses for example was a murderer, had anger issues, was a stutterer, and was disobedient to the Lord. Though Moses was disciplined for this by not being able to enter the promised land, God used this faulty man to do an amazing work, as He can use us, as faulty as we are, to do great works as well.

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"Moses Striking The Egyptian (detail)," Amsterdam Hagadah, c. 1695

When we come to the Lord in faith, He is not beyond bringing hardship, weakness, persecutions, “thorns,” and difficulties in our lives so that we may not loose sight of Him. If we are too prideful in our walk with the Lord and in the gifts He bestows in us, we should not be too shocked when, in His sovereignty, brings about a hardship to “ground” us.

Although I don’t like speaking for God, I do feel comfortable saying that God doesn’t want to encourage sin in your life. So if you haven’t been granted gifts to a fullness yet, perhaps if they were given unto you, the glory would go to the self and not God.

Let us pray for the understanding at only comes from the Spirit, that we may be instructed on how to avoid becoming to proud in our obedience and the gifts God pours into us. Let us pray that we will give credit where it’s due, that is, to the source of the gifts we are presented and indeed all things. Let us forever strive not to pervert that which is Holy or shift the glory of God onto the self. May He be forever praised. Amen.

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“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:3

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"The Confusion of Tongues," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

In my earlier post concerning 2 Corinthians 10:7 entitled, “On Proper Pride and Humility,” I discussed a little about the relative aspects of pride and a few ways one can avoid this particular sin in their life. Yet, I feel some added clarification is required, that we may gain a deeper understanding of this sin, in order that it might be identified. Pride has great ability at concealing itself in ones life, by defining it with more clarity, we may illuminate it.

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Pride at its very core is a lie and deceitful. To have pride in oneself, is to take those attributes one has been granted by God and embellish upon them so they become more than they are. As Paul urges, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” This in essence it what pride is, to think of oneself more highly than you should, or to think about a particular attribute more than you should.

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Therefore, if you stand in front of a mirror and suck it in and flex periodically, as I have been known to do, you are exercising that pride. Also, if you are a big, “Rock Band” fan and picture yourself in your minds eye playing in front of a crowd of screaming women, or men, this is also prideful. Do not use your mind and heart to exalt and exaggerate the self, for to do so is incredibly sinful. In addition, because you will fall short in this elaboration, this can lead to extreme depression, when one doesn’t match up to the conception offered up by the sinful mind.

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In atheism, a popular argument against God’s being, is that if He existed or exists than He is an extremely prideful being. Yet, when we take Paul’s definition, we find this not to be the case at all. God knows exactly who He is and cannot be anything different. Furthermore, because he is the thing-above-which-no-greater-can-be-thought, as defined perfectly in St. Anselm of Canterbury’s Ontological Argument, He is perfectly worthy of worship. In fact, due to God’s knowledge of exactly what He is, this is humility.

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"Sistine Chapel Ceiling (detail)," by Michelangelo. fresco, c. 1508-1512

Paul continues saying, “think of yourself in sober judgment.” This is what humility is when it is in, “accordance with the faith God has distributed.” This being the case then it negates the idea of God being a prideful, and thereby sinful deity. God cannot deceive Himself, for this would present an irreconcilable contradiction, for He would have to imagine Himself greater than He is, which is an impossibility when one applies the definition of God offered by Anselm.

This verse suggests something which may give some insight into what human nature consists of. We are told, again, to think of ourselves in sober judgment in accordance with our faith in Christ. Thereby, since faith plays such a roll in the sober judgement of self, the question arises if we can have any victory against pride away from Christ? I would argue we can’t for the world is based on the self and the flesh. This sin of pride is the very same that drove Adam and Eve from the Garden. In a world where even good actions are self serving and motivated by the self, this doesn’t seem like a complete absurdity.

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"Adam and Eve Expelled," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

To be in accordance with one’s faith, we need to realize that we are indeed imperfect and sinful. This is how Paul had such a lowly conception of himself without sinning. Paul realized how much of a sinner he was and how unworthy he was to both serve God, and be offered grace through Jesus Christ. Paul was completely humble in that he knew what he was and worked for God to serve all man and almost singlehandedly brought about the New Israel among the Gentiles.

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Remember to use discernment and do not elaborately adorn yourself with things like makeup, clothing (but please do wear clothes), jewelry, and anything that you use to magnify your being. This goes for both men and women. Yet, at the same time, we do not need to look like we just crawled out of a gutter whenever we go out in public, but we should use, “sober judgement in accordance with the faith.” Do not attempt to hide the beauty of being that goes beyond mere appearances, but be modest. God has granted you many things and because God is perfect, they are perfect. Do not magnify it by means of worldly things to either please the self or others, for this is a stumbling block to both, and sinful.

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Finally, God has distributed the Spirit to all those in the faith. I can’t address every context and every situation, for such wisdom and omniscience belongs to God alone. Pray to the Lord that He may reveal you by the Spirit of Truth, if such sin is present, and to what degree. Pray that He would help and instruct you how to walk that thin line between both pride and envy, that you may see yourself for who you are, a precious child of the Most High.

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“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” -Proverbs 12:1

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Like it or not, and sometimes we certainly don’t, discipline is an important aspect of life that everyone goes through at one time or another. Whether it be from God, our parents, our boss, friends, or dare I say it, even the law, if we approach discipline with the proper reverence, it can culminate in a blessing rather than a burden. This point is echoed, rather pioneered, elsewhere in the scriptures, when it tells us:

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” -Hebrews 12:11

It is not uncommon for man, in his pride, to look at discipline with bitterness, but Proverbs tells us we are viewing it in the wrong way, especially when the discipline comes from the Lord. We are to humbly accept this discipline, for the discipline of the Lord is perfect, good, done for our own good, and motivated by His love for us (Hebrews 12:5-8). Thus, look to God’s discipline as a means of moving you forward, closer to our Lord, instead of letting it become a hindrance to your walk, which can become manifest due to prideful bitterness. The Lord keeps those who are His and calls upon them. His intention is not to push you away due to discipline. As Hebrews tells us, discipline isn’t exactly pleasant, but its an instrument used by the Lord, in order that we may share in his holiness.
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Pride is a major stumbling block to looking at discipline and correction in such ways as the Bible urges. Man, even on an individual level, enjoys feeling that they are perfect and beyond reproach. Thus, when one is corrected in a misconception, then its not to uncommon for the one being corrected to respond in anger, not out of logic, but out of desperation when their pride is pierced. Though remember, there is always the chance you may try to rebuke someone and find out your actually the one needing to be corrected. This happens to me frequently.

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When one corrects you, realize that you have an opportunity. An opportunity to gain wisdom and knowledge. These opportunities are indispensable, for if you are in the wrong, realize with a proper reaction, you can be made right, and such knowledge may come to serve you and the Lord in the future.

Do not let your pride negate the correction before you, for to be corrected is a blessing that is beyond measure. Our pride, however, at times lets us not accept the correction, and this can be dangerous considering our personal growth in the Lord. Take your correction with praise and realize that another piece of knowledge or wisdom has entered your repertoire, and for that thanks should be given! If you have trouble accepting correction, realize and identify it, and pray to our Lord that you may develop a heart of humbleness.

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If you want to be stupid, then don’t accept any correction and blame your discipline on everyone else. Could you imagine how things would be if nobody accepted any correction? Your mind would be utterly blank and any argumentation posed against you could only be answered with anger and hate. We are not called to these things. Bless those that have corrected you, and praise the Lord that He has sent correction your way. With that I pray you would grow into a man/woman of God, with the wisdom, knowledge, and discernment to be able to lead a multitude to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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"Jesus Walks on Water," by Ivan Aivazovsky. oil on canvas, c. 1888


“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12

"The Persistence of Memory," by Salvador Dali. oil on canvas, c. 1931

Regarded as one of the oldest, if not the oldest psalm in the Bible, verse 12 of the poem provides us a glimpse of how it is we should approach the inevitable shortness of life. Many nowadays are tempted to live life, as if they are going to die tomorrow, and thus, “eat, drink, and be merry.”

"Les Romains de la Décadence," by Thomas Couture, c. 1847

Indeed, in today’s pop culture this seems to be the exact way people live, to party it up, as it were, and experience all carnal desires to a large degree before the day of their departure arrives. Yet, this is not how our impending death should be approached.

Rather, states the psalm, let us take this knowledge, and have it spur us on to acquiring wisdom while on earth, rather than gratifying the senses. With this in our minds let us not forsake opportunity and squander our days living stagnate, but move forward with wisdom, and sharing wisdom, that the Lord’s work may be done here on earth and that we may partake in His glory at the appointed time. In addition, let us realize where it is that wisdom comes from, the Lord Himself. Thus, may we develop a relationship with Him, in faith, that this godly and perfect wisdom may be bestowed upon us for His divine purpose.

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