Sunday, March 26, 2017

SS: Proverbs lesson: Using words to encourage

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
    but those who plan peace have joy.
21 No ill befalls the righteous,
    but the wicked are filled with trouble.
22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
    but those who act faithfully are his delight.

First, we will examine each verse of this passage, then we will consider an Old Testament passage where a King was loose with his words.

Proverbs 12:18 – There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

This verse compares helpful words with hurtful words.  We say something without thinking about how it may make the other person feel.  Then that person is hurt and a friendship is ruined and possibly future opportunities.  But when we think a while, say a day, before we say something, then we realize that we can say it better or don’t need to say it at all.

19 – Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is for a moment.

The truth will never change.  God is the truth.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He had no beginning, and he will never end.  Did you know that people who trust in Jesus and tell the truth will live forever with him?  Did you know that all people have lied and don’t deserve to live forever with Jesus?  If you die and have not repented of your lies, then you will not live forever with Jesus.  Thanks be to God that he sent Jesus to save us from our sins.  When he does that, then the Holy Spirit changes you.  We will always struggle with our words, but we will make more effort to tell the truth.

20-21 – Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.  No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble.

So people who tell lies are always wanting war and fighting.  Put people who tell the truth find peace and joy.  The truth will set you free.

22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Think: Is one moment of avoiding trouble worth risking an eternity apart from the Lord?  Whenever you are in trouble, just tell the truth.  John 8:32 is a promise that the truth will set you free.  It may hurt at the time, but it is freeing.

Now, we will consider King Saul.   When Israel was a new nation in the promised land, they would worship God, then turn away and worship idols, then God would send wicked nations to punish them, then they would cry out to God, he would rescue them, and they would worship God again.  This cycle went on for centuries, and then the people decided that they needed a king just like the other nations.

God gave them a popular guy who was handsome and tall, King Saul.  Soon, it was clear that King Saul like to speak before thinking.  Instead of following God, he wanted to use God to help him win wars.  Here is his story in 1 Samuel 14: 24-46.  Act it out.  Who wants to be the bad guy?  Who wants to be the good guy?  Here, Saul is leading an army against their constant enemy, the Philistines.

24 And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying,
SAUL: “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.”
So none of the people had tasted food. 25 Now when all the people[g] came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said,
PERSON: “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’”
And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said,
JONATHAN: “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey.30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”
Consequence number 1: Because Saul made all the people take a vow to not eat food, they were all hungry and weak.
31 They struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very faint. 32 The people pounced on the spoil and took sheep and oxen and calves and slaughtered them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul,
PERSON: “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said,
SAUL: “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.”[h]34 
And Saul said,
SAUL: “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’”
So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.
Consequence 2: The Jewish people had certain foods that were clean and unclean.  They could not eat food that still had blood.  That was unclean.  Because of Saul’s careless words, they were so hungry that they were willing to eat unclean food and disobey God.  Saul’s words caused them to sin.
36 Then Saul said,
SAUL: “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.”
And they said,
PERSON: “Do whatever seems good to you.”
But the priest said,
PRIEST: “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 
And Saul inquired of God,
SAUL: “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” 
But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said,
SAUL: “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.”
But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “
SAUL: You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul,
PERSON: “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said,
SAUL: “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.”[i] 
And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, 
SAUL: “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.”
And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, 
SAUL: “Tell me what you have done.”
And Jonathan told him, 
JONATHAN: “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” 44 
And Saul said, 
SAUL: “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 
Then the people said to Saul,
SAUL: “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.”
So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
Consequence 3: Saul rashly made another vow.  And eventually, Jonathan and Saul were both killed in battle.  Not right away.  First they met David, he killed Goliath and started winning battles.  Jonathan made friends with David, but Saul knew that David was meant to be king in his place and tried to kill him while Jonathan remained faithful.  But because of Saul’s words and desire to use God and not really follow him, Saul and Jonathan, both died.

There is this cliché that says, “Loose lips sink ships.”  It was originally on a poster in World War II warning people to be careful what they say in case the enemy heard and used it to literally sink ships.  This is so true.  I probably have a hard time finding a job because of the careless things I post on facebook and lose friends.  I also lose battles because I will raise my voice to children in frustration.  Don’t do the same thing as me.  Think before you speak, even if you have to walk away and think for a day.

Jesus had two disciples who did not think before they spoke or did something that gave messages.  The first was Judas Iscariot.  He pretended to be Jesus’s friend and even kissed his face right before he betrayed him to his enemies and caused Jesus to be crucified.  Later, he was sorry, but instead of coming to God for forgiveness, he committed suicide and hanged himself.

The other was Peter.  Jesus told all his disciples that they would turn their backs on him, but Peter rashly said that he would die for the Lord.  Later that night when Jesus was on trial, Peter was asked if he knew Jesus and he denied it three times.  He also was sorry, but after Jesus died and rose again, he came to Peter, asked him three times if he loved him, and forgave him.  He became the leader of the disciples after Jesus ascended back into heaven and lead the church. 

Your mistakes have a happy ending.  Place your hope in Jesus and ask for his forgiveness and he won’t turn you away.  He will even heal you.

No comments:

Post a Comment