“By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.” – Proverbs 16:6 (NASB)
Words used in other versions for ‘lovingkindness’ in this proverb are: ‘steadfast love,’ and ‘mercy.’ We receive what we do not deserve and we don’t receive what we do deserve. This is the mercy given to us by God Himself to those who believe in Him and in His promise of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was the work of Jesus who willingly went to the cross to dies as a sinless man that provided all who believe the atonement they need. By God’s “lovingkindness and truth,” He affects the atonement or covering of sin, which for the believing sinner inclines him to keep away from evil. And “the fear of the Lord” is reverential awe and admiring, submissive fear which is the foundation for all spiritual knowledge and wisdom. The unbeliever may make statements about life and truth yet they don’t have true or ultimate knowledge until they are, by the Holy Spirit brought into a redemptive relationship of reverential awe with God. The fear of the Lord is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God’s.
“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15 (NASB)
The Bible tells us that Jesus, the Son of God is praying for us in heaven. We might wonder what He is asking God do to for us and we might find some answers to that question in the last prayers which Jesus prayed before he was arrested and crucified. Recorded by John in chapter 17 of his gospel account. Jesus prayed for His disciples as He was soon to leave them. He knew what they would face here in this world. He knows what you and I face and he knows the increasing antagonism that Christians are facing these days. The evil one is active and we do need God’s help to overcome the influences just as the disciples did. We believe that this is in part what Jesus is praying for us today. As long as we live here on earth we need God’s help and God the Father does help us and answers the prayers of His Son Jesus. This is a promise that God will keep us from the evil one. God’s way of keeping us is to preserve our souls even as we face difficulty in this world. Trust Him today!
“…but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” – Romans 16:19b-20 (NASB)
The wisdom the Apostle Paul advocates in these verses is more than “knowledgeability” as one commentary puts it. It is a spiritual as well as a mental quality. Paul wants the recipients of this letter to live in such a manner that they will be equal to the task of choosing what is good in the eyes of God, and that they will be innocent and guileless about evil. They should be wise for the purpose of doing and promoting what is right, and should not get “mixed up” with anything that, in God’s sight, is wrong. God promises to exercise his sovereign will in the interest of his people!
- He will crush Satan. He will fulfil the promise of Genesis. 3:15. Not Satan but God is Victor.
- He will crush him under your feet. Those who are co-heirs (Romans 8:17) are also co-conquerors.
- He will do so soon. In a sense it is true that God is crushing Satan right along. A most decisive victory was won on Calvary. There can be no doubt about it, though, that the present passage has reference to the final, victory of God over Satan.
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 12-13:512–513.
“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. ” – 3 John 11 (NASB)
Of the 3 letters written by John the Apostle, the third is the shortest. John was urging the believers to continue to maintain the practice of Christian hospitality that they had been taught and were practicing. In their body was one who was arrogantly violating this practice. With promises from John that he would deal with this malcontent when he visited, he offered the instructions fount in our verse today. It is an essential that what we do is truly good and not just good according to worldly standard but good that comes from our position in God. It is a very strict teaching that many ignore a great deal in the Christian church today. Many teachings of Jesus and then the apostles are being redefined and rationalized based on what “seems right in one’s own eyes.” We tend to become careless and drift away from God’s Word. The drift comes from imitating ways of the world around. Those ways are controlled by Satan who is evil. True good exists and we can emulate what is good. Remember that those who do good are of God and those who do evil cannot claim to know God.
“A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.” – Nahum 1:2.” (NASB)
Again today, we find God’s promises in one of the Minor Prophets. Most of the promises we ponder are promises of blessings from God for us, His own people. Today’s promise is not like those. God has promises for those who by faith believe in Him. He also has promises which are warnings of judgment and wrath for those who do not believe. Those who refuse to believe remain the enemies of God. Nineveh, an ancient city full of wickedness and evil, was the capital of the Assyrian Empire during the period of Assyrian dominance throughout the ancient Near East. God instructed the prophet Jonah to go and preach to the inhabitants of Nineveh. He first refused, but eventually obeyed and the people of Nineveh repented. But by the time of Nahum’s prophecy, a century later, they had returned to wickedness. Nahum’s ‘oracle,’ as it is called, prophesied the city’s destruction by Babylon. Here is the promise God gives Nahum: “The LORD is an avenging God.” Those who remain enemies of God will meet the wrath of God for it is reserved for those who reject to the end the call of God, to repentance and faith in God.
“The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time and forever.” Psalm 121:7-8 (ESV)
Perhaps those who guard the correctness of our language might consider that ‘you’re’ is the correct word in verse 8. But it is your very own personal going out and coming in that is guarded by the Lord. It is good to remember how our God is involved in our lives. Our verse reminds us of this truth. We sometimes are tempted to think that we come and go all on our own. We don’t do much checking with others and God whether our going and coming is in line with His will, do we? And we may think that we are on the go so much that no one else could really keep track of all our coming and goings. And then, for God to keep track of all His children in this world, could this really be possible? Yes it is and that is what this verse says. It includes all God’s children in the world and, it includes each of us. Our God is watching over each of our lives and each of our movements and relationships. Whatever we are involved in and whatever our decisions, God knows just were we are. That’s a promise of God.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7–8. (NASB)
The two verses before today’s selection (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB) are often most familiar in the book of Proverbs. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart….” The Proverbs of King Solomon frequently offered a word of wisdom, how to be wise in our behavior, followed by the benefits that such living brings to us. Today’s promise is written that way. The wisdom is a caution for us to not be wise in our own eyes. Many promote themselves as wise, knowledgeable, experienced; as expert at whatever they want to claim. Solomon says, “No. Do not think that way. Do not perceive yourself as wise.” This does not mean we are to think of ourselves as unwise or foolish. There is something unrighteous about thinking too highly of ourselves. Solomon commands, “Fear the LORD” (hold Him in awesome regard) and reject the temptations that are evil. Turn away from such thoughts. In return we will have healing and a healthy body. We won’t be weighed down but will experience refreshment deep to our bones. Reject self conceit and evil ways, and we will be healthy. We will not be bone tired. That’s a promise from God.
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