“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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