Do Not Rejoice When Your Enemy Falls

Reading the Word

Proverbs 24:17–18 (ESV)
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

It sure can be easy to find joy when those we do not like or who give us great difficulty are defeated or fail. However, we are told that this is not the attitude we should have towards our enemies. In fact, Jesus even tells us we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). In today’s proverb, we are told that rejoicing over the failure of another is an attitude that displeases God.

The world tells us that our enemies do not deserve our love. We should reserve our love for those who do good for us and who love us back. The Bible’s teaching on love is counter-cultural and difficult for many to accept. We are called to practice the same kind of love for others that Christ showed to us. What kind of love was that? Romans 6:8 tells us that “even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even while we were the enemies of God, Christ gave up his life for us. We are called to do the same for others as we point them to our Savior.


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The Dangers of Drinking

Reading the Word

Proverbs 23:29–35 (ESV)
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even in the ancient world, people knew the dangers of excessive drinking. This longer passage in Proverbs tells of some of the problems belonging to those who “tarry long over wine.” It causes woe, sorrow, strife, complaining, etc.

Those who struggle with alcohol addiction or those who are close to someone who does can likely affirm the truths outlined in these verses. Excessive drinking causes great harm to both the offender and those close to him or her. Jobs are lost. Marriages are strained. Families are often torn apart. If you struggle with alcohol addiction, you need to address it before it harms you or before it harms you in an even greater way. Pray and ask God for the strength you need, then seek help through a loved one or an organization. You will be glad you did.


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Protector of the Weak

Reading the Word

Proverbs 23:10–11 (ESV)
10 Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The orphan in the ancient world, and even in today’s world, was especially vulnerable. There was no one to take care of or protect the child. A way that someone may try to take advantage of an orphan would be to move property boundary markers. The child would not know, so it would be an easy way to steal extra land. This proverb warns that there is a strong Redeemer who stands ready to plead the case of the orphan. The picture is of God standing in a legal courtroom on behalf of the victim.

Throughout Scripture, God is said to be the one who cares for widows and orphans. God is the defender of the weak and powerless who are oppressed by the rich and powerful. He expects his people to be the same. We must always stand for justice and what is right and we must be ready to defend those who are powerless to defend themselves. And when we are oppressed or taken advantage of, we know that we have a Redeemer who stands with us and who will vindicate us in the end.


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Wearing Yourself Out for Riches

Reading the Word

Proverbs 23:4–5 (NRSV)
4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist.
5 When your eyes light upon it, it is gone; for suddenly it takes wings to itself, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Be careful what you focus your priorities on. Many will spend their entire lives accumulating wealth. This may seem like the correct thing to do. We need wealth to survive and we do not want to struggle financially later in life, so we spend our younger years working and accumulating as much as possible. There needs to be a balance.

As today’s reading tells us, riches have a way of suddenly disappearing. We can spend all of our time accumulating only to see it all vanish before our eyes. What use then was all of that spent time? All it takes is one accident or one illness or one scam artist or bad investments or some other thing to happen and our wealth is gone. Yes, we need to live wisely and prepare for the future, but riches cannot be the thing we wear ourselves out for. Instead, we need to follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We need to invest in people and relationships and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those are the things worth wearing ourselves out for. So save and invest your finances wisely, but do not make the accumulation of riches the primary focus of your life. It can all disappear in the blink of an eye.


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Beware of Rulers’ Delicacies

Reading the Word

Proverbs 23:1–3 (NRSV)
1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite.
3 Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies, for they are deceptive food.

Understanding and Applying the Word

To receive an invitation to a dinner with a ruler would be quite an honor. Imagine the atmosphere and the wealth and power on display. Imagine also the food. There would be much of it and likely things you and I have never had or only on rare and special occasions. Of course, it would be prepared just right and would be delicious. Wouldn’t it be tempting to dig in?

This proverb tells us to be on guard with our appetites in such a setting. We should “put a knife to your throat” we are told. This means we should curb our appetite. Why is this? It seems like such a great time to feast!

The third verse tells us the risk of such a setting. The ruler’s delicacies are “deceptive food.” There is likely an agenda behind such an invitation. The ruler likely wants something in return. Be careful lest you put yourself into his debt.

This proverb reminds me of so many sales scams today. While they do not involve a ruler, we are often promised free things, but when we read the fine print, we find that there are strings attached. We must always be on our toes about these kinds of things and seek to indebt ourselves to no one.


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Going into Debt

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Proverbs 22:26–27 (ESV)
26 Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?


Rest

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read more about Robert after the article below.

Psalm 127:1–5 (ESV)
1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.


We sometimes talk about making a house a home. But even if our house looks like a show home, that’s all it is unless the love and hospitality of God permeates it. What good is a house built only to show off? Our homes are to glorify God, the master builder!

Unless the Lord sets us on the rock of Christ, we’re building our lives upon a sandy foundation. It’s all very well to have night watchmen, security guards and policemen to patrol the city. But unless the Lord watches over the city, it’s all in vain.

There’s no point getting up early, going to bed late, slaving away to earn our crust. Ultimately God provides our needs, and He’s the one who grants us sleep. It helps though if we’re not staying awake worrying at night!

Contrary to much of 21st Century Western opinion, children aren’t a disposable accessory. Children are a blessing from the Lord. The more children we have, the more blessed we are.

There is however a deeper and more meaningful spiritual application than simply the “fruit of our loins”! When we pass the gospel on to someone who gladly receives it, they are born again. God might be their Father, but we can be their midwives and nannies, looking out for them spiritually and nurturing them in the faith.

God doesn’t have grandchildren. So if we’re not sharing the gospel, and blessed in such efforts by His Holy Spirit, the church will cease to exist on earth. Yes, it’s the Lord who builds the house and watches over the “city on a hill”, the church, but that doesn’t mean to say we don’t need to build, watch and pass on the gospel ourselves!

Nowadays, if someone doesn’t have children, it isn’t really seen to be shameful. But if the gospel is not seen to be growing, does that not shame us as children of the Most High God? Does it not spur us on to proclaim the good news all the more?

“Most High God, thank You for project managing the Kingdom of heaven. Thank You for overseeing the work that we are engaged in to make You and Your gospel known. Please give us fruit for our labours, for the honour of Your name, amen.”


About the author: Robert is a child of God, the husband of Joy, and the father of Grace. He’s from “God’s own county” of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. Writing in earnest began for Robert when a friend prophetically told him that he should write. Although he isn’t currently publishing himself on WordPress, you can read the archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com and a few other blogs linked from there. You can also find his up-to-date notes on the YouVersion Bible App. Also, The Believer’s Post is a WhatsApp platform for Christian bloggers which you can request him to join.

Email Robert at bobjc88 @ gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

Train Up a Child

Reading the Word

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today’s proverb is one of the most well-known passages in the book. We must remember that proverbs are not promises, but general truths. Parents cannot take these words as a hard fact that if they train their child in the teachings of Christ and the Scriptures that the child will always follow and never turn away. Generally speaking, children continue on the path they start on, but some do not.

There is a translation issue that we must think about too because it sheds some light on the meaning of this text. The phrase translated “the way he should go” could also be something along the lines of “whatever way he will go.” With this in mind, it reinforces the need to train our children in the right way because “whatever way” they are trained in is likely the course for their future.

Parents and those who work with children, understand the great importance to train up young people in the ways of the Lord. For most of us, the foundation for our lives is laid in the early years and we will continue to build on it for the rest of our lives.


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The Lord Is Maker of Them All

Reading the Word

The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.(Proverbs 22:2, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

The opening chapter of Genesis tells us that God made everything that exists. The pinnacle of that creation was mankind, who God created in his own image. As image-bearers, mankind is inherently valuable, regardless of race, sex, social standing, or any other distinguishing characteristic. The Lord is Maker of them all.

This verse is an important one to remember. We must never think that economic status, or any other thing, makes a person of greater value than another. Every person has value and dignity because they were created by God. Therefore, we should not look down at others because they are not like us, but recognize them for who they are as image bearers.


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Victory Belongs to the Lord

Reading the Word

Proverbs 21:30–31 (ESV)
30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The final two verses of Proverbs 21 go together. Verse 30 states a general truth and verse 31 gives a specific illustration of that truth. We are first told that there is nothing that can stand against the Lord. There is no wisdom, there is no understanding, and there is no counsel that can prevail against what God has set in place. Mankind may plan battles and bring its powers together, but it is God who determines the outcome. Victory belongs to the Lord.

The truth of God’s sovereignty has been discussed previously as we have been going through Proverbs. It is no surprise to find it again. Understanding that God is in control should bring us great comfort. It means that when things feel out of our control, we can trust the One who is Lord over all. He is on our side and he is good. God has not told us every detail of his plans or the timing of how things will unfold in this world, but he has told us the end result. Sin and evil will be judged and Christ’s people will dwell in the presence of God for eternity. There will be a last battle before that day, but the outcome has already been determined. Victory belongs to the Lord!


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