Put Your Hand on Your Mouth

Reading the Word

Proverbs 30:32–33 (ESV)
32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33 For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We need to be wise in our actions and consider their consequences. It is foolish to exalt ourselves rather than act in humility towards others. It is also wrong for us to “devise evil” or scheme evil plans in our actions. We often do these without even thinking about them as we say and do things that we know will hurt others or get back at them for hurting us. We often justify our actions by assuring ourselves that we know better than others and that the outcome we are seeking is the correct one. Therefore, any means to obtain it is good.

The second line warns us that actions have consequences. We are given three examples of this truth each using the word “pressing.” The first speaks of pressing milk, which is a picture of churning. The second speaks of pressing the nose,which produces blood. This pictures a fight in which someone strikes another person on the nose and gives them a bloody nose. And the last speaks of pressing anger and producing strife. This last picture is of one who stirs up the anger of another until there is a response of conflict.

Learning to walk wisely involves learning to “put your hand on your mouth.” We need to learn when to keep quiet. To scheme evil through our words and actions, or use them to stir up conflict, is the way of the fool. Of course, the fool does not mind the conflict and may even enjoy it, but the wise understands that such is not to be desired. Even the New Testament warns the church against those who like to stir up division, calling such people “warped and sinful” (cf. Titus 3:10). Let’s learn to walk in wisdom and humility, not looking for conflict and strife.


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Unity

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 133:1–3 (ESV)
1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.


Unity is great, especially in families, which in an ideal world are united. But it’s not unity at any cost. There was no unity between brothers Aaron and Moses when the former made an idol in rebellion against the one true God.

But when Aaron repented and became the high priest of the old covenant, unity was restored. As fragrant oil ran down his head onto the collar of his robes, so unity infuses a beautiful fragrance upon those it blesses. It’s like when Jesus, the great high priest of the new covenant, was anointed by the woman at Bethany.

Another image of unity is of the dew of Hermon. Just as dew refreshes the ground, so God refreshes us when we dwell together in the unity of the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus. Jesus unites a diverse multitude in worship of Him.

It’s in the heavenly city that the blessing of unity is seen most clearly. There we see people of every tribe, language and nation united in worship of the Lord. When the saints go marching in, I want to be in that number!

“Heavenly Father, we praise You for the unity there is through faith in Christ. May Your Spirit unite us all in His praise, now and forever, amen.”


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Iron Sharpens Iron

Reading the Word

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.(Proverbs 27:17, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

We are a work in progress. None of us has reached the point where we have attained all wisdom and learning that there is. In fact, we are all far from that. The wise know this and continue to learn and grow throughout life. The wise also know that we do not learn and grow as well in isolation. We need others in our lives. We need others to teach us, to help us see those places where we are lacking, to confront us, and to encourage us. Just as iron sharpens iron, we need one another so that we too can be sharpened.

God did not intend for his people to live and grow in isolation, this is why he gave us the Church. The Church is where the people of God come together in community for mutual benefit as we learn and grow together. We must never neglect belonging to the community of Christ. It is there that we are sharpened and grow to maturity.


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Restoration

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 126:1–6 (ESV)
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.


We need God to restore our fortunes. We might be materially rich in the West, but we’re spiritually poor. If God is to grant us the kingdom of heaven, it would be like a dream come true.

We would be filled with rejoicing and laughter. We’d tell the world that the Lord has done great things for us. He has done great things for us, we’re glad that Jesus gave Himself for us and rose again victorious over death.

God needs to bring us low before He can raise us up. If we think we’re self sufficient, and trusting in our material wealth, we’re not likely to be blessed spiritually as we like. The church in the West is like the Laodicean church, thinking we have it all together when we’re spiritually bankrupt.

We need God to restore our fortunes spiritually. If I understand correctly, streams in the Negeb are desert streams. They are seasonal. In the dry season they dry up, but in the rainy season they turn the wilderness into meadows.

I think sowing in tears and reaping with shouts of joy isn’t just beautiful poetry, but also very insightful as to how we are to be revived. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. If we weep for our own spiritual states and the spiritual state of the lost, we will in due time see a harvest.

If we don’t weep for the lost, they’re not going to get saved. The reason that we get saved is because God cares for us. If we don’t care for others, we’re not going to tell them how they can get saved. If we do, however, and God blesses us with fruit for our labours, we will reap with shouts of joy.

When we weepingly tell the good news of salvation in Christ, we will rejoicing reap a harvest. The prospect of a lost eternity for unbelievers should spur us on to tell them the gospel. We will reap a harvest if we work in harmony with God’s loving Spirit.

“Lord, may we have Your heart for the lost, and rejoice when we see them come to faith. 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.

Unity in Diversity

1 Corinthians 127 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Corinthians 12:1–11 (ESV)

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The world divides on so many things. We split on issues of race, nationality, sex, wealth, fame, power, etc. The Church is called to be different. We are called to be unified because we serve the same Lord. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, rich or poor. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and equals.

Being equal is not the same as being the same. We do have differences. The body of Christ is made up of people who are different in race and nationality, who are different in sex, who are different in social standing, and who have different gifts and abilities. We see in our passage today that God gives different gifts to different people. These things are not for the purpose of making some more valuable than others, but for the common good of all. Let’s celebrate our differences and show the world our unity in Christ.

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The Praise of a Multitude

Revelation 196 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Revelation 19:1–8 (ESV)

1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3 Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What a scene that is presented to us in today’s reading! The people of God gathered together with the heavenly host and praising the Lord as one. They praise him for his righteous judgment on evil and they praise him for his salvation. Amazing!

Regardless what is going on in the world or in our personal lives, we can be sure that the Lord reigns. His plans and purposes are being fulfilled and one day the scene we read about in Revelation 19 will be the reality for the redeemed people of God. With each passing day, I long for that day more and more.

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One People of God

Ephesians 219 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Ephesians 2:11–22 (ESV)

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this passage, Paul reminds his readers that God’s plans and purposes are to create one united people of God. He speaks of the former division between Jew and Gentile, which he refers to as “the circumcision” and “the ununcircumcision”. In Christ, the former distinctions and separations are removed and there is “one new man in place of the two”.

The Church is the result of the union that has happened through Jesus Christ. No longer are there distinctions based on sex, social standing, race, nationality, or any other. All who belong to Jesus are the people of God. When we gather today in anticipation of the gathering of all believers in the age to come, our unity and worship should reflect the truth of what Christ has called us to be: one people joined together as the people of God.

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The Wise Seek Peace

James 318 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

James 3:13–18 (ESV)

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Divisiveness in the Church, among God’s people, is never good. James calls it “earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” Titus 3:10 tells us to warn the divisive person and then have nothing more to do with him. It is a serious issue and can render a church ineffective in ministry and cause harm to the name of our Savior. By contrast, the wise and understanding are meek, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. This is what the body of Christ is called to be.

Much of the fighting that takes place in churches is over minor things that we should be able to find room to disagree on. Yes, we should stand against false teaching and unrepentant sin, but we must not make every small thing into a big thing. Beware the person who thinks everything is of equal importance and is ready to go to war to defend every fine detail. The fighting will never cease because you will never have full agreement in every matter. And the fighting will soon consume you.

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The Importance of Teachers

Ephesians 413 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Ephesians 4:11–16 (ESV)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Christians are meant to grow. We are meant to grow into the fullness of Christ. This may seem like a tall order, but God has not left us to do this all alone. He has given us his word, his Spirit, his people, and teachers (i.e. pastors and teachers). We read here that the role of pastors and teachers is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood.” The role of our church leaders is to help us grow to Christian maturity through teaching.

Many have a mindset that all a believer needs is a Bible. I understand the reason for this way of thinking. After all, God’s word is sufficient and we do not want to become reliant on others to tell us what that word means. We should read and study it for ourselves. This is absolutely true! However, God has not called us to live autonomously as his people. We are called to live in community as the Church. And God has gifted fellow believers within the Church in unique ways. Some he has given the ability to teach his word to others and we would be unwise to disregard those who God has given us for our benefit. To do so would be to stunt our growth or maybe even wander off in the wrong direction. We need each other and we need the teachers God has given us so we can grow into the likeness of our Savior.

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God Is in the Silence

silhouette of woman standing near body of water

Photo by Dương Nhân on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

1 Kings 19:9–18 (ESV)

9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Elijah thought he was the only one left. He thought he was the only one who still followed God in his day and that all hope was lost. But God had a lesson for Elijah. God had Elijah stand on the mountain. As he stood there, several things took place. There was a great and powerful wind that came along. Then there was an earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire. Surely, God’s presence was in those awesome displays of power! But “the Lord was not in” the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. Instead, there came the sound of a low whisper, or a “thin silence” in some translations. God was in the silence. And as God spoke to Elijah from the silence, he assured him that he was not alone. There were seven thousand others who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

As we go through our lives, we may often wonder where God is or what he is doing. Is he doing anything? But we can be assured that God is at work even when we cannot see it. God is working in the silence. We can also be assured that, even though we may feel alone in the battle, God has a people and he is using them for his glory. We are not alone. If you feel alone and wonder if God is doing anything in your situation, know he is there in the silence and know that you are not alone. There are many of us who serve the Lord.

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