Proverbs 23-24

Proverbs 23-24

Chapter 23: Labor not to be Rich

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” (Proverbs 23:4)

                We should never focus on work as only a means for us to become wealthy. If we become wealthy by our work, then so be it, but it should not be our main focus.

                “…as he thinketh with his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)

                If a man lusts after sex, drugs or alcohol then that is what the man is. This is similar to the idea of “you are what you eat”, we are what we do in private and public.

                “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” (Proverbs 23:9)

                Fools will not listen.

                “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)

                Does this mean we should be children? NO! But we shouldn’t be too easy going either… we need to put some tough love into parenting.

                “…despise not thy mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)

                When our parents get old, we should still respect them. We should always look out for them, as they have looked after us.

Chapter 24: Listen to Counsel

In a multitude of counselors there is safety. We need to learn to take advice from others! A wise man is strong, and a man of understanding increases that strength daily.

“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.” (Proverbs 24:29)

Here we see that we are judged on our works and are not just saved by the grace of God alone. We need to remember that if someone has wronged us we cannot always get revenge by doing the same thing to them. Let’s say someone cut off your arm, would it make sense to cut off the arm of the offender? No. This is what the scripture is talking about.

 

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2 Kings 19-20

2 Kings 19-20

Chapter 19: Hezekiah Seeks Counsel from Isaiah

Hezekiah rents his clothes and covers himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. Hezekiah sends Eliakim and Shebna also covered in sackcloth to see Isaiah the son of Amoz.

Isaiah receives word from the Lord and tells the messengers to return to Hezekiah saying; “…Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” (2 Kings 19:6-7)

But the king of Assyria (after Hezekiah had heard the above words), tells Hezekiah to not put trust in his God, because the other nations that have fallen into his hands have also put their trust in their gods and they fell under his rule.

But Hezekiah prays to the Lord asking him for deliverance to show the rest of the people roundabout that the Lord God is the ONLY God. Isaiah hears from the Lord and sends message to Hezekiah saying that his prayers would be answered. In the middle of the night an angel comes and slays 185,000 Assyrians while they slept in their camps and Sennacherib the King of Assyria flees only to be killed by his own sons (Adrammelech and Sharezer). Esarhaddon  his other son reigned in his place.

Chapter 20: Hezekiah Pleads with the Lord

Hezekiah is on his death bed and is visited by Isaiah who tells him to set his house in order, because the Lord had told him that he will not live, but surely die. So Hezekiah pleads with the Lord to heal him and permit him more time. So the Lord tells Isaiah to deliver a message to Hezekiah that his prayers had been heard and that he would receive fifteen more years.

Isaiah prophesies about the Babylonian captivity of Judah and Hezekiah dies and is buried. His son Manasseh reigns in his stead.

 

2 Samuel 17-18

2 Samuel 17-18

Chapter 17: Ahithophel’s Counsel is overthrown

Ahithophel goes to Absalom and counsels him on what they should do with King David. He tells Absalom that he needs about 12,000 men to go and come upon David while he is weak, to make him afraid, so that all the people that are with him will flee from his presence. Absalom is intrigued by this and thinks it might work, but decides to call in Hushai as well to hear what counsel he might have. We know of course from previous chapters that Hushai is actually a spy for King David. So Hushai tells Absalom that if they were to come upon David, they would be walking into a massacre. Referring to David and his men as a mother bear in the field that has her cubs taken from her… they are ferocious men! At this point Hushai knows that this is really not the case, but prays that Absalom will take his counsel, because otherwise David will probably die.

So David is alerted of this and has time to flee even further. Hushai, essentially is buying time for David.

Chapter 18: Joab Slays Absalom

David organizes his men, by appointing captains over thousands and hundreds. King David divides his army between three people; Joab, Abishai and Ittai. King David starts to leave with his men, but they plead with him to stay, so that he will be protected and not be captured or killed in battle, because he was very valuable.

So the armies of David go up to battle against Israel, because Israel had turned wicked in following Absalom. It says that when they fought, the “woods” consumed more men then by the sword. Interesting that God was helping in mysterious ways, that it seemed as if the woods were literally gobbling up Absalom’s men. Absalom himself was riding into battle on a mule, when either his hair or his neck was caught in the great oak trees, which caused him to hang from the tree… rejected of both earth and heaven.

Joab is told by a soldier that Absalom is stuck in a tree. Joab asks the soldier why he did not kill him, because if he had the soldier would have received honor, glory and money. But the soldier reminds Joab that David told them to be gentle with his son and show him mercy. But Joab decides that it is in the best interest of King David and all of Israel to show justice and not mercy to Absalom. So Joab doesn’t hesitate in putting three arrows through Absalom. But Absalom was still alive, so Joab commands 10 soldiers to finish the job and throw him into a large pit covered by rocks. It is funny that Absalom raped 10 of his father’s concubines, only to be cornered and killed by 10 of his father’s soldiers. Joab had this done, so no one would dig up his body to memorialize him as a martyr or hero.

Two runners are sent to David, to tell him of the outcome of the battle. The first runner brings good news and the second (slower one) brings the news of his dead son. In fact that is the first thing that David asks, is about Absalom. This is a great example of the love that exists between parent and child and even God the Father and his children. No matter what a child does, the parent will always love them. Absalom did all manner of wickedness, yet he was still concerned about him. The Lord is the same way, he loves us all… no matter what we do. But he does mourn for us when we do evil. Because he wants us all to be happy and not live in wickedness. Because wickedness was never happiness!

David is distraught and mourns, weeps and wails for his dead son… even stating that he wish he could have taken his place.