10 Key Bible Verses on Wisdom and Discernment

Yup, “I just got up this morning and decided to be DUMB all day” is something we hear every day from friends, family, and neighbors, right?  Of course not, we rise each day hoping to act smarter than the day before. 

TRUE Wisdom is, first and foremost, from the Lord. When you desire wisdom, go to him and his word in prayer, and be encouraged with these verses and commentary adapted from the ESV Study Bible.

10 Key Bible Verses on Wisdom and Discernment

Be Not Wise in Your Own Eyes

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Daily Devotional – Discerning Good and Bad

Right & Wrong 1 Kings 3:9. Definition of Terms What is wrong? 1 ...

1 Kings 3:9 (AMP and RVR 1960)


CONTEXT:

Chapter 3 of 1st Kings is all about King Solomon, in v.1-4 he is shoring up his rule. In v.5-8, the LORD appeared to Solomon and makes a most remarkable request of him: “Ask [Me] what I shall give you.”

Solomon could have been the typical human and asked for riches, fame, etc. but instead he asks for concludes his conversation with the LORD with our text for today. Let us break it down:


BREAKDOWN:

Give therefore thy servant  – Solomon makes his request to God, humbly, a position we all need to take. Although as born again, sanctified by the Blood of Christ, believers we can boldly approach the throne (Hebrews 4:16we must still do so with an attitude of humility. 

an understanding heart – Solomon asks for WISDOM, maybe the greatest gift/attribute a man can have in troubling times is wisdom and Solomon request this. 

to judge thy people, – Wisdom not for personal gain either, as most would want, but to rule wisely. 

that I may discern between good and bad: –  To rule in such a manner so that he may discern that is be able to distinguish what is good (beneficial) and what is evil (destructive) to the kingdom of Israel.  

for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? –  This is a profound statement, Solomon says in effect;  ‘how else can a man possibly rule so great a people?  


APPLICATION:

You may be thinking this is a great narrative but what does Solomon’s story have to do with me today?  Glad you asked, here is how I believe we can apply it today:

    • First if your in charge, always pray before making decisions affecting others
      • Fathers, Job Leaders, Elected Officials, Pastors, Etc.
    • Pray and ask the LORD for wisdom
    • Always pray with humility
    • Constantly Pray for for those in charge; Fathers, Job Leaders, Elected Officials, Pastors, Etc.

In these troubling times we do not have to be Solomon, that is a great King, to be like Solomon, that is desire wisdom in our everyday lives. 

The Danger of Loveless Discernment

The Master's Seminary Blog

The Danger of Loveless Discernment

by Reagan Rose | Jun 26, 2020

Turbulent times call for bold Christians. In days like these the church of God needs people who, like the men of Issachar, understand the times and are willing to confidently speak the truth (1 Chron. 12:32). Unfortunately, it’s easy to go wrong with the call to discernment.

The Christian corners of the internet are filled with discernment warriors, searching (often with detectible traces of giddiness) for the next false teacher or “Big Eva” sell-out. In the name of routing out falsehood, these self-appointed lions of truth turn their fangs on struggling and confused brothers and sisters in the faith, dragging them before the social media pack as outsiders to be devoured. Somewhere in this fight, the healthy practice of discernment has morphed into something more like malevolence.
But there is a ditch on the other side of the road as well. Many in the modern church disregard discernment altogether. For them, Jude’s appeal to “earnestly contend for the faith” falls on deaf ears (Jude 1:3). Worse even than ignoring this command, some professing Christians write off the practice of discernment as inherently uncharitable and judgmental.

But when it comes to discernment, we must take care not to fall into either of these errors. True discernment from the church, now more than ever, is sorely needed—the kind of truth-speaking that is done with boldness and with tears and pleading…

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE

 

The Viral Pandemic of Distrust and Misinformation

BreakPoint Daily

The Viral Pandemic of Distrust and Misinformation

viral

Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus, Part 4
JOHN STONESTREET  WITH SHANE MORRIS

The information age is full of both plusses and minuses, especially during a time of national crisis. Among the blessings we should count is the ability of many of us to work from home, and the ability to stay in touch with people we cannot visit. Another, at least in my line of work, is that so many more of the teachers contributing to our virtual Truth, Love, Together event now know how to use Zoom.

The main minus, though certainly not the only one, is the constant flow of news, headlines, and social media posts, some true and some false, some helpful and some very unhelpful and even misleading. Information comes at us in waves, with conjecture in the place of facts and assertions in the place of arguments.

Even before the coronavirus was given the name pandemic, misinformation was passed on by both major media outlets and personal social media accounts. In most of these cases, political ideology masqueraded as certainty about things that were, at the time, unknown, such as how deadly Covid-19 would be, whether or not it was like the flu, and whether scientists and experts were misleading us.

Misleading voices on both the left and the right confidently asserted the virus really wasn’t that bad. More than one conservative talk show host, motivated to keep the President’s wins front and center, compared Covid-19 to the common cold or seasonal flu. And more than a few liberal voices also downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19, apparently hoping to seize an opportunity to portray Trump’s travel restrictions to China as racist or otherwise misguided.

Having now mostly pivoted on the seriousness of the virus across the board, many of the same voices continue with speculations, assertions, and analysis that are proclaimed with all the undeserved confidence as before. After Samaritan’s Purse set up a temporary hospital in Central Park to treat coronavirus patients, The Daily Beast ran a hit-piece warning of “sub-standard care and “discrimination,” chiding the Christian ministry and its president, Franklin Graham, for their allegedly “spotty record.”

Given the actual record of Samaritan’s Purse, the article was pure fear-mongering. Still, it paled in comparison to a horrendous op-ed by Katherine Stewart in the New York Times which blamed evangelicals for “paving the way to coronavirus hell” by “denying science.” She also accused us of looking to faith-healers and miracle cures instead of medical experts. It was vicious, historically ignorant slander, and published in America’s newspaper-of-record.

The Times’ decision to publish such a ridiculous article was not only poor, it’s ironic, given the paper’s commitment to expose fake news and conspiracy theories about the virus. They keep a full list: Covid-19 is caused by 5G cell phone towers. It’s a foreign attack. It’s a plot by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. All ridiculous claims, of course, but no more ridiculous than the Nero-like claim that evangelicals are to blame for this pandemic.

Brad Littlejohn made a key point over at Mere Orthodoxy, “This virus has surely come as a judgment on our divided, post-truth society. Judgment does not merely punish,” he points out, “it reveals…what Covid-19 has revealed in America is a society that has reached a point of crippling mutual incomprehension and distrust…that runs so deep that it leaves few if any shared handholds for common knowledge informing common action.”

At all times, but especially during a pandemic, some degree of common knowledge and common action are essential for a society. How can Christians, people who are to be committed to truth, navigate this (mis)information age? Who is right, who is not, and how do we know? And, how can we be catalysts toward the renewal of a critical national resource: trust?

An essential part of the answer, and an essential part of a Christian worldview, is discernment. According to Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi, love “abounds” best when accompanied by truth and discernment. And in an information age, discernment is the only true antidote to deception.

Eighteenth century British author Samuel Johnson called discernment “the supreme end of education,” before offering the best definition I know of discernment: “the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.”

In other words, discernment involves both wisdom and will. The wisdom to evaluate truth claims, and the will to understand the reality of our fallen world, which includes evaluating truth claims beyond whether or not it will make our side look good and their side look bad. Bearing false witness is a sin, and truth must take precedent over wanting something to be so or not wanting it to be so.

And finally, a necessary ingredient of Christian discernment is confidence in God’s sovereignty. Fear, on the other hand, often spoils discernment.

Discernment won’t end put an end to misinformation overnight, but it can slow its infection rate. And as with the actual pandemic, that could make a world of difference.


Resources:

Regulating Special Revelation

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. One of our previous blog series, Looking for Truth in All the Wrong Placesstrongly emphasizes those doctrines. The following entry from that series originally appeared on June 21, 2017. -ed.

by John MacArthur / Friday, August 30, 2019

Regulating Special Revelation

If God is still speaking to His people today—particularly through mental impressions and premonitions—how can believers exercise discernment when it comes to interpreting and applying these divine messages? Put simply, how is following the private, subjective “leading” of the Lord any more reliable than gazing into a crystal ball?

As we saw last time, biblical discernment¹ runs contrary to the kind of subjective mysticism many promote in the church today. Without any objective criteria, there is no means for determining truth from error. Such blithe subjectivity leaves people at the mercy of whatever mystical “voice” they’re listening to.

Upper Abdominal Distress

It is therefore ironic that advocates of mysticism inevitably treat discernment itself as if it were some kind of subjective, mystical ability. One author speaks of discernment as “a spiritual function,” by which he evidently means that discernment does not involve the intellect. [1] In one of my earlier books I quoted Bill Hamon, one of the leading proponents of modern revelatory prophecy. Hamon’s recipe for discernment is a classic case of mystical anti-intellectualism. He believes prophecies can be properly evaluated only by people willing to set reason and logic aside:

I have sometimes heard people say, “I did not witness with that prophecy.” But after questioning them, I discovered that what they really meant was that the prophecy did not fit their theology, personal desires or goals, or their emotions reacted negatively to it. They failed to understand that we do not bear witness with the soul—the mind, emotions or will.

Our reasoning is in the mind, not the spirit. So our traditions, beliefs and strong opinions are not true witnesses to prophetic truth. The spirit reaction originates deep within our being. Many Christians describe the physical location of its corresponding sensation as the upper abdominal area.

A negative witness—with a message of “no,” “be careful” or “something’s not right”—usually manifests itself with a nervous, jumpy or uneasy feeling. There is a deep, almost unintelligible sensation that something is wrong. This sense can only be trusted when we are more in tune with our spirit than with our thoughts. If our thinking is causing these sensations, then it could be only a soulish reaction.

On the other hand, when God’s Spirit is bearing witness with our spirit that a prophetic word is right, is of God and is according to His will and purpose, then our spirit reacts with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We have a deep, unexplainable peace and joy, a warm, loving feeling—or even a sense of our spirit jumping up and down with excitement. This sensation lets us know that the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with our spirit that everything is in order, even though we may not understand everything that is being said, or our soul may not be able to adjust immediately to all the thoughts being presented. [2]

Notice that Hamon’s emphasis is entirely on feeling, while he derides the intellect, theology, reason, understanding, and by implication, true biblical wisdom. A reaction in the upper abdominal region is supposed to be a more reliable gauge of truth than all those things.

But that is superstition, not discernment. How your upper abdomen feels about a thing is certainly no measure of truth or falsehood. Neither is “a nervous, jumpy, or uneasy feeling” apart from any rational cause. “A deep, unexplainable peace and joy, a warm, loving feeling—or even a sense of [your] spirit jumping up and down with excitement” is no proof that a supposed prophecy is reliable. Those who practice this sort of “discernment” epitomize reckless faith.

And those who seek truth by analyzing inner feelings are likely to wind up with nothing but confusion.

Dueling Prophets

My editor once attended a service at the Anaheim Vineyard where two “prophets” gave contradictory prophecies. It happened in a Sunday morning worship service. When the congregational singing was over, John Wimber stepped to the platform. Before he could say anything, a young man in the congregation stood and began loudly to prophesy judgment against the leaders of the church. “Jerusalem! Jerusalem!” he began, echoing Luke 13:34, “you persecute My prophets and stone My messengers. My displeasure burns hot toward the leadership of this church for the way you have scorned My prophets and ignored My prophecies. . . .” and so on. The man evidently was disgruntled at the treatment he had received at the hands of church leaders, and this “prophecy” seemed to be his way of striking back. He prophesied in that manner for five minutes or more, earnestly calling the elders of the church to repentance. His entire message was in first person as if from God.

Immediately when he finished, before John Wimber could respond, another “prophet” from the other side of the congregation popped up and began to prophesy exactly the opposite message. This prophet began with a loose paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:11: “Oh, pastors and leaders of this church, I know My thoughts toward you—thoughts of mercy, and not of judgment. I have loved you with an everlasting love and have laid up for you a crown in heaven, My beloved. You have done according to all My good pleasure, and henceforth all men will rise up and call you blessed. . . .” etcetera, etcetera.

When the second man finished, a woman stood and sang a song, another person spoke in tongues, and one or two others quoted Bible verses or shared something brief. Then the service continued with Wimber making announcements. No reference was made to the two contradictory prophecies. No attempt was made to explain the dilemma or interpret either prophecy. Members of the congregation were simply left to draw their own conclusions about which, if either, of the two prophecies was correct.

That illustrates the impossible situation that arises when people are encouraged to voice their own subjective impressions as if they were divine prophecy. And it also reveals the predicament we are placed in if we must allow a sensation in our upper abdominal area to determine the truth or falsehood of a prophetic message.

Notice that both prophets’ messages echoed biblical terminology. Both of them were delivered with great conviction. Both of them employed first-person pronouns, as if God Himself were doing the speaking. Yet they flatly contradicted each other. They might both be false prophecies, but there is no way they could both be true. How were the people in the congregation supposed to determine which, if either, was correct? If they followed the gut-feeling approach, all the disgruntled people in the church undoubtedly opted for the first prophecy, believing they now had a word from the Lord to confirm their displeasure with their leaders.

The obvious fact is that once we stray into the realm of subjectivity, we have no way to determine what is really true.

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)

 A good explanation of biblical discernment¹ can be found here.

Another good read on this subject Does God Still Give Revelation?

Is Judgment Always Forbidden?

by Jeremiah Johnson / Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“Christ’s Sermon on the Mount makes it clear that the Lord was not prohibiting judgment, but promoting discernment.” John MacArthur could not have been more accurate in his assessment of Matthew 7:1. Again as I always implore folks to do first read things in context 7:1- 7:5 , as this article does, and you will see the difference.

Then there is v.6Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.” Explain to me how we are to know who are the dogs and pigs of this world ( those who are in fact unworthy, unbiblical, perverters of the Word of God) without discerning (judging).

Here are a few of my favorite quotes on the matter:

    • “People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan.” Paul Washer
    • “Whenever you do judge, the only basis of judgment is not your own perspective or anything else, it’s the very character and nature of God and that’s why we are to allow Him to exercise His justice, where I personally want to take it upon myself.”  Josh McDowell
    • “A taste of righteousness can be easily perverted into an overweening sense of self-righteousness and judgmentalism.” R. Kent Hughes
    • “If the truth offends, then let it offend. People have been living their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.”  John MacArthur

Love, don’t judge.

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. Of our previous blog series, none better embodies that emphasis than Frequently Abused Verses. The following entry from that series originally appeared on September 16, 2015. -ed. (For other articles in this series just type Frequently Abused Verses into the search bar on the right).

For many people in the church, that simple slogan has become the kneejerk defense in the face of criticism and confrontation. At some point, believers decided that careful discernment and agapē love are diametrically opposed; that judgment is always a threat to our unity in Christ. And with no regard for the quality or content of the exhortation, too many Christians speedily deploy Matthew 7:1 as an all-purpose, get-out-of-jail-free card: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”

Writing thirty years ago in his commentary on Matthew’s gospel, John MacArthur explained how that verse is routinely misapplied as a shield against confrontation and conflict in the church.

This passage has erroneously been used to suggest that believers should never evaluate or criticize anyone for anything. Our day hates absolutes, especially theological and moral absolutes, and such simplistic interpretation provides a convenient escape from confrontation. Members of modern society, including many professing Christians, tend to resist dogmatism and strong convictions about right and wrong. Many people prefer to speak of all-inclusive love, compromise, ecumenism, and unity. To the modern religious person those are the only “doctrines” worth defending, and they are the doctrines to which every conflicting doctrine must be sacrificed. [1]

In the intervening decades, the church’s appetite for criticism, conflict, and confrontation has only further diminished. And in that same time, the misunderstanding and misapplication of this verse and others like it (cf. Luke 6:37John 3:17) has taken root in the church, skewing its perspective on discipline and judgment, and insulating its people from rebuke and exhortation.

In fact, many in the church today behave as if confrontation and discerning judgment are forbidden. Any confrontation—whether it’s a question of personal holiness or doctrinal disagreement—is seen as prideful overstepping and an attack on the unity of God’s people. As John MacArthur explains,

In many circles, including some evangelical circles, those who hold to strong convictions and who speak up and confront society and the church are branded as violators of this command not to judge, and are seen as troublemakers or, at best, as controversial. [2]

But Matthew 7:1 has nothing to do with avoiding conflict in favor of unity, or ignoring doctrinal or moral error in the name of love. As with many of the abused verses we’ll examine in this series, a simple look at the context makes the original intent of Christ’s words abundantly clear.

The seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel represents the end of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount—His most extensive teaching on living as a citizen of the kingdom of God. Woven throughout that sermon is an exposé of the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of His day. Jesus upends the system of works-righteousness they had inflicted on God-fearing people throughout Israel.

During Christ’s life and ministry, the Jewish faith had been reduced to a heavy-handed list of dos and don’ts. The religious elite had obliterated God’s original intent in giving His law to His people, replacing it with a burdensome system of works righteousness. And they held the entire nation to their corrupt, man-made standard.

In his commentary, John MacArthur explains how the focus of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount makes it clear that the Lord was not prohibiting judgment, but promoting discernment.

If this greatest sermon by our Lord teaches anything, it teaches that His followers are to be discerning and perceptive in what they believe and in what they do, that they must make every effort to judge between truth and falsehood, between the internal and the external, between reality and sham, between true righteousness and false righteousness—in short, between God’s way and all other ways. [3]

With that in mind, the prohibition against judgment takes on completely different nuance. Christ was condemning a very specific kind of self-righteous judgment—the kind we see on display in His parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

Like many professing believers today, the Pharisees put on a good show of public holiness, and loved looking down on anyone who didn’t. As John explains,

Jesus here is talking about the self-righteous, egotistical judgment and unmerciful condemnation of others practiced by the scribes and Pharisees. Their primary concern was not to help others from sin to holiness, but to condemn them to eternal judgment because of actions and attitudes that did not square with their own worldly, self-made traditions. [4]

Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1 were a reminder to the religious elite that they were not the final judges—that they too would stand before God, and that they would not want to be held to their own rigorous, self-righteous standard (Matthew 7:2). Believers today need to heed that warning as well, and avoid the same kind of hypocritical hubris regarding our own holiness, and how it corresponds to other believers’.

We also need to consider how to biblically discern, confront, and rebuke when necessary. Fortunately for us, Christ addressed that very issue in His subsequent statements.

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

Confrontation and criticism are not forbidden in the church, but they must be undergirded with humility and purity. We need to humbly submit to the Lord, shining the light of His Word into the dark corners of our own hearts instead of arrogantly pointing it in someone else’s face. It’s only when we’ve dealt faithfully and biblically with our own sin that we can help a brother see his own. And as John explains, even in the midst of confrontation, we need to maintain a spirit of humility.

All confrontation of sin in others must be done out of meekness, not pride. We cannot play the role of judge—passing sentence as if we were God. We cannot play the role of superior—as if we were exempt from the same standards we demand of others. We must not play the hypocrite—blaming others while we excuse ourselves. [5]

We do a great disservice to the Body of Christ when we confront and judge one another in arrogance and self-righteousness. But, as John MacArthur writes, we also do damage to the church if we fail to exercise godly judgment and discernment when it’s warranted.

There is also danger, however, even for the truly humble and repentant believer. The first danger . . . is of concluding that we have no right to oppose wrong doctrine or wrong practices in the church, lest we fall into judgmental self-righteousness. We will then not be willing to confront a sinning brother as the Lord clearly calls us to do. The second danger is closely related to the first. If we are afraid to confront falsehood and sin in the church, we will be inclined to become undiscriminating and undiscerning. The church, and our own lives, will become more and more in danger of corruption. Realizing the impact of sin in the assembly (1 Peter 4:15), Peter made a powerful call for a confrontive, critical church when he said, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17). Believers must be discerning and make proper judgment when it is required. [6]

Discernment does not have to lead to division. If we faithfully follow the pattern Christ gave us, we will be able to confront one another out of love and humility, not arrogance and self-righteousness. And we’ll be able to humbly accept the input of others without rushing to defensive arguments and judgmental retaliation.

The Abundant Life

 

Preached Aug 27, 2014 @ Lakeshore Baptist Church

image.pngThe thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly

John 10:10

 

 

    Because of the weakness in doctrinal teaching from pulpits today many buy into the false teachings of these name and claim it prosperity teachers. They want you to believe that simply becoming a Christian (how is another matter) entitles you to a better life. That is a life filled with joy and riches.

    According to Kenneth Copland; Bible believers should receive a hundredfold return on their giving. Really? Here are some of the texts they use to justify that position.

Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.

Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 10:29-30 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

    Another says; God wants to do something new and supernatural in your life. Did you know He wants to do something supernatural in your finances? L. Comes; of Joel Osteen Ministries quotes:

Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing! …Do you not perceive it and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (AMP)

He then says; can you perceive it? Are you making room for it in your mind, or have you already made up your mind not to expect anything new due to your present circumstances? God is interested in all your needs, desires, and even, your prosperity. In fact, Psalm 35:27 says that God delights in the prosperity of His people.

    Really? I am not sure how Is 43:19 relates but ss that what Ps 35:27 really says?

ESV PS 35:27 Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”

    The KJV says “which has pleasure in your prosperity”. Listen it is a matter of rightly discerning the Word of God. The Greek word used for prosperity is Shalowm, yes the word most folks would associate with peace. Its most common meanings are completeness, soundness, welfare, and peace. Yes it does mean health and prosperity but ONLY in the context of our welfare.

    Ok before I chase a rabbit let us go back to our base text:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly John 10:10

    There can be no doubt that Christ came to give life. Equally we can see that the life He offers is an abundant one. So I ask you, are the claims of these modern pulpiteers valid? I dare say not. One must read in context what Jesus is speaking of in order to understand the abundant life we are promised.

    Our Lord has just finished telling all that he has come into this world for JUDGEMENT John 9:39, then starts His discourse in being the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd that has come not to steal kill or destroy His flock but give them life (eternal) not only an ordinary life but an abundant one.

Strong’s lists the Greek word here for abundant as Perissos – per-e-sows’

• Exceeding some number or measure or rank or need

• Over and above, more than is necessary, superadded

• Exceeding abundantly, supremely

• Something further, more, much more than all, more plainly

• Superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon

• Pre-eminence, superiority, advantage, more eminent, more remarkable, more excellent

    Again there can be no doubt that God’s intent is for us to have an abundant life. So let’s look closely at what I believe the bible tells us about it. I want to break it into three sections for ease of study. They are God’s Plan, God’s Purpose and Man’s Performance.

God’s Plan

    God’s plan is simple and unchanging from before the foundation of the earth. His plan was always for our wellbeing, always focused on Christ, fulfilled in Christ and by His Grace and mercy alone.

    Does God’s plan include great health, wealth and prosperity (material) in this life? For some yes, to claim it is for everyone is to make a mockery of scripture. I know many a Pastor, far greater men than me who struggle to make ends meet, who have infirmities and consider themselves greatly blessed by God.

    Consider this if God’s plan was for everyone to be “prosperous” with things of this world why bother with the first commandment? Since for certain our focus would shift away from God unto those material things.

Isaiah 35:2 Was predicted for the New Covenant

It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

Psalm 72:7 Fulfilled in Christ

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

Romans 5:17-18,20 Given through Chris

17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Ephesians 1:3-6 By Grace alone

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

God’s Purpose

    I am not God. Ok, I know Duh! So I cannot be (nor anyone for that matter) expected to know God’s purpose in every circumstance. What I do know is He is sovereign and in control of everything. That He always without fail looks out for the best interest of his children. That the things we go through in life are used to [provide us with greater rewards; the ability for greater service; more joy, thanks and rejoicing; and to recharge the batteries when needed.

Matt 13:11-12 Greater Reward 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

1 Cor 15:10 Greater Service But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Cor 8:2 More Joy How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

2 Cor 4:15, 9:12 More Thanks

• For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

• For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

Phil 1:26 Added Rejoicing That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Titus 3:5-6 Renewal and Reenergize Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

    God abundantly provides for us. He has furnished all we need in this life. Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ understood this when he wrote 2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Man’s Performance

    If you are still with me we have learned that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. Now what do we do with that? Sit back and reap the benefits? Complain when we see those (believers and non-alike) around us with more stuff? Maybe we should be like the psalmist and declare: The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (PS 138:7) And maybe as we rejoice in His Grace and mercy we can finally recognize what James meant when he wrote For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (2:26).

   The true measure of a man is not is the worldly stuff he possesses. No the true worth of a man is found in his obedience and relationship to God.

Lev 26:3-13 Given to the obedient 3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

Deut 11:26-28 We have a choice Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

Eccl 5:10-12 Worldy Abundance cannot fulfill us 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Mal 3:10-12 and Matt 6:32-33 Is conditional

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

• 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Luke 12:15 Not the measure of a man 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 22 And he said unto his disciples, therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

Luke 12:23-21 Can be forfeited 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth

    One of the other prime scriptures used to declare God wants us to be healthy wealthy and wise as it were is:

Psalm 37:4 1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  4 Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass

    Can you identify their glaring error? Delight thyself in abundance? Commit thy ways to Abundance? Of course not how absurd; we are to delight in and commit to Christ. Who in case anyone forgot is the Word of God In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God John 1:1 and we have just seen what the Word of God really says about this abundant life.

C.H. Spurgeon; in his work Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on Ps 37:4 says: There is an ascent in this third precept. He, who was first bidden not to fret, was then commanded actively to trust and now is told with holy desire to delight in God. Delight thyself also in the Lord. Make Jehovah the joy and rejoicing of thy spirit. Bad men delight in carnal objects; do not envy them if they are allowed to take their fill in such vain idols; look thou to thy better delight, and fill thyself to the full with thy more sublime portion. In a certain sense imitate the wicked; they delight in their portion — take care to delight in yours, and so far from envying you will pity them. There is no room for fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind. Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties. And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. A pleasant duty is here rewarded with another pleasure. Men who delight in God desire or ask for nothing but what will please God; hence it is safe to give them carte blanche. Their will is subdued to God’s will, and now they may have what they will. Our innermost desires are here meant, not our casual wishes; there are many things which nature might desire which grace would never permit us to ask for; these deep, prayerful, asking desires are those to which the promise is made.

    Let us look back to our main text for a moment before I close. Dr. Gill in his commentary makes an interesting point: the sense is, that Christ came that his people might have eternal life, with more abundant evidence of it than was under the former dispensation, and have stronger faith in it, and a more lively hope of it: or, as the words may be rendered, “and that they might have an abundance”: besides life, might have an abundance of grace from Christ, all spiritual blessings in him now, and all fullness of joy, glory, and happiness hereafter.

CONCLUSION

    The story has been the same throughout the ages God does want His chosen to have an abundant life. 1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

That joyful abundant life we all crave is available to those who:

• Are obedient to His commands

• Put away sin

• Ask God for it

• Are unselfish in asking

• Are committed to asking

• Expect it in Faith

• Accept whatever is given if it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for us.  Matt 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

In HIS Service