Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Honor Without Association

My son, fear the Lord and the king;
Do not associate with those given to change;
For their calamity will rise suddenly,
And who knows the ruin those two can bring?”
Proverbs 24:21-22

Having always viewed the political stage as an onlooker but now being one of the players on the stage, I have found that my eyes have been opened to many new things about the nature of people – especially how blinded people can become when they are waging for positions of power or control over powerful decisions – this reality I had never seen from my previous vantage point. As these thoughts and abrupt changes to my perceptions have been mulling around in my mind all the more these past few days, I found the above verses jump out at me as I read them. Actually, I was a bit confused because I could not figure out how the first half of verse 21 had anything to do with the rest of the that verse and the subsequent verse with which it was written.

So again I went back to my Hebrew word study and started digging, and I am glad I did. Here are some of the words I looked up and which gave me a much clearer picture of what these verses meant as well as the association between “two” and the text to which this count was referring.

associate/meddle (6148: 'ârab) - meaning to be woven or braided together, intermixed (Tense: the cause of a future result)

given to change (8138:shânâh) – transmute, to change from one substance to another (Tense: continued simple action)

calamity (343:'êyd) - oppression by misfortune, destruction

those two” = those given to change + those who are riding the wave to their misfortune = result in ruin

Basically, what these verses say is that no matter what, we are to fear God and those who He puts in power. And when He talks about fear, He means we must respect and give honor to Him and those He has allowed to be in positions of power. Here are a few verses that make this part of the above scripture more clear:

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:1-7

But, what the rest of the verses say is a bit less straightforward. Yes we are to fear even those who do evil in a position of power, but we are never to get ourselves entangled into their evil ways – which I can tell you would be a very easy path to take when you find yourself in face to face confrontations with them on almost a daily basis. What these people who live apart from God choose to do slowly and methodically in order to change themselves into the people they think they should be in order to be worthy of the position they have been given or would like to have, will eventually add up and lead them not to success but rather to complete and utter failure. It is the nature of man that when he starts to place himself in a position of power above God, that his ruin is not far from his initial decision to break away and do things his own way.

As I look at the choices I need to make each day I my campaign, the view I need to step back to see from the vantage point where God calls me to look at all I see transpiring around me, I find that getting entangled can happen with one small misstep and from there it is a very quick and slippery slope to destruction. Praying each day for God to protect my mind, to surround me with His counsel, and to see things as He sees them is imperative if I am to stay strong and on the higher ground of His will over the will of man. My human nature wars against me often and cries out to act in ways that it thinks are the best ways to reveal truth and bring justice, but I know those urges are not of God and would only cause me to get caught up in the mess I see the rest of the crowd plunging themselves into.

We all must do as the Lord commands and also restrain ourselves so we can come forth from whatever situations we find ourselves in without being drug down and brought to complete ruin. Our enemy would love to see us join the pack, resign from fighting the temptations to hold ourselves back, and to stop trusting in God to provide all we need to resist each temptation to act out on own to battle the evil we see around us.

As I was just writing the above words, a verse I read last night before going to bed come to mind. It is this:

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20

My thoughts last night as I read this verse were this: If I sit and wait while the enemy forces are advancing towards me, I must have great faith that the Lord in His perfect timing will be all the help I need and He will shield me in ways I do not understand but they will bring the best outcome to the situation. But I must wait. I must stay still. I must rest. Then, when the time comes and the Lord calls me to obey His voice and trust in His call to enter the battle, I will be ready to do all He wants me to do and I will have a clear head and rested body beyond those who have been trying to fight the battle all along on their own.

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