5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Verses 1-5 give warning against committing and obligating ourselves. No one can foresee the future. The useful soldier of God is the one unencumbered (2 Tim. 2:4).
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
It is so easy to thoughtlessly put burdens on our backs and ropes around our necks that will hinder us in the way of life. Here is a first principle of wisdom. Here again is the dividing line between fools and wise.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Slumber is more than just lying in bed. It is mental drifting and inactivity -- spiritual laziness -- natural self-indulgence and self-pleasing (Rom. 13:11-12)
We are placed here for worthwhile activity and WORK. The purpose of our life is to serve God in joy and enthusiasm to the fullest limit of our mortal powers, as a training for future eternal service in the tireless powers of the divine nature.
This alone is true living. Indolent self-pleasing is death --
"She (or he) that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Tim. 5:6).
But (1 Cor. 15:58) --
"ALWAYS ABOUNDING in the work of the Lord."
-- is the joyful, purposeful, satisfying ideal of true living.
12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
Evil speaking is a characteristic of the world.
So common is it that its heinousness is not perceived. God has pronounced it a crime. His hatred to it is repeatedly emphasised. Are we resisting or yielding to this popular sin? "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice."
This commandment cannot be infringed with impunity. Woe to evil surmisers, false accusers, and tale bearers! Their conduct separates them from God. Gehenna is their certain goal. What righteous man is not pained to hear his brother maligned? Think you not that Christ shares this feeling? Let us not indulge in evil speaking under the unjustifiable notion that we think our brother is deserving of it.
God has provided rules for dealing with transgressors. These rules rigidly prohibit us allowing evil thoughts to rankle in our minds, much less of infusing them into others. Assuming that we have ground for righteous indignation, let us refrain from acting unscripturally. Let us follow an example set us-"being reviled, we bless, being persecuted, we suffer it, being defamed, we intreat."
The world from God's standpoint is incorrigibly bad-"the whole world lieth in wickedness." This truth the saints should keep vividly before them. Let us consider the significance of the expressions which the Scriptures apply to it:-vain-ignorant-rebellious-cruel-corrupt -dark-asleep-dead-blind-drunk-mad. If we keep these characteristics steadily before the mind, it will stimulate us to be circumspect-it will steel us to resist the deadly influences which assail us on every side. But though possessed of this character, the world serves a purpose. Otherwise it would not exist.
Neither would the faithful be made to struggle within it. "The creature was subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope."
The world is God's machinery, by means of which He produces that character which is essential for an eternal life in His kingdom. Christ prayed not that his disciples might be taken out of the world, but that they might be kept or guarded in it. To go the way of the world is fatal. To withstand it-though a painful and distressing exercise-evolves that spiritual strength and vigour which lead on victory. Let us realise the good that God is accomplishing in relating us to evil, and there will be more patience and less complaining.
A. T. J.
The Christadelphian, March 1887
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Planning sin is in some ways more vicious than the sin itself.
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
God demands utter TRUTH in the "inward parts" -- rigid integrity in the deepest well-springs of motive and intention -- regardless of consequence, which is the very opposite of natural, shifty human nature.
What terrible judgment is in store for such! And yet what a common, thoughtless fault it is!
All these things are the natural motions of the flesh, and will manifest themselves naturally in us all, unless honestly faced and rooted out -- especially the last.
So much is said with the secret (though never admitted, even to ourself) purpose of causing one person to be estranged from, or offended by, or think less of, another.
This is such an ingrained characteristic of the flesh that we are all guilty. It is so satisfying to the pride of the flesh to criticize and think evil. And this is the crowning abomination in the sight of God, but -- "Love covers a multitude of sins."
Bro Growcott - 'She openeth he mouth with wisdom'.
20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
in relation to Bible truth paves the way for doubt, doubt for denial, and denial for shame and death at the judgment. If we would safe-guard ourselves against unbelief and apostacy, we must not grow weary in reading.
This is no guess, but information vouchsafed in divine revelation. Where brethren "give attendance to reading," there will be no forgetfulness. God, in regard to His law, has put the matter very plainly - "Meditate therein day and night" (Jos. i :8; Prov. vi: 21; Ps. lxviii: 5-8).
Forgetfulness is not the only cause of infidelity; but it is a cause, and a very potent one. It matters not how intelligent a man may be in the truth, how moral-minded from a phrenological point of view, he is bound to grow unfriendly with the truth, and ultimately to renounce it, if he cease to read, prayerfully and carefully, the word of his God.
Let all men, whether their brain-power be great or small, note this fact, and act wisely.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, March 1899