Divine earthly retribution.
DECEMBER 11, 2023
Divine earthly retribution. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now. But if you’re hungry for the truth that’ll make you free, welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end, lots of fun and rest, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying Proverbs, and I’ve said a hundred times that you can’t study the Book of Proverbs the way you do most books of the Bible. You can’t figure who was the author. There are a number of different authors, Solomon is one of them, but there are others that are clearly stated in the book. You’re not sure when this book was written, because it was written over a period of time. Some of it very, very old, and some of it not so much. You can’t take the major themes, because there are a thousand major themes in the Book of Proverbs. And so, what you have to do when you study Proverbs, now, you can spend a day, one day reading one of the chapters of Proverbs, and you’ll come out at the end of the month, having read the book of Proverbs, and that’s a good process. But you’re going to have all kinds of things in your head when you do it. I mean, a thousand subjects, it won’t be like reading the Book of Galatians and recognizing that freedom and grace and mercy is the theme. And having that be your companion for the next few weeks, Proverbs doesn’t work that way. It’s sort of like a dictionary or maybe an encyclopedia. So many subjects, and that’s what we’re doing we’re looking at subjects. And in a minute, after we pray, we’re going to look at the subject of divine earthly retribution. I know, it sounds dull, but it’s not so bad. Let’s pray first. Father, as we come into your presence, as always, the darkness of our life is so apparent. And we wonder what in the world we’re doing in your presence. And then your voice, welcome child, over and over and over again. We praise you for your forgiveness, for your love, we don’t understand either one, but you have given it to us in spades and we praise you. Father, we worship you too because you’re the sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of everything that we touch and see and perceive and understand. You are a God who is worthy of worship and the only God and the only worthy. Father, you know the people who are listening to this broadcast, and you know the issues of life, some good, some bad. Remind us that you’re sufficient for all of them. And as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins, because there are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. All right, if you have your Bible, keep it open and fan through it as I call out some of these texts that bring up some of these subjects. Let’s talk about getting good stuff and bad stuff before you get to heaven. That’s true, by the way, it really is. There is a doctrine that you’ll find in Scripture and you’ll find in Proverbs all over the place called divine earthly blessing. Simply stated, that is the following. You do good, it’ll turn out good. You do it right, it’ll come out right. You be obedient to God, and you’ll be wealthy, and famous, and healthy, and everything in your life will be copacetic. And you say, wait, wait, well, we’re going to talk about it, stay with me. And if you do bad stuff, you’re going to be in trouble. You want to have a miserable life, break as many of the Ten Commandments as you can and enjoy it because it’s not going to last. The Ten Commandments and the law of God, which is bigger than that. The law of God was given by a God who wrote the owner’s manual for all of his people. And he says, this is the way it works. This is the way it works best. And this is the best way to live. So, as you can, live it. I often will say in churches where I’m preaching, and in my church when I was a pastor, if you’re not a Christian, we’re glad you’re here. And I don’t want you, because mostly what I do is teach Christians, I don’t want you to leave without any benefit. So, if you’re not sleeping well at night, if your life’s not going very well, if everything is really messed up in your life, this is what you should do. Get a Bible, read it, and insofar as you can, live it. And insofar as you live it, your life will be better, I promise. And you say, but I don’t believe it. I don’t care whether you believe it. I’m not your mother, but if you will do your best to live it, insofar as you do, your life will be better. And that is true. I mean, that’s true in our culture. One of the reasons we’re in such trouble is that we set aside God and His revelation in our lives. And how you conduct your lives, and your nation, and your community, and your church. And insofar as we do that, and we have in this country, and in Canada, and in other countries in the past, we don’t do that so much today. And things are really messed up. Now, you know why. That’s called divine earthly blessing, or divine earthly retribution. And it is taught in Scripture, but it’s got to be nuanced. You’ve got to think about it. You’ve got to put on your thinking cap and look at it in its entirety, and we’re going to try to do that the rest of this broadcast tomorrow and even the next day. But first, let me give you the Scripture. Proverbs 3:13 through 18.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding, for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver and her gain more than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand; in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life. To those who take hold of her; and happy are all who retain her.
Okay. Proverbs 8:18
Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness.
Proverbs 10, and I could give you a lot more than I’m giving you. Proverbs 10:27 through 29.
The fear of the Lord prolongs days, the years of the wicked will be shortened. The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is strength for the upright, and destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.
If the righteous will be recompensed on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
Proverbs 13:13. I’ve got to quit. I’m, you know, I could spend the next week reading verses that have to do with divine earthly retribution and blessing. Proverbs 13:13
He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.
Divine earthly retribution and blessing, now, I’m going to say one thing, that’s all I have time to talk about today, but be sure and be listening to tomorrow’s broadcast, because we’re going to nuance it with a Messiah who died on crossbeams between two thieves, crying that his God had forsaken him. How do you put those kinds of things together? Well, first, about Proverbs, if you were listening when we first started teaching Proverbs, we have said these are not, these are not absolute promises, they’re principles. And there’s a difference between a promise and a principle. A promise says, you, this is what God will do, you can hang your hat on it. A principle says, this is generally the way the world works. And you ought to know, as God’s people, the way it was created. And most of the time, things work out if you do it the right way. And most of the time, you’re going to be miserable if you don’t. But there’s more to be said about that, and we’ll say it tomorrow. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our adventures in the Book of Proverbs is a series we’re calling Street-Smart Christians. And today we delved into the nuanced topic of divine earthly retribution. Our specific text today was Proverbs 3:13 through 18, and we’ll continue exploring the subject tomorrow. Hope you will join us for that. When you’re getting ready for Christmas, do you ever wish you had some extra help, just an extra hand to help wrap presents, run errands, bring in the firewood? Well, when it comes to preparing your heart for the season, we’d love to be that extra hand by sending you a free gift. It’s a booklet called Christmas Meditations, and it’s a reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions. They help you focus and reflect on the impact of Christ coming. Get it now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet, to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the booklet called Christmas Meditations. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or now, give safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950, then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.