Do it right and it will turn out right…sometimes.
DECEMBER 12, 2023
Do it right and it’ll turn out right… sometimes. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life. A program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward, and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, I spent almost the whole broadcast, and I, there’s a lot more in Proverbs that says the same thing, reading verses in the Book of Proverbs that teach clearly divine earthly retribution and divine earthly blessing. In other words, do good and good things will happen. Do bad and bad things will happen. And if you understand that, your life is going to be better than you ever thought it would be. And all I did was read verses. And so, you know if you were listening yesterday, that Proverbs clearly teaches divine earthly retribution and divine earthly blessing. If you were listening yesterday, I had 30 seconds after reading all of those verses to make one comment, and it was this, sometimes it’s true. And the Book of Proverbs is not a book of promises, it is a book of principles. You have no idea how often, well, not so often, but often enough for it to be noticed, when parents have had kids and their kids have left the faith, done bad things, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get better. Now, I tell them, often, you gave your child a compass, and it points to home, and they’ll never be able to get rid of it. They’ll try, but they won’t. So, just give it time, and wait and watch and pray. I often say to parents, I know how you feel, that’s awful, cause our kids, we love our kids so much. God loves them more than you do. And I’ve been through this with so many parents, and there’s the rest of the story, wait and pray and watch. And then, often, the parents will quote from the book of Proverbs.
Bring up a child in the way he should go, Don’t spoil the rod, And he or she will walk in that way.
And they say, God promised. And I would say, No, He didn’t promise. He gave you a principle of the way the world works. And most of the time it works that way, but some of the time it doesn’t. And if you understand the difference between a promise and a principle, then you’ll be better off when you study the Book of Proverbs. And so, having given you the principle of divine earthly retribution and divine earthly blessing, now we’ve got to nuance it and we’ve got to go a little bit further. The Son of God, and we grab all kinds of lessons from His life and from His death and from his resurrection. And some of them are a lot more important than that, like our salvation, like we’re going to live forever. But there’s another lesson in that that’s really important. And this is one of the things that needs to be remembered by those of you who are into if you exercise the right faith principles, you can get what you want. No, you can’t. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work that way. The man who exercised God’s principles perfectly his entire life ended up spread eagle on crossbeams on the town garbage heap. So, if we build a whole theology on the blessing part. We miss the reality of a fallen world, the reality of the result of sin, the reality of sickness and cancer, the reality of broken families, the reality of depression, the reality of pain and darkness, because that’s what a fallen world is. That’s not all that. That’s why Proverbs is so important. Do it right and most of the time it’ll turn out right. That’s what God says, but he also says do it right and sometimes it won’t. What are you going to do about Fanny Crosby? You know, I’ve sung her hymns since she was, since I was a little boy. In fact, one time when I was in Connecticut, I visited her gravesite. I thought it’d be a big tombstone. I couldn’t even find it. It was over in a corner of the graveyard. And you know what was written on it? Aunt Fanny, she did the best she could. She understood grace. But good heavens, she was blind. If God really understood her and she did it right, why in the world was she blind? Or about Charles Spurgeon, maybe the greatest expositor of Scripture in the last 300 years. Did you know that sometimes he was so depressed that he couldn’t preach. No, you say, that’s not. Yeah, it is. That’s true. He was so depressed he couldn’t preach. An incident had happened early in his ministry with a fire and a young man had been killed. And that was the kicker. And the kicker haunted him the rest of his life. It was one of the reasons he was so wonderful in what he taught, because he had been there and he had done that. My mother read Spurgeon Morning and Evening, that was the name of the devotional book, almost all of her life. And she said, it seems like he understands what I’m going through. And I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. The reason he understood, because he had been there and he had done that. What about G. Campbell Morgan, another great expositor of God’s Word. He was a failure, do you know they rejected him from seminary? They wouldn’t accept him. He wrote a telegram to his father, Failed, rejected. And his father wrote back, Rejected on Earth, accepted in Heaven. But he had done it right. Why didn’t he get accepted the way it’s supposed to work out? Or C.S. Lewis, if you’ve ever read the book he wrote when his wife Joy died, it’s profoundly wise, and it’s profoundly dark. It’s called A Grief Observed. Just as an aside, and let me tell you a good story. His son, stepson, but son, is a friend of mine, Doug. And he told me that, when Lewis first wrote that book, A Grief Observed, he did it and published it under a pseudonym. In other words, he didn’t use his own name. And I forget what name he used, but he used another name. And it was published and it had a wide readership all over the world. And he said that during his father’s time of grief and mourning, his friends would give him, as a gift, the book he had written, and would say, Jack, they called him Jack, said, Jack, I think this will help you with your tears, this will help you with your grief and your mourning. But he went through an awful time. Why was that? He was a good man. He did it right. Why would God send him through such a hard time? Did you know Beethoven was deaf as a doornail? And he wrote the most beautiful music you’ve ever, I love Beethoven. And, but he was deaf. How could he do that? And how could God do that to Beethoven? I don’t know, he wrote mathematically, I’m told, by people who know. I don’t even understand what that means, but I know it’s beautiful. What about Paul? Paul said to keep me humble, God gave me a thorn in the flesh. What was that? Well, some people say that it’s his eyesight. He was almost blind as a bat. But we don’t know that. Whatever the thorn in the flesh was, it’s not something you expect that God’s going to give to his servants, and certainly not to the one who wrote more of the New Testament than anybody else. I mean, what about Paul, did you know Whitfield suffered from consumption a lot of his life? He was the one that God used for the Great Awakening. And Joan of Arc, what about her? Talk about faithful, she was burned at the stake. Luther, and you say, stop it, Steve. Just stop it, I’m tired of this. I know. I understand, but I wanted to make a point, and the point is this, that we live in a hard world. And if you study the Book of Proverbs, you’ll find the best way to live in a hard world, where things mostly work out, where things mostly are good, where God blesses because He likes to bless His people. But don’t be presumptuous over it. Be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. And don’t make a principle into a promise and then get angry at God because He didn’t fulfill His promise. Okay? You think about that. Amen.
Promises versus principles, a subtle but important difference between the two. Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, resuming our tour of Proverbs and continuing our examination of divine earthly retribution and divine earthly blessings. More tomorrow, do join us then. Well, every year on our talk radio show, we do a special Christmas episode. No guests, no books, just the Etcetera gang sharing some laughs and stories and maybe some cookies. Okay, definitely, definitely some cookies. It’s a fun time. And when you listen to it, it’s I don’t know, it’s kind of like you’re hanging out with us. Get that episode on CD for free and see why it’s a wonderful Key Life. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. And if you’d like to mail your request, go to Keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Again, just ask for your free copy of the Christmas episode of Steve Brown Etc. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, text that to 28950. And as always, listen, if you can’t give, we understand, really. But if you think about it, please do pray for us, would you? 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.