Archive for the ‘strength’ Category

21:22 City of the Mighty

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust. Proverbs 21:22

When the Greeks could not defeat the Trojans, crafty Odyssus is supposed to have suggested leaving a giant horse outside the city with one soldier. The Greeks would sail away and the “abandoned” soldier would tell the Trojans the horse was a gift for the goddess Athena. Inside the horse soldiers would be hidden, and when, as expected, the Trojans hauled the horse into the city and the Greeks returned, the soldiers inside would pour out and open the gates. The strategem worked.

Many people make a stronghold of something which is not really a source of strength. The walls of the Trojans became their coffin. God does us a favor whenever he exposes the weaknesses of our vaunted positions.

Perhaps this proverb was based on the exploit of Joab, who broke into Jerusalem by leading his men up a water shaft which the Jebusites no doubt would have considered one of their chief assets in a seige.

Christ also scaled the fortress of Satan in a sort of Trojan Horse move, descending to the bottom, subjecting himself to death and apparent defeat that he might ascend to the highest eminence in the universe.

25:26 Giving Way to the Wicked

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring. Proverbs 25:26

Richard Wurmbrand tells that, fearing for their families and lives, many pastors in Romania publicly endorsed the atheistic Communists when they took power. Solomon would categorize them as fouled springs. By contrast, Wurmbrand spoke up for Christ and spent many years in prison where he was brutally tortured.

In his suffering this Lutheran pastor was like Christ his master. Jesus would not give way to false accusers. He neither endorsed untruth nor kowtowed to the men who gave him a kangaroo trial. Rather, he witnessed plainly to those who were about to crucify him. Consequently, he suffered all that the spite of men and demons could contrive against him. He was no polluted fountain.

14:4 Inconveniences

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Oxen wagon train in South Africa.

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox. Proverbs 14:4.

Anyone who has had to muck out a barn knows what a nasty chore it is. When you maintain farm animals, you can expect to clean up manure, shovel feed, and other undesirable tasks. In the old days, when people needed animals to plow and to grind, there was no choice. The effort was amply repaid, however. The labor of the oxen and horses greatly multiplied productivity. The point of this proverb is that to get results we often have to put up with inconveniences.

The story of our salvation is a story of Christ putting up with inconveniences. There was the inconvenience of leaving his throne in heaven. There were the inconveniences of poverty, cold, hunger, overwork, tiredness, misunderstanding, vilification, and crucifixion. He endured all these things to demonstrate what it means to have absolute obedience to God the Father. His inconvenience resulted in our salvation and much multiplication of fruit.

24:10 Fainting in Adversity

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Beasts savage Christians in the arena.

Beasts savage Christians in the arena.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.

During the Roman persecutions in North Africa, many Christians so feared the danger and torments with which they were threatened, that they paid for false certificates, saying they had sacrificed to the emperor, when in fact they had not. Others refused this dodge as unworthy of their faith, and accepted whatever indignities their cruel captors inflicted.

In this they were like Christ. Although he shrank from the cross, as any man might have, yet he set his face to it and endured the nails, the jeers, the thirst and hours of gasping agony for our sakes. He showed a strength of purpose which Solomon could not have imagined when he wrote this. Christ’s fortitude in adversity has inspired every generation since.