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July 3 - Evening

"The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor."
- Proverbs 10:15

The Fortified City of Wealth


Proverbs 10:15 holds forth a basic truth for the believer in every age: Money gives a man security and confidence in this age, while lack of resources makes a man vulnerable. Say what you want about trusting God for your provisions and the evilness of the “love of money”, but be advised before you speak, that the same God you trust and claim to obey, has advised us here and commands us in other places to gain, manage and use our wealth.

Indeed, Proverbs 10:16, the Proverb that follows, warns that money gained in wickedness carries with it a punishment, but even then it tells us, “the wages of the righteous bring them life.”

"The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death." - Proverbs 10:16

A man with financial resources is not as easily devastated by daily problems and common misfortunes. While something as minor as a flat tire, a leaking roof or a routine hospital bill can crush a poorer man financially, emotionally, socially and even morally. The temptation (or, the perceived need) to turn to illegal and immoral activity to meet daily financial requirements are more enticing to a man in need of money. But, the wealth of a rich man can be a moral fortification against the temptation to turn to immoral activity.

This proverb remains true even when we read Paul’s words of advice to Timothy for the believers in Ephesus in 1 Timothy 6:9-10. The problem is not with the wealth, but with the man's heart. In Proverbs 10:16 both the "righteous" and the "wicked" were making money ("wages" and "earnings"), the difference was their heart and behavior. The same is true of Paul's words to Timothy. It is not the rich who are wrong, it is those with a "love of money" and people "eager for money" that "fall into temptation." Poor people can have "love of money" and be so "eager for money" that they are the ones who "fall into temptation" trying to get money. Once again, a "the wealth of the rich is their fortified city" that protects them from these same temptations that attrack any man who loves money and is eager for money. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:9-10:

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Even though we agree with Paul’s words, we can be sure that Paul agreed with Wisdom, “Poverty is the ruin of the poor.” There is no honor in being poor. The Word of God tells us that wealth is a fortified city that is able to protect the owner in good and bad times. The wealth of the rich can also provide for others who are in need.
Chokmah (Hb) - Wisdom (Eng) - the word chokmah is the Hebrew word for "wisdom." Chokmah is not intelligence, but refers to insight and understanding such as wisdom in administrative matters, skill in craftsmanship or war, ethical practices, shrewdness in business.
Wisdom led to a productive life before the Lord.
I will be more diligent with my finances.
I will seek financial advice and financial management skills. I will develop a budget.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Relationships at work

Church

Avoid self-righteous attitudes
Government reform
India



A Crusader fortress/citadel in Sepphoris.
(Details 1, 2)
Five cycles of discipline faced by the United States of America. (Book details)




Someone to Quote

"It is a sad state indeed when we are more grieved by the afternoon traffic than by our own sin against the God of the universe."

Something to Ponder

Docetism was a Christological Heresy from 110 AD that held to the conviction that Jesus was God, but not human. They believed that Jesus had only appeared to be human. The word “Docetism” comes from the Greek word dokesis which means “to seem.” Ignatius warns the church of Smyrna of the danger of this in 117 AD in one of his letters.

Here’s a Fact

The city of Ephesus and several of the sites referred to in the Book of Acts have been excavated. (See photos and details 1, 2, 3, 4)

Proverb

"My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight...Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble."

- Proverbs 3:21, 23

Coach’s Corner

The greatest miracle is salvation. The godliest spiritual manifestation is the transformed soul.

Jeremiah 19
New International Version (NIV)
19 This is what the Lord says: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
“‘In this place I will ruin[a] the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds and the wild animals. I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.’
10 “Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching, 11 and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 12 This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the Lord. I will make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’”
14 Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people, 15 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’”
Footnotes:
  1. Jeremiah 19:7 The Hebrew for ruin sounds like the Hebrew for jar (see verses 1 and 10).
2 Kings 7-8
New International Version (NIV)
Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah[a] of the finest flour will sell for a shekel[b] and two seahs[c] of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”
“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”
The Siege Lifted
Now there were four men with leprosy[d] at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.
Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.
12 The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’”
13 One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”
14 So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” 15 They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said.
17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. 18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
19 The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” 20 And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.
The Shunammite’s Land Restored
Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.
At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to appeal to the king for her house and land. The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land.
Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.”
The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.
Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”
Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad
Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,” he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the Lord through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
10 Elisha answered, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless,[e] the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.” 11 He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael was embarrassed. Then the man of God began to weep.
12 “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.
“Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.”
13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”
“The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram,” answered Elisha.
14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, “What did Elisha say to you?” Hazael replied, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.
Jehoram King of Judah
16 In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 18 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 19 Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.
20 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. 21 So Jehoram[f] went to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night; his army, however, fled back home. 22 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time.
23 As for the other events of Jehoram’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 24 Jehoram rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah King of Judah
25 In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. 27 He followed the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family.
28 Ahaziah went with Joram son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; 29 so King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramoth[g] in his battle with Hazael king of Aram.
Then Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab, because he had been wounded.
Footnotes:
  1. 2 Kings 7:1 That is, probably about 12 pounds or about 5.5 kilograms of flour; also in verses 16 and 18
  2. 2 Kings 7:1 That is, about 2/5 ounce or about 12 grams; also in verses 16 and 18
  3. 2 Kings 7:1 That is, probably about 20 pounds or about 9 kilograms of barley; also in verses 16 and 18
  4. 2 Kings 7:3 The Hebrew for leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin; also in verse 8.
  5. 2 Kings 8:10 The Hebrew may also be read Go and say, ‘You will certainly not recover,’ for.
  6. 2 Kings 8:21 Hebrew Joram, a variant of Jehoram; also in verses 23 and 24
  7. 2 Kings 8:29 Hebrew Ramah, a variant of Ramoth


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