Beware of Dogs!
“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, today if ye will hear his voice. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.” – Hebrews 3:7-11 (KJV)
Entering the Rest of God takes more than going to church or being born again. It clarifies what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, that a man, though born again cannot enter into the Kingdom as that is an exclusive reserve for those born of water and the Spirit.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” – John 3:5-6 (KJV)
In our text, the Apostle Paul sounds a note of warning about how thin a line there is between entering and missing the rest of God. He started by reminding us how God swore (a serious thing when God swears!) that all that came out of Egypt will not enter His rest, save Caleb and Joshua. And this was because “they have not known my ways.” – Hebrews 3:10 (KJV), they hardened their hearts to the ways of God, which Isaiah tells us is higher than the ways of Man. (Isaiah 55)
Paul admonishes, and very strongly too, that we should not be like the wilderness church; that if we hear His voice, we should not harden our hearts. There is a thin line here, and this is because we love God and no one knowingly wants to harden his heart against God! Like Paul who loves to do the will of God according to the inner man, but found himself doing what he did not want to do. (Rom 7), something else other than us is at work to prevent us from entering God’s rest!
This thing may allow us “hear the word” but not the “Voice”, “the letter” and not “the Spirit.” We are not only to hear the word – the letter, but the Voice – the Spirit; for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. In Acts 13:27, the Bible tells how the children of God read the Law, the Scripture every Sabbath day, yet could not hear the “voice” of the prophets, the actual message they passed across!
“For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.” – Acts 13:27 (KJV)
That was exactly what happened to the wilderness church; that made them “err in their hearts” and not know the ways of the Lord. Unfortunately, it is happening to the Church of today!
Why did they miss it? The dogs!
“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” – Philippians 3:2-3 (KJV)
… to be continued.
Incomparable is in the long and short, something that has no equal; something that no other thing should be put side by side for comparison in size, volume and especially, quality.
These things that are incomparable are always prime or principal, they are the most important things, and directly or indirectly, used to categorize people into classes. One such thing is wisdom.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” – Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)
Wisdom is the application of knowledge. We all go to school to acquire knowledge but how we use that knowledge determines whether we are wise or not. Every kind of training is aimed at impartation of knowledge; even domestic things as learning to cook, learning to sweep the floor, learning to wash, are all to impart knowledge. The man who goes to the gym for fitness goes to acquire knowledge, the man who goes to a driving school, has gone to get knowledge. Every school in life is about knowledge. But the difference between people who acquired the same knowledge is in how they used the knowledge acquired. This is responsible for success or failure in life.
There are two kinds of wisdom: Godly wisdom and devilish wisdom.
Godly wisdom is from above; from God.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” – James 3:17 (KJV)
This wisdom bears the fruits called “purity”, “peace”, “gentleness”, “mercy”, “fairness”, and all other fruits that are good.
Devilish wisdom is as you guessed, from satan.
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” – James 3:14-15 (KJV)
This wisdom bears evil fruits: “envy”, “strife”, and every fruit associated with these; all bad.
Both kinds of wisdom are produced by knowledge. Wisdom feeds from knowledge. Engineers are what they are because of the knowledge they got at school. Doctors can administer treatment because of the knowledge they got. Lawyers can debate in court by virtue of the knowledge they acquired. A wrestler can throw people around because he acquired the knowledge. Wisdom is fed by knowledge! Where there is no knowledge, no wisdom can be found! It is the knowledge acquired that makes a profession different from others; in other words, a profession is peculiar and different from others because of the information or knowledge from which it emerged.
The two kinds of wisdom differ from each other because of the knowledge they acquired; what they received and stored in them determines what they produce, what they bring out!
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” – Luke 6:45 (KJV)
The wisdom you display is produced by the knowledge you have. The character you display tells the wisdom you carry; evil wisdom.
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” – James 3:14-16 (KJV)
Or, Godly wisdom.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” – James 3:17-18 (KJV)
I remember reading a story about a man that came home and saw three different foams. He picked the first and squeezed; powder came out from it. He squeezed the second; water came from it. When he squeezed the third, oil came out of it. When squeezed, each gave out the different things it was filled with. When the pressures of life squeeze you, what wisdom you display is determined by the knowledge you are filled with.
Your quality as a person is determined by the knowledge stored or retained in you.
“For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” – Luke 6:44-45 (KJV)
“A good man”: how people see you, whether wise or foolish, is based on your actions.
“Good treasure of his heart”: your heart is like a treasure chest, a place where valuables are kept, a store of goods. No one can see what things or knowledge you have stored in your heart but you.
“From here he brings out…”: you act out what is stored in your heart. It is this/these thing or things you bring out through your actions or character that people see and categorize you as wise or foolish. We are all driven by what we have stored in our hearts.
“And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” – Mark 7:20-23 (KJV)
It is like a sober man who takes alcohol and retains it for short while; that short while, he acts abnormal, because of the alcohol he retained.
We are not concerned now with the store –the heart. When God created Man, his heart was pure, he acted in ways that never made him “ashamed.” Now we are concerned with the treasures and how they got there.
What are these treasures?
…to be continued.