"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Thursday, April 11, 2024


Hearing and Applying the Written Word of Truth

PROVERBS 22:17-21

INTRODUCTION: In a day and age in which the very existence of truth is doubted or relegated to nothing more than relative truth (“What’s true for you isn’t true for me”, and vice versa), we face the challenge of shining the light of GOD’s Truth revealed in His Word before this dark world.

Shining this light is more than reading the Bible, but knowing GOD and His Word, having studied it, with the intent of living it out. It’s in the living out of GOD’s Word that we shine the brightest. We can do so confidently with all assurance and be completely narrow-minded only because GOD has the monopoly on truth, and He is eager to share with those who are searching for and those who love the truth!

PROVERBS 22:17-21
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise and apply your heart to my knowledge; 18 for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, 19 so that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, 21 that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise and apply your heart to my knowledge…

To “hear” in this and in many such passages involves “hearing intelligently, paying close attention, to not merely hear, but to hearken. The difference between them is hearing is a passive thing. Whereas hearkening is an active thing, where you hear with the intent of obeying. To hear in this case is to have discernment and understanding.

We want to hear the words of the wise, those who are knowledgeable in the Word of the LORD, who are able to give good and godly instruction, and to receive their counsels and knowledge.

Above this, we want to hear the Word from our Wonderful LORD, our Supreme Counselor, the Word incarnate through the Word inspired.

When it comes to counsel, I always ask the one seeking godly counsel three questions:

“Are you in the Word?

"Is your prayer life healthy?

"Are you in regular godly fellowship?”

If they answer “yes” to all three questions, then we can go ahead with the counseling. If their response is “no” to any one or more of the three, then I will more often than not (depending on the nature of the situation) ask them to make up for the lack and pursue all three aspects of Christian discipline for two weeks or so and see if the LORD Himself doesn’t bring about a solution to their dilemma.

This gives them the opportunity to receive counsel directly from the LORD without a go-between such as myself. This encourages the saint to seek the LORD first before they seek the counsel from human counselors and GOD willing, receive answers for their questions and needs.

“…apply your heart to my knowledge” To apply is “to set, to establish, to lay down [a foundation]”. Just as one digs deep in order to lay a foundation for any building, we want to bury the knowledge of GOD’s Word deeply within our hearts. The application of the doctrine of GOD is the objective of all meditation in the Word, in all of the study of the Holy Revelation. While one might learn some deep things of Scripture, if for all of that learning and studying it’s not applied, such a person is considered foolish (MT 7:26).

Let us also remember, that “to whom much is given, is much required” (LK 12:48). The more knowledge of GOD’s Truth we acquire from the LORD, there is that much more we will be required to answer for. This is one reason why Scripture warns about becoming teachers of the Word:
JAMES 3:1-2
1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
One sure mark of spiritual maturity is the ability to control one’s tongue. If we have the discipline to govern our own tongue then we will be effective in governing in the church.

Another mark of spiritual maturity is that we are peacemakers (JAMES 3:18).

In the next verse it states that the Word of GOD should be upon our lips, but before it can be spoken by our lips (that’s assuming you’re not reading from a Bible in your hand), it must be heard by the ear, planted in the heart and mind.

for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips,

We want to keep the Word within us; we want to guard, to protect it, because the enemy is a thief, and he wants to steal away the Word from us by various means (MT 13:32; JN 10:10a)! He will steal it by distracting us with lesser things of this world, or by undermining our faith in the Word, causing us to doubt this holy revelation.

The Hebrew word used here for “fixed” is similar in meaning to “apply” in vs. 17. It means “to establish, to set up, prepared”. Where “apply” carries the idea of burying deep, the word “fixed” here conveys the picture of setting up something on that which was buried, such as a foundation. We see this in:
MATTHEW 12:34b-35
34b out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
“…it is a pleasant thing…” We delight in the knowledge we acquire from the Word, either directly through our own study or the study of faithful pastors and Bible teachers:
PSALM 119:14-18
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts and contemplate Your ways. 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. 17 Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.
(PS 1:2)
And of course we also delight in the Author of the Scriptures, the LORD Himself!
PSALM 37:4
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart
(ISA 58:14).
“Delight” in this and in many verses that speak of delighting in the LORD, in obeying Him, in worshiping Him is to be soft-hearted, pliable, moldable, delicate. To be so sensitive to the LORD that He only has to guide us with His eye as it were, and not use a bit and bridle in our mouths and yank us this way and that!
PSALM 19:13-14
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
You see the connection between our hearts and the words we speak?

…so that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you.

Look in your Old Testament and find how many times the word “faith” is mentioned. You might be surprised to find only two references (DEUT 32:20 and HAB 2:4). The word used in most OT texts that equates with faith is “trust”.

If you trust someone, it should be because you believe they’re a person of integrity, of trustworthiness; that being the case, when they say something to you, you believe them! You can take them at their word. GOD places His Word above His own most holy Name (PS 138:2)!

How trustworthy is a person who possesses all knowledge, wisdom and power, a person for whom it’s impossible to tell a lie? That’s our GOD! Our GOD of grace and holiness can be trusted 101%! Check out any book of Promises from the Bible and take a look at what our trustworthy GOD promises to His children, and in some cases in a general sense, to everyone!
5 Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Solomon here admonishes his sons “so that [their] trust may be in the LORD, not in man, even godly saints of the best of intentions can’t be as trustworthy as our perfect, flawless, holy GOD.
All of us who have committed ourselves to the LORD have entrusted Him with our very lives! Amen? And since we trust Him to deliver us from condemnation and eternal damnation, having reserved our place in the Kingdom of GOD that shall rule for all eternity, then we can trust Him with all of the smaller things of life, like delivering us from bankruptcy or providing for us though we’ve lost our job, healing us from cancer or protecting us in the days of evil, etc. The greater work is the forgiveness of our sin, not physical healings (MT 9:2). The greater work is having our names written in the book of Life, not casting out demons (LK 10:20).

Satan’s job is to convince you that GOD is without integrity, that He misleads, that He is holding out on you, not giving you the best that you could have! He wants you to doubt GOD’s Word and His heart.

The LORD Jesus found that He couldn’t operate to His fullest because the people in His own country expressed doubt and unbelief (MT 13:58). You can limit GOD because of your unbelief and doubts. If we have them in any area of our life, what should be our response? The same response as a father whose son was demon possessed, but who had a measure of unbelief in his heart:

…Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (MARK 9:24).

In ancient Israel there came a time when few even bothered to know the LORD, and this led to widespread apostasy. How did all that start? It was after the death of Joshua:
JUDGES 2:10-11
10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;
They failed to instruct their children as the LORD had commanded them:
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 "You shall teach them diligently [persistently, faithfully] to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Today here in America, we see the same situation; too many parents are leaving the spiritual development of their children to Sunday School teachers and youth pastors. The quality of some, if not much of these ministries is rather poor!
As one who has been involved in Children’s ministry for several years now, I can tell which children are being instructed in the Bible at home, and which are not. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that generally maybe 5% of our children are being taught by their parents. Sunday School teachers are not replacements for parents in Bible instruction, they are partners.

Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge?

Solomon said this to his son, and the LORD is saying the same thing to His adopted sons – and daughters! You and I!

The LORD told us that He had made everything known to us who are not just His servants anymore but His friends! Everything that the Father gave to Him He had revealed to us (JN 15:15). Abraham is a friend of GOD, and the LORD didn’t keep back from him what He was about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. Daniel was “greatly beloved” and look at the revelation GOD gave to him! The same with the apostle John!

And look at how much the LORD has revealed to us! The entire holy revelation of the complete canon from GENESIS to REVELATION! As I quoted Scripture before: “To whom much is given, is much required”.

We are required as Disciples of Christ and GOD’s stewards to read what He has provided for us, to study and meditate upon the Word, and to apply it to our lives – not by our own power or abilities – but by the power of the Spirit who enables us when we say “YES!” to GOD and surrender our members (mind, body and heart) to righteousness (ROM 6:13-19).

Vs. 19: …For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

Why do we have the written Word of GOD?

The LORD Jesus pointed out that the Scriptures point to Him:
JOHN 5:39
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
The Scripture is provided for us so we may believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and have eternal life:
JOHN 20:31
but these
[words of Scripture] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
1 JOHN 5:13
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Paul the apostle testifying before the Roman governor Felix and the Jewish leadership:
ACTS 24:14
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets
(all of which point to the LORD Jesus: PSA 40:7-10).
Scripture provides us with biblical history so that we may learn from and be admonished by the successes and failures of others:
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
GOD the Son addressing GOD the Father:
Then I said, 'Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me--To do Your will, O God.'
The Spirit of prophecy inspired holy men to record the written Word of GOD:
2 PETER 1:21
for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?

How certain are you that this book you hold in your hands is the very Word of GOD? Can you prove to others that this Bible is the inspired Word of GOD? By studying the Scripture, and especially but not exclusively prophecy, we can know with certainty that this book contains the “words of truth”. Our faith is not a blind faith, but a reasonable faith based on evidence that enables us to trust GOD at His Word.
1 PETER 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Apologetic websites:


Great Resources on apologetics!

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