"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, May 16, 2024

PROSPERITY: Profitable or Perilous? PROVERBS 22:28-29

PROVERBS 22:28-29

28 Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set. 29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men

Listen to the audio message on SHINE BRIGHT Church YouTube Channel!

Let’s open the Holy Revelation of GOD’s Word!

INTRODUCTION: “All men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is something we know from the Declaration of Independence.

What many don’t know is that there was a hot debate among the architects of this document about what three things should be mentioned. Life and Liberty were agreed upon, because you can’t have one without the other. And while its true that you can have neither of those as intended by our Creator without happiness, there is another crucial element that must be included.

So many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence strongly believed that this line should read, “…among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of land”!

In an agricultural world such as it was in those days, life was inextricably linked to land; people lived off of the land. But more than this:

Private ownership of land is essential to our liberties. Why?

Because as owner of your own land, you were sovereign over that domain. As an American citizen people were autonomous under the Republic and in control of their own destinies without any interference from government or the wealthy who could oppress free-loving people.

If someone came onto your property and did something you didn’t like, you would and could exercise your right and tell them, “Get off my land!”

'You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another
According to Marxist theory, the abolition of private property is essential to their goals. Without private property the individual loses their sovereignty and thereby, their freedom.

Today we pay property taxes long after the land we buy has been bought – why? And with what do we make our purchases with? Money? If only! What we buy and sell with is US Dollar Notes (promissory notes) which are owned by the Federal Reserve, so anything we ‘buy’ really is owned by the Federal Reserve, a central bank – which is unconstitutional.

Basically what we are talking about here is “legal theft” where the government through taxation, can take our money and use it for their own purposes without fair representation. They can and do, give our money to illegal aliens who are not citizens, aren’t interested in becoming citizens, and would rather rake in the dough, tax free, and enjoy the benefits of our hard earned dollars.

We can get into this in greater detail, but we won’t. The main idea I wanted to present in this introduction is that our government, as corrupt as we think it is, is really far more corrupt than we can imagine. They oppress its citizens with taxes, hidden taxes, charges and dues that gorge a bloated federal system whose only intent is to continue stealing from us while they stay in power.

This is part and parcel of what our great enemy Satan does: He is THE thief who comes only to kill, to steal and to destroy.

For this reason, among many others is the command given, “You shall not steal”.

Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set

In Israel the twelve tribes were given territories to live in; those boundaries were not arbitrary or chosen by Joshua, they were specific to GOD’s instructions. The LORD Himself determined which tribe would get what region and how big that region would be.

Dishonest folks could conceivably move the ancient landmarks that outlined the borders, not just of the tribes, but of the properties of individuals, but only move them maybe half an inch once or twice a year. Over time, the slow and secret increase of land could add up to a huge land grab!

When you think about it, to “remove the ancient landmarks” is to deny the will of GOD, Who ordained the lands given to each tribe. Those landmarks were moved by greedy people who violated another commandment, “You shall not covet”

EXODUS 20:17
You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.

Coveting in a sense is a “pre-stealing mentality”. Coveting if let unchecked will lead to stealing or obtaining things in an unethical way. The way to avoid coveting is found in HEBREWS 13:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Let’s look at a few verses:

"You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
(DEUT 27:17)

JOB 24:1-2
1 "Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, Why do those who know Him see not His days? 2 "Some remove landmarks; They seize flocks violently and feed on them;

PROV 23:10-11
10 Do not remove the ancient landmark, Nor enter the fields of the fatherless; 11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.

The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) became a power that superseded governments; one of the titles of the Pope was “the King of kings”. They literally ruled as emperors, seizing power, money and land, amassing wealth (every pun intended) of all kinds to line the pockets of clergy.

All the RCC had to do to seize land was to declare someone a heretic, or a witch; they were executed, and their properties were taken by the Church.

This was not without precedent:

1 KINGS 21:1-19
1 And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money." 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!" 4 So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, "Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?"

6 He said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" 7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, "You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." 8 And she wrote letters in Ahab's name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; 10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, "You have blasphemed God and the king." Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.

11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people. 13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!" Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned and is dead." 15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead."

16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. 17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 "Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19 "You shall speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD: "Have you murdered and also taken possession?"' And you shall speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD: "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.

Jezebel the Phoenician met with a horrible end to her idolatrous life; she is cast down from a high wall, where dogs find her broken body and eat her up. Remarkably, Ahab repents (this time) and GOD forgives him!

Jezebel reappears by type in REVELATION 2, representing idolatry and sexual perversion that has infested the church at Thyatira which in itself is a type of the Roman Catholic church and such practices as we saw with Jezebel were common in that religion.

But there is more here concerning removing the ancient landmarks than just property of real estate.

The Word of GOD itself is a book about boundaries: if you stay within those boundaries of biblical truth, and abide by what it says, understanding that the Word is absolute truth and not to be tinkered with, or altered in any way – you’re good.

But if anyone is a heretic, a false teacher, someone who doesn’t revere the Holy Revelation of GOD’s Word; they think it’s nothing to move the ancient landmarks of the doctrines of GOD, and take some of them away, while adding their own.

The LORD Jesus rebuked the religious leadership in Israel for this sort of thing in MATT 15:9. Apostle Paul warned against this, admonishing his readers to not be children tossed about with every “wind of doctrine” by those who wait patiently to bring deception – landmark removers.

Adding to, or taking away from the holy landmarks of the Law of GOD, of the Word of GOD will bring about dire and disastrously damning dilemmas:

They will be plagued, Scripture says and, or have their names stricken from the LAMB’s Book of Life! (REV 22:18-19).

Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.

The old expression, “Hard work is its own reward” is a valid observation. A job well done brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Success in life is “where preparation and opportunity meet each other”. And working diligently, promptly, without procrastination and delay will bring about successful, hard won prosperity.

Any wealthy person who wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and whose work is honest, reputable and upstanding knows that rising early and staying up late in order to devote themselves to their business knows that this sort of conduct, in connection with knowledge and ethics will eventually lead to success. For the saint, all of this is subjected to the higher priority of the kingdom of GOD.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

PSALM 1:2-3
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

There was a day on Wall Street when business men conducted their financial affairs with a strong work ethic, and the need for written and signed contracts was unnecessary. Million dollar contracts would be agreed upon with nothing more than a promise and a handshake.

The saying was, “My word is my bond.” In other words, business men of ethical integrity would “let their yes, be yes and their no be no.”

Today it’s different; the saying today when someone agrees to a business transaction but betrays a trust and backs out of it for a better deal that will benefit themselves, the saying today is, “So sue me!”

Generally however, people of a strong and honest work ethic will find themselves in places of prominence. My nephews work in construction: they were taught just about everything that they know from their Dad (my brother), who himself worked construction his entire life (more than fifty years).

He taught his sons more than just skill and knowledge, by his example, they learned ethics and integrity. All of these things coupled together has led to their prosperity. They all live in very fine homes, have nice cars, and are recognized by lots of people because of their reputation. In fact, they will often get contracts out of state and work in many places along the East Coast, doing domestic and commercial building.

But moving beyond what this means for practical work ethic in the business and working world, it’s the laborer of the LORD, who conducts himself on the business of the King, who works in the fields ordained for him by the LORD who will one Day stand before the KING of kings, and hear Him say,

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Your typical business man or professional who labors hard and diligently will earn the rewards due them for the duration of their lives. They will benefit for all the sacrifices they’ve made, all of the hours they put in by reaping fruit that will last (hopefully) for the duration of their lives – 60, 70, 80 years or so.

But your typical laborer for the LORD, their benefit will outlast the sun, moon and stars! Their reward for diligent, faithful service of integrity and devotion out of a heart of love for the LORD will be everlasting:

MATTHEW 6:19-21,24
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

It’s important that we always keep our priorities straight, especially if we find ourselves in a very affluent life and a prospering business such as my nephews have, that these things never eclipse our relationship with the LORD and the highest calling in our lives. We can’t serve GOD and money at the same time. We can’t be so devoted to both; it’s one or the other. It’s only wise to have the LORD and His mission of expanding the Kingdom of GOD as our highest – and in some cases – our only priority, which will bear everlasting fruit throughout eternity!

LUKE 10:2
Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Those who are faithful stewards of all that the LORD has granted to them by grace and work to expand the King’s domain (“kingdom”) will find themselves in charge of a whole lot more than they ever could while walking in this fallen world!

LUKE 19:17
And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
(or five cities, or whatever is equitable to the level and depth of service, with the right motive of worship and love for the LORD in which we will rule and reign with our King!)

25 "But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations - 27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' --as I also have received from My Father; 28 "and I will give him the morning star. 29 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

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