"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace, day or night, you who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent."
Go to the House of Israel
"Moreover He said to me, 'Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.' So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.' So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. Then He said to me: 'Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My Words to them. For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.'
Whether they Hear or Whether they Refuse
"Moreover He said to me: 'Son of man, receive into your heart all My Words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, 'Thus says the Lord God,' whether they hear, or whether they refuse.' Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice: 'Blessed is the glory of the Lord from His place!' I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise. So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
I Have Made You a Watchman
"Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a Word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
His Blood I Will Require at Your Hand
"'Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.
You Will Have Delivered Your Soul
"Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.'
Let Him Hear
"Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, 'Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.' So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: 'Go, shut yourself inside your house. And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them. I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God.' He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.'" Ezekiel 3:1-27
Blow the Trumpet and Warn the People
"Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.
The Watchman's Solemn Duty
"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.'
Hear the Word of God
"So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a Word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
Turn from Your Evil Ways
"'Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: 'Thus you say, 'If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?' Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'
Repentance Leads to Life
"Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: 'The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.'
Do Not Trust in Your Own Righteousness
"When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.
Restitution Brings Restoration
"Again, when I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
What You Sow is What You Shall Reap
"Yet the children of your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' But it is their way which is not fair! When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.
Apostasy Brings Condemnation
"And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, 'The city has been captured!' Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute. Then the Word of the Lord came to me, saying: 'Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.' Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: 'You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another's wives. Should you then possess the land?' Say thus to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: 'As I live, surely those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.'
Do Not Merely be Hearers of The Word but Doers
"As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, 'Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.' So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your Words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your Words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass - surely it will come - then they will know that a prophet has been among them." Ezekiel 33:2-33
Guard the Gates
Nehemiah appointed "gatekeepers" to "stand guard" at the city gates, to "bar the doors" and stand in the "watch station". Nehemiah 7:1-3. "…set a watch against them day and night." Nehemiah 4:9
Guard the King
"…You shall keep the watch of the house, lest it be broken down… you shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within range, let him be put to death. You are to be with the king as he goes out and as he comes in." 2 Kings 11:5-8
Lift Up Your Voices
"Your watchmen shall lift up their voices…" Isaiah 52:8
Arise and Go Up
"For there shall be a day when the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, 'Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.'" Jeremiah 31:6
Listen to the Sound of the Trumpet
"Thus says the Lord: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is and walk in it; then you will find rest, for your souls… also I set watchmen over you, saying 'listen to the sound of the trumpet!'" Jeremiah 6:16-19
Shepherds of our Souls
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and now with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17
The Watchmen of Israel
The watchmen were key figures in ancient Israel. Large watchtowers were placed overlooking the fields of agriculture and men would stand watch, guarding the fields which contained the community's basic food supply. The watchmen needed to be alert to any threats, whether from animals, thieves or from fire. The watchman also had to be alert for any sign of invasion. The watchmen on the walls of a fortified town were to monitor all the approaches and at the sign of any threat would sound the warning so that the town could shut its gates and prepare to defend against any attack.
Vigilant and Alert
The vigilant watchmen would observe the daily life of the community. He could see much of the activity in the streets, and in the markets. He would know the people, their work, their habits and their lifestyles. If his tower was near the city gates, he could also observe the business of the city conducted by its officials.
The Responsibilities of a Minister of God
God uses this role of the watchman to illustrate the responsibilities of a minister to both comment on the conduct of society, and to deliver messages of warning and instruction. The Word of God declares that we who have received the Word of God must give warning to the wicked.
The Greatest Threat
The danger of God's judgement upon wickedness is a far more serious danger than that of an invading army threatening a city. One may be able to defend a city against a foreign invader. However, no one can escape the scrutiny of all all-knowing, everywhere-present, all-wise God! Nor can anyone escape judgement from an omnipresent Judge! Neither can anyone have any hope of victory in a war against Almighty God!
A Solemn and Serious Responsibility
The prophet of God had a solemn duty to deliver a most sober and serious message. Unless the citizens of Israel acknowledged their sins, turned away from them, repented and resolutely obeyed the Word of God, they would die in their sins.
Duty is Ours - The Results are in God's Hands
However, regardless of how individuals respond to the warning, if they hear the message, the prophet has fulfilled his duty and is no longer responsible. Duty is ours. The results are in God's hands. However, if the messenger failed to deliver the warning, his blood would be required at his hand.
Faithful to God's Word
The Word of God is sweet like honey. We are commanded to go to the House of Israel and to speak the Word of God to them. Even if they are hard-hearted and unresponsive, we are responsible to faithfully deliver the Word of God, the whole World of God and nothing but the Word of God. We dare not attempt to edit the Word of God.
Our Solemn Duty Before Almighty God
"I charge you, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: preach the Word, be ready, in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an Evangelist, fulfil your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:1-5
The Law of God
God spoke the Ten Commandments with His own voice. He wrote them with His own finger upon tablets of stone. Under the New Covenant, He has written them on our hearts. The Law's origin reveals its holy character. "Therefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." Romans 7:12
Converting the Soul
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7
The Law is the Schoolmaster that Brings us to Christ
The Ten Commandments flow directly from the eternal character of our Holy Creator and Eternal Judge. The Decalogue is the standard by which the world will be judged. The Ten Commandments provide a permanent rule of life for all people. The Law defines sin. The Law convicts of sin (Romans 7:7-11). "Sin is lawlessness," 1 John 3:4. The Law condemns transgression (Romans 4:15). The Law restrains evil (1 Timothy 1:8-11). "Therefore the Law was our Tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by Faith." Galatians 3:24
Written on our Heart and in our Mind
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new Covenant with the house of Israel… I will put My Law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Jeremiah 31:31-33
The Law of God Stands Forever
Our Lord Jesus Christ expressly affirmed the eternal validity of God's Law. "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you, till Heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these Commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, you will be no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:17-20
Worship God Alone
Are we and our leaders worshipping God alone?
Do we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?
Do Not Bow Before Idols
Have we committed idolatry, giving the worship that is due to God alone to sports idols, screen idols, Hollywood idols, political idols? Have we made idols of fame, fortune, health and wealth?
Do Not Take God's Name in Vain
How can the Name that is above every name be routinely take in vain on national television and in cinemas and be regarded as entertainment?
Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy
Sir Winston Churchill declared of the Lord's Day: "Sunday is a Divine and priceless institution, the necessary pause in the national life. It is the birthright of every British subject, our responsibility, privilege and duty to hand on to posterity."
Yet the Lord's Day is desecrated every week. What God ordained as a day of rest and a day of worship has been commercialised and abused for the worship of pleasure.
Reformer John Calvin declared: "The city will be safe, if God be truly and devoutly worshipped and this is attested to by the sanctification of the Sabbath…"
"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honourable and shall honour Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14
Honour your Father and your Mother
Respect for our parents and elders is being undermined everywhere, by the laws, the entertainment industry and by violent crimes to the elderly.
Do Not Commit Murder
The Sixth Commandment upholds the sanctity of life. Yet there are many ways in which murder is committed. Murder can be with the hands! "there are six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:… hands that shed innocent blood…" Proverbs 6:15-17. Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder!
Murder can also be committed with the mind. Malice is mental murder (Matthew 5:22). "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." 1 John 3:15
We can murder with the tongue (James 3:5-15). We can murder with the pen (2 Samuel 11:15). We violate the Sixth Commandment when we consent to the death of an innocent (Acts 22:4). We commit murder by not defending another, when it is within our power to do so. "Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, 'Surely we did not know this', does not He who weighs the heart consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?" Proverbs 24:11-12
Failure to execute capital punishment upon murderers is also a breach of the Sixth Commandment. "Blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it." Numbers 35:33. "Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death… whoever kills a man shall be put to death… I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 24:17-22
The Scripture is very clear that God has instituted civil government as "an avenger to execute wrath on him who practises evil." Romans 13:4. Civil government is called to be a minister of God's justice: "To punish those who do wrong." 1 Peter 2:14. The primary duties and responsibilities of civil government are the protection of law abiding citizens and the punishment of law breaking criminals. Psalm 101 reminds us that the duty of God-honouring rulers is to destroy the wicked, to root out evil and to protect the law abiding.
In the Bible the question is asked: "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Ecclesiastes 8:11
We should also consider the most heinous, most vicious murder ever committed in history. At Calvary's Cross, mankind's sin resulted in the murder of the most innocent victim of all time: God's own Son, Jesus Christ. He willingly submitted and became a victim of this heinous violation of justice, so that we – the very people responsible for His suffering and death – might in turn find life and joy forever.
Have you repented of your complicity in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Have you found life in Christ?
Are you pointing people to the Saviour each day?
Do Not Commit Adultery
What do you think of this social analysis? "Sexual anarchy is here. It has assumed extreme forms and spread throughout a large part of the population, side by side with an increase of sexual perversion; a shameless sexual promiscuity has also increased… adultery, rape, and prostitution have greatly increased. Homosexuality has entered the mores of the population and contemporary authors seem to sadistically enjoy the enumeration of a variety of sexual perversions."
When do you think that social commentary was written? Would you suppose it was written by Dr. James Dobson in a Focus on the Family bulletin? No! The writer of this particular article lived 4,500 years ago, approximately 2,500BC in ancient Egypt!
Immorality and perversion are not new. Those who assume that everything used to be more moral, and tends to get less moral with time, are ignorant of history. Sexual immorality is as old as sin. There is nothing modern about it. Those people who are promoting promiscuity, pornography and perversion as progress are lying. There is no progress in it. It is regression. It is returning to pre-Christian paganism.
Fidelity, chastity and faithfulness are the fruit of Christianity. The sexual revolution is extremely old news. True Love Waits is the real revolution and that is news!
The sexual revolution is revolting in more ways than one. It is an uprising against God Himself. The so-called new morality is neither moral, nor new. Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). If we buy into his lies, we will find that they poison our minds, pollute our hearts and damn our souls. Take the lie that "this is a private matter between two consenting adults. What I do in private is nobody else's business. Nobody gets hurt."
Actually, sexual ethics are not private matters at all. Everyone ends up paying for the private affairs of others. Many people are hurt by what others do in private. Sexual immorality has brought about the births of literally millions of illegitimate children. Mothers without husbands, and children without fathers, living on welfare, cost the taxpayer many hundreds of millions of pounds every year.
Many of the children who grow up without fathers end up in inner-city gangs. A vast amount of crimes committed in this country are carried out by youngsters who do not even know who their father is. Police officers have informed me that most of the young men in gangs come from single parent and broken homes. They are just some of the products of the sexual revolution. These gang members are full of anger at parents who neglected them and abandoned them. Much of the graffiti, litter, pollution, vandalism, house breakings, muggings, violence and armed robberies are committed by products of broken homes, irresponsible parents, absentee fathers and a result of the prevalence of sexual immorality. All of us continually pay for the immoral and irresponsible decisions of others.
The testimony of history is that great civilisations rise and flourish on the basis of strict discipline, self-control and strong family units. However, when those societies turn to sexual promiscuity, then productivity wanes. Things begin to unravel and soon the society plummets to destruction.
Historians have observed that each of the 26 civilisations that we know of, from the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc. - No society survives long without strict rules, strong families, and stringent self-discipline.
Pervasive sexual immorality spells the death of any nation. No civilisation has survived the public tolerance of homosexual perversion. The great Roman and Greek civilisations collapsed when sexual morality was subverted. Homosexual perversion represented the terminal stage of the collapse of these civilisations. A visit to the archaeological excavations at Pompeii, buried under lava from the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, also documents the prevalence of homosexual perversion in that city before it was entombed in volcanic ash.
"Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand for Me against the workers of iniquity?" Psalm 94:16
"Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Romans 1:24-32
Do Not Steal
The Eighth Commandment cuts across the thieving spirit of our age. Have you ever taken something that did belong to you? Have you borrowed things that you failed to return? For months, or years? Have you used the telephone at work, for personal and private calls without permission? If so, that is theft. Usury is theft. Bribery is theft. There are many people who steal from their employers by agreeing to work for so many hours, for so much pay, but they do not work the agreed hours. They come late, they leave early and they only work when the supervisor is watching. However at the end of each month, they would be very unhappy if they received less than their agreed on salary. Is that not theft?
Laziness is a form of theft. We steal from people when we do less than what we agreed on. Government corruption, inflation, excessive taxation, defaulting on loans, failing to pay bills, cheating on tests, loafing at work, cheating on income taxes, taking sick leave when we are not sick, illegally downloading or copying software, violating copywrite, and failing to tithe to God, are all breaches of the Eighth Commandment.
"Let him who stole, steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good that he may have something to give him who has need." Ephesians 4:28
Forgiveness of sin is not a substitute for restitution, but rather a foundation of it. Forgiveness of sin is not the redefinition of sin. Forgiveness does not transfer property rights to the thief. Repentance from sin and restitution are inseparable. If a sin involved damage to, or theft of, the property of another, then restitution is necessary before forgiveness can be enjoyed. Grace makes true repentance possible. It does not eliminate the need for restitution.
"Fools mock at making amends for sin, but among the upright there is favour" Proverbs 14:9
Many people violate the Eighth Commandment by voting for political parties that steal through excessive taxation and socialist policies. Socialism is legalised theft and institutionalised envy. Governments that increase taxes without providing equal services are stealing. Inflation steals from pensions and savings. It is a hidden tax. The Bible forbids unjust weights (unbacked currency) and measures (inflation), (Leviticus 19:35-36; Proverbs 11:1; 20:10; Amos 8:5-7; Micah 6:11-12).
Zacchaeus is an example in the Scripture of one who did restitution. "Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore four-fold.' And Jesus said to him. 'Today Salvation has come to this house, for he also is a son of Abraham'." Luke 19:8-9
"For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery…" Isaiah 61:8
Do Not Bear False Witness
God is Truth. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. God's Word is Truth. "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." John 8:32. Yet all of us, at one time or another, have been guilty of gossip. It is sin. Pastors are to "remind them… to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men." Titus 3:1-2
The Bible warns us of those who "get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to." 1 Timothy 5:13
The Law of God is clear: "You shall not go about as a tale bearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbour. I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:16
Slander can endanger people's lives. "A man who bears false witness against his neighbour is like a club, a sword and a sharp arrow." Proverbs 25:18
"Whoever spreads slander is a fool…" Proverbs 10:18. We are commanded: "Do not speak evil of one another, brethren…" James 4:11
The Puritan Prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon warned: "Believe not half you hear; repeat not half you believe. When you hear an evil report, half it, then quarter it, and say nothing about the rest of it."
Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, taught: "As it is a sin against the Ninth Commandment to raise a false report of another, so it is to receive a false report before you have examined it… he that raises a slander, carries the devil in his tongue; and he that receives it, carries the devil in his ear."
Watson also pointed out that a man may wrong another as much by silence, as by slander, when you know someone to be wrongly accused, yet do not speak up on his behalf.
There is so much flattery, exaggeration, misuse and twisting of Scripture, destroying reputations and spreading strife, not only in the media, but even in many congregations. "By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked." Proverbs 11:11
Do Not Covet
Covetousness is a root sin. King Saul was jealous of David's success and coveted the praise and honour which David received for his victories (1 Samuel 18:6-8). As a result, King Saul plotted to murder David.
King Ahab coveted the vineyard of Naboth, leading to his being falsely accused and unjustly executed (1 Kings 21).
In the parable of the Rich Fool, our Lord Jesus Christ warned us: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Luke 12:15-21
Our society has become tragically short-sighted, superficial, materialistic and covetous. God promises that He will take care of our needs, not our greeds. We should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, not money, popularity or possessions.
"Covetousness… is idolatry" Colossians 3:5. Covetousness is idolatry and it is infectious. It diminishes people, preoccupying them with trivia. Covetousness requires enormous time and energy and it is the most self-justifying of sins. Covetousness is a highly subtle sin, anaesthetising and extinguishing the conscience, as luxuries become necessities. Therefore the Scripture warns us: "not to keep company with anyone named a brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater… not even to eat with such a person." 1 Corinthians 5:11
One of the first safeguards against the cancer of covetousness is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and generosity. It is hard to be covetous when we are giving things away.
"For I have learned that in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13
Receive and Relay God's Redeeming Word
"…receive into your hearts all My Words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they hear, or whether they refuse." Ezekiel 3:10-11
Warn the Wicked
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a Word from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die', and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul." Ezekiel 3:17-21
Be a Doer of the Word
"…he who looks into the perfect Law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the Word, this one will be blessed in what he does." James 1:25
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa