The beginning portion of our Proverbs passage reminds us to strike the right balance between generosity and good stewardship. Of course that doesn't mean we only give what we can easily afford - after all, we shouldn't offer something to the Lord that costs us nothing. But Got does not promise to cover the costs of our unwise decisions either.
We are also not to be lazy. We should observe times of Sabbath rest and restoration - but we should not indulge in idleness and laziness.
I found it interesting, the contrast between the seven different things the Lord hates. What we perceive as "smaller" sins (like lying, haughtiness, scheming) are in the same list as murder! Those of us who have been Christians our whole lives can tend to become a bit self-righteous when it comes to sin. After all, we've never committed murder or adultery. But my white lies and pride drove the nails into the hands of Jesus just as much as did the "big" sins. My righteousness is as filthy rags before His holiness and I am only saved by His grace and mercy.
Again, there is a stern warning against adultery. People like to argue that sexual sin doesn't hurt anybody but themselves, but that is so far from the truth. It damages or even destroys relationships (marriages, family, children, friends), ministries, your witness, and ultimately your relationship with God.
Randy Alcorn, a pastor and author, wrote this....
Personalized List of Anticipated Consequences of Immorality
- Grieving my Lord; displeasing the One whose opinion most matters.
- Dragging into the mud Christ's sacred reputation.
- Loss of reward and commendation from God.
- Having to one day look Jesus in the face at the judgment seat and give an account of why I did it. Forcing God to discipline me in various ways.
- Following in the footsteps of men I know of whose immorality forfeited their ministry and caused me to shudder. List of names:
- Suffering of innocent people around me who would get hit by my shrapnel (a la Achan).
- Untold hurt to Nanci, my best friend and loyal wife.
- Loss of Nanci's respect and trust.
- Hurt to and loss of credibility with my beloved daughters, Karina and Angela. ("Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?")
- If my blindness should continue or my family be unable to forgive, I could lose my wife and my children forever.
- Shame to my family. (The cruel comments of others who would invariably find out.)
- Shame to my church family.
- Shame and hurt to my fellow pastors and elders. List of names:
- Shame and hurt to my friends, and especially those I've led to Christ and discipled. List of names:
- Guilt awfully hard to shake—even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
- Plaguing memories and flashbacks that could taint future intimacy with my wife.
- Disqualifying myself after having preached to others.
- Surrender of the things I am called to and love to do—teach and preach and write and minister to others. Forfeiting forever certain opportunities to serve God. Years of training and experience in ministry wasted for a long period of time, maybe permanently.
- Being haunted by my sin as I look in the eyes of others, and having it all dredged up again wherever I go and whatever I do.
- Undermining the hard work and prayers of others by saying to our community "this is a hypocrite—who can take seriously anything he and his church have said and done?"
- Laughter, rejoicing and blasphemous smugness by those who disrespect God and the church (2 Samuel 12:14).
- Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the Enemy of God.
- Heaping judgment and endless problems on the person I would have committed adultery with.
- Possible diseases (pain, constant reminder to me and my wife, possible infection of Nanci, or in the case of AIDS, even causing her death, as well as mine.)
- Possible pregnancy, with its personal and financial implications.
- Loss of self-respect, discrediting my own name, and invoking shame and lifelong embarrassment upon myself.
If we would rehearse in advance the ugly and overwhelming consequences of immorality, we would be far more prone to avoid it.
That puts it into perspective, doesn't it?
Thankfully, there is forgiveness through Christ's sinless life, death, and resurrection. Our NT passage again expounds on the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection, incontestable evidence that Jesus has power over sin and death. Thanks be to God for His glorious gift!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Proverbs 8-9; 1 Corinthians 16