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THE EXHORTER

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Acts 2:40

The Palmer Road church of Christ, Westland, Mi.

June 25, 2017

Jump Start # 1868

Proverbs 30:11 "There is a kind of man who curses his father, and does not bless his mother."

   There is a kind of man, that's how our verse begins today. There is a certain type. He's not good. That expression begins the next three verses. All four times this expression is used, what follows is not good. These are not quality people. These are not those who are walking well with the Lord. A footnote in the New American Standard Bible and translated this way in the King James is the word "generation" instead of kind. Other translations, such as the ESV and the NIV begin these sentences with, "There are those who..." 

I don't think these passages are describing different generations, such as grandpa, son and grandson. There are places in our Bible where that is found, such as Ezekiel 18. But here, it seems the Proverb writer is pointing out certain people who are trouble. That has always caused righteous people to wonder. Why do some come from good homes and yet they turn out to be so mean, disrespectful and full of themselves? Why are some the way that they are. 
One of the books on my shelves is entitled, "Big Dummies of the Bible." That title would offend many today. I once preached a series that I called "Bad boys of the Bible." It's easy to find a list who fit that description. This Proverb passage neither tells us why some are this way, nor what to do with them. It just states that some are like this.

When you read these four verses, it's nothing but bad news and trouble. A man who curses his father is going to bring grief to the home. A man who pretends to be pure when he is not, kills any influence he has. Then comes the arrogant. Proud. Boastful. Can't tell them anything. The last verse in this Proverb series describes a man whose teeth are like swords. He is hurtful with his words. These "kind" of people leave a trail of destruction and pain.

What are we to make of these passages? What is there about these "kind" of people? Some thoughts:

   First, not everyone is good at heart. Some want to believe that given the chance, everyone will do what is right. Not so. Some believe there is a reason that some have become sour and mean in life. Fix that cause and they will sweeten up. Not so. There is a kind. Why are they this way, they have chosen to be. And the real reason is that there is no God in their life. How can someone be mean to his own parents? How can someone destroy another with harsh and cruel words? They don't care. Their conscience is callous and dead. It doesn't bother them to be mean. They have chosen not to be good.

Second, righteous people need to put some distance between these kinds of people. Sometimes that is hard. You just can't leave your job, especially if you do not have another one. Sometimes these people are in your family. But to the extent that you can, you need to not let them bother you, hurt you and influence you. You need to be careful about what influence they have around your children.

I see little kids in the store saying some of the most foul words. Where did they pick up those words? The answer is pretty obvious: Either watching terrible shows that no one should watch or from those in the home. Put some daylight between you and "those kinds" of people. They are not good and they will hurt you.

Third, you do not have to become like them. Maybe these verses describe your parents. Maybe they describe your friends in school. You don't have to be like that. Abigail was married to a man who was considered worthless and evil. God called him that. His servants called him that. Even Abigail, herself, recognized that he was worthless. Married to a selfish and cruel man did not change her. She was kind, generous, apologetic and helpful. She managed to turn the anger of David away from killing her worthless husband. You do not have to be like those around you. 

Fourth, a person is not born this way. And, a person does not have to remain this way. People change. Some from good to bad. Others, from bad to good. Put the Gospel in an honest heart and step back and watch the changes. We sometimes have a hard time allowing someone a chance to change. We remember their mean words. We remember how cruel they were. Now, later on, they changed. Do we trust them? Do we forgive them? Do we allow them to be what God wants or are we always in the background reminding others of how bad they once were. The truth be known, all of us have changed. We all have a past that isn't pretty. We all have trashed the commands of God. We all have ignored God and done what we wanted. And certainly, we would not want anyone reminding others have how terrible we once were. We've changed. Those days are over. The same must be allowed of others.

Fifth, the more generations that pass through a family without God the worse each generation will become. We don't get better without God. We get worse. The first pages of Judges illustrates this. Joshua and his generation served the Lord. There arose another generation who did not know God. They bowed to idols. Following them, it got even worse. This is the concern we face in this country. There was a time when just about everyone went to some church. That church may have been goofy and off the charts with God, but they went. They knew something about God. Not today. We have a generation who has never stepped into a church building and they have no plans to do that. They have become their own god doing whatever they want. The children of these people are moving even farther from God. New words are being invented just to describe what these folks are doing. Throuple, is one example. It is a fairly new word. It is used to describe three people who are living as a "couple." It wasn't too long ago that such things would have been shamed off the planet. But now, new words are being invented to describe these evolving relationships that are spinning away from God.

Sixth, these four verses in Proverbs are enough to make one depressed. But we won't go there. Because of God we can live a better way. Because of God we can go to a better place. Because of God we follow a better way. There is hope and that hope is in the Lord. 

Finally, these verses, written a long time before Jesus walked on this world, reminds us that there are plenty of people that still need the Lord. Jesus said to lift up your eyes and look upon the fields...All around us are broken homes, broken lives and broken vows. The world doesn't have any answers. God does. Dysfunction is now the new norm. Yet, all these years later, Jesus remains not only the best, but also the only answer.

There is a kind of man...There is also a kind that walks with the Lord. That's where I want to be found.

Roger Shouse