“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.”
Proverbs 18:12

None of us want to see our lives destroyed. We do not want to experience spiritual and moral ruin, or see our dreams and worthy goals disappear. We do not want to see reproach come upon the Name of the Lord and His work due to our spiritual collapse. Is it possible there could be some indication of self-destruction before it occurs? Are there warning signs that might make moral bankruptcy avoidable? According to the Scripture, there is something that often precedes the fall of mighty men: “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty.”

One of the most destructive forces in a person’s life is pride. Many great leaders have been destroyed through personal pride. People of tremendous spiritual influence have seen their ministries ruined because of pride. It was pride that led to Lucifer’s revolt and expulsion from Heaven. Pride is not a problem for a pitied few of God’s creation, but rather it is present in every heart. Children begin to exhibit pride in their earliest years. It is a part of the sinful nature we inherited from Adam and remains a dreaded foe throughout our lives.

One reason pride is so dangerous is because it is very deceptive. We can easily be blinded to its presence in our hearts and minds. Because it is such a powerful force, when it has a stronghold in our lives, its very presence resists attempts to rid the heart of its influence. Pride rebels against the acknowledgment and removal of itself. We must be aware of the destructive nature of self-reliance and self-exaltation, and treat pride as an enemy.

Is there any antidote for such a harmful condition? The Bible declares that “before honour is humility.” Just as pride can bring destruction, humility can bring blessing and honor. The cure for the poison of pride is having a humble attitude and spirit. As pride wants to exalt self and refuse correction and instruction, humility recognizes how undeserving and incapable we are. While pride is a natural part of man’s fallen nature, humility must be chosen and developed in our hearts.

We are told in the Word of God to humble ourselves. We are responsible to keep ourselves humble and to repent of the wicked sin of pride. This is the way of God’s blessing: He actively resists the proud, but pours out His grace on the humble.


“And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.”
II Chronicles 31:20, 21

Hezekiah was one of Judah’s outstanding kings. Like all of us, he had his imperfections; but he earned a reputation as a godly leader. Hezekiah had a profound influence on his nation. He authorized a cleansing and renovation of the house of the Lord, followed by the restoration of worship and the observance of the Passover. He led a campaign to remove idolatry from the country.

The Word of God speaks of Hezekiah’s testimony, how he did that which “was good and right and truth before the LORD his God.” Hezekiah was known for his commitment to doing what was good and right. Would this not be a good example for all to follow? Men and women of integrity and honesty are difficult to find. Deceit and corruption are the norm, especially in the arena of elected officials. Disillusionment and cynicism abound in the minds of citizens because of politicians who are without character Children are being negatively influenced by role models in the world of athletics and entertainment, who do everything other than what is good and right. We need a revival of honesty in our land, and it must begin in the hearts and homes of God’s people. As parents and Christian leaders, we must be committed to doing what is honest before the Lord and others.

Hezekiah’s testimony included his good work “in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God.” The king of Judah was influenced by the law and commandments of God and was zealous about the place of worship. Here again, we find something in his reputation that we should want to emulate. May others see in us a commitment to the Lord’s Word, His worship, and His work. In addition, we see that Hezekiah was not complacent or apathetic, but did what he did “with all his heart.” His heart was in his work. Hezekiah was an example of sincerity, obedience, and enthusiasm.

What kind of testimony do we have, or desire to have? When we are gone, what will others say of us? Like Hezekiah, we want to live that we might have a good testimony.


“He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”
Luke 19:12, 13

Jesus had been to Jerusalem a number of times, beginning when He was a child. But, this time was different. He would be mocked and rejected, then suffer and die for our sins, the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. Because some of His listeners thought the kingdom of God would soon appear, Jesus spoke this parable to them. The meaning is clear. He would soon be leaving for a “far country” and would one day “return.” As He departed, He would disperse His resources to His “servants” with a simple command: “Occupy till I come.”

Thank God for the incarnation, sinless life, vicarious death, and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is salvation in none other. Today our Lord is seated in Heaven, but one day He will return. The return of Jesus Christ is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. Christians in the first century looked for the return of Christ. For two thousand years, believers have anticipated our Lord’s return. Paul wrote to Timothy that there was a crown of righteousness laid up for those who “love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:8). Jesus is coming back. All indications show that He could come at any moment. We look forward to our being united with our Lord and loved ones who have gone before. We look forward to being free from this world of sin and our sinful flesh.

In the meantime, what should we be doing? The Lord’s Word is clear; we are to occupy until He comes. To occupy means “to be busy, to busy ourselves with the responsibilities given to us.” Until the Lord Jesus Christ returns, we are to continue to be busy about the business He entrusted to us. He has given each of us gifts and abilities to use for His work. We all do not have the same gifts or assignments, but all of us are equipped to serve Him. All are to be busy until He comes. There are many who talk, with apparent interest, in matters concerning the return of Christ; and yet they are not busy serving Him. There are others who served Him at one time, but have ceased to do so, for one reason or another. By the grace of God, we are to obey His command and occupy until He comes.


“Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.”
I Chronicles 29:3

David was passionate in his dream and support for the construction of the temple. After seeing the Ark of the Covenant returned to Jerusalem, it came into his heart to build a permanent dwelling, a magnificent temple, for the ark to reside. God agreed that a temple would be built; only it would not be done in David’s lifetime. His son Solomon would see this vision become a reality. David would, however, play a major role in the planning and provision for the project. The Scripture records King David’s generous contribution to the construction of the temple, including gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and precious stones. In describing his commitment to seeing this accomplished, David used this language: “I have set my affection to the house of my God.” This explains his great zeal for this building to be built and his tremendous generosity in supporting it. He had set his affection to the Lord’s house.

David’s enthusiasm challenges us to consider our commitment to those things which represent God’s will for us. Where have we “set” our affections? We decide where our love will be invested. Some set their affections on their careers or hobbies. Where might we better set our affections? Our affections could be set toward the Lord, our families, our ministries, and as David said, “to the house of my God.” David had set his affection toward the house of God.

We know that God’s house is the New Testament church, “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15). Just as God had committed His presence to the tabernacle and the temple in the Old Testament, He has promised to meet in a special way in His churches. Is it not reasonable that we might also say, “I have set my affection to the house of my God”? Our generation would benefit greatly if there were more like David, who had a passion for the Lord’s church. Because of his zeal for building the house of God, David generously supported the plans and preparation of the project. When our hearts and love are committed to the New Testament church, we, too, will enthusiastically support it.


“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
Psalm 50:15

This is the heart of God for His people. He wants us to call upon Him. Our Father created mankind with the intention that we might fellowship with Him. This is a very basic and profoundly important concept concerning our purpose. God desires that we seek Him sincerely and frequently. He wants to be included in our thoughts and our plans. We are privileged to walk with God, in communion with the Almighty, in a life of faith. Particularly, the Scripture tells us that we can call upon God “in the day of trouble.” Trouble comes in many forms and degrees. There are troubles of our own making and difficulties that come because of our identification with Christ. Some problems are small and fairly easy to manage, while others are life-changing and overwhelming.

For those who know the Lord in a personal way, through faith in Jesus Christ, we do not have to face our troubles alone. He is always with us and available to assist us. He invites us to call upon Him when we are in trouble. For some of us, we have to admit that sometimes we are more prone to call upon the Lord when we are in trouble. There seems to be this tendency to neglect our personal relationship with the Lord when things are going well for us; but when adversity comes, we see the need to consult the Lord.

In reality, we turned to the Lord to trust Him as Savior because of our troubles. For some, those troubles may have originated with problems in our health, finances, personal relationships, or otherwise. But, they led to our realizing our biggest problems were not physical or emotional, but spiritual. Our greatest dilemma was our spiritually lost condition and the eternal doom that awaited us. Thanks be to God for His promise to “deliver thee.”

When we cry out to God in our troubles, He is there to deliver us. He wants to help us, to comfort us when we are in despair, to guide us when we do not know the way, to protect us when we are in danger, and to befriend us when we are lonely. What a Savior is Jesus our Lord! He has delivered us in so many ways when we have called upon Him. When He comes to our aid in times of trouble, we understand the remaining portion of the text, “thou shalt glorify me.” Our hearts are full of gratitude and praise for the way He comes to us and delivers us in times of trouble.


“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”
Luke 1:80

According to the testimony of Jesus Christ, there was not a greater prophet born of woman than John the Baptist. At the time of John’s birth, his father Zacharias prophesied many things about John’s future ministry. John the Baptist would be the forerunner of Jesus Christ, preparing the way for His arrival. John would preach the gospel of salvation, calling men to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. The day would come when the word of the Lord would come to John and there would be a powerful voice crying in the wilderness. Our text, however, speaks of his childhood and preparation: “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.” Before John would be shown to Israel, there would be a time of growth and development, physically and emotionally, as well as spiritually. He would become “strong in spirit” before the “day of his shewing unto Israel.”

These words provide a great pattern and guide for our lives and our families. God has a place of service for each of us, a plan to use us in His great work. But before we embark upon our public ministry, there should be a time of private growth and spiritual training. Becoming “strong in spirit” is a prerequisite for spiritual ministry. In their zeal and haste to begin preaching and serving the Lord, some have neglected the necessary spiritual preparation. Many want to be involved in the Lord’s work and are excited about the public ministry of proclaiming truth, but not as many are enthusiastic about the time “in the deserts” that provide the strength of character and spiritual development that is required for fruitful service. What was John doing prior to “his shewing unto Israel?” He was being prepared. He was growing in the Lord, in his knowledge of the Lord, and in his understanding of his mission.

We are sometimes perplexed by the great casualty rate among the Lord’s servants; the staggering number of them who set out to serve the Lord in His harvest and then quit. Perhaps one reason is the failure to be adequately prepared. This thought also gives great purpose to those who have young children. This is part of our responsibility, to train children to be “strong in spirit,” preparing for the day they will be engaged in the great work of the Lord.


“Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.”
Deuteronomy 4:10

Moses is rehearsing for the Israelites some of the experiences that occurred and the lessons learned during their wilderness wanderings. There had been many victories, but also numerous defeats. Moses was instructing his people to remember what they had seen and heard, and to diligently teach them to their children. Above all, the great leader strongly encouraged the people to cleave to the Word of God. In this context, the people of God are challenged to “learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth.” They were to learn to fear God.

Anyone who knows the Bible knows how much this attribute is called for in the Scripture. We are taught in the Word of God that there are great benefits to those who fear God, and there will be unwholesome consequences to those who do not fear the Lord. And yet, in our post-Christian and permissive culture, the fear of the Lord is looked upon as a harmful or emotionally unhealthy attribute. Because the doctrine of God has been so perverted by false teachers, and multitudes of professing believers have an unbiblical concept of the Almighty, our generation has been deceived into believing God does not require or deserve our fear. However, God has not changed. The absence of godly fear is an indication of men’s depravity. Describing the sinfulness of the human race, the Bible states, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). This is the state of the unregenerate man, and the reason the text calls us to “learn to fear me.”

We must learn to fear God. It is not natural to fear the Lord in the way the Bible says we should. Before we were saved, we did not fear God. Most of us can recall those times when we feared men more than we feared the Lord. How is it that we can learn to fear God in a healthy and biblical way? The Scripture tells us, “I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me.” Through hearing, believing, and receiving the Word of God, the fear of God is learned. As we take God’s Word seriously and we see God as He is, our hearts are instructed to respectfully fear Him.


“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
John 4:35

There is a tendency in the lives of some to look at our spiritual responsibility as though it is something that we will address in the future. This logic is found in statements such as, “One of these days, I plan to get serious about serving God,” or “When I get some things taken care of, I intend to get faithful to church.” This kind of reasoning may seem reasonable, but it is unwise and unacceptable. In the Scripture, Jesus warned about the danger of procrastination. There are some things that cannot wait, and Jesus pressed this point home to His disciples, saying “Say not ye, there are yet four months.”

All of us share in the responsibility of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and seeking to reap the souls of men. There is no greater purpose in life than sharing the good news of grace with others and seeking to send this message around the world. Jesus tells us in this Scripture that if we will look, we will see a harvest that is waiting in the field. This harvest cannot be ignored, nor can it be postponed. When the fruit is ripe, it must be harvested; or it will be lost. The problem is that we somehow fail to see this great opportunity, and we need to “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields.” Because of busyness, distractions, or misplaced priorities, we walk through the fields without seeing
them. When we deliberately take a concerned look at the fields, we will see that they “are white already to harvest.” It is just as true now as it was then. Wherever we look, the need is great – in rural areas and in the cities, among the youth and the elderly, with the wealthy and the poor.

What are we to do about it? We are to be witnesses, beginning in our own neighborhoods. We all are to seek to point others to Jesus Christ. Other ways that we can participate in doing something about this need is to personally get involved in Christian ministry. Many ministries of the church are designed to get into the communities and reach people where they are. We ought also to pray for our ministries and missionaries around the world. We give to God’s work – supporting local ministries with our tithes and offerings and giving to world missions. Looking on the fields births a burden in our hearts.


“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
II Timothy 2:2

The pattern and priority of biblical discipleship is abundant in both the Old and New Testaments. We are to be trained to live and serve the Lord, and we are to be involved in training others. A disciple is a student, learner, or pupil. We are to be followers and learners of Jesus Christ. As believers, we are also challenged to transfer to others the things God has given to us. This is Paul’s charge to Timothy in our text. The things we have heard we are to “commit” to others. This is a charge that directly concerns every Christian and every church. One of the responsibilities we all have is to reproduce ourselves in the lives of others. This can be done formally or informally, individually or in a group.

We are truly blessed, having received truth as a result of what others have invested in us. For some of us, we can think of a Sunday School teacher, parent, preacher or pastor, faithful friend, spouse, or some other who helped us understand and apply truth from the Scripture. Where would we be without these life-changing principles found in the Bible, and the personal interest of those who cared enough to teach us? Thank God for those who have sacrificed to make certain the Word of God has remained available for succeeding generations. We owe a great debt to those who have cared enough about the Lord’s Word and His work to transfer to others the things they have learned.

We must personally take the matter of discipleship seriously in our lives and ministries. We are commanded and obligated to share with others what we have learned of the truth. Let us always be ready to share our personal faith in Christ with those who will listen. Observers need to hear and see the power of applied Bible principles demonstrated in our daily lives. We should seek to teach Bible doctrine to members of our family and to friends. One of the most rewarding investments of our time would be an involvement in a systematic plan of leading another person in studying the basic truths of the Bible. It is a blessing to find someone who is eager to learn and grow in the faith; it is even more rewarding to see him begin to share his faith with others. For the sake of the gospel, we should be committed to making disciples.


“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
I Corinthians 10:31

Revealed in this Scripture is one of the most important principles of life. It has to do with our activities, and also with why we do the things we do. It takes into consideration our motives and purpose. How important is it that our lives bring glory to God? This is one of the great distinctions between sincere believers and the typical unsaved person. Those who are lost have little regard for God or for what He might think. Their chief aim in life is personal satisfaction. As children of God, our objectives and motivations, as well as our pursuits, are different from those of the world. We are concerned that our Savior be praised and honored because of His goodness and gracious work in our lives. We want our lives to bring glory to Him.

If it is true that our lives can glorify the Lord, it is also true that our lives can bring shame, disgrace, or reproach to the name of our Savior. Some very basic, and yet revealing, questions that we might ask about decisions and activities would be, “Would this glorify God? Would my music, television, or other forms of entertainment glorify God? How about my friends, hobbies, dress, and priorities? Would God be honored with my thoughts and conversations?” One of the reasons we were created is to bring glory to God. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). We want to see Him glorified because it is our responsibility.

If we are not living to glorify God, we are missing out on one of our chief purposes in life. This is one explanation for the great dissatisfaction in the lives of many people. They are living for selfish reasons or ambitions, and not for the sake of being pleasing to the Lord. We should also seek to glorify God because of all that He has done for us. I Corinthians 6:20 tells us, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It is only reasonable that we should want to live in such a way as to bring Him glory. It is not unusual for people to go through their daily routine, including acts of spiritual service, and forget the ultimate purpose for our existence. In all that we say and do, we should desire to bring Him glory.