5 Characteristics of The Foolish

When we think about the characteristics of the foolish, we automatically think to ourselves, “Oh thank goodness, this is about someone else, not about me!”

However, every one of us has demonstrated the characteristics of a fool at some time in our life, especially when we were children, as the Scriptures [the Holy Bible] point out: Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15a).

Hopefully as we grow up, as we mature and become responsible, we begin to avoid the characteristics of the foolish. As we begin to gain wisdom, we put away our childish ways:

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1Corinthians 13:11)

As a responsible adult, we ought to be learning the great benefits of wisdom — learning that wisdom is something to earnestly seek and possess. Yet putting away childish ways is not easy for any of us. Moments of foolishness happen to all of us.

But thankfully, there is a pathway of restoration, wisdom, and maturity by turning our heart to the Creator of all things, the God of the Bible, Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God]. We will discuss this pathway below.

As we grow up and mature, our instruction in wisdom should include the warnings of what the foolish are like. When we know the characteristics of a fool, we can then seek to avoid those things in our behaviour.

In this writing we will look very briefly at only 5 of the traits listed in the Bible (the Word of God) that mark someone as foolish.

#1. The Foolish Hate Instruction

One foundational characteristic of fools is their hatred of instruction:

The fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:22)

A fool has no delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)

As the above Scriptures reveal, the foolish hate four things:

1) wisdom,
2) instruction,
3) knowledge,
4) understanding.

If we are to avoid being foolish, and hope to gain the above qualities, we must begin with instruction. But the foolish scorn and despise instruction — so they cannot gain wisdom, knowledge, or understanding. Thus we see that our willingness to receive instruction is the crucial key that allows us to avoid having the characteristics of the foolish.

Notice in the Proverbs 1:7 passage above, that the word translated “instruction” is the Hebrew word ‘musar,’ (Strongs # 04148), which has multiple meanings. This word ‘musar’ also has the meaning of “chastisement, correction, discipline, or rebuke” (Proverbs 3:11; Proverbs 15:10), all of which are necessary components of instruction. We thus understand that fools also hate chastisement, correction, discipline, and rebuke.

None of us enjoys chastisement, correction, discipline, or rebuke! But if we are foolish, then we will not be able to receive and benefit from these vital parts of our instruction. These things are basic elements of what it means to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6 ). These are the actions that loving parents utilize in order to instruct, and to release their child from foolishness.

If we want to avoid this foolish characteristic of hating the correction and discipline necessary for instruction, then we must begin to cultivate a teachable heart. And how do we do that? First, we need to recognize our hatred of instruction, and turn away from this haughty, evil attitude. Second, we must begin to examine ourselves, and seek to avoid this prideful, selfish way of hatred.

As we examine ourselves, we can ask God to help us to adjust our ways daily. We can begin to make conscious efforts to receive and love instruction, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. These adjustments in our attitudes and behaviour will increase our discernment of what God defines as good and evil. Also helpful, as we saw in The Key to Gaining Understanding, Yahuwah gives us a very clear instruction for how we gain understanding: depart from evil.

#2. The Foolish Are Full of Words

A fool is a constant talker, making little effort to listen to others:

a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. (Ecclesiastes 5:3b)

A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? (Ecclesiastes 10:14)

A rod of pride is in the mouth of a fool, but the lips of the wise shall keep them. (Proverbs 14:3)

The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness. (Proverbs 15:2)

Many of us have encountered people who seem to talk, talk, talk. Someone who talks constantly has little desire to receive input from others. Often it happens that the one who talks incessantly is full of trivial conversation and they usually end up with more troubles. This excessive talking is one of the consequences of one who hates instruction and wisdom.

This babbling characteristic of the foolish is really a very prideful trait because much talking reveals an attempt to be superior over others. If we want to avoid this foolish characteristic then we must begin to cultivate a quiet and listening attitude, and begin to restrain our selfish desire for the attention of others by our constant talk. As we saw in Quietness: Cultivating the Hidden Person of the Heart, a quiet, listening disposition helps to nurture a steadiness of temperament, a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and also helps us to avoid problems (Proverbs 21:23).

#3. The Foolish Are Often Angry and Reckless

Sadly a fool is unreasonably quick to become angry:

Be not hasty in your spirit to become angry: for anger lodges in the heart of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

A wise man fears, and departs from evil: but the fool rages, and is confident. (Proverbs 14:16)

He who is soon angry acts foolishly, and a man of wicked plots is hated. (Proverbs 14:17)

A fool’s lips enter into arguments, and his mouth calls for strokes. (Proverbs 18:6)

As the above Scriptures teach us, being quick to become angry is the reaction of fools. Anger and contention reveal an impatient, arrogant spirit. All of us have experienced that irritated, angry feeling that can burst forth from us quick as a flash. Reckless arguments are often the sad result. This foolish characteristic requires that we cry out to Father God for His intervention, just at the moment we feel that impatient, angry feeling rising up in us (Psalms 46:1).

If we want to avoid this prideful characteristic of anger, we must begin to pray for a patient spirit (Ecclesiastes 7:8b). Patience is a precious and rare jewel, and the display of an excellent character! Patience is the wonderful expression of humility and maturity. Those who are patient are often very wise. As we saw in Patience: the Forgotten Virtue, things in life go much better in every way, for us and for those around us, if we can learn to be patient in spirit!

#4. The Foolish Trust in Their Own Heart

This characteristic reveals itself in the saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind!” This is the proverbial fool, who trusts in his own heart, believing that his way is the right way:

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15)

He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walks wisely, he shall be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)

There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Do we know people like this? They have made up their mind, and their opinion is set in concrete; they have closed off any possibility of receiving further input and instruction. Their own opinion, their own way, seems to them to be the only good and acceptable way. This is another consequence of hating instruction and knowledge.

Fools are determined to trust in their own heart because, as they believe, their own way is right. However God warns us that men’s hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We cannot always rely on what our heart may be telling us. But the foolish refuse to listen to any input or counsel or facts that differ from their opinion or understanding.

It is the ‘high’ regard we place on our own thoughts, our own imaginations, and our own opinion, that often lead us to refuse any consideration of differing opinions, input, and counsel. The foolish treat differing opinions or counsel as trivial, petty, or offensive. This kind of attitude is very dangerous and deceptive!

If we cling to our own ways, to what ‘seems to be right’, shutting out and resisting any discussion on a matter, then ultimately, as God’s Word points out, we can become a backslider in heart, and our pathway can become spiritually dark:

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: (Proverbs 14:14a)

The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walks in darkness…. (Ecclesiastes 2:14a)

… wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. (Matthew 7:13)

So how can we guard against such a stubborn, prideful way of thinking? First we need to recognize that this foolish characteristic is a spiritual stronghold of pride. Pride is a darkness that tends to prevail, and periodically overtake, everyone. No one is exempt from the destructive nature of pride. But as we saw in Turning From Darkness to Light, there is one phrase in the Scriptures that we ought to memorize and lodge deep within our heart: “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think!” (Romans 12:3)

Thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought, is at the heart of pride, and is the cause of many arguments, contentions, and turmoil (Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 16:18)! Everyone knows that a prideful, arrogant spirit will result in sorrow — sorrow for ourselves and for others.

If we want to avoid this dangerous characteristic then we must begin to earnestly seek Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God] for an honest and humble spirit. We must begin to make the decision [frequently] to be humble of heart, attitude, and mind. We need to acknowledge our own arrogance and come down from our high-mindedness. In humility, we must begin to take the necessary steps to repent of our prideful attitudes and behaviours, and begin to pray for a teachable heart.

#5. The Foolish Say There Is No God

This characteristic is the very essence of what describes a fool:

The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. (Psalms 14:1)

Those who have decided that there is no God have consistently forced themselves to ignore their conscience. Our conscience is God’s divine provision planted deep inside us, to urge us and prod us toward His Truth and His ways. When we ignore our conscience, we become dishonest with ourselves, and can enter into willful denial of Truth.

In today’s vernacular, ignoring our conscience is ‘silencing the inner critic’. This is like applying a hot iron to our inner voice, which can ultimately ‘sear our conscience’ (1Timothy 4:1-2). When we ignore our conscience, we reduce our sensitivity to God’s Holy Spirit, which is always whispering to us to keep God’s Truth, His righteous standards and His ways.

“We do not have to create a conscience for ourselves. We are born with one, and no matter how much we may ignore it, we cannot silence its insistent demand that we do good, and that we avoid evil.” —Thomas Merton

A truly ‘seared conscience’ is evidenced by a heart that has hardened itself against receiving correction, counsel, or adjustment, both inwardly and outwardly. A seared conscience will result in a darkened heart having the three chilling and forbidden H‘s — Hardened, Haughty, Horrid. Such a heart is on the pathway that leads downward to the depths of darkness and deception. The end result of continuing on this path is to become the fool whose heart has no fear of God, who says there is no God (Psalms 36:1; Proverbs 28:14)!

When we choose to deny God and resist His Truth, we are opposing and resisting the very One who gave us our ability to choose, and our ability to argue and resist. Yahuwah [the LORD] holds our life, even our very breath, in the palm of His hand! The times of our life are in God’s hands (Psalms 31:14-15a; Proverbs 16:9; Luke 12:5)!

All of us, at some point in our life, have been stubborn, self-willed, and disobedient toward God (Titus 3:3). But our Creator — who is ALL-Mighty and knows ALL things — has given every one of us the ability to choose and make decisions, and to do whatever we please. Sadly, it is a tragic fact that many people choose to do things that are dishonest, foolish, wicked, and unrighteous.

So how can we avoid this most foolish of characteristics?

First we must be as King David who humbled himself and honestly considered his ways, and then realized that his ways were doing him no good! After thinking on his ways, David decided to turn from his own ways, and turn to God’s ways (Psalms 119:59-60). This example of David is called repentance, and it is the only pathway God has given us to bring us into an enlightened understanding of our true condition, and of our responsibility to Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God].

The Pathway of Restoration, Wisdom, and Maturity

The one pathway of restoration, wisdom, and maturity that God has given us is the pathway that will deliver us from our foolish ways. It consists of three simple steps of repentance, as we discussed in Only The Wise Shall Understand.

The first and most essential step for receiving deliverance from our foolishness, is to believe the written Word of God [the Bible]. We must each arrive at the decision to believe that the Bible truly is the WORD of the Living, Eternal, ALL-Mighty, Invisible God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things:

By the Word of Yahuwah [the LORD] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. (Psalms 33:6)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2Timothy 3:16)

Yahuwah Elohim, the LORD God, the God of Truth, the great King over all the earth, is bigger, smarter, and more powerful than you and me! Yahuwah’s abilities are far above human abilities! He is The Purest, The Most Holy, The Most Righteous, Most Powerful, and Most Brilliant Person in ALL the universe! There is NONE like Him! He is the Creator of the universe. And He is the Creator of you — your spirit, your soul, and your body.

Yahuwah Elohim is unlimited in His abilities, and He is infinitely superior to all human wisdom and reasonings! He is invincible. He is irresistible. He is immutable. He is immortal. He inhabits eternity. Heaven is His throne, the earth His footstool! (Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 45:21b-22; 1Timothy 1:17)

Because Yahuwah is all-knowing and all-powerful, then acknowledging Him and fearing Him ought to be our automatic response to Him (Proverbs 3:5-7). He knows everything about us — our past, our present, our future. And, He has diligently and carefully provided us with His Words [the Bible] to reveal His great love for us, as a loving Father loves His own precious children.

If we truly desire to avoid foolishness and be among the wise, then the second step is to humble ourselves by earnestly seeking and receiving God’s Son, Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ], who shed His blood, giving Himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1John 2:1-2). We must humble ourselves by talking to the heavenly Father, in the name of His Son, and admit our great need for His forgiveness, His wisdom, and then begin to study His Word for ourselves! We discussed this step extensively in the article Good News.

The third step is that we must begin to learn and obey what Yahuwah has told us in His Word, the Bible. It is a Biblical principle, that what we ‘do’ illustrates and confirms what we ‘believe.’ And so our obedience to His Word becomes a display of our belief.

But in order to truly obey His Word, we must humble ourselves every day, asking God frequently to give us a teachable heart, a heart willing to read, receive, and obey Father’s instructions and corrections from His Word. With His help, little by little, we will begin to gain an understanding of His ways, and we will begin to avoid our own foolish ways (see Psalms 107).

Final Thoughts

Avoiding the characteristics of the foolish ought to be the desire of everyone. None of us want to be foolish! All of us want to behave with wisdom, honesty, and integrity!

A most compelling reason for avoiding foolishness and being counted among The Wise is the inescapable fact that one day we will be held accountable for our actions and words. There is a day coming soon when each one of us will stand before the righteous judgment seat of Messiah, and answer for all our actions and words, good and bad.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that which he has done, whether it be good or bad. (2Corinthians 5:10)

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:27)

God is very aware of who the wicked are and who the righteous are. He looks upon every one of us! None of us can hide from Yahuwah. He sees all we do, and He weighs carefully the thoughts and motives of our heart. And one very important day, He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, “for God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14; see also Isaiah 3:11).

There is a day coming, when God will set things right; He will do every man justice; He will crown the righteous, and condemn the wicked. ‘He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world.’ (Acts 17:31)” —Thomas Watson

The counsel and eternal plans of Yahuwah will stand firm, throughout all generations, regardless of anyone’s ignorance, disobedience, or sinfulness. He sees the wicked foolishness more clearly than we do, and yet He permits it. Why? Because He has given us the ability to choose what we do!

But ultimately, in His perfect timing, in the appointed day, the King of the universe will over-ride the foolish behaviour of the human race, and everyone will see the divine justice of God. The sovereign purposes of Yahuwah Elohim will prevail! (Isaiah 14:24; see also Isaiah 46:8-10)

All of Yahuwah’s works are truthful, and His ways are right. And those who walk in foolish pride, He is able to humble. (Daniel 4:37).

Therefore, let us remember these five characteristics of the foolish, and learn God’s warnings, so that we can avoid such behaviour. Let us learn the fear of the LORD [Yahuwah], and earnestly seek to be among the company of the five Wise Virgins, whose obedience revealed their belief, which belief granted them entrance into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son (see Matthew 7:22-23; Matthew 25:1-13).

Father in heaven, I thank You for Your great goodness and mercy toward me. I want to learn to be more mature so that I can avoid foolishness. Please lead me in Your truth. Help me read Your Word daily so I can know Your ways and live according to Your wisdom. Help me Father, to be humble and honest before You and before others. I ask this in the name of Your Son, Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], my Saviour. Amen.

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Putting God First In All We Do

Many times I have heard and read about God’s precious saints of faith who demonstrate this particular principle:

“Put God first in all you do!”

I’m talking about the great importance of putting the God of the Bible, Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God] first place in our life.

Putting Yahuwah [the LORD] first in all I do is not always easy to do. My weak and feeble flesh is sometimes forgetful or selfish, wanting its own way. But though I stumble along in my journey with Father God, my aim, my goal is to put Yahuwah first and follow His Word and direction.

What does it mean to ‘Put God First!’?

Putting God first means that our heavenly Father is the One we look to in ALL our ways, spending time with Him first in our day, seeking His presence, His guidance and direction, just as He instructs all His children:

In all your ways acknowledge Him [Yahuwah/the LORD], and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:6)

When we acknowledge Yahuwah in all our ways, thanking Him, seeking His guidance, telling Him we want His direction in all our ways, then He promises to direct our path. And when He directs our path, it results in our greatest good.

Putting God first means we will keep our deepest heart’s desires attached to Him and His Word every day, in the small things and in the great things. Putting God first means we will look to Him — the true, eternal, immortal, invisible King of the universe — and purpose to live our life each day according to His Word, His principles and His standards (2Corinthians 4:17-18).

When we put Yahuwah and His Word first place in our life, we begin to know His comfort and His guidance for the small decisions as well as the great decisions. We begin to know, without any doubt, that Father God’s character is loving, good, and reliable.

If we have made the commitment to follow Yahuwah and His Word, then in the small things and in the great things, seeking Yah’s direction first will become our daily habit. The following are some examples of putting Yah first in our daily lives.

The Prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel was one of God’s great men who purposed to put God first in all his ways. Even at the peril of his own life, Daniel maintained his habit of putting God first place in his life, as we read in chapter 6 of the book of Daniel.

Daniel was in the highest position possible under King Darius’ rulership. But Daniel’s fellow officials were jealous of Daniel and they hated him. These wicked men plotted to destroy Daniel, and to trap him into being thrown into the lion’s den. These wicked men tricked King Darius into signing a decree that would result in Daniel’s condemnation. But despite the consequences, Daniel continued his habit of putting Yahuwah first in all his ways:

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. (Daniel 6:10)

It was well known within the king’s court that Daniel had a habit of praying regularly to his heavenly Father God. It was Daniel’s custom, his daily habit, to put Yahuwah first. Yahuwah was well-pleased with His servant Daniel. Yahuwah gave Daniel great wisdom, insight, and understanding. Daniel’s commitment to honour and follow Yahuwah in all he did resulted in great favor with King Darius.

The outcome of Daniel’s commitment of putting God first was deliverance from destruction, and those wicked men were instead thrown into the lion’s den.

This is just one example of the great benefits of putting God first in our life.

Another, more modern-day example is Isobel Kuhn.

Isobel Kuhn

Isobel Miller Kuhn (1901 – 1957), was a Canadian Christian missionary to the Lisu people of Yunnan Province, China. She served with the China Inland Mission, along with her husband, John, as a Bible translator, church planter, Bible teacher, evangelist, and she authored nine books about her experiences.

While in her early twenties, while at Moody Bible Institute, preparing to become a missionary, she made a commitment to spend one hour a day in the Lord’s presence, in prayer or reading the Word. She shared this commitment with some of her fellow students:

“The purpose [of the commitment] was to form the habit of putting God in the centre of our day and fitting the work of life around Him, rather than letting the day’s business occupy the central place and trying to fix a quiet time with the Lord somewhere shoved into the odd corner or leisure moment.” — from Isobel’s book, “In The Arena”

One day, she was asked to lead the devotional at a Junior-Senior gathering. The week before the event, she had been so full of work and study that she had not one moment to prepare a devotional. It was the evening of the gathering. Supper was in a half-hour. She was hungry, exhausted, and without the devotional prepared. She still had half an hour due on her commitment to her quiet time.

She asked herself: 1) Should I go downstairs and eat my supper? 2) Should I skip supper and try to prepare the devotional message? 3) Should I put God first and give that half-hour to Him? The supper bell rang. She stood for a moment uncertain; then throwing herself on her knees by her bed, she sobbed out in a whisper,

Oh Lord, I choose Thee!

Then, as she lay in His presence, too weary to form words, the sense of His presence filled the room. The weariness and faintness began to leave her. She felt relaxed, refreshed, and bathed in His love. As she lay there, saying nothing, but drinking in His love and tenderness, God spoke to her. Quietly, point by point, He outlined for her the devotional message she needed for the evening’s program. For Isobel, it was an unforgettable experience and lesson.

When it was time to give the devotional message, she very simply gave what God had told her. Such a quiet hush came over the gathering, and she knew that God had spoken to her.

Twenty years later, when she was home from China on furlough and visiting the Institute, a group of her fellow students were reminiscing. One of the girls in the group said, “One particular devotional message stands out in my memory. I forget who led it but that devotional blessed my soul. I have never forgotten it.” The girl indicated the date, so Isobel knew it was the message God had given her, though she did not tell her fellow student who led that devotional. Isobel was thrilled.

Though the instrument God used that day was forgotten, the blessing of God’s guidance and input was remembered, and that is what is important!

This example may seem like a small dilemma to some people. But let us recall that the small things are just as great as the great things! And for Isobel, this ‘small’ dilemma taught her an important lesson that she used throughout her lifetime.

What was the lesson she learned that day as a young student preparing for missionary work?

  • Put God first in all you do!

One more example of putting God first place in our life is Mary, who sat at the feet of the Saviour.

Mary, the Sister of Martha

Mary, in Luke 10:38-42, was determined to put God first place in her life. She put everything aside to draw near to the Saviour, Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ]. She was sitting at His feet, listening to His Words.

Mary’s sister Martha, however, was fretting and complaining, “Mary isn’t helping!” But Yahushua’s response to Martha is an example of what He says to us today, to those who put Him first place in their life: “Mary has chosen wisely!”

He is telling us today, that we should be as Mary, and choose wisely, by putting Him first place in our life.

Was Mary wasting her time? Absolutely not!

Drawing near to God as a first priority is a special time for the children of the Most High. It is a special time for Him as well! He delights in those who make the choice to seek Him first. Only goodness and benefit results from being with our God and Saviour! There are rewards for us when we put God first in our life, spending time with Him, worshipping Him, and seeking His direction: He rewards those who diligently seek Him! (Hebrews 11:6)

Honouring Him With Our Time

We are blessed beyond measure when we seek Yahuwah, learning His Ways and His Word. Let us ask Father’s help to make it our aim to put Him first in all we do, seeking to please Him (Hebrews 12:28), by honouring Him with our time, our praise, and our devotion.

Let us make the necessary adjustments so that we will have times of prayer and Bible study each day. Even a few minutes at a time can change our whole day and will result in great benefit!

“I would rather pay the price to hear God’s voice personally, regardless of how difficult the circumstances may be, than to have to settle for always hearing from Him secondhand. The more time we spend studying God’s character and ways, the easier we will recognize His precious voice.” — Joy Dawson

Time spent in prayer is never wasted!” — François Fenelon

“I am training myself to approach every situation and decision with a single, simple question: How can I please my Father? In times of frustration or apparent failure, I seek to turn my focus from trying to solve the problem to maintaining an attitude that is pleasing to my Father.” – Derek Prince

May we be as these three – Daniel, Isobel, Mary – children of the heavenly Father, who put God first, who cherished their set-apart times with the Most High God.

They made the right choice and stuck with it the rest of their life to put God first in all they did!

Thank You Father, for calling me to Yourself! Help me Father, to put You first place in my life and to treasure my ‘quiet time’ with You. Help me to learn Your Ways, Your instructions, and to trust Your great lovingkindness. Help me to grow more sensitive to the still, small voice of Your Holy Spirit. In Messiah Yahushua’s name, I pray. Amen.

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Before I Was Afflicted I Went Astray: But Now…

It seems that many will not truly understand God’s goodness unless they experience affliction.

When we live with abundance and prosperity, then it is easy to take for granted our many benefits and blessings. If we experience no real difficulties, then our heart can become proud and demanding.

This is the problem of our human nature. When all our needs and wants are satisfied, we easily become puffed up with our own self-importance.

It is only by God’s goodness that we have any of our needs and wants fulfilled. But there is a danger hidden within our prosperity. If we are not of a humble and thankful spirit, then the prideful tendency of our human nature will cause us to become indifferent and rebellious to God’s ways.

We see from the Scriptures that God designed afflictions, corrections, and disciplines for our good:

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Your Word. … 71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted (humbled); that I might learn Your Statutes (Psalms 119:67,71)

Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, whom You teach him out of Your law [Torah]. (Psalms 94:12)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. … 13) Then will I teach transgressors Your ways; and sinners shall be converted unto You. (Psalms 51:10,13)

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. (Job 5:17)

For even hereunto were you called: because Messiah [Christ] also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. (1Peter 2:21)

Though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

In the above Scriptures we see that it is by our afflictions — the chastening of the Almighty — that we learn 1) to yield to God’s ways; 2) to follow His Word; and 3) to have a right spirit renewed within us. Messiah Himself left us His example, that it is by our afflictions that we should learn obedience to God’s will.

We see that by His sufferings, He left us an example to learn from, and that we should follow in His footsteps. And we will learn these things IF we are tender-hearted and are of a humble and contrite (sorrowful, repentant) spirit (Isaiah 57:15).

As we saw in No Discipline Seems Pleasant, chastisement, correction, rebuke — all of these are painful experiences for every one of us. It is especially painful to our pride! However, all of Father’s children need correction at times. Without Father’s loving afflictions and corrections, we would not be able to mature, and learn the power and truth of God’s ways. This is why the Scripture says: It is good for me that I have been afflicted (humbled); that I might learn Your Statutes. (Psalms 119:71)

Therefore in times of afflictions, trials, and chastisement, we need to humble ourselves, draw near to God, come out of worldly entrapments, and seek the mercy of our Father God, Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God]. We need to seek to learn the lessons that our heavenly Father wants to teach us.

Whom Yahuwah Loves He Corrects

In many countries today, we are experiencing a tremendous trial from the affliction of the war against the Covid-19 virus. There should be no doubt that this world-wide affliction is a chastening from the Almighty. Multitudes have arrogantly rejected Yahuwah, and have refused to acknowledge His existence and His goodness toward them.

Many people gladly embrace the sinful customs of this world, being in willful opposition to God. And even though our heavenly Father is constantly dealing with each one of us by His Holy Spirit, prodding us to maintain our humility and our obedience to His written Word (James 4:8-10), the time has now come when His merciful patience must give way to His loving chastisement:

My child, do not despise the chastening of Yahuwah [the LORD], nor faint or become weary when you are rebuked by Him. For whom Yahuwah loves, He corrects; even as a Father, the son in whom He delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12; see also Hebrews 12:5-6)

Those of us who are members of Yahuwah’s family, who have entered His Kingdom through His Son, must ask ourselves these questions: “What is the goal that God has in mind for me at this time, this moment in history?” and “Will I seek out God’s plan of action for me, since He has placed me here at this time in history?”

Queen Esther was someone who was in the midst of a tremendous affliction. Her affliction was great indeed, for she was facing the total destruction of her entire people! But she set her heart on the Mighty One of Israel, trusting in Him to help her, and bring deliverance to her people (Deuteronomy 33:26-27). And just as Queen Esther was strategically placed in the king’s palace, so we too are here on this earth during this time of affliction, in this crucial time in history, for such a time as this! (Esther 4:14).

So, what should we do at this time? What does God expect of His children at this moment? He has told us!

If My People

If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:14)

Many of God’s people are familiar with the above Scripture. But have we seriously done God’s four requirements that are necessary for receiving God’s forgiveness and the healing of our land? This is certainly a time in history when God’s people need to earnestly seek Him for forgiveness and healing! I have written about these four requirements in the following articles:

  1. Humble ourselves – Receiving God’s Mercy: Step 1
  2. Pray – When You Pray
  3. Seek His face – Preparing Our Heart to Seek God
  4. Turn from our wicked ways – Only The Wise Shall Understand

We might know what it means to humble ourselves. We might know what it means to spend quality, heart-searching time in secret prayer, and to seek God’s face by reading, studying, and obeying His Word. But let us briefly consider: what are the ways of ‘the wicked’? – what are we to turn away from?

Simply put, when any of us, at any time, reject God’s Word and His instructions, then that is wickedness! Psalms 50:16-17 is a good description of what ‘the wicked’ do.

But unto the wicked God says, What is it to you, to declare My Statutes, and to take up My Covenant in your mouth? 17)  Seeing you hate instruction, and cast My Words behind you. (Psalms 50:16-17)

The ‘wicked’ hate instruction [correction, discipline]. And they turn their back on Him, by casting God’s Words away.

Psalms 107

We can find much instruction regarding afflictions from Psalms 107.

It is from this Psalm that we learn that spiritual darkness and afflictions come because of rebelling against the Word of God, and from despising the counsel of the Most High. It is from this Psalm that we learn that afflictions come because of our transgressions and iniquities:

Those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death, being chained in affliction and iron, 11) because they rebelled against the Words of God, and despised the advice of the Most High. … 17) Fools because of their transgression and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. (Psalms 107:10-11,17)

And, it is from this Psalm that we learn at least two things for what to do in our times of affliction.

First of all, it is stated three times, we are to cry out to Yahuwah in our trouble:

  • Then they cried unto Yahuwah [the LORD] in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:13)
  • Then they cry unto Yahuwah [the LORD] in their trouble, and He saves them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:19)
  • Then they cry unto Yahuwah [the LORD] in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:28)

Then second, it is stated three times, we are to praise Yahuwah for His goodness to us:

  • Oh that men would praise Yahuwah [the LORD] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:15)
  • Oh that men would praise Yahuwah [the LORD] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:21)
  • Oh that men would praise Yahuwah [the LORD] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:31)

This Psalm teaches us to cry out to Yahuwah, and to be thankful to Him, whenever we are going through our afflictions. His merciful lovingkindness is evident by the many times He saves us out of our distresses! Those who have called on the heavenly Father in their moments of need know of His wonderful, awesome works — that Yahuwah is indeed the Living, Eternal God of tender mercies (Psalms 51:1; Psalms 145:9).

Psalm 107 ends with a very significant instruction:

Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Psalms 107:43)

The High and Lofty One Who Inhabits Eternity

With the whole world being affected by this affliction of the Covid-19 virus, let us see this event as a time to hide ourselves under the shadow of the Almighty. Let us begin to truly seek Him, yielding our heart and our actions to His ways. Let us trust in the merciful lovingkindness of Yahuwah! His lovingkindness has always been abundant toward us, even before we were ever aware of Him (Romans 5:8)!

Let us remember, that whom Yahuwah loves, He corrects! Chastisements are from our loving heavenly Father! They are part of Father’s refining process, to transform us into His image. But without afflictions and corrections, we will not humble ourselves, we will not judge ourselves, and we will not turn away from our wicked ways (1Corinthians 11:31-32).

If there is no chastisement, then there will be no maturing, and no learning the truth of God’s ways: It is good for me that I have been afflicted (humbled); that I might learn Your Statutes (Psalms 119:71) (James 1:2-4)

Only by the power of the High and Lofty One, Yahuwah Elohim, can we be delivered from this massive, world-wide affliction. But He has promised us that if we, His people, will humble ourselves, cry out to Him, seek Him, and turn from our wicked ways, then He will save us, and bring us out of our distresses!

Let us be as King David who said: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now . . . I have kept Your Word.”

Thank you Father, for Your abundant lovingkindness toward me in so many ways! Thank You for being my helper and my guide through my trials and afflictions. Help me to always keep a humble heart before You so I can be sensitive to Your guidance. Help me to show my love for You in the small things and in the great things. In Yahushua Messiah’s name I pray. Amen.

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