13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. 14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (Proverbs 14:13-14 KJV)
The book of Proverbs makes many observations, and these scriptures speak of a laughter that contains sorrow. Verse 13 speaks of a heart that is sorrowful, even though that person may be laughing. Since laughter is an emotion, it proceeds from the soul of man. When a man's soul has not been redeemed, he may laugh temporarily at certain things that are funny to him, while deep in his heart he is most miserable. Until we are "born again" we cannot know real happiness and joy because these things only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. The world has always been amazed at how true Christians could maintain a spirit of joy even in great trials and suffering. This is possible because the Lord gives His joy to His saints and it is not dependant on circumstances, but rather upon abiding in Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit can sustain us in our deepest trials.
Verse 14 states that those who are backsliders (those who slide back from God) have no reserves to lean on as they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, but rather are filled with their own ways. They have no inner strength to bring them through their trials. Consequently, many of God's own people are destroyed for lack of faith, when under attack of the devil. This is why it is so important to use our time wisely. When things are going good in life we need to use that time to study God's Word and store up the truths of God in our hearts. We can be ashamed in our Christian walk if we do not know God's Word.
2 Timothy 2:15: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Many Christians are perplexed as to why one Christian is walking in the favor and victory of God, while others are suffering and cannot seem to obtain the victory. The devil tries to tell men that God loves the apparent favored one more, while He has failed the one who is deep tribulation. This is a lie of the devil. God loves all of His children equally. He is not a respecter of persons. However, God is a respecter of one thing, and that one thing is -- He honors His Word. Therefore, God honors and respects all of those who practice the Word of God. This means that the only advantage one Christian has over another is their knowledge of the Word of God, and their obedience to it. That is why we are told to study the Word of God, as a lack of knowledge can lead to our downfall. In the following verse, God declares that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge.
Hosea 4:6a: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
We can understand how a lack of knowledge can be detrimental in the things in this life, but when it comes to the things of God, many seem to think that it does not matter. Ignorance is a cause of much suffering in this world, in the natural, as well as the spirit. I can think of a perfect example of this truth. A number of years ago when Bud and I made a missionary journey to India, we visited a small church that had much sickness and dysentery in every family. When we ask the mothers who had children with fever to bring them forward for prayer, almost the whole church came forward. We stretched our hands out over the crowd and prayed and rebuked the fever in the name of Jesus and instantly the children who were hot with fever were restored to their normal temperature. The Holy Spirit healed them all. We were rejoicing in the goodness of God to these people, as we had remembered how Jesus in the New Testament had prayed and rebuked devils and people were healed.
14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.
15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
The next day we were in the home of the pastor and one of his children had a fever again, after being healed the night before. When we began to pray about this, the Holy Spirit began to speak that we needed to deal with the root of the sickness. We were not aware that the water in that neighborhood was contaminated and that the fevers and dysentery was caused by impure drinking water. After quizzing the pastor and asking several questions, we found out that the water pipes to the houses and the sewer pipes were laid side by side and because the pipes were old and leaking and the joints were not sealed properly, the sewage water was contaminating the water in the water pipes. We told the pastor to begin at once to boil all their drinking water, and to tell the church families to do likewise. Through this word of knowledge the families were spared illness caused by water-borne bacteria.
Lack of knowledge is causing disease in the whole church. Lack of spiritual knowledge can also cause spiritual sickness in one's life. We must study and obey the Word of God so that we can overcome the problems in this life and walk victoriously in the Lord.
Prayer for the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the joy that You have given me. I do not want to take the fruit of the Holy Spirit for granted. I am blessed to experience Your love, joy and peace, especially in the middle of my trials. Truly You give us peace that passes all understanding. Father, give me a continued love for Your Word and a desire to study it faithfully. I also need the grace to apply it in my daily life. Help all of Your people to esteem Your Word and honor You by keeping it. May we all declare as David did in Psalm 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." I ask in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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