• Jerry Starling

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Miscellaneous Musings


Has it really been more than a month since I have posted here? Some have asked me about it, and I have just said that the creative juices – or inclination – just has not been there. I’ve thought about some things, especially as I’ve been reading the Scriptures. A few passages just jumped out at me – but not necessarily enough to make a post entry on their own.

Here are a couple of thoughts that came my way.

Proverbs 19:3 “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” (ESV)

Why is it that when we “mess up” our lives, we still blame God? One trait of an alcoholic is that he sees himself as a victim. He’s a victim all right – a victim of his own folly. Ditto for druggies – but also ditto for those of us who live “straight” lives. That is, our lives are “straight” in our own eyes, but may be crooked in the eyes of the Lord – or even in the eyes of our acquaintances. Oh to see ourselves as others see us! But, “be sure your sin will find you out.” When we ruin our lives with our folly, will we turn toward God – or will we blame God?

Here’s another thought:

Psalm 94:20 speaks of “wicked rulers…who frame injustice by statute.”

Normally, we want to respect the laws of the land. In fact, the Lord tells us to do so. What do we do, though, when wicked men make law that is unjust? God is the only righteous, just judge and ruler. Even the best of men make laws that have unintended consequences.

When the law has a good purpose and intent, we still need to ask ourselves if it is doing what it set out to do? If it puts a burden on people, but does not correct the wrong it sought to address, is that also an unjust law that establishes injustice by statute?

There is a reason for the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” We can give people credit for good intentions – but we also need to hold them accountable for good performance.

Another thought about the wicked:

Psalm 37:21 – “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives. (ESV)

What if the righteous borrow to give – but do not repay? I had an uncle who would give anyone the shirt off of his back – and would often use his credit card to make the gift. Then, his daughter would have to bail him out and pay off his card. What would he do? Turn around and do it all over again!

He, on a small scale, is what some of our politicians are. He had “compassion.” He wanted to help – and did. (In fact, in his way he helped more than what the politicians do!) But he was forcing his daughter to pay for his generosity. She did it with out complaining – at least not too much. But she felt compelled to pay his debts. Yet, I have a hard time calling him “wicked.” I’ve never known a man who had a bigger heart. It was just that his heart was bigger than his wallet! But if more of us had hearts like his, would the world be a better place?

Speaking of debt, here’s another one to ponder:

Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (ESV)

In Biblical times, a debtor could be sold into slavery to pay his debt – and even his family could be sold to pay his debt. Debt was a serious thing. We treat it too lightly, as individuals and as a nation. Hopefully we are learning to live more debt-free lives in these harder economic times.

It is interesting to me that this verse immediately follows this one:

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV)

We often think that the proverbs in Proverbs stand alone, that each of them has its own message without a lot of relationship to those around it. I find that those together seem to relate to each other. It does not take much imagination for us to relate verse 7 to verse 6 here, does it?

If we start our children out the right way in their financial lives, they will prosper. If we want them to be poor all of their lives and debt-slaves, all we have to do is teach them that they should have anything they want when they want it – and worry about paying for it later. Oh, they may live grandly for a time – but “be sure your sin will find you out.” Eventually, the chickens come home to roost – and old man debt catches up with you.

I hope these few random thoughts will be of some benefit to you – and maybe start your own creative juices flowing in a way that will benefit others as well.

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