1.    Mercy is Commanded!! ·       
        Following the incident of the floating axe-head, 
  • And the blinding of the Syrian warriors that followed, 
  • one of the servants of the king of Syria told him that Elisha, the great Prophet of God knew EVEN the things this king said in his bedroom (2 Kings 6:11)
  • The king of Syria sent soldiers to capture Elisha, and Elisha was informed of such, and they came to Dothan and surrounded that city. 
  • Elisha’s servant went and informed Elisha of what was happening.
  • Elisha responded with that famous verse:
16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)      
          When Elisha’s servants came down with Elisha, he saw the huge Syrian army and were overcome with it.
2 Kin 6:21–23 Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” 22 But he answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23 Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.
          So mercy ought to inspire and enable us to take on even the largest of tasks, when we believe it to be the Lord’s desire for us…
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    7  And saw among the simple,
I perceived among the youths,
A young man devoid of understanding, - (Proverbs  7:7).
          We’ve looked at Proverbs 7 a time or two before and have seen that basically the entire section speaks of Wisdom’s instruction concerning “Restraint against the loose woman”. Also, once again we see a continuation of “Wisdom is personified”, 4 (cf. 1:20–33).and shown as speaking from the point of view of a human being.  In particular here, beginning with the prior verse (v6) we see Solomon speaking in terms of a “crafty harlot” seeking to take advantage of the young man in question.  
         Solomon gives us a good description to guide our thoughts in a “
Description of the pictured seduction” (7:6–23).  He is particularly definite in talking about “the victim in.  (7:6–9)”.  
         In those few verses the narrative unfolds with the observation of an unwary youth strolling along the streets at night. He is described as one of the “simple” (
peṯāʾyim, v. 7; cf. 1:4) ones, meaning “a youth who lacked judgment” (naʿar ḥasar-lēḇ; lit., “a youth lacking of heart,” or one void of common sense or understanding). He is young, inexperienced, featherbrained (as Kidner puts it, Proverbs, p. 75). His evening stroll takes him intentionally (as ṣāʿad, “to step, march,” suggests; NIV, “walking along”) down the street to her house (v. 8). And then, if all this activity of the naive young man takes place under the cover of night, only trouble can follow (v. 9).
         We can look further to enlarge our understanding of what is going on here…

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     “Blessed is the man that hears Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors.” – Proverbs 8:34.
          We see here in Proverbs 1–21, as in other places in Proverbs the Personification of wisdom. We can look and identify a bit of a helpful outline to help us understand just what it is that Solomon wants for us to understand:
  • Her call, 1–5, 
  • This is followed by announcement of her worth, 6–11; 
  • And then her authority, 12–16; 
  • And then her rewards, 17–21.
          Immediately before our considered passage Solomon speaks to us in verse 22–31. concerning what we could call the “Revelation of personified wisdom’s identity”. When we think the matter through from the NC perspective we can see Wisdom as a person which is ultimately revealed to be the Preincarnate Christ (although some scholars have denied this). Here wisdom is revealed to be coequal and coexistent with God.  In verse 22 Solomon tells us ‘The Lord possessed [not created] me at the beginning of his work, before his deeds of old,’. This beginning, much like John 1: 1: ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ is an absolute timeless beginning. This magnificent passage anticipates 1 Cor. 1:30; Jn 1:1–3; Heb 1:1–3.  We conclude that this is an off-hand reference to the presence of Christ with His Heavenly Father in Eternity past.  This is the Christ that we enjoy and our Redeemer, the One who, by His body and blood removed our sin and the stain of our offense to God. 

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Introduction ·      
          Fairness is one of the most talked about topics in our current day; especially in the current election season.
  • We see the worldly idea is things like politics and sports.
  • The problem, of course, is that we live in a world filled with unsaved, self-serving people who - ultimately know nothing whatsoever about what “fairness” truly is!
  • What so many people have in mind as fairness today is a self-serving, self-centered, “as long as I get mine” kind of doctrine that bears no resemblance to the kind of FAIR that God is. 
  • Thus they have no concept about exercising TRUE fairness in the world.
  • To them, at least most of them Fairness is the “the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.
  • Judges, umpires, and teachers should all strive to practice fairness.
  • Fairness comes from the Old English fæger, meaning "pleasing, attractive."
  • That idea is at least a part of the problem that our society faces when thinking about how we, as believers must exercise fairness.
  • This makes sense given that the word is also used to describe physical beauty.
A.    Everything has to be fair
  • We see the worldly idea is things like politics and sports.
  • To oppose fairness is like opposing goodness and rightness itself, many Americans say.
  • Money is made, contracts are negotiated and government legislation is approved, while using the “fairness argument”.
  • Teachers complain that it’s not fair for some children to live in the poor side of town, while others live in the rich side of town.
  • Others cite equal pay for equal work as fair.
  • The federal government has created new laws that require employers to pay a minimum wage due to their views of fairness.
  • However, closer examination of man’s ideas of fairness reveals a deceptive, destructive attack on the biblical views of justice and mercy.
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“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” - (Proverbs 18:19.)
          Solomon, as most people know, had a huge family.  With 600 wives and 300 concubines one can be certain that between the offspring of his concubinage and the in-laws, and what had to be conflict between the wives and concubines, I can only imagine what the atmosphere of the living areas had to be like.  It had to be true that, as in Jacob’s life, who had more than one spouse, but not nearly as many as Solomon, there was real and vehement antagonism constantly.  
         Now, it is fairly certain that in our day, where multiple marriage is illegal in most US states, the conflict is a bit less pronounced.  But there are any number of ways, even in a relationship where there is but one wife, for offense to multiply itself.  When we think of extended family, even friends that are close to us, and perhaps we might include here the friends and family that is a part of our church circle; Solomon is telling us of both the undesirable nature of these offenses, as well as the great difficulty of mending those damaged “fences”.

     “Brother” is a Hebrew word that can be used in a number of contexts, referring to 
           -    brothers (in a single sense) or brethren (referring to the plural group as a single entity),
           -    to the brother as one of the same parents,
           -    one with some degree or manner of kinship, like the same tribe for instance, or some other kinship group.
           -    And even a brother in resemblance or some pronounced likeness.

          “Offended” can speak of that which breaks or has broken away in some sense; varying from minor to propound.  We should note that the word here is a verb and is a participle, seeing the action of the word for us to consider.  We should consider that it is also in the Hebrew passive form as well.  So we might translate it as “is being offended”.  The process is initiated by another, a relative it appears, and causes offense to the one in view.  The implication is that it is a wrong behavior, in some cases it can be used to imply criminal behavior.  The one being offended is definitely doing that which is untoward and lays responsibility upon the shoulders of the one whom is “indulging” in being offended.  It is, perhaps, to be seen as being either undeserved or held more harshly than is warranted. 
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1  Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing? 

2  The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the
Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 
3  “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!” 

4  He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them. 

5  Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,

6  “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 
(Psalm 2:1–6)
          As is very common in English and most other language, this sentence begins with a preposition “Why”.  It is an interrogative and is often used by David (and other Bible writers) not to ask a question to which they have insufficient information.  Rather it is often used to stimulate thinking along a certain line or in a certain direction by David’s readers or listeners.  It is also seen to be used to suggest something that David wants in the mind of the listener that will bear impact on the later part of the Psalm.  
         This is the case here.  David wants us to take note of what was indeed a real and noticeable case, namely that the nations around him, (and us, of course) are “raging” with what David considers no real or legitimate cause.  “Nations” is the familiar word “goyim” that speaks of the Gentiles or of the peoples around Israel and not of their people group.  Specifically, it was used to speak of anyone that was NOT a descendant of Abraham.  It was used to refer both a factual way and a basically insulting way.  In the OT is could speak of a “swarm” of people, basically pointing to them as if they were a swarm of animals or locusts.  As we have noted before, in Psalms or in Proverbs, this noun is both plural and, what is called an “Absolute”.  The Absolute in the normal form of the Hebrew noun that it takes when it is not tied to another word form.  This particular noun is speaking very generally and not of any specific people group.  David has all of the non-Hebrew people groups in mind, not any particular peoples in mind.  BTW, it is this idea, that any people not a descendant of Abraham.
         The name “Israel” is a Biblical given name. The patriarch Jacob was given the name Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Yisraʾel, Tiberian Yiśrāʾēl; "Triumphant with God", "who prevails with God" after He (God) wrestled with a "man" (Genesis 32:28 and 35:10).  Thus we conclude that the name “Israel” is to be considered a special name to refer to this special people.  We know also that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons that came to be known as the progenitors of the twelve tribe so Israel and the fathers of the eventual entire nation.  The matter of Jacob wrestling with God leads us to consider this as the reason why there came to be a distinction between they and the other peoples round about them.  
         We should note that this is not a matter of simple prejudice.  It is not just a matter of this natural (though not acceptable) human tendency to think themselves as better than the particular others that are in view.  It surely takes real work to think of those around us in the fashion in which God thinks of them.  They are to the objects of our love (godly love of course - as God love all men) and of our mercy (as Jesus in the Beatitudes counselled us to have mercy).  They MUST not be the object of our hatred or our despite, as if we are somehow better than they.
         David, in this Psalm, was recognizing the emotional and mental condition of those people groups around Israel.  They were in a state of “rage” referring to being restless or ever moving; and not just in an uneasy fashion.  This is peaking of being in a tumult or state of confusion.  It can speak of being in such a tumult or emotional state that one is conspiring or plotting some negative action against the object of their rage.  It is in the “Qatal” voice which speaks of the action of the verb as having originated before the current time, but yet with an effect that is still seen now.  The current raging of the nations around him is because of the way that they have viewed and dwelt on their place in the world and in regards to God’s land and people.

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