Proverbs 26 & 1 Thessalonians 5

Proverbs 26

    Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
        so honor is not fitting for a fool.
    Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
        a curse that is causeless does not alight.
    A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
        and a rod for the back of fools.
    Answer not a fool according to his folly,
        lest you be like him yourself.
    Answer a fool according to his folly,
        lest he be wise in his own eyes.
    Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
        cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
    Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,
        is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
    Like one who binds the stone in the sling
        is one who gives honor to a fool.
    Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
        is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
    Like an archer who wounds everyone
        is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
    Like a dog that returns to his vomit
        is a fool who repeats his folly.
    Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
        There is more hope for a fool than for him.
    The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
        There is a lion in the streets!”
    As a door turns on its hinges,
        so does a sluggard on his bed.
    The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
        it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
    The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
        than seven men who can answer sensibly.
    Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own
        is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
    Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
    is the man who deceives his neighbor
        and says, “I am only joking!”
    For lack of wood the fire goes out,
        and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
    As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
        so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
    The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
        they go down into the inner parts of the body.
    Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
        are fervent lips with an evil heart.
    Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
        and harbors deceit in his heart;
    when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
        for there are seven abominations in his heart;
    though his hatred be covered with deception,
        his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
    Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
        and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
    A lying tongue hates its victims,
        and a flattering mouth works ruin.
    

(Proverbs 26 ESV)

1 Thessalonians 5

    Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

    We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

    Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

    Brothers, pray for us.

    Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

    I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

(1 Thessalonians 5 ESV)

1 Thessalonians 5: The truly Christian life is a life full of heavenly joy that surpasses all earthly circumstances. To “rejoice always” does not imply that we ought to always find ourselves in a state of happiness and gladness. To “rejoice always” simply implies that the Christian has a firm hope that ought to always give him a reason to look above and beyond what he may be suffering, and it ought to keep him from ever falling into a state of despair. We will find ourselves willing and able to rejoice always if we find ourselves willing and able to pray without ceasing.

To “pray without ceasing” does not necessarily imply that we ought to spend the bulk of our day in silence and solitude before the Lord rather than being diligent in our work. To “pray without ceasing” implies that in the midst of our daily duties and responsibilities we ought to maintain a mental attitude of prayerfulness. It implies an ongoing personal fellowship with God and consciousness of being in His presence throughout the day. When we find ourselves with this sort of continual consciousness of His presence, then we will find ourselves willing and able to “give thanks in all circumstances”. 

To “give thanks in all circumstances” does not imply that we are to always be thankful for the actual circumstances that we may be suffering. When tragedy strikes, we are not expected to be thankful for the tragedy and its consequences. Paul doesn’t say that we are to be thankful for all circumstances, but rather that we are to be thankful in all circumstances. To “give thanks in all circumstances” implies that God has already given us reasons to remain thankful whether we may be currently experiencing pain or prosperity. The love of God demonstrated through the cross of Christ and the promises of God secured for us by the sacrifice of Christ give us reason enough to remain thankful despite the reality of any sufferings in this life. We can trust that God works all things for our ultimate good because God suffered the ultimate sacrifice in order to give us the eternal goodness of salvation. 

When we find ourselves giving thanks in all circumstances, we will find ourselves willing and able to always rejoice, and we will find ourselves filled with the desire to pray without ceasing. This is the powerful cycle of the Christian life that produces a life full of heavenly joy that surpasses all earthly circumstances. So many of us often ask and wonder what God’s will is for our individual lives. While we may not be clear as to all the things that God wants each of us to do, we can know for sure that God wills for all of us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all circumstances”.