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You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
19 The evil [ra] bow [shachach] before [paniym] the good [towb]; and the wicked [rasha] at the gates [sha`ar] of the righteous [tsaddiyq]. KJV-Interlinear 19 The evil will bow down before the good, And the wicked at the gates of the righteous. NASB
You should know by now who are in the camp of the evil, and who are in the camp of the good. We studied this extensively in 1-3 Jn.
The camp of the good includes God of course, and all who are actively pursuing their spiritual lives toward spiritual maturity. That is to say, a legitimate pursuit toward maturity by means of the only authorized mechanism from God. No one who ignores God and then presumes that whatever they are doing is a legitimate path to Him, will ever get their spiritual lives off the ground, because they are of the evil camp.
The evil camp includes all unbelievers. By definition all unbelievers will never have a spiritual life so long as they reject Jesus Christ.
Then there are the believers who have crossed that threshold of salvation, but they just are not interested in advancing in their spiritual lives. They are too busy. They don't see the point of a daily study. They are more interested in their pursuit of what life has to offer. They think that whatever they are doing in life, or whatever they believe in life, is sufficient for God. Or, they are frustrated with life and therefore blame God for whatever their problems are. They are defiant and have chosen to pursue another religion.
These reasons and descriptions can go on and on. But suffice to say, that anyone whose pattern of life keeps them consistently out of fellowship during their life, will never have much of a spiritual life to speak of, and their life will be classified as evil.
There are only two categories of people - good and evil. You are either in fellowship on a continual basis, and by this I mean that your pattern of daily living keeps you in fellowship and therefore you are advancing in your spiritual life. Or, you are not.
Those who do not live their lives in fellowship can never grow up spiritually.
Note, that just by confessing your sins and getting yourself into fellowship is not enough to make you grow up. You have to follow all of the other requirements of the spiritual life - namely studying the Bible, learning what it is God wants you to learn, believing Gods principles and obeying His mandates and basically living the responsible life God intends for you to live. We put together a spiritual checklist some time ago. You might want to review it from time to time.
Now, what does this all have to do with our passage for today. 'The evil bow down before the good.' Does this means that all people who do not grow up to spiritual maturity will bow down to those who do? Does this mean that all of creation will bow down before God?
Well actually the context of this Proverb is that there are advantages for pursuing a spiritual life and there are numerous disadvantages of ignoring ones spiritual life.
Here is the final acknowledgment of those who choose to ignore their spiritual lives. As losers of a race, it is often a courtesy to tip ones hat, or to salute, or to bow courteously toward the winner. And this is exactly that.
Spiritually mature believers in Christ will receive many wonderful rewards, acknowledgments, blessings, promotions, privileges and so forth, which are above and beyond those given to every believer. As a special class of believers, the mature will be the recipients of much more. See our study in the Parables of Christ.
When we are all in heaven immediately after the Rapture, we will all face the Judgment Seat of Christ. That is a good place to be by the way. There Christ will evaluate each of our lives, and those who persist in their spiritual growth, will receive blessings above and beyond all that can be imagined. To those who fail to advance in their spiritual lives, then there will be nothing. Some folks will have partial advancement in their spiritual lives and they will receive various forms of additional blessings.
The scriptures reinforce this principle of blessing and what one can expect in eternity. There is no excuse for failing in life toward this goal. But, most folks will fail. And they will fail because they choose to fail.
Once life here on this earth ends for each person, there is no turning back. There are no 'do overs.' You have your chance now, and now is the time for you to get your act together. To be continually defiant or negative is your own stupidity. Because you are just giving up your own entire eternal future, and eternity is a very long time. So that means you are giving up a lot - more than you can even imagine.
But here is the verse of finality. Life is not just being born and growing up and doing whatever you want in this life. Life is your getting yourself prepared for your greater life which comes after this one.
Those who finally get this, are the ones who will be the winners in life for all of eternity. Those who ignore this, will be the ones who in the end, will be 'bowing' in acknowledgment of their own stupidity and loss.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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