Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 28, 2016

“Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge.”

Today’s devotion comes from Proverbs 23:1-12.

“When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you,
2 And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man of great appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies,
For it is deceptive food.

4 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
5 [c]When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.
8 You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.
9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not move the ancient boundary
Or go into the fields of the fatherless,
11 For their Redeemer is strong;
He will plead their case against you.
12 Apply your heart to discipline
And your ears to words of knowledge.”  Proverbs 23:1-12.


Discipline is important in different areas of life, but it is particularly important when combined with a search of the words of knowledge in Scripture.

Today’s theme combines both discipline and search for words of knowledge in one verse.

“Apply your heart to discipline
And your ears to words of knowledge.”  Verse 12.

Many are satisfied with their undisciplined and undirected zeal alone.  They feel quite righteous when they merely claim:  “I am spiritual.”  

But, we remember what the Apostle Paul said.

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Romans 10:1-4.

We also remember the quote of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the Book of Isaiah.


Jesus also stated in John 4:23-24:  “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;  for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Jesus also stated in John 16:13:  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; …”

There are those who “did not receive the love of truth so as to be saved”.  2 Thessalonians 2:10-13.

Truth is revealed through a diligent and disciplined search through the words of knowledge in Scripture, not through our lazy and random feelings as to what is just and true.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15.

And, when it comes to the Gospel, salvation itself, we better get it right.

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;  which is really not another;  only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:6-9.

And yet, although they lack the words of knowledge, many are satisfied with their undisciplined zeal alone to “win others for Christ” by their gospel built on their feeling that God loves everybody, Christ died for everyone, appealing to man’s pride that he is wise enough and good enough and free enough to seize salvation.  

They are more scared of the offense to man’s pride that the true Gospel presents than they are concerned about discipline and pursuit of truth as to what the Gospel actually is.

But, Reformed Doctrine is disciplined, and despite knowing how offensive predestination is to most people, Reformed Doctrine diligently searches and preaches and teaches the words of knowledge in the Scripture to summarize the one and only Gospel in the Canons of Dordt which are even more briefly summarized in “TULIP”. 

Scripture shows that salvation is based on God’s wisdom alone and God’s will alone and God’s work alone from beginning to end by God’s grace alone.

Man in his natural condition is dead in sin summarized by “Total Depravity”, and God saved us through God’s “Unconditional Election”, God’s “Limited Atonement”, God’s “Irresistible Grace”, and God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “T”, “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  This is the one and only Gospel.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.


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