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“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, apples of gold in pictures of silver are indescribable. Their beauty is breathtaking, their value is priceless and their power irresistible. Such is man’s feeble attempt to describe the gospel of our salvation.
This gospel, delivered by a wise reprover, the Holy Spirit of God, who (John 16:8) “When he is come, will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” is God’s means to the salvation of the obedient ear.
To hear with the ear and understand with the heart the truth of how God is just to justify the ungodly is itself indescribable. Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Finite minds are inadequate to grasp and can only gaze into the bottomless reservoir of God’s free grace in Christ. It is the word, the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. It truly is better to hear a sermon than to see one. Apples of gold don’t save; the gospel declares an already finished salvation. (1 Peter 1:18-19) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Such is the mystery of godliness.
To be blessed with a visit from the Reprover with a Word fitly spoken, is a miracle of grace. The ear adorned with gold is fashionable but an obedient ear is better. One’s obedience testifies that the Reprover has fitly spoken to his understanding the words of eternal life and he has believed. (1Samuel 15:22) “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
Lord, deliver to my understanding and obedience the Word fitly spoken; “that I may be found in him, not having mine own righteousness (silver and gold) which is of the law but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)
--- Winston Pannell
"My times are in Thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant: save me for Thy mercies’ sake" (Psalm 31:15-16).
I give grateful praise to the Lord that all of life’s experiences are in His hand. "My times" are not in my hand, my enemies’ hand nor the hand of my friends. Everything that will happen to me is under the sovereign, absolute control of my heavenly Father.
1. The time of my birth was in His hand. My earthly sojourn began at the moment God ordained. 2. The time of my second birth was in His hand. When it pleased the Lord, He Who gave me physical life gave me spiritual life through His gospel. I was made alive by effectual mercy, which life was evidenced by repentance of dead works and false religion and belief of the Lord Jesus Christ. I was brought to trust His blood and righteousness and made content to be saved by pure grace with no contribution on my part. 3. The times of delight and the times of trouble are in His hand. The joyful times and the sorrowful times, the moments of happiness as well as pain, the times of prosperity as well as need and the times of health and sickness are all in His hand. 4. The time of my death is in His hand. As the Lord said to Israel, "The number of thy days I will fulfill" (Exodus 23:26), so I am immortal until my wilderness journey is completed. At that very moment my soul will leave this body, by whatever means He has determined, and take its flight into the presence of the Lord my Righteousness.
In short, all my times are appointed, decreed, ordained and governed by God my Savior. What a comforting, soul-thrilling fact this is to me and to all of the Lord’s people. Let this blessed truth soothe our hearts as we continue our pilgrimage through this world.