From Pastor Ben:
From Pastor Ben Bible Trivia: Do you know the answer? Which prophet anointed David as king? Was it Elijah, Saul, Jeremiah or Samuel? Make a guess. Hint: Take a look in 1 Samuel 16. Challenge: Ecclesiastes 7:7 "Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart." Today Solomon points out for our eyes two harmful activities that are designed to sway justice or another's thinking. Here are the dictionary definitions for these activities: Extortion = The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. Bribery = The offering, giving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of another person. There are a number of warnings throughout the Bible about these evil practices. In Exodus 23:8 we see, "Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth." Then in Deuteronomy 16:19 it says, "You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly." Jesus spoke of how these practices can affect an entire culture and then He illustrated just how great this practice can bring its influence in Matthew 28:11-15. Just think about how even to this very day, the Jewish people are being influenced to question or believe whether Jesus could or couldn't be the Messiah. This is because of others' falsely testifying that He wasn't resurrected from the dead. Therefore, they are still waiting for Him coming to bring cleansing for their sin. SO we see here that once someone stoops to accept payola, whether due to extortion or bribery, they lose the power to make unprejudiced judgments. In these verses from Ecclesiastes 7:7–10, we are instructed as to the Four Dangers and Obstacles. The first of the Four Obstacles to wisdom is "corruption" as seen in verse 7. Tomorrow we will be enlightened to the next danger. The King James translation makes clear these two practices - extortion - drives a person to madness, while bribery destroys the person's very heartfelt emotions. We've all seen how the integrity of a person's whole life and reputation can be corrupted and then it affects that person's entire future. Corruption can undermine a person or even bring harm to the extent of a whole group of people. Unfortunately, it can extend to bring harm to a whole nation. Sadly, even today, the Jewish nation has been duped into questioning the relevancy of Jesus' being recognized as the Son of God. Amazingly, even though this remains in question by most Jews, the primary financial basis of Israel is sustained by people around the world coming to see where Jesus evidenced His coming into the world. Just think, Jesus' life of ministry lasted only a few years, and yet thousands of years later people are returning to witness His truths to the world! Israel's gross national product (GDP) is sustained by tourism from people coming to witness personally the validity of Jesus' claims. SO GO WITH GOD, for He will never steer our life into any way that thwarts benefit, blessings, or allows harm to be brought to our life. Psalm 33:4 proclaims, "For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth."