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Summary: In a world emphasizing freedom and personal choice, it should not surprise us that character has taken a back seat. But for God’s people, things are different. Character matters. Today we are going to see three blessings of solid, godly character.

The Blessings of Solid, Godly Character

(Proverbs 28:1-5)

1. Oct. 28 (UPI) -- A pair of animal control officers in New Jersey came to the rescue of a deer spotted with a plastic pumpkin stuck over its head.

Montclair Township Animal Control said two officers responded after multiple calls came in about a deer with its head stuck inside a decorative plastic pumpkin.

A video shared by the township's animal shelter shows the pumpkin being removed from the head of the deer after the animal was captured in a large net.

The pumpkin was safely removed, but the deer was then able to tear its way out of the net.

"We'll need another net, but at least the deer's free," one of the officers says in the footage.

2. Many people live with a pumpkin over their heads, in a way. They have to hide who they really are because of a character problem. Unfortunately, their dilemma is not solved as easily as this deer’s.

Main Idea: In a world emphasizing freedom and personal choice, it should not surprise us that character has taken a back seat. But for God’s people, things are different. Character matters. Today we are going to see three blessings of solid, godly character.

I. The CONFIDENCE of a Clear Conscience (1)

A. This is perhaps a MIDRASH on Leviticus 26.

When Jonah was sailing to Tarshish and the storm came, he said, “... for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you” (Jonah 1:12).

6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. 7 You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

36 And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues. 37 They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues. And you shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

Derek Kidner writes, “The straightforward man, like the lion, has no need to look over his shoulder. What is at his heels is not his past...but his rearguard: God’s goodness and mercy…”

Numbers 23:23, “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”

B. The same CONCEPT transfers to the spiritual realm.

I John 3:21, “ Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”

C. Make no mistake about it: GUILT takes it toll.

1. Adam knew no fear until he had sinned, and then he hid himself.

2. Imagined dangerous and suspicions; suspicious people project their guilt to others

3. A constant stress in the background

According to Psychology Today, “Unresolved guilt is like having a snooze alarm in your head that won't shut off… Guilty feelings make it difficult to think straight. When guilty feelings compete for your attention with the demands of work, school, and life in general, guilt usually wins. Studies have found that concentration, productivity, creativity, and efficiency are all significantly lower when you're feeling actively guilty.”

• Jesus Christ died not only to pay the debt of sin, but to also atone for the guilt of sin. You can find forgiveness in Him. And, the more you are forgiven, the more you will love Him.

In a world emphasizing freedom and personal choice, it should not surprise us that character has taken a back seat. But for God’s people, things are different. Character matters.

II. STABILITY that Blesses Others (2)

Remember, Proverbs are general principles, not promises. More to some situations than others.

A. One sign of a failing organization, church, or nation is frequent TURNOVER of leadership.

• Israel had nine dynasties in 200 years, Judah only one in about 350 years.

• Some understand this to refer to a complex bureaucracy, which is also a bad sign.

B. Solid leadership can bring long-lasting STABILITY.

People with agendas are often driven away by solid, stable leadership, because that makes it too difficult to execute whatever their agenda might be. They look for weak leaders.

C. The cause of instability can be the moral and spiritual condition of the NATION itself.

1. Many poor people hope to escape poverty by playing the lottery; Bible way, work and save. This takes discipline, planning ahead, and delaying gratification.

2. When a nation is floundering, it wants to hope a new leader will work magic (lottery).

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