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Jan 23 Devotion: Sic Semper Tyrannus

Proverbs 11:17— “The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubeleth his own flesh.”

The Lord cautions the reader of this verse to reject the use of cruelty in our lives and encourages us to embrace the trait of mercy. Cruel is defined by Webster’s 1828 dictionary as “willing to vex another; destitute of compassion; and, hardhearted.” Someone who exhibits these traits towards another either has not known God in Salvation or has so far drifted from God that the fruits of the Spirit of God are no longer present in their life.

There is a title that is given to those whom treat others cruelly, they are known as tyrants. A Tyrant is defined as a person exercising power in a cruel way; and, quite often tyranny is synonymous with cruelty. Therefore, when I read this verse I see an assurance from God that Tyrants will bring trouble to his own flesh because of their cruelty and hardheartedness.

Tyrants are not passive, one cannot be tyrannical without acting with a willingness to vex. This wiliness to vex another stems from the vacancy of love in their hardened heart. One does not need to be a king to be a tyrant, many times (especially in today’s world) tyrants are seemingly normal people whom only reveal their tyrannous behavior behind closed doors or in a setting where they feel they have the authority.

This line of thought all came from God showing me a simply truth out of this verse. Some Christians behave like a Tyrant in their relationship with God. They don’t fear the Lord, because they willingly vex (irritate/agitate) God by quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit. They continually ignore the messages from the pulpit and will not turn towards God in repentance because their stony hearts have caused their necks to become stiff.

Whether we realize it or not, when God formed us in the womb He granted each soul a measure of power. That power is choice. Only someone foolish enough to tempt God (which we are commanded not to do) would say that man’s free will is more powerful that Jehovah. Yet, God (in His longsuffering, mercy, and love) does bear the open mockery and rejection of some. We all reap what we sow, so don’t be deceived into thinking that any Tyrant is capable of mocking God’s power and judgement.

In studying for this devotion I found out that the word tyrant can be traced back to the Greek language. The word “turannos” is the origin for tyrant, and in Greek it originally meant “usurper.” What a better way to sum up everything that a tyrant does? Someone who treats the Lord in such a way has usurped God on the throne of their heart. They are their own God, and they have chosen to follow their own will instead of God’s. They do what they want, how they want to do it and without a thought for their relationship with our Heavenly Father. This is the purest definition of a Tyrant.

The title of today’s devotion is Latin. Some of you will know it from history, some will recognize it as the motto on the flag of Virginia, and some may have not heard it before. Sic Semper Tyrannus translates to “Thus always to tyrants.” Every child of God that usurps God as Lord of their life will always see this verse come to fruition in their lives. They may believe that they are chasing greener pastures, trying to chase a pipe-dream, or incorrectly judged the importance of god’s presence in their life … each one will trouble their own flesh with their acts of tyranny. Whether they reap physical harm to their bodies or bring about the vexation of their own spirit, they will be troubled.

A miserable, lonely life always comes upon Tyrants.

Your fellowservant in Christ,

Bro. Jordan Foster

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