Fulton County Gospel News

a work of the mammoth spring church of christ



By Bob Howton

The heights by great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight,
but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.

Longfellow: The ladder of St. Augustine

Most of us have heard the old country adage which states, “A big shot is nothing more then a little shot who kept on shooting.” The worthiness and commonality of such a statement is forever posted in a Proverb from the Bible. “For a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again” (Proverbs 24:16) The lessons in this concise statement are manifold. First of all, it’s not exclusively the self-willed man who falls. The just, or righteous, falls also. The overriding difference in the two men is their outlook on life. The earthy man will give up quicker than one who has his hope settled in the Master of oceans and skies. So, the righteous man falls, but he gets up and tries again. His will to accomplish whatever goals he has set for himself is sufficient to spur him on, even in the face of a disappointing fall. He gets up and tries again, and again, and again. There are multiple things to be gleaned from this short Proverb. (1) The consideration here is of a “just” man. (2) Although he is righteous (just), he is subject to falling, just like other men. (3) The man falls, and falls, and falls again for seven times. (Being righteous does not guarantee success every time!) (4) Although down for seven times, the inspired writer says he “riseth up again.” He is persistent!

Some people suffer more than others as they have their sojourning though life and its trials.  The real truth, which is plainly visible for all to see, is that man has a choice as to how he will face his trials and disillusions. One of the best examples of this is to be found in the comprehensive assessment of man’s fortune made by the prophet Job. He said, “ Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth as a flower, and is cut down: He fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not” (Job 14:1). According to Biblical record, Job did not fall upon the ground and begin a never-ending complaint against God. Instead, the Bible says of this righteous man, “In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (1:22).  Did you ever hear someone say, as they faced some tragedy, “Why does God place such trials upon me?” The truth is, God set nature in order at the ‘beginning’ and He does not step in and rearrange the natural course of things to suit Himself, or anyone. “…. God cannot be tempted by evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed” (James 1:13-14).

Peter gives a proper course to follow when things don’t go the way we would like them to go. “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16). I take this to mean that one should be persistent in facing the trials of life, and the inevitable troubles which are sure to come. Don’t just try once, or twice, but be persistent in right doing. Why should I, or any man give consideration to such an idea?  “For our light afflication, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… for the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). “And when the Chief Shepherds shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4). Sounds like something for which a fellow should be persistent, doesn’t it? The God of Heaven be thanked!

            3935 Woodland Forrest Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405




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