An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Friends and Neighbors

(Proverbs 18:24 KJV)  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

This might be a good time to look at an outlier translation, called the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible.
(Proverbs 18:24 LITV)  A man of friends may be broken up, but there is a Lover who sticks closer than a brother.
This gets to the essence of the actual words in Hebrew.  There are different levels in relationships.  We sometimes talk about “friends” (7453) a bit cavalierly.  It irritates me when someone I hardly know calls me “my friend”.  I am not their friend, I am their acquaintance.  There is a difference.  If a friend was in crisis and needed a thousand dollars, I would find the money.  An acquaintance would just get The Look.

So?  It is true that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  It starts in the Old Testament and is frequently quoted in the New.  That is okay.  There are certain liberties I would not even grant myself. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Back Off

(Proverbs 17:14 KJV)  The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

I am not a farmer.  I am not even a gardener.  I have never experienced the movement of dirt to allow water into a new row or field.  My “letting out” (6362) is usually confined to opening a faucet.  It is something that I have learned to do with caution.  I have learned to turn slowly and listen carefully.  I have learned to make sure that the hose is already attached and pointed in the right direction.  I might even make sure that the end is in my hand.

We have all experienced what it is like when we ignore these precautions.  At best we might see the end of the hose dancing around the yard.  From there we can proceed to getting doused.  It can even go to the point where real damage is done. 

I think that usually we can sense when things are moving toward “strife” (4066).  That should be the warning to slow down and take a deep breath.  The best way to win a fight is to avoid a fight.

So?  Being a macho dude is not in God’s game plan.  Our charge is to avoid conflict, not be obsessed with winning. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Change of Plans

(Proverbs 16:1 KJV)  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

This is not a criticism of planning or preparation.  It is a warning about not planning with an understanding that God has the final approval.  We should always start with the basic principles that God has laid down.  Do we need extra money for a project?  Then certain options are not open to us.  You cannot rob a bank.  You cannot cheat your customers.  You cannot dump your parents on the state.  There is clear scripture on those options.  As we plan we are listening to God’s directions and standards.

After the plans are moving along we need to be seeking God’s final approval.  We need to consider that we may not have been hearing clearly or that God has let us head down the wrong path for reasons we don’t understand.  We also need to be open to the fact that God may block our plans at the last minute.

So?  Walking by faith is not being the only guests at Disneyland.  It is having a hope within you even when you don’t understand why a tragedy has knocked on your door. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Double Joy

(Proverbs 15:30 KJV)  The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.

As a grandparent I am watching the new addition develop.  One of the facets that brings a stirring of the heart is when the “eyes” (5869) of the infant begin to respond.  A newborn is glorious but they usually don’t track or focus.  They are learning.  Then there is the magic of seeing they know you and recognize you.  I am not sure it is something that can be explained but it is there.  You know you have contact.  If you think it brings joy to your heart just think about the process going on in the mind of the baby.

When we grow in our awareness of God it supplies joy both ways.  We, of course, are rejuvenated by the awareness of the contact.  In a strange way that reflects the infinite capacity of God, it is a special moment for Him too.

So?  Bless God.  He may be infinite.  We may be finite.  There is still a two way connection that needs to be made. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Poor Judgement

(Proverbs 14:20 KJV)  The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.

This is not a statement of how it should be but an observation of reality.  It would seem that some things never change.  Human instinct is to be drawn to the rich and powerful while we shun the poor and weak.  We are drawn to the successful.  While it may be natural, it isn’t necessarily the gold standard of discernment.

We are called to a greater vision, a vision that looks at the hearts and character around us rather than the labels on clothes and the stores shopped at.  The Bible calls us to be aware of differences but to focus on differences that matter.  Money is not a difference that matters.  Integrity is.  Generosity is.  Humility is. 

So?  Does that mean we reject people of wealth?  No.  We are to reject people of conceit.  Keep in mind that poor people can be just as greedy as wealthy people.  The major difference is that they have not been as successful in their greed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Poverty Simmering

(Proverbs 13:18 KJV)  Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

I believe that Solomon was thinking literally when he wrote this but often the leading of the Holy
Spirit causes more to be said than is said.  I think there is a kind of mental and spiritual poverty that is included in this formula.  It is not the “deep hidden meaning”, it is just part of the package.  We as a country are deep in poverty of the mental and spiritual type.  We are the richest in physical terms but are losing our edge in the areas that lay the foundation for tomorrow.

It is like the parts of Europe that have adopted socialism and are still seen as prosperous and wealthy.  I think of Sweden.  They are living on the wealth that capitalism brought them and still have bits of it remaining but the effects of socialism are slowing draining their resources.  The same thing is happening to the church in America.  While I think a church can be large and still be the church, it is very hard to avoid the compromises that always seem to creep in.  Look at the cathedrals of Europe is you want to see the possible future of the American church.

So?  I know I can’t reform the church.  I doubt if you can.  I can be a squeaky wheel.  Who knows, if we get enough squeaky wheels maybe it will give new avenues for the Holy Spirit to work. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Archie Meets Spock

(Proverbs 12:16 KJV)  A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.

This also would, outwardly, conform to the ideas of the Stoics.  The Stoics were a school of philosophy that is much more complex than I would want to study but the bit of popular lore that is tied to them is keeping a straight face.  They were known for not reacting with passion to the good or bad of life.  A generation ago we would have talked about Mr. Spock, the Vulcan.  Most people thought he had no emotions.  In reality I think he was supposed to have been taught to ignore them and follow logic.

For us there is advice here to hide our reactions and thoughts.  Do not broadcast everything you feel and think the moment you feel and think it.  There may come a time to share but not in the heat of the moment.  It is amazing how often your first reaction looks a bit foolish in the floodlights of time.

So?  As another generation would remember, Archie would tell Edith, “Stifle yourself”.  Not a bad idea on the short term.