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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blood Brothers

(Proverbs 18:19 KJV)  A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Are you familiar with the question the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”  Did anyone ever ask, “Who is my brother?”  Hold on while I run that through my software....

I can’t find it so let me repeat my theory.  Two words that come up frequently in scripture are “brother” (251) and “neighbor”.  Although there are probably exceptions, I think that a brother is someone who shares a blood connection with you.  That can be genetic blood or the blood of Jesus.  It is a bond that goes beyond neighbor.  A neighbor shares a geographical connection.

Although we receive general instruction about living at peace with all men, this tells us it is even more important with people of the blood. 

So?  Give extra allowance and consideration to those who have a blood connection with you.  Keep in mind that just as you may not know your neighbors well, a brother in Christ can also be a mystery to you.  That requires extra patience and discernment. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fight, Flight or Figure

(Proverbs 17:10 KJV)  A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

We don’t like it but “reproof” (rebuke NASB) (1606) is an important part of life.  It is also a positive part of life.  It is an agent of growth and the improvement depends on the rebukee, not the rebuker.

When someone gets on my case my first reaction is self-defense.  I raise my emotional fists and go into a psychological fighter poise.  I may not lash out at first, but I am ready.  Up to that point it is a natural response.  It is on the level of emotion and like temptation, is not a sin.  The sin comes when we begin to actively engage.  There is that moment in a confrontation when we either decide to fight or flee.  For us there should be a third response.  We should be open to correction and honestly consider the possibility that there is a lesson for us.

So?  People are going to criticize me.  I really want to grow from legitimate criticism.  The tendency is to get defensive and reject the potential maturity.  I need to take that moment of serious consideration before I go down the wrong path. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Target Demographic

(Proverbs 16:29 KJV)  A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.

I am trying to think of anyone I know who would fits this description.  Although “violent” (violence NASB) (2555) is the most common translation the definition given includes “wrong, cruelty, injustice”.  When you expand it that way it covers a lot more territory.  It might be stretching it a bit but it could include the salesman who is more concerned about his commission than about you balancing your budget.  It could include a husband who puts his wife to work and the kids in a day care so he could have more toys and leisure.

Obviously it is best for us to avoid such people.  Even more important is to make sure that we are not that person.  We may not be able to change our neighbors but we can change ourselves.

So?  We should live in constant self-examination.  When we read something like this we think of the other guy but maybe we are the target demographic.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Proud Definitions

(Proverbs 15:25 KJV)  The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

“Proud” (1343) can be used in a positive or a negative sense.  Here it is obviously negative.  I got in scholarly mode and came across some great descriptions. 
“The precise charge is arrogance, cynical insensitivity to the needs of others, and presumption.  It is both a disposition and a type of conduct....
    “Sin enters the picture when there is a shift of ultimate confidence from God as object and source to oneself as object and source.”  TWOT, I, p. 143
Does that describe anyone you know?  I think of politicians, reporters, entertainers, waitresses, traffic cops, teachers...I guess the list could go on about all the people we can’t change. 

So?  The big question is, “Does this describe me?”  I think it starts small and puffs itself up.  Time to get a pin and start popping some balloons. 

Harris, R. Laird, editor.  Theological Wordbook of the Old 
       Testament, Volume 1.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1980.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Choice of Simplicity

(Proverbs 14:15 KJV)  The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Notice the different words chosen by the KJV, “simple” (6612a) and the NASB, “naive”.  The modern choice is much more gentle.  It is also less to the point.  Naive can mean someone who is simply not experienced enough to recognize danger when it rears it head.  Simple says you can’t learn.  It is almost the same difference as between ignorant and stupid.  I wonder how it was understood in 1611.  It is not a trait that should be associated with God’s people.

As I look at the different translations on my software I see other choices:  Stupid, innocent, foolish, fool, unthinking person, and thoughtless.  The root word means wide open and spacious.

So?  We are to be focused.  We are to understand priorities and moral imperatives.  We are to be obedient servants of a Holy God.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Participation Trophies

(Proverbs 13:13 KJV)  Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

Who “despises” (936) the “word” (1697)?  The context makes clear that we are talking about the word of God.  Who would despise the Bible?  The Hebrew is also translated “contempt” and “scorn”.  The noun form is once “laughingstock” in the NASB. 

Some people demean the word by praising it.  How often have you heard someone talk about the KJV being a great piece of literature.  It is true that you are not very well grounded in our culture if you don’t know the references that are always popping up from the Bible.  That is a long way from accepting it as Truth.  I am slowly working through writings of Plato and Aristotle.  I am currently half way through the history of Herodotus.  I acknowledge that they play a significant part in our cultural history.  But they are just books.  The Bible is not “just” a book.

Our problem is when we find these kind of people in the church.  Sometimes they are pastors.  Sometimes they are influential layman.  They are the ones who give out the participation trophies to every contestant.  They are the ones who don’t want to fail any students.

So?  Make sure that you don’t fall for the “yes, but” crowd who don’t really believe that the Bible is the word of God.  Proverbs does not think the reward for that is worth dying for.  (Posted, January 13, 2017, PP)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Till Then

(Proverbs 12:11 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

I start looking at what I know about history and farming when I read something like this.  The people of Solomon’s time were mainly farmers.  That condition continued up to the industrial revolution and beyond.  In 1790 about 90% of Americans were on farms.  In 1987 it was 2%.  Up until modern times the vast majority of people would understand this.  The reference to bread is important because it underlines that this is talking about the basic farmer who grows grain.  Although I found some reference to tilling in vineyards and orchards it doesn’t seem to be a big factor.

This is telling us that there are certain basics in life that demand our attention.  Each of us has some area that could be considered “his land”.  There are ingredients to life that would be considered “bread” (3899).  Much of those foundational ingredients are consistent to all of us.  Some kind of work is required.  Attention to family is important.  Civic responsibility is expected. 

So?  Although we can dream and pursue our dreams we are expected to take care of the basics of life first.  Too many people today think that the government or their parents will take care of them while they become something great.  It may work for a few but it is not the Biblical model.  Get a job before you try to change the world.