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.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

I Don’t Have to Like It

(Proverbs 24:17 KJV)  Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:

My first assumption is that the “enemy” (340) referred to here is encountered in war.  That is safe because back in verse 6 it talks about waging war.  I think that limits our understanding too much.  Most people will never fight in a war, at least in modern America.  Most people will come across people who are less than friendly.  We will have neighbors and co-workers who are impossible to get along with.  We will have people at church that we can’t stand.  They are enemies in the sense that they are not friends.

We are to desire the best for them.  We are not allowed to say things like, “They only got what they deserved”, or “serves them right”.  While it is possible that God in His wisdom is using tragedy to bring them to repentance, we are not to be judgmental by enjoying their pain.

So?  It seems counter-intuitive but it is agape love.  It is one of those aspects of serving the true God that I don’t like but I accept. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mine Eyes Have Seen

(Proverbs 23:26 KJV)  My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

It is amazing how much your “eyes” (5869) have to do with our success.  In baseball you are to keep your eye on the ball.  On the other hand, in golf I am often told to keep my head down and let the other guys follow the ball.  But when lining up the ball your eyes need to be on your goal so that you can swing correctly.  What I have learned to do is look at the long range goal and then find a spot close to the ball that will make it possible to line up my shot without looking up.

That is a good way to live my day.  I take a long look at my God and understand His love for me.  I think about the goal of living a righteous life and for the day I look at the choices I will have in my field of vision.  That gives me the orientation I need to make the choices I must.

So?  Taking our life a day at a time does not mean giving up the long range view.  It means putting our short term correctly in relation to our long term. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Landmark Rant

(Proverbs 22:28 KJV)  Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

There is a real danger of becoming a curmudgeon here based on my own preferences.  To be honest I am getting tired of attending worship with the music being led by people who have obviously rejected the traditional hymns of the church.  There is no attempt to teach the great hymns to a new generation.  At the same time there seems to be no musical taste in the new compositions that are introduced.  It isn’t the words themselves.  They are acceptable or at least not heretical but it is like they have tried to replace the classic lines of a 57 Chevy with a new Prius.  Both will get you there but one is incredibly boring.

In order to stay awake during the contemporary music I play a game.  It is kind of like the old TV show, Name That Tune.  I try to guess what the melody will be after hearing about four notes.  Usually I am right or really close.  If you want to sing about the cross what is wrong with “Alas, and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die...”  Use the drums.  Work the bass.  Turn the lead guitar loose.  Knock yourself out showing us how good you are, but give us something that is worth singing.

So?  I guess that was a rant.  I forgive myself even if you won’t. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Harness Moments

(Proverbs 21:31 KJV)  The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

This reminds me that there is nothing wrong with trying to be “prepared” (3559).  This word is used frequently in Proverbs.  Its most frequent NASB translation in Proverbs is “established”.  It is used of ants gathering food.  It is used of preparing for war.  It involves expecting there to be a tomorrow and making common sense choices to get ready for what is coming. 

As I write we face a primary election.  I need to be prepared.  It is a form of battle.  I will do my homework, vote and then trust the Lord to use the outcome.  The range of “battle” (4421) we face starts at washing our clothes and moves up from there.  As believers we are to plan in faith.

So?  I don’t know your battle today.  I probably don’t even know what mine will be but I know a few.  Part of trusting in the Lord is knowing that He will work out details we are not even aware of at this point. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What Tiggers Do Best

(Proverbs 20:6 KJV)  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

Have you ever been part of an organization that makes a proclamation?  They start with “Whereas...” and after a long list of whereas’s “proclaim” (7121) some kind of award or day of recognition.  Sometimes they print them up on fancy parchment and attach ribbons and seals.  It is all very impressive to someone.  I tend to be a cynic.  I realize that the person who really deserves the credit usually works without praise. 

Beware making such proclamations.  That is not the major point here but it applies anyway.  We are not supposed to be tooting our own horns.

At the same time beware believing the proclamations of others.  If they are praising you, be courteous but don’t sign any agreements because of the fancy words.  More to the point, don’t be too impressed with the self-evaluation that others give themselves.  And have a sense of humor.  They may be joking when they say they are the best.  If they are being a Tigger then keep the laugh within.

So?  Always be courteous.  That does not mean that you can let yourself get trapped by a good sales pitch. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Friends and Neighbors

(Proverbs 19:4 KJV)  Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.

The NASB uses “friend” ( 7453) twice but the second time the KJV uses “neighbor”.  In the Hebrew it is the same word.  I imagine the reason the KJV used a different word was for style.  Neither translation seems to stick to a consistent English word.  I think it is important to use the same word because I think the difference is significant in both the OT and the NT.  In the New Testament I think the difference is more between “brother” and “neighbor”.  Put it with this in the Old Testament and you have three levels of relationship.  Each level has a different dynamic.

The group that demands the most out of us is the body of Christ.  They are referred to as brothers and sisters.  They are to be held closer than blood kin.  Next would be friends.  These would be those that we have established some relationship with but they don’t share the bond of Christ.  The rest of the world is neighbors.  They may live next door.  They may work in the same building.  The only bond we have with them is location. 

So?  We are to love all men and our neighbor as our self.  There are times, however, when we need to establish priorities.  We might have limited resources.  Who has first call?  I would say those in the body.  If I have enough left over after I know my brother and his family are not hungry then I can donate to community groups. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Love Tongue

(Proverbs 18:21 KJV)  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

I have a hard time thinking of this verse as a song of rejoicing.  I think the idea is that the “tongue” (3956) is a major source of distress.  All you need to do to get a Biblical understanding of the principle is look at the last verse of the previous chapter,
(Proverbs 17:28 KJV)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Calvin Coolidge, Silent Cal, would have been the Biblical example of a perfect man, at least in the use of the tongue.

I think there are people who “love” the results they get.  People who gossip get a real kick out of passing on tidbits.  People in pubic life think they are advancing their status with slander and liable.  They really enjoy it.  They are also not God’s children.

So?  Examine your feelings when you “win” an argument or point out the error of someone else’s ways.  You might find a red flag.  Did I enjoy saying that?