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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pual and Piel

(Proverbs 13:12 KJV)  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

I find the sense of being “deferred” (4900) is different than I expected.  If you look at the basic meaning it is to draw or drag.  I get the impression of the way my feet shuffle in the morning as I am walking away from my bed.  There is no bounce, no enthusiasm.  My interest in the day is being deferred.  The Blue Letter Bible tells me this is a Pual participle.  Pual is the passive form of Piel in Hebrew.  Piel expresses intensive or intentional action. 

What does all that technical jargon mean?  I would guess that it is telling us that we are capable of keeping joy and fulfillment at arms length.  I think of times when I have been happy to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  That was a lot easier than moving forward in faith, trusting the barriers to God’s care and being obedient.  It is much easier to just blame others. 

So?  I can come up with plenty of reasons to feel stifled in life.  Since I don’t want a “sick” (2470a) “heart” (3820) I am going to put aside my pity party and live in joy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Donkeys Are For Riding Not Petting

(Proverbs 12:10 KJV)  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

We are to be concerned with our “beasts” (animal NASB) (929).  Notice that it doesn’t say “pets”.  The concept of a pet in history seems to be focused on the idle rich or perhaps the familiars of those involved in the occult.  It says animal, it means animal.  These are the machines and power sources of the age.  We are to treat them well.  Jesus rode one into Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry.  The Bible does not say that Mary rode one to Jerusalem for the birth of Jesus.

What was interesting to me as I looked at this today is that the Hebrew word is one that we are familiar with.  Actually we are familiar with the derivative.
(Job 40:15 KJV)  Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
In Job the word is masculine.  It is only used there in the Bible.  The feminine noun, used in Proverbs, is more common, over a hundred times.  You have heard speculation on what the behemoth was.  Some speculate on dinosaurs and such.  Notice how it is defined in the context of Job.  It eats grass like an ox.  That is God speaking, not me.

So?  Love your animals but keep them in their place.  They should not replace your neighbor, your children or your spouse in your concern or priorities. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

To the Rescue

(Proverbs 11:21 KJV)  Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

This is another day in which the verse that stood out to me while reading was the one that would have come up in my routine.  I love these “coincidences”.  This month I am reading in my 40 year old Living Bible and the second half of this verse is paraphrased this way,
“And you can also be very sure that God will rescue the children of the godly.”
Part of my routine each morning is to be thankful for all my blessings.  That can take a long time because, really, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I know it is after Thanksgiving Day.  I can still be thankful.  One of the things I am grateful for is my children.

I will confess that every day of their lives I was not tickled pink to have them in my home.  Those years between 10 and 18 stand out in my mind as a continual question of “Why me, Lord?”  But even then they were worth keeping.  Sometimes all I had to do was compare them to what I worked with at school and I was good to go again.  But the overall consensus is that God is rescuing them on a daily basis. 

So?  I pray that I will be godly enough in my weaknesses to have God iron out the rough spots as they come.  I pray the same for you. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Days or Years

(Proverbs 10:27 KJV)  The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

There is a contrast in the Hebrew that comes through in the KJV but not in the NASB.  The Hebrew has “days” (3117) [yom] and “years” (8141).  The verbs are opposites.  God “prolongs” (3254) one and the other gets “shortened” (7114a).  “Prolong” literally means “add to”.

This fits well in my observations.  It seems to me that the good things in life take a long time to build and consistent effort.  Raising godly children is a project that seems to go on forever and yet the evil side can come down like a ton of bricks in a moment.  I came to marriage with a really nice ukelele.  I bought it in Hawaii when I was in college on the advice of a friend who knew ukeleles.  I played it for years and let it sit for years but time does good things to a quality musical instrument.  Then one day my young child got hold of it.  It was no longer a ukelele.  It was now good for starting a fire.

So?  Don’t get discouraged when it seems like expectations are not being fulfilled.  It takes time for life to age properly and come together well.  God sees it even when we don’t.  Of course if you prefer pasturized process cheese food to a nicely aged baby Swiss, all bets are off. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pop-Quiz

(Proverbs 9:8 KJV)  Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

Here we are told to “reprove” (3198) and told not to reprove, all in the same verse.  Others might contrast the words of Jesus to “judge not” and the words of Paul,
(2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
This is another one of those times when we are reminded that as Christians we cannot turn off our minds and go on auto-pilot.  Thinking with discernment is always in order and sometimes necessary.  It is clear that at times we are expected to correct our brothers in the faith.  As parents we are expected to train our children.  As citizens of a republic we are expected to raise our voice when the king is naked.

It is not easy.  It will not always we clear.

So?  How do we know when and where?  Two necessary perquisites.  We must be listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  And before we can listen we need to take vocabulary lessons by reading the text book.  Think of it as a quiz with questions that are always fair.  If you have studied you don’t need to worry about your grade.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Tension of Wisdom

(Proverbs 8:35 KJV)  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

One of the constant questions in my mind is the tension between a sovereign God and the free will of man.  How do they work together?

Read Job.  He was upright and blameless and yet God allowed him to be tested.  In the dialogue with Job God brings out the fact that He is God, not Job.
(Job 38:4 KJV)  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
It was like God was saying, “Just because I told Satan you were a good man doesn’t give you the right to question Me.”

And then we have passages like this that tell us we are to seek wisdom and God will reward us if we find it.

So?  The tension will not go away in this life.  Maybe in eternity we will understand.  I find the joy of knowing that in His sovereignty God has chosen to allow me awareness and free will.  At times of pain I wish I were a robot but overall I rejoice in the relationship it allows.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Just Around the Corner

(Proverbs 7:12 KJV)  Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

Temptation is everywhere.  The context here is adultery but in real life it takes many forms.  The form will be different for each person and for that person it may change every day.  Temptation deals with actions and opportunities that are a normal part of every day life.  In the right context they may even be righteous.  Take gossip.  Sharing prayer concerns and gossip differ in attitude not always in content.  Have you ever picked an apple?  Did you have permission or just take one because it was there?

Also keep in mind the sin is not in the temptation but in the completion of the opportunity presented. 

So?  Finish the day knowing that Satan is out to get you but that he can be frustrated by simply living an upright life.  Acknowledge the temptation, turn away and get on with life.