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.

Friday, June 22, 2018

One Leg at a Time

(Proverbs 22:2 KJV)  The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

It is as if there is no in between ground.  You have the “rich” (6223) .  You have the “poor” (7326).  Was there no middle class?  It is a question for the historian and the general answer is “Yes, but it was very small.”  That isn’t the point of Solomon. 

Solomon is trying to point out to us that the entire spectrum of humanity has the creator in common.  Ultimately that lead thinkers to the American ideal of putting on pants one leg at a time.  The actual point is that everyone is expected to be in submission to almighty God.  There are no exceptions.  And the big line in the sand that I see is the willingness to accept the fact that we are not the gods of our lives.

I struggle with this in my own way as I keep trying to get God to follow my direction.  He isn’t interested.  I like to think I am doing better than those around me.  He is not impressed.  He keeps bringing Micah 6:8 to my mind.
(Micah 6:8 KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
So?  Right actions based on the right heart and a right attitude.  Sounds like a formula I better learn to live with. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Possibilities

(Proverbs 21:3 KJV)  To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

It is so easy to get distracted from being salt and light.  It is so easy to fulfill the ritual and ignore the heart of God’s plan for us.  It does not help when so many claim that “justice” (righteousness NASB) (6666) is impossible.  Too many godly people emphasize that we are sinners and continue to sin in our daily lives.  They don’t seem to believe that God’s power and grace are strong enough to do something about our nature. 

Good people who live upright lives can get so isolated by their theological systems that they miss the significance of their obedience.  If we could not live right then God would not spend so much time and ink reminding us to do it.  When I first started playing golf I read a lot of books by big name golfers.  I read magazines.  They were all telling me things about how to play golf like they did.  I could define all the words.  I could not put them into action.  What I could do was keep my head down and line my feet up in the right direction. 

So?  God want’s us to live clean and straight.  He gives us the ability.  He works with us if we are not there yet.  Enjoy the journey. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

No and Yes

(Proverbs 20:9 KJV)  Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

This verse opens a can of theological worms.  If read in isolation you come to one conclusion.  If you consider all of scripture you come to another. 

In isolation this would seem to be saying that it is impossible to have a clean heart.  It would seem to be emphasizing the sinfulness of man and the fallen condition of creation.  It would seem that the only answer is a simple, “No one.”

But that doesn’t fit with the many places where the Bible talks about people who are righteous and upright.  It ignores the promises of God.  It refuses to read simple statements like,
(Acts 15:8-9 KJV)  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Is it possible to be pure from our sin?  Yes.  Is it possible to do it ourselves?  No. 

So?  The balance is that we are totally dependent on grace, but grace can do what seems impossible to us.  Relax and enjoy.  Try not to let your theological system get in the way of the simple promises. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Poor Poor

(Proverbs 19:7 KJV)  All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.

Usually the Bible takes up for the “poor” (7326).  This verse seems to denigrate them.  That means we need to look a little deeper.  I submit that the quality being evaluated here and other places is not how much money they have but the kind of attitude they exhibit. 

We have all know people who have little money but a healthy pride.  They do not beg.  They do not complain.  They work hard and do the best they can.  Again I submit the statement, “We aren’t poor, we just don’t have much money.”

Then you have the people who always have their hand out and a chip on their shoulder.  They always blame others and play the victim.  The sad part of our culture is that we seem to be training an entire generation of this type of people.  This is the person who only shows up at church when they need some money or need a ride. 

So?  It is natural to flee such and I don’t sense a condemnation in this verse.

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.