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 17, 2018

Fool Fear

(Proverbs 17:12 KJV)  Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

This verse does not mention fear but brings it to my mind.  What situations do we avoid?  What people do we stay away from?  I think of a teacher I knew, actually more than one.  Every time I saw him coming I would try to go a different direction.  Was he a nasty ogre?  No, he was a talker.  If you as much as said, “Good morning” you might not make it home in time for dinner.  He could not stop.  I feared him.

Everyone knows not to get between a mama bear and her cubs.  Most of us would not recognize a fool if he was wearing a sign.  Proverbs gives us a lot of clues to make the identification.  We should get more serious about it.

So?  Life is too short to spend a lot of time in the presence of fools.  Don’t feel bad when you avoid them.  It is a sign of wisdom. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Aging Well

(Proverbs 16:31 KJV)  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

The KJV puts in the little word “if” between the phrases here.  It is in italics, so the Hebrew does not contain it.  Many of the translations have a conditional word in there someway.  I like that.  I think it brings it together.  I think it makes this clear that age does not necessarily bring wisdom or make someone worthy of praise.  It is age gained in a life of “righteousness” (6666).

Take Solomon as an example.  He started off well.  He was given the gift of wisdom.  He was known well enough that the queen of the south came to visit him.  Yet the older he got the further he was from that gift of wisdom.  Leave aside all the wives and concubines.  All you need to do is look at how his sons turned out.  It really is not for me to judge but it seems that if all your kids go bad there is something missing in your parenting.

So?  Don’t expect respect just because you are old.  Walk in righteousness and you will deserve it even if it is not granted.  Keep in mind that we are supposed to be pleasing God not the Gallup pollster. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018


(Proverbs 15:27 KJV)  He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

This is a place where multiplied translations help us find better understanding.  One group uses the word “greedy” (1214) compared to “profits”.  They then talk about “gain” (1215) in place of “illicitly”.  Both approaches have a negative word with a neutral word.  Both are trying to get us to understand the sin we must avoid. 

Everyone is faced with finding a way to put food on the table and a roof overhead.  When the Bible talks about the tithe it is to be on the increase.  That means being productive.  In order to be productive it is necessary to generate more coming in than going out.  That is called profit or gain.  In itself that is good and blessed by God. 

The problem we face is found in this combination of words which has the idea of coercion and violence to get what you want.  The end does not justify the means.  Attitude and methods are significant. 

So?  Go to work.  Make a living.  Learn how much is enough and how is important. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Plan Well

(Proverbs 14:17 KJV)  He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Notice that it makes a difference in what is in your heart.  Neither is approved but they are different.  Some people have a short temper.  Raging anger is condemned in the Bible.  Temper tantrums are childish and destructive.  The point here is that a short fuse makes you do things that are stupid.  It may be something you say, a gesture, a look, something thrown, the list is almost endless.  It might hurt someone else but the damage is mostly self inflicted.

On the other hand you have the person who thinks out their negative actions.  The Hebrew for “devices” (4209) is not itself a negative word.  It simply means to thoughtfully plan something.  It is often used in a positive sense.  For instance we are told that the purpose of the Proverbs is,
(Proverbs 1:4 KJV)  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (4209).
Context can make it evil.
(Proverbs 24:8 KJV)  He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous (4209) person.
So?  Plan your day.  Look ahead and make allowances.  Set goals.  Make sure that they are not evil goals.  Plan in righteousness. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Qualities of Recruitment

(Proverbs 13:15 KJV)  Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

This verse seems to be pointing to qualities and actions that lead to God’s “favor” (2580).  Some people have a hard time with that.  They tend to forget that God is building citizens of eternity.  He is not building a Super Bowl contender.  He is not even building a Boy Scout troop.  What is the difference?

I am not a big sports fan, so bear with me.  My perception of athletic stars is a bunch of overgrown boys who are paid a lot of money to play games.  The only traits that are important to coaches and team owners are the ones that score the points.  Personality and ethical behavior are not even considered.  In fact, they can get in the way.  That is why we read about the high levels of criminal behavior among NFL players.  That is why you see so many fights at soccer games.  While it is true that God may “recruit” those thought undesirable, take the apostle Paul for instance, He is looking at the entire package and its potential.

So?  God looks at our heart and our potential.  One reason we are not to judge is because all we can see is whether they can score.  My desire is to be available and malleable to His purpose.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Evil Is

(Proverbs 12:13 KJV)  The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

Why do I think it is important to translate as close to word for word as possible?  This is a good example.  The KJV and NASB are both word for word translations.  The NASB has “evil man” (7451a) and the KJV has “wicked”.  I actually like the KJV but that is a topic for another day.  Both get across the idea that some people are evil and some are “righteous” (6662).

Now compare that with one of the popular contemporary translations, The Contemporary English Version.
(Proverbs 12:13 CEV)  We trap ourselves by telling lies, but we stay out of trouble by living right.
In this case both sides are us.  That could be a useful side point in a sermon, but it is not the point of this verse.  The verse is pointing out that some people are evil and some are righteous.  Modern New Age thinking would deny that point.  Is that why it was translated so broadly?  I don’t know.

So?  We are to live righteous lives.  It is possible.  We should reject the current thinking that denies that people can be evil.  Be careful what you agree to.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Target Practice

(Proverbs 11:24 KJV)  There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

Generosity is a character trait that is consistent with being a spirit filled Christian.  There are numerous references to giving to the poor and sharing with those in need.  We are told to be generous givers when it comes to the needs of the church.  What came to mind was the parable of the sower and soils that Jesus told.  It starts like this,
(Matthew 13:3 KJV)  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
The picture of the sower is scattering the seed.  I imagine taking a hand full and sweeping my arm around and trying to produce an even spread.  I am sure that it takes a lot of practice to do it right. 

Solomon is probably aware that we need more practice in scattering, whether it be slipping a few dollars to a struggling family in the church or speaking up about Jesus in a public meeting.

So?  Practice takes place two ways, planned and spontaneous.  I need to improve in both.