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, January 23, 2019

Side Effects

(Proverbs 23:35 KJV)  They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

In the days of Solomon you had fewer mild altering substances than you do today, but you did have them.  If Solomon were writing today I can’t help but think that he would mention marijuana and the palate of drugs people are taking on a regular basis.  For most people alcohol would have been the drug of choice. 

One of the problems with drugs, be they prescription, over the counter or back alley, is that they often cause more damage than they remedy.  Take almost any medication and you will find a list of side effects.  I will grant you that much of the print is legal jargon to keep from getting sued but there are some serious possibilities.  I am taking a blood thinner.  The most serious warning is that you bleed easier and clot slower.  It can happen internally so you don’t even know it.  That is a problem.

So?  Sin usually does not come with a list of side effects.  You may need to do your own research.  Drive down to where the homeless encampments are in your neighborhood and ask yourself, “How many of these people has access to drugs?”  Be aware of the rewards of unrighteousness. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Iniquity Is Not Isolated

(Proverbs 22:8 KJV)  He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

I am not happy with the translation of “iniquity” (5767b).  That meaning is included but there is a deeper meaning.  Iniquity seems to emphasize the personal act of sin or unrighteousness.  The Hebrew word adds to that the element of violating justice.  The way it is translated brings out that the actor is bringing condemnation on himself for his actions.  This could be a lie or stealing something from a department store.  It is a sin for you but it does not necessarily cause major havoc in the person violated.  The Hebrew here tries to point out that your action is a violation of the justice of the universe. 

What we do effects us.  That is bad enough.  The point is that sin also effects others.  When someone lives well and when their credit cards catch up with them they can declare bankruptcy.  This is an admission of financial failure.  What is often overlooked are the little people who have their security threatened by the irresponsibility.  I remember going to a meeting called by well paid lawyers to share what had happened to a limited partnership we invested in.  We lost a lot of money.  At least it seemed like a lot to us at the time since we were young and almost hand to mouth.  What put it in perspective were the elderly people at the meeting who had lost most of their retirement savings and were facing serious deprivation.  It was all because some guys wanted to live well on other people’s money. 

So?  Sin can send you to hell.  It can also make the lives of others very difficult.  We do not live in isolation. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Short List

(Proverbs 21:9 KJV)  It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

The Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year/Epiphany medley is over.  How did it go?  Was their any contention?  It is amazing how much tension can be generated by the simple process of decorating a tree.  And then we have the people who keep forgetting the family traditions.  This verse is a good reminder to look back and ask a question, “Was I the voice of harmony or dissonance?” 

Often the only way we can know is to be honest in our evaluation of how people respond.  The thing we should be asking ourselves is not, “What is wrong with them?”  That assumes that we are purer than the snow you wanted for Christmas.  No, the first place to look when someone else is having a reaction is in your own behavior.  My guess is that we are the culprit.

So?  Apologize if it doesn’t make it worse.  Make a note to work on your behavior or sensitivity.  Most important, be like Santa Claus who not only made a list but checked it twice.  It should be a short list because you are the only one on your list. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Emergency Plan

(Proverbs 20:15 KJV)  There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

We are advised to have in mind what is most important to save if our house should be on fire and we only had a few minutes to get out.  When we hear about floods and some of the huge fires that have engulfed the West in the last few years we hear about people loading up their valuables in their cars and fleeing.  What would be on the top of your list?

Might I suggest that your children should get priorities.  Then you start asking yourself what you can’t replace and then what is hard to replace.  That is hard.  The good news is that what you have stored away in your heart and mind is already loaded and does not take much space.  We should be spending our time building up the treasure that cannot be wiped out by a sudden disaster and realize how important those things are.

So?  It is good to have an emergency plan.  It is even more important to have your body, soul, mind and spirit in order. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

At Least the Rain Stops

(Proverbs 19:13 KJV)  A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

What can you do about a “continual” (constant NASB) (2956) “dropping” (dripping NASB) (1812)?  Think of the possible sources:  A leak in the roof, a runny nose, the Japanese water torture.  Some can be fixed, like the roof.  Torture might just be something you must endure.  Here the source of the irritation is a nagging wife.  How do you deal with her?  If you have a nagging husband, how does she deal with you?

There are certain solutions that I assume are not acceptable such as a club.  While there are times when violence is necessary, nagging is not one of them.  Withdrawal is suggested in other places but how do you do that when you live in the same house?  I guess the final word is again the love chapter and the gifts of the Spirit.  We are given patience and we are to avoid keeping a list of offenses.  We are not to be provoked.

So?  It is not as easy as it might sound, and I know that.  This is an area where practice and mediating on the meaning of love are so important.  Either way, nagging is nagging.  We may not be able to stop the nagger, but we can work on not being one. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Have a Slow Day

(Proverbs 18:6 KJV)  A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

I like to bask in the foolishness of others.  It is frequent and clear.  The problem is that by my measure, I am just as big a fool.  Probably bigger.  How many times has my mouth seemed to take charge and say things that I can’t call back?  It is a good thing that I am not counting.  It is a bad thing that God is.

The good news is that fools have hope.  They can change.  Sometimes it happens overnight.  Other times it takes years.  The point is, it can happen.

So?  Every time my mouth reveals what is going on inside me I need to have a moment of repentance and recommitment.  I may slow down my day.  It will slow down my mouth.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Growing Heart

(Proverbs 17:20 KJV)  He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.

Do you have friends who like to tell dirty jokes?  Maybe you like to pass them on.  We are in the middle of a passage dealing with the difference between people who want to walk in righteousness and those who simply like to be thought of as cool.  There is a difference in how they think and how they talk.  There is a difference in their goals and dreams.  We don’t like it but there it is.

One of the problems we face is trying to find the ground between seeing and recognizing evil and seeing nothing good in anybody.  When we don’t like someone’s politics it is easy to assume that everything they touch is evil.  We can dislike someone simply because of their favorite baseball team.  The key to this is making sure that our heart is straight.  That can only come about by the work of the Spirit in our lives and a desire to make Jesus Lord.

So?  Often living an upright life is as obvious and inhaling coming after exhaling.  At other times it takes an examination of ourselves as much as those around us.  Growing in the Lord involves our mind as well as our heart.