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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Belated Seasons’ Greetings

(Proverbs 23:24 KJV)  The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

As I write it is Christmas Eve and New Years is around the corner.  My son is home and we will talk to my daughter and son in law on Skype some time this evening.  When I think about the blessings of my life they tend to be a focal point.  I can’t take any credit for my son in law but am glad to include him in the mix. 

The real responsibility for children growing up and being righteous is in the choices they make.  There is only so much we can do for them.  Ultimately they must decide which way they are going in life.  So far that has gone well.

At the same time, the real responsibility is for us as parents to live righteous lives in front of them and behind their backs.  They see how we live.  The chances of them following in our footsteps are more likely if our walk is consistent.  If you are a friend or extended family member it may be your example that makes the difference.

So?  “Rejoice” (1513) if they make the right choices.  Rejoice twice if you have lived as you should.  It has paid off. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Family Money

(Proverbs 22:26 KJV)  Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

This verse reminds us of the relationships we have in the body of Christ.  We are family, not business.  I am sure you have seen the references to rich and poor, powerful and weak.  People have differences and they are recognized.  We are not told to do away with those differences but to function together in mutual consideration that goes beyond them.  The issue here is money.

We are told to not get into financial bonds with each other.  It does not say we should refuse to help.  It does say that we are not to give help for our personal gain.  In a business relationship you agree on terms, sign a contract and hold people accountable.  If one party breaks the contract then the other demands the consequences because it is their due and right.  In a family you may agree on terms and hold people accountable but you do it for the benefit of the family which includes both members.  Parents may assign their children tasks and provide consequences but they do it to benefit the child, not to line their own pockets.

So?  Generally I give when there is a need.  I don’t loan.  That way if I don’t get any money back I don’t feel let down.  People in real need probably can’t afford to pay back.  People who are not in real need don’t need the money. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Putting on a Happy Face

(Proverbs 21:29 KJV)  A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.

The KJV helps us understand what Solomon is saying and he is describing something we all go through even if we are not “wicked” (7563).  The KJV says this guy “hardeneth” (5810) his face while the NASB says “shows a bold” face.  The basic meaning of the word is to strengthen.  For the evil around us it is putting on a happy face or a confident demeanor to hide the pain and confusion that is really eating them alive.  It is the con man face.  It is the face of the salesman who wants to sell you a time share.

For the righteous it may be the times when we lock a smile on our lips or work hard to stifle tears.  It can be the ability to not show shock or disappointment.  Remember how you worked to look overjoyed to get that diamond necklace for Christmas when you really wanted a new mixer. 

So?  As a believer our strong face is more based on our trust in God that our thespian skills.  It may take a few moments to remind ourselves of why we are not to fear but the Holy Spirit will remind us if we give Him a chance.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A New Name

(Proverbs 20:4 KJV)  The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

I love this word “sluggard” (6102).  Maybe I like it because my wife has never thought to use it on me.  I have been lazy.  My motivation is often hard to find.  Even my eternal salvation has been questioned but I have never been called a sluggard.  Give it time.

It must be an issue.  The word is used fourteen times in Proverbs.  As I look over the ways it is applied I can sometimes see myself but usually not.  If I don’t “plow” (2790a) after the leaves fall it isn’t because I am lazy.  It is because I am a city boy and it would never occur to me to do such a thing. 

How many things are there that I should be doing that never occur to me?  This is a serious issue and not just because my wife says so.  It can be simple things like saying “Thank you” or more complex like writing a letter to my congressman.  It is an area of life that I need to take seriously.

So?  It is still early in the year.  There are still many opportunities for me to miss.  I pray that God will open my eyes and motivate my heart to see the possibilities before me. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Slow Boil

(Proverbs 19:2 KJV)  Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

There is a note of hope in these words.  It implies that the “knowledge” (1847) to live a life of righteousness is available.  It implies that patience and caution are two of the ingredients needed in the mix. 

There is also a note of frustration.  It points out that many of us will be in too big a hurry to really gain the foundation to live the life we think we want.  Instead we will get the life we are willing to invest in.  We laugh at the prayer, “Lord give me patience, and I want it now.”  Yet we live our lives that way.

So?  Part of accepting the sovereignty of God and walking in faith means developing a sense of patience.  When the water is boiling over and running across the stove, hurry.  When you are waiting for it to boil it doesn’t do any good to stand there with a spoon. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blood Brothers

(Proverbs 18:19 KJV)  A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Are you familiar with the question the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”  Did anyone ever ask, “Who is my brother?”  Hold on while I run that through my software....

I can’t find it so let me repeat my theory.  Two words that come up frequently in scripture are “brother” (251) and “neighbor”.  Although there are probably exceptions, I think that a brother is someone who shares a blood connection with you.  That can be genetic blood or the blood of Jesus.  It is a bond that goes beyond neighbor.  A neighbor shares a geographical connection.

Although we receive general instruction about living at peace with all men, this tells us it is even more important with people of the blood. 

So?  Give extra allowance and consideration to those who have a blood connection with you.  Keep in mind that just as you may not know your neighbors well, a brother in Christ can also be a mystery to you.  That requires extra patience and discernment. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fight, Flight or Figure

(Proverbs 17:10 KJV)  A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

We don’t like it but “reproof” (rebuke NASB) (1606) is an important part of life.  It is also a positive part of life.  It is an agent of growth and the improvement depends on the rebukee, not the rebuker.

When someone gets on my case my first reaction is self-defense.  I raise my emotional fists and go into a psychological fighter poise.  I may not lash out at first, but I am ready.  Up to that point it is a natural response.  It is on the level of emotion and like temptation, is not a sin.  The sin comes when we begin to actively engage.  There is that moment in a confrontation when we either decide to fight or flee.  For us there should be a third response.  We should be open to correction and honestly consider the possibility that there is a lesson for us.

So?  People are going to criticize me.  I really want to grow from legitimate criticism.  The tendency is to get defensive and reject the potential maturity.  I need to take that moment of serious consideration before I go down the wrong path.