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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Occupy the Gates

(Proverbs 31:23 KJV)  Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

This is a verse I like.  While the wife is building the family wealth, the husband gets to sit in a place of honor and look wise.  I am pretty good at both of those.  The word that we miss is the “when.”

There are certain assumptions here.  You don’t sit in the gates all the time.  That is reserved for the times of judgement or meeting.  When you go to the meeting you take a reputation with you.  When you get there you are already “known” (3045) [yada]. 

This knowing is a strong word.  It means that you have already been involved in the community to the point where people know your character and value.  This is not the respect of office.  It is not because you are a man or husband.  You are looked up to because you have lived in such a way that people know your value.

This does not happen in a day.

So?  What are you waiting for?  Get to living a life of integrity, honor and righteousness.  There is not time to start like today.  Tomorrow will be too late. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Getting Antsy

(Proverbs 30:25 KJV)  The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

As I write, we are coming to the end of a year.  Solomon seems to be telling us to look to creation for ideas in how we can make next year better.

Most of us do not look favorably on ants.  They invade our kitchens.  They mess up our picnics.  We think of food scraps and disease.  But there is another side that is referred to here and in the fable of the grasshopper and the ant.  Ants remind us to “prepare” (3559).

Preparation has many facets.  Planning is one.  Gathering is another.  Delayed gratification is often overlooked.  As believers we should also be setting aside time to prepare our hearts and souls for a year of service.

So?  Find time to prepare.  A list of resolutions probably won’t do much for you, but some serious prayer and scheduling might make the year more rewarding for you and for the plans God has for you. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keep the Focus

(Proverbs 29:26 KJV)  Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.

Two months ago I responded to this by suggesting we get involved and not forget our priorities.  The election is over at this point.  The priority stays the same.

We have a real problem in listening to the “company line” and accepting it as having some value.  The warning for us here is that our marching orders as followers of Jesus do not come from the government or the celebrities but from God Himself.  If there is a common message then it is a rare coincidence and probably a mistake on the part of our popular gurus. 

Too often we take concepts like “judgement” (justice NASB) (4941) and accept the popular definition.  We don’t honestly seek out what God is saying and apply it as truth.  We take the easy way out.  We conform.  Life will never be that easy.  Truth will never be popular.  Sin rules in the hearts of most people and most organizations.  Accept it.  Deal with it.

So?  Focus on the right and truth.  Don’t fall for the company line, right or left.  We are still expected to be salt and light.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Heart Problems?

(Proverbs 28:26 KJV)  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

How is your “heart” (3820) today?  How are your inner convictions?  How are your priorities?  God knows and is keenly aware.  How about you?

I see people everywhere that are obviously ignoring the condition of their physical heart.  We joke about the double bacon cheese burger with heavy mayo and a jumbo side of fries.  We still order it.  We breathe heavy going up a few stairs and have another donut.  In our heart we know about our heart.

I see people everywhere that are obviously ignoring the condition of their spiritual heart.  We gripe about the materialism of Christmas and go shopping.  We complain about the loud music at church and don’t sing the “good” songs when  they are presented.  We complain about the condition of our society and don’t read the Instruction Manual that God has given us.

So?  How is your heart today?  God knows.  You know.  Think about it. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Ugly Head

(Proverbs 27:4 KJV)  Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

What is the problem with “envy” (jealousy NASB) (7068)?  This is a frequent concern in the Bible.  The two most frequent translations in both the KJV and NASB are “jealousy” and “zeal.”  The word carries the idea of extreme enthusiasm that goes beyond the bounds of reason and rationality.  When it is used of the things of God, it is a good trait.  In most other uses it is a sin.

I think it is worse because envy can take time to plan.  It may start off spontaneously, but it tends to fester.  Slights become magnified.  Wrongs are amplified.  This is another example of why it is so important for us to turn the other cheek and forgive.

So?  Don’t let self-passion get a hold on you today.  Someone will cross you.  You may be right.  They may be wrong.  Don’t allow emotional response to take you from being right to being in sin. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Deceptive Advertizing

(Proverbs 26:18 KJV)  As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,

This verse is a preparation for the next verse which talks about deceivers.  This verse is stressing the destructive quality of deception.  The ultimate danger is “death” (4194).

The picture I see is a one man army laying siege to a metaphorical castle.  “Firebrands” (2131) burn the structures and possessions.  “Arrows” (2671) attack the body.  It is not a pretty picture.

We are surrounded by deception.  Think of the political promises that have been made.  Think of the advertisements you are subject to that encourage you to buy things you don’t need and can’t afford or borrow money you don’t need. 

So?  We don’t need to be a part of the problem.  We can be a part of the solution by being examples of honesty and integrity.  Be one who brings life, not death. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Gift of Worship

PRO 25:14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

If you are part of the church that traces its roots through Rome or the Protestant Reformation I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.  If you are part of the Orthodox world, just bear with us people who have it wrong.

We are not celebrating a “false” (8267) “gift” (4991), or, as the NASB puts it “gifts falsely.”  The key to Advent, Christmas and Epiphany is not in the date or rituals built around them.  The key is in the truth. 

That is why for believers the materialism and party atmosphere should not distract us from being reminded that this date has been set to remember that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  (John 1:14)

So?  Gather.  Fellowship.  Give and receive.  But don’t forget to worship.

Merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Survivalist Advice in Proverbs

PRO 24:27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.

Here we have some advice for survivalists and The End of the World As We Know It.  We have a priority for rebuilding civilization after all the imagined disasters bring it down.  First, “prepare” (3559) the “field” (7704).  Make provision for producing food.  Then “build” (1129) your “house” (1004).  I don’t know much about farming but I would assume this advice is not given in the middle of a winter blizzard.

What about the rest of us, those who don’t expect a zombie attack or a second Civil War?  I think this is even more appropriate.  We need to be concerned with the world we live in.  We cannot just focus on what happens inside the walls of our home.  We cannot develop a bunker attitude, hunker down, pull the spiritual blankets over our head and let the world go to Hell.  We must get ready for the “work” (4399) God has for us.

So?  Be salt.  Carry the light.  We are in a world that needs both desperately and God wants us to be His ambassadors. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


(Proverbs 23:31 KJV) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

I am not a drinker.  I have told you that before.  But I am just as susceptible to the romantic picture that is veneered over alcohol as anyone else is.  That is why advertizing works.  That is why packaging gets so much attention.

As a kid I can remember role-playing being a cowboy and walking into the bar, putting my foot on the rail and saying in my rough, manly voice, “Rye.”  I had no idea what rye was but if it was good enough for John Wayne, it was good enough for me.

We are surrounded by glamor and facade.  Make-up artists and tailored clothes can make almost anyone attractive.  What you see is often not what you get.

So?  Beware.  Learn to look beyond the surface.  Listen to you senses and the for the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Listen to people you trust.  It will make a difference in how tomorrow dawns. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Generic Parenting

(Proverbs 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Have we done a good job raising our children?  Have we walked the walk and been living examples?  It is a question that must wait for an answer.  We must wait to see if they follow Jesus or “depart” (5493) from the way. 

One crucial testing point is the day they leave home.  They may go off to college to live in a dorm, join the military, move away for a job.  That is the time to hold your breath and pray harder than ever.  That is the day they begin making decisions without you looking over their shoulder. 

It doesn’t end their.  Mine are around 30 years old and it looks good, but I am not resting on my laurels.

So?  Do your best, but make sure it really is your best.  Too often we try to get by with a generic when the name brand is really available.  Don’t skimp on the next generation. 

Friday, December 21, 2012


(Proverbs 21:25 KJV) The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

It is a tragedy when people “refuse” (3985) to “labour” (work NASB) (6213a).  There are consequences.

I see the foundation for this way of life being laid daily in our public schools.  The system is more concerned about self esteem than achievement, feelings rather than knowledge.  I see kids being taught that no matter what they do they will go on to the next grade.

I see a continuation of it in our welfare culture. 

This is deadly.  It dulls the mind.  It teaches sloth.  It creates false expectations.  It generates jealousy and envy.

So?  We willing to work.  Expect to work.  Even more, work.  Grace makes it possible.  Grace expects it.  Grace demands it. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Box, Out Box

(Proverbs 20:28 KJV) Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

In this verse the KJV is much more accurate than the NASB.  “Mercy” (loyalty, righteousness NASB) (2617a) is used twice in the KJV.  This is because it is the same word in Hebrew.  For some stylistic reason the NASB uses two different words.

This word in Hebrew is chesed.  To me it is the OT equivalent of the Greek agape.  I think the best translation is “lovingkindness.”  It is at the heart of how God deals with us but notice that it is not clear who is extending this quality.  Is this a case of God extending mercy to preserve or the king being preserved because he is merciful?

I think this is another case of both/and not either/or.  It starts with God.  He is the source.  He is the example.  He is the demander. 
(1 John 4:19 KJV)  We love him, because he first loved us.
He supplies, we apply.  He gives, we pass on.

So?  Be a channel that God can use.  Pass it on. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sparkling Lips

(Proverbs 19:1 KJV) Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Language says something about our spiritual condition.  I don’t mean Spanish vs English.  I am talking about the way in which we adopt the vocabulary of the culture around us.  We speak with “perverse” (6141) “lips” (speech NASB) (8193).

This is a concept that is more complex than just telling lies.  It means crooked, and you will find the word “perverted” in the ways it is translated.  Out speech should be above reproach.  Think about the words that we use and don’t think about.  A common word being used today is “pimp.”  It means many things to many people.  In our post modern culture it means whatever the speaker wants it to mean.  In reality is means someone who runs a string of prostitutes.

I could make a list but I don’t want to be perverse.

So?  Make your own list.  We should have sparkling lips and pristine vocabularies.  We have a long way to go.  Let’s get started, one word at a time. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Using Your Imagination

(Proverbs 18:11 KJV)  The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.

In this verse the NASB translates a Hebrew word as “imagination” (4906).  Although that is a legitimate way to go, it misses the nuances of the word.  The KJV uses “conceit.”  That also misses the mark.  The word is used in regard to carving idols.  It means to take human creativity and try to make a divine image.  It is part of idolatry.

The point here is that our “imagination” can work against the values of God.  It can become conceit.

We rely on our imagination a lot.  That can have it’s good side and it’s bad side.  We can use imagination to fill in the gaps, to try to understand the agony of Christ during the passion, to strive to know what it is to love.  We can use it to create new ways to help those who are stubborn.  We can use it to find new ways to write blog posts.

We can also use it to shield us from the clear teaching of God.  That is the warning here.  We are adroit at slipping in our conceits for the commandments. 

So?  Channel your creativity.  Start with the clear truth and find ways to apply it.  Don’t start with a lie and try to spread it over the truth.  Focus. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Active or Passive

(Proverbs 17:4 KJV)  A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

The average person “giveth heed” (listens NASB) (7181) to what they want and hears what he expects.  Most of us would accept that we are in the high part of the bell curve, we are not the best or the worst, but somewhere in between.  So I guess that truth applies to us.

How much more is it true of the “wicked doer” (evildoer NASB) (7489a) and the “liar” (8267)?  You can probably multiply the effect.  They are active in seeking falsehood.  We are passive.  Too often the results end up the same.

So?  Just as some are active in pursuing evil, we need to be consciously following the paths of righteousness.  There are many more moral choices to be made than we want to pay attention to.  Wake up and smell the aroma of holiness.  Be part of that perfume. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How About a Temperance Tantrum

(Proverbs 16:32 KJV)  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Just like you, I was standing in a check out line and my eyes strayed to the covers of all the popular gossip rags that fill the racks.  It almost seems like a pop-star changing his brand of toothpaste would call for a special edition.  We seem to worship people who act childish and immature.  Maybe it is a desire within us to be totally selfish and not feel guilty.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that the standards of God are different than the standards of our culture.  Take it another step.  The standards of God are different than any culture.  Here is another example.  Proverbs takes a character trait that is the opposite of our idols and tells us, “Be this way.”

A believer “rules” (4910) his “spirit” (7307).  We are not to be “free spirits.”  We are not to be “spirited.”  We are to be controlled.  God gives us that ability by the work of the Holy Spirit. 
(Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)  But the fruit of the pSirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The “temperance” of the KJV is “self control” in the more modern translations.

So?  Self control is available.  Plug it in.  Turn it on.  Walk in righteousness. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Muse. I Dare You

(Proverbs 15:28 KJV)  The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

Last month we looked at the first part of how we answer.  We speak from the heart.  Second, the “righteous” (6662) “studieth” (ponders NASB) (1897).  This is an interesting word that is defined, “to moan, utter, growl, utter, speak, muse.”  I think the last one is the application for today.  We run things repeatedly through our minds.  This would be a form of Christian meditation.  It is good to think things over instead of giving a quick answer.

I think this may be permission to talk to ourselves.  Maybe you never do this, but I often have conversations with myself about something on my mind.  If I listen to both sides of the discussion I benefit because I can hear my own mistakes and inconsistency. 

So?  Take your time before you take a stand or make a statement.  Study on it.  Muse on it.  Talk to yourself about it.  Then, and only then, speak boldly. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quantity vs Quality

(Proverbs 14:28 KJV)  In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.

What is the problem here?  Is this a praise of the mega-church in the next city?  Actually the problem is not in the “multitude” (7230) but in having a “want" (dearth NASB) (657).  It is a slightly different slant, but an important one.  Big can work but is not necessary.

A lot is not the same as enough.  One concept focuses on numbers, the other on need.  One is quantity; the other, quality. 

God does not play a numbers game.  Remember that Jesus warned us,
(Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
So?  I don’t know about you but I want to get through that gate.  I won’t get there by following the crowd, looking for the biggest church or fitting in.  Follow Jesus, not fashion. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guilt vs Shame

(Proverbs 13:5 KJV)  A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

A liar acts “shamefully” (2659).  This could be a place to remind ourselves of the difference between guilt and shame.  This is exhibited in how people live their lives and how cultures set their expectations.

Guilt is an internal experience.  You feel guilty whether anyone else knows about it or not.  You know you are wrong.  This is often a very healthy thing, even if it gets bad press in our common culture.  It is how God brings us to repentance and change.

Shame is a response to an outward experience.  It only feels bad about getting caught.  It can be healthy but usually it is dominant in people who want to break all the rules and live below the radar. 

In the case of liars, their whole motif is to not get caught.  When they are caught their resolution is not to become honest but to become more careful.  This is not the way of the righteous.

So?  What is your motivation today as you live your life?  Are you concerned to sense the voice of the Holy Spirit giving you guidance and helping you grow or are you just worried about getting caught?  Keep in mind that God knows, even if the cop on the corner doesn’t.  Think about that next time you wonder if you will get away with something. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Be a Crown

(Proverbs 12:4 KJV)  A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

In Genesis the wife is created to be a helper, here she can be elevated to a “crown” (5850).  This is a good example of searching all of scripture before you make a theological point.  Helper and crown give two different pictures.  Neither one is complete.  Both are in the Word.

I have heard a lot of opinions in what it meant in Genesis to be a helper.  I have not studied it recently but I suspect that a lot of what you read in culturally conditioned and politically correct.  I have never heard it linked to this verse.  With this we begin to get a better balance.

The word for “crown” (5850) is also translated “wreath.”  I don’t know if the Roman and Greek concept was consistent with the Hebrew understanding but for a Roman the wreath was a simple arrangement of greenery that signified a tremendous honor.  It was only given to people who had demonstrated extreme excellence.

A godly wife is an award from God.  I think it is safe to say the same about a godly husband.

So?  If you are married be thankful for the gift God has given you.  Strive to live like you are a gift yourself.  If you are not married, don’t settle for second best.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deferred Gratification

(Proverbs 11:31 KJV)  Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

This is a bit confusing.  It sounds, at first, like sinners will receive a better reward than the “righteous” (6662).  I guess much depends on what we mean by “rewarded” (7999a) and when it is received.

I am thinking this is pointing out that the only good that the “wicked” (7563) can expect is in this life.  Jesus talks to this.
(Matthew 6:1-2 KJV)  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
We should always take the long range view, after all, we are in for eternity, right?  There are many short term fixes that work short term but destroy long term.  For instance you can tell a lie today that gets you out of a situation but you demonstrate a character that will come back to haunt you.

So?  Live today like it makes a difference tomorrow and beyond.  It does.  Eternity waits.

Monday, December 10, 2012

As with Gladness, Men of Old...

(Proverbs 10:28 KJV)  The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.

What a great verse for the Advent season.  This is the time of year when “hope” (8431) and “gladness” (8057) should be percolating to the top of our demeanor.  It is time for us to turn from the successes and failures of a political season and look to the fulfillment of the promise that we are living out as we follow the One who came in the fullness of time.

This is a hope for believers, not the pagan world, although they have been piggy backing on it for a long time.  Notice that the promise is for the “righteous” (6662), not the “wicked” (7563).  If you follow down through the next few verses you see other words used to expand our understanding of who these people are.  You see them called “upright” and “just.” 

So?  Can you claim the promise of Advent?  Have you been touched by the incarnation?  Do you have reason to hope?  I do.  You can.  Why not enter the door marked “Hope” if you have not already done so.  Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Red Light Districts

(Proverbs 9:15 KJV)  To call passengers who go right on their ways:

In this verse it is the “foolish woman” of verse 13 who is doing the calling.  I don’t see any indication that this woman is familiar with those passing by.  In fact it almost seems that this is a common form of prostitution. 

When I visited Europe during my college years, one of the places that I visited was the red light district of Amsterdam.  Even then it seems prostitution was legal there.  Our small group of Christian college youth had never seen anything like this before.  Women standing in door ways and leaning out of display windows soliciting.  I don’t think any of us were even close to being tempted but it was an eye opener. 

We would have been better off not walking through but we saw the reality of our world first hand. 

So?  Keep your eyes open.  Be smarter than we were and avoid life’s red light districts.  They come in many shapes and sizes.  Some problems we don’t need. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

In the Book, Not the Stars

(Proverbs 8:24 KJV)  When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

Who is the “I” of this verse?  You need to go back to verse 12 where it says, “I, wisdom.”  What follows is glorious, mysterious and confusing.  It seems to be talking about creation and seems to make wisdom part of the trinity.  Heavy stuff.

This verse looks back, and in looking back, helps us look forward.  God produced wisdom where there was no visible source, no “depths” (8415).  He can do the same for us.  We live in the assurance that our lives are part of His plan for eternity.  We make a difference.  We are placed where we are, not because of the tremendous skills we have but because of what can be “brought forth” (2342a) when the time is right.

So?  You will be challenged today.  You will face more than you are prepared to handle.  With God’s help you will rise to the occasion.  That sounds like a horoscope prediction.  No, it is a principle of walking in obedience.  It isn’t in the stars, it is in the Word. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Why Sisters

(Proverbs 7:4 KJV)  Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:

In looking over how this was translated in the editions on my software I noticed that in almost all versions three words appear:  “wisdom” (2451), “sister” (269) and “understanding” (998).  That would be another reminder that all translators feel that wisdom and understanding go together.  And remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

People always ask “Why?”  I don’t mean just children trying to put off the day of reckoning, I mean people going through things that don’t seem to make sense.  I mean people struggling with the world around them, on the verge of surrender and defeat.  Too often they will never have an answer because they cannot understand without wisdom and they will have no wisdom without fear. 

So?  Do you understand?  Start with a healthy regard for the Lord your God.  If you start there, He can do something in your heart and mind. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Who Likes Humble Pie?

(Proverbs 6:3 KJV)  Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

It is always acceptable to “humble” (7511) ourselves.  How do we do that?  This is a pretty extreme word.  It means to stamp or tread on.  Humility is a part of the Christian character that has been rejected by our world.  Humility is for slaves and servants.  Humility is for the weak and helpless.  At least that is the mantra of the pagan and “Christian” world.

Maybe that is why humility is part of being a real follower of Jesus.  You see, being a slave of Christ and a bond-servant of God is part of the package.  We are called to obedience and servanthood.  Even if we are the boss we are not allowed to lord it over others.

So?  God pride?  Got ego?  We all do, but part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to renew us into what He wants us to be not to make us better pagans. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Listening When We Are Not Listening

(Proverbs 5:7 KJV)  Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.

Notice how the admonitions here are active, not passive.  We are given direction.  We are to “hear” (listen NASB) (8085).  That is a positive action.  We are also not to “depart” (5493).  That is a negative action. 

We are given one thing to do and another not to do. 

As I was “reflecting” on what this verse said I realized that I had not been listening.  I thought it said not to depart from the path.  In reality it says not to depart from the “words” (561).  How easy it is to not listen even when we are listening.  How easy it is to not pay attention when the words are right in front of me. 

So?  Be alert.  Be aware of the ability we have to wander in our attention.  Be aware of how easy it is for us to assume we heard something when all we heard was what we wanted to hear.  God is still speaking.  Are we listening?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Check Your Grip

(Proverbs 4:6 KJV)  Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

Oh, how often we “forsake” (5800a) wisdom.  That is the “her” in this verse.  In looking at the definition of this word, one of the choices is “loose.”   That means to turn loose, to open your hand and let go of something that had been yours. 

Sometimes we let go because we are too weary to hang on.  That is what makes us fall asleep after a long day.  It is why we drop things when we are distracted.  I don’t think that is the issue here.

Sometimes we let go on purpose.  When our children reach a certain point we must give them freedom or they will never learn to fly.  When you are throwing a ball the key is to know the right moment to let go.  That could be the problem here.

I think here a more obvious reason for letting go, and the reason that “forsake” is a good translation, is that often we let go through carelessness.  We don’t pay attention.  We take things for granted.  We lose them. 

So?  Daily renewal is important.  That is why I think it is important to have a daily worship time, sometimes called “devotions,” so that we can daily focus on what God has to say for us.  It is a time to tighten our grip.  Grab hold for today, it is going to be a wild ride. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Don’t Look for Exceptions

(Proverbs 3:30 KJV)  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

Sometimes when we are given directions in our behavior we see qualifiers.  That happens again here.  In fact, in this verse there are two.  Let’s consider the first. 

Our NT thinking tells us not to “strive” (contend NASB) (7378).  You are familiar with some of the difficult teaching of Jesus such as,
(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
But notice that here it is qualified by “without cause” (2600).  That seems to infer that there might be times when contention is proper.  Our problems as fallible humans is that we think that means "usually" instead of "in exceptional cases."

So?  Be a peacemaker.  Assume you don’t have cause.  That is the default.  The other cheek is waiting to be turned. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Witness of Ignorance

(Proverbs 2:3 KJV)  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

This is given as an if/then statement but I think it implies command.  We must “lift” (5414) our “voice” (6963) to receive the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that is later promised.  If we do not ask we will not receive the information we need.  I could assume that we are supposed to ask questions if we are going to grasp the deeper ideas of life.

But it goes further than that.  In looking at the definition of this word I could not immediately see how it was translated “lift.”  In looking at the different ways it is used I think of “post” or “erect” as in a sign.  When we lift our voice I think it could mean that we are making our views known.  I think that part of what is involved here is making our quest for wisdom, if not public, at least not private and secretive.  We should let the world around us know our attitude toward what is the wisdom of God and what is the foolishness of the world.

So?  Even in our questions we are to be witnesses.  Don’t be afraid to admit ignorance or growth in knowledge and understanding.  People know we don’t know.  Be open about your journey today. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How Much Would Could a Woodchuck Chuck?

(Proverbs 1:30 KJV)  They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Who are the “they” of this verse?  Obviously this verse cannot stand in isolation.  You must go back and begin in verse 22 to get the context.  God is addressing people who have repeatedly refused to listen to His counsel and have rejected the call of God.  This verse shows us an important part of God’s character. 

God is God.  He can compel.  In some cases He will.  But He prefers that we “would” (would accept NASB) (14) what He has to offer.  Here we have the gracious offer of God, not only of salvation, but of wisdom and understanding.  We are not capable of redeeming ourselves but we are capable of accepting or rejecting the love and grace of God.

So?  Make sure that you have not drifted into that majority who reject the counsel of God.  It is a daily process, not something that coincides with a date written in the cover of your Bible.