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, August 31, 2013

The Law of Love

(Proverbs 31:26 KJV)  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

The KJV is more accurate here with the “law” (8451) of  “kindness” (2617a).  The NASB has “teaching of  kindness”.  I like it either way.  What about the Hebrew?  Literally this would be the “Torah of chesed.”

Torah we understand to be the law.  It is God’s unchanging standard. 

Chesed is a word that I love.  It is the Hebrew equivalent of agape.  My favorite translation is “loving kindness.”  It speaks of the love of God that He puts in our hearts and which is to guide and mold all of our behavior.

So?  Teach it.  Live it.  Be it.  If it isn’t there then it is possible that salvation hasn’t made a visit either. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

E Pluribus Unum

(Proverbs 30:27 KJV)  The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

As I read this today I found myself again wondering what was wise here.  In looking over the four verses that demonstrate wisdom I noticed that there was a characteristic in each that we might overlook but is useful.  Here we see that the bugs know how to work together.

They go out in “bands” (ranks NASB) (2686a).  The root meaning of this word is to divide.  In the few places it is used it seems to refer to being separated from others more than cut in half.  This is something we can learn.  We are Americans.  We are rugged individuals.  We are macho.  But should we be?  It would seem that we need to take lessons in being one.  Remember what it says on our coins and paper money, E pluribus unum

So?  Work on the skills that mean working with others:  listening, courtesy, patience.  They seem to be tools of wisdom. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wisdom of the Cork

(Proverbs 29:11 KJV)  A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

According to the NASB the “fool” (3684) “loses” (uttereth KJV) (3318) his “temper” (mind KJV) (7307).  Don’t get a picture of someone walking around saying, “I lost my temper, has anyone seen it?”  It is much more deliberate than that.  The KJV puts it much better.  The literal reading would be “sends forth all his spirit.” 

Have you heard it said, “If it feels good, do it.”  Fool talk.  “You only go round once in life.  Grab for all the gusto.”  Fool talk.  “Follow your heart.”  Fool talk. 
(Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Now that is the beginning of wise talk.

So?  Self control is a part of walking with Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is there to help but he does not have a supply of corks specially fitted for your mouth.  Do your part.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Standing Short

(Proverbs 28:12 KJV)  When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.

It would seem that we are not always expected to stand up and be counted.  We are familiar with the scene where Peter stands up to the Jewish leaders and declares,
(Acts 4:19-20 KJV)  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
We like to quote that about the need to be bold.

But here Solomon takes a different approach.  There is also a time to keep our head down.  The Holy Spirit will give us the insight into which approach to take.  There will be a time when the “wicked” (7563) are at the wheel.  There is a time when all they are looking for is martyrs, when you won’t be allowed to make a statement and be a witness.  Don’t feel any guilt when it is clearly time to go unnoticed. 

So?  The glory isn’t in being a statistic.  The glory is in being a faithful witness.  Learn to know the difference.  If you are watching you know that evil is on the rise.  Wisdom must be one of our weapons. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Face Books and Heart Books

(Proverbs 27:19 KJV)  As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

Water reflects.  It can also be easily stirred to distort the image.  Just as the water can distort the face, so the heart can distort the person.

Think about the things that can disturb the surface of the water.  You can have a breeze.  Someone can throw a rock.  A fish can jump.  All leave their mark.  In time it will smooth out.

Our hearts can disrupt our whole being and our whole world.  Anger and disappointment can influence our whole image.  Bitterness can get down and do long term damage.  These emotions and responses can work their way into our personalities and relationships.  The Holy Spirit and God’s grace can work to help us repent of our sin and forgive the wrongs of others.  Not only does this help, it is required.

So?  Let it go.  Pray for forgiveness.  Pray for grace.  Allow God to make your heart reflect the person He wants you to be, not the person your experience is molding.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Believe Him, Not Them

(Proverbs 26:25 KJV)  When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

Be careful whom you “believe” (539).  That would seem to be obvious, but how quickly we forget it.  We need to accept the fact that most people who go to the trouble of expressing an opinion have an agenda.  They have priorities and preferences.  Sometimes they are open about it.  Sometimes they hide them, but they exist.

We live in a day of cultural gurus.  We have “journalists” who spend their time shaping the news to influence your opinion.  They want you to respond a certain way.  This is nothing new in history but the mass media makes it easier to spread. 

We should be a people who believe what is true.  We should be a people who know what is true because we have read it, not because we have heard it.  We have a source book to consult in all matters that make a difference. 

So?  Use it.  Consult the source.  Don’t just read your Bible, search it and study it.  The answers are there but you won’t find them predigested for you on your favorite cable channel.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Troubled Fountains

(Proverbs 25:26 KJV)  A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

If you are standing up for righteousness you know what it is to be attacked.  Until recently that has been a personal thing for the most part.  Sometimes the attack comes from other church people.  Sometimes it has come from family members.  Sometimes it is just misunderstanding.  Other times it has been vicious.

It is moving to another level.  With the conquest of public education by the secular forces the war on Christians is becoming something backed by the courts and the government.  Did you read the headline about soldiers being court-martialed for sharing their faith?  Have you been reading about how the Catholic church had to withdraw from the foster care system because they refused to cave in to the homosexual lobby?  Have you been paying attention?

How we respond makes a difference.  This verse warns us against taking the easy way out.  It tells us that we become “troubled” (trampled NASB) (7511) and “corrupt” (polluted NASB) (7843).  That doesn’t sound good.

So?  Start preparing your mind and heart.  Are you going to stand up and be counted or are you going to betray your Lord and Savior.  If it sneaks up on you and you blow it, repent and get on with life because it will come again. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sit with Care

(Proverbs 24:1 KJV)  Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.

I noticed that this chapter and the previous chapter both start with warnings about how we look at people around us.  In the previous verse it seems to warn that they are going to get you.  In this verse it is more general.  In the previous chapter it talks of people of power.  Here it is “evil.”  The KJV has one word (7451) and the NASB has another (7463a).  Both are bad.

Some people are to be avoided.  If you can’t avoid them then walk with care.  Understand that they think different than you do.  Understand that they have different priorities.  Pound it into your soul that they serve a different God.  That is not a good thing.  There are times when diversity is evil.

So?  Choose whom you will serve.  As part of that choosing, decide who you will spend time with.  When you can’t choose your company, be salt and light.  Maybe they will avoid you. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Evil Eye

(Proverbs 23:6 KJV)  Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

I find the KJV interesting here.  It translates this literally as “evil” (7451) “eye” (5869) where the NASB has “selfish man.”  I have heard the term and always thought of it as superstitious nonsense.  In doing a little research I find the idea is common in many cultures and very strong in the Middle East.  It seems to be understood as signifying someone who is wishing bad things on you.  It can be as simple as bad thoughts or as complex as casting spells and resorting to witchcraft. 

Be sensitive to people who have something against you.  This can be envy, jealousy or any form of hatred.  Don’t spend time with them. 

So?  I guess it goes without saying that we should also not be this kind of person.  If there is someone you wish evil toward, you are living in sin.  Avoid people like that.  Don’t become one.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thorn Dodging

(Proverbs 22:5 KJV)  Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

This makes me think of a parable Jesus used.  It has different names, the parable of the sower, of the seeds, of the soils.  One of the dangers is “thorns” (6791).  Jesus takes the time to explain this parable and in reference to the thorns he clarifies.
(Matthew 13:22 KJV)  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
This is talking about someone on the road of salvation.  He had been born.  He had grown.  Then he took his eyes off the prize.  “Thorns” (6791) began to choke out the early growth.  Jesus clarifies what He means by thorns.

There is one difference between us and a seed.  A seed can make no choices.  We can.  A stalk of wheat or barley cannot decide to move.  We can.  We must.  That is the message for us. 

So?  Be alert for things that begin to choke out the joy of the Lord.  Be careful of activities that begin to water down your obedience.  Grace and the Holy Spirit will give you all the warnings you need and the ability to act on them. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marriage Counseling 101

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

Is this Solomon’s version of marriage counseling? 

It presents some problems.  Does this mean that I am to put up a tent in the back yard (since I don’t have a flat roof) and move out of the house?  How do you “dwell" (live NASB) (3427) on a “housetop" (roof NASB) (1406)?   I guess it could be done in Southern California or Florida.  Homes in Israel had flat roofs and were actually used like another room of the house.  For us it might be like a large patio or balcony. 

The point being made is the contrast of a pleasant, comfortable home and one full of conflict.  One point that needs to hit home is that the atmosphere of a home is established by the people, not the architecture.  This is another place where the words talk about husbands and wives but the meaning is extended to everyone.

So?  What kind of home are you working to establish?  Don’t act in such a way that other members of the family wish they could move out.  In our culture that has become too easy. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blocked Hearing

(Proverbs 20:12 KJV)  The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Do you see the little distinction being made here?  Or hear?  A normal human being includes an “ear” (241) on each side of the head.  They are expected to work together.  Think about the things an ear does that go beyond “hearing” (8085) as we normally define it. 

Your ears tell you direction.  Have you ever had one ear stopped up and heard a threatening noise?  You can’t tell which direction it came from.  You have partially stopped hearing.  You are handicapped.  You are at risk. 

Think about this spiritually.  Are the spiritual ears God gave you working as designed?  Often we do things to dull our physical hearing.  We have sound cancelling headphones.  At a shooting range people wear ear protection.  These both tend to be selective.  They mute certain sounds and allow others. 

So?  In what ways are you blocking the ability to hear what God is saying?  We think it is funny when someone puts there fingers in their ears, looks away and says, “I can’t hear you.”  God does not have that kind of sense of humor. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Forgive with Awareness

(Proverbs 19:11 KJV)  The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

As I read through this verse I was struck by the difference between the KJV and NASB. 
(Proverbs 19:11 NAS77)  A man's discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
What caught my attention was the word “overlook” (5674a) in the NASB that was rendered “pass over” in the KJV.  This use of the word in regard to anger and forgiveness made me think of Israel and the Passover.  So I looked it up.

The verse I wanted was,
(Exodus 12:23 KJV)  For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
What I found interesting was that the word I was looking into was not “pass over” but “pass through.”  It was used to refer to God on an inspection trip.  Thus the NASB word of “overlook” gets the meaning better.  God watches what we do.  He is not ignorant.  Our joy is that when we confess and repent the blood of Jesus allows Him to forgive.

So?  We are children of God.  We were created in His image and have been restored to that image.  Thus, we are aware of people doing us wrong.  We are not blind.  We forgive anyway.  Time for application.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

That’s Just Great

(Proverbs 18:16 KJV)  A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

We have “great men” (1419) in our world.  The actual word is “great.”  It is defined in all of the ways that we would understand greatness.  It has a nuance of large numbers.  It can mean profound influence.  It can mean loud or old. 

It seems to be saying that your gifts can put you in a position where you can exert influence.  This starts in the church.  The purpose of spiritual gifts is to edify the saints.  It moves beyond that.  Think about our educational system.  It was established by believers to prepare the clergy for the foolishness of preaching.  Harvard.  Yale.  Princeton.  They were investments to train ministers.  Over time they were hijacked by other disciplines.  Teaching the masses to read began in the Sunday Schools of the industrial revolution.  Hospitals were started by believers. 

So?  What way will you touch your world?  Don’t leave the influence to the celebrities and politicians.  God has an influence for you to exert. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It Starts at the Beginning

(Proverbs 17:14 KJV)  The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

We have more control at the “beginning” (7225) than any other time in “strife” (4066).  Notice that this does not try to say that there will be no conflict.  This is not about peace, it is about self control.  We have the expression, “Nip it in the bud.”  That is what we touch on here.

You can feel it coming.  You know the tension is building.  That is the time to make up your mind about the storm.  If I check the weather and see 75% chance of rain and still go play golf, I have no one to blame but myself for the results. 

So?  Keep your eyes open.  Stay alert.  What is going on today?  Tomorrow?  Plan ahead when the storm clouds appear on the horizon. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Character Forming Works

(Proverbs 16:3 KJV)  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

There is an indication of cause and effect in this verse.  First, accept that the Holy Spirit is the Prime Mover.  He speaks to us.  He works in us. 

Having said that, one point that comes across to me in this verse is that there is hope for people who have a hard time with their attitudes but have a desire to obey.  This is saying that some times it is a matter of developing a habit and the mind will follow. 

Why do we have rules?  What is one purpose of the Law?  It gives us guidelines in how to act.  Have people mentioned that your language is a bit too colorful?  Your four letter words seem natural to you.  Everyone around you is doing it.  You don’t see how you can change.  You change by disciplining your behavior.  You “commit” (1556) your “works” (4639).  You consciously put your words into discipline. 

A strange thing happens.  Over time your vocabulary changes.  The habitual responses change.  Through your obedience the Holy Spirit helps you get “established” (3559).

So?  Rules have at least two purposes.  One is to keep you from the actual sin.  The other is to develop your character by guiding your behavior.  Let it happen. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lips of Service

(Proverbs 15:7 KJV)  The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

Let’s face it.  Some people are worth listening to, others can’t even tell time accurately.  You have met both kinds.  You have probably had supervisors of both kinds.  Welcome to life.  What is it that makes the difference?  It isn’t education in itself.  Having a Ph.D. does not guarantee that you have anything to say worth listening to.  Training?  Age?  Experience?  All have value but none guarantee wisdom. 

So we don’t listen.

But you come across people who seem to have a handle on life.  You know that what they have to say is of value.  My guess is that even if they do not claim a faith in Jesus, you will find that their basic values and sense of priorities come from the Bible. 

So?  Start building your foundation.  That will help you set your priorities.  Knowing what is important can help with today’s small and large decisions. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Living in Un-denial

(Proverbs 14:2 KJV)  He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.

I was struck again by the place of fear in the spiritual walk.  Let me say it again.  Every time the word is used in Proverbs as a noun it is a part of the phrase “fear of the Lord.”  When it is used as a verb it is always as an action of righteous people. 

And the unrighteous?  You would think that they would have more to fear.  They do, but they live in denial.  Here it says he “despises” (959) God.  That means to look down on God.  How can someone look down on God?  The same way they would regard a child who tries to correct them.  Surely you have had that happen.  You do something you know it wrong and a child points it out.  How humiliating.  How lacking in fear.

Fear is healthy. 

So?  Next time you sing a chorus about Jesus being your friend, realize that He is also an object of healthy fear. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fear or Permission?

(Proverbs 13:13 KJV)  Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

Why would someone fear a “commandment” (4687)?  After all, it is just some words.  We have a saying, “Rules are made to be broken.”  We also have come up with “It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.”  Our entire legal system is based on finding ways around the law.  What is to fear?

He “fears” ( 3372a) because he understands.  If I don’t read the label I don’t know the correct dose.  If I don’t know the correct dose I take or eat what I feel like.  It is like the candy that says on the label, “A fat free food.”  True, but it is all sugar.  If you understand that and have a healthy fear, you are good to go.  If you don’t, watch out.

So?  Understand and fear the standards and commands of God.  That will help you grasp the awesome glory of grace and forgiveness.  It will encourage you to embrace the obedience of a righteous life.  It will bring eternity within reach. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Heavy Hearts

(Proverbs 12:25 KJV)  Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Sometimes the pictures etched in the KJV are insightful.  In this verse the NASB talks about “anxiety” (1674).  The KJV calls it “heaviness.”  We all know what anxiety is.  It is a good, clinical word that express a condition but doesn’t “heaviness” get the real feeling across?  Part of the meaning of this is “anxious care.”  Have you every had a person or a situation that was dragging you down?  You couldn’t get it off your mind.  It might effect everything you do.

Perhaps you know someone who is showing this in every line of their face, every move of their body.  Notice the second half of the verse.  It may be time for you to give them a “good” (2896a) “word” (8055). 

So?  Be a person of good words.  I am guessing that there is someone in your circle that needs what you have to give.  Sometimes if we can get concerned about others and become a helper it will lift the heaviness of our own heart.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Safe Landings

(Proverbs 11:3 KJV)  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

As I write this a recent plane crash is fresh in my mind.  It crashed while landing in San Francisco.  When you saw what the plane looked like after the crash you wondered how anyone survived, but the death toll was amazingly low. 

I don’t know what the investigation has or will show but early comments included a statement that one of the guidance systems of the airport was turned off.  Since it was a clear day I don’t see how that would be the problem but you could hear the lawyers gearing up to sue the airport.  There was also a comment that a junior pilot was at the controls.  Who knows what really happened.  It sounds like pilot error to me.

In our lives we have a real tendency to pilot error.  When we rely on our own judgment, which is flawed, we have problem with what is here called the “perverseness” (falseness NASB77, crookedness Updated NASB) (5558) of the “transgressors” (treacherous NASB) (898).  The pilot trusted his instruments and his eyes.  One or both were wrong.  We trust our instincts and our eyes.  Often we are wrong.  We need the guidance system of God’s standards to keep us safe.

So?  Pray for the victims of the crash.  Check your own guidance system.  Are you keeping it up to date?  Don’t crash and burn when a safe landing is possible. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Security Screening

(Proverbs 10:9 KJV)  He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

Security is a big issue today.  Many people seem to be willing to give up their liberty in order to feel safe.  Our trust is misplaced.  This verse is telling us that true security comes from walking in righteousness.  The word “surely” (securely NASB) (983) goes to a root word meaning “trust.”  The trust that it is referring to is not trust in “honesty is the best medicine” but trust in the Lord.   To be honest, honesty doesn’t always pay in the short term.  Hopefully you are not living for the short term but for eternity. 

So we walk straight.  We walk pure.  We walk “uprightly" (in integrity NASB) (8537).  We walk in the way of the Lord.  That means we live “surely” (securely NASB) (983) .  This is the “trust” of Proverbs. 
(Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Understand Fear

(Proverbs 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Usually when we refer to this verse we focus on the first part.  It is a powerful statement, but only the “beginning” (8462) .  There are a lot of questions that come up that are complex and require more thinking.  What is the place of capital punishment?  Can Christians support the Second Amendment?  Why did God command the destruction of cities? 

We tend to try to answer these questions on our own instead of really looking to the Lord.  Many of the issues we struggle with are locked up in His holiness when we are trying to look at His love.  God is love, true.  He is also holy and that opens a whole vista of modifications on the ideas we have cemented into our thinking.  A holy God cannot accept sinful behavior.  His love does not trump His holiness.

So?  Drop the squishy, popular idea of God being a warm Teddy Bear.  He is a holy God.  Remember this verse starts with fear and ends with understanding.  Life is like that. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Than a Song

(Proverbs 8:31 KJV)  Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

What is God’s general attitude, expressed through Wisdom personified, toward His creation?  If you have read the creation account recently you have seen how repeatedly God refers to what He has done by saying, “It was good.”  Here we see an attitude of “rejoicing” (7832).  Two times in two verses it mentions “rejoicing” (7832).

As I was comparing the KJV and the NASB I was trying to figure out the relationship between the Hebrew and the English.  A literal, word by word, translation would go something like “laughing, joking and playing in the world of his land.”  It is hard to figure that one but it is clear that God is rejoicing and wants to enjoy the world, and people He has made.

This is just more evidence that God is on our side.  He wants us to have the best.  He loves us.  At the same time He is Holy and Just.  That takes us back to sin, redemption, resurrection and the whole gospel.

So?  If you are having a bad day, remind yourself that God did not intend it that way and is reaching out to help you rejoice with Him.  It is in the Bible.
(Psalms 118:24 KJV)  This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
And you thought it was just a song. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Quiet “No” Is Still “No”

(Proverbs 7:11 KJV)  (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:

It would seem that there are different ways to be “rebellious” (5637).  This type of rebellion is conveyed in the KJV when it translates this word “stubborn”.  There is another one (4784) that means to be contentious.  You see them both used in Psalms
(Psalms 78:8 KJV)  And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn (5637) and rebellious (4784) generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
One is passive rebellion, the other overt.  Both are condemned.

So?  Are you one of those that resists the leading of God quietly or are you a loud protestor.  Neither is obedience.  Neither is the way of righteousness.  Consider the state of our soul. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Just Nod Your Head and Smile

(Proverbs 6:24 KJV)  To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

The last phrase in the verse talks about the “flattery” (smooth” (2513b) off the “tongue” (3956) NASB) of the “strange woman” (adulteress NASB) (5237).  I am going to assume that none of us are traveling down the road of adultery and look at the figurative uses of these words.  If you do that it could be written as the “slippery language of the unfamiliar.” 

Have you ever had a time when you were not sure what someone was talking about and you just nodded your head and acted like you got it?  Come on, be honest now.  No one else is looking.  Well, at least I have.  Sometimes, when they are discussing the difference between thick and thin crust pizza, it is no big deal.  But if they are talking about diversity, you might want to get in gear because you need to understand what they mean.

So?  Be careful not to agree to things you don’t understand.  There is a lot of new jargon coming down the pike and much of it is the same old paganism in a new robe. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Old Dogs and New Hearts

(Proverbs 5:12 KJV)  And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say.  I am not so sure of that.  If we could see the past clearly it would surely help us change our choices now.  After all, we are supposed to learn from our mistakes.  I think that too often we do what the psychologists call “rationalization.”  We find all kinds of excuses and explanations for why we were not successful.

The point that could be made from this verse is that as long as we are alive, it is not too late to look back and say, “I was wrong.”  It is called repentance.

This is where the patience of God comes on strong.  His desire is that we come to the point of awareness and honesty.  Sure, I “hated” (8130) “instruction” (4148).  The question is, am I ready now or am I still into playing games?

Remember the words of Peter
(2 Peter 3:9 KJV)  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
So?  You can teach an old dog new tricks and you can teach an old sinner, if he has a new heart.  Get in your application if you have been putting it off. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Time to Volley

(Proverbs 4:15 KJV)  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

In the English language we have a way of speaking that is called the imperative.  In the imperative the subject is often understood, not stated in words.  That is the case in this verse.  We have four direct commands beginning with “avoid” (6544a).  We never have a noun because it is understood to be “you.”  Thus the verse becomes “You avoid,...”

As I read through this chapter this month I saw this repeatedly.  God is speaking in the imperative.  He is giving commands.  He is saying “You....”  He is laying the groundwork for getting to wisdom. 

The ball is tossed into our court.  It is now depending on us to return the serve.

So?  You will never return the serve unless you take a swing.  Obedience and the path to righteous living is based on a learning curve of experience.  Here comes the next one.... 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Candlepower or Octane?

(Proverbs 3:26 KJV)  For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

If you have an NASB you see that the margin tells you “confidence” could also mean “at your side.”  That got me looking at the meaning of the word and it’s root.  It was one of those “What?” moments.  The root for the word means “stupidity” and when you read “fool” or “folly” in Proverbs it is another spin off from that root.  This word itself is translated “loins” or “flank” in the sense of a part of the sacrificial animal.  It seems to be another word that depends on the context. 

If we put our trust in the Lord, make Him that which is at our side, we have confidence and a reason for confidence.  If we place anything else in that spot we have folly.  It is like trying to run your car on wax.  It works well for candles on a cake but doesn’t do much to move a huge chunk of steel.

So?  What do you want to depend on?  Whom do you want at your side when push comes to shove?  At the moment of crisis it may be to late to look for backup.  Prepare now. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Evil Is as Evil Does

(Proverbs 2:12 KJV)  To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

God’s wisdom and the products of that wisdom will “deliver” (5337) us.  From what?  There are two things that God is protecting us from here.  The first is the “way” (1870) of “evil” (7451b).  This is an internal, personal deliverance.  This is the result of following the right path.  Daily, in fact moment by moment, we make decisions that determine whether we will walk on the way that Isaiah 35:8 calls the Highway of Holiness or whether we will start down the way of evil.

We are given the power to make decisions.  Those decisions have consequences.  You may not see or feel them quickly, but they are there.  It is possible the product of your decisions may not emerge until your children are out making decisions, but they will come.

So?  Keep your feet on the straight and narrow.  If you step off and don’t crash, rejoice, repent and get back on because the protection may be withdrawn if you persist. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The End of the Defined King James Bible

These publishers call their effort the King James Bible and use KJB instead of King James Version with a KJV.  This reflects their core belief that it is the only real Bible.  They belong to the group of people that I would call “King James Only.”  I do not say this to discredit them, only so you will understand their convictions.

What is unique about this publication is that the editors concede the outdated, archaic nature of the KJV but still claim it is the best.  In order to make it understandable they have gone through and given footnotes at key places to clarify the meanings.  Thus words such as “froward,” “suffer” and “conversation” are explained.  Thus they retain the traditional text and provide a new translation at the same time. 

They also explain at the beginning of each book the old words “ye” and “thou” and how they are used.  At the end of each book they review the endings “eth” and “est” that were used three hundred years ago.

The defining of words has some interesting choices.  They do not only define archaic words but also words that our illiterate generation would not know.  For instance in Chapter 6 they define mischief, discord and calamity.  But then they do not define reproach.  I might make different editorial choices but that is a matter of opinion not a judgement.

I found it helpful.  If you like the KJV but find that in places it does not seem clear, this might be a tool for you.  The one I have was given to my wife by friends who honestly believe that the King James is the only accurate translation.  I find it a valuable part of my library.

I have no vested interest in plugging this but if you want to look at it more you can check out the website of The Bible for Today.  If you are ordering, I would really recommend getting the genuine leather.  The one I have is very high quality materials.  The print is simple but the book itself is constructed to last, look good and feel good in your hand.

Grace and peace.

Don’t Be a Spoiler

(Proverbs 1:13 KJV)  We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:

From reading other scripture, “wealth” (1952) is not the problem.  The problem is how we attain it, how we use it and the attitude we have toward it.  This is shown by the second term, “spoil” (7998).

Much of what we accumulate could be considered “spoil” (7998).  This is the kind of wealth that is stolen from others.  Socialists would like us to think that all wealth fits in this category, but the Bible does not agree with that.  The Bible condemns unjust gain or quick gain just as it does sloth.  Both can condemn a person. 

So?  Honest work is the standard of believers.  Idle wealth and living off of inheritance becomes a real problem.  Taking advantage would be condemned as immoral even if it is legal.  Take the high road because while all roads may have lead to Rome they don’t lead to heaven.