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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guard Duty

(Proverbs 31:27 KJV)  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

As you read over this chapter it becomes clear that wives and mothers are not just confined to the home and doing menial tasks.  We see businesses being started and run.  We see executive decisions being made and advice being given.  That being obvious it also points out one of the important responsibilities of the wife.  She “looks well” (6822) to her responsibilities in the “household” (1004).

“Looks well” (6822) is the word that is commonly translated “watchman.”  In English this seems like a casual oversight to keep things running smoothly.  In Hebrew it has the idea of a guard against enemies and destructive forces.  I think this is a key role in maintaining the family and the home.  I would assume that the husband also shares in this but here it lays it at the feet of the matriarch. 

So?  Ladies, accept the charge.  Gentlemen, respect and support the role.  It is vital to the well-being of you, your children and your future. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stupid Can Be Good Enough

(Proverbs 30:2 KJV)  Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

Being “brutish” (stupid NASB) (1198) is different than not having “understanding” (998).  For the moment lets assume that ignorance is the same as stupidity.  It isn’t, but often looks the same and can produce the same results.  Think of how we are told to be like children.   Here is one reference.
(Matthew 18:3 KJV)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
When it comes to knowledge and experience a child is lacking.  They are ignorant.  It can even seem to be stupidity.  They are naive and often trusting when they should not be.

But a child can understand.  They can know when they have been had even if they don’t know how.

This is part of the reason we talk about the heart as well as the mind.  Our popular terminology is that Jesus comes into our hearts.  We also talk about transformed minds, but it starts in the heart.

So?  You can have enough understanding to be pleasing in God’s eye at any level of knowledge.  You don’t need to have hundreds of verses memorized and a college degree in theology to live an obedient life.  Go with what you have. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wisdom Prep

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

This might be another “chicken or the egg” situation.  Which comes first, the wisdom or the hold?  Here it says the “wise man” (2450) “keepeth” (holds NASB) (7623a) his temper “til afterwards” (back NASB) (268).  It is possible that the way to deal with your anger is to seek wisdom first, not self control.

Sometimes getting angry is the result of lack of understanding.  Sometimes it is because we are taking a short term view.  Sometimes it is because we don’t remember what happened before or we are not paying attention to the stress someone else is going through.  A little wisdom can go a long way in helping us to help instead of lash out.

So?  Proverbs repeatedly tells us to get or acquire wisdom.  It is something we can target.  Of course that requires plugging our souls in, patching our mind and feeding them.  Go for it. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Petroleum Heart Jelly?

(Proverbs 28:14 KJV)  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

Think of “fear” (6342) as a softening oil or lotion.  Here it has the healthy benefit of keeping our hearts sensitive and pliable.  Stop in the section of the drug store or market that has skin care products.  You will find shelf after shelf of products making claims to keep your skin young and pliable.  As I get older my feet are becoming an issue.  I am looking at expensive creams and such.  Do you know what my podiatrist recommends?  Petroleum Jelly.  Yes, that stuff.  It doesn’t make sense that the product of crude oil can keep my feet in shape.

It might not make sense to you that a little fear can keep you heart in shape.  Take it from the expert.  Fear God and keep a healthy heart.

So?  Don’t worry about lightening bolts.  Worry about eternity in hell.  Both can be avoided by a little bit of healthy perspective, sometimes called fear. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Flunking the Test

(Proverbs 27:21 KJV)  As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

The NASB adds a word here.  Compare the following,
(Proverbs 27:21 NAS77)  The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is tested by the praise accorded him.
“Tested” is not in the Hebrew so we have a simple parallel statement here.  The KJV is much better because it follows the Hebrew with no additions.  As a “fining pot” (crucible NASB) (4715) is to silver, as a “furnace” (3564a) is to gold, so “praise” (4110) is to a man.  This seems to be a common construction in Hebrew, leaving us to fill in the similarities.

I see these little additions sneaking in all through modern translations.  The purpose is to clarify and that is a noble goal but it still tends to adulterate the word of God. 

Take another place that comes to mind and here the KJV is just as guilty as the NASB.
(Ephesians 5:22 KJV)  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
In the Greek the word “submit” is not present.  It is inferred from the previous verse.  Adding a word to clarify actually waters the truth down.  What it should say is, “Wive, be to your husbands as you are to the Lord.”  This is more powerful because it does not limit the relationship to submission.  It includes all of the nuances of love and commitment.

So?  Look for the translation and understanding that takes the harder road.  It may demand more, but it is the path of righteousness. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Applying the Scientific Method

(Proverbs 26:27 KJV)  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

I teach history.  In spite of that I tell people that one of the most important concepts for people to learn is the scientific method.  Why?  Because you can apply it to every academic discipline and to all aspects of life.  It is a great tool for thinking and making decisions.

To laymen and dishonest scientists the scientific method is sometimes portrayed as a one time thing.  You have an idea.  You state your hypothesis.  You test it and get results.  Task done, right?  The debate over global warming is over, right?  Wrong.  This is an unending cycle because you take what you learned in that one test and apply it to still unanswered questions.  You require someone else to run the same test and see if they get the same results. 

You make future decisions based on past results, not on the dreams that motivated the experiment. 

So?  Have you fallen into your own pit or been hit by your own loose cannonball?  Benefit from the experience and try something different.  That seems obvious but it must not be because most of us keep doing the same things and wondering, “What happened?” 

Friday, October 25, 2013

To or From?

(Proverbs 25:23 KJV)  The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

This first phrase about the “north” (6828) “wind” (7307) has a lot of variation in translation.  The KJV makes the wind blow the “rain” (1653) away.  The NASB has it coming in.  Which is it?

It really doesn’t matter because it varies based on where you live.  At least I imagine that to be true.  The north wind produces one result in Israel.  In another part of the world it might produce different results.  The point being made here is that there are certain actions which you know will bring certain results.  Location makes a difference and you know that.  If you drive 65 mph through a quiet neighborhood you can expect red lights in your mirror.  If you do it on the interstate you will only get bored looks.  You know the difference.

So?  Apply what you know.  Your life have certain “north winds” that produce certain results.  You know it.  Act accordingly.  Generally speaking a police officers doesn’t care if you knew what the speed limit was or not.  You still get the ticket. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Course of Study

(Proverbs 24:2 KJV)  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.

For the evil in our society it us normal to “studieth” (devise NASB) (1897) “destruction” (violence NASB) (7701).  I like the KJV here.  This is their focus.  This is an area that they have endless creativity.  This is their downfall.

There are a couple of places where the verb appears that are commonly memorized verses in scripture.
(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

(Psalms 1:2 KJV)  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The word is translated “meditate” in both cases.  It means to take your mental faculties and apply them with discipline.

So?  The evil have a focus.  What is yours?  Are you making yourself available and living your life in such a way that God can use you?  A good question for the day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Urge to Purge

(Proverbs 23:8 KJV)  The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

This is not a verse you memorize and quote in church.  It seems a bit crude but it reminds me of the miraculous way in which God has designed our bodies.  Our physical bodies have a way of recognizing what does not belong and getting rid of it.  If you have ever had a touch of food poisoning you know what I mean.  Once I throw up, I rapidly move to feeling fine.

Spiritually we need to allow it to work the same way.  When the Holy Spirit is working in your life you see it happening.  Have you ever been watching something and it becomes offensive?  That isn’t just bad taste or sloppy acting.  It could very well be the Holy Spirit telling you that what you are seeing is poison to your spirit.  Continue to watch and the poison has a chance to work.

The same can apply to what you read, the people you hang with or places you go.

So?  Develop your spiritual sensitivity.  Listen to that sense of inner rightness that comes from knowing God’s standards and expectations.  When something makes you spiritually queasy, it is time to get rid of it and move on.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lending Trouble

(Proverbs 22:7 KJV)  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Flip the obvious over here.  If we are warned against borrowing we are also warned against lending.  We are not to enslave others.  God’s economics are not natural to us.

Does this mean that people will never have needs?  No, but we should be very cautious in loaning money.  Usually, if there is a short term crisis, we should be giving or sharing, not loaning.  If God has blessed us there is a reason.
(Ephesians 4:28 KJV)  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
The key is meeting needs not desires.

So?  If you see a need, meet it if you can.  It could be that the real need is for someone to say “no” to waste or sloth. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Learning Styles

(Proverbs 21:11 KJV)  When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

One of the silly statements in education is “Every child can learn every day.”  The goal is not silly.  The silliness is in thinking it is profound in itself.  For many children it is learning the same thing over and over again with no progress.  For some it is learning things that have no use.  This verse in proverbs talks about learning and give us three styles of learning:  Pain, fear and listening.

A “scorner" (scoffer NASB) (3917b) only learns through pain.  The “simple" (naive NASB) (6612a) only learn through fear, by observing the pain of others.  Then we have the “wise” (2449).  We all consider ourselves in this group because we don’t think of ourselves in the other two.  We know we are in this group if we are listening.  The listener “receives” (3947) what God has to offer.

So?  Take your pick.  Pain, fear or listening.  God is striving to communicate.  He is trying to reach each of us.  Pick your style. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


(Proverbs 20:14 KJV)  It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Other places in Proverbs it reminds us that “naught” (bad NASB) (7451a) exists.  The Hebrew word literally means bad or evil.  That is not the point here.  What I am taking to the bank today is a reminder that I should not automatically take someone else’s evaluation of people or events.  As an example there are some people who will make a blanket statement that war is bad.  Always.  They will claim there is no reason to go to war.  If they are talking about World War I or the Spanish American War, they have some basis for their statement.  If they are talking about World War II or the American Civil War then they don’t have a clue to reality. 

The same is true of people.  Don’t judge people based solely on the opinion of someone else unless you have reason to believe in the wisdom, discernment and honesty of the evaluator.  Even then be careful.  Remember that we, as salt of the earth, are considered unhealthy to the anti-God crowd.  Remember how the progressive media equates fundamentalist Christian with fundamentalist Muslim. 

So?  Do your own thinking and research.  Evaluate everything on the Word of God.  There are no exceptions. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Calamity Jack

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

A “foolish” (3684) “son” (1121) is equated with a nagging “wife” (802).  That I can understand.  Both make life miserable.  It also seems to indicate that the offspring is a greater tragedy than the spouse.  Notice that the son is destructive while the wife is just extremely irritating.  I would think it would be the other way around, after all the son will eventually move out the wife is until “death do us part.”

Is it possible that fathers are destroyed by the foolishness of their children because they had a hand in training them?  You wife has a developed personality when you were married.  I guess you could make it worse but ultimately being a nag is her issue before God, not yours.  When you see that your son or daughter have no common sense or intellectual foundation you don’t really have any one else to blame.

So?  If it is not too late, get into the parent role immediately.  That starts with setting the example.  If your children are grown, it may be too late, it may not.  Do the best you can.  Repent and confess as needed.  God will forgive.  Hope that your children will. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Lot of Choice

(Proverbs 18:18 KJV)  The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

Ultimately this verse is not about gambling.  It is about the sovereignty of God.  It is a reminder that “luck” is a pagan concept.  Luck says that God is not involved.  Grace and blessings say that God is involved.

I face circumstances in my life that I cannot change.  We all do.  Often we tend to beat ourselves up over them or ignore them.  It could be something as moral free as being left handed in a world of right handed scissors.  It could be as tragic as being born without a key body part.  It could be somewhere in between.  God knows all that.  There comes a time when we need the wisdom to accept what we can’t change, quit complaining, stop making excuses and work with what we have.  In the words of this verse, “cease” (put an end NASB) (7673a) the “contentions” (strife NASB) (4066). 

David put it this way, here in two translations.
(Psalms 46:10 KJV)  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

(Psalms 46:10 NAS77)  "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
So?  Work hard.  Play hard.  Do it without stress.  Enjoy the serendipitous life.  It is a lot to ask, I know. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Price of Foolishness

(Proverbs 17:16 KJV)  Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?

This is one of the big questions.  Why do fools have so much power and wealth?  Think of the celebrities you know about.  How many of them could pass a basic test on general knowledge?  How many might pass but seem to lack any common sense or decency?  Do the names Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton ring any bells?  All I really know about them is what I read in the headlines.  I never read the articles.  Life is too short.  What is there about a “fool” (3684)?

One of the patterns I have read about and observed is that wealth has a pattern.  One generation works hard at the right time and becomes wealthy.  They often live frugally and build successful businesses.  They leave their children the money but don’t train them to deal with it and they squander it. 

One of my observations is that God did not make me rich because He knew I could not handle it.

So?  Try not to be too envious of those who are wealthy.  Look at how their children turn out.  Look how often they end up in some kind of rehab.  Living in daily contact with the living God brings a different type of riches, but riches they are. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Every Cloud Has a Favor Lining

(Proverbs 16:15 KJV)  In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

Don’t we usually think of a “cloud” (5645) as a problem instead of a “favor” (7522)?  That is not the case here.  Clouds can represent the promise of rain and rain is what brings life to the seeds of spring. 

Think of clouds here as the promise of relief.  Elijah sent his servant out.  He came back six times with nothing to report but frustration.  Then...
(1 Kings 18:44 KJV)  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
Part of the encouragement here is the reminder that God is in control and the understanding that He can work things out in ways beyond our imagination. 

So?  Got clouds?  Roll up the windows.  Take an umbrella.  Look for the silver favor that might line it. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Do What You Know

(Proverbs 15:9 KJV)  The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

We do not need to know every subtle bend in the road to avoid evil.  We have clear commands given in the word.  If we follow those obvious commands the subtle variations and blind spots will be covered.  Remember when Jesus was talking to the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25.  Both of them asked the same question.
(Matthew 25:44 KJV)  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Both were prepared to take care of Jesus because that was the obvious move to make.  Only the righteous sheep obeyed when they didn’t think Jesus was watching.

So?  To get a driver’s license you need a basic knowledge of the law.  You don’t need to know the law code numbers or exact wording.  To live for Jesus you also need to know the basics.  The manual has been provided. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


(Proverbs 14:4 KJV)  Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

How are Christians supposed to treat their animals?  If you think the Bible is silent, you have not been paying attention.  As in most issues we are to be somewhere between the fanatics of PETA and the sadism of a Michael Vick.  Animals are not our brothers.  They are part of our stewardship.

You can start in creation when Adam was charged with overseeing what God had made.  There is at least one other place the issue comes up in Proverbs.  Check Proverbs 12:10.  As in issues like education, health care, and concern for the poor the contributions of Christians are often ignored and suppressed by modern culture.  For instance, William Wilberforce who led the fight against slavery in the British Empire was also involved in the beginning of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

So?  We are complete as children of God.  The love and compassion that regeneration gives us are exhibited toward all of creation.  Don’t think of animals as your children or brothers but they are a part of your responsibility.  And it is okay to love them. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013


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

How does “understanding” (7922) “giveth” (produce NASB) (5414) God’s approval?  How does this relate to grace and salvation being a free gift?  Very well, actually.

When I look at the way the word “giveth” (produce NASB) (5414) is explained in the Hebrew dictionaries there is a running theme in all of the definitions and that is the idea of being something given.  So the idea of grace being a free gift of God is entwined in the word.  The part where the Bible differs from some people’s doctrine is that God chooses to give the gift of His favor because we have chosen to give Him enough attention to what He is teaching to develop “understanding” (7922).  If that goes against what you believe then keep reading your Bible in the context of all the proof texts you can quote for me.

So?  God gives.  We cannot earn.  It is beyond us.  The question is, “How does God decide to bestow the gifts?”  Seek understanding. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Giving Lip

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

It is amazing how often our “lips” (8193) get us in trouble.  It is expressed in different ways.  James talks about the tongue. 
(James 3:6 KJV)  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Jesus taught that the “wicked” (evil NASB) (7141a) behavior came from the heart, through the mouth.
(Matthew 15:18 KJV)  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
The point is that we need to learn to control what we say.  It is assumed that we must first make sure that our heart has been made right.  We call that regeneration.  Then we can do something about the things that come out.

So?  Is your heart right?  Is your mouth right?  One reflects the other, or it should. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

That’s Rich

(Proverbs 11:4 KJV)  Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

What is this about “riches” (1952) that don’t “profit” (3276)?  Isn’t that part of the definition of being rich?  We need to redefine our definition of what that means. 

Being wealthy is not automatically condemned by God.  Some people are confused at that because of all the class warfare being pushed in our culture.  Some are befuddled because the church often adopts the values of the social left that enjoys blaming the “greedy rich” for all the problems of our world.  It is not a matter of your net worth but two other factors:  How you gained the wealth and your attitude towards it.

So?  Are you an American?  If so, you are rich by the standards of the world, even if you are poor by American standards.  It may be time to examine how much effort we are putting into gaining “riches” so we can get more “things.”  It may be time to stop and smell the spiritual roses and examine the priorities that push us.  Here’s hoping you have a rich day. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Problem of Extra Winks

(Proverbs 10:10 KJV)  He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

There are many ways in which we “wink” (7169) at things.  The one that comes to mind at this point is the winking of procrastination.  This is a big issue for me.  It may not effect you.  One of the things I find distasteful is the telephone.  I do not like to answer them.  I do not like to talk on them.  I find that if there is a task I must complete that involves a telephone I can find countless ways to put it off. 

The problem is it does not go away.  To ignore the necessary causes endless “sorrow” (trouble NASB) (6094).  Occasionally something will go away when it is ignored, usually it isn’t that easy. 

So?  Be honest.  Apply a little wisdom.  Some things can be ignored.  Others must be dealt with.  Join me in getting with it.  Grab the bull by the horns or the phone out of your pocket.  Quit winking.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Simple Scurvy

(Proverbs 9:16 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

It is dangerous to be “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).  This is obviously a concern of Solomon.  He uses the word at least 14 times in Proverbs.  If you read on here you see that it has eternal consequences. 

The sad part about this is that naivety, or simplicity, is like scurvy.  It can be avoided.  It can be cured.  It can also kill.  To avoid scurvy requires a certain minimum of readily available vitamin C.   Sure, there are specific instances that it might be unavailable.  Sailors in the old days and people on the frontier over a long winter come to mind.   They were locked into their worlds but even there a little planning went a long way. 

The first step is to realize the problem.  The second is to do something about it.  For scurvy there are many sources of vitamin C.  For the naive there are many sources of wisdom.  I can think of 66 different sources just in the pages of your Bible.  A Bible on the shelf is like a bottle of vitamin C in the cupboard.  It doesn’t do any good unless open and consumed.

So?  Make a choice of what you want for your life and act on it.  How about Proverbs 9 for today?  The whole chapter, not just my interpretation.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Deadly Love

(Proverbs 8:36 KJV)  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

Believers have no problem with the statement that there are those who sin against God.  After all, that is the reason Jesus needed to face the cross.  What many have trouble with is the idea that they “love” (157) “death” (4194).

I would understand this love to be part of the rebellious nature of sin.  I don’t think of it as being a literal meaning here.  They are not seeking death or we would have suicides on the level of genocide.  I think this is the figurative meaning of being separated from God.  If you look back at the promise of God for eating of the tree of knowledge you see the verb form.
(Genesis 2:17 KJV)  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
When they ate from the tree they did not fall dead on the ground but were ejected from the garden.

We are surrounded by people who do not want to be in the presence of God.

So?  Don’t feel you are rejected for living righteously, know it.  As the world wants nothing to do with a holy God they also want nothing to do with you.  You are a reminder of the One whom they want nothing to do with. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Designer Deception

(Proverbs 7:15 KJV)  Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.

With evil it gets personal.  Notice that the adulterous woman is looking for a certain “face' (presence NASB) (6440).  The KJV gives the literal meaning here.  This woman has a specific face in mind, yours.

When we talk about living in a fallen world, the limitations of the flesh, or original sin we are speaking about a generic evil.  We are talking about something as common as carbon dioxide in the air we breathe.  It doesn’t take much to make a difference.  Here we are talking about designer plans just for you.  The devil, his minions and the billions of individuals who serve him on this planet have a goal:  You. 

So?  Why not ruin his day?  Why not refuse to fall for the “opportunity” that is given to you?  Why not continue to resist temptation and walk the narrow road?  It is possible.  That is the great news.  Of course the other good news is that if you mess up, God is willing to forgive honest repentance.  Walk holy. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Does Santa Really Say, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”?

(Proverbs 6:26 KJV)  For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

Poverty is often tied to sexual sin.  It isn’t just because of the actions but also because of the attitudes.  We see one part of our culture that has resurrected the concept of the “whorish woman” (harlot NASB) (2181).  I run into the tunnel vision/hearing of students when I am explaining that the Aztecs had advanced calendars but never invented a hoe.  They all start giggling.  Later in the year I have a map I pull down that shows the westward movement and the title on the map is “Westward Ho!”  They again start laughing.  If you are sheltered you don’t know that one of the common words in rap music is “ho” which is a shorted version of whore.  These “artists” use it to refer to women. 

Because I don’t participate in that culture or listen to what they call music I don’t think of the word that way.  I am reminded every time I use it. 

The concept in this verse is that the “ho” aspects of life bring us to poverty.  I would say it includes not just financial poverty but moral depravity, cultural degeneration, family disintegration and spiritual damnation. 

So?  What kind of attitudes and values have you grown accustomed to?  How many of them are in the process of destroying all hope and value in your life and in the lives around you.  Walk in righteousness. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Don’t Let Evil Endure

(Proverbs 5:14 KJV)  I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

What is this “evil” (ruin NASB) (7451b) that is being experienced?  Notice the two different words in the two translations.  This is a Hebrew subtlety that is beyond my skills.  It is the same word in spelling and pronunciation, yet in the advanced Hebrew dictionaries it shows them as “7451a” and “7451b”.  I am assuming that the difference has to do with either context or tense.  Either way it is a bad place to be in. 

One of the characteristics of the Bible that lends it credibility to the discerning reader is that it does not gloss over the difficulties of life.  We see David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), as one who had failed repeatedly.  We see Peter denying his lord and accused of hypocrisy by Paul.  Here it points out the danger of drifting into ruin. 

The better news is that we are offered forgiveness and restoration when we repent.

So?  Are you having a bad day?  How about a bad year?  God is waiting for you to apply for the solution instead of continuing toward ruin.  Ask, knock, seek.  You will find.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bread and Wine

(Proverbs 4:17 KJV)  For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

It is interesting that “bread” (3899) is associated with general “wickedness” (7562) whereas “wine” (3196) is associated with “violence” (2555).  Different forms of sin produce different forms of destruction.  Some is broad brush, some is targeted. 

Hypocrisy paints with a broad brush.   There is no way of knowing how many people it drags down.  Adultery destroys individual lives and then can spread to a family.  Lies can be aimed at one or an entire culture.  Sloth sucks the life out of a culture because parasites live off the life blood of others.

I was listening to an interview with a politician who was talking about non-violent offenses and victimless crimes.  We sometimes make the same types of excuses for our own failures.

So?  Don’t fall for it.  We are to live righteous lives.  We are to be salt and light.  Sure we stumble.  Definitely we have bad days.  Don’t let that be an excuse.  Strive for the narrow gate.  Your life effects everyone around you. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Favor of the Month

(Proverbs 3:4 KJV)  So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

What is this about finding “favor” (2580) with God?  One of the standard lines I hear from some points of view is that we can never be worthy, that we can never measure up, or as one author said, we are “dirty, no-good, rotten sinners.”  Yet here it tells us how to do just that.

There is obviously a sense in which we can never be worthy.  We can never earn our salvation.  Jesus did not die for us because we were such fine fellows.  We were lost sinners.  But that is in the past.  We are now redeemed.  We are now to live as those who are worthy.  Paul, the apostle of grace uses the phrase “walk worthy.”  Here is just one example,
(Colossians 1:10 KJV)  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
If he tells us to, it must be possible.

So?  Get in gear.  You were a dirty, no-good, rotten sinner.  Jesus died to change that.  You are now a saint.  Start living like it. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Froward, March

(Proverbs 2:14 KJV)  Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

In looking at the KJV I was again struck by the archaic word “frowardness” (perversity NASB) (8419).  It is so easy to confuse with “forward” if you are reading fast or assume it is a misprint.  It is actually a contrast to forward.  The difference is in the prefix.  “Fro” and “for” are like “pro” and “con.”  They are opposites.  That helps us understand this characteristic of evil. 

Frowardness means to be turning back from the direction that God would have us go.  We meet people like this.  Sometimes we are those people.  Here it is implied, not that they have minds of their own, but that they have minds that thrive on being contrary to God.  When they see evil going on and it is obviously working to counter righteousness, they rejoice.  For example when a judge declares that pornography is covered by the free speech clause in the Bill of Rights, they celebrate and praise the decision even though it is obviously advancing evil.

So?  Consider what you support and advance.  A current example would be the recent decisions of the Boy Scouts.  They may be politically correct and in tune with the times but are they forward or froward?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fear Foundations

(Proverbs 1:7 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Christians are always talking about love but we don’t want to hear about “fear” (3374).   In the KJV we see fear 23 times in Proverbs; love, 15. In the NASB it is 18 and 16.  When we are talking about wisdom it seems that fear gets more press than love.

I have heard it said you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  I accept that but God is not trying to catch flies.  He is trying to catch sinful human beings who are determined to be their own gods.  He is dealing with creatures that don’t pay attention well and are easily sidetracked.  He wants to redeem you and me.  Sometimes love will do the trick.  Sometimes fear is necessary. 

Two times Proverbs uses the phrase “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of....”  Here it starts us down the path of knowledge.  In 9:10 it directs us to wisdom.

So?  Don’t be afraid of fear.  Yes, God loves us but it is a scary thing to be loved by a holy God.  Let your fear be healthy because it is tempered by grace and obedience.