An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Spiritual Hygiene

(Proverbs 31:30 KJV)  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

This reinforces the idea that God looks at things differently than we do.  The idea is not rare.  It is obvious.  Then why do we forget it so often?

We have a saying, “Beauty is only skin deep.”  And yet we spend fortunes on looking good.  We spend hours working on just the right image.  I have girls who will spend most of the period with their eyes glued to their mirror and totally ignoring what we are trying to do to prepare the inner person. 

Get over it.  God looks at the heart.  God is concerned with attitudes.  God wants people who will take Him seriously and build their lives on that seriousness.

So?  After you get your hair combed and your clothes buttoned straight, spend some time examining the state of your soul, the inner you.  How about spending as much time on your spiritual hygiene as trying to look good. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Is It Jesus or Not?

(Proverbs 30:4 KJV)  Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

When I reread this I again see a reference to Jesus as creator and maintainer.  I like that picture but a word of caution is in order about how we interpret verses like this.  In looking for verification of my opinion I read what Adam Clarke had to say over two hundred years ago.
“Many are of opinion that Agur refers here to the first and second persons of the everblessed Trinity. It may be so; but who would venture to rest the proof of that most glorious doctrine upon such a text, to say nothing of the obscure author?”
His advice is to be careful to make too much of a case that is weak but interesting.  That is good advice.

We should be reading and meditating.  If we find something that is encouraging for the day or gives us insight into an issue we face, well and good.  The Holy Spirit can lead and encourage.  While that is acceptable, be careful about making sweeping doctrinal statements based on what you want to see.  It is sometimes a subtle path to walk but it can be done. 

So?  Treat the Bible like a living book that is based on unchangeable truth not a contemporary text that has situational truths.  Let it speak to you but understand what its foundations are.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Poor Thinking Skills

(Proverbs 29:14 KJV)  The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

My daily pattern is to read through a chapter of Proverbs then go to the last verse in that chapter that I reflected on and move to the next verse for thought and meditation.  As I was reading the verse that jumped out at me was,
(Proverbs 29:7 KJV)  The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
 It is one of those divine coincidences that makes verse fourteen the next I reflect on.  Both speak of how the poor are treated.

Verse 7 talks about the “cause” (rights NASB) of the “poor.”  Verse 14 wants “truth” (571) as a measure for the “poor” (1800b).  I earlier commented on how often Proverbs mentions fools.  The poor are also very common in this book but with a whole different attitude.  Where there is little patience for fools, the poor receive great compassion and concern. 

We are coming through a holiday season.  If you are Eastern Orthodox you are still in the middle of it.  I know that I need to be constantly reminded to be concerned for the poor.

I also need to be concerned about truth. 

So?  Just as we need to be thankful all year, we need to be concerned for Biblical justice all year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Wanteth Thee?

(Proverbs 28:16 KJV)  The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

Every group or nation has a “prince” (leader NASB) (5057).  In one he will be righteous, another will be a “great” (7227) “oppressor” (4642).  We miss the traits that make the difference because we look with the eyes of the world.

We talk about people being intelligent or charismatic.  We look at how well they speak.  Those things exist.  They are real.  But they are not what makes the difference in leaders.  The difference is not in what a leader has, but in what he “wanteth” (lacks NASB) (2638).  When a president, principal, CEO, father, pastor or _____________ lacks the inner rudder that comes from the touch of God they lack the quality that can make them a good leader.  The end product is destruction.

So?  Obviously this involves any input we have on choosing a leader from who plans the party to who runs the country.  It also reminds us that we need to prepare our hearts so that we can lead when called upon.  Read, meditate, repent. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Flocks and Herds

(Proverbs 27:23 KJV)  Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

Is “flocks” (6629) and “herds” (5739) a redundancy for effect or significant?  The two words mean different things.  The first refers to smaller animals and is almost always about sheep.  The second is more general and includes large animals.  I would summit that this is a broad statement about the large and small concerns we have in life.

Yet it involves more than small concerns.  Both classes represent creatures that are dependent.  They trust you to care for them and be concerned for their welfare.  If you don’t pay attention, they suffer.  If you are negligent it can lead to tragedy.  Most of us have flocks or herds.  Many of us have both.  This is a call to living up to our responsibilities.

So?  What are your big and little demands?  It could be children, parents, neighbors, employees or just the family pet.  We are reminded to pay attention and be responsible. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fool Sensor

(Proverbs 26:1 KJV)  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

When a book of the Bible gives a lot of attention, maybe we should also.  Proverbs refers to the “fool” (3684) in 17 of 31 chapters.  The high point is this chapter which uses the word eight times.  Also there is at least one other word, (5034a), translated fool.  God has a lot to say about fools and it isn’t praise.

Sometimes the teaching is to help us not act foolish.  Here it is a warning about how we treat fools.  We are not to “honor” (3519b) them.  This is a word that is most frequently translated “glory” and refers to God.  We need to be very careful about giving value to the leadership of people who are fools. 

So?  How do we know a fool when we see one?  Read the rest of the chapter.  The first half will give you a rundown.  Evaluate opinions and leadership on what you read.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Old News

(Proverbs 25:25 KJV)  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Merry Christmas!

Think of “good” (2896a) “news” (8052).  Set aside your protests about the commercialization of Christmas.  Forget your protests about it being based on the pagan Saturnalia.  Forgive the person that gave you that horrid tie.   Today is ultimately the celebration of the ultimate good news.  It is the day we celebrate the incarnation.  The day chosen may be arbitrary.  The attitudes may need improvement.  That does not take away from the announcement of the heavenly host.
(Luke 2:10 KJV)  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
You must admit that is “good” (2896a) “news” (8052).  You must concede it comes from a “far” (distant NASB) (4801) “country” (land NASB) (776).

So get over your humbug and rejoice in the good news.  Before the cross you needed the incarnation.  And you got it. 

Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Embrace the Knowledge

(Proverbs 24:4 KJV)  And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Christmas has become a very special time of year in our American culture.  It would be easy to get distracted by the “precious” (3368) and the “pleasant” (5273a).  We certainly dwell among “riches” (1952).  Even the most spiritual of us gets sidetracked by all of the tradition and ceremony surrounding this Christian holiday.

We can get distracted by the “knowledge” (1847) aspect also.  We can get so full of pride that we know the date is tied to a pagan holiday and that we don’t know the actual date that we forget that the second Person in the Godhead became flesh in the fullness of time. 

The important part of the saga is that God became man.  The eternal entered history.  So what if we don’t know the date.  A foundling orphan is assigned a birthday and celebrates it with the same joy as anyone else. 

So?  Don’t get distracted.  Be “filled” (4390) with the “riches” of the season.  “No more let sin and sorrow reign...”

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mark His Words

(Proverbs 23:10 KJV)  Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

Tradition is a powerful force.  Some boundaries in our culture are based on tradition.  Just because we don’t understand them does not mean they are useless.  For us this is referring to basics, the foundation stones that we build on.  This is not talking about the shifts and trends that we see every day. 

Think about the “old” (ancient NASB) (5769) standards that are under attack.  We had social norms that defined marriage and family.  We had an understanding that there is only one way to salvation, through Jesus.  We were brought up to believe that the animals were for our use not that they were our brothers.  Children were works in progress, not sources of wisdom. 

Most of these standards can be easily documented in the Word.  If you are not aware of that you have not been serious about your homework.

So?  You can’t tell you are drifting if you don’t know the landmarks.  You won’t notice if you are not paying attention.  Do you know what God has to say about these things or do you just know what some guru has shared with you?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Happened to Seeker Friendly?

(Proverbs 22:10 KJV)  Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

This flies in the face of what I have heard called a “seeker friendly environment.”  We are instructed to “cast our" (drive NASB) (1644) certain types of people from the fellowship.  This word is used when people who rejected the law of God were in the midst of Gods people.  Some times they were pagans.  Sometimes they were Hebrew.  In either case they were to be removed. 

One of the reasons that the church is becoming so anemic and having so little influence in our culture is that we have refused to take stands when stands are demanded.  Of course we need to be careful about this.  It is not a call to purge everyone who disagrees with us.  It specifically refers to the “scorners” (scoffers NASB) (3917b).  These are people who make a mockery of God and the teachings of God.  They reject the divinity of Christ and substitute a “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that never appears in the scripture.  They focus on feelings instead of truth.  They are concerned about self esteem instead of repentance. 

So?  You may not have any of these people around but when they appear they are not to be warmly received.  They are to be shown the door.  I didn’t make this up, it comes from Solomon.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stop Signs on Go Street

(Proverbs 21:13 KJV)  Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

The KJV uses “stoppeth” for “shuts” (331).  A stopper is something that used to be used to block a drain.  It was an object put in place to keep material from passing.  They were common before the current style of having a knob to pull up that closed a valve in the drain.  You kept the offending material from entering.  We can do that same thing when God has a message for us.  What kind of object, actions, thoughts or attitudes do we put in the way to keep the free flow of God’s compassion from flowing?

We have many methods of ignoring the Holy Spirit.  We can avoid reading passages that might convict us.  We can rationalize our behavior.  We can procrastinate.  Whatever method we use, God’s purpose is put on hold.  The object of our action suffers.  We lose.  God is not happy.

So?  Each of us knows the areas we are resistant to.  We may have them covered up so that we don’t think of them.  God deals with me by bringing this verse to my hard nose once a month.  You may need a different lesson.  Listen and obey. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pay Now, Or Pay Later

(Proverbs 20:17 KJV)  Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

How often have you done something that you know you will regret later.  Start with breakfast this morning.  Or maybe you could even go back to turning off the alarm and going back to sleep.  Deep down inside when I do certain things, I know I will pay and regret.  But that is later.  Right now it is “sweet” (6156). 

We are between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  How many times have we eaten to painful fulness, sworn we would never do it again and done it again?  How many times have we spent more than we should or asked for things we don’t need?  This points out how limited our honesty is.

So?  This will never change unless we do.  Put down that donut.  Don’t go shopping today.  I really don’t know how it would apply to you, that is not my responsibility.  I can think of enough applications in my own day that I don’t have time to list yours. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Sedative of Sloth

(Proverbs 19:15 KJV)  Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

“Slothfulness” (laziness NASB) (6103) can be hypnotic.  Part of the definition of “deep sleep” (8639) is “trance.”  There is something about doing nothing when things cry out to be done that deadens our mind.  Procrastination bleeds over to our soul, body and spirit.  It is like taking a sleeping pill or, for that matter, eating a gluttonous meal.   On Thanksgiving or Christmas this is something we can roll with but on a regular basis it saps the life out of us.

Laziness is different from rest.  Rest renews and revives.  Sloth deadens and dampens.  Forced sloth can have the same effect.  We have a few people in our church out of work.  I don’t know how they keep going.  They go out and look.  They find nothing.  The temptation is to gear down and quit.  Sloth can creep up on us.

So?  Avoid it yourself but it might be a good time with the economy being the way it is to target some others in prayer and active encouragement.  Find a way to help a discouraged brother fight the temptation of slothful discouragement. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Belly Aches

(Proverbs 18:20 KJV)  A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

In trying to understand this verse my mind went to the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 15:11 KJV)  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
It might help if you looked at the entire passage of Matthew 15:11-20. 

The idea is that the source of who we are and what we produce is at our core, not in our environment.  In our terms it would be the heart, to the Hebrews it was the belly that was the center of being.  So what is going on here is an observation that ultimately we produce the kind of fruit in our lives that we really want.  We may complain about how our kids turn out but think of all those times when they were small that you thought it was cute for them to be rebellious or disruptive.

So?  Where is your belly?  In our terms, where is your heart?  You will reap from what you have decided to sow.  Count on it.  Maybe you want to plant a different crop? 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watch the High Fives

(Proverbs 17:18 KJV)  A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

Here we are told it is stupid to give “surety” (6161).  This is not the common word but it is a common idea.  Why use a different word to express an often repeated idea?  I have to guess.  The KJV translation gives us a clue in inferring that it is a pledge given by quick shake of the hands.  The KJV is even more appropriate today with the “high five” and the “fist bump” replacing the shaking of hands.

This reference is a warning about the quick support we give a “friend” (neighbor NASB) (7453).  We are quick to agree because we know the person.  Because of that we don’t think about the consequences.  Proverbs frequently warns about going into debt.  This is a way that it can sneak up on you because of the irresponsible behavior of others.  You end up suffering for their failures.

So?  Your word should be your bond.  Be careful where you give it. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

“Beat the Traffic”

(Proverbs 16:17 KJV)  The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

What “highway” (4546) are you on?  The definition of this word includes the concept of a public road.  This points out that there are many ways to get places and they are available to everyone.  I have been getting used to the smart phone my kids bought me.  It is slowly creeping into my life.  I have begun using an app called “Beat the Traffic.”  I can call it up and it will give me a map showing where the accidents are and how heavy the traffic is on the highways of the area.  If I want to play with it I think it will even tell me about major surface streets.  That is still in my future.

This roadmap lets me pick the route I will follow for the day.  As in all of life, there are often many alternative routes I can follow.  I must make a choice.  I must make a choice on the way to work.  I must make a choice on the way to live.

So?  Load God’s app and check what is available today.  I am sure He has some recommendations. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hell and Destruction

(Proverbs 15:11 KJV)  Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

This verse is approached in three ways.  There are two schools of translation and the paraphrasers.  One school, like the NASB takes the words and transliterates them from the Hebrew.  Thus “Sheol” (7585) and “Abaddon” (11) are how the Hebrew words sound.  The other school, like the KJV, translate them as “hell” (7585) and “destruction” (11).  The paraphrasers do whatever they feel like, as usual. 

The clear implication is that these are real, not just figments of the imagination.  I know we don’t like to think about it.  We have questions about a loving God and eternal damnation.  Go ahead and ask.  I have trouble with the concept of Hell but I must accept it because it is so clearly taught.  What helps me understand is to remember that God is not only a loving God, but is also a holy God.  Both elements are necessary when you worship and obey Him.

So?  If you are listening and responding then Hell is not your personal concern.  You don’t need to worry about it.  Your concern is about those you love who are not believers.  That is enough to worry about for one day. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seeking Wisdom? Not!

(Proverbs 14:6 KJV)  A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

I did a word search of “seek” (1245) which is in the Hebrew and “find” which is not.  I came up with twenty places in which both words appeared in the same verse in both the NASB and the KJV.  I began to look and read.  I noticed a few things.

We are urged to seek.  We find when God allows it.  Sometimes we find.  Sometimes we don’t.

One thing is almost certain, if we don’t seek we will not find.  Take the words of Jesus and apply that idea.
(Matthew 7:7 KJV)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Implied in that is that God wants us to approach Him.  We do that in prayer.  We do that in reading our Bibles.  We do it in worship.  We should be doing it in all areas of our life.

So?  God stands ready to listen and respond.  He is willing to lead and advise.  Are you really seeking or are you looking for a reason to scorn?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Carrying the Torch

(Proverbs 13:17 KJV)  A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

The Hebrew word “messenger” (4397) is often translated that way but the most frequent translation in both the NASB and KJV is “angel.”  Again we see that the meat is in the modifier.  What kind of angel are we talking about?  “Wicked” (7563).  It isn’t even a matter of the message.  It is about the character of the person carrying it.

In Proverbs context is not as important as other books but we can look at the context to get insights into what it means to be a “wicked angel.”  We can do it by contrasts.  Look at all the words that are used to describe the person who is not a wicked angel:  Turning aside,  prudence and disciplined come to our eyes.

So?  The adjective is decided by the choices we make.  We can carry a torch but are we an arsonist or the man who lights the cooking fire?  Pay attention to the little choices you make today. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Way of a Fool

(Proverbs 12:15 KJV)  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

How can we recognize the “way” (1870) of a “fool” (191)?

It seems easy when we are watching the antics of others.  Often we find ourselves shaking our heads and wondering how they can be so _________.  Fill in the blank with your favorite negative adjective.

It is harder when we are looking at ourselves.  One big reason is that we don’t look at ourselves critically often enough.  We just assume we are “right” (3477).  We may be.  If we are grounded in the word and making prayerful decisions, we could be right where God wants us, smack dab in the middle of the Highway of Holiness.  It is possible.

But is it true?

So?  Take a few moments to examine your decisions and reasons for making them.  Be hard on yourself and honest.  It may be painful but it will be really “right” (3477) not just fantasy. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Righteousness Delivers

(Proverbs 11:6 KJV)  The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

People like to quote Paul about “righteousness” (6666).
(Romans 3:10 KJV)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
They usually do so to make a theological point rather than a consistent Biblical point.  The consistent Biblical point is that people are sinful creatures and left to their own devices are selfish and lost.  The Biblical point is that we cannot save ourselves by following rules.  The Biblical point is not that we cannot live righteous lives. 

If that were the point of Romans 3:10 then we would have to follow the example of Thomas Jefferson and the modern gay movement and take scissors to the Bible.  We would need to remove everything we did not like.  It would leave gapping holes in Proverbs.

So?  Live a righteous life.  Be upright.  Don’t try to slide by and say it can’t be done.  You may fool your local theologian but you won’t fool God and you can’t fool yourself. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bear Love

(Proverbs 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Popular theology has a lot of popular mythology in it.  One of the concepts that rears up even among believers is the idea that God the Father, found in the Old Testament, is a God of wrath and that Jesus is a God of love.  That simply demonstrates a lack of understanding.  Here is another indication that the teachings you find in the NT are grounded in the OT.  Here is an early source of what is thought of as a NT concept.  “Love” (160) “covers” (3680) “sins” (transgressions NASB) (6588).  I see again how much of the NT God of Love is revealed in the OT under the God of Wrath.

We see this thought in the love Chapter.
(1 Corinthians 13:7 KJV)  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Here the word “beareth” has a basic meaning of covering.  Some other time I may look at other places the thought is used.

So?  Just think of how quickly the world would be destroyed if God were as quick to judge as some people think.  I am sure that I would not even survive the drive to work in the morning.  Let our actions to those who wrong us mirror God’s patient love toward us. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dead Ends

(Proverbs 9:18 KJV)  But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

When I was a kid the signs said, “Dead End.”  We knew what it meant.  Somewhere along the line the signs have become “new and improved.”  Now we have, “No outlet.”  We see, “Not a through street.”  I am sure that if you keep your eyes open you will find other ways of expressing it.

And yet we still turn into them and are surprised when we come to a “dead” (7496) end.  The signs are clear.  We know what they mean.  We ignore them.

People around you are dead ends.  They have made choices that will terminate in tragedy and be escorted by hopelessness.  They are good at covering it up but that does not change the condition.

So?  Are you on the through street?  Do you sometimes look at others who seem to have it all together and wanted to go their way?  Remember it is a dead end.  I don’t think you really want to go there.  Make the right choices today.  Keep your eyes on the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

More Than a Brand

(Proverbs 8:34 KJV)  Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

There is a word here that we are very good at ignoring in our walk with Jesus.  That neglect leads to great pain, frustration and possibly failure.  The word is not theological or subtle.  It does not take a college degree or a high intelligence to understand. 

We are to be “daily” (3117). 

This is the simple Hebrew word yom that simply means “day.”  It gives us some things to do every day.  We are to listen or hear.  We are to watch.  We are to wait.  Notice the lack of big words.  We can do this.

So?  Do they still make One-a-Day Brand Multiple Vitamins?  God had the idea first.  It is more than a brand, it is a way of life.  It is a way to life.  It is the way to live. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wave Offerings

(Proverbs 7:17 KJV)  I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

This verse is about making sin and rebellion acceptable.  There is a bit of hypocrisy that is hidden in the Hebrew.  It may have been obvious to people of that day.  The word for “sprinkled” (5130) is the word for the waving motion used by the priest in certain types of sacrifices in the temple.  You may have heard the term “wave offering.”  This is the “wave” in “wave offering.” 

The couple referred to in this passage are acting like they have sanctified their sin by going through some ritual.  Often we see people doing this.  We make all kinds of excuses for our sin.  At one point we fool ourselves by saying things like, “God will understand.”  At another we tell ourselves, “God would never expect that of me.”  Sometimes we go social and say things like, “It’s for the children.”  How many crimes have been committed “for the children.”  How many sins have been committed by people who think God is blind or stupid?

So?  Many of your actions are in your control.  You choose to sin or not.  Be reminded what the words of the Christmas Carol say, “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”  You may have slept through the sermon but remember that God wrote the book. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gravity Still Works

(Proverbs 6:28 KJV)  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

The obvious answer to this question is “No.”  So why do people keep trying?  Why do people dump a spouse to link up with someone else and think it will work out any different?  People have been this way all through history but I think it is getting worse.  My reason for believing that is not just observation of behavior and decadence.  I see it going on in our culture at large.

My work world is the public school.  It seems that educators have forgotten everything they learned about life.  The big lesson that is ignored is found under the title of “Cause and Effect.”  Newton talked about opposite and equal reactions.  In education we keep thinking we can keep trying all the new ideas that are thrown out and ignore the wisdom of the ages.  It hasn’t worked in the last 30 years.  It won’t work in the future.  The government declared war on poverty, pumped billions in, found the problem worse and said we need to spend more. 

One of the lessons that believers should accept and embrace is that “what you sow you will reap.”  Read the Owners Manual, in any translation.  Learn the expectations and guidelines.  Accept that some things are rules that will not be denied.

So?  Behavior has consequences.  Is there anything you were going to try to get away with today?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Insight by Mistranslation

(Proverbs 5:16 KJV)  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

The old Good News Bible has an interesting paraphrase of this verse.
(Proverbs 5:16 GNB)  Children that you have by other women will do you no good.
This is perfect example of the problem with a paraphrase and the blessings of a paraphrase. 

The problem is that the text does not say this in any way shape or form.  The Hebrew speaks of “fountains” (springs NASB) (4599) and “rivers” (streams NASB) (6388) of “water” (5140) not of children.  The good side is that this is a good insight based on the context of sexual promiscuity.  When I read this I said, “Yes.  That is what Solomon is hinting at.”  And I groaned because this is commentary not translation.

It applies today to our culture.  With the soaring numbers of children born out of wedlock and single mothers we should stop and think.

So?  I would hope you are not jumping from sexual partner to sexual partner.  If you are you need to realize that you may be leaving some little drops that can become disastrous floods in the future.  Morality has a reason.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wise Plagiarism

(Proverbs 4:4 KJV)  He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

The “he” being quoted here is David.  Solomon is passing on wisdom that he gained from his father.  We talk about the wisdom of Solomon.  We know that God granted him wisdom. 
(1 Kings 4:29 KJV)  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
We acknowledge that God is the source of all blessings.  We know that the Holy Spirit works in us.  What we sometimes overlook is the influence that we have on other people.

God uses us.  He used David.  He used Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother.  It could be that the wisdom of Solomon is all plagiarism.

So?  Pass on the wisdom that your parents gave you.  Don’t apologize.  They didn’t have any?  Then it is your job to gain wisdom and pass it on.  Start now. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All Aboard

(Proverbs 3:6 KJV)  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Sometimes the simple, common words are of great importance.  Take for instance the word “all” (3605).  It is so easy to overlook that or breeze by without application.  Like everything in inspired scripture, it means what it says.  It means no exclusions.  It means no days off.  It means no private little parties that God is not invited to.

This might be the difference between the actors and the livers.  To some, being a Christian is a role.  It is something that they get into but it isn’t the real focus.  To the righteous, it is a way of living that dominates and directs.  Following Jesus is not mask, it is a face.  It isn’t a character assumed but character attained.  It touches everything.

Or it should.

So?  Have you ever hear the phrase, “All or nothing”?  Of course you have.  That is what Jesus demands.  Are you willing to give it? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Delivery Route

(Proverbs 2:16 KJV)  To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

There is a progression of action and actors in this chapter.  It starts off with the believer and the choices and actions available to us.  Then in verse 6 it reveals the things that God will do in response to that obedience.  Wisdom enters the equation in verse 10 and in verse 12 we have the first promise that it will “deliver” (5337) us.  Now we repeat the promise.

This deliverance is not a promise made in the vacuum of life.  It is an expectation that we can have because we have done our part and God has done His part.  Deliverance is the end of the chain.  It is not a sudden awareness that you are in trouble and a quick prayer for rescue.  It is an expectation based on experience and covenants.

So?  How has your preparation been so far?  God can always be relied on to do His part.  Spend some time today responding and thinking about what it means to be the target of deliverance. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

They Say

(Proverbs 1:16 KJV)  For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

Who are the “their” of this verse?  Verse 15 talks about “them.”  In verse 13 they are “we.”  In verse 11 it is “they.”  Only in verse 10 do we get the revelation that these are the sinners around us. 

We need to always be careful when “they” say anything.  You have had the experience where someone will say that “they say that....”  Sometimes the variation is “everyone knows that....”  It may even be true that “everyone knows.”  They are still wrong.

We do not base our lives on hearsay or common culture.  Well, we shouldn’t.  Too often we do.  As followers of the One who said He was the “Way, truth and the life” we should be a little more careful what we accept as true. 

So?  You should be out of step with the world around you.  Often you should be out of step with people in the church.  Too often their values and priorities are based on sin and rejection of the holy.  We are called to be different.  Think about that as we move into a time where even the pagans celebrate Christmas.