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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Double Standard

(Proverbs 31:5 KJV)  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

Life is full of double standards.
(Luke 12:48 KJV)  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Some have the spiritual gift of leadership.  Some in positions of power have it.  They have been given ability and position.  Therefore they are even more blameworthy than regular people.  This is reminding us that leaders are more bound by “the law” (what is decreed NASB) (2710) than are the followers.  Our leaders have forgotten that.  Today’s leaders seem to think that the power is for their benefit, not for the benefit of those below them.  This has always been a fundamental difference in how leaders view their role.  Even some of those who believed in the divine right of kings viewed it as service to God and felt a responsibility to care for the people.

So?  No matter what your level of leadership you are expected to live righteously.  Parents or politicians, public or private, you cannot allow yourself to give in to temptation or decadence.  Others are watching and responding in kind.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Be a Hard Target

(Proverbs 30:14 KJV)  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

This chapter of Proverbs seems to fall into three themes.  Actually it is two positive themes and one of warning.  This verse falls in the warning section.  We are warned that there are types of people who are totally into themselves and are like bloodsucking leaches (next verse) on the weak.  They are of a “kind” (generation NASB) {1755}.  They seem to run in packs and feed on each other.

Do we live in such an age?  I know that the cultural gurus of our day like to portray business and the wealthy this way but I tend to look at the facts I see, not the hatred of a group that tends to reject the Lordship of Christ.  I regularly talk with a retired businessman who is spending his final years giving back to his community and who will sometimes ask me, “Do you know anyone in need?”  I look at the billions given by the rich to education and such.  I may not agree with their politics, but they are trying to use their wealth to benefit their world.

At the same time, when I listen to podcasts on security one of the themes is that the violent of society look for the weak and preoccupied to attack.  They will often bypass people who are alert.

So?  The same principle applies in daily life and spiritual walk.  Be alert.  Be one of those people who are too much trouble to mess with.  Do it by locking your car, staying out of dark alleys and feasting on the principles in your Bible. 

Monday, December 29, 2014


(Proverbs 29:24 KJV)  Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

This is the only place that either the NASB or KJV translates this Hebrew word “partner” (2505a).  The most common in both is some form of dividing.  This makes this a greater concern.  A partnership to me has the idea of common goals and commitments.  The idea here is more getting your own share of something.  So don’t trust a “thief” (1590).  Don’t plan on taking a profit from anyone who is dishonest.

That would seem simple and straightforward.  The problem for most of us is recognizing a thief when we see one.  A pastor I knew used to joke about someone when they exaggerated a bit of information.  He would say “Never loan this guy money because he who would lie would also steal.”  The point is that a person who is lacking in integrity in one area of life will also have something to hide in another area of life.  Observe and don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade.

So?  We are supposed to be discerning without being judgmental.  Use the wisdom that comes from knowing God’s standards.  Apply it to your own life.  Apply it to your evaluation of others.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Place for the SWAT Team

(Proverbs 28:28 KJV)  When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

How do the “wicked” (7563) “perish” (6)?  This is an important question.  We have seen the forces of destruction in our homes in child abuse and broken families.  We have feared it on our streets in the form of riots, gang activity and drunkenness.  We have seen them through history in wars, terrorism, genocide and one time atrocities.   Evil and wickedness exist. 

While I can accept a place of defending yourself, it is the role of government to deal with evil in an active way.
(Romans 13:4 KJV)  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
To me this gives the government the duty to make evil people “perish”.  The mildest part of the definition means to “go astray” but most nuances have to do with destroying.  This means taking drastic action.  The sword is not made for counseling.

So?  As Christians we can support things like the death penalty.  We can support the role of the police in suppressing riots and civil unrest.  It is their God given role.  It is not vengeance, it is punishment. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Map of a Bird Brain

(Proverbs 27:8 KJV)  As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

A “man” (376) that “wanders” (5074) brings to my mind what I do when I am killing time in a mall waiting for my wife or some other shopper.  I can do a mall in about fifteen minutes or a bit more if it is a big mall.  If I know I have time to kill I will amble along with no goal in mind and move toward anything that grabs my attention.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much.  I get nothing done and always run the risk of buying something I really don’t need.

Occasionally wandering in a mall is not the end of the world.  Living a life this way is bird-brained.  We all have responsibility to someone or something.  Think of the duty that goes both ways in life:  Parents and children, employees and employers, neighbors, citizens and government, church.  If you can’t find anything else there are many small churches out there that need you to step up to the plate. 

So?  Are you ambling through life today?  Is that simply because you are refusing to accept responsibility or listen to the calls on your life?  God is calling.  Listen, think, pray, act. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Return of the Mutt

(Proverbs 26:11 KJV)  As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

One thing I noticed when we had a dog was that her behavior changed as she grew older.  When she was a pup we used to call her to clean up what the cat had left.  She did so with gusto.  When she got older she would look at us like we were the fools. 

She was still a dog.  She still sniffed and licked things that I would not even want to touch.  She still barked at things no one else heard.  But she stopped enjoying vomit.  Why?  I don’t know, but it happened.

So?  She was still a dog.  Some people will always be fools.  Maybe they can still learn in spite of that.  Maybe we should be alert but keep trying.  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Don’t Run with the Big Dogs

(Proverbs 25:6 KJV)  Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

Did you ever stand on the side lines and watch the Big Man on Campus when you were young?  Perhaps you have a version of that in your life now.  I don’t know if it is a defense mechanism or if I am really over it but I avoid hanging with the cool people.  I still get a rush when there is genuine acknowledgment by the top dogs, but I don’t seek it.

That is much healthier than wanting to be accepted.  We have a greater chance of living righteous lives if we are not trying to be accepted by the openly unrighteous or the modern Pharisees.  When it is important to us to be accepted we are much more likely to compromise God’s standards and eventually drift away from the truth.  At least that is true for me.

So?  Don’t try to run with the big dogs.  Don’t want approval from the power brokers.  That kind of focus will not bring us to hear the words of Jesus, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Safety of Sufficient Salt

(Proverbs 24:15 KJV)  Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:

This is a warning to cultures as much as individuals.  It is dangerous to mess with God’s people.  It would not be much of a stretch of the imagination to think of “dwelling” (5116a) and “resting place” (7258) as referring to the churches as well as the homes of the “righteous” (6662).

Most people would agree that the position of the United States is declining in the world.  Things are not well at home.  Is it just a coincidence that our culture is attacking the church and trying to muzzle the voice of the gospel in the public square?  Is the decline in liberty a result of the quiet suppression of God’s people?

So?  Perhaps we owe it to our society and our unbelieving friends to be more vocal in pressing our positions as Christians.  They may not see a connection but we should, between having enough salt in the culture and being devoid of Christian values.  If you won’t take a stand to benefit yourself and yours, do it for them. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Return on Investment

(Proverbs 23:23 KJV)  Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

I am beginning, again, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.  I hope to make it through this time.  In the first few chapters he talks about the basis of all wealth is not gold and silver but the work of people.  It is even work that produces gold.  With that thought in mind, it is our labor that produces truth. 

Just as a farmer sows and reaps, we seek the “truth” (571).  It is important to seek in the right places.  Even a school child knows not to plant seed in the middle of a concrete slab.  You won’t find truth watching the current sit-com nor reading the latest novel.  Spend some of your intellectual labor where the truth will grow.

So?  Is your Bible dusty?  Have you read Pilgrim’s Progress?  Are you reaping a harvest of righteousness? 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Solomon on Evangelism

(Proverbs 22:21 KJV)  That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

When I was contemplating this verse today it reminded me of one of the verses I have memorized.  When I check the cross references, sure enough, the editors agreed with me.
(1 Peter 3:15 KJV)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
One of the principles of witnessing is answering questions asked instead of questions not asked.  Do you remember the Four Spiritual Laws?  It was an evangelism tool that started off with the question, “Have you heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?”  I am sure that many were led to a saving faith in Jesus by that tool, but it never worked for me. 

So?  Live in such a way that people ask questions.  Answer common questions in such a way that make them wonder what you mean.  When people ask you about a political stand, tell them it is based on what the Bible says.  If God has prepared the person there will be an open door.  If they are not ready to listen you will just muddy the water. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Beware Killer Sox

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

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “I want, I want, I want...”?  Think of it as a death chant.  “Desire” (8378) is used seven times in Proverbs.  The other six times it is used positively.  The problem is not in the desire but the attitude that surrounds it.  Take, for instance, this verse.
(Proverbs 11:23 KJV)  The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
So we have the same desire producing death and good.  The difference is in the heart of the desirer.  The killer here is laziness.  Not being willing to work is a death sentence.  In our modern culture with our safety nets it doesn’t mean that your body will die but it is even worse.  Your joy of living and potential are murdered by the simple device of expecting others to do the work.

So?  There is a reason that sloth is one of the deadly sins.  For me the danger is a drift not a tsunami.  My problem is the little decisions that move me toward being a sluggard.  So I must learn to pick up my sox or die. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Mirage of Youth

(Proverbs 20:29 KJV)  The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

Beware of cultural norms.  We live in a society that thinks the young people are the hope of the future and the promise of the present.  That is not the Biblical view.  The Bible puts the hope of the future on the “old men” (2205).  The most common translation of this Hebrew word is “elder”.  The church has adopted this term to refer to those who have a position of spiritual authority.  While wisdom and maturity do not always come with age, they rarely come with youth.

Beware of cultural norms.  Those of us who are in the sunset years need to step up to the plate and work to train the youth of today.  They will be the elders of tomorrow.  Don’t expect the schools and colleges to give them what they need, they can’t.  They won’t.  They will poison them with the lies of a secular culture if possible.

So?  If you are under 40 look for someone with life experience and spiritual maturity and learn from them.  If you are over 40 and are not ready to lead, find someone over 60 and listen to their opinions.  If you are the elder then you need to keep in constant contact with the Lord of the Universe so that you can provide leadership.  I am not making this up.  If you think I am, go back and read the verse again. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Don’t Cow or Cower

(Proverbs 19:25 KJV)  Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Two types of people only learn through pain.  You have the “scorner” (scoffer NASB) (3917b).  This Hebrew word is used 19 times in Proverbs, so that attitude of scoffing is a concern.  The words used to get the meaning of this are "arrogant, to be inflated, scorn, boast."  Some people are so centered on themselves and their centrality to the universe that the only way you can get their attention is to inflict some kind of discomfort.  I think the point is that even then they will not really learn and change.  They will simply conform temporarily to avoid the pain.

You also have the “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).  This word is used 16 times in Proverbs.  These are the people who may be just as selfish as the scorner but they live to avoid conflict.  They refuse to think on their own and are easily cowed into submission.  When they see someone else being punished they are quick to change to avoid a similar fate.

So?  Both of these are personalities that Christians are to abandon.  The beginning of this comes entirely through grace.  God extends the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and sanctify.  It continues as we put our willing cooperation into the mix, depending on grace as a source of power.  Do an attitude check and respond accordingly.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sticks and Stones

(Proverbs 18:8 KJV)  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

I have a collection of what I call Pumice Proverbs.  They are little sayings I have put together from different inspirations.  I think one of the first I tweaked was,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words impair my healing.”
“Words” (1697) can be empty and ignored or they can change the world.  Think of some that stand out,
“We hold these truths to be self evident...”

“We have peace in our time.”

“Mr. Gorbechof, tear down this wall.”

“I am the Way, the Truth and the life...”

“Did you hear what Al did last night?”
You and I may never say anything that will go down as history changing.  We may have few that pay attention to us.  One thing I have noticed in school, however, is that students who never seem to listen to what I want to teach them will hear every mistake I make.  Kids who seem in a daze will wake up enough to tell me I have a stain on my shirt.

So?  We need to watch our mouths.  This is a guard detail that no one else can do and will never end.  Pray for strength and awareness.  God is listening.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Entrance Exam

(Proverbs 17:3 KJV)  The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

What is God’s primary target when He sanctifies?  We, as finite humans, are pretty much limited to what we can see and physically measure.  We are forced to judge the inner man by what we see in the outer man.  God comes at it from the opposite point of view.  He can see both the inner man and the outer man but His primary measuring stick is the “heart” (3820). 

Behavior is always important.  Righteous living is expected.  Uprightness is required.  But the point of reference is the heart.  When Peter is trying to explain why he knew that Gentiles could be saved he did not point to them keeping he law.  He referred back to what happened to the disciples at Pentecost and the purifying of the heart.
(Acts 15:8-9 KJV)  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
So?  Keep working on the outward man.  Always remember that it is not an option.  Also know that if you have not allowed God to purify the inner man you face a hopeless task.  Pray and believe in what the Holy Spirit is waiting to do in your heart. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dirty Ears

(Proverbs 16:28 KJV)  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Slander requires soil to take root.  A seed is not enough.  I never repeat the trash I see in the headlines at the checkout line.  It isn’t always that obvious.  Recently I had a student share a little bit of information about the principal.  It was believable, not necessarily evil and something he would not know.  I laughed and told him to stop trying to start rumors.  I think it stopped there.  I have not repeated it, even in this medium.  It did not take root.

How many times have I been credulous?  How many times have I been fertile soil to the gossip?  It is so easy to do.  It is so much fun to pass things along. 

So?  I need to be alert in my listening as well as my speaking.  I have friends.  I have acquaintances.  I have colleagues.  If I am walking with Jesus I cannot be the kind of soil that accepts the seeds of gossip.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Do Your Own Implants

(Proverbs 15:24 KJV)  The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

As I was doing a routine check of word meanings I noticed that the Hebrew word used for “way” (path NASB) (734) is not the common word for road or way.  That made me look a little closer and I saw that the definition implied a route well traveled, not just marked out. 

We may not control all of the paths we walk during a day.  We have demands and as the centurion told Jesus, we are “under authority.”  When your employer demands that you be at work by 8:00 A.M. you usually do not have the option of coming in at 8:30.  You can however decide that you are going to be their by 7:45.  Thus you develop a well traveled path of being punctual.  You build behavior that implants a healthy habit.  This is the process of wisdom.  This puts us on the high road.

So?  Control what you can.  Sometimes that means being earlier than required or staying later than demanded.  The difference between holiness and legalism is in the attitude.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Avoid Folly

(Proverbs 14:18 KJV)  The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

When we “inherit” (5157) something we think of it as coming to us through the efforts of someone else.  We don’t think of having earned it.  That is not the idea here.  I find two words translated “inherit”.  Both have the idea of gaining a possession but infer different means.  The other word seems to be active.  You grab what you want.  The word used here seems to be more passive.  It is a promise that something will come your way.

The inheritance here is not grabbed but it is earned.  It is given as a response.  We know that we were all born in sin and lived in sin and deserve death.  As Christians, we believe that God provided a way for salvation by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.  If we believe and walk in faith we get the promise, not what we deserve.  The idea here is that if we put our mind to sleep then we will be rewarded.  The reward will not be pleasant.

So?  Wake your mind up.  Engage the word.  Walk with Jesus.  Avoid “folly” (200).  I am finding that the daily discipline of wrestling with Proverbs makes my day better. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Exclude or Contain?

(Proverbs 13:3 KJV)  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Is a gate to exclude or contain?  Don’t we usually think the security guy at the door is to keep out the unwanted?  Here he is facing in.  Solomon is laying the groundwork for the teaching of Jesus.
(Matthew 15:17-19 NAS77)  "Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?  "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
When a company or a nation loses vital secrets the culprit is usually an insider.  It doesn’t matter what kind of security software you have on your computer if there is a backdoor in the program.  History is rife with examples of stout-hearted defenders betrayed by someone they trusted.

So what is the best way to guard your mouth?  We want to blame extreme circumstances or provocations.  That isn’t the real problem.  Make sure your heart is right with God.  Have Him do an upgrade on your attitudes and deal with the sin that resides.  Notice that it is a matter of “life” (5315) and death. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saving Cooking Time

(Proverbs 12:27 KJV)  The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Adam Clarke in his 18th century commentary suggests that the lazy man never goes hunting and thus has nothing to “roast” (2760).  That would go along with other passages that give sloth as one of the causes of poverty.  Before you get judgmental consider the order.  It is not saying that the hungry are lazy but that the lazy will go hungry.  Thus it is not saying that the poor are lazy but the lazy will be poor.

I am looking at it today in a relative more than an absolute sense.  I am not saying, “Aha!  You are poor so you are lazy.”  I am asking myself what blessings and life riches I have missed because I was too slothful to discipline myself.  What books have I not read?  What worship have I missed?  What friends have I lost? 

So?  I am striving to be more diligent in how I spend my time.  A nap would be nice and at times might be necessary but do I really need to read that novel?  I will check my balance and leave you to check yours. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Net Worth

(Proverbs 11:16 KJV)  A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.

This chapter in Proverbs sets up a long series of contrasts between those who follow God’s way and those who reject it.  The second half of this verse stood out to me in the NASB because it didn’t seem to be balanced.  You have, in the 1977 NASB a “gracious” (2580) “woman” (802) set with a “violent man” (6184).  The KJV has “strong men” and even the Updated NASB has changed it to “ruthless men.”  Is this a description of only being strong or is there a negative here?

The Hebrew definition has a long string of choices:  “awe-inspiring, terror-striking, awesome, terrifying, ruthless, mighty.”  You can see that it covers a wide range but since the pattern in this chapter is good/bad I am assuming it is not a good bit of character.

And they get rich.  Since there are other places where the righteous receive wealth this reminds me that riches are not necessarily a sign of God’s blessing.

So?  Don’t focus on your net worth in trying to decide if you are blessed.  It is a package deal with a lot of emphasis on the immaterial.  The emphasis is always more on what we are than what we have. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weather Report

(Proverbs 10:25 KJV)  As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

One of the first assumptions of this verse is that the “whirlwind” (5492a) will pass.  The KJV says “when” the NASB says “as”.  Both are reminding us that disaster is not forever.  We are in a time of increased persecution of Christians.  Our pastor shared that most of the persecution in the world today is directed toward Christians.  Even in our country we have people in power who are doing what they can to silence the voice of the Gospel.  They don’t care what the church says as long as it stays away from real truth.

The whirlwind is building.  In Houston the mayor subpoenaed the sermons and e-mails of pastors who dared to speak the truth.  In California we now have transgender bathrooms.  The entire nation is involved in a bullying curriculum that is designed to stop critical thinking by Christians.  For years we have been celebrating Spring and Winter instead of Easter and Christmas.  For years dates have been going from BC to BCE. 

So?  As the saying goes, “This too shall pass.”  When?  I don’t know.  If the church wakes up it may be nipped in the bud.  If we continue to slumber it could be generational.  I hope you are awake.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Which Came First, the Wisdom or the Age?

(Proverbs 9:11 KJV)  For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

I wonder if the converse of this verse it true.  It certainly should be.  In an ideal world, long life would produce wisdom.  Why doesn’t it?

It could be that fools refuse to learn, no matter how long they live.  As I stand in front of a group of eighth graders, I see so much potential and so much waste.  You really can’t tell which ones will end up dead in a gutter, drunk on a sidewalk, successful in a career or great parents.  You can’t, although there are some clear indicators.  They still have a lot of decisions before them. 

Will wisdom come and longer, richer lives?  Will they refuse to learn and lay a foundation of foolishness and misery?  I can only hope.

So?  You can’t help these kids but you can provide for your future.  Seek wisdom.  Take advantage of the fact that you have another day to live and learn.  Rejoice in the opportunity. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Adjust the Volume

(Proverbs 8:1 KJV)  Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

One of the questions that comes to me again is, “Who is Wisdom?”  Or maybe the right question would be “What is Wisdom.”  As you read through Proverbs Wisdom is frequently personified. At times Wisdom seems to be the Father, at times the Son.  Here it sounds like the Holy Spirit will “cry” (call NASB) (7121) to us. 

This is the beginning of a passage the drives home how God is speaking to mankind.  I believe that the Holy Spirit is speaking in the hearts of everyone.  Based on their knowledge and background that voice is going to take different forms and be heard with different clarity, but it is speaking.  Does it say to someone surrounded by paganism, “Jesus died for you” ?  No, but it might say, “This isn’t right.  Ask the guy working next to you his opinion.”  It is a willingness to respond to the voice of Wisdom that determines the next step.

So?  Where are you today in your listening skills.  The Holy Spirit is trying to speak to you at whatever level you are able to listen.  Turn up the volume.  Move toward God’s next step for you.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pick Your Antidote

(Proverbs 7:3 KJV)  Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

Do you have little rituals that help you remember things?  How do you keep from forgetting your keys?  How do you remember where you put your glasses?  How do you keep from forgetting your wife’s birthday?  Today I went off and left my smart phone at work.  It wasn’t the first time.

The Jews were told to tie things to their hands.  It is one of the traditions that has helped preserve the Jewish religion and culture longer than any other that I am aware of.  It must have some advantages.  If it worked for the Jews over centuries, maybe it would work for us over the course of a day.

So?  Find some simple little ways to remind yourself of God’s love and grace.  It could be a simple saying stuck on the refrigerator.  It could be programing your smart phone to remind you to be smart.  Low tech.  High tech.  Pick your antidote. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Can and Should

(Proverbs 6:4 KJV)  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  Just because it is possible doesn’t mean it is profitable.  Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should use it.  There is nothing wrong with “sleep” (8142) or “eyes” (5869) but they are temporarily constrained.

Here it is a matter of priorities.  If you have caused a problem it should be resolved before you get on to the many other things you want to do.  It doesn’t mean that the other things are wrong but putting them first could be a sin.

So?  Plan your day with God’s kingdom in mind.  How do you fit in today?  Are there any bumps that you have put in the road that need to be removed?  Get to it. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

A New Middle Name

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

“Now” (6258) is a word we don’t want to hear.  Maybe I can only speak for myself.  I think my middle name is Procrastinate.  There are very few things that I can’t put off until tomorrow.  Why?

I don’t know about you but I don’t think it is laziness.  I can, and will, get out and work hard.  I get to work early and meet all my deadlines.  I think it is a matter of priorities.  We all tend to find time to do the things we really want to do.  We all find excuses to avoid what we hate.  When a kid at school asks if I want to come to a party I often will say, “I am busy that day.”  They get a puzzled look because they had not told me the day. 

The Hebrew word is used over 400 times in the Old Testament but only three times in Proverbs.  It is interesting that each time it is used, it is linked to listening.

So?  God has a word for you now.  It might still be useful tomorrow but it won’t be fresh.  Think of it as a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery.  Each day it loses some of its savor.  Eventually it will grow mold.  Turn on the ears of your heart and listen.  Now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Supplemental Vitamins

(Proverbs 4:2 KJV)  For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

We have had a hard time finding churches that are still teaching Biblical truth.  Most churches seem to be more concerned about being “user friendly” and tolerant than they are in saying “Thus saith the Lord.”  The problem is not in their official documents.  When I look at the Articles of Faith in my denomination I am reminded of why I became a part of it.  I don’t claim any special dispensation, but what those paragraphs say gives “good” (sound NASB) (2896a) “doctrine” (teaching NASB) (3948).  The problem is that the preachers and leader seem to have decided to “forsake” (abandon NASB) (5800a) the meaning of those words in order to avoid offending anyone.

I can still read and study on my own.  I still know the truth because I don’t depend on someone else for my daily bread.  God is capable of meeting us where we are.

So?  Make sure that what you are hearing is the full message of God.  If not, and there seems to be no place else to go, then take supplements just like you would if you were not getting the right food at the dinner table.  We are blessed with multiple translations and access to the wisdom of the saints through the years. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making Air Travel Pleasant

(Proverbs 3:17 KJV)  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

This is talking about the effects of wisdom.  It makes life “pleasant” (5278).  One of the words used to define this is “delightful” but it is never translated that way in the NASB or KJV.  Wisdom has a way of putting the shine on life.  It moves our “ways” (1870) from endurance to enjoyment.  It gives us a perspective that changes everything.

For instance, I am getting to where I hate flying.  It is not fear.  It is the frustration and discomfort of security measures and smaller seats.  But there is something that can change the trip from a time of misery to a time of anticipation.  It is the knowledge that my children will be waiting at the airport when I arrive.  Suddenly the trip is moving me toward joy instead of just through the air.

So?  Remember that wisdom starts in a fear of the Lord and a knowledge of His word.  Do your homework.  Get in touch.  Bring a bit of joy to your journey. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

God Gives. Will We Take?

(Proverbs 2:6 KJV)  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

What the world needs now is not love but “wisdom” (2451).  The reason we don’t have either is because the traditional sources of wisdom, elders and educators, are turning away from the only real source of wisdom.  Instead of reading and meditating on what God has said through the prophets and apostles they listen to the latest study in sociology or the opinions of a popular talk show host.  Such gurus don’t know wisdom when they see it.

Or maybe they recognize it for what it is and want nothing to do with it.  A couple of bits of wisdom that come through are upright living and a specific definition of moral behavior.  That puts limits on being able to do whatever you want.

So?  Wisdom is not popular because it often calls for restraint and self control.  It is not popular because it is not pop.  What are you seeking?  Are you looking in the right places? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Negative Promise

(Proverbs 1:27 KJV)  When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Solomon offers us an assurance but it is an assurance we don’t want.  We are assured that  “fear” (dread NASB) (6343) will come.  Your worst nightmares will become reality.  It may even be worse than you imagined.  You know the sinking feeling you get when you close the car door and immediately realize you just locked your keys inside?  That is mild compared to this.

We all have something we dread but the ultimate is when we realize that the game of waiting we have been playing with God is coming to an end.  The batteries have finally run down.  The gas has run out.  The excuses don’t work.  The disease can’t be cured.

And God turns His back.

“Can’t happen,” you say?  Then read the next verse. 

God is patient.  He loves you.  He sent His son to die for you.  He also knows your heart and He does not play games.

So?  Have you already stopped playing games?  Good.  Rejoice.  If not, it might be time to take God seriously.  He waits but not forever. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

On the Prowl

(Proverbs 30:14 KJV)  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

It is hard to believe.  It is an idea that is rejected by our popular culture and anathema to educators.  There are some really bad people out there.  There are people who find purpose in life by taking advantage of the “poor” (afflicted NASB) (6041) and the “needy” (34).  They target such people.

Look at your average terrorist.  They don’t generally attack armed and alert people.  They go for women and children.  They go after unarmed minority populations.  They feed on fear and, yes, terror.

Look at your normal criminal.  They do not go after the person who is alert and strong.  They look for the person who is not paying attention.  They “break” into the home that did not lock it’s doors.

So?  Be alert.  Accept the reality that there are people out there who are looking for prey.  Even predators like lions go after the slow, weak and young.  Draw strength from the Lord and the Devil will have a hard time dragging you down.  Live in His power and the servants of Satan may pass you over for an easier target. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

After Anger

(Proverbs 29:23 KJV)  A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

While noting that context is not as important in Proverbs as other scripture, we see that “pride” (1346) is spoken of right after temper.  It is possible that one is a major cause of the other.

A person with short temper usually feels like they have been wronged.  Someone has stepped on their toes.  I know that is what boils my water when I am driving and some clown drives on the emergency strip to get around me and gain a car length.  I am not proud of my reaction.  All I can say at this point is that I have never given in to the temptation to ram.

Part of walking by faith is leaving the balance of life in the hands of the Creator.  Let Him get indignant for you.  Let Him reward and punish.  He is a bit more objective than we are and much more aware of our sin.

So?  It is easy to say and hard to demonstrate.  Calm down.  Trust.  It will make your day. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Monthly Reminder

(Proverbs 28:27 KJV)  He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

It is a good thing I read through Proverbs monthly.  I need to read this verse on a regular basis and be reminded of a genuine gap in my walk.  I tend to be one who “shuts” (5956) my eyes to the needs of those around me.

Part of that is healthy.  I work in middle school and it is full of junior manipulators trying to run my world.  They have a million excuses and reasons for not having their book, not doing their homework or needing to leave the room.  I need to teach them to be responsible and understand the concept of cause and effect. 

Part of it is insensitivity and selfishness.  I ask why I should drag myself out of bed, work all day and struggle through rush hour traffic and then give to someone who has done nothing but make wrong choices. 

I guess part of the reason is because God said so.

So?  If you are like me you need to keep waking up your generosity.  Share the blessings so that God can bless you. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Hungry Thanksgiving

(Proverbs 27:7 KJV)  The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Down through history it has been the poor and weak that have been the most open to the gospel.  Smug, comfortable, powerful people tend to not see any need in their lives.  This might be one reason why there are so many people today who have no time for God or the church.  We figure we are doing so well we don’t need Him.

So God allows a little rain into your life.  He allows a bit of pain.  Sometimes it is the only way to wake us up.  A spot on your lung.  Blood in your urine.  It gets your attention.  Many times it is nothing or something that can be dealt with but the element of helplessness is introduced.

So?  Are you open to God on a daily basis?  Are you setting your priorities based on His?  Does He need to get your attention?  Why not do it the easy way as you start your day or plan for your tomorrow.  Thanksgiving is always a good time to be reminded. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Microwave Safe

(Proverbs 26:10 KJV)  The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

In looking at the difference between the KJV and the NASB I examined the long definition for “formed” (2342a).  How do you get from that to “wounds” of the NASB?  The word seems to have started with the idea of a dance that consisted of whirling to the point of disorientation.  You pushed the exertion to the point of damaging your body.  Injury comes from excess.

Creation and other acts of God can have different effects depending on the degree of force, the timing and the object receiving attention.  Think of a microwave.  Run it for four minutes.  A slice of cheese is destroyed.  A small potato is ready to eat.  A glass bowl is unaffected.

God does not act blindly.  He is aware.  That awareness is infinitely more intense than we can even imagine.  That means we can trust.  That means that we can fear. 

So?  God’s touch can encourage or demolish.  Often the difference is what is in our heart.  Make sure your life is lived in faith and obedience.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Above the King

(Proverbs 25:5 KJV)  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

The Bible seems to have a different view towards heads of state than we do.  That was because Israel started as a theocracy.  Moses was appointed by God and replaced by Joshua.  The judges rose up as needed.  Prophets like Samuel were in charge until the people demanded a king.  The first kings were chosen by God.  Because of this they were in a special category.  It is expressed most clearly by David.
(1 Samuel 24:6 KJV)  And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.
God works through political leaders even when they are not followers.  Think of the words of Paul.
(Romans 13:1 KJV)  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
This was written during the time that Rome was persecuting Christians.

So?  Be careful about how you talk about our leaders.  I struggle with this but that doesn’t take it away.  That doesn’t mean you have to vote for them or endorse what they do.  We are blessed with the right to petition and speak out.  Use them. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cut Off?

(Proverbs 24:14 KJV)  So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.

One of the big questions is asked by the one referred to as the rich young ruler.
(Luke 18:18 KJV)  And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
If you go the the passage you will find that Jesus did not respond by teaching about faith and grace.  He talked about obedience and behavior.  Perhaps we should rephrase the question to, “What must I do to keep eternal life?”  Or in the words of Solomon, what must I do to keep from being “cut off” (3772).

It is never a simple answer like we find in some churches.  It is not a matter of “Impossible.  Can’t happen.”  Solomon would disagree.  Jesus would disagree.  Paul, the apostle of grace, would disagree.  Here wisdom keeps us from being “cut off” (3772).  Since wisdom begins with a fear of the Lord, it is a vital step in our salvation.

So?  The point is not that God is looking for excuses to trim the roll sheets of heaven.  The point is that He wants us to live in glory and victory.  That requires wisdom.  Wisdom is available.  Seek it.  Use it. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wake Up and Hear the Roses

(Proverbs 23:22 KJV)  Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

As I was comparing translations I saw that the “hearken” (8085) of the KJV was much stronger than the “listen” of the NASB.  The paraphrases search for the nuance by saying “pay attention” and “give ear.”  The old Geneva translation of 1587 says “obey.”

We get so used to listening without hearing.  If you have ever been in front of a group and were comfortable enough to actually watch their faces you can see in the eyes how many have zoned out.  They are looking in the right direction.  They are sitting up.  They are not really paying attention. 

We are surrounded by sources of wisdom and real knowledge.  It is available but too often we do not hearken.

So?  Wake up and listen to the roses.  Focus.  Life has answers and instructions.  Don’t wait until it is too late to follow them.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Whom Do You Trust?

(Proverbs 22:20 KJV)  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

Look at this verse as a question.  Do the people you listen to speak with “excellent” (7991c) “knowledge” (1847) or do they just repeat the common mantra of the day?  Think about what the talking heads on TV or the pretty voices on the radio have had to say to you.  Now take a step back and actually think about what you heard.  Does it match the “counsels” (4156) given by God?  Is it more in line with what is politically correct? 

I can’t scream this loud enough.  We hear things and accept them without thinking.  We hear quotes that we accept as true and never look them up.  Think of all the quotes of Abraham Lincoln you have heard.  Many of them never passed the lips or pen of Lincoln.  Recently I was reading an attack based on a well known Bible quote.  “Money is the root of all evil.”  It was an attack on capitalism and those with money.  The big problem is that the quote is inaccurate.  The real quote is,
(1 Timothy 6:10 KJV)  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
It is our attitude that makes the difference, not the object.

So?  Know the word.  Know when it is adulterated.  Know when people use it to lie.  Don’t accept polluted advice.  That goes double for what you read on the internet. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Noun or an Adjective?

(Proverbs 21:24 KJV)  Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

Two words are offered in this verse for the concept of being “proud” (2086 and 2087).  They are really the same word but one is an adjective and the other is a noun.  Both are condemned.

We can accept that there is a healthy way in which we use the word pride.  This is a matter of honor, of showing high character in times of trial.  This pride is what keeps us going when times are tough.

That is not what this is about.  The definitions of this word include the ideas of insolence and presumptuousness.  This word is about the kind of pride that puts “me” first.  A synonym might be narcissism.  Not acceptable if you want to walk the path of righteousness.

So?  Has anyone every accused you of being proud?  Listen and consider.  If it is true then it is time for repentance.  If there is no real problem then continue on course. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Truth Leadership

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

What does it mean to “preserve” (5341) the king?  It is a fairly frequent word in Proverbs.  It’s basic meaning is to guard or protect.  Obviously, we don’t have a king and countries that still have them don’t give them much power.  So substitute the national leader of choice.  Leaders are guarded and protected by “mercy” (loyalty NASB) (2617a) [chesed] and “truth” (571).

“Truth” is not just a correspondence between evidence and words.  The definition includes the ideas of firmness and faithfulness.  It is almost like it is an action noun.  The kind of leader we need is one who is not only in contact with reality but is willing to stay the course.

So?  As of now the latest round of elections are over.  I trust that you voted with truth seeking feet.  The results are in God’s hands.  Pray that the path of the future will be right and that those in charge will be firm and faithful to the task. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Choose Kindness

(Proverbs 19:22 KJV)  The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.

Agape love is not an emotion but decision.  Because of that I am working on agape in my life by constantly reading over passages that deal with love.  The best known is I Corinthians 13.  One expression of agape that I am working on is kindness.  That is why this verse spoke to me as I read it. 

Many people have the delusion that the God of the Old Testament is just a God of wrath.  No so.  He is the God who speaks of “kindness” (2617a) [chesed].  This brought to mind what God said to Micah:
(Micah 6:8 KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy (2617a), and to walk humbly with thy God?
So?  Kindness is expected.  Kindness is a choice.  Kindness can be developed.  Be kind.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finger Pointing

(Proverbs 18:7 KJV)  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Have you noticed how easy it is to blame other people for our failures?  I know I often catch myself in the act.  We like to blame our wives (or husbands), our children, the president, the pastor, or the guy next door when something goes wrong.  It is human nature.  It is also an example of a “fool’s” (3684) “mouth” (6310). 

Yes, your wife forgot to gas up the car, but so did you.  Yes, the president signed a law you don’t like but you voted for the congressman who passed the law and maybe for the president himself.  Sure, your son broke the cup, but you were the one who left it sitting in the wrong place.  The list goes on.

It is hard to accept responsibility but it is necessary.  Wisdom involves honesty and where the finger is pointed.

So?  Today when you are ready to accuse someone of something, stop and think about what you could have done to prevent it.  Or even what you did to cause it.  Yes, I am meddling. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wisdom and Blood

(Proverbs 17:2 KJV)  A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.

You have heard it said that “blood is thicker than water.”  I am not sure that is a Biblical concept.  It certainly isn’t a Bible quote.  This verse would seem to be implying that wisdom is thicker than blood.

This is a reminder that the bond of Godly wisdom should hold us together more than the accident of physical birth.  The blood that is weak is human blood.  The blood that is strong is the blood of Jesus.  Wisdom leads us to trust in Him and live for Him.  It changes our priorities and the dynamics of our commitments.  We now put the things of God above the things of this world.
(Matthew 10:37 KJV)  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
In a perfect world you would have both:  wisdom and blood.  The point here is that wisdom is more important for eternity.

So?  Think about your priorities.  Are they in tune with wisdom, blood or culture?  It makes a difference when the “inheritance” (5159) is distributed. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mouth Scars

(Proverbs 16:27 KJV)  An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Yesterday’s comments had to do with the mouth from a positive perspective.
(Proverbs 15:23 KJV)  A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Today we look at the result of an unholy mouth.  Where the words of the godly bring joy, the ungodly generates “burning” (scorching NASB) (6866b) “fire” (784).  It is interesting that when used as an adjective the Hebrew word means scorching but when used as a noun it means scar or scab.  Rotten words from rotten people leave a scar.

The scar is twofold.  It damages the target but it also works to destroy the speaker.  Burning lips can lead to a lake of fire.

So?  Expect evil from evil people.  When the fire comes your way, turn to the Holy Spirit to put out the flame and become a balm of healing. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mouth Joy

(Proverbs 15:23 KJV)  A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

Once again I see the NASB falling into the trap of modern translators.  They just can’t let the Bible speak for itself.  They are afraid to let people wrestle with what God said.
(Proverbs 15:23 NAS77)  A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!
The KJV is quite literal. The phrase “apt answer” in the NASB is a paraphrase that it acknowledges in the margin.  The margin says it literally means “answer of his mouth” which is exactly what the KJV says.  I would make it even more literal and say “mouth (6310) answer (4617).”

The KJV makes it clear that this is a potential that can be achieved, not a promise.  Do you have a mouth of “joy” (8057)?  I think it is obvious that Solomon assumes your mouth will be guided by an informed mind and a changed heart.

So?  Start on the inside.  Let grace do its job on your heart.  Then apply it to what you mouth does and experience a new world. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Short Faces

(Proverbs 14:17 KJV)  He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

A fool “dealeth” (acts NASB) (6213a) “foolishly” (200).  How?  Other places we see other examples but here it focuses on being “quick-tempered” (7116/639).

The KJV correctly breaks this down into two words.  “Soon” (7116) means short.  “Angry” (639), while usually translated anger, can mean face, nostril or nose.  So literally it means having a short face.  You can just see the look of rage that overcomes a face like this.  We might use the term short fuse.

It is clear that this is wrong.  While anger can have a place in a godly life, a short fuse is the mark of a lack of discipline and focus.  I have certain things that set me off.  I struggle with them.  If I don’t they will dilute my spiritual life to the point of danger.  I am starting with the triggers that come with great regularity, like crazy, narcissistic, dangerous drivers.  I am praying for a different attitude and while I wait working on discipline.

So?  How is your fuse?  Is it burning short lately?  Join me in the battle.  Repent, pray, focus, change. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Square Pegs

(Proverbs 13:2 KJV)  A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

Once again the KJV does a better job.  It is the “soul” (5315) of the unredeemed that is the problem, not the “desire” (NASB).  The word for soul is usually translated that way in both translations with “life” coming in second.  There are many other minor translations.

This is a statement that reflects on the nature of man before grace changes him.  Our natural disposition is to be “transgressors" (treacherous NASB) (898).  This is a major character flaw.  It leads to lies, deception, selfishness and “violence” (2555).  This is why we need a savior.  Our modern culture rejects this condition and rejects the Savior.  You need to keep that in mind when you catch up on the news or read.  The reporters and authors come from a mindset that is opposed to the God of the Bible and our need for Him.

So?  Realize that we do not fit.  We are different.  We acknowledge sin.  We admit a need for salvation.  We turn to God for the solutions.  We are square pegs in round holes. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Spiritual Spies

(Proverbs 12:26 KJV)  The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.

Both NASB and KJV give unusual translations in this verse, searching for the right word.  The KJV uses “more excellent” (8446) and the NASB talks about being a “guide”.  Both are reaching for the idea of searching for the right way of living.  The root of the word means to spy or search out.  It means that we are to set an example by our search for excellence and righteousness. 

You will note that the “wicked” (7563) is also setting an example but the standard is different.  People are surrounded by role models who begin with certain assumptions.  Think about the direction that TV programs are pushing.  Think of the morals of your favorite TV character.  If you know anything about the Bible and God’s expectations you should see some immediate contrasts to how we are expected to live.

So?  People are watching.  You are setting an example.  If you neighbor follows your example is he more likely to end up in heaven or hell? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Obvious Isn’t Always

(Proverbs 11:15 KJV)  He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

On the surface this would seem obvious.  Who would co-sign on a loan with someone they don’t even know?  I am too smart for that.  But wait a minute.  How would I be supporting a “stranger” (2114a)?  Ignore for a moment that this word often refers to adulteresses and prostitutes.  That also should be obvious.  Where would our equity be put to support people we don’t know?

One area I can think of would be in the stock market.  How many of us could even begin to know the people in charge of these giant funds?  Once we put some money into a “limited partnership” at an interest rate that was higher than average but not extreme.  We lost it all.  The strangers running the business lived very well until new money ran out.

Another area would be groups we join.  I am constantly asked to join groups like the PTA or buy Girl Scout cookies.  In these organizations, as much as I like and know the local people, I know that the national level is working against the values of Christ.

So?  Hard questions.  Difficult answers.  Each of us has to make our own decisions.  The key is to think and pray about the limited amounts of time and money we have to invest in the world around us.  Be aware. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Baby Bear Syndrome

(Proverbs 10:24 KJV)  The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

We have two groups of people mentioned here.  We have the “wicked” (7563) and the “righteous” (6662).  We need to understand that there is no middle ground.  Americans are big on the middle class.  We have Baby Bear Syndrome.  You remember how Goldilocks found that Papa Bear’s things were at one extreme and Mama Bear’s were at the other.  In the middle was Baby Bear.  In the spiritual world there is no Baby Bear.  You are either a servant of God or you are by default a servant of Satan.

This is hard for us but remember the Rich Young Ruler.  He was doing it all.  He was the original boy scout.  His one failure was a refusal to give it all up to follow Jesus.  The “wicked” can be nice people.  They can be generous.  They can be kind.  They are still the god of their own life.

So?  Understand what is at stake.  It isn’t enough to follow the rules and be a good fellow.  Only the blood of the crucified Jesus can move us from being wicked to being righteous.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

In not On

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

Notice that fear of the Lord is just the “beginning” (8462) of “wisdom” (2451).  Fear is a tool of manipulation if used exclusively or in excess.  It is not enough to “fear” (3374).  We are told to go the next step.  If we do not keep going then the fear turns into a handicap instead of a boost. 

Think of fear being like a car.  It isn’t enough to have a car.  You need to know how to drive.  You need to know how to check the oil and put in the gas.  You need to know where you want to go.  Living on fear is like having a car in the driveway with an empty tank, flat tires and a dead battery.

So?  Understand the difference between in and on.  Let our attitude toward God guide us through the day and determine our attitudes for life.  Wisdom waits. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Wrong End of the Knife

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

Most of us have heard the expression, “This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”  It is usually associated with discipline.  That would also be a statement about our sin.  We may sin against others.  We may sin against God.  In the long run it “wrongeth” (injures NASB) (2554) the sinner.  The implication here is not that sin is a two edged sword but a knife we are holding from the wrong end.

The reason God is so serious about sin is because it will hurt Him more than it will hurt us.  We suffer in Hell.  We deserve it.  Jesus took on our sin.  He did not deserve it.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
So?  If you are still rebellious you might think about what it is doing to your life now and for eternity.  If you are a believer it might be time for a tune up. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Why Believers Should Fear Hell

(Proverbs 7:27 KJV)  Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

A lot of people who call themselves Christian would reject this verse or play Thomas Jefferson and cut it out of their Bible.  They don’t want to believe in the existence of “Sheol” (7585).  The big problem is that it would require a lot of cutting, the word is used at least 66 times.  Why the different translations?  The transliteration for the Hebrew word is “sheol.”  It means underworld or hell.

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about hell.  Maybe I should.  Not because I am going there but because so many people I care about might be on their way.  Maybe we are guilty of living like it doesn’t exist even when we believe it does.

So?  Live like Hell is real and we want to keep people out of it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Happy Importuning

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

I wonder why the translators of the NASB chose “importune” (7292) instead of the “make sure” of the KJV.  It is not a common word in modern English.  When you compare the English with the Hebrew you see it is a good choice.  “Importune” is defined as “harass with persistent requests.”  The Hebrew definition includes “storm against, beset.”

We get ourselves into problems with people around us.  It is real.  There will be consequences.  We are here told not to let it go.  Do not expect someone else to come to the rescue.  Go to the person, make it an issue.  Resolve it.

So?  Not what you wanted to hear today, right?  Me neither.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t needed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Situation Ethics

(Proverbs 5:6 KJV)  Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Being “movable” (unstable NASB) (5128) fits in well with the philosophy of the world.  It fits in well with the post-modern idea that there is no wrong way to do anything, that everything depends on the situation.  It is the idea that is at the root of popular understanding of situation ethics.

I say “popular understanding” because up to a point the situation does determine if something is right or wrong.  If you have someone in the car having a heart attack, most people would say it is acceptable to run a red light.  If you are late for a party, not so much.  What is being adopted is the idea that things are only wrong because you feel they are wrong.  That is the road to hell being described here.

So?  God’s word gives us a stable, unwavering foundation for making the choices of life.  It may not make any difference to your favorite actor or musician, but it makes a difference to God.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Real Life Perfection

(Proverbs 4:27 KJV)  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

I like the way the KJV expresses the second part of this verse.

By using “remove” (5493) rather than “turn” (NASB second time) you are reminded that there will be times in life when you will step in it.  You can be as careful as is humanly possible.  You can plan and focus.  You can be going in the right direction.  You still get it on your shoe. 

In the defining of the word you find the suggestions of “leave undone” and “retract.”  We are reminded that God has built in allowances for those times when we find ourselves touched by evil.  Our part is repentance and revival.  God’s part is forgiveness, cleansing and restoration.

So?  If you suddenly wake up to where you are and say to yourself, “This is wrong.”  Admit the same thing to God, retract and move ahead.  That is the kind of real life perfection God desires. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just Because It Is a Cliche Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t True

(Proverbs 3:5 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

As I drive the freeways to work I sometimes ponder how to respond for the day to the question, “How are you?”  I rarely use “fine.”  I like the way that I have heard Dave Ramsey respond with, “Better than I deserve.”

Today I am suspended between an awareness of how blessed I am and a lack of enthusiasm about the day.  It is like driving the ultimate car but being low on gas.  The Lord came through by having me read one of the most familiar passages of Proverbs.  The Holy Spirit reminded me of it at a key time.  It is like saying, “Stick with the obvious.  It works.” 

So?  I am reminded today to trust, to avoid depending on myself.  It is a good place to start.  It is a good place to finish.  Join me in the experience. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bread, Beverages and Beliefs

(Proverbs 2:5 KJV)  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Discernment is an important quality to God.  Proverb is considered wisdom literature and the Hebrew word is used 39 times.  It was vital to Solomon as he tried to teach about being what God wanted us to be.  Mindless autobots are not what God has in mind.  Most translations use “understand” (995).  The Bible in Basic English says “will be clear to you.”  The Good News Bible simply says “know”.

Anyway you put it, God wants us to engage our minds and think.  He told Isaiah,
(Isaiah 1:18 KJV)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
We are supposed to develop a discerning mental palate.  That comes from exposure to the best, not from being saturated by the worst.  You might think you are eating good bread until you taste really good bread.  You might think your coffee is good until you sample some that is great.  You might think that an idea makes sense until you listen to the inspired word.

So?  Plug your brain in.  Become one who can tell the difference between truth and foolishness.  Wisdom waits in the wings. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Limitations of God

(Proverbs 1:26 KJV)  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

Beware.  God is much more complex than you are comfortable with.

We have such a warm fuzzy idea of God.  We think of Him always having this look of intense concern on His face when we wander.  We think he is a perpetual Ricky to the constantly erring Lucy.  It seems to me that the final episode of “I Love Lucy” should have been in a lawyers office with divorce papers being written up. 

Here it says He will “laugh” (7832) at the “calamity” (343) that comes our way when we ignore Him.  This verse is talking about God.  The infinite God does have His limitations.  He does not give up on us in a moment.  He is incredibly patient.  He forgives.  But He also knows our heart and does not play games.

So?  It may not be an issue with you but it might be with someone you love.  God will not be mocked.  He is not into your self esteem.  Count on it, hopefully from the right side of the cross.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dump the List

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

There are times in which I wish we would have more frequent transliteration in our Bibles.  For instance, I think it would be better communication to translate agape as agape, not love.  Here we have an entire phrase.  In our English it is “teaching” (8451) of “kindness” (2617a).  The Hebrew transliteration would be “Torah of chesed (lovingkindness).”  I mentioned this phrase before.

The thing that hit me today was that the Torah is not just a teaching, it is the law.  Out of the 219 times the word appears in the Old Testement, the KJV translates it “law” 219 times and the NASB 199 times.  Yes, it is taught.  No, it is not an option.

We are talking about the law of love.  This is the Christian standard.  It is the product of a heart transformed by the power of God.

So?  There is an unending list of attitudes and actions that we can’t keep track of.  Every time we turn around there is something else we are to not do.  It impossible to keep track.  It is all summed up in what the Hebrew calls chesed and the Greek calls agape.  Dump the list, live the law.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


(Proverbs 30:13 KJV)  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

The KJV uses a much more descriptive word than the NASB, “generation” (1755) rather than “kind”.  The NASB admits in it’s marginal notes that the KJV is more accurate.  We have seen this three verses in a row and will see it in one more.  Repetition has meaning in the Bible.

There are real differences in generations.  We have names for them now.  We have the Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials.  I see it at school as narrowly defined as a year.  We fit into groups.

The group here is defined as thinking very highly of themselves.  These are not the eyes lifted up to God and worshiping in humility.  These are the eyes of the content and self-satisfied who look down on others and don’t really feel a need for God.  In modern terms these are those with self esteem and self actualization.  The thing we need to understand it that they are the ones bound for Hell.

So?  Beware if you are identified too much with your generation.  The kids at school are always telling me, “But the other teachers.....”  I remind them that I am not the other teachers.  Stand out for Jesus. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Abounds?

(Proverbs 29:22 KJV)  An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

Anger and fury are not the problem here.  They are emotions that come and go.  The problem is people who allow themselves to be controlled by these reactions.  It is the man who is known for his temper or the woman who is treated like delicate china because of her short fuse.

Allowing your emotions to control you leads to sin.  When they determine the behavior and response they are “transgression” (6588).  The unsaved can control their responses.  Even more, children of God can do so, and must.

So?  Temperance of behavior is not an option.  When you lose it, repentance is not an option.  Walk in righteousness.  Sometimes that means self control, sometimes confession. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heart Switch

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

Modern romantic thought is telling us to follow our hearts.  The idea is that if we reach down inside and listen to our inner self we will find true happiness.  That is only true in people who have had their “heart” (3820) remade by the Holy Spirit.  The real truth about our inner nature is stated early in scripture.
(Genesis 6:5 KJV)  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
But we also find the promise of redemption of the core.
(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV)  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
The Spirit makes that change.  With that change we seek wisdom.  Life is no longer futile.

So?  Start at the right place.  Finish at the right place. 

Monday, October 27, 2014


(Proverbs 27:6 KJV)  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

The definition of “faithful” (539) has a lot of interesting branches.  Among them are “nurse” and “nourish”.  We are looking at the part of love’s definition that has been discarded by the culture in which we live.  In the world around us love means “never having to say you are sorry.”  To God, that is a sorry definition.

Think about going to the doctor and needing a shot of some medication.  Often the doctor or nurse will say, “I’m sorry.  This is going to hurt a little.”  Would you go back to a doctor who said, “I have a treatment that will cure you but I am not going to use it because it might make you uncomfortable.”

So?  We are to do what is best for others, not what they want.  In a perfect world the two would always be the same.  I don’t live in a perfect world. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Mouths of Fools

(Proverbs 26:9 KJV)  As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

What used to be the most quoted verse in the Bible?  When I was growing up it would have been John 3:16, no question.
(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Things have changed.  The fools are taking over the pulpits and classrooms of America.  Now the most quoted verse is Matthew 7:1.
(Matthew 7:1 KJV)  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Why do I say fools?  The current crop of leaders and church attenders have chosen the verse that serves their purposes and allows them to live in rebellion and sin but feel righteous about it.  You can quote John 3:16 out of context and the depth of meaning is still there.  So is the conviction and need for real faith.  Matthew 7:1 usually is quoted out of context and warped to fit the occasion.  No one keeps reading and sees the demand for personal accountability and the call to confront others in their sin.
(Matthew 7:5 KJV)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
So?  Don’t be a fool.  Use the word with care as it was intended to be used.  God will not be mocked. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dross Alert

(Proverbs 25:4 KJV)  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.

Who is responsible for the demand to “take away” (1898) the “dross” (5509)?  If you are going to walk with Jesus, this is a two barreled job.  It demands action by both God and man.

We cannot save ourselves.  Only the blood of Jesus is enough to pay for our sin.  That is a universal truth that all Christians embrace.  We are saved by grace, through faith.  We are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  The dross is dealt with by God.  In the words of Martin Luther,
“When thro' fi'ry trials they pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
In addition to that, we are expected to remove from our lives anything that might hold us back.  We cannot continue to indulge ourselves in sin believing that God will look the other way.  He has done the heavy lifting, now we are expected to dust and tune.

So?  Get serious.  Daily.  Hourly.  Moment by moment.  Honor Him by obedience.  Walk in righteousness because He makes it possible. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Honey Be’s

(Proverbs 24:13 KJV)  My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

I am not a “honey” (1706) eater.  I like it.  It is good.  It is also sticky and I always seem to get some on my fingers and from there to other places it doesn’t belong.  There may be a trick to it I am not finding but I am not willing to put the time into it to find out.  It is my loss.

How many good things are there to life that I have never learned to enjoy?  I have learned to enjoy coffee but not chai.  I like many old hymns but don’t know much about jazz.  I like science fiction but have avoided romances.

Sometimes we avoid things because of the potential for sin and evil.  I would put alcohol in that category.  Gambling contains the seeds for destruction.  But there are still many areas to explore.

So?  Is there honey in your life you are ignoring?  Life is full of so many opportunities.  Take a few.  Sky diving anyone? 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ignore at Your Peril

(Proverbs 23:21 KJV)  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Is this a rule or a principle?  I lean toward principle.  It is a warning that God has placed in His word to remind us of the kind of behaviors that can ruin our lives.  If you are concerned about the poor, people in “poverty” (3423), then you need to be concerned about alcohol consumption.

You may be a social drinker.  You may never go overboard.  That does not invalidate the principle.  Look around you.  Look at the ways in which alcohol ruins lives.  Here it focuses on the financial side of things.  Jobs are lost because of alcohol.  Careers are ruined.  Financial stability is destroyed because of the cost of booze.  People who could have been successful and prosperous are in the gutter and in the soup lines.

So?  Alcohol consumption is a moral issue.  We don’t need laws, we need a witness.  You want to help people out of poverty?  Quit laughing at drunk jokes.  Quit publicly remonstrating on how one drink won’t send you to hell.  Become a quiet witness for good lives. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trusting the Person

(Proverbs 22:19 KJV)  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

The Christian life is based on “trust” (4009) {25:19}.  This is not the identical word from the verse we are most familiar with,
(Proverbs 3:5 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
but it is a derivative. 

Trust does not happen automatically.  Notice the word “known” (taught NASB) (3045).  Both the NASB and KJV have the idea that teaching is going on.  There is, however, a nuance to the knowing that I think is missed.  Thus, it becomes in a Pumice Paraphrase,

“I let you know me so you will trust me.” (PPP)

A popular song of the past said,

“To know, know, know me,
Is to love, love, love me.”

That is the concept here.  God does not stand afar off and expect us to run on empty.  He does not expect blind faith.  He gets up close, gets involved and lets us get to know Him.  I think of the times, after being out of town, that my wife sleeps better knowing that I am home. 

So?  Get to know Him.  Let Him speak to you.  Listen.  And then not only sleep better but live better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reversing the Locks

(Proverbs 21:23 KJV)  Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Usually we “keepeth” (guard NASB) (8104) focus on exterior threats.  We drive defensively.  We lock our doors.  We keep our valuables in a safe.  That doesn’t seem to be the focus in this verse.  Here the danger is from within.

Don’t get it confused.  We may make excuses that someone got us so stirred up that we said what we didn’t intend.  They may have stirred the pot but we are the ones who refused to take it off the fire. 

We can control what we say but not if we wait until the last minute.  A guard is useless if you only get one after the break-in.  Locking the door won’t work unless you do it every night.  These safety measures are habits and habits develop from conscious choices over time.

So?  Get started.  Get a handle on it.  Start laying the ground work.  Look at the verse again.  The consequences involve eternity not just our day. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Universal Breath of Life

(Proverbs 20:27 KJV)  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

As I work through the usage of the word “spirit” (5397) in the Bible, the first thing I notice is that it is used to refer to the breath of God that imparted life into Adam. 
(Genesis 2:7 KJV)  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (5397) of life; and man became a living soul.
It is used this way many times. 

As an extension of that it is used as the quality of being alive.  When someone dies, this is what leaves them. 

I could not find a time it was used to refer to animals.  It could be the Imago Dei, the image of God, that each human being is given.  Each and every living human being has a quality like this that says, “I am not a rock.  I am not an animal.”

So?  You have a quality in you that makes you uniquely human.  Everyone has it.  It is designed by God and for God.  If you are a computer geek, think of it as a backdoor into your human software that enables God to do a search. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hater of Work

(Proverbs 19:24 KJV)  A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

“Slothfull” (6102).  “Sluggard” (NASB).  Lazy (CEV).  These are not pleasant epithets.  The Bible in Basic English gives us the heart of the matter:  “The hater of work.” 

This can be healthy.  Most inventions were inspired by the desire to get more done with less effort.  That kind of creativity is not trying to avoid effort but to make it more productive.  It is at the heart of modern free enterprise economics. 

This can also be crippling.  To avoid all work because we don’t want to work is what leads to hunger and poverty.  Sure, oppression and greed exist but it is the desire of something for nothing that is at the heart of theft and deceit.  God gives us salvation because we cannot earn it.  He expects obedience because we must live righteous lives.  My parents fed me when I was an infant.  Then we moved to the place where I fed myself.  Then I began to help in the preparation and clean up.  Then I began to feed my children.

So?  Sloth by any fancy name is laziness.  It is not acceptable. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lips of Contention

(Proverbs 18:6 KJV)  A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

If you look at this verse and the following one you see a parallel thought process.  The difference seems to be the scope of the results to foolishness.  In this verse it seems to be focusing on our everyday lives.  Foolish talk can get us in a pickle.  The next verse seems to be focusing on the eternal.  Foolish talk can send us to Hell.

Wow!  I was just joking.  Actually, God wasn’t.  It was still foolish.  There is a well known verse on this.
(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.
So?  Think back over your day.  Think forward to what is coming.  Do you see any patterns you can change the might lead you in the paths of righteousness instead of the folly of loose lips? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lima Beans or Brussel Sprouts

(Proverbs 17:1 KJV)  Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

“Better” (2896a) is an English word that appears frequently in the Bible.  What came to my mind was the 11th chapter of Hebrews that talks about a better sacrifice and a better resurrection.  It is used 21 times in Proverbs.  Two things surprised me.  One is that the word “best” is less frequent and not used in Proverbs at all.  The second is that the word is used 21 times in Ecclesiastes. 

It is hard for us to get a handle on better.  Because we know Jesus who is the ultimate Best, we often think that we will have the best in all areas of our lives.  Usually our choices do not include the best.  Usually all we can hope for is the better choice.  Often we miss spiritual growth and fulfillment because we refuse to choose from the actual options we have.

So?  Your choices may not include the steak that came from the sacrifice.  You may be forced to chose between lima beans and Brussel sprouts.  Neither one is best in my world but I can decide which one would be better at the moment.  Do your best and trust for the rest. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Will Work for Food

(Proverbs 16:26 KJV)  He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

There is a lot of wiggle room in this verse for creative translation.  Compare this to the NASB.
PRO 16:26 A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him {on.}
In the English I don’t see a lot in common.  Let’s break it down a little.

“He” (appetite NASB) (5315) is the common word for “soul.”  The second most common translation is “life.”  The two words for “laboureth” (6001a) and (5998) are related words that refer to work. 

It is the inner man that drives us to work.  It is a desire in our hearts to meet needs, fulfill dreams and make a contribution.  This is more than just a need for food.  This is a need for purpose.

So?  What directs your heart?  What will it take to satisfy the appetite of your soul?  There are a lot of temporary fixes, but in the long run, God designed you with what Pascal called a God shaped vacuum in your soul.  Let Him fill it if He has not already done so.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Purpose

(Proverbs 15:22 KJV)  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

What “purposes” (plans NASB) (4284) do I have?  Are they in tune with God’s direction for my life?  Notice the different words used in the two translations.  The word from the KJV is by far the most common in my list of translations.  The only other offering was “designs” from the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Have you stopped to look at your long range goals in life?  What will it take for you to feel like your life arrived at the proper destination?  What will it take to hear those coveted words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  I am struggling with this as someone who is officially old.

So?  Don’t wait until retirement to try to find what God would have you do.  Make it a matter of thought and prayer, not matter how old you are. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fear of Wisdom

(Proverbs 14:16 KJV)  A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

When I began reading this chapter today I started in verse 27 which talks about the “fear of the Lord” in a positive way.  Here we see the idea again except that the NASB translates “feareth” as “cautious” (3372a).  Notice that the fear is not directed toward “evil” (7451b).  We are to beware of evil.  We are to avoid evil.  We are to even to hate evil.
(Psalms 97:10 KJV)  Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
But fear is reserved for the Lord.  That is because this fear has the element of reverence and respect.  It comes from knowing the character of God.  It brings a willing obedience because of our high regard for God. 

We don’t respond to evil that way.

So?  Stay out of dark alleys and avoid the bad part of town.  That isn’t so much fear as wisdom.  Get close to God.  Him you can fear. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fill in the Blank

(Proverbs 13:1 KJV)  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

My father has been dead for nineteen years.  His memory still lives on.  His children and grandchildren regularly bring up the solid foundation he raised.  It occurred to me as I read this that I can’t listen to his discipline any more.  So how does this apply?

I also noticed something else.  The first verb is not in the Hebrew.  If you have a KJV or NASB you will notice that the verb, “heareth” or “accepts” is written in Italics.  In those translations that means that the word does not appear in the original languages and is only added for clarity.  This is not uncommon.  It means that we have some flexibility in filling in the verb needed in English. 

So?  What would the verb be for you?  For me “remembers” might be a better choice.  You might like “applies.”  It is clear from the context that “rejects” is not acceptable even if it is so common.