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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Tradition or Truth

(Pro 31:1 KJV)  The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

Chapter 31 starts off with a reminder for us that we are supposed to base our knowledge of the Bible on the Bible, not what we think, others think or just general tradition.  Whom do people say wrote Proverbs?  General wisdom is Solomon.  Generally that is true.  Solomon wrote Proverbs, except for the parts that he didn’t write.  I was listening to a pod cast by Wayne Grudem on systematic theology as I walked.   He mentioned that some people attack the Bible because it teaches that the world is flat.  Grudem says there is one big problem with that statement: The Bible does not teach the world is flat.  I did a quick word search on flat in the KJV and NASB and did not find it used in regard to the world.

Do your own research before you quote me.

So?  How much of what you believe is based on the Word of God and how much is on the words of the guys at the water cooler?  Tools are readily available.  Go to the source. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Testing, Testing

(Pro 30:5 KJV)  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

What is the purpose of testing or as the KJV says being “pure” (6884)?  Too often we tend to think in terms of finals.  Our grade depends on the score we get.  In education and training that has a place, but there is another concept in testing that educators talk about a lot but rarely do to any real purpose.  One of the concepts behind testing is to find out how much you know so that the missed concepts and facts can be retaught.  It is a wonderful concept that does not work in education because of time restrictions and other problems that are more political so I won’t go into them here.

We should have time to apply this in our lives but the testing is kind of in reverse.  It is more a pattern of applying the principles and standards, seeing how we are doing and moving on.  The Christian life is a walk not a crisis.  It is growth, not stasis. 

So?  When you find a truth that you have been ignoring or have not been aware of, apply it.  Make it a part of your pattern of behavior or your world view.  Make it a matter of thought and prayer. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stay Out of the Cafeteria

(Pro 29:15)  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Have you noticed a tendency in Church attenders and cultural Christians to practice what is being called “Cafeteria Christianity.”  It means that you go along the line and pick out what you want for the day.  What you pick varies according to mood.  That may be no problem when you are at a fast food joint, but it becomes a serious issue when you are talking about your faith.  We sometimes criticize Thomas Jefferson, who took scissors to the Bible and cut out all the parts he did not like.  We do the same thing today

One area this is true involves the discipline of our children.  We have swallowed the belief system of the world that says people are innately good.  The Bible says we are inclined to evil.  That is why correction, discipline and teaching are so important.  This verse says that corporal punishment is an acceptable path to wisdom.  This does not mean that corporal punishment is the only way to wisdom, just that it is an acceptable method.

So?  Base your decisions in life on what God says, not on Dr. Phil or Dr. Spock.  Remember who will be sitting on the judgment seat. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crime Is the Pits

(Pro 28:17)  A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

Being a Christian does not mean totally accepting everyone at all times.  Many of us could do better on being less judgmental, but we often lean over too far backwards.  Some people have done things that justifiably make them “flee” (a fugitive NASB) (5127).  The NASB marginal note says this means “flee to the pit.”  They should have so much fear of justice that they avoid civil society, even the church.

This is a hard concept for many to accept who have a view of love that is based more on Hollywood and modern, Bible rejecting theology than on the teachings of Jesus and Paul.  There is a place for a hard line.  I personally think the average church and average Christian has found it easier to ignore this.  It leads to coddled and comforted perversions.

So?  This is not something that is supposed to start a witch hunt.  This is a standard that we need to seriously consider in how we respond to crime.

Monday, January 27, 2014

“If” Is a Condition, Not a Promise

(Proverbs 27:24 KJV)  For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

This is a good place to reflect on the difference between Biblical principles and Biblical absolutes.  It seems to me that David had his dynasty guaranteed.  Consider the following words to David regarding his son Solomon,
(1 Chronicles 17:12 KJV)  He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
If taken in isolation this seems like an absolute promise.  Yet even Solomon understood that there were conditions and offers this as a qualifier.

We see a similar thought later:
(Pro 29:14 NAS77)  If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.
Notice the "if."  Always consider the “if’s” of life.

So?  God’s promises are true.  So are His expectations and conditions.  Don’t try to bind Him with your conditions, live by His.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Band-aids Still Needed

(Proverbs 26:2 KJV)  As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

The NASB says the “curse” (7045) will not “come" (alight NASB) (935).).  The marginal reading of the NASB tells us that it literally means “come” just as the KJV says.  What are we going to do with these modern translators?  There is a difference between the two ideas.  One means that the curse can kind of flit around our heads but find not purchase.  The other means that it won’t even arrive in your location. 

This is reminding us that living a righteous, upright life has results.  Living free from evil means that the curses of evil will not even begin to approach us.  This would also help us understand the difference between the curses of evil and the simple results of living in a sinful world.  We are all subject to the curse of death.  It effects all of nature.  We will age.  We will get colds and flu.  We will face unemployment.  But the true curses of the coming year will not be on our heads.

So?  Buy band-aids and Tylenol.  Try to figure out the health care debacle.  Rejoice that God will shield us from the truly evil. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

And a Ring for Her Nose, Ho, Ho!

(Proverbs 25:12 KJV)  As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

I do not understand jewelry or why it attracts people.  Being raised in a church that had a tendency toward legalism I had early training that jewelry was evil and a sign of worldliness.  Paul would be quoted,
(1 Timothy 2:9 KJV)  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
The principle is obviously not about gold and pearls but about the attitude we have toward them. 

I especially like the side notes in my NASB.  It says this can also mean “nose rings.”  A better example of this is in the recruiting of Rebekah as a bride for Isaac.
(Genesis 24:47 KJV)  And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.
If we took this seriously we would expect every bride to receive a nose ring.

So?  This is an area where I must work at not judging.  If rings and necklaces rock your world and don’t distract you from serving Jesus, then adorn your body to match your soul.  I imagine you have the same hangup about my golf clubs. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wisdom Muscles

(Proverbs 24:5 KJV)  A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

In our culture we don’t often put “wise” (2450) and “strong” (5797) together.  We are a nation of sound bites, photo ops and facades.  When our world thinks of the wise they probably think of a shriveled up old man talking about “kids these days.”  Wisdom is for chumps.  The question today is, “What is the bottom line?”  Socialists and Progressives ask it as much as capitalists and traditionalists. 

In the Bible they are a natural link.  Biblical strength is not something measures in horsepower or bench presses.  For us it is the ability to resist temptation and put others first.  Our strength is rooted in a healthy fear of God.  This enables us to face death with no fear, surgery with peace and the future with assurance.  The wise man should not be surrounded by empty headed babes fawning on his masculinity.  He (or to be honest, she) should be the person who is always getting the question, “How can you be so calm?”

So?  Do you know the answer to the question?  Jesus.  Think of the words to that old song,
“Many things about the future
I don’t seem to understand,
But I know Who holds the future,
And I know Who holds my hand.” 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Modern Plague

(Proverbs 23:11 KJV)  For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Who is Solomon talking about when he talks about “their cause” (their case NASB) (7379)?  Look at the previous verse and you see that here he is talking specifically of the fatherless.  In Solomon’s day this was a different issue than today.  He saw mainly widows.  That culture would not have put up with our plague of absentee fathers through promiscuity, divorce and desertion.  Although there are many ways for a father to die today, modern medicine makes this less of a problem.  The point we need to remember is that we are still to have a special place in our heart for the orphan.  By extension this would touch the widows also. 

I think we could also extend this warning to those fathers who are not being responsible.  If you call yourself a Christian and have children you have abandoned you might want to think about the prospect of Almighty God taking the prosecution against you.

So?  Doesn’t apply to you?  I would hope not.  Maybe you know someone who should hear this.  It might be a young man who is playing around or a church board member who is living in denial.  You might be the voice of redemption to them. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Form of “Love Your Enemies”

(Proverbs 22:11 KJV)  He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

This must be a statement of principle and not an observation.  I think it is an early expression of Romans 13 rather than an explanation of how kings think.  Our current leadership certainly does not embrace someone who “loves” (157) “pureness” (purity NASB) (2889) of “heart” (3820).  This is about how we should treat political leaders not an expectation of their response.

In case you have not read Romans recently, chapter 13 starts off this way,
(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 is written about the Rome that would execute Paul and Peter.  This is the Rome that would send Christians to the lions.  Yes, that Rome.  Paul told us to be subject to that government.  Solomon says to be righteous and a friend of the king. 

So?  It may not be easy.  It may not make sense, but then neither does turning the other cheek.  It is still there. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quiet Giving

(Proverbs 21:14 KJV)  A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

We see two different Hebrew words used here.  I find this verse a bit confusing.  The main difference I can see between the two is that one is a genuine gift, done privately.  The other is a bribe with the intent of influencing either a person or public opinion, an attempt to purchase even if it is under the guise of charity.  The first is labeled as oil on the waters of life and the second just fans the flames. 

Spiritual giving is done quietly.  That seems to be the lesson of the first phrase.  Have you ever seen churches that have the velvet bags for taking the offering rather than the flat, wooden plates?  I think that would exhibit this idea in our church offerings.  No one can see what you put in.  It is between you and the Lord.  The same can be accomplished with offering envelopes.  In this time of economic distress, a quiet gift to someone in need is the ticket, not a public gift that embarrasses them and makes you look good.

So?  Is there someone who needs part of your bounty?  Give but do it quietly.  Let God be the one who extends His blessing to you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Make War, Not Love

(Proverbs 20:18 KJV)  Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

One of the issues that divide Christians is the issue of “war” (4421).  Some would say that war is always wrong.  As far as I know there are no responsible people who always say war is the answer in every situation.  So we have a conflict between those who say “never” and those who say “sometimes.”  Notice that war is not condemned here.  It is assumed.  It is to be controlled, not banned.

Don’t assume because people quote Jesus on turning the other cheek that the clear teaching of the Bible is pacifism.  This has been a topic of conversation down through history.  It has not been swept under the rug.  Historic Christianity is not blind or ignorant.  For today notice that wisdom and careful consideration are the modifiers not banning. 

So?  War is always destructive.  It is never pleasant.  It is to be approached with caution.  Sometimes it seems to be necessary. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On Keeping Your Soul

(Proverbs 19:16 KJV)  He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

In a reread of this verse I notice that “commandment” (4687) is singular, not plural.  I wonder if that is significant.  The obvious answer is “Yes.”  Everything God does in transmitting His word to us is significant.  Many of you will automatically know how Jesus dealt with this.  He was asked what was the greatest commandment.  His answer was twofold.
(Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
These are really two sides of the same coin.  Our culture tries to define love without the love of God as a foundation.  Culture is falling apart.  Too often the church ignores their neighbor.  The church becomes weak.  Blessings come from keeping the commandment.

So?  It goes against everything you see and hear in the world around you but focus on God, let it overflow into your neighborhood and keep your soul.  Sounds like a good deal to me. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Speaking in Tongues

(Proverbs 18:21 KJV)  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

How many parts of your life can have such a sweeping statement?  “Death” (4194) and “life” (2425b) are linked to the “tongue” (3956).  Do we take this literally or figuratively?  Does it matter?  What we have to say has a “power” (3027) over our now and our forever.

I don’t think this is talking about our eloquence in public speaking.  I think this is referring to our everyday us of our mouths.  It implies that we can use our mouth to build up or to tear down.  The second part of the verse says that the effect we have is based on what we love, our basic values and priorities.

So?  What kind of tongues do you speak?  Cruelty and arrogance do not need an interpreter.  Let your mouth be a trumpet of love and compassion today.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Roots of Rebellion

(Proverbs 17:19 KJV)  He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

Certain beliefs seem to hang in the same closet.  For instance, if you believe abortion is killing of an innocent child, you usually also believe that marriage is a life-long covenant between one man and one woman.  I realize that some people stray off the reservation, but usually you can take this to the bank.

Here it is saying the same thing about personality traits.  Some just go together.  Some people love “transgression” (6588).  Although it is rarely translated “sin,” that is the basic idea.  The slant of this word is sin as rebellion.  We are not talking about the person who sins from weakness or ignorance.  We are talking about people who look you in the eye and step over the line.  This is the guy who deliberately cuts you off in traffic and gives you the gesture.

The first part of this verse is pretty clear.  Some people love “strife” (4683) with God.  I would assume that they get what they want.

So?  Are you seeking a life of peace or confrontation?  The first step down the road has to do with your attitude.  Start with rebellion or submission.  Reap the reward.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pride Defined

(Proverbs 16:18 KJV)  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

What is “pride” (1347b)?  The parallel structure here gives us a definition as a “haughty” (1363) “spirit” (7307).  Picture someone looking down their nose at the world and possibly you in particular.  It doesn’t always need to be super obvious.  It can be a quiet disregard for others.  It can be a subtle positioning that makes sure that you get the first and the best.  This might be the person who goes to the grocery store and rearranges the shelves so that the item will be hidden until they can get back to claim it.  This could be the person who hides a certain food item at home to make sure that it is available for their personal use.  The other person may never be aware but they are being looked down on.

Jesus made it clear in His teaching on turning the other cheek.  Paul expresses it in the Love Chapter of I Corinthians 13 but more simply in Philippians
(Philippians 2:3-4 KJV)  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
So?  Who rules in your heart?  Jesus wants to be first.  He demands that we have a servant mentality, not acts like lords of the manor. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You Are What You Eat

(Proverbs 15:14 KJV)  The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

As I read through the chapter today I noticed a parallel between this verse and verse 2,
(Proverbs 15:2 KJV)  The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Both verses deal with an approved person and a rejected person.  Both deal with “knowledge” (1847) and “foolishness” (folly NASB) (200).  Both are producing information.  What gives the “understanding” (intelligent NASB) (995) person the edge?  The quality of input.

Notice that the fool produces folly because he “feeds” (7462a) on folly.  The intelligent is listened to because he “seeks” (1245) knowledge.  This can be viewed negatively and positively.  You can say, “You can’t give what you don’t have,”  or you can say, “You are what you eat.”

So?  It is important to fill our heads and hearts with what is worth sharing.  I could listen to John and Ken on my radio while I drive to work.  It would be entertaining.  I choose to listen to Alistair Begg pod casts.  Look for the places in the day when you can raise the quality of your input.  Use them wisely.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pickling or Enhancing Spice?

(Proverbs 14:7 KJV)  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Whom do you like to spend time with?  Why?  What kind of companionship do you seek out?  Too often we like to hang around with the buddy that acts like a “foolish man” (fool NASB) (3684).  They may act stupid, but they are fun.  In small amounts that may not hurt us.  When it becomes our default behavior we cease growing spiritually and intellectually.  We cannot “perceive” (discern NASB) (3045) [yada] “knowledge” (1847) when we are around people who change our focus and make us less willing to think. 

Something else to think about:  What kind of an influence are we?  Do we attract others because we are caustic and deprecating?  Do we run a Saturday Night Live monologue about the profane all the time?  Do we keep others from discerning the things of God?

So?  Don’t drown your sense of humor.  Don’t act like you don’t know anything about the popular culture.  Be aware.  Find people who stimulate your sense of the eternal.  Become such a person.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Poor Me

(Proverbs 13:18 KJV)  Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

As a teacher I am repeating the first idea of this verse on a regular basis.  I face a generation that “refuseth” (neglects NASB) (6544a) “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148).  The modern translation is better here.  The old idea of instruction used to include the concept of aggressive correction and chastening.  Today it needs to be user friendly.  It must be fun.  It must build self esteem.  It is being rejected.

At a meeting last week we were told that we could not fail certain students unless we had filled out the right forms, gone to the right meetings and jumped through all the hoops.  There was nothing in the statement that held the student accountable for anything.  There was no requirement for accepting instruction or having the student embrace any type of discipline.

So?  Poverty happens.  Sometimes it is just a result of conditions that cannot be controlled.  Too often it is a result of refusing to work and strive.  Too often it is because we want it all at no personal cost.  Help someone grow.  Hold them accountable.  It helps to start with ourselves.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Solomon Gets Cheeky

(Proverbs 12:16 KJV)  A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.

I think we have a foundation for one of Jesus teachings,
(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Can you see it in there?  Too often we take something like this and make it just a physical reaction.  We get limited by the word picture and miss the whole point.  This is not a call to pacifism.  This is not an invitation to become the community door mat.  This is a call to self control. 

Often life is harder for a “prudent man” (6175).  He “covereth” (conceals NASB) (3680) insults that “shame” (dishonor NASB) (7036) him.  One reason for this is that often the insults were not intentional.  Many times the things that hurt your feelings are completely off the radar of the offender. 

This also brings into play forgiveness.  Now that is starting to get too close to home.

So?  Forgive and forget.  If you can’t do that you can at least cover and move on while the Holy Spirit works on your heart and brings you to the point of love in action.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Is This the Year?

(Proverbs 11:7 KJV)  When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

Death happens.  Along with taxes, it is a sure thing.  This verse reminds us of that and of one other thing:  Death does not mean the same thing for all people.  For the “wicked” (7563) death is an end of “expectation” (8615b).  It is the crash of “hope” (8431).  This is the cause of all the tests the doctor has you take looking for any little thing going wrong in your body.  This is why the world spends so much on cosmetics, exercise and fashions.  The day of death must be held at bay at all costs.

Believers have a different read.  The righteous have expectations that begin at death.  We have a hope that goes beyond the grave.  Physical death is not an end, just a transition. 

So?  How is your hope today?  How are your expectations?  Nothing that happens today is the end.  Death hath no sting.  Of course, you still have taxes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Need for Hot Rods

(Proverbs 10:13 KJV)  In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.

Our modern culture is in the process of rejecting the “rod” (7626).  It is the source of the anti-capital punishment philosophy.  It rejects corporal punishment in schools.  It labels parents who spank as child abusers.  It is pushing an anti-bullying curriculum in our schools.  Some people reject these for concern for misuse of physical correction.  That is a legitimate concern.  Others reject them all because they have the idea that human nature is good and people misbehave simply because of their environment and society.  Those people reject the God of the Bible and His standards. 

If that sounds strong then argue with God, not me.  The death penalty is in the Bible.  Corporal punishment is in this very verse.  The Bible is very clear on the nature of man and it is steeped in sin not simply misguided.

So?  Examine the basic ideas that you operate under.  Are they from the Bible or Freud?  Were they molded by Karl Marx and John Dewey or by Jesus and Paul?  It you look closely the answers to those questions may shock you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Life Is Not a Box of Lego’s

(Proverbs 9:1 KJV)  Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

Notice the tense of this statement.  “Wisdom” (2451) has already “builded” (1129) the house.  The foundations are in.  The roof is on.  The windows are sealed.  Are you ready to move in?  It does not make sense to have an entire dwelling sitting and waiting while you sleep in your car. 

This is reminding us that the building is already finished.  This is not like getting a huge box of Lego’s for Christmas.  This is like getting the finished product.  In Lego’s that would take away the fun but in life it gives us a starting place.  Life is not a toy.  God has already supplied us with the answers to the unanswerable.  He has implied, hinted and outright stated what makes sense and what is foolish.

So?  How many times do I have to say it, read the Owners Manual.  Life is not one of those simple appliances that you can take out and plug in, it is complicated.  Read and follow.  The house is already built. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting Around

(Proverbs 8:27 KJV)  When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

Were you taught in school that people thought the world was flat in the days of yore?  Did you hear about how the sailors with Colombus were worried about sailing off the edge of the world?  The ignorance was with the teacher, not the ancients.  In fact Pythagoras, in the 6th century B.C., calculated the circumference of the earth with amazing accuracy.  When Proverbs talks about the “heavens” (8064) and a “compass” (circle NASB) (2329), is this an indication that we are seeing an awareness of the earth being a globe instead of flat.  This is not a clear proof but an indication.

I read somewhere that today the majority of people in the world think it is flat, even today.  I guess the difference is the people who are aware and those who never look past their nose.  We see the same thing in spiritual and moral terms.  People live in little bubbles, ignoring all the evidence around them and make foolish decisions.

So?  What establishes your circle of awareness?  Are you steeped in the knowledge of God or isolated by the ignorance of the world?  It is a handicap that can be solved.  Read the Owner’s manual. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Good Sex, Bad Sex

(Proverbs 7:18 KJV)  Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.

Have you ever had anyone comment on how Christians are all hung up about sex?  The implication is that we are repressed and unhealthy because we are such prudes.  There is a reason for that.  God is hung up about sex.  That is because it is such a potentially explosive part of our being.  The physical marriage relationship is often described as “knowing.”  The same word is used of knowing God.  It implies intimacy and trust.  This is not for casual relationships.

This passage in Proverbs is just one place that Solomon addresses sex.  This chapter focuses on the misuse of the intimacy.  Other chapters praise it as a part of marriage.  Years ago I read a book by Timothy LaHaye, The Act of Marriage.  I think that is a good insight.

So?  Don’t be hung up.  Be healthy.  Be intimate.  Be in the center of God’s will in sexual matters as much as any other matter.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I Bet You Can’t Eat Just One

(Proverbs 6:29 KJV)  So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.

This verse and the next are evidence that all sin is not equal in the eyes of God.  It is clear that adultery is worse than stealing.  This goes against some of the common cliches we hear, cliches that may be right in a sense but teach a falsehood in the process.  The cliche is that all sin is the same in the eyes of God.  Any sin, even the smallest, is enough to show that we deserve hell.  There is some truth in that idea.  Sin is sin.  It must be forgiven.  Without the grace of God and the blood of Jesus it can send you to eternal damnation. 

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all sin is equal.  Look at the Old Testament law.  Adultery is not the same as damaging your neighbors property.  We know this because the punishment is different.  Look at the next few verses in Proverbs.  Adultery is not the same as theft. 

So?  Don’t let small failures, sins, be a reason to say, “Oh, well.  I have already failed so why keep trying?”  It is like saying that since I ate one cookie too much on my diet that I might as well finish the whole bag.  That is never a good policy. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Joy in the Is

(Proverbs 5:18 KJV)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

We are to “rejoice” (8055) in the wife of our “youth” (5271).  I think it is safe to take the principle and make it work both ways, so this is for both husbands and wives.  For the single, well, you can file it away for future use.

In looking into “rejoicing” I find that this is a primary root.  Grammatically that means that it is a foundational word.  Other words are built on it but it doesn’t get any more basic.  An attitude of rejoicing is basic for any marriage.  Yes, I know.  It is sometimes hard.  I have been married for 38 years.  I have been through the ups and downs.  I have felt the pain and joy.  I am not talking as a naive babe in the woods.

So rejoice and be glad in the woman, or man, that God has given you.  If you are not married then make one of the foundations of your future covenant the kind of person that you will be thankful for twenty years from now. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Flashlight Theology

(Proverbs 4:19 KJV)  The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Evil in our hearts removes our understanding of cause and effect because we refuse to see.  It is like walking through the house at night in the dark and finding that someone has moved all the furniture.  You did not give them permission.  They didn’t ask.  You have that hassock that is the perfect height for putting your feet on.  In the dark it is also the perfect height to break your toe.  In the dark any height will do.  What could be useful and of great value trips us instead of blessing us.  That is what evil does.  It causes us to “stumble” (3782) over the good as well as the bad.  It removes discernment.

How often have I tripped over something in the dark and I don’t know what it was?  There should have been nothing in that spot.  I still tripped.  My ignorance does not remove the pain in my toe. 

So?  Have you turned on the light today?  Have you taken the light of the word and directed it toward those areas that you are not sure about?  It is amazing how a small flashlight can help you see which wire is the ground and which can kill you.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Self Esteem Is Vastly Overrated

(Proverbs 3:7 KJV)  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

The first part of this verse is a poison pill in our modern world.  What is this nonsense about not being totally self centered?  Who does Solomon think he is to tell us that there is greater wisdom and significance outside of the walls of my personal being?  Who does he think he is, God?  Actually, no.  That is the point.  He is not God.  He is speaking for God.  He is repeating the things that God has taught him, not the things he wants to teach.

Picture a king of that age.  He had total power.  In many cultures he would be considered divine.  It can really go to your head.  And Solomon, a king of that age, is saying, “Don’t be impressed with yourself.”

So?  It is good advice for us today.  By today I mean this calendar day, not this age.  As you go through your day you need to understand this in order to do the things that Jesus told us to do.  It is required to turn the other cheek.  It is a foundation of patience, kindness and forbearance, i.e. love.  Be different.  It is what we are called to be. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Voices from the Past

(Proverbs 2:17 KJV)  Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

The opening phrase of this verse varies in translation based on the date of the translation.  The older translations, represented by the KJV, seem to speak of a “guide” and the more modern translations, like the NASB, use “companion.”  This ignores the paraphrases that use all kinds of expressions.  There is a difference between a “companion” and a “guide.”

Maybe this is a reminder that we have influence on people.  The longer we know them the more right we have to influence them.  In the case presented here the influence was noble and good.  The woman represented here “forsaketh” (leaves NASB) (5800a) that influence.

So?  Think back to the good influences of your life that have moved out of your sphere.  Are there any lessons that they could teach you today?  If they saw you today would they be proud or disappointed?  Does that point out anything that needs changing.  Something to think about. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Net Gains

(Proverbs 1:17 KJV)  Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

Sometimes I wish that we had the common sense of the simple animals.  Notice the observation here.  If you are going to lay a trap you need to do it when the animal isn’t watching.  Even animals are not that dumb.  Being a “bird brain” isn’t as bad as the people being described here.

Some people cannot see that their destructive attitudes and behavior are going to lead to destruction.  Today in a discussion we were talking about the destructive nature of drugs such as cocaine.  We were wondering how anyone could get addicted when the evidence of disaster is all around.  How?  It happens constantly. 

So?  God has given us the ability to avoid the big traps of life.  We are smarter than the birds.  At least I think me and mine are.  I would like to think you and yours are also.  Read the Owners Manual and apply it as needed.