An Idea Borrowed

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fat Attitudes

(Proverbs 30:12 KJV)  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

Have you ever found yourself doing the things that you find offensive in others?  I know I have.  And the arrogance continues.  It is so easy to fall into the trap.  I have lost weight and am in the struggle to keep it off.  We have all been there.  I want to stay there.  I also find myself getting into the frame of mind that gets critical of people who are overweight.  Who am I too judge?  I sometimes fear that if I don’t change my attitude God will remove His grace of food control.

We need to look at our victories as well as our failures.  We need to take our victories, be thankful and allow those victories to give us a heart of compassion instead of myopic vision.

So?  Find someone who struggles with an area you have grown in.  Pray for them.  You know what they go through.  Perhaps you know someone well enough to share an area of struggle you have and they can share theirs.  What a prayer meeting that would be. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Slave or Servant?

(Proverbs 29:21 KJV)  He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

A strange reality to us today is that the Bible does not condemn slavery.  This is missed by the way in which this word is translated.  Some translations, such as the KJV, use “servant”.  Others, such as the NASB, use “slave” (5650).  Either is an acceptable translation and that seems repugnant to our modern minds.  As a clear example look at this verse.
(Exodus 12:44 KJV)  But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
In ancient culture there was little difference between a servant and a slave since all power belonged to the ruling class and the idea of personal rights would have been a mystery.

What is really hard for us to accept is the idea of submission.  Too often we reject the submission required of us because in our American arrogance we reject the idea of slavery.

So?  Are you too proud to bend your knee to Almighty God?  Do you feel that a head nod is enough?  Pray that we can learn the lesson of submission without too much pain.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Broad Minds and Narrow Gates

(Proverbs 28:25 KJV)  He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.

I love the marginal note that says the arrogant man is literally the “broad soul.”  The Hebrew means “broad or wide” and here has the idea of being puffed up.  What strikes me is how in our culture today we would praise someone like this.  Isn’t it considered wonderful to be “broad minded”?  Of course our understanding of that is accepting all of the strange behavior around us.  If you are talking about not being disturbed by basketball shoes worn with a coat and tie then I could live with that but what they think of as being broad minded is accepting pornography and casual drug use.

Broad minded seems to be synonymous with rejecting the narrow focus of God.  God is not broad minded, He is eternal and holy.  Remember the words of Jesus.
(Matthew 7:13 KJV)  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
So?  We are not to develop an in-your-face attitude but we cannot fall into the trap of endorsing or supporting that which God prohibits. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Gain of Pain

(Proverbs 27:5 KJV)  Open rebuke is better than secret love.

This hurts, but it also heals.  It reminds us that life is not simple and growth is not painless.  Whether we like it or not there will be times when we need to be corrected.  This can happen many ways.  It can be an insight gained as we read a suddenly meaningful passage of scripture.  It can be a sermon or Sunday school lesson that seems to have been written with you in mind.  It can be the look on your child’s face when you shatter his expectations.  It can also be the simple words, “You are wrong and you know it.”

We disobey the Bible verse.  We get mad at the preacher.  We ignore the child.  We refuse to listen.  It keeps us from growing.

So?  Be grateful for the person who cares enough to risk rejection.  Be blessed by a God who keeps working on you with His Holy Spirit.  Read, listen, meditate, pray, respond. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tragic Comedy

(Proverbs 26:8 KJV)  As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.

The first part is a funny picture; the second, a frightening reality.  What Proverbs is trying to do is open our eyes so that we don’t have to move from the comic to the tragic.  We have a tendency to let things go at the beginning, the time when they could most easily be resolved.  When it finally gets so uncomfortable that we are ready to act, it is often too late.

I think of raising children.  They are so cute when they are defiant infants.  They are repulsive when they are defiant adults.  They don’t become that way over night.  It starts when they throw a tantrum and win at feeding time.  It grows when they scream at bed time and get to stay up.  It blossoms in grocery store when they demand a toy or candy and get it.  Then some day they drive through a red light and people die.

So?  Take the long road view.  What will be the results in five years for your action today?  How would your world be different if everybody acted a certain way?  You may be only one voice in a crowd but you might make a difference on the person next to you. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Unsearchable

(Proverbs 25:3 KJV)  The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.

I don’t understand my wife.  She might say the same for me.  There is a sense in which she is “unsearchable” (369/2714).  This is a common human characteristic.  We can know people very well.  We can know how they will respond.  We can sense their feelings.  Having said all that, we can never really know what is going on inside them.

This word is two in the Hebrew.  The first part is a word of negation.  It is very common in the Old Testament and is a sense of total blockage.  The second part has the idea of searching for meaning and understanding.  It is used most frequently in Job as God dialogues with Job about his lack of ability to understand the glory of God and creation.  There are some things that we will never understand.

So?  Are you going through a real rough time?  It could be caused by a breakdown in a relationship, physical problems or work issues.  You may never understand.  There are times when we need to focus on the glory of God and the fact that He is in charge.  There are times to seek knowledge and times to trust.  This may be the latter. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Good Word for Works

(Proverbs 24:12 KJV)  If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

This verse speaks in the gulf that is created by theology between grace and works.  We are saved by grace.  The Bible clearly teaches we cannot save ourselves by our efforts.  Only the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, could pay for the sins that pollute and condemn us. 

At the same time we are expected to obey.  Just as the blood is not optional, neither is obedience.  God will “render” (7725) to us according to our “work” (6467).  This does not fly in the face of the New Testament.  We are often reminded of this even by Jesus who demands that we follow His commandments.  This does not fly in the face of grace or faith, but works along side.

So?  Don’t make excuses.  Don’t play games.  You already know enough to see where we need to work on our behavior.  Make sure that you hear those words, “Well done, Thou good and faithful servant.” 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Balancing Acts

(Proverbs 23:20 KJV)  Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

Each destructive activity mentioned here has an adjective in the NASB and KJV.  In the Hebrew each is one word.   Any way you look at it there are two problems.  One deals with alcohol, the other with food.  This is not an indictment of either but a call to moderation in both.

We are a people of excess.  I don’t have problems with alcohol.  I wish I could say the same for food.  Moderation is very hard for me.  I am currently controlling my food intake, most of the time.  The problem is the rest of the time.  The only way I can control some things is to avoid them altogether.  If I bring home one of those huge boxes of cheese crackers I will probably go through the entire thing in one setting.  It may not be “meat” (1320) but it is being a “gluttonous eater” (2151b).

So?  We need to be careful of what controls us.  In the Living Bible that I got 40 years ago there is a paraphrase of II Peter 2:19 that says, “For a man is a slave to whatever control him.”  Examine your day.  What sets the agenda and the priorities?  What confuses your focus?  It may not be wine or food. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Avoid Motion Sickness

(Proverbs 22:18 KJV)  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.

This is a continuation of the previous verse.  We are talking about listening to the wisdom that others share and thinking about it.  Now we have a promise.

Owning God’s word will present a “pleasant” (5273a) inner sense of right.  It starts there.  When you are walking with an awareness that there is an almighty God in charge and that there are some things that are right and some things are wrong, you have an anchor that gives stability.  I was on a big ship once.  I did not get sea-sick at all.  Why?  Because buried deep down in that giant piece of metal was a type of gyroscope that kept the ship on an even keel.  I am sure that there were other technological innovations that added to the stability and helped keep us on course.  The results?  We were not caused distress because of all the waves and currents.

So?  Life has cross currents, earthquakes and distress.  We can’t avoid them.  What we can have is an inner stability that comes from knowing the eternal Person and eternal truth. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sow What You Have Gathered

(Proverbs 21:22 KJV)  A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

What is the purpose of the wisdom that we are gathering?  Why do we study the word and meditate on the meaning of scripture?  Why memorize Bible verses?  One obvious and vital reason is so that we can walk upright.  We need to know what God expects from us so we can live in obedience. 

But there is more.

We are supposed to be preparing ourselves to address the foolish walls that are being built by the pagans and pseudo-Christians in our society.  There are many examples.  Many churches are denying the divinity of Christ.  So does our pagan society.  Many ministers will say they don’t really believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus.  Neither do the pagans in control of education.  Pulpits are asking what is wrong with a homosexual relationship if they really love each other.  So are our pagan newspapers. 

God does not take polls and decide what the standard for the day is.  They are eternal.  We should know them.  We should quietly declare truth when we run into the walls of the devil.

So?  You have studied.  You know truth.  Don’t be afraid to apply it.  We are in a battle and we need to be living “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What Is Winnowing?

(Proverbs 20:26 KJV)  A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

I must go with the KJV here.  The word it translates “scattereth” (2119) the NASB translates “winnows”.  The word literally means to spread and that is what you do in winnowing but that gives a picture of throwing things up in the air.  In winnowing you are separating the good grain from the chaff.  When you scatter, you get rid of.

So?  We need to make it a habit of getting rid of the “wicked” (7563) things and people in our lives.  This includes the people, possessions and positions that bring enjoyment as well as the ones that bring pain.  Sanctification means separation. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Verbal Abuse

(Proverbs 19:23 KJV)  The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

I don’t know what translation is your default but in both the NASB and the KJV you see words in italics.  This tells us that those actual words are not in the Hebrew but are added by the translators for understanding.  Okay.  I can live with that.  But I would rather not.

Here is my proposal, leave out the words in italics and read it again.  When you do that it becomes “the fear of the Lord to life.”  Translators like to make it easy so they supply verbs.  When you supply a verb you add your interpretation.  Which is better the “leads” of the NASB or the “tendeth” of the KJV.  The first has the feeling of certainty.  The second suggests a possibility.  The Hebrew ties fear of God with life, period.

So?  Pick your own verb, within reason.  Obviously you don’t want to pick “confuses.”  Or maybe you do.  Leave out the verb and get to what God said literally.  Seek truth and understanding.  Obey and rejoice. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Good Old Days

(Proverbs 18:5 KJV)  It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

We sometimes feel like things are worse now than in the past.  Some wise person once said that we should remember that the “good old days” were not that good.  I am at the beginning of a new school year.  We look back and compare.  Some comparisons are accurate, others are whistling in the dark. 

Have you noticed a tendency in our modern society to “thrust aside” (5186) the “righteous” (6662).  Godly people are mocked in our society.  It can be as simple as calling people “prudes” as derision when that should be a complement.  It could be as damaging as arresting parents for trying to home school their children.  We tend to think this is something new.  If it is so new, why is Solomon warning against it.  It is interesting that this tendency is a cultural norm not just the result of our present age.

So?  The principles and standards of the Bible are time tested.  They apply today as well as they did then.  We may have instant text messaging instead of smoke signals but the condition of the heart is still the same.  Apply the eternal. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Fool’s Sources

(Proverbs 17:28 KJV)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Recently I read someone quoting Mark Twain as saying,
“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all shadow of doubt.”
That is my paraphrase from memory.

What got my attention was that Twain was paraphrasing the Bible and people don’t even notice it.  He is not known for his respect for Christianity but he was not above using the wisdom of Proverbs.

Look around you.  Look at all the great ideas and concepts that are being pushed.  If you dig a little deeper you will find that some of them are rooted in the teaching of the Bible.  They are godly wisdom even if credit is not given.  On the other side, if you can’t find the idea backed up in scripture you might want to be very careful about accepting it as having any lasting value.

So?  Know the Word.  Wrestle with the principles and behaviors that are highlighted by God.  It should give you the kind of foundation you need in a Google world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Be Right

(Proverbs 16:25 KJV)  There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

We have here a reminder that the followers of the Living God do not see things the same way as the world around them, or at least they shouldn’t.  Too often we are so focused on being inoffensive and non-judgmental that we miss the “right” (3477).  We are surrounded by a culture that is rejecting the Biblical standards of right and wrong.  To the teacher at your child’s school the only things that are evil are intolerance and people who believe there is evil.  If you are a Christian you must believe in evil because if there were no evil we would not need a savior.

We are told to be kind and courteous.  We are not told to hide the truth or embrace the lie.  If you are tempted to say that there is no difference really, read the rest of the verse.

So?  We are called to be right.  We are called to be righteous.  We have been empowered to live that way by the blood, grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t be afraid to be right.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Joy of Folly

(Proverbs 15:21 KJV)  Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.

What is this “wisdom” (sense NASB) (3820) that foolish people seem to avoid?  Actually the most common translation for the Hebrew word is “heart”.  It appears that way 485 times in the KJV against only six for wisdom.  In the NASB it is heart 396, sense 10. 

What is this heart that so many lack, because I think it is a safe assumption that the majority of mankind rejoices in nonsense and frivolity?  It speaks of an inner man.  In this case it means an inner person who is rooted in the right values and principles.  It is the righteous.  It is the wise.

The point for us is that we need to understand that the main stream of our culture does not understand us or accept us.  It is not because of our personality or looks.  At least, it should not be for that reason.  It is because we have an inner rudder that keeps pushing us in ways that are alien to the average newspaper reporter, teacher, politician or neighbor.

So?  Accept that you are different.  You will stand out and that is not always a pleasant experience.  Don’t be a fool.  Live as your Spirit filled heart leads you. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Frosted Flakes Are Not Prudent

(Proverbs 14:15 KJV)  The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

What is the difference between being “prudent” (6175) and being cynical?  In our modern culture the two are often linked together.  Prudent people don’t know how to let go and have fun.  They always doubt what politicians promise them.  They don’t believe the newspapers.  They are negative and cynical.  No, they are prudent.

As you look through the way the word is used in Proverbs, prudence is linked with knowledge and seeing what is around you.  A prude compares what he hears with what he knows.  The prude knows a lot because he pays attention and remembers. 

Prudence is also one of those words that can be instruments of evil or good.  It is the word that describes the devil as he jockeyed to deceive Eve.
(Genesis 3:1 KJV)  Now the serpent was more subtil (sic) {6175) than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
It is also used in Proverbs to describe the righteous.

So?  Leave the sugar coating for you donuts and breakfast cereal.  Look at life as it is in the light of the power and promises of God.  It makes a difference, or it should.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Satisfaction of Righteousness

(Proverbs 13:25 KJV)  The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

One of the characteristics of the “righteous” (6662) is that they tend to see their blessings.  It is built into us as a part of our walk with faith.  I was at a hospital and someone gave me the standard, “Hi.  How are you?” mantra.  Aside from the knowledge that I was not the one being treated was the comfort of knowing the bill was being paid and the care was the best available.  If you have time you might look up the following verse and reflect on the passage that follows.
(Philippians 4:11 KJV)  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Sure we would like a promotion.  A newer car might provide less down time.  More hair would mean a hat wasn’t so important.  But I have a job, my car runs well and I get to wear some cool hats:  Blessings.

So?  Keep dreaming.  Work hard.  Grab for the gold ring.  While you are doing it rejoice in the God of your salvation, His shared wisdom and His bestowed righteousness.  Live righteous.  Live content. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Attitude Shows

(Proverbs 12:24 KJV)  The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

God expects all of us to work.  Those who refuse will become “forced labor” (4522).  Today this speaks to me about the attitude we take to our place of employment.  We all joke about slaving for the master, unless we happen to work for ourselves, then it is for the tax man.  Humor is acceptable, attitude is not.  This word has the idea of the chain gangs that used to dot the country.  Criminals were chained together and driven to work hard.  Slavery is the same idea.  One of the euphemisms for slavery is “involuntary servitude.”  One reason why slavery is not very productive is because of the lack of motivation.

So?  What is your attitude?  Please don’t look at mine, I am not sure I am a good example for you.  I should be.  I will be.  We may not be able to pick our job but we can pick our attitude. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Falls

(Proverbs 11:14 KJV)  Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

If we are too stubborn to listen to wise “counsel” (guidance NASB) (8456) we will “fall” (5307).  We tend to think of falling as what happens when we stub our toe, lose our balance and hit the ground.  That is definitely a fall but this is bigger than that.  This is more along the lines of the fall of Rome. 

Notice that the result being lost is “victory” (8668) not health.  The NASB marginal note says it literally means “deliverance”.  It can also mean salvation.  This is a result that applies to an entire “people” (5971a).  It tells us that our nation, whatever that may be for you, needs to listen to the voices of Godly wisdom.  It might even apply on a smaller scale such as a denomination or a community group.  We live in a world that gets advice from sources that are opposed to God.

We need to speak up.

So?  For most of us this does not mean getting a soap box and preaching on corners.  It means that in daily conversations and in normal meetings we need to be the voice of truth and principle.  You may be the only voice.  You may be the only hope.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sorry Results

(Proverbs 10:22 KJV)  The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

The Bible gives mixed reviews about wealth.  Contrary to some teaching, wealth is not necessarily evil.  Contrary to other teaching, wealth is not guaranteed because you “name it and claim it.”  In America there are many stories of rags to riches.  We have everything from a grand invention to a winning lottery ticket.  How do we know if our wealth is a blessing of the Lord or a bribe by Satan to get us off track?

One way suggested here is to look at the results.  When our wealth is a blessing of God, He “adds” (3254) no “sorrow” (6089a) to the experience.  If our children are spoiled rotten because we misused our money, maybe it was not a blessing of God.  If you go through divorce because you spent too much time at work, guess what.  If it causes anxiety or illness it obviously has not been a blessing.

Of course poor people go through these things also but that could be another example of not following God’s principles.  It is always individual.  We need to check our own motives and heart inclination and not be judging others on this.

So?  If God is blessing you, don’t forget to praise Him.  Use what He gives you as a steward not a CEO with a golden parachute.  I pray that you avoid sorrow. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Save It

(Proverbs 9:8 KJV)  Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

We need to be careful when we try to help other people.  A “scorner” (scoffer NASB) (3917b), by his nature, is not one who trusts your motives.  He is someone who is focused on himself and has a need to put down everything else as inferior.  People like this will not listen when you try to share with them.

You may have noticed how uninterested so many people are in the things of God.  They may be “spiritual” but that is often a way of saying that they seek self gratification on a supernatural level.  The term “spiritual formation” too often has to do with pagan ideas of dragging yourself up by your own bootstraps instead of submitting to the reproof that is part of the truly spiritual life.

So?  This could be what Jesus meant when He said,
(Matthew 7:6 KJV)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Save your advice for people who are willing to listen. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Watch Making

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

Picture a tennis match.  The player that is serving throws up the ball and stares at it intently.  Across the net the other contestant is waiting, poised on the balls of his feet staring intently across the net, “watching” (8245) intently.  This is not the time to go to sleep.  He needs to know whether he should go right or left.  Will it be a forehand or a back hand?

Picture a trial.  The jury has returned to the box.  The accused stands and is “watching” (8245) as the verdict is read.  His entire future depends on the words.

Picture us this morning.  Have we spent any time looking at the contest we are in.  Have we been intent on getting a word for the day.  Is it any wonder that we stumble so often.  I know I can tell the difference.

So?  Start your day right.  Obviously there will be days when it just doesn’t work to spend time with God’s wisdom.  Today might be one for you but the overall pattern is based on how serious you are about winning the game of life. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Decline of the Incline

(Proverbs 7:25 KJV)  Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.

As I compared the NASB and KJV I noticed that the warning of the NASB about turning aside was expressed in the KJV with “decline” (7847).  That produces an interesting aspect of this turning.  I drive an old Jeep and I can tell which way the road is tilted because there is a slight tendency of the car to drift in that direction.  It is an extension of the idea that water runs down hill.  How many of our actions and decisions are just going with the flow?

Be aware that we live in a culture that reinforces the wrong choices.  I don’t think that has changed from Solomon’s time.  Agape love has been downgraded to eros.  Gay has been made a sexual preference instead of an emotion.  Work is to be avoided.  We need to be aware of the incline so that we don’t decline.  You can’t compensate if you don’t know it is needed.

So?  Be alert today for little deviations.  Over a day they distract.  Over a lifetime they destroy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Follow the Leader

(Proverbs 6:1 KJV)  My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

There are many ways to give “surety” ( 6148).  It is a word that we don’t see used much today.  We would use “co-sign” or “post bond” to get across the idea.  We tend to think of it in financial terms but it goes beyond that.  Often we can use our reputation to endorse someone who may not be well known or we can take a public stand to add weight to an issue.

This reminds me that we need to be careful when we put our personal stamp on people, organizations, movements and ideas.  This verse is just laying the groundwork for the next two verses but you can see the warning coming.  We endorse things automatically in our daily behavior.  People who respect us will say to themselves, “Well, Andrew thinks it is okay.”  I know that on complex political, moral and financial issues I need to listen to the voice of others.  On technology issues I listen to my son.

Someone is listening to you.

So?  Even the choice of clothes you wear says something to others.  You may not like it.  You may fight it or ignore it.  It is still true.  Be aware of the steps you take.  Other feet will follow. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stale Bread Makes Stale Toast

(Proverbs 5:4 KJV)  But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

The KJV and NASB express “end” (319) differently.  It isn’t clear if the bitterness belongs to the adulteress or the people who listen to her.  The sad truth about life is that we often don’t get hit by the consequences of our actions until it is too late to change.  When finished products come out of the mold or the kiln you find out if the metal or clay was prepared properly.  That which is cracked or marred is thrown away or recycled.  We don’t have that option in life.

How can we end well?  Watch those who have done it.  Look at what they lived by.  Ask yourself were they drinking at the “lips of an adulteress” (verse 3) or observing discretion (verse 2).  Keep in mind that stale bread makes stale toast. 

So?  Invest now.  Practice quality control.  Wait for the harvest. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spiritual Germ Theory

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

Why doesn’t welfare as we know it seem to work?  In my opinion the handouts of the government do more harm than good.  Most people of good-will would agree that there are people who need and deserve help.  Why can’t we put together a system that lifts up people who are down and comforts those who are helpless?  Why do we have a bureaucratic nightmare that puts most of the money spent in the pockets of professional social workers and government employees and very little into the pockets of people in real need?

One of the problems is pointed out by Solomon.  The best intended efforts of government “stumble” (3782) because they do not really “know” (3045) what the problems are.  Government aid, education, penal systems and too many churches are blind to the existence of sin and evil.  They seem to think that more money, more classes or more counseling will take care of what ails society.  The results are like surgery without a knowledge of germs.

So?  We must live in the world but we don’t need to be blind to what is wrong.  An awareness of sin and a knowledge of the cure can guide or steps and set our priorities.  Don’t accept the world’s aspirin when only God’s antibiotic will work.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Say As I Do

(Proverbs 3:15 KJV)  She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

On the surface it seems so obvious.  What “compares” (7737a) with the wisdom of God?  What could compare?  Now make another comparison.  Compare the time you spend inputting God’s wisdom and the amount of time you spend on optional activities.  Don’t compare it to time at work, how long you listen to your wife or how much you play with your children.  Compare it to TV or computer activities, hanging with the guys or detailing your car.

Who wins?

We want to tell our children, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  We also know it doesn’t work that way.

So?  Only you can set your priorities.  Only your heart can make a change.  Ask God for insight and honesty as you look at your day. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ditching Your Future

(Proverbs 2:18 KJV)  For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

In this verse the NASB uses “tracks” (4570) for the “paths” of the KJV.  My mind started wandering and I finally looked the word up.  There are a number of different words that are translated this way.  They all have to do with the route traveled but each one has a little bit of a nuance. 

One of the senses that this word conveys is “entrenchment.”  It is a pit deliberately dug around a military camp to protect it from attack.  The Roman army was famous for this and of course that was much later than Solomon, but even in his day it was practiced.
(1 Samuel 17:20 KJV)  And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
It can also have the sense of a pathway that has been worn deep into the ground because it has been walked on so much.  You have seen this in an empty field that has a hard path angling across from so many people taking short cuts.

So?  What kind of a future are your feet wearing for you?  Consider the things you do without thinking about it.  Little decisions, made often enough, cause big results. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Job’s Patience Was Minor League

(Proverbs 1:24 KJV)  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

What is the difference between the “called” (7121) of the NASB and the “have called” of the KJV?  At times wish I had paid more attention to my English teacher.  This is a good example of why children need to learn things.  You never know when you will need it.

To me the sense of the KJV is that God has called more than once.  I know that has been true in my life.  I think of how easily I lose patience with people around me.  I think of how long suffering God is with me.  Today I don’t need a long list of my sins and frustrations.  Today it is humbling enough to think about how I test the patience of God.

I don’t want to do that.

So?  How is your day going?  Has God already wanted to slap you up side the head?  Be glad He didn’t.  Thank Him.  Repent.  Move on.