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.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heavy Hearts

(Proverbs 31:6 KJV)  Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

“Strong drink” (7941) is another recurring theme in the Book of Proverbs.  It has mixed reviews.  The main concern is the misuse of alcohol.  A quick look at the use of the term shows two groups who are to avoid it.  The first use of this word seems to deny it to the spiritual leaders of Israel.
(Leviticus 10:9 KJV)  Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
The second group would be political leaders as is shown in this passage.

For whom is booze to be reserved?  The hopeless and the bitter.

So?  I agree you cannot make a Biblical case for my position of alcoholic abstinence but the warning flags are persistent.  I would urge you to give it up.  It seems a required discipline if you are to be in leadership.  In reality it will be between you and God. 

Friday, January 30, 2015


(Proverbs 30:15 KJV)  The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:

Isn’t giving something that we are supposed to do?  After all, Jesus said,
(Luke 6:38 KJV)  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Giving is a good thing.  The problem here is the person who makes it a demand on others instead of a command for themselves.  Jesus told us to “give” (3051) not to demand.  Notice the difference.  We are not to tell others to give, but to give ourselves.

You will always run into people who want to do things with your resources.  It could be the building fund.  It could be feeding the hungry.  It could be who pays for lunch. 

So?  Giving is an important character trait in Christians.  Demanding is not.  Which have you demonstrated lately?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Squirrel in the Headlights

(Proverbs 29:25 KJV)  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

In Proverbs at least four Hebrew words are translated “fear” (2731) in the NASB.  In the KJV there are seven.  The most common translation in both is “trembling.”  This is not the fear that is used in regard to fearing the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is rooted in awe.  We see our contrasting insignificance and are gripped by the holiness and righteousness of God.  Our feeling is unworthiness.  The fear of man is rooted in an awareness of evil and the destructive power of selfishness.

This is the fear of a squirrel in the middle of the street when it suddenly realizes that a truck is rushing toward it.  It freezes motion and insures death.  The fear of the Lord is more like being on a roller coaster as it comes over that first big hill and we know we are going to die, but we know we are not going to die.  It makes for an awesome ride.

So?  Put your trust in the right place.  Then sit down, grab hold and enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On the Radar

(Proverbs 28:1 KJV)  The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

How can you tell if the driver sees a police cruiser?  The car you are in slows down.  Most people worry about the police because they know they have been ignoring the speed limit.  Usually when I see the police I just get on with life.  Usually I know how fast I am going.  I know that I have nothing to fear.

That does not mean I am never pulled over.  It happened a few months ago.  The cop was a trainee looking for people to pull over to practice his routine on.  I didn’t get a ticket but I left shaking my head.  Once I was pulled over for being on my phone when my phone was in my pocket.  It happens.  Someday I may even get a ticket, but I don’t live in fear because I know I generally follow the law.

So?  There is an attitude about life that gives greater freedom.  It helps to live in a country that has checks and balances.  It helps to serve the living God.  It helps to walk in an upright manner.  Pick your life style.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pass the Salt

(Proverbs 27:9 KJV)  Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary verses 9 and 10 are lumped together.  When I read them as a unit I noticed that my frame of reference changed.  Verse 9 by itself seems to be talking about how our friends can make our life better.  Verse 10 seems to focus on how we support our friends.  This is another case of both/and instead of either/or.

I have a tendency to look at things through the paradigm of my experiences and feelings.  That is natural.  I can’t get inside your head.  I can’t really feel your pain.  The problem is when we get locked there and refuse to come out.  We become narcissistic. 

So?  We are called to be “oil” (8081) and “perfume” (7004) to the hearts of others.  That is what Jesus meant when he talked about being the salt of the earth.  Although we can be strengthened by others, out ultimate inner power comes from grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.  We are supposed to pass it on. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

No, You Can’t Carry a Tune

(Proverbs 26:12 KJV)  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Have you ever unexpectedly heard a recording of your own voice?  Did you recognize yourself?  I usually don’t.  I think I am hearing my younger brother.  Our heads act like a resonator and we just don’t hear what others hear.

This is a common problem if you are the one who must listen.  Think of your friend or co-worker who thinks they do a great imitation of a recording artist you never heard of.  After listening to them you don’t think you have missed anything.  They think they are world class.  If you are a parent you have probably been to school music programs and had to grit your teeth to get through without screaming.

So?  If we seek to be wise, we need to find trusted people who can give us the truth.  It could be whether the colors we chose match.  It could be a choice of career.  It could be about our spiritual walk.  Learn to listen to the right people. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Avoiding Put Downs

(Proverbs 25:7 KJV)  For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

As Voltaire said, “Common sense is not so common.”  Of course he said it in French.  Of course I had to Google it to find that out.  And of course I usually disagree with Voltaire, or was it Rousseau?  Although I sometimes find the Bible hard to accept, I don’t disagree with it.  This verse is reminding us that if we would be a little more humble and a little less assuming, we would not get slapped down so much.

One way to find out who your friends really are is to assert yourself when they are in front of other people.  You will find out quickly how you rate on their scale of importance.  This is reminding us it is less painful to be called out of the pack than to be sent packing.

So?  Unless you have the responsibility to stand up for someone else, be content with a rear seat.  Think of it as home-made Italian dressing.  Eventually things will find their right order. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cats 9, Righteous 7

(Proverbs 24:16 KJV)  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

We have a tradition about a cat having nine lives.  Here we are told that it is the “righteous man” (6662) who will continue to come back, but the promise is only for “seven times” (7651).  I think that we can assume that this is meant figuratively.  The reason is a discussion between Peter and Jesus.  Peter must have had this concept in mind when he asked Jesus,
(Matthew 18:21 KJV)  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus gets across the spirit, not the leter,
(Matthew 18:22 KJV)  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
I think it is also safe to assume that Jesus did not mean literally 490 times.  I don’t think you need to stop forgiving at 490, nor do I think that if you fall eight times it is all over.  If that were true, eternity would be empty of human souls.

So?  Don’t look for excuses to fall but recognize a promise when you see it.  Rejoice in your redemption.  Rejoice that it is a living walk, not a dead formula.  Grow in grace. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hand Me Down Righteousness

(Proverbs 23:24 KJV)  The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Every so often I get questions from students like, “Have you ever been to jail?” or “Have you ever been arrested?”  The reason they ask the question is that so many in their world have had the experience.  Not only have I never been arrested but I am not sure than anyone in my family or circle of friends has been arrested.  If they have, it was minor and/or so long ago that no one remembers. 

On my father’s side I have a spreading pool of law abiding people.  They are not all righteous, but a large percentage are serious followers of Jesus.  Those that are not have been effected by the teaching that permeates the family.  It is hard to brag about your kids when everyone else can match your story.  What is left is the ability to “rejoice” (1523).

So?  If your children are still young, begin to lay the foundation for later rejoicing.  If they are grown, start living the life.  Or, if you are already on track rejoice now for the rejoicing that will come later. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Loot That Is Not There

(Proverbs 22:22 KJV)  Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

How do you “rob” (1497) someone who is already “poor” (1800b)?  Keep in mind that Solomon is not talking about modern American poor.  He is not talking about people who have HD cable TV and smart phones.  He doesn’t mean to steal their car or computer.  He is talking about people who only have one set of clothes, no cash, no food on the shelf and no shelf.  It is a sense of poor we can’t rap our minds around.  Some people will try to take from them. 

What and How?

Most of us cannot understand someone who would take from people in this condition.  Perhaps it could refer to subtle things like robbing their future by making their education worthless.  Perhaps it could be by not teaching them values and principles that make life work.  Perhaps it is the way that we treat children today. 

Perhaps it is by not sharing the saving news of Jesus.

So?  What do people around you lack that you should be giving them?  I see people who need me to shut my mouth and listen.  I see people who need me to open my mouth and encourage.  I see others that need a real lecture.  Pray, listen, act. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Be a Giver

(Proverbs 21:26 KJV)  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

One of the great quotes in political history comes from John F. Kennedy. 
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
That is an approach to this verse.  Kennedy was making a political speech so he is focusing on the country.  Solomon is talking about righteousness and all of society.  Some people are takers.  You know them.  They want, they demand, they take.  If they don’t get, they complain.  What they will not do is produce and give.  You see them every day.

Our calling is to never join them.  If you want to walk with Jesus, if you want to be “righteous” (6662), then you will develop the attitude of giving, not taking.  It starts in little ways like opening a door for someone else, giving a weaker person your seat or just listening.  Giving can also involve money and hard work.

So?  Do you want to be a sluggard or righteous?  Dumb question.  Now try to show the answer today. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Blue Truth

(Proverbs 20:30 KJV)  The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

I didn’t watch the video or pay a lot of attention to last years media blitz about an athlete who was prosecuted for disciplining his child.  I can’t say much about what he did or whether he went too far.  I can respond to the news media and conversations I heard and the values are scary.  They are also non-Biblical.  Corporal discipline is demanded by the Bible, not condemned.  You can quote all the liberal psychologists and social workers you want, but it is still true.

And here lies the problem.  Instead of dealing with cases of real child abuse with speed and force, the pagan forces in our culture have lumped all discipline under child abuse and started a campaign to see a generation raised with no bounds.  You are seeing the results in our streets and schools.

So?  No, don’t go out and start beating your children.  Examine your position on discipline based on the written, eternal word of God.  Remember, you should not have heard it here first.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What a Waste

(Proverbs 19:26 KJV)  He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

Did you go home for Christmas?  Or maybe I should say did the children come home for Christmas?  What kind of taste did it leave in your mouth?  I hope it was joy and fellowship.

One of the reasons this does not happen is because children are taught by our culture to have no respect for their parents.  I know as a teacher that many of the students I work with don’t look up to their parents.  This breeds a deeper problem.  The Hebrew word for “assaults” (7703) has the idea of Attila the Hun riding through your village and leaving nothing standing.  If you go home with the intent of putting your parents in their place or getting as much as you can, you have a problem.

Another reason is that many parents have done nothing to earn respect.  Often they are so busy doing their own thing that they have not time for their children.  Because they want to avoid conflict they maintain no standards.  They violate every principle that God has laid down by conforming to societies expectations.

So?  I hope it is not a problem with you.  If it is, then it is time to change.  It demands honestly and repentance.  Blessings. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Taking Up the Slack

(Proverbs 18:9 KJV)  He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Being “slothful” (slack NASB) (7503) is a sin.  The word itself is not the issue.  Again it has to do with context and application.  For instance there is the well know and often quoted verse,
(Psalms 46:10 KJV)  Be still {7503}, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
That means we are to quit agitating in our own strength and trust God.  In this verse it is referring to the way in which we do our jobs.  By “work” (4399) Solomon is talking about the tasks that are assigned to us that are not leisure or entertainment.  For a man it usually is understood to refer to the place of employment.  It should also include being a husband and father.  It should involve activities at church.  For mothers their primary work is being a mother.  I don’t care what the culture is saying about your career.  For young people it could be their school work.

So?  Don’t be lazy.  Do what God has given you to do.  Stay out of the realm of sloth. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Evil Ears

(Proverbs 17:4 KJV)  A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

Again let me remind you.  Evil people exist.  Evil is real.  Satan appears in the form of a serpent in Genesis 3.  He makes his final appearance in Revelation 20.  In between he is messing with us. 
This verse gives us two approaches to evil.  First it is an attitude, “listens” (7181) has the idea of inclination.  People who are under evil are drawn to destructive gossip.  Second it is a physical action.  “Pays attention” (238) is a word who’s meaning is rooted in the ear.

So?  Be sensitive to people’s attitudes and watch their actions.  It will be a real clue.  While you are at it, do a self check and see if some spiritual growth is indicated in your own life.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Nuanced Violence

(Proverbs 16:29 KJV)  A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.

Our common culture is making a strong statement about “violence” (2555).  We hear things like “violence is not the answer”.  If you just look at this verse and have a crafted definition of violence you might think the Bible teaches the same thing.

Not so.  Even in Proverbs you will find references to war that do not condemn it automatically.  You can find plenty of evidence for the Christian idea of the Just War.  One of the points of Just War is that you don’t commit violence for violence sake.  You restrain yourself. 

Here we are looking at the kind of person who says the end justifies the means and the end is what gets him what he wants.  It is hard to know a persons heart so we need to be very discerning when someone advocates force.

So?  The road of righteousness is rigorous because it requires us to engage our minds and our reason.  If you don’t you will get sucked into all kinds of problems.  This type of person gets a big thrill when he “entices” (6601b) us into folly.  Think. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Note the Contrast

(Proverbs 15:25 KJV)  The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

Notice the contrast here.  Solomon starts off with the “proud” (1343) but instead of moving to the humble he brings in widows.  In our culture widows often have the assets of their deceased husband and might even have a career of their own.  Young widows with children can even get a check from the government.  It doesn’t necessarily make them wealthy as a class but they are a long way from the helpless of Solomon’s day.

The contrast is to keep us mindful of the reality that with God, one size does not fit all.  God is not into diversity when it comes to attitude.  Pride tends to lead us to figuring we are on a par, or slightly above, God.  That is why Hell will be so full.  It won’t be ignorance.  It won’t be ability.  It will be pride that keeps people from saving faith.  Remember,
(Philippians 2:10-11 KJV)  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
If you don’t bend your knee in this life you will still do so in the next, but then it will be too late.

So?  Rejoice in the God of your salvation.  Or be afraid, be very afraid. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Don’t See It

(Proverbs 14:19 KJV)  The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

This is one of those verses that I don’t see happening around me.  Does that mean I am not looking?  Is it an end-times prophecy?  Is it figurative language?  As I look around me I see the God haters in charge of education, media and government.  I see them sneering at righteousness and making a mockery of morality. 

Maybe I am guilty of accepting the witness of these same people.  Was George Washington a man who sacrificed himself to establish a new nation with a new idea or was he just a rich white dude who owned slaves?  Are you a racist if you believe in law and order?  Is marriage on the way out?  I know what I see being broadcast.  That doesn’t mean it is true.

This pushes me back to the promises of God.  I remember how logical evolution looked to me as a child but the more I learned about science, I could see it didn’t hold together.  Sometimes the obvious is not the real.  Sometimes the popular is not logical or reasonable.

So?  Walk in righteousness, not because you want people to bow down to you but because it is what God expects.  Shock the evening news by not being on it. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Church of Sushi

(Proverbs 13:4 KJV)  The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

How is your worship?  Did you enjoy church last Sunday?  Did the music, whatever style, speak to your heart?  Did the sermon seem to be written with you in mind?  If so, praise the Lord.  If not, where is the problem?  We like to blame the style of music or poor preaching.  I tend to think it is a question of whether we come to worship as a “sluggard” (6102) or with a “diligent” (2742a) “soul” (5315).

Have you ever been in a restaurant where you were seated and no one brought you menus or silverware?  That is one issue.  Have you ever been sitting in a booth and the server comes to take your order and you have been so busy talking you have not even looked at the menu?  That is another issue altogether.

So?  Stop wasting the time you have to worship.  Pick up your menu and get involved.  Don’t act like me in a sushi place.  I hate sushi and it shows.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Use the On Ramp

(Proverbs 12:28 KJV)  In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

God can be so subtle.  He can also use a big club.  Here we have what seems a simple promise.  We have the picture of “life” (2425b) and the avoidance of “death” (4194).  Seems simple.  Seems clear.  Look at the two different ways of expressing the “way” (734) to get there.  This is not just a choice of synonyms.  The “pathway” (1870/5410a) is really a compound word.  The first part is a standard word for “road”.  If that was the only word here I could go for synonym, but it isn’t. 

The second part of this word gets personal.  It implies that the road is actually traveled or has someone following it.  This is where we come in.  The road is there.  We have to follow it.  The promise is there.  We have to claim it.

So?  Get on the road.  This is a combination of grace and obedience.  It is that way of living that demonstrates we have “buy in”.  The road is empty unless we follow it. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Selfies Don’t Translate

(Proverbs 11:17 KJV)  The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

There is a difference here that does not come through in the NASB.  In comparing effects of mercy and cruelty the KJV refers to one touching the “soul” (5315) [nephesh] and the other the “flesh” (7607).  The NASB uses “self” for both although the study tool says they refer to different words.  I think the difference is important.

Mercy is concerned with the big picture.  It is focused on eternity and the consequences of our actions.  As a result, you may do what is best for a person in the long run and they will resent it because it isn’t what they want. 

Cruelty is zeroed on the physical, the carnal.  It wants it now and it wants it “my” way.  This kind of person makes people happy today but does not give them what they really need.

As a middle school teacher I see a lot of children who are being destroyed because no adult in their life has been willing and able to dispense mercy.  I may be willing but I am blocked, overruled and trumped by a school system and leadership that is more into “feel good” than “do right.” 

So?  I struggle every day.  Are you taking the long view?  Are you taking the eternal principles that God has laid out and applying them.  Be willing, even if you are not always able. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lazy Teeth

(Proverbs 10:26 KJV)  As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

I don’t know much about “vinegar” (2558) on the teeth.  The eighteenth century commentators talk about it weakening the teeth.  The nineteenth century just talks about teeth being set on edge.  The earliest reference I can find is in Numbers 6:3 and the commentators seem to think it has to do with fermented wine.  It is hard to tell.

One thing is obvious.  The “lazy one” (6102) is offensive to God and should not earn our trust.  This is the Hebrew usually translated “sluggard” and seems to be a genuine personality type.  Being lazy would seem to be a sin.  It is not acceptable in the life of a believer and they are to be wary of such people.

So?  Are you lazy?  We all get accused of it at times.  Not you?  Okay, many of us get accused of it at times.  Examine yourself and make sure that it is not simply the fact that the accuser is having a bad day or is trying to manipulate.  Make sure it is not true.  If it is, repentance is in order.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Wisdom Starts at Home

(Proverbs 9:12 KJV)  If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

This almost seems to be saying that wisdom is selfish or narcissistic.  Taking care of yourself is not just self serving.  If done properly it can be laying the foundation for being a good influence.

Take the teaching of Jesus on the greatest commandment.  After telling us to love God with all we have He goes one more step and quotes the Old Testament.
(Leviticus 19:18 KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Notice the qualification.  You are to love as you love yourself.  That cannot be done properly unless your self love is based in wisdom.

Or take Paul’s teaching about marriage.
(Ephesians 5:28 KJV)  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Notice the standard.  Notice that in both cases it requires, or assumes, that we are starting from a healthy self image.  That self image is to be rooted in a life transformed by the power of God.  It is to be based on the values taught in the wisdom of God.

So?  Get right with yourself.  You cannot do that without the power of God.  Tap in. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top of the Morning

(Proverbs 8:2 KJV)  She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

Do the Irish really say, “Top of the morning to you”?  Maybe it is only in the movies.  The word “top” (7218) is transliterated [rosh].  You may be familiar with it in Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  It is sometimes called the Feast of Trumpets.  Literally Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year.”  “Top” refers to beginnings.  It refers to the head, which is its most common translation.

Where is your head today?  Where does it all “meet” (NASB) (1007a) for you?  What is dominating your thoughts and dreams?  What determines your plans and reactions?  Is it wisdom or the latest theme you have picked up on the internet?  You have a lot to say about what dominates your thinking.  You choose the music you listen to.  You chose what comes over your speakers in the car.  You choose the places you spend your leisure.

So?  If you are not on top of things it could be that life has dumped on you.  It could also be because you are making decisions that put the world in your head instead of the word.  Think about it.  Be honest.  No one is listening but you, and, of course, God.  You can only fool yourself.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Three in a Row

(Proverbs 7:5 KJV)  That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.

As I read this I was struck by the fact that for three chapters Solomon has been putting a major emphasis on the dangers of adultery.  He also brings it up in other places, but three chapters in a row!

This can be an assurance that you are on the right road if you are being faithful.  You certainly won’t get that from our culture.  We are in a time when marriage and old fashioned ideas about sex are considered almost forms of mental illness.  Get used to it.  It will get worse.  The comfort is that God is not going to change His attitude.  Sex outside of marriage to your one wife is sin.

This can be a warning if you have been too immersed in your culture.  Don’t fall for the lie of your
TV screen, AMC theater or best seller. 

It can also be a reminder that God wants you to repent.

So?  Assurance, warning or call to repentance.  Take your pick.  Adultery is a sin. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Time to Panic

(Proverbs 6:5 KJV)  Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.



Like your life depended on it.

The context of this verse is giving surety, guaranteeing someone else’s loan.  Maybe you were a parent trying to help your child buy their first home.  Maybe you had a friend who needed a car to get to work.  Maybe you even provided security for a stranger.  It doesn’t matter.  The word it, “Get out of it.”

This verse is trying to get across the importance of doing it now.  It is talking about being responsible for a loan that is not yours.  It can be assumed also that if you should get out of one you are in, you should never get in one in the future.

So?  You might be one who would never co-sign.  This reinforces that position.  It is not love and compassion to enable people to do what they cannot afford. 

Monday, January 5, 2015


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

We have all used it.  “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Often we use this approach as a way of telling people they should walk the talk.  That is good advice but it is not what Solomon is telling us today.  There is a reason that God has caused the Bible to be written over the centuries and preserved over even more.  It is because we need to know what is true.  It is because we need to know what is right.  It is so we can do as He says.

Some people think we are coming to the end times because almost the entire world has had a chance to hear the gospel.  I know that in North America it would require almost a miracle to be a person who could honestly say they have never heard the claims of Christ.  If you have sung a Christmas carol, stayed in a motel with a Gideon Bible in the drawer or driven by that church sign on the corner, you have had an opportunity to listen.  If you attend church and have a Bible in the house you have less reason to claim ignorance. 

I know that I really don’t need any new lessons.  I am already aware of enough things I can work on that if God never spoke to me again I could stay busy reforming for the rest of my life.

So?  We know.  It is time to do. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bad Stuff, Good Stuff

(Proverbs 4:3 KJV)  For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

In comparing the two translations I work with I noticed a difference.  The NASB has “son” twice, the KJV only once.  The KJV translates the second “son” as “only beloved.”  Notice that the “beloved” is in italics which means it is not in the Hebrew and is added for understanding.  Here the KJV is more accurate with “only” (3173) instead of “son.”  The word has the idea of being singular and exclusive. 

This is talking about David and Bathsheba.  This is a reminder to us that God can take our greatest sin and bring blessing from it.  Remember that the names of David and Bathsheba speak of deceit, adultery and murder.  Bad stuff.  It also reminds us of repentance, forgiveness and restoration.  Good stuff.

So?  No matter how bad your day is going or how much failure you saw yesterday, God stands ready to restore and embrace the person who has genuine repentance.  God doesn’t play games but keep in mind that Jesus did not go to the cross to see how many people he could send to hell.  Think, repent, live. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Low Hanging Fruit

(Proverbs 3:18 KJV)  She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

So many of the Biblical promises are conditional.  Here we have the glorious promise of a “tree” (6086) of “life” (2425b).  What is not to like?  I want one.  Sign me up for the lifetime membership.  Start the automatic shipment.  Whoa there brother.  This is not open to automatic renewal.  Look at the condition.

You need to “take hold” (2388) of wisdom if you want the benefits of wisdom.  This word has many translations but they all have the idea of grabbing and holding on until the bitter end.  We see it in a familiar promise from Joshua.
(Joshua 1:9 KJV)  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong (2388) and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
You are all familiar with the commercial that says “Got milk?” and all its copy cats.  The question is mute if you don’t bother to open the carton and pour it out.

So?  The fruit of the tree of life is dangling in reach.  Grab hold and hang on for the ride.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Small but Mobile

(Proverbs 2:7 KJV)  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

See the promise.  God assumes the role of “buckler” (shield) (4043).  We like that.  We want God to be on our side.  What does it mean for God to accept this responsibility?  Since we live in the era of nuclear missiles and armor piercing ammunition we have no feel for shields.  Why is the KJV a better word here than the NASB?  What is the difference between a buckler and a shield?

Usually when I think of shields two pictures come to mind.  One is the shield of the Roman infantry.  This is a massive piece of curved defense, almost as tall as the legionnaire and is designed to provide a shield wall.  A second picture is the large circular shield shown in pictures of the Greek attack on Troy.  It was very large and could be hidden behind.  Neither of these is a buckler.

A buckler is a small shield that is worn on the arm and is designed to be highly mobile in defense.  It is to be moved to block a specific attack by a sword wielding enemy.  It would be absolutely useless in a phalanx or against an arrow attack.  This is useful against attacks that we see. 

So?  This is a promise that is conditional.  It requires our buy-in or, in computer terms, activation.  It is not a passive defense.  In this spot God is saying He will be active in helping us defend ourselves.  This is an active defense.  Find the switch and turn it on.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Bad Way to Start the New Year

(Proverbs 1:28 KJV)  Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

There can come a time when it is too late to “seek early (diligently NASB)” (7836).  Sincerity is not the final decider.  This would seem to be a statement contradicted later in Proverbs,
(Proverbs 8:17 KJV)  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
The difference is in the context and the hint is that they love Him.  In Chapter 1 the context is people who are living in rebellion and ignoring the reminders God has given.  In chapter 8 they are faithful and striving to do it God’s way. 

God can call us out of sin.  We can repent and see radical changes.  We can’t deliberately live like sons of hell until the last minute hoping to sneak in during the grace period.

So?  Remember that God does not play games.  Grace is not an over the counter remedy that you buy in case you feel sick some day.  Live in righteousness and know the joy of the Righteous One.