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, October 31, 2015

Spoil Sports

(Proverbs 31:11 KJV)  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

The KJV has two differences from the NASB in translating this verse.  The first is in inserting the word “safely” before “trust” (982) the second is in talking about “spoil” (7998) instead of “gain.”  I want to look at the second.  I must admit that I think the KJV is more accurate here.

In both translations the word is usually translated “spoils”.  It has a root of plunder and booty, not just simple profit.  Why it is “gain” here in many translations I do not know.  I think the point here is that a trustworthy wife can keep a husband from compromise.  How many times has a woman spent her husband into penury?  How many times has a need for a new car or the latest fashion caused a man to work extra hours, take a second job or cut corners that should not be cut? 

Reverse it.  How many times has a man forced his wife to work instead of staying home with the kids so he could have the new truck or more leisure?  How many men are slacking by putting their wives into the job market?  Financial responsibility is a matter that involves both spouses.

So?  Are you trapped into the financial rat race because you want more or is there genuine need?  I can’t call that one for you.  You can’t call it for me.  God is the judge and He knows the heart.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Earthshaking Brides

(Proverbs 30:23 KJV)  For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

This is not a theme for a romance novel.  This is not Cinderella, slaving away for the ugly step-sisters and finally getting discovered by Prince Charming.  This is the ugly step-sister who has forced her foot into the slipper and obligated the Prince to marry her.  As the KJV says, she is “odious” (8130).  As the context says, she shakes up her world.  She also ruins the life of the Prince and his entire family.

One lesson is for us to be aware that all are not innocent victims.  Some are obnoxious manipulators.  Some people are sitting in the corner by themselves because they are so unpleasant to be around.  God loves them.  Jesus died for them.  They are still “odious”.

Another lesson is that we had better not be that anti-social person.  We are not allowed to be nasty to people.  We can’t manipulate and destroy and have a part of the Kingdom of God.

So?  Walk in love.  Practice love.  That means patience, kindness, forgetting wrongs and all those other things that the world mocks.  Walk in grace. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Song of Hope

(Proverbs 29:6 KJV)  In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

What a song of hope this gives us.  Life can dish up some pretty tense moments.  We face temptations on all fronts.  I am not talking about the classical things like sex and booze.  I am talking about the temptation to compromise on the clear teaching of the word of God.  I am talking about the temptation to submit to despair.  It is always there.

Look at our nation spending and fornicating its way into a Sodom experience.  Look at our world being attacked by killers and terrorists.  Look at the front page with its predictions of massive earthquakes and killer comets.  If we give in to despair we are joining the “evil” (7451b).  If we want to stay on the “righteous” (6662) team we sing about the hope and assurance we have in Jesus.  It isn’t hiding our heads in the sand.  It is understanding the big picture.

So?  Are the Chinese, Koreans or Iranians going to nuke us?  Maybe.  Will it be fun?  No way.  Can we be ready to either go be with Jesus or stay and be salt?  Definitely.  Rejoice.  You are part of the solution.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Borrowing Trouble

(Proverbs 28:10 KJV)  Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.

There is no clear statement here that the person doing the leading is automatically “evil” (7451b).  The results of their action clearly are but it does not say they are themselves.  Let’s look at the context to get a feel.  That does not always work in Proverbs but bear with me.

In verse 8 we see reference to usury and unjust gain.  One of the major traps of life all through history has been debt.  It was one of the three ways that people could end up being sold into slavery.  Debt is a destroyer.  In our modern times where everything is based on debt and our credit score it gets even worse.  We not only have all the shiny toys, now we can buy them.  In ancient times people went into debt from desperation.  Now we go into debt because we want more than we can pay for now and are not willing to wait for satisfaction.  Credit cards and “needs” destroy individuals and families.  It is destroying our country.

How does this come back to bite the lender?  When you get an entire culture living beyond its means then eventually things fall apart.  Think of Paris during the French Revolution or Russia in 1917.  To be wealthy was to be a target.  It could happen here.

So?  When someone comes to you for a loan think twice before you say “yes”.  Maybe think three times.  Do they really need it?  Are you contributing to their destruction?  Are you laying the groundwork for hostility toward yourself?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Give a Fig

(Proverbs 27:18 KJV)  Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

This seems to be a place in Proverbs that has a series of unconnected thoughts.  This verse stands alone and is another way of expressing the greatest commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself.  It picks two types of work that are not that common today but have modern equivalents.

Ancient Israel did not have the wide variety of fruits available that we enjoy today.  One was the fig.  I would imagine that it was a hardy plant that could be cultivated in hilly country with iffy sources of water.  Figs were not the cuisine of kings.  Today we might think of farm workers who pick apples destined for the apple sauce or apple juice plants.  They are working hard for low wages.  If they eat a few apples in the process it is okay.  We are to be considerate of those who work hard for a living, not look down on them.

How do you treat the clerks in Walmart?  I agree that often their “service” does not deserve kindness but that is still what we are called to ladle out.  We are to be courteous and kind because they are qualities of agape and we are to be controlled by agape.

So?  Think of it as a way of turning the other cheek.  It is difficult and counter intuitive but it is our standard of behavior. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cause or Effect?

(Proverbs 26:21 KJV)  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

The obvious reminder for today is that we are not to be “contentious” (4066 NASB/4079 KJV).  Our effect on people around us should not be causing strife.  Where this is put in the “don’t” category, Jesus put it in the “do” column,
(Matthew 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
And Paul chimed in
(Romans 12:18 KJV)  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
I don’t think this is saying to keep our mouths closed when we see evil.  That might not be possible.  It means to not be the source of the evil.

So?  This is a tall order.  I understand it is harder for some personalities than others.  That does not change God’s expectation. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Satisfied or Surfeited

(Proverbs 25:16 KJV)  Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

The KJV and NASB have a tension here.  One goes with “excess” (7464), the other goes with “filled”.  Those would seem to be different concepts but they are both based on the same Hebrew word.  And notice they both result in vomiting.  The difficulty is that the word has a wide range of meanings from simply being satisfied to being surfeited.  I had to look that last one up.  It means stuffing so much food into your stomach that you cause it to malfunction, thus vomiting.

Like so many things we do, the meaning is found in the context.  In this case, since you have the word “vomit” (7006a) as a result, it must mean the word of excess.  This is difficult for a legalist and dangerous for an antinomian.  One wants to ignore the Holy Spirit and one wants to ignore the law.  Both are required to walk in righteousness.

So?  Moderation obviously is required, but there is also a reminder that the rules of God are to be interpreted with a desire to understand them properly, not just an easy way out. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Call to Judgement

(Proverbs 24:25 KJV)  But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

The NASB says that we will “rebuke” (3198) the “wicked” but you can tell by the italics that this is implied from the previous verse.  In our day and age of warm fuzzies, seeker friendly worship and self esteem this sounds alien to our ears.  Unfortunately much that the Bible teaches sounds foreign to our ears these days.  I was talking to the pastor of our previous church who had just retired and I pointed out that I kept expecting him to be escorted out of the church in handcuffs because he was preaching what the Bible said. 

It is a concept that travels across the Testaments.  Here for instance,
(2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
It is possible to use this type of verse as a proof text for judgmental crusades against people we don’t like.  It can be abused.  It is still required.

So?  Avoid being “judgmental” by making sure your heart is right and your knowledge of the word is solid.  Then call ‘em as God sees ‘em.  It won’t make you popular with the wicked but it will please the heart of God. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Eyes of the Beholder

(Proverbs 23:33 KJV)  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

What makes you see “strange things” (2114a)?  This is hard for me to understand.  The word is a verb yet it always seems to be translated as a noun.  Perhaps this is saying that you will see actions and put values on them.  Its most common translation is stranger or variations.  The context is dealing with the effect of alcohol.  If Solomon were writing today he might include drugs.  It could be music or any kind of manipulative atmosphere. 

The warning is that we are to seek clear minds.  That means avoiding distorting influences and seeking out that which edifies.

So?  This can be universal.  Drunks are not known for their discernment and decorum.  It could be very individual.  You might be overwhelmed by things I don’t notice.  Pray that God would help you know yourself and act accordingly. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mixing It Up

(Proverbs 22:2 KJV)  The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

The KJV gets is right, the NASB has to get it fancy.  “Common bond” (6298) means “meet together”.  Check the marginal reading in the NASB.  So why get fancy?  Sometimes we try to get fancy in simple Biblical teaching.  This says that we are not to be separated by wealth or lack of it.  There are to be common values and moral principles for all.  Our cultural gurus mock this and call them “middle class” values.  They are not just mocking things that need to be mocked like materialism expressed by a home in the suburbs.  They are also mocking things like fidelity, honesty, trust and admission of our sin.

What brings us together?  In Solomon’s day it would have been the Law and the temple.  For us it is the living Word and the written word. 

So?  Look past the cut of clothes and the car people drive.  Look at the cut of their jib and the source of the wind that drives them. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

High Brows

(Proverbs 21:4 KJV)  An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

Have you noticed how often we look at the concept of pride and arrogance?  That is because it comes up so often in Proverbs.  Solomon must have been very aware of the danger of pride.  God must have kept reminding him.  Because of that we are constantly being reminded.  I assume it is because we need it.  I know I do.

We have an interesting phrase.  The NASB talks about “haughty” (7312) “eyes” (5869).  The KJV translates the same Hebrew words as “high look”.  Other translations use “lofty eyes” (Darby) and “conceit” (GNB).  They all have the root concept of looking down on people, of thinking we are better than others.  In some ways it might be true.  You might run faster, smell better and shoot straighter.  The great equalizer is that we are all saints by the grace of God, not by the skill sets we bring to life.

So?  We grateful of God’s grace.  Rejoice in your gifts.  Realize that you are part of the body not the crown of creation. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rhet Asks a Question

(Proverbs 20:9 KJV)  Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

This is a rhetorical question.  For those of you who did not pay attention in school that does not mean a question asked by Rhet.  It means a question that does not expect an answer because the answer is so obvious.  It is like the kid who is the only other person in the room who says, “Who?  Me?”

The answer to this question of course is “No one.  Not even Jesus.”  Before you accuse me of heresy remember that Jesus had no “sin” (2403b) to cleanse.  He was free from sin eternally.  That is what made it possible for Him to be the sacrifice for our sin.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The answer to this question is the same before and after the cross.  Only God can do this.

So?  Rejoice.  God is willing.  Jesus has paid the price.  That puts the ball in your court.  I hope you have already accepted the invitation. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Proverbial Stink Bug

(Proverbs 19:6 KJV)  Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

Have you ever heard the term “noblesse oblige”?  It is a French term.  To get the idea, reverse the words and give them common English meaning.  You get the obligations of nobility.  The term used here carries that meaning.  The “generous” (5081) of the NASB and the “prince” of the KJV should carry the same value.  Thus we have the phrase, “He is a prince of a guy” to mean a generous and gracious person.

The idea of nobility was originally supposed to refer to people who were not only rich and powerful but who used that wealth and power to serve others.  This is where we get the idea of a head of state offering a pardon or clemency. 

In our American thinking we have come to associate nobility with self centered despot who live off the poor and look down their nose at everyone below while kissing up to everyone above.  It may have devolved into that but it was not the original idea.  The blessed were to serve.  That is certainly the Christian concept and standard.

So?  What gifts and situations have you been blessed with?  They are not given to make your life comfortable and lift your own banner.  They are given to you to serve Jesus and others.  People will come to you as the verse implies.  Be a rose, not a stink bug. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Do You Want the Ball or the Goal Post?

(Proverbs 18:18 KJV)  The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

Chance is not the way to deal with doctrine or morals.  It applies to “contentions” (4066).  This refers to the self centered little conflicts that make people unpleasant to be around.  It is interesting that it is used in 20 verses in the OT and 17 of them are in Proverbs. 

Don’t be confused.  There are things that are important to contend about:  The divinity of Christ, the physical resurrection of Jesus and believers, salvation by grace not our own spiritual earnings, marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and the list can go on.  There are also little things which are nothing more than nagging or power plays.  If you follow it through Proverbs you see it consistently used to describe a nagging wife, and angry man and the arrogant.

So?  Know what is basic and what isn’t.  If it is a clearly stated truth of the Bible, go down in flames staying on course.  If it is a trend or fad or an issue of pride, flip a coin.  It works in football. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October Fool’s Day

(Proverbs 17:12 KJV)  Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

A “fool” (3684) is dangerous.  When they are comedians we think they are funny.  When they are politicians we think they are mistaken.  When they are drivers we think they are a menace.  They are dangerous.  One of the warnings that sticks in most people’s minds when they are out in the forest is to not come between a bear and her cub.  The mama bear does not stop to ask questions.  She does not consider a diplomatic approach.  She is not interested in your reasons for being where you are.  She goes for the throat.

Fools are that way.  They generally don’t think.  They don’t have any concept of the nuances.  Like the bear, they may not have set out to do any damage.  They don’t look at it that way.  They are guarding theirs, not destroying yours.

So?  Beware of the self centered person.  They may say they are sorry until your bones mend.  They may blame you.  Avoid them.  And while you are at it, ask yourself whom you are living for.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Freeway Pride

(Proverbs 16:5 KJV)  Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Pride.  One of the seven deadly sins.  It is at the center of so many problems we face as a world and as individuals.  I had another clown cut me off on the way to work today.  Why did that bother me?  Maybe he was late to work because his son left the headlights on and his car would not start.  Maybe he has diarrhea and needs to get to a bathroom.  Maybe.... 

All of that fades behind the reality that he cut ME off.  Pride is generated by self centeredness and narcissism.  It is part of the human condition.  My response to freeway fools is something that keeps convicting me.  It is a daily reminder that everything I have that will last for eternity was given to me through the grace of God.

It makes me pause and be thankful. 

So?  Take a moment.  Calm your heart.  Consider the fact that God became man and went to the cross so I could enjoy Him forever.  Heaven will wait.  You still have a life to live.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Anger Evangelism

(Proverbs 15:1 KJV)  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Why would we want to “turn away” (7725) “wrath” (2534)?  My first reason is to save myself from being the target.  My spiritual concern is self seeking.  I want to avoid discomfort.  I am not sure that is the right motivation.  Following Christ does not mean that we are doing our own thing or advancing our own agenda.  It means we are serving others and looking out for them.
(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.
Why be careful in our response to others?  Because we want them to know the blessing of salvation and if they are consumed with anger at us they will not be willing to listen to God.

So?  Think of it as a characteristic of witnessing and evangelism.  Fires are usually put out by denying the flame oxygen, not by attacking the fire. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Merry Multitudes

(Proverbs 14:28 KJV)  In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.

Can a population get too big?  This verse would seem to say “no”, although this is certainly not a “proof text.”  One of the websites I have seen is called “Zero Population Growth”.  There are a mound of people who think there are already too many of us on this planet and more are on the way.  Part of their thinking is the people are pollution and a threat to Mother Earth.  Whether they know it or not they are Gaia worshipers.

God reminds us that population growth is a good thing.  He tells us to glory in our children. 
(Psalms 127:3-5 KJV)  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.   As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Some are not physically able to have children.  Some have the gift of singleness and a calling that does not allow children.  God will honor them in other ways.

So glory in the children if you have them.  Invest your life making them into servants of God.  If you have none then celebrate with those who do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Covert or Overt?

(Proverbs 13:13 KJV)  Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

How do you show that you despise something?  It can be overt or covert.  Overt contempt can be mocking and belittling.  It is active.  You insult in humor.  You build dramas that distort and lie.  You talk about the Crusades as if it was an invasion instead of a war of liberation.  You get people to join you in an active campaign to reject Christianity.

Covert is simply ignoring.  There used to be a poster on a wall at our school.  I don’t know if it is still there.  On it were two Bible quotes.  The problem is that the quotes were attributed to a drug crazed rock star.  When you have thousands of people going to aid people suffering from a disaster you neglect to mention that most of them are Christians.  You drop William Wilberforce out of the school curriculum and add Wilma Mankiller.  After all, the influences of God and His people are only worth mockery.

So?  Find out about what God has done and is doing.  Begin with the word.  Find out where the idea of being kind to the poor came from.  Who says we should be fair to foreigners?  It didn’t originate in the UN.  Know your history. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sow Some Oats

(Proverbs 12:11 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

I am not a farmer.  I have never plowed a field.  I got to drive a combine for a few minutes when I was a kid and it was quite exciting.  You would expect that for a kid not old enough to drive a car.  To be honest, it would have been exciting as an adult.  For a few minutes.  I have the feeling that like a new computer game, it would not take long to get boring, but the bread of the nation depended on driving straight and true.

What we are being given here is not a lesson in farming but a principle of life.  It takes work to provide for life.  Work is often the annual or daily exercise of the unexciting and unstimulating.  It isn’t exciting to wash the dishes but it is healthier than licking them off and using them again.  It is the daily hum-drum that provides the capital for the high points.

So?  Yes, you do have to get up and go to work.  You can wear different clothes and drive different routes but the daily grind is necessary.  Be grateful and accept the blessing. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fulfilling Your Dreams

(Proverbs 11:27 KJV)  He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.

In another context I just wrote, “You get what you pay for.”  As I look at this I could spin off from that, “You got what you looked for.”  Two different verbs are used here.  Both have the idea that you are looking for something.  Have you ever known someone with a chip on their shoulder?  Have you ever accused someone of being a Pollyanna?  Can you tell an optimist from a pessimist.  Do you have the discernment to tell a pessimist from a realist?

You have a schedule for the day.  It may be so simple that you don’t even need to think about it or do any conscious planning.  You may be in a rut.  You may also need to carefully steward each moment so that you can achieve well thought out goals.  Either way the same question should be in front of you, is your goal “good” (2896b) or “mischief” (evil NASB) (7463a).  Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?  It makes a difference where you want to go and how you plan to achieve it.

So?  Again I remind you that evil exists.  I would urge you to not support its agenda.  Sometimes we support it by doing nothing or not thinking about what we do.  In extreme cases we actually are on board.  Think about the consequences. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Soul Food

(Proverbs 10:3 KJV)  The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

Why do you eat?  Is it from “hunger” (7456) or because of appetite?  Those of us who struggle with our weight tend to eat for reasons other than hunger and keep eating when hunger is just a vague memory.  Again we see how features of life that God has given as part of the pattern of life and which can be sources of joy and progress can be misused to our detriment.  Protein is used to build our bodies.  Carbohydrates are a source of energy.  Fats carry vitamins and in the body have many different roles.  In excess they can bring on the entire litany of illnesses that plague the Western world. 

How do we keep from hunger?  By numerous small meals.  How do we keep from sin?  By avoiding the excess that comes from the wrong focus and priorities.  If we are in constant contact with the wisdom of God we will never experience that inner ache that says our soul it hungry.

So?  Spiritual health and physical health follow similar patterns.  Go too long without the right input and you can no longer give the right output.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Peak Performance

(Proverbs 9:3 KJV)  She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

We are to declare the wisdom of God from the “highest places” (heights NASB) (4791).  The picture here is of Jerusalem and a certain location that is a vantage point.  The word is used many ways but always has the idea of being at the top.  It means that we are to give wisdom our best presentation.  It is not supposed to be an after thought.  It should not be done with the left overs or relegated to a back room. 

Too often we are ashamed of the standards that God has given us.  We live in a culture that is in overdrive rejecting moral standards and objective values.  I will accept that often we do not have a chance to make a statement but we need to be looking for every opening we have to take the high places.  An example I have shared other places, when a student asks me, “What is your sign?” I answer, “The cross.”  When they ask me if I believe in Santa Claus I answer, “No, I believe in Jesus.” 

So?  Be alert.  Be creative.  Be honest.  Be a credit to your God, not an embarrassment. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Grilled Cheese and Wisdom

(Proverbs 8:11 KJV)  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

I am not into jewelry so I don’t have any trouble accepting that “wisdom” (2451) is better.  Then I notice that the “jewels” (6443) of the NASB is the “rubies” of the KJV.  Then I notice that a marginal reference tells me it is literally “corals”.  It is hard to tell by looking at how the word is used in the Old Testament.  Whatever you choose it refers to something that society puts a high price on.  They are valued by objective standards.  They are rare and costly.

Wisdom is above that.  You have probably heard the saying that “a fool and his money are soon parted.”  It is easy to get suckered into wasting our resources.  Often that is the goal of advertising and sales, to get us to buy something that is not as glorious as we thought.  Have you ever been to a time-share presentation or an Amway recruitment?  Did you bite?

So?  God has offered us the principles and standards that make wisdom available.  When you know what good cheese tastes like, American doesn’t seem so good any more.  Unless, of course, it is toasted on cheap white bread, but knowing when to enjoy something is another part of wisdom.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Minimum Balance Payments

(Proverbs 7:14 KJV)  I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

According to an explanation of the different types of offerings given by Adam Clarke in his commentaries at the end of Leviticus 7, there are 21 different types of offerings.  You thought your pastor was original, right?  A quick look through of the list shows me that none of them are in the same spirit as our offerings today.  We think of an offering as passing the collection plate.  A purist would separate the concept of tithe, the 10%, from offerings, that given above the 10%.  In the Old Testament most offerings seem to be the objects brought to the temple as sacrifices to deal with the issues of sin.  Here it is the combination of “peace offerings” (8002) that are the issue.  Interestingly, “paid” (8002) is the same word in Hebrew.

Offerings were a part of repentance.  They were an acknowledgment of sin and in this case separation from God.  Too often we are like the woman here and think that because we have given or done, we are free to go out and continue in sin.

So?  Don’t take repentance as a type of minimum payment on your credit card.  It is also not an installment plan or a layaway plan.  As much as we like games, God is not a good sport when it comes to sin. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Wrong Kind of Continuity

(Proverbs 6:14 KJV)  Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

One of the realities of the spiritual walk is that we tend to stumble.  Even after we have been redeemed, sin raises its ugly head.  For some this is taken as a sign that they were never saved.  Not so.  There are at least three broad spiritual conditions.  We see them in one passage at I Corinthians 2:14-3:3.  The natural man is unsaved.  The carnal man is saved but immature.  The spiritual has moved on to maturity.  The “continually” (3605/6256) that Solomon refers to is the natural state of man.   Everything is an excuse to sin.

In the carnal state sin still has an influence.  The pull is still there but is counteracted by the washing of the blood.  However the inclination toward evil produces fruit on occasion.  Only when you become what Paul calls “the spiritual man” can you experience consistent victory.

So?  Where are you on your spiritual walk?  God wants you to live in victory.  Keep seeking and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in your life.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Anatomical Allusions

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

Solomon is playing with a lot of word pictures in this passage.  Such an approach makes many uncomfortable.  In his comments on verse 18, Adam Clarke says,
“How delicate and correct is the allusion here! But anatomical allusions must not be pressed into detail in a commentary on Scripture.”
One of the paraphrased “translations” puts this verse in an interesting way that gets at the point being made.
(Proverbs 5:16 CEV)  And don't be like a stream from which just any woman may take a drink.
Faithfulness and chastity are important to God.  Here the reference is to our sex life.  Other places it might refer to our leisure and intellectual pursuits.  God demands purity.

So?  The world mocks.  We are constantly bombarded with appeals to compromise.  Keep in mind that in some areas, compromise is sin.  Walk in righteousness.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Avoid the Cramps

(Proverbs 4:12 KJV)  When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

There is a promise here that we would all like to claim.  I would love to live a life that is not “straitened” (impeded NASB) (6877a) and so would you.  It is possible.  If you are into the Strong’s numbering system to find the meaning of words you might notice that the KJV sources put the number for this word as 3334.  That is just an anomaly of the numbering system.  When you check the NASB it says 3334 is the same as 6877.  It means to be bound up and cramped.  Picture a slave in shackles who is forced to shuffle as opposed to the power walker striding down the path.  We can stride with confidence.

As with all promises, there are conditions.  If you look at the previous verse it points out that wisdom teaches us to take the right paths.  If we ignore the instructions and expect the road to be secure, we have a sad stumble awaiting us. 

So?  Do you like to step out boldly and fall on your face or do you want to have solid ground in the midst of the swamp?  Read the directions and then follow them. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Goody Two Shoes

(Proverbs 3:27 KJV)  Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

Isn’t it strange to live in a culture that makes “do gooder” a term of derision?   Or how about “goody two shoes”?  Once again we find ourselves marching to a different drummer, or at least we should be.  In this case the word for “good” (2896b) is not a moral statement but a statement of pleasure and enjoyment.  We are to be a source pleasant environments, not a grumpy Gus or the rain that falls on peoples’ parades.

Granted, the message of salvation does not set well on the desires for evil and narcissism of most people but there is still a lot of leeway for us to be the rose that they stop and smell.

So?  There are times when it is our place to be the rainbow in someone’s sky, to let them know that the sunshine is breaking through.  It might be just a matter of pointing out that it is only five minutes from quitting time.  It might be to remind them that Jesus loves them even if they are a dirty rotten sinner.  As I say to certain people, “Go forth and do good.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Strange Advice

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

Here we are told wisdom will deliver us from two things:  The “strange” (2114) “woman” (802) and the “adulteress” (5237).  I find myself wondering what a strange woman is.  First of all, this is not talking about the sense of strange that means unusual or simply different.  This is not warning you away from someone who likes to dress in a fuchsia mu mu with a diamond pendant.  You might want to avoid her but she is your mother in law and it isn’t possible.

This is talking about the person who is a stranger to you.  I don’t know how women think but when a man sees an attractive woman his head will turn.  When you are at a party or a meeting you often seek out people based on their appearance.  That is natural.  What this is saying is that we need to pray that God will preserve us from such people.  Actually it is God’s wisdom that is to do the job.  It is to give us an ingrained discernment that helps us to avoid dangerous personal situations.  That situation could be adultery.  It could be a precarious investment.  Both are to be avoided.

So?  Read and think.  God has given us the material and the help of the Holy Spirit.  Put it together so that your life doesn’t go off the rails because of inattention. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Needle Threading

(Proverbs 1:4 KJV)  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

I like the lesson in the KJV here.  It tells us that Wisdom will “give” (5414) “subtilty” (6195) rather than “prudence” as the NASB has it.  Both translations are satisfactory but I like the nuance that the KJV gives us.  Prudence speaks of care and righteous priorities.  Subtle reminds us that sometimes it is hard to thread the needle in the tapestry of life. 

Face it, life is not all a matter of black and white.  Much is in shades of gray and requires a bit of discernment.  If we reject totally everything that even touches corruption or selfishness then we make it almost impossible to live in our world.  For a long time my grandmother would refuse to shop at a grocery store that sold liquor.  That was workable in a world where most stores avoided it.  What do you do when every store sells liquor?  At present I am boycotting certain stores and products because of their support or the abortion industry or the homosexual agenda.  What do I do when all stores are on board?

So?  Life isn’t always easy.  Sometimes we need to make hard choices.  With the Wisdom God offers we are in a better position to make those decisions.