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, December 31, 2016

Faithful in the Small Things

(Proverbs 31:19 KJV)  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

We see an entire spectrum of work in these verses.  At one end we have the wife buying property.  At the other end, here, we see her involved in the basic task of making thread.  This was such a basic activity that even the upper classes would be involved in it in some way.  I am not sure we have anything that would compare with it today unless it is scrubbing toilets.  That is the only thing I can think of that is necessary, boring and undignified.

The example this woman is setting involves being involved in both high and low activities.  She does both with skill and determination.  It is one we should follow.

So?  I am not too good to scrub toilets.  I tend to put it off but eventually even I recognize the need.  This is practical advice for our attitude toward common tasks and being part of a family.  I am not sure what the spiritual application would be. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Beware Lofty Eyes

(Proverbs 30:12-13 KJV)  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

As I read chapter 30 this verse and the next jumped out at me.  I am surrounded by people who have rejected the holiness of God, the sacrifice of Jesus and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  I live in a pagan world.  So do you.  The culture gets more alien every time I walk out the door.  I have chosen to follow Jesus and that puts me on what He called the narrow road and going through the narrow gate.  He said there would be few who followed that path. 

These verses are a reminder to remember that we are redeemed sinners not petrified saints.  It is a reminder that we are still on the journey and victims of the limitations of our minds and strength.  Can we live upright lives?  Yes.  Are we saints instead of sinners?  Yes.  Am I a great example of righteousness?  No.  I need to remember that. 

So?  Be alert to the sin of arrogance.  You may be right.  You may know the truth.  You may actually be closer to God than the guy you work with.  In spite of that, be alert to the sin of arrogance. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rot Control

(Proverbs 29:2 KJV)  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

I have made frequent reference to the talk of evil.  We need to understand that Proverbs also has a big spot for the “righteous” (6662).  In fact, more so.  A quick search in the NASB has “righteous” 66 times and “evil” 56 time in Proverbs.  This is not a scholarly conclusion, just an interesting observation.  You would need to make allowance for the different synonyms and figures of speech. 

The encouraging point is that just as the evil are with us, so are the righteous.  It is one reason that God spares His wrath from modern civilizations.  He loves His people and we are the salt that causes Him to stay His hand.  Too bad the people around us don’t show their appreciation.

So?  Be salt.  Think of yourself as the preservative that keeps the rot from taking over.  That in itself is quite a calling.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Evil Judgement

(Proverbs 28:5 KJV)  Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

What does it mean to be “evil” (7451b)?  In the last election the word was thrown around a lot.  I know I used it.  The problem is that most people don’t understand it, or don’t want to understand it.  For most people evil is simply someone who disagrees with them and has the temerity to express that disagreement.  Thus George Bush was evil but Bill Clinton wasn’t even though one was a paragon of virtue and the other was walking sleaze.  

There is a sense in which sin is sin and all is a rejection of the glory of God.  Got that.  But at the same time the Bible does have a hierarchy of rebellion.  There are different words for sin.  At one end you have failing to hit the mark.  At the other end you have voluntary depravity. 

But this points out there are those who are evil in the nasty sense.  These people often talk about “justice” (4941) and “love” but they do not even have the beginning of understanding because they have rejected the Lord and His values.

So?  Obviously we want to make sure we are on the right path but we also need to develop some discernment when it comes to whom we follow and accept as authority.  Start building your data base of righteousness. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Poetry in Rocks

(Proverbs 27:3 KJV)  A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

Let’s wax poetical for a moment.  Some of us are rocks.  Some are sand (2344).  Too many are “fools” (191).  A stone is solid and rigid.  It has strength but little flexibility.  We all know people like that.  They will be on time and have their ducks in a row but don’t expect them to know about the latest social media craze.  Sand is flexible but has a hard time standing up on its own.  Sand makes great backgrounds for shooting ranges because it will absorb all kinds of abuse.  It isn’t good for foundations.  Fools are blasting caps waiting to go off unexpectedly.

With the help of the Holy Spirit we have something to say if we are rocks, sand or fools.  It starts with recognizing our traits and being willing to change.  It takes time but that is what spiritual growth is all about.  You might remember the buttons that were briefly popular:  PBPWMGINFWMY.  For the young that was, “Please be patient with me.  God is not finished with me yet.”

So?  The Christian life is a path not a spot.  It is a journey and I have a feeling it will be a journey that continues into eternity.  Right now we are getting ready for the big adventure.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fools Bold

(Proverbs 26:5 KJV)  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Does this give us permission to use sarcasm?  The problem with that statement is that it is a criticism of sarcasm.  Then again, maybe it is an acknowledgment that some people deserve sarcasm.  It is really sad when someone does not recognize humor that is clear to others.

This flies in the face of the modern concept of respect for diversity.  Diversity can be a plus.  A special forces team wants to have a lot of diversity in the skill sets of it’s members.  If you have a football team, everyone can’t be the quarterback.  When you have a team of committed people they need to be diverse to cover all the needed niches.  Variety is not always a great thing.  If you have a .22 long rifle pistol it really doesn’t do you any good to have 223, 45 S&W, 45 Long Colt and .357 Magnum.  Diversity is just a lot of weight to carry.  Fools fit in that category.  They are just a lot of weight to carry. 

So?  We need to learn to not compliment fools or encourage them in what they are doing or saying.  It doesn’t matter if they are in the pulpit, the lectern or the press conference.  God has given us access to truth and the potential of wisdom.  Don’t water it down with sensitivity. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

History Lesson

(Proverbs 25:1 KJV)  These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.

The Bible is a book embedded in history.  History is embedded in the Bible.  Solomon and Hezekiah are historical figures that did historical things.  Writing and editing were two of those historical activities.  Many critics have pointed to some historical reference in the Bible and trumpeted about how the Bible was wrong only to be shown up as more research proved them wrong. 

Yet having said that the Bible is not a history book.  It is a book of salvation.  The story of the birth of Jesus is in the book to proclaim that
(Galatians 4:4 KJV)  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
It is not there for us to declare a national holiday and get off work.  Jesus came to save us for eternity not give us a temporary rest.  That may be why the Bible does not give us a specific date for the nativity.

So?  Enjoy the day.  Enjoy your family.  Enjoy your holiday.  Remember that the baby in the manger came to die on a cross to save us from our sins.  Merry Christmas. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016


(Proverbs 24:3 KJV)  Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:

If you had to pick the most important element for building a home, what would it be?  Today most people would talk about love.  They might go for compassion, sensitivity or even tolerance.  Here Solomon is putting his oar in the water for “wisdom” (2451).  Since that is a major theme of Proverbs you won’t be surprised by that.

Keep in mind that this wisdom is based on a fear of the Lord and following His commandments.  It is interesting that Jesus also taught this.
(John 14:15 KJV)  If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Wisdom means knowing how to show love.  That is why Solomon also talks about disciplining children.  This means that fair scales are important to all areas of life. 

So?  Love is wonderful but don’t shortchange your future by failing in your quest for wisdom. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Beware the Redeemer

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

I listen to podcasts by Alistair Begg as part of my morning worship and preparation.  The sermons I have listened to lately have a healthy dose coming from Ruth.  In that book you have Boaz who ends up marrying Ruth.  In the chapters moving toward that union he keeps referring to Boaz as the “kinsman redeemer”.  I cannot find those two words together in any translation I have but the Hebrew basis is the word used here for “redeemer” (1350). 

Part of the Jewish law provided for the weak and helpless in society.  The rich were instructed to deliberately leave crops in the fields so that any poor person willing to work could gather food.  Orphans and widows are given special protection.  This is a reminder that God is aware when we mess with those too weak to resist.  At that point He ceases to be the Advocate or Helper and becomes the prosecuting attorney.

So?  We need to be careful not to take advantage of people below us on the pecking order.  We need to refuse to take advantage of opportunities that are based on taking advantage of the weak.  Profit is good.  Illicit profit is damning. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fear of Work

(Proverbs 22:13 KJV)  The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Do lazy people actually live in fear?  Is there something in the makeup of the slothful that makes them have creative minds, creative in a negative sense?  You must admit that you have not heard about a lion in the street lately.  In California we have bears that come wandering out of the hills occasionally and we do have mountain lions but I have never met anyone who lives in fear.

Think of the college students that are so much in the news demanding “safe spaces”.  I don’t know any of them personally but I am of the opinion that most of them are majoring in some subject with the word “studies” in the title.  Few would be chemistry or physics majors.  They have chosen educational paths that demand less which sounds like a sluggard to me.

So?  If we have a healthy fear of God we have a reduced fear of our world.  If we have a healthy fear of God we are concerned about working out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Maybe healthy fear drives out craven fear and frees us up to be productive. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

First Loves

(Proverbs 21:17 KJV)  He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

Do you notice that it is assumed being “rich” (6238) is a good thing.  Don’t swallow the line that only the poor can be spiritual.  It is possible that the poor lust more for riches than the wealthy.  It is a matter of priorities and balance. 

The point here is mistaking the accouterments of wealth with the wealth itself.  We live in a wealthy country and a time of great wealth in the world.  In the midst of this we have people driving expensive cars, wearing designer clothes, eating in posh restaurants and filing for bankruptcy.  They live beyond their means thinking the day of reckoning will never come.  It will.  The reckoning will be personal, financial and spiritual.

So?  Make sure that your priorities are right.  The example deals with you bank balance.  The principle applies to your eternity.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Crying Uncle

(Proverbs 20:21 KJV)  An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.

Have you ever daydreamed about the rich uncle who died and left you his fortune?  You know, the rich uncle you never knew you had.  What would you do with all the money?  Maybe the limit to your imagination is getting an unexpected tax break.  What do you do with it?  Too often unexpected wealth does little but destroy the recipient.  The book The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley points out that many children of millionaires end up squandering their wealth and never learning to be productive.  That is why many wealthy parents will set up a trust that waits until they are older to give large sums.

God has chosen not to make me rich.  I have never bought a lottery ticket but have been in a few situations when sales reps have given them away.  I have been open to sudden riches but it didn’t happen.  I assume that God knows the money would have destroyed me.

So?  God’s pattern is hard work and a fair wage.  Some will do better than others but because He loves us He may keep us poor and happy.  I guess it could be considered an extension of the idea that He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.  That applies to “blessings” too. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Anger Enabler

(Proverbs 19:19 KJV)  A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

A passing thought hits me as I think about people with a temper.  Is a short temper similar to alcoholism?  They have similarities.  Both claim that they cannot control themselves.  Both cause a lot of damage.  Both will often have someone trying to shield them from the problems created.  At the same time, neither “wrath” (anger NASB) (2534) nor alcohol are condemned categorically. 

When the problem becomes “great” (1419) then it may be time to step back and wait.  There are so many areas in life that drag people down and can only be cured when the dragee reaches a point where they are ready to change.  Then you might be able to help but the sad truth is that many people never hit bottom until it is too late.

So?  Prayer, example and a trust in the work of the Holy Spirit are better weapons than all of the clinics, counseling an rehabs in the country.  Much of the tragedy we see is because we have surrendered the leadership to the “professionals” instead of the professing. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Smart Mouth Response

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

Whatever happened to the mouth that got slapped for getting out of hand.  This would seem to give it a Biblical basis.  Like any Bible standard it can be abused and twisted by “fools” (3684), but that does not mean it is not a Biblical standard.  As Christians we need to be alert to the infiltration of the world into the church.  We are caving so fast that the whole structure is in danger of becoming impotent.  Physical response is one of these areas.

Our culture says that physical response is demeaning and damaging to self esteem.  In addition to this verse we have numerous references like,
(Proverbs 23:13-14 KJV)  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
So?  If you believe what the Bible says about salvation then you need to believe what it says about interpersonal relations.  Pick and choose at your own peril. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

An Avoidable Tragedy

(Proverbs 17:25 KJV)  A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

If this verse were in isolation it would be the cry of a broken heart.  It would be an expression of desperation that could not be avoided.  It is the cry of a broken heart.  It is the cry of Solomon.  It is the cry of a man who was given the gift of wisdom but did not apply it.  Remember it was Solomon’s sons who turned from God and split the kingdom.  He is not a happy camper.

Are there any guarantees?  No.  Neither positive or negative.  You always need to understand that our children will make their own decisions.  The game changer is provided by us, as parents or adults in the life of children.  Proverbs is loaded with insight into how we can live and teach.  It shows us how to live in wisdom.  When we do that we do a lot to avoid the trap of “foolish” (3684) children.

So?  Start investing now.  If you have no children you still have young people watching you.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Eternal Revenue Service

(Proverbs 16:8 KJV)  Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

We, as Christians, do indeed march to a different drummer, or we should.  As I read this verse my mind went to a radio commercial I have been hearing.  The speaker identifies himself as a guy who flips houses on TV.  I think I have been forced to watch him at some point but his name is not an icon in my life.  He wanted to find a group of people who would join him to get rich flipping houses.  So far I have no problem with the concept except the skepticism which says “If there is so much money to be made why are you not making it instead of trying to get me to do it?”

My problem is the next line which goes something like “get rich using other people’s money”.  That is a paraphrase.  The concept is that you make risky business moves by risking other people’s money rather than your own.  This is where the speaker invites us to leave our Christian faith and enter the worlds of “buyer beware”.  The radio station does not claim to be Christian but many of those who listen would.  You cannot get rich taking advantage of other people and still call yourself a follower of Jesus.

So?  Get rich if you can.  Do it in such a way that God will be able to live with you and you will continue to walk with Him. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Seeking Wise Men

(Proverbs 15:12 KJV)  A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

How do you know if someone is qualified to give you advice?  The recommendation here is that they be “wise” (2450).  That is easier said than done because we have lost an understanding of what is wise.  There are certain categories that you can rule out. 

Children are not repositories of wisdom in spite of what educators tell you.  They may occasionally say something cute and naive that has truth but they also say things that are cute and total nonsense.  Knowing the difference is where the wisdom comes in. 

Celebrities can be ruled out if you think their fame gives them any claim to speak in public.  Being able to act, sing or perform a popular task only means that you are skilled.  It does not mean that you know what you are reading or singing about. 

Three times in Proverbs we are given the clue.  Each one starts with “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning....”  The best known is,
(Pro 9:10)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
So?  When seeking advice first ask yourself if the person you are asking understands what it is to fear the Lord.  That might not be the end of wisdom but it is the beginning. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crib Notes

(Proverbs 14:4 KJV)  Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

The Jews had a place for washing.  It was part of the law.  Because of that they had less disease than surrounding nations.  The practical purpose was quickly buried by the ritual and ceremonial liturgies that developed in the temple and daily life.  Washing separated the work from the worship.  It isolated the potential for disease by washing hands and isolation.

At the same time, work was important.  Labor was considered productive.  Profit was good.  Those good things required sweat and mess.  There are certain social expectations that develop that refute this.  Slavery gave people the impression that work was only for the inferior.  Victorian class expectations said that the genteel classes did no do work that required perspiration or dirty hands.  That is not Biblical.  The plumber is loved as much by God as the professor, probably more.

So?  Some of the best discussion I have at school are with the janitor that cleans my room.  Assume that those doing the dirty work know something you don’t.  Let the mess remind you to be productive.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Soul Food

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

I think the KJV makes the point of this verse more clear when it says “soul” (5315) to the NASB’s “appetite”.  We tend to think of an appetite as something we desire, like junk food, rather than something we require, like water.  Even soul sounds a bit too mysterious and supernatural.  The Hebrew is nephesh and is used to signify when Adam ceased being a dust ball and became a living creature.  It could be said to signify the totality of being alive as opposed to the “stomach” (990) which is satisfied with pizza.

For the “righteous” (6662) it is more than just, “What is for lunch today”.  That is probably why we get in the habit of offering up thanks before meals.  For the righteous it is the symphony of life that is directed by the baton of Providence.  It is the fulfillment of being the balanced harmony when someone else gets to be the melody. 

So?  I plan on having lunch.  I also plan on having the focus that sees the glory of living in obedience to the God of the universe. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Spiritual Spore

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

We are in a position to influence people around us.  Accept it.  You do.  It is possible to be neutral only for short periods and even then it is our imagination, not reality.  Many times neither party is aware of the influence but it is still tilting the balance.  I have never used a balance beam scale outside of a science class.  I use a digital scale.  I weigh just about everything I eat.  Even when making coffee I will weigh it out to the nearest gram.  It doesn’t take much to change the number on the screen.  It doesn’t take much to change the flavor of the coffee.  It doesn’t take much to change the life of the person behind you in line.

So?  Do you pick your vegetables like a Christian?  Do you dispose of your trash like a Christian?  Do you walk your dog like a Christian?  You leave an influence. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Check Your Shoes

(Proverbs 11:9 KJV)  An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

How do the two parts of this verse connect?  We have certain words that seem to link up as contrasts.  I can see the contrast of “hypocrite” (godless NASB) (2611) and “just” (righteous NASB) (6662).  “Destroys” (7843) works against “delivered” (2502a).  What confuses me is “mouth” (6310) vs “knowledge” (1847).  Also confusing is that the first part effects the “neighbor” (7453) and the second the believer. 

Perhaps this is a reminder that our first priority is to make sure that our lives our in order.  If you have ever flown you have been through the safety instructions given at the beginning of the flight.  One of the things they tell you regards the oxygen masks that can fall if needed.  They tell you that if you are traveling with small children, don’t try to be noble.  Take care of your own oxygen supply before you try to assist them.  The point is that if you pass out because of lack of oxygen you won’t be able to help anyone.

So?  If you live in ignorance your value to the Lord is very limited.  This would seem to open the possibility that if you are really ignorant you need to worry about your own destiny.  Check the shoe.  See if it fits. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

No Generic, Please

(Proverbs 10:16 KJV)  The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

There don’t seem to be any verbs in the Hebrew of this verse.  The NASB has “is” which is usually an assumed word in the language, not common like in English.  The KJV adds “tendeth” but has it in italics so you know it is not in the original text.  This is a verse that needs to be understood in the context of the full scripture.

The heresy that can come from this, and is common in popular theology, is a version of the prosperity gospel.  The real perversion comes in those people who believe that every painful experience in our life is a result of sin or lack of faith.  The false teaching is that if we are right with God all will be sunshine and unicorns.  If you read anything but carefully edited verses you realize that there are many verses that talk about trials and persecution.  The Bible has a balance and believers need to live in that balance.

What is never a matter of balance is the demand for a “righteous” (6662) life.  That is a no compromise standard.  Here it is tied to “life” (2425b).  The full witness of scripture says we can live righteous lives.  The full witness points out that it is only through grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, but it is an expected minimum, not an impossible dream.

So?  Don’t settle for generic when you can have the real thing.  It might not make any difference in your aspirin but it certainly does in your walk of faith. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Truth Is Not in the Comfort Zone

(Proverbs 9:14 KJV)  For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

This verse should be taken as a warning.  We are looking at two parallel examples.  In both we are being invited to come, listen, partake and move on to our destiny.  In one, eternal life beckons; in the other, death. 

The warning for us is to not assume a source is legitimate based on their location or affiliation.  Just because someone is a leader in your denomination, career field or political party does not mean that they are giving you truth.  In this example the speaker is at home and at the hot spots.  She speaks lies from both places. 

Remember that wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord.  Remember that it is righteous.  Remember that it is not popular.

So?  The Bible makes truth available.  It makes it possible to know.  Do your homework and avoid the easy path to destruction. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Everlast Is More Than Boxing Shorts

(Proverbs 8:23 KJV)  I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

The “everlasting” (5769) of the Bible is different from the eternal thoughts of the pagan world.  For Christians this represents a line; for Buddhists, a circle.  For your average garden variety, post modern theist it probably is represented by a fog bank because they live in the present and avoid long term thinking. 

I did not see the movie Lion King but I understand it talked about the Circle of Life.  That is a Buddhist concept.  It is the root and foundation of reincarnation, an almost endless circle that eventually leads to Nirvana.  Nirvana is the conscious self being absorbed into the comic oneness.

Christians believe that time began when God created the heavens and the earth.  It will end when the last trumpet sounds.  Extending beyond both points is the infinite line of “everlasting”.  We did not exist before we were conceived.  That end of the line is beyond our reach.  We will exist for eternity, so our choices are important. 

So?  Be wise.  Invest in eternity.  Prepare to be everlasting. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

One Foot in the Grave

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

The action being discussed here is sexual sin.  For the young man it is fornication, for the woman, adultery.  They are both sin, plain and simple.  It is not a matter of sex before marriage being okay and cheating on your spouse isn’t.  It is not okay to violate God’s call to sexual purity as long as you are really in love.  People “living together” have one foot in the grave and don’t even know it.  I have a hard time believing they don’t know it but I guess if I can convince myself that the apple fritter I just ate won’t really make a difference then their appetites can give them the excuses they need to live in denial.

So?  God cares about how we live.  Sexual behavior is part of the deal.  Live upright and righteous.  Don’t make excuses; God doesn’t.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Levels of Sin

(Proverbs 6:32 KJV)  But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

We have all heard the preacher or teacher talk about how we sin every day in word, thought and deed.  They then talk about how even one little sin is enough to alienate us from a holy God.  Sin in any form is serious and since we live in a culture that rejects the idea of sin, the reminder is important.

Yet the Bible does not teach that all sin is of equal standing in the eyes of God.  This passage is another clear indication of that.   Look back a few verses,
(Proverbs 6:30 KJV)  Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
Theft is a sin.  There is no question of that.  It is even listed in the ten commandments.  Yet it seems to be understandable when you are hungry.  You don’t find that in relation to adultery.  Sexual sin invades a relationship that God established to nurture the family.  It violates the word picture that compares marriage to Christ and the Church.  And notice that the promise here is destruction.

So?  Be serious about all sin but realize that some leaves scars that might be hard to heal. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Relax in Wisdom

(Proverbs 5:2 KJV)  That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

The mystery of a translator’s mind confuses me, or is it the other way around, the confusion of a translator’s mind mystifies me?  I refer to the word translated simply by the KJV as “keep” (5341) but nuanced by the NASB as “reserve”.  Same word; same context.  The simple meaning is to “guard” or “watch” so “keep” makes sense but where do they get “reserve”? 

I find the simple, literal translation more useful.  I would demand “guard” if I were on the committee.  Wisdom guards our speech.  There is a difference between witnessing and trying to win against a stacked deck.  Jesus may have been referring to this 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.
It is almost impossible to explain virtues like chastity, prudence and integrity to people saturated in prurience, extravagance and deceit. 

So?  Don’t feel like you must always defend God, get the last word or change a mind.  Remember that it took the angel of death to persuade Pharaoh.  Jesus didn’t manage to get his message across to the Pharisees either.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Starts and Finishes

(Proverbs 4:23 KJV)  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

As I read today this verse brought to mind the words of Jesus,
(Mark 7:21 KJV)  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Of course Jesus was talking about us getting our own hearts right.  This verse carries the same warning.  I noticed something interesting about the word “issues” (springs NASB) (8444).  The word seems to often refer to the limitations and final destination rather than the beginning.  It is a reminder that the condition of our heart not only shapes how we respond to our world but also sets boundaries on where we can end up. 

So?  Our attitudes often effect our perceptions and performance.  This can be good or bad but if your heart has rejected wisdom I think we can make assumptions about which it will be. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Identity Theft

(Proverbs 3:3 KJV)  Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

This reminds me of how post modern thinking has done an identity theft on the meaning of love.  Because we have allowed Hollywood to sell us on a love grounded in eros instead of agape we have come to believe that love is something you fall into.  In the Bible love is agape.  Agape is a love that you commit to.  Obviously it requires the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit but those are freely given.  We are not victims of our emotions.  We are to “let not” (408) the things of God “forsake” (leave NASB) (5800a) us. 

Christian character is a choice because God makes it possible for us to choose.  Here we have “mercy” (kindness NASB) (2617a) [chesed] and “truth” (571).  The list goes on other places.

So?  If you have decided to follow Jesus then follow Jesus.  That means staying on the path by the choices we make.  You are not an animal with irresistible instincts.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mercy’s Designated Driver

(Proverbs 2:11 KJV)  Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

“Discretion” (4209) is not wisdom.  It is not personified.  It is interesting to me that the definition of the word has an evil taint to it.  I think that might be because of the hard choices it demands.  If you look back the discernment involved is built up by training and grown into.  It is a mark of maturity and a trait that the immature do not understand.

It is also a trait that people focused on certain gifts of the Spirit have a hard time with.  To the person who is saturated with the gift of mercy, discernment seems to be some alien harshness.  To the gift of service it seems like the epitome of selfishness.  That is because maturity demands hard choices and many people do not want to make them.

So?  If you are a mercy person understand that the Spirit also gives discernment.  Just because you run on empathy, discernment is fueled by clear thinking.  We need both but my feeling is that the modern church is rejecting the hard choices.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


(Proverbs 1:7 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Think of fear (3374) as it applies to many important influences on our lives.  We have a healthy fear, or respect, for them without being crippled.  Our fear effects the way we act constantly.  I have in mind the fear of gravity.  You might claim you are not afraid of gravity.  Then why don’t you take a walk without a parachute out the door of an airplane in flight?  Because you know about gravity, admit it exists and have some smarts.  We don’t think of it as fear yet if you ignore the laws of gravity you will have some serious consequences.

You won’t get far into understanding your world unless you have a fear of the Lord.  Although science has become an arrogant step-child, the basic trust in the universe was founded in the Judeo-Christian view of an immutable God.  If you don’t believe in God and His hand holding the universe together then how do you know that the law of gravity will still work tomorrow, just chance? 

Now that is a different kind of fear, living in a world dependent on chance.

So?  Lay your foundations.  Fear God.  And of course don’t jump out of airplanes. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Billion Page Views

(Proverbs 30:1 KJV)  The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,

Want to be famous?  How about getting one mention in the Book?  Does that qualify as famous or frustrating?  Here we have “Agur” (94).  He wrote, or dictated, this chapter in Proverbs.  It has been read by billions down through the ages and we don’t know any more about him than they knew 2,000 years ago.  Names have meanings.  His is “gathered”.  Is this something his parents gave him or a title based on his activities?  We will never know.

Your name means something but you may not know what it is.  Few people today have names given because of their character or the hopes of their parents.  Most of it is just to honor a family member or because the name sounded good.  A growing trend is to make up names or spell them in ways that have never been seen before. 

Whatever your name, the important goal is to see that it is written in the Book of Life.
(Revelation 20:15 KJV)  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
This is a result of the saving grace of Jesus when we trust in Him and, if you read the other references, live in obedience. 

So?  The question of the day is, “Is your name written in the Book of Life?” 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Visions of Sugar Pills

(Proverbs 29:18 KJV)  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

When Solomon speaks of “no” (369) “vision” (2377) I tend to think of simply the absence of vision.  The marginal reading of the NASB gives “revelation”.  This is the situation when people are totally ignorant of the things God is saying.  That is bad enough but there is a more insidious understanding.
(Jeremiah 23:16 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
This is the situation of a person taking a medication that is nothing but a sugar pill.  I was first going to say a medication that had lost its potency but Jeremiah is talking about deliberate falsehood.  Having a man-made vision is the same as having no vision. 

Out culture suffers from both.  The sad part is when we have a country full of empty churches, pews full of dusty Bibles and preachers full of hot air.  The tragedy is that there are eternal consequences not just political disasters.

So?  I can’t wake up the country.  You can’t do much more than me.  God can expect us to witness and He will use our faithfulness to give people a chance.  The tide turns at its lowest point.  Pray and live for revival. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Fear Day

(Proverbs 28:14 KJV)  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

This seems a bit extreme.  We are made “happy” (blessed NASB) (835) by constant “fear” (6342)?  That does not seem to be a winning formula, but there it is.  As we often see, this requires some thinking and understanding of what is really being said.  This does not refer to terror of the unknown or worry about a sound in the night.  This is not concern when the report says cancer.  This is talking about the fear of the Lord.

We hear so much about “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that sometimes we forget that He is also the Jesus of Revelation.
(Revelation 1:16 KJV)  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
This is the same Jesus that we see in the paintings with children sitting in His lap.  Although it risks being sacrilegious, think of the children crawling all over the family dog.  They can pull his ears, jump on his head and put there fingers in his mouth and he licks their faces.  Let an intruder step too close and the teeth come out and the hackles rise.

So?  When you live in healthy fear the teeth don’t come out.  They are still there.  You know about it.  That healthy fear gives you a healthy sense of peace. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What Is Your Allowance?

(Proverbs 27:13 KJV)  Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

These actions are to be taken in response to the actions of a person that the previous verse calls “simple” (6612a) or “naive” as the NASB puts it.  There is a serious counter-culture lesson for us here.  Our post modern, New Age, pagan culture is consumed with making excuses and allowances for people who are mentally and ethically deficient.  In education we call them accommodations.  Thus I am instructed to allow certain students to take open book or open note quizzes.  I am told to print up the notes that the rest of the class is forced to copy down.  I am to give extra time for assignments. 

While compassion and patience are Biblical, making excuses is not.  People are to be held responsible for their actions and, believe it or not, we are to be held responsible for our attitudes.

So?  Don’t excuse others because you want to be excused.  God forgives.  God is patient.  God is love.  He can also read your heart and God does not play games. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fool Folly

(Proverbs 26:4 KJV)  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

This verse should be read together with the next.  A quick reading makes them seem contradictory but they are really complementary.  Both of them have the sense of responding to fools as they deserve.  This one says not to, the next says to do so.  The context explains the difference.  This one is pointing out that we should not allow the fool to dictate the terms of our discussion.  We do this in a regular basis when we let the politicians, educators and movie stars define words in such a way that they lose their meaning.  Love, respect, tolerance, hope, gay, the list goes on.  When we let the pagans talk about the God of love and they define love as “Never having to say you are sorry”, we have lost the battle.  When we allow them to use “gay” for anything but lighthearted and carefree, we have retreated from the field.

God explains to us what love means in I Corinthians 13.  The entire book of Proverbs explains what wisdom means.

So?  Trust your culture at your own risk.  When we stand before God He will define things in eternal terms, not contemporary cultural understandings.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Golden Ruling

(Proverbs 25:28 KJV)  He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Solomon is making a serious warning about serious danger in this verse.  We tend to think of someone breaking into our home to steal.  We see the reference to self control.  We think small.  We need to think big.

A thief does not tear down the walls of a city.  He might sneak over or through the gate but the walls are not his problem.  Walls are to keep out the conqueror.  Conquerors might take the jewelry you left on the dresser.  They also rape, murder, pillage and burn.  We need to understand that self “rule” (control NASB) (4623) is not a minor issue.

So?  I hope you have more success with this than I do.  I tend to not get serious until the pain is serious.  Pray that we would learn quicker. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Not by Osmosis

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

Two thoughts here.  First, “wisdom” (2451) is required to have a “reward” (future NASB) (329).  This verse would imply that wisdom is not an option.  While there is a gift of wisdom there must be a level that is available to everyone.

Second, wisdom is not something that just appears.  We are expected to “find” (4672) it.  This should immediately bring to mind the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 7:7 KJV)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
So?  Are you a passive or active believer?  It would seem to make a difference.  I don’t think you get wisdom by osmosis.  God offers but we must seek. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Landmark Decisions

(Proverbs 23:10 KJV)  Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

One of the overlooked truths of history is the importance of land.  Around the time of the founding of America that was included in the concept of personal property.  Land and property provided financial security and thus liberty.  Keep in mind that when Jefferson originally wrote the Declaration of Independence he penned “Life, Liberty and Property” as the three basic rights.  I believe he was quoting John Locke.  The foundation for that is in the Bible.  We have one of the ten commandments that banned theft and another that dealt with covetousness, a cause of stealing.  Here we see it in regard to property lines.  It is Biblical to own land.  It is Biblical to have possessions.  This makes Communism and socialism antithetical to God’s people.  Politics?  Maybe.  Bible, definitely. 

So?  Don’t feel bad if you own a home.  Don’t be jealous of those who own homes.  It is not owning property that is the problem Biblically, it is being owned by property that is the problem.  Now go mow the lawn. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Good Eye

(Proverbs 22:9 KJV)  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Once again the KJV does us the favor of reaching for a more literal translation.  For the life of me I cannot understand why translators cannot back off and allow the literal text to speak to us instead of trying to tell us what God must have meant.  Here we have a “bounteous” (2896a) “eye” (5869) instead of the “generous” of the NASB.  As I read the whole verse today I saw the marginal reading of the NASB which said “good eye”.  Why could they not have just said that?

In this context it struck me that this could involve a bit of discernment.  Notice that the NASB talks about “food” (3899) and the KJV is again more literal with “bread”.  It is talking about giving the basic needs not the numerous wants.  And I think it is referring to the genuine poor not just the ones who are used to getting handouts instead of working. 

So?  To me this means the family in the church that has had sudden medical bills and doesn’t know how they are going to pay for them.  It means the single mother who can’t afford to get her car repaired.  The needs are numerous.  Make sure that you don’t give what you can spare to someone who just has their hand out.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mall Syndrome

(Proverbs 21:16 KJV)  The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

Have you ever been with someone else at the mall and they are off doing what mall people do at malls?  I usually just “wander” (8582).  I will often have clerks come up to me and ask, “Can I help you?”  The answer is “no” because I don’t know what I am looking for.  Too often we approach our spiritual day this way. 

Wandering can be dangerous.  It can be expensive.  It is usually a waste of time.  At the mall it may not be a big deal.  I usually don’t want to be there anyway.  But what does it mean when we are making decisions or doing our work?  We can miss the entire point of the moment, day or of life itself.  This word can be loaded.  It is used in a familiar verse,
(Isaiah 53:6 KJV)  All we like sheep have gone astray (8582); we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
So?  Work on being focused.  Ask, seek, knock and you will get answers.  Wander and you could get lost. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Out of Oil

(Proverbs 20:20 KJV)  Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

If you compare the KJV and the NASB you see a different approach to the lamp going out.  In the KJV it is “put out” (1846).  In the NASB it “goes out” (1846).  In both cases the light is gone but is it a matter of being turned off or running out of oil?  Is it automatic or forced?

I guess there is a sense in which it doesn’t matter why the darkness descends.  It is dark.  It is also too late.  Think of the parable of the foolish virgins who ran out of oil.  They were able to get more but it was too late.  The sad truth is that there are time limits on almost everything.  God is very patient.  He is merciful.  He is forgiving.  He also will come to a point where He will no longer listen.

So?  My guess is that you still have time.  For some it will be simply a matter of continuing to grow but for others the big decision has not been made.  It is also a reminder that those we care about have time to listen to the Lord, but not forever. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sin-fool Behavior

(Proverbs 19:3 KJV)  The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

This verse would seem to say that “foolishness” (200) could be assumed to be tied to our sinful nature.  It causes behavior and decisions that get us off the path that God has for us.  It pushes us away from God.

Could this mean that regeneration fixes the fool gene?  Regeneration is our term “born again”.  When the Holy Spirit does that work in our hearts and minds we are made new creatures.  The power of sin is broken.  That means that the power of “fool” is broken. 

So don’t expect the world to understand you or agree with you.  When it happens, rejoice but be aware it is just a coincidence.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shining Toilets

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

As I worship in preparation for the day, my job hovers on the horizon.  This verse gives me a very simple reminder for the day.  I am not to be “slack” (7503).  I am to be the hardest working employee on the lot because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.  The only one who should be surpassing me is a brother in the Lord who is having a really good day.

We cannot brood about being treated unfairly.  We cannot just make it “good enough for government work”.  We cannot get by.  We are called to excel. 

So?  If your assignment is to scrub toilets, let the toilets shine.  I don’t like it but there it is. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Before You

(Proverbs 17:24 KJV)  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

Sometimes “wisdom” (2451) is right in front of us and we don’t see it.  One reason could be that we look at someone who has that wisdom but because they don’t match the popular picture of a guru we just let our eyes slide over them.  Think about all the wisdom offered by that old person you have been writing off as used up and behind the times.  In just the last chapter we saw,
(Proverbs 16:31 KJV)  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Last Sunday I went to the “traditional” service and I was struck by the reality that at 69 years of age I was one of the youngest in the congregation.  I didn’t let it bother me but I also did not stop to think about how much wisdom and experience might be all around me.

So?  In I Corinthians 12:24 Paul uses the phrase “God has so composed the body” (NASB) about the church.  He is talking there about spiritual gifts.  He is talking about the people around you.  Among other treasures he is talking about a mountain of wisdom just waiting to be climbed. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

No Choice, Choose

(Proverbs 16:16 KJV)  How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

As I write we are looking toward an election.  By the time it is posted we will be past it.  We are faced with making choices.  I am an idealist in many ways and I want to make the best choices.  Unfortunately I am limited to the “better” (2896a), not the best.  As I looked into the two words I found that the translation depended on the context.  The most common translation is “good” but when you are being given the choice between two items it becomes “better”.

In an election we are not choosing between wisdom and gold.  Often we come down to the choice of two evils.  But we are forced to make a choice.  Picture being in a strange town in the middle of the night and there are only two places with food available.  One is a sushi joint and the other a Ruth’s Chris steak house.  I hate sushi, but I can eat it to be polite and I am cheap. 

So?  As Christians we have eternal standards.  I am thinking today that we should use those standards in all of our decisions, even if the choice is between horrible and bad instead of good and better.  Sometimes we can’t really know which is which but still must make a choice.  I am glad I have read the book and knows who wins in the end. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lord of the Mouth

(Proverbs 15:28 KJV)  The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

This seems to be a restatement of the first verse in this chapter.

    (Proverbs 15:1 NAS77)  A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Then you put this together with how agape love is described in I Corinthians 13,
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NAS77)  Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5,
(Galatians 5:22-23 NAS77)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
This gives you a picture of how Christian relationships should be conducted.  The way we relate to non-believers is important.  Even harder, this deals with how we relate to other believers.  The hardest is getting along with family members. 

As Jesus becomes the center of our lives He becomes the Lord of our mouth as much as the Lord of our heart.  We no longer retaliate with sharp words, or we shouldn’t.  We slow down, let agape do its work and either stifle ourselves totally or speaks gently. 

So?  Righteousness makes a difference in our need to get the last word. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ignoring the Obvious

(Proverbs 14:6 KJV)  A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

Why is it that some people can’t see what is obvious to believers?  To make it more clear I would put quotation marks around “seeks” (1245) to show that I was using the word tongue in cheek.  It is kind of like the kid who is told to clean up his room and doesn’t see half of what needs to be picked up.  He wills himself not to see.  Or remember when you were a kid and one of your chores was to do the dishes after dinner.  It is amazing how much food could be left on the plates after being washed.  “Scorners” (scoffers NASB) (3917b) are people who start off with a need not to see.

Confess my sin?  What sin?  Be patient and kind?  Why should I after what they did?  They deserve my anger.  We could talk about things like global warming, evolution, educational theory and even theology.  Those who have decided that they are above the facts continue to ignore the obvious.

So?  We make choices every day in almost every area of life.  We either make them from a foundation of wisdom or a desire to magnify ourselves.  I hope today finds you “easy” (7053) answers. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fat Diligence

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

We are so brainwashed by our culture’s values.  Down through history we see that people thought fat was a good thing.  We have an expression, “Live off the fat of the land”.  Fat was something that could only be present when there was more than enough to sustain life.  Fat was a sign that you were rich or your cattle were well fed.  Fat was good.

Today fat is bad.  We have become so prosperous that fat is now a sign of poverty and lack of self control.  When I used to teach science and had a unit on the human body I pointed out that fat had three functions in the body.  Fat acted as a cushion or protection of body parts.  Fat stored food for a time of need.  Fat acted as insulation to keep the body warm.  Now all we hear about it diabetes and heart disease.  Now instead of fat and sassy we have anorexic and bulimic. 

So?  Just a reminder that the values of Jesus are not the values of Vanity Fair.  There is a healthy balance in body fat.  There is a healthy balance if adapting to our culture.  The needle of healthy balance should be determined by the Bible, not current fashion. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Good Words

(Proverbs 12:25 KJV)  Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

What is a “good” (2896a) “word” (8005)?  The word good in Hebrew has all of the uses and nuances of the word in English.  The two most common translations in both the KJV and NASB are “good” and “better”.  I would imagine it would include a word of advice, a genuine compliment or even a correction. 

We have the ability to make the lives of others better by what we say.

So?  I need to work on this.  I tend to be a realist with a sense of humor.  Often I am around dreamers with a very parochial understanding of funny.  I could be more sensitive to their sensitivity. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Special Delivery

(Proverbs 11:8 KJV)  The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.

Sometimes life isn’t fair and sometimes that is okay with me.  For the purpose of discussion let’s stipulate that I am one of the “righteous” (6662).  I know that some of you like to quote the verse that talks about none being righteous but if we let you do that this verse becomes a bunch of hot air.  So for today I am righteous whether you like it or not. 

“Trouble” (6869a) will come.  I think it is here.  Look around you.  Do you live in the same world I occupy?  I thought so.  We got troubles, “right here in River City.”  They may be relatively benign in comparison with people living in Syria, but we got troubles. 

We have deliverance.  The guy next door may not get it.  The wicked will not.  Jesus made this clear about the time of the rapture,
(Matthew 24:40 KJV)  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Solomon extends it to every day life.

So?  God is in charge.  We will be delivered but keep in mind it will be on His schedule and with His methods.  So relax and enjoy the rush hour traffic. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Balance to Bank On

(Proverbs 10:15 KJV)  The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

After you read through Proverbs a few times you see some patterns developing.  You notice that most verses stand alone, but not all.  Many, or most, times you see a contrasting couplet where the two phrases give opposites.  Here you see two phrases but I think it is a restatement in different terms.  The common factors are money and how it effects us.

In this verse we have a warning for both the “rich” (6223) and the “poor” (1800b):  Don’t let your financial situation shape your attitudes and values.  Both the rich and the poor tend to hide behind their bank balance.  One hunkers down, the other makes excuses.  Neither financial condition is a sin.  Both stances toward a life of faith are. 

So?  I would love to be in a situation where I did not need to balance my bank statement each month.  It isn’t going to happen in this life.  I will never be able to hide behind my wealth.  I am in danger of living in fear because I don’t know what will happen with health care, taxes and terrorism.  I choose to walk in faith. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Casting Pearls

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

In the next few verses Solomon gives advice but also explains something that is troubling to many of us.  The popular saying is “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.  Jesus reminded us,
(John 12:8 KJV)  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
Proverbs has numerous reference to the poor.  It almost seems like there are some people who are locked in and can never dig out.  This passage reminds us that there are some people whom we cannot help because they refuse to change.

Some people refuse to listen.  Some people hate you when you try to help.  Others will take your advice and move forward.  That is an application of something else Jesus said.
(Matthew 25:29 KJV)  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
So?  We are to be generous but we are also to be discerning.  When possible, and it isn’t always, target those who have the wisdom to listen to wisdom.  Don’t feel like you must right every wrong.  In some situations it is like the person who would correct the grammar in books she was reading.  The book refused to listen. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

There Are Gates and Then There Are Gates

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

It would be easy to overlook the place we are to wait.  “My gates” (1817) is such a common phrase and does not immediately make any lights go off.  Let me make two observations. 

First, notice the word “my”.  I don’t have any word designated in my software and my traditional paper source is packed away somewhere so I don’t know if it is in the Hebrew but it is in both the KJV and NASB as well as every other translation I have.  We are to be careful that we are going to His gates, not ours.  His gates, not our church’s.  His gates, not our friends’.

Second, notice that “gates” is plural.  This is not a call to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and sit outside the site of the temple gates.  This tells us that we can approach Him in many locations.  Think of Jesus and the places He would go.  He would teach in the synagogues.  He would preach on the lake shore.  He would sneak out in the early morning.  He spent forty days in the wilderness.  He went to the garden.

So?  Seek truth from the Truth.  Seek it everywhere you go.  Think of it like breathing.  Nothing works but air and it is almost everywhere. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Timing for Temptation

(Proverbs 7:9 KJV)  In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:

Just when does this take place?  I get the idea that this is a description of an observed event but in looking at this it seems that the events to unfold were sought after repeatedly.  Notice that the first term is “twilight” (5399).  In the Hebrew this can refer to morning or evening.  The second phrase is a compound word that means “evening of the day”.  The third phrase in the Hebrew makes it clear that the darkest night is referred to.  Which is it?

I am guessing that it is all of the above.  I think we are looking at a foolish young man who makes it a habit of going places he knows he should not be, but it is fun.  He may like to go back to his friends and brag about how he was walking on the wild side.  He was looking for it while trying to deny it.  Eventually he will find it and the chapter makes it clear that hell is waiting.

So?  How often does a tragedy have a long approach that could have been avoided?  How many of the “innocent” choices we make today are just us playing with temptation because it is exciting?  I think of the cliche that no one has ever gotten drunk who did not take the first drink.  That principle could apply to every area of life.  Walk upright.  Learn not to lean.  There are eternal consequences.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fire Insurance

(Proverbs 6:27 KJV)  Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

“Fire” (784) can take many forms.  It can have many uses.  The problem we have is when we misuse it.  Here it is talking about misusing the gift that God gave us to draw man and woman together and to create families to subdue the earth.  When used properly it builds and creates.  When misused it divides and destroys.

The principle is bigger than the example.  God has touched our lives with so many blessings.  Think about how we misuse them.  Think about something like automobile insurance.  Within the last year I was rear-ended on the freeway.  To me it was a gentle bump.  To the little Japanese import that nailed me, the grill was obviously suffering.  I took my car in to have it inspected and other than a new scratch on an already scratched bumper there seemed to be no issues.  The guy told me I could get a new bumper if I wanted to.  It was tempting but as there was no real damage and I could not say which scratch was new.  I passed. 

Did I have a right to a new bumper?  So the repair man said but in my heart I knew it was the misuse of a blessing.  You might make a different choice.  For me it was a fire that I did not want to touch.

So?  Apply the principles of the Bible.  They touch every area of life. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016


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

We are giving a backhand reminder to “ponder” (6424) where we are going in “life” (2425b,NASB;2416,KJV).  The God-rejecter being described here does not do it.  If you are a believer in Jesus you must. 

Pondering means to weigh and that was done on a balance beam scale of the day.  Think about how you would concentrate if you were weighing out an ingredient in a recipe that had to be right.  I am that way with cayenne in my chili.  A little bit enhances the flavor.  Too much ruins it for me.  That is the picture here.  We are to live in thoughtful consideration of the “path” (734) we walk.

So?  This is not a screaming fear tactic.  This is a quiet reminder to quietly think about the quiet parts of our life that end up shouting if we get them wrong. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Simple Formula

(Proverbs 4:22 KJV)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

What is the “they” (1992) in this verse?  You need to look back to verse 20.
(Proverbs 4:20 KJV)  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
For us this would include the council of the entire Bible since it is the written word to us.  Solomon makes a big promise.  The promise is both literal and figurative.  It is temporal and eternal.  It is personal and plural.  By following the teachings of the Bible we change our lives and the lives of our family.

“Life” (2425b) can be physical.  It can be eternal.  Both work.  “Health” (4832) also runs the gamut.  This is the mystery of simple words on paper or out of the mouth when we listen and apply.  This is why it is so important to have a steady diet of such and ordinary experience.

So?  Such a dull lesson.  Listen.  Learn.  Apply.  Live.  Such an incredible effect.  Life and health.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


(Proverbs 3:12 KJV)  For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

One of the common forms of manipulation that seems to automatically flow from the depravity of man is the way in which a child knows instinctively to look at her father with a tear in her eye and say, “Don’t you love me?”  It happens when they are not getting what they want or are in danger of getting what they deserve.  Too often we cave in and are putty in their hands.  I learned that when my daughter gave me that look I would ask her, “What’s the matter, indigestion?”

Do you love your children?  I would say the answer is obvious but is it really?  Do you love your son enough to “reprove” (3198)?  Do you care enough for your daughter’s soul to demand obedience?  It is not comfortable.  It is not “feel good”.  It is necessary.

So?  Reject the version of self-esteem peddled by our culture.  The nature of human beings is self centered and you don’t want to feed that beast.  Give them the direction that can develop a God-centered self-esteem based on repentance, grace and holiness.  The ball is in your court.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


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

Is God the only source of “wisdom” (2451)?  I guess I would answer, “No and yes”.  I would admit that there are bits of wisdom floating around out there advocated by people who reject God.  Because of their denial of the God of the Bible they would reject Him as the source of what they say.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t come from Him.  I love to tell the kids at school that their parents pay my salary.  They are horrified.  It never occurred to them that tax money could be used that way.  It never occurs to them that their free lunches come from the same source.

Another reason would be that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Real wisdom must involve God some way because real wisdom is putting together the big picture.  It isn’t just noticing that giving rewards to criminals makes them worse.  It is understanding that the hearts of men are inclined toward evil because of sin.

So?  Just because you bought a jersey doesn’t mean you are on the team.  Just because you came to tryouts doesn’t mean you know the plays.  It takes listening, accepting and application to put God’s grace and wisdom to work in your life. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Archaic Skill

(Proverbs 1:33 KJV)  But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

I have heard people make a big deal over the difference between hearing and listening.  One has to do with the physical ability.  The other with mental alertness.  For the life of me I can’t remember which is which.  The KJV use of “hearkeneth” (8085) helps clarify the meaning here.

To hearken means to sit up and pay attention.  I think it is archaic but so am I.  I am archaic not only because I know a lot of old words but because I practice an old skill:  I listen.  Kids at school frequently ask me how I know so much.  They ask this after I have watched them tune me out for the past 40 minutes.  My simple answer:  I listen.  When I go to a faculty meeting I am bored to tears but when I ask people what they thought about something they give me the same blank look that the students use.  They were not listening.

So?  God is trying to get our attention.  Fortunately He restrains Himself or He would blow out our tubes.  What He has to say is important.  Harken.  Pay attention.  The life you save may be your own.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Good and Goods

(Proverbs 31:18 KJV)  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

There are two possible reminders here depending on which translation you use.  If you take the KJV you have “merchandise” (gain NASB) (5504) that is “good” (2896a).  This would say that this woman who is engaged in business in a multitude of ways produces a good product.  She does not cut corners or sell defective goods.  If you look over the passage you see that she is involved in real estate and manufacturing.  These are not things to be avoided because you are a Christian.

If you prefer the NASB then it seems to be talking more about profit.  Profit is not a sin.  In fact it is necessary if you are going to support yourself instead of living off of others.  Picture a farmer that does not grow enough wheat to have seed for next year or surplus to sell so he can buy what he cannot grow.  How about a factory owner that does not have enough left over to pay his taxes and utilities.  The key of course is to deal fairly with your customers and employees. 

So?  Go out and do well, not just do good.  Make a living.  Profit.  Produce.  Add to the world around you.  And of course share.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Recipe for Success

(Proverbs 30:33 KJV)  Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

If I were writing this, or possibly translating, I would add one word, “can”.  The activities mentioned here “can” produce the results described but they do not need to.  For instance, in the “churning” (4330) of milk there are certain things that can stop the development of “butter” (2529).  If you use non-fat milk I don’t think you will get butter.  If the temperature is wrong I don’t think it will form.  If you don’t work at it long enough it won’t happen.

The Bible gives us principles, recipes and formulas.  When you follow them you get results.  When you don’t you are like the guy who wants good gas mileage but won’t get his car tuned.  Our culture tells us that wishing makes it happen.  In reality sweat stained grace makes it happen.

So?  Ignore the principles.  Imagine that the rules don’t apply to you.  You may get lucky for the day but you will find the wide road and gate don’t lead where you want to go. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Learning the Hard Way

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

What “wisdom” (2451) does the “rod” (7626) give?  I am not sure that you can pound some subtle point of theology into someone’s heart by beating them on the back.  Yet the Bible is a clear supporter of corporal punishment.  What does the belligerent and defiant criminal get from a beating?  Simple.  “Do this again and you will feel pain again.”  Even a cat can learn this lesson.

It teaches the law of cause and effect, a lesson that is sorely lacking in today’s world.  When we have universities concerned about “safe spaces” and “triggers” we have organizations trying to shelter weak people from learning the lessons of life and strong people from becoming more civilized.  I will concede that there are some people with deep emotional scars who need some understanding but getting upset when someone writes “Trump” in chalk on the sidewalk does not qualify.

So?  There are lessons in life that need to be learned.  If we can learn them by hearing about it, well and good.  If not then we need to learn the hard way. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Afflicting the Comfortable

(Proverbs 28:4 KJV)  They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

We are to “contend” (strive NASB) (1624) with evil leaders.  This is a call to arms.  This is the “Onward Christian Soldiers” of Proverbs.  This is a command that the modern church tends to be forgetting because in a world of “seeker friendly” and “trigger warnings” we have learned to avoid making people feel uncomfortable.  The phrase that comes to mind is “Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”  Evidently this was originally applied to the world of journalism and Christians adopted it.  Today neither one fulfills this role.  We would rather fluff the pillows of perdition that make them so comfortable.

Here we are reminded that we are in conflict with our society.  We are at cross grains.  We are an irritation.  We are to be merthiolate, not peroxide. 

So?  Be a healer.  That means killing germs.  To those in pain we can offer comfort and hope.  To those in the service of Satan we should offer nothing but opposition.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Jaded Age

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

This makes me think of the condition of our country.  In the 1890's we had the Gilded Age.  Today we live in the Jaded Age.  We have a couple of generations who have known nothing but “honey” (5317).  They are so “full” (sated NASB) (7649) that they get little joy out of the simple things of life.  They are seeking new thrills and excitement.  How else do you explain the fascination with mind numbing drugs and family destroying pornography? 

Maybe it is time for America to go through a purging.  I know that I learn better when the lesson hurts.  It gets my attention.  The reality of diabetes got me to lose weight.  A knot on my head taught me to duck.  A traffic ticket helps me slow down.  What does America need?  Obviously revival but the churches don’t seem to be on board for that, at least not yet.

So?  Pray that the lesson will come soon.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will get the church off the dime.  Pray that it would begin in you and that you would be willing to listen. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fools’ Bold

(Proverbs 26:3 KJV)  A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.

The openness and frankness of the Bible are refreshing, at least as long as we don’t feel it is directed toward us.  We have reference after reference to “fools” (3684) and it is done without apology.  It is clear that Solomon knows what a fool is.  Why don’t we?  Why do we try to talk nice when we should be speaking with clarity?

Part of it is a misunderstanding of love.  We have rejected God’s use of the word and substituted the emotional definition of the world.  We feel much better about ourselves when we can say “Don’t judge” and act like we are accurately quoting Jesus than when we should be focusing on “Lord, be merciful on me a sinner.”
(Luke 18:13 KJV)  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Yet it is the person who understands that he is a fool, or sinner, that is the target of God’s love.  Notice the result of this attitude,
(Luke 18:14 KJV)  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
In order to receive the love of God we need to admit that we need the grace of God.  Confession of our unworthiness is the catalyst for being made worthy.

So?  We are surrounded by fools but paraphrase Pogo and say, “We have met the fool and the fool is us”.  And of course when that really happens and we call out in repentance we are transformed by the blood of Christ from sinner to saint.  Happy transformation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blessed Moderation

(Proverbs 25:27 KJV)  It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

Moderation is such a pain.  It even applies to the good things of life.  Think of the promise of the “land of milk and honey”.  Here is the first time,
(Exodus 3:8 KJV)  And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
Then the phrase comes up 75 more times.  Obviously this is a good thing.  Obviously this is a promise of God.  Just as obvious it can be overdone.

What kind of divine promises do we have a danger of getting fixated on?  Heaven?  Peace?  What is your favorite promise?  The land would be flowing with milk and honey but keep in mind that it was probably goat milk and people get stung by bees.

So?  Moderation and balance is Biblical, even in the blessings. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Lip Fruit

(Proverbs 24:2 KJV)  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.

You may not know what is in their “heart” (minds NASB) (3820) but you can hear their “lips” (8193).  Jesus put it another way,
(Matthew 7:20 KJV)  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Fruit is not immediate.  Sometimes fruit never comes.  We had a fruitless mulberry tree in our yard.  In looking it up I found a long list of fruitless trees including plum, olive and fig.  A fruitless tree is only there to look cute.  It does not produce anything of value.  It is a promise without a fulfillment.

The quality of fruit is not in how it appears.  I have seen some apples that looked beautiful but when you bite into them they are pithy and tasteless.  It is only when the apple passes the lips that you know its worth.

So?  Listen to people.  What is the result of their talk.  Ask yourself if they are the kind of influence you need in your life.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Selfish Eye

(Proverbs 23:6 NAS77)  Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies;

(Proverbs 23:6 KJV)  Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

Notice what is not said about these people.  It is not labeling them “evil”, just “selfish” (7451a/5869) in the NASB.  That assumption would be wrong.  Here the KJV gives us a better translation because it gives us the literal “evil” (7451a) “eye” (5869).  I wonder if this is a nod to postmodern philosophy in which there is not such thing as evil, just misunderstood victims. 

There is a danger in trying to make things sound modern.  God has a reason for the words He chose to have the authors write down.  When He had Solomon pen “evil eye” He wanted people to hear “evil eye” not “selfish”.  The point is that being selfish is a sin.  It is the mark of a personality that is not in submission to the God of the universe. 

So?  Dig a little deeper when you read.  Look for opportunities to compare translations and if you are seeking truth ask yourself, “Why the difference?”  Sometimes the shoe will come down on one side, sometimes on the other but in both cases you will walk closer to the truth. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Debt Slaves

(Proverbs 22:7 KJV)  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

It has been a long time since I was living hand-to-mouth.  As I approach retirement I can’t guarantee that the time will never come again.  At the same time I discovered early in life that the problem with borrowing is that you need to pay it back.  Some people never learn that.  As a result their credit cards are to the max and if they own a home they have an equity line of credit that will keep them from paying it off in this life time. 

In spite of that I can only think of one time I had to make a panic loan and for that I turned to my parents.  The Bible is clear:  Stay out of debt.

The NASB makes this a stronger statement than the KJV.  The Hebrew and Greek words that are translated “servant” can  also be translated “slave”.  There was not much difference.  Both lived at the whim of their master.  Neither had much wiggle room in their lives.  Compare that to the modern American who works to pay the interest on their plastic.  Compare that to the American nation that is living on deficits.  It leads to slavery whether you want to call it that or not.

So?  Bite the bullet.  Tighten your belt.  Clip coupons.  Shop thrift stores.  Drive old cars.  Keep yourself free so that God can use you when the time it right. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Just Joy

(Proverbs 21:15 KJV)  It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

“Do justice” (execution” (6213a) of “justice” (4941) NASB) sounds so serious.  In one sense it is because justice is important to God.  But we need to dig down and acknowledge that God’s idea of justice is radically different than our modern culture.  God’s idea of justice is based on standards of right and wrong that have been built into creation.  Our legal system thinks that justice is getting a guy off because of a little mistake in the system.  Then we have the adjectives like “social” that make justice a total joke.

The “execution” part is a bit of translator overkill.  This Hebrew word is the simple word “do”.  It appears in one of the great passages of the Bible, also in relation to justice.
(Micah 6:8 KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do (6213a) justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
We are not forcing justice.  We are doing it in quiet obedience.  That obedience brings us joy.

So?  Call it what you want, being fair, balance, or even justice.  It is expected of us.  It is part of what God expects and demands.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


(Proverbs 20:3 KJV)  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

“Strife” (7379) and what the KJV calls “meddling” (1566) are connected.  The NASB has “quarrel” (1566).  The word means to “lay bare” or “expose”.  You can imagine how exposing what is hidden can lead to an argument and hot tempers. 

At the same time we are called to reprove, rebuke and correct.  When you consider that the continued mention of discipline and instruction are tied to the rod in Proverbs it is hard to avoid that responsibility for parents and friends.  There is a sense in which we are commanded to meddle. 

So how do we put it together?

We keep looking and asking the Holy Spirit to bring to mind what we need.  At another place in Proverbs it warns us against trying to teach a fool. 
(Proverbs 23:9 KJV)  Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
There is a lesson here.  We are not to be trying to spiritually correct the world.  They generally reject the teaching of the Bible and the holiness of God.  We are to exhort our fellow believers.  One indication of their maturity is whether they listen or not.  One mark of our spiritual maturity is not being so ready to act like we are the wise one.

So?  This is repeated so many ways.  Keep your nose at home and your lips on slow.  There will usually be plenty of time and opportunity to help others along the road.  Make sure they are willing to listen and double check your own attitude. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A First Chance

(Proverbs 19:18 KJV)  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

How important is it to “chasten” (discipline NASB) (3256)?  Look at the first and last words in the verse.  Keep in mind that this is the only place the KJV translates the word as “crying” as opposed to 785 times as some version of death or killing.  You have a choice.  You can give strong, focused training in tune with God’s word or you can deliver up your children to death.

In a way this applies to those who are not your children.  You don’t have the rights of a parent but you do have a responsibility to love.  Sometimes love is tough.

So?  Love.  Discipline.  Or allow a very unhappy ending.  Maybe someone else will step in and supply what is needed.  Maybe they will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Give them the extra chance by doing your part.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Sin of Acceptance

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

The behavior that is being condemned here is not passive.  It is not accidental.  It could be translated as “lift up the face” of the “wicked” (7563).  To me that means to advocate for them.  This would have an obvious application for lawyers.  A Christian lawyer should not hide behind the smoke screen of “everyone deserves justice”.  That is only true if you understand that justice means that the guilty is to be judged guilty.  A Christian working in education cannot advocate the party line of secular humanism that denies the carnal nature of mankind and undermines the family.  At times I wonder if remaining in public education has been a compromise that shows lifting up the wicked.

So?  The decisions are not easy.  Sometimes they are not clear.  We cannot be supportive of evil people.  What does that mean when you only have the choice of a lesser evil?  I guess you choose the lesser and make it clear that you are not on board with their agenda.  Remember that Jesus paid the Roman tax. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Doors to the Soul

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

One of the routes I drive to work takes me through a community that has been targeted by the Chinese who are flocking to Southern California.  They are buying the already large homes in the area, tearing them down and building what we call “Chinese Mansions”.  They are beautiful houses but have certain things in common.  They are all at least two stories and seem to have expansive entryways that extend from foundation to roof.  I have never been inside one but that is what it looks like from the outside.  They have “raised” (1361b) their “doors” (6607), so to speak.

The architecture cries out to the world, “I am wealthy and I want you to know it.”  It is an invitation to the criminal element.  I trust they have good security systems. 

We can do this kind of thing in our lives.  It can be literal.  We can be expressing through our dress, cars or other purchases that we are doing quite well, thank you.  It can be figurative.  We can have attitudes or ways of talking that try to tell people we are really something.  Either way it is the kind of demonstration that will lead to problems. 

So?  There is nothing wrong with wealth if it is honestly gained and managed with stewardship.  Some are smarter than others.  Some are more talented.  Use those things for the glory of God, not for your personal reputation.  I can’t tell you what kind of car to drive.  That would be arrogance on my part.  I can accept that you might need a Tesla.  The question is, “Will God accept that as a need or a raised door?”  Of course the same could be said of attempts to show a false humility also.