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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Wool Gathering

(Proverbs 31:13 KJV)  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

Keep in mind as you read through chapter 31 that this is not really a text for Mother’s Day, it is talking about being a wife, not a mother.  In this verse it begins a long list of activities that a good wife is involved with.  Some translate easily into modern times.  This one needs a little more unpacking.

In Solomon’s day women made the clothes for the family.  That did not start by buying cloth.  It started with buying the raw material to make the cloth.  Wool was the most common material.  Flax was a little nicer.  Then you had cotton and silk.  Wool comes in many qualities and this woman did not just grab and go, she “seeketh” (looks NASB) (1875).  The KJV is better here because it carries the implication of serious examination. 

We should model that in our lives.  For us it isn’t so important the type of wool we put in our sox but it is important the kind of mush we put in our heads.  We need to seek the best in eternal issues.

So?  How would you like to discuss the latest movie you saw with Jesus?  Would He laugh at the joke you just told?  Would He offer to pick up the tab at your last restaurant?  Are you using cheap wool or fine linen to build your life? 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Even a Coney Needs Love

(Proverbs 30:26 KJV)  The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;

The oldest NASB calls these animals simply “badgers” (8227a).  The 1977 NASB calls them “rock badgers” and the updated uses “shaphan”.  The KJV says “coney”.  No one seems to know what it is.  In the kosher regulations it is defined as chewing its cud but not having a cloven hoof, thus it is unclean.  I would think something like a rabbit. 

The context has it as something that is weak and insignificant.  At the same time it is singled out as an illustration of hard work and perseverance.  It has a place in God’s economy. 

So?  Have you ever felt like a coney?  It may only come on special occasions.  It may be a constant companion.  It may even be true.  Keep in mind that a coney has at least one redeeming quality.  Yours may not be building homes in the rocks but it exists. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Being a Contender

(Proverbs 29:9 KJV)  If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

Admit it.  When you read this verse you assume that you are the “wise” (2450) “man” (376).  No one ever assumes they are the fool.  In reality it is not that simple.  Wisdom is something discussed at great length in Proverbs.  Most of us have heard the standards over and over again and yet we have not made them a part of our thinking. 

The conflict being spoken of here is the clash caused by one person advocating the standards and behavior of God and the other doing what comes naturally.  Jesus talks about being persecuted.  He talks about being rejected.  He also makes it clear why we will be rejected.
(Matthew 5:10-11 KJV)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
If you are standing tall for Jesus you can expect someone to make life difficult.  That is because of your wisdom in action.  If you are just being obnoxious, don’t blame it on Jesus.

So?  We are repeatedly told to be kind and courteous.  We are also expected to be righteous.  Everyone loves the person who wants to save the whales.  Only Jesus loves the person who wants to save humanity.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sugar Pill Prescriptions

(Proverbs 28:13 KJV)  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

I already mentioned how the KJV was better with “covers” (3680) rather than “conceals”.  I think it also does a better job by using “sins” (6588) rather than “transgressions”.  Transgression could be understood as a matter of going a little too far.  It could be looked at as a simple mistake.  Sin gives you the proper perspective. 

God does not play games.  He does not expect us to make excuses.  He expects confession and repentance.  That means being honest with Him about what we have done and being willing to make the changes needed.

So?  There are no sugar pills in the heavenly pharmacy.  There is no placebo effect.  Sin is sin and must be dealt with by the blood of the Lamb. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Polluted Praise

(Proverbs 27:21 KJV)  As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

“Praise” (4110) can be thought of as a refining process.  That is the immediate picture here.  It might also be thought of as an assaying tool.  When you assay something you find out the quality of the material.  You determine if that necklace you found in the old trunk is really gold or just shiny metal.  You test to see if that shiny stuff in the sand is fool’s gold or the real thing.

Praise lets people know what we are really made of.  It can go to our heads, showing that they were empty and needed something to fill them or it can stimulate our sense of humor because we know better than anyone that hot air is just hot air.

So?  Don’t take the good things people say too seriously.  I guess we should also be careful about swallowing their criticism too.  The Holy Spirit can help us to discern.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Homonyms and Synonyms

(Proverbs 26:24 KJV)  He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

Translation is always a mystery to me.  You have the NASB and the KJV using different words.  The English words are close in meaning with the KJV being better because it brings out the concept of hypocrisy.  At the same time my software tells me that they use different words at this point in the Hebrew.  You and I would not see any difference.  They appear to be homonyms.  If I remember my high school English that means they sound the same but have different meanings.

The general point is to avoid hypocrisy.  Honesty and openness are to be a part of the personality and practice of the believer.  I imagine there is a little wiggle room, such as having your wife ask if the dress makes her look fat or expressing your joy about a birthday present, but we should keep the wiggles to a minimum and always to protect the other person.

So?  Don’t beat around the bush when the bush needs to be pulled out.  This is another approach to the place of truth and lies in God’s economy. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sprained Ankles

(Proverbs 25:19 KJV)  Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

I have had my share of sprained ankles.  Usually they happen because of my lack of coordination.  While playing basketball I would jump and when I came down my foot would turn under.  I cringe just to think about it.  Even after I “healed” there would be a period of time where the ankle was not 100%.  It think that is the situation that Solomon is talking about here.

Why is it important to keep spiritually healthy?  The disciplines of prayer, worship, study, service and such are not so much to get us into heaven as to strengthen us for the challenges of life.  I can tell that I have not been walking enough when I get short of breathe going up the stairs at work. 

So?  Daily spiritual exercise makes a difference just like physical exercise.  How is your day going?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Special Place in Hell

(Proverbs 24:28 KJV)  Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.

To “deceive” (6601b) is to lie.  We may think we are being clever with out little games, but in God’s eyes it is still deceit.

Here again we see God condemning false witness.  God has a special hell for liars.  A liar is flaunting behavior that defies everything that a Holy God stands for.  Lying makes a mockery of Jesus claim to be the Way, the Truth and the Life.  God’s people are to be above reproach.

We don’t like that.  We want to be able to slip out of situations.  We have all kinds of excuses for the ways in which we avoid the truth.  Often the truth hurts.  Deal with it.

So?  God’s people are not liars.  Do you know anyone who is a liar?  They are not one of God’s people.  Harsh but true. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016


(Proverbs 23:1 KJV)  When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:

Did you ever stop to think about why your were invited?  Or maybe you should consider why you were not invited?  Years ago some friends were invited to a special dinner at our church.  The main course was to be Chateaubriand.  It was a very high brow affair.  It was the kick off to a fund raising campaign.  They were invited because they dressed very well and drove new cars.  We were ignored because we drove old cars and obviously were not wealthy.  In reality our net worth was much higher because we drove old cars and such.

I was glad to not be invited.  It doesn’t hurt to be alert to why people are suddenly so nice.  How long does it take you to realize the phone call is a telemarketer and not someone who really cares about your opinion on the cost of electricity?  How long does it take before you realize the person you are talking to does not really believe in the deity of Christ? 

So?  We are to be courteous to all.  We are to be careful whom we trust.  Proverbs has a lot to say about fools and wisdom.  Work at being on the right side of the issue. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Block Those Pop-Ups

(Proverbs 22:5 KJV)  Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

How do you “keep” (guard NASB) (8104) yourself against pop-ups?  I notice that on my school computer they are coming up all the time at certain sites.  It doesn’t happen at home.  Why?  A couple of reasons.  First, my home computer was set up by someone I trust to keep out such things.  Many people see the problem in their lives.  They may try everything else but eventually turn to Jesus.  He forgives.  He cleanses.  He offers the fullness of the Spirit.  But often people don’t want to give up all the things that are destroying them.  They balk.  They backpedal.  They reject the presence of the Living God.  How does Satan respond?
(Luke 11:26 KJV)  Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
When we make it a point to live in righteousness and invite the Holy Spirit to fill us, our steps are guided in such a way that we stay away from many potential spiritual infections.  Sometimes God allows us to be tested and strengthened but He keeps us away from what we cannot handle.

So?  What is the desire of your heart?  Do you want to be what the KJV called “froward” or do you want to stay far away from anything that will drag you down.  It makes a difference. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Promise of Punishment

(Proverbs 21:7 KJV)  The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

I Like the KJV on this verse. 

The difference focuses on two words.  “Violence” (7701) NASB is not as good as “robbery” (KJV).  It is much more generic in our modern lexicon.  Then you have “drag away” (1641) (NASB) instead of “destroy” (KJV).  To get the full sense in the NASB you would need to clarify that you are being dragged away by the constable to the chopping block.  This is a promise of punishment.

Keep in mind that the Bible takes the long view.  We may not see the destruction.  People are good at hiding their pain.  It might be eating them up inside but they will put on a happy face and give you a thumbs up.  Most of us have done the same but this is a little more than tripping on a crack and acting like it didn’t happen.

So?  Be glad that we are saved by grace instead of getting what we deserve.  Pray for those who deserve even less than you do. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Deliberate Blindness

(Proverbs 20:12 KJV)  The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

There is no context to get to the meaning of this verse.  Well, there is context, but it doesn’t seem to relate.  That gives a lot of room for trying to figure the meaning.  It also means that we need to be careful about dogmatic statements.  So I see a word picture of God’s grace.

God gives eyes and ears to everyone.  The question is what do we do with them.  It is possible to ignore what we see and hear.  It happens every day.  People lie to us.  People demonstrate reprobate behavior.  Too often we keep ignoring what is clear because it is easier for us that way.  I think God extends His grace to everyone but because I believe in free will I don’t believe everyone is willing to respond.

Are there those that God does not reach out to?  In one sense, no.  God wants everyone saved.  In another sense, yes.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  It is possible that there are a few people that He doesn’t bother with.

So?  The Holy Spirit is active in believers and rejecters.  As they say, the ball is in our court. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lies Kill

(Proverbs 19:9 KJV)  A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.

A liar “speaketh” (tells NASB) (6315) lies.  That would seem obvious but the word goes deeper than that.  My NASB has a marginal note that says the word means “breaths”.  That is much closer to the meaning.  We have all met people like this.  We joke about looking to see if the sun is up when someone tells us it is noon.  They breathe deception. 

It is generally a negative term.  Out of fifteen times the Hebrew word is used I found four times it could be considered posititive and three of those were in the Song of Solomon where it was romantic. 

This is a warning.  It is not just saying “Don’t lie”.  It is saying that destruction is waiting for you if you do.

So?  Liars are destructive to the people around them.  That is bad enough.  They also are destroying themselves. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Miracles Happen

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

As I write I am coming off a meeting that this verse speaks to.  I was facing an irate parent.  It could have gone very poorly because the parent and my principal were good friends and I knew there would be no effort to “have my back” as they say.  One of the things I had to keep reminding myself was to keep my mouth shut.  Yes, I needed to answer questions.  Yes, I needed to be honest and deal with the issues.  No, I did not need to get into a debate on abstract points of educational philosophy and social commentary that would only muddy the waters.

There is a time to speak out.  There is a time to let others talk.  As some famous person said, “Grant me the wisdom to know the difference.”

So?  I survived.  Looking back I don’t see that I gave up any ground that was unjustified.  I kept my mouth shut.  Miracles still happen.  May they touch your life. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Don’t Be an Abomination

(Proverbs 17:15 KJV)  He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

We had a recent example of this.  One the one hand we had some activists showing video of Planned Parenthood executives calmly discussing selling baby parts while they ate lunch.  At about the same time we had the case of a dentist who journeyed to Africa, bought all the required permits, hired guides and ended up shooting a tagged animal.  Guess which report was ignored and which was trumpeted.  Guess which was presented as the worst crime against humanity.

We live in a day and age where celebrities share they have AIDS and have passed it on to dozens of people and are still taken seriously.  In that same society they condemn as haters people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.  God has a word for this, “abomination” (8441).

So?  It is touching you.  It will change your children’s lives.  We need to stand up for truth and righteousness.  It needs to be done with courtesy.  It needs to be done with vigor.  Don’t fall into the trap of justifying evil just because it is the current trend.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

With or Without

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

The comparison here is not really between “little” (4592) and “great” (7230).  They are adjectives modifying the nouns.  The contrast is between “righteousness” (6666) and “right” (injustice NASB) (3808/4941).   As followers of Jesus we are to be seeking that which is moral and right.  We are to be rejecting that which is wrong.  It seems pretty easy.  It isn’t.

Life if full of compromises that are necessary.  You might drive an older car so you can help your kids through college.  You might eat a cheaper cut of meat or only eat out when you have a coupon so that you can tithe.  We do this kind of thing all the time.  The problem is that our culture is rejecting morality and pushing us to compromise on the core issues.  In those cases it is necessary that we do not compromise.

So?  You can’t know what is a core issue unless you are willing to be honest.  It starts with the word.  It is augmented by the people we listen to.  Make sure that they agree and that you make the hard decisions. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Tongue Tree

(Proverbs 15:4 KJV)  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Here again we see the “tree of life”.  In this case the promise of eternal life is tied to our speech patterns.  Are we peacemakers or agitators?  Do we throw oil on the waters of do the cannon ball dive?  We know it makes a difference to other people.  Evidently if makes a difference to us also.

It may be awhile before we see the difference.  It may be when our children grow up and begin to apply our methods and vocabulary.  It may be when the promotion doesn’t come.  It may be so far down the road that we don’t remember the cause of the problem.  The principle remains the same?

So?  Watch your mouth.  I know that I cringe at some of the things I have said.  That is a start.  The next step is repentance and that involves a willingness to change. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Proud Parent

(Proverbs 14:31 KJV)  He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

The right attitude and actions to those in need “honors” (3513) God.  This is an interesting word.  It has the sense of being heavy.  We show that we are taking God seriously by how we treat those below us on the pecking order.  It means to put more weight on something.  It has to do with making God a priority.

It is easy to look at people and powers that are above us and show a little respect.  Most of those people would not take it as an insult to them if you mistreat your waitress.  They might think you are lacking in manners but would not be personally affronted, unless it was your father.   If your father sees you acting like a self-centered fool, he would take it personally because he is the one who raised you.

God looks at it that way.  We are a reflection on Him and His kingdom.

So?  Be classy.  It doesn’t matter if it is the president of the United States or the bag lady on the corner.  How you treat them is a reflection on your Heavenly Father. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fool’s Gold

(Proverbs 13:16 KJV)  Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.

Am I losing my mind to the process of age?  Am I losing my hearing?  I jokingly tell people I will be the last to know.  The same is true of the “fool” (3684).  He thinks he is being clever.  He thinks he has pulled the wool over people’s eyes.  In reality he is living in La La Land.  You don’t see them much any more, at least I don’t, but remember the old guys that used to walk around with their shirts open to their naval, a large medallion on a gold chain and a comb over?  They thought they were cool.  Everyone else was laughing.

People try the same thing spiritually.  Sometimes they are really good at it but people who want to know will know they are fools.  Of course other fools don’t want to know because that would make them take off their medallions and button their shirts.  It would force them to face reality.

So?  Where do you fit in?  Are you on Happy Highway in Oz or the Highway of Holiness?  Is your life based on knowledge or folly?  Don’t be the last to know. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Theological Myopia

(Proverbs 12:14 KJV)  A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.

Many Christians have a blind spot rooted in the orthodox doctrine that we are saved by grace.  They will quote a proof text.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
So far all believers are on the same page.

Then they take a leap of theology and conclude that since God is sovereign there is nothing we can ever do that will effect our salvation.  They ignore verses, like this one, that point toward the importance of living in obedience.  Our “recompence” (deeds NASB) (1576) shall be “rendered” (return NASB) (7725) to us.

Jesus Himself puts this out before us.
(Matthew 16:27 KJV)  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
So?  We are saved by grace.  We could never pay the price of our sin.  Only the Perfect Lamb of God could do that.  At the same time, call it a paradox is you want, obedience is required.  Don’t ignore either side of the paradox. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

This Tree Does Not Grow in Brooklyn

(Proverbs 11:30 KJV)  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

The  “tree (6086) of life (2425b)” is an interesting phrase.  In the Hebrew there is disagreement on the correct word for “life” but the thrust is the same.  In the English it occurs in three books of the Bible.  It is at the beginning of Genesis, the first book, Revelation, the last book, and Proverbs in between.

In Genesis it is the tree in the Garden of Eden that is being denied to the rebellious Adam and Eve.  That same tree is growing in John’s vision and is related to eternal life.  In between we have references to how our actions and attitudes put us in contact with that tree.

So?  We accept the fact that salvation is through faith and grace.  That is God’s gift because we cannot possibly earn our salvation.  That being said we see an litany of examples that demand a life of righteousness.  Don’t ignore either clear teaching. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Avoid Ad Hominem

(Proverbs 10:6 KJV)  Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

When you don’t have an answer, attack.  That seems to be the way our culture is moving.  Maybe it has been that way a long time.  We have a phrase, ad hominem, which is a Latin term that says you are attacking the person instead of the problem.  It involves character assassination and insulting remarks which may be true but have nothing to do with the topic under discussion.  It is conversational bait and switch.

This should be a tactic only used by the “wicked” (7563).  It is interesting that in the defining of the word it comes up with the idea of being guilty.  Beware of this if someone goes for your jugular.  Armor up with grace and the fruit of the Spirit.

So what about a self check?  We are supposed to be the “righteous” (6662).  We are supposed to be different.  With a little thought and prayer we can avoid this danger and avoid becoming wicked.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cause and Effect

(Proverbs 9:6 KJV)  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Why do people get in destructive ruts?  We do things that make life worse and we continue to do them.  From my perspective that would include people that voted twice for Bill Clinton and Barak Obama.  From yours it might be people who voted twice for George Bush.  People don’t seem to learn.

I have tried manudo three times.  Have I learned my lesson?  I hope so, but hope springs eternal.  People who have diabetes keep eating and living like couch potatoes.  Then they wonder why they are going blind and having a foot amputated.  Parents let their kids watch any TV, play any game, download any app, and listen to any music.  Then they wonder why they are lazy and disrespectful. 

So?  Do a little thinking.  When you find behavior that is destructive now or damning later, “forsake” (5800a) it.  Change.  Walk away.  This verse says such decisions lead to life.  The remote control is in your court.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Levels of Wisdom

(Proverbs 8:14 KJV)  Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

It would seem that there are different levels of wisdom.  The Hebrew word used here is different from the one used in verse 12.  Actually it is “sound wisdom” (8454).  It seems to imply results and not just theory.  This is the wisdom that is the product of wisdom.

We start by taking in some of the obvious teachings of the word.  Take for example the basic teachings about retaliation.
(Romans 12:19 KJV)  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Those are simple and direct wisdom.  When you put them together with prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit you come up with the “sound wisdom” (8454) that is flexible enough to deal with a host of different situations.

So?  Begin to invest in your future by laying a foundation of wisdom.  It will pay major dividends in time. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bed Bugs

(Proverbs 7:17 KJV)  I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

The question for the day is, “How do you get rid of bed bugs?”  I know that last year when we were traveling there were a lot of news reports about an epidemic of bed bugs.  My wife went into frenzy mode and it became an issue every time we stopped.  Somehow we avoided them.

Another question is how often do we find ways to substitute convenience for quality?  The adulteress “perfumed" (sprinkled NASB) (5130) her bed with three different substances that would impress people but did nothing to actually clean it.  This sprinkling is part of the ritual of sacrifice in the temple.  It usually means “waved”.  If you have a defiled bed it is much easier to spray it with room deodorizer than do a deep cleaning.  If you have bed bugs it is easy to spray a little bug spray than to really do a deep cleaning.

Often in our daily lives it is easier to substitute a ritual for real repentance.  Keep in mind that Jesus did not just ask us to sprinkle ourselves with a little righteousness.  The words are “filled” and “cleansed”. 

So?  Don’t take short cuts in your spiritual growth and preparation for growth.  Go for the deep cleaning and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Don’t Be Cute

(Proverbs 6:17 KJV)  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

Notice that “lying” (8267) is a recurring theme in these verses.  We often act like it is a small thing, natural to the human condition.  God rages at that “small thing”.  The lie perverts all it touches and it can touch anything.  As I look at the word and how it was used I noticed something I found insightful.  Although the Hebrew word is given as a noun, it is usually used as an adjective or adverb.  If you remember your grammar, those are parts of speech which modify nouns and verbs.  In other words they change the character of facts and actions.

This verse in an example.  The problem is not the “tongue” (3956) but the tongue that is “lying” (8267).  A neutral organ becomes an agent of evil.  The same can happen in any part of life.  We can lie by being silent.  We can lie by looking the other way.  We can lie by acting like we don’t understand.  We can lie by deliberately choosing words that may be technically accurate but still do not convey truth. 

God does not think it is cute, clever or creative.  Look back a verse.  It generates His hatred.

So?  Truth matters.  It matters to God.  It matters to our culture.  It had better matter to us. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Don’t Be a Solomon

(Proverbs 5:19 KJV)  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

What kind of compliments do you give your wife?  To be honest, she might not be excited about being called a “loving” (158) “hind” (355).  Here is where the choices of translators again become a mystery to me.  Both the NASB and KJV use “hind” and for the second term one uses “doe” and the other “roe”.  If you look up the words, the first one means a doe or deer in modern English and the second is a female mountain goat.  I have a hard time understanding how a woman, even in ancient times, would have enjoyed being compared to a mountain goat.

We have all heard of male humor.  It might be there is also something called “male praise” that is not healthy for a marriage.  Your wife might not enjoy being compared to your favorite running back or a saucy type of supercharger.  You might mean well but it won’t help.

For wives I am sure the principle applies the other way. 

So?  Work on complimenting but try to make it something that will be appreciated.  Don’t be a Solomon in this case. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Starting Gates

(Proverbs 4:15 KJV)  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

What are we supposed to “avoid” (6544a)?  The general sense is evil but the specific advice here has to do with the starting gate not the journey itself.  This is not advice on how to walk daily.  This is saying be careful what direction you start in.

It is very hard reaching New York from California by walking west.  I guess if you were a zombie that could walk on the bottom of the ocean you might have a chance but few of us qualify for that.  You can determine if a path is evil or righteous in several ways.  The inner direction has to do with your motivation and attitude.  Why do you want to go in that direction?  Another is to look at the lives of people who chose that path.  You also need to consult the clear teaching of the word.

So?  Where do you want to be at the end of the day?  How about tomorrow?  Don’t forget to ask yourself where you want to be for eternity.  Choices matter. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

No Harm, No Foul

(Proverbs 3:30 KJV)  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

How are we to understand when “harm” (7463a) has been done to us?  Face it.  At times we are overly sensitive.  We are self centered.  We see things through our experience and struggle.  A business agreement that does not make a profit could be considered harm.  A remodel of your kitchen could go over budget.  That certainly can harm your financial situation.  That is not what this is talking about.

The most common translation of this word by far in both the NASB and KJV is “evil”.  This puts our response on a whole different level.  We are not allowed to “strive” (contend NASB) (7378) just because someone else beats us in some competition, business, sports or life.  Evil is another matter.  Evil has an objective element to it.  Evil is measurable in the truths God has given us in His written word.  Evil is real.  Fight it but know what you are fighting.

So?  You can be politically active.  You can get out and make noise.  Just make sure that you are not feeding your ego.  A good measuring stick is if the issue is for others and has no personal benefit. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Point of No Return

(Proverbs 2:19 KJV)  None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

This would seem to imply that there are some people who do not have a chance of salvation.  We know what God wants.  He wants everyone to spend eternity in glory.
(2 Peter 3:9 KJV)  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Yet here it says that some will not have a “prayer”.  What gives?

I can only think that there comes a time in life when we have said “no” to God so many times and made so many selfish decisions that we are not willing or able to repent and change direction.  The immediate context is adultery but we know that sexual sin does not automatically put you beyond the reach of God’s grace.  Consider David and Bathsheba as an example.  The problem is in our hearts and does not develop over night.

So?  Walk in obedience.  No one moment of weakness or sin will condemn you.  Repeated rejection of forgiveness can.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Dim the Distractions

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

What was the last message God sent you?  This verse is referring to people who are refusing to listen but if God keeps speaking to the rebels I think it is safe to assume He is speaking to the faithful.  God isn’t like modern communications.  I can remember the days when calls would not go through because all the lines were busy.  I have recently heard concerns about whether we would run out of internet addresses.  No matter how fast fiber optics are, there are limits. 

Not so with God.  He can communicate with every human being at the same time and give each one individual attention.  I can’t begin to wrap my mind around that.  I have a hard time watching a movie and listening to my wife at the same time.  The problem with communication in spiritual terms is in the receiver, not the sender.  Like the movie, we can’t understand what God is trying to say if we allow ourselves to be distracted by other demands.

So?  Listen.  God is speaking.  He has many ways but you need to put something into dimming the distractions.