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, July 31, 2016

Investment Advice

(Proverbs 31:16 KJV)  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Proverbs is not a textbook on finance but the Bible does give us some directions on how to deal with our economy.  This verse reminds us that real estate is an acceptable investment.  A “field” (7704) is a bit of real estate and for her it is an investment.  She is a city girl.  She does no live on a farm.  If she does it is right outside the city because her husband spends a lot of time sitting at the gates.

So she spent time looking for ways to provide for the family and its stability.  One of the investments she “considers” (2161) is a plot of land for growing crops.  Evidently it was not developed because she planted the grape vines.

This speaks of a long term outlook.  She is looking down the road and asking what she can do to improve the family’s future.  Part of that is a trust in God for the big picture.  Part is accepting the responsibility that God gives each of us.

So?  Take the long view.  Work hard and invest in things that will give you a return for the future.  It might not be real estate but it needs to be something. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stew Pots

(Proverbs 30:31 KJV)  A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

The comparison here is embarrassing, at least for kings.  Three male egos are mentioned.  It is implied that they have something in common.  It is intended to be a good thing but it is hard to see if you read with your mind in gear.  Think of the first two.

No one would ever think of a cock as a worthy calling.  They are loud.  They are aggressive.  They strut and carry on like they had some long term plans that did not involve a dinner dish.  In the end they are only tough when it comes to being stewed instead of fried.

You may wonder where I am getting the cock.  If you look at different translations you will find different animals listed at this point.  That is because the Hebrew uses an archaic word and no one is sure what it refers to.  Sadly that is also the fate of the cock.

So?  Don’t be impressed that you are able to make a lot of noise today.  Humility may not be as much fun as being cocky but it might keep you out of the stew pot. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Parents Are to Parent

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

Being a parent is a difficult task.  Even those who are giving it the attention demanded will often find that they don’t know which way to turn.  Often the stubborn nature of the free will makes it seem like the child will never learn or make the right choices. 

This is a word of caution to those who decide that they have other priorities.  Many people with children refuse to be parents.  Instead they adopt what is popular in our culture, the role of buddy and friend.  They don’t want to constrain the child or impose their own preferences.  So they let the child “get his own way” (7971) as the NASB puts it.  The KJV brings more insight when it says, “left to himself”. 

The Bible says that we as parents have a responsibility to embrace God’s standards for ourselves and also impose them on our children.  We do this because we believe the Bible is the Word of God and gives us the truth.  It makes a difference.

So?  Remember that truth is not negotiable or optional.  We are called to accept it, live it and teach it.  It isn’t easy but it is right.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What if Nothing Is Behind the Door?

(Proverbs 28:19 KJV)  He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

Remember the game show “Let’s Make a Deal”?  It may still be running.  It appealed to the pursuit of big prizes.  To get the big one you had to risk what you had.  You had to trade what you had for what was behind the door.  Often the trade was in “vain” (empty NASB)  (7386).   He would risk everything on the turning of the stage.  Of course since the seeker starts with nothing, nothing is really lost. 

What about the person who watches the program?  What chance do they have to walk away with what is behind the door?  After thirty minutes what have they gained except a little bit of entertainment and escape from the frustrations waiting when the TV is turned off?  Entertainment has a place.  Escape can give us a chance to regain some juice.  But in the words of the pop song, “Is that all there is?”

So?  Watch your program.  Then turn it off and get back into harness with things that will make a difference in life.  Don’t let diversion divert you from the path that keeps you away from “poverty” (7389).  Keep in mind that poverty can be spiritual as well as financial.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


(Proverbs 27:27 KJV)  And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

What if I don’t like goat’s milk?  I don’t think I have ever tried it and I still ask that question.  I have tried goat cheese and I think that is more what it is talking about.  To us today goat products are exotic and uncommon.  In the days of Solomon goats were more common with poor people than lambs and definitely more common than cows. 

This is a promise of enough but not a promise of luxury.  Today it might be in terms of oatmeal and peanut butter.  Go to your grocery store and see what would be the cheapest foods to give you a balanced diet.  That is what is promised here.  Much of the world would rejoice to know that promise.  I observe I might not like it.

So?  I need to grow up and get my priorities in line.  It is okay to not be excited about goat’s milk but if that is what is available I need to learn to be grateful.  This might mean a lack of air conditioning or a car with worn out seat covers.  Be grateful.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

For the Birds

(Proverbs 26:2 KJV)  As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

Little birds don’t get a lot of respect in the Bible.  Eagles are noble, sparrows are not.  Even Jesus got into the act.
(Matthew 10:29 KJV)  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
On occasion I have seen small birds lying dead.  I might wonder what happened to them but it doesn’t stir me.  If I saw an eagle or a hawk I would get a little more interested.

Often it is the little things of life that bring us down.  I joke about a bad hair day.  Bad hair is really not that important but it is amazing how it can ruin someone’s outlook.  Have you ever spilled coffee on your shirt on the way to work?  Embarrassing but not earth shaking.  Here it is talking about people bad-mouthing you.  We don’t take curses as seriously as they did in those days but the point is the same.

So?  Much of what we worry about it superfluous.  God has it well in hand.  Remember that on judgment day it is not your car pool buddies that you want to hear say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 

Monday, July 25, 2016


(Proverbs 25:25 KJV)  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Have you ever tried to share your faith with a non-believer?  Have you ever tried to reprove a believer?  How did it go for you?  My guess is that most of the time you either generated apathy or anger.  They might have a need but their defenses were still in place.  Their “soul” (5315) [nephesh] was not “thirsty" (weary NASB) (5889) enough. 

Think of how you respond when someone is trying to tell you how to do your job, or other areas of life.  I don’t listen much when most people try to tell me how to teach.  Experience has told me that what works for them may not work for me.  It has also shown me that it didn’t work for them either.  When my son introduces me to new technology, I am all ears.  On new technology I am aware that my soul is weary.  I know I need something.

The times that I have been “successful” in sharing the gospel have always surprised me.  The people who have responded were ready.  They were hungry and knew it.  They were hungry enough to admit it.

So?  Continue to look for opportunities to share the good news but don’t take the response personally.  It may be that they are so good at keeping the Holy Spirit at arms length that they won’t listen to anyone.  On the other hand, it may be time. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Poverty Rated

(Proverbs 24:34 KJV)  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

“Poverty” (7369) is a bad thing.  You would think that is obvious but consider such movements like the Franciscans who take an oath of poverty.  There is a way of thinking that glorifies poverty as a cleansing of material things.  Material possessions are considered bad and the only way to be spiritual is to get rid of them. 

That is not a Biblical standard for life.  In the Bible material things are good to have.  The problem is when we make them our gods and seek them instead of the Living One.  It is not God’s will that everyone live in poverty.  There may be unique cases when it is necessary but it is not the general pattern of righteousness.

So?  Don’t feel superior if you are poor.  At the same time don’t feel like you have less value in the eyes of God.  While it is good to have your bills up to date and food in the pantry, God looks at the heart, not the bank balance. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Person of the Heart

(Proverbs 23:7 KJV)  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

We all have a secret person, the person of the “heart” (3820 second usage in KJV).  In some people it is clear who that is.  We have a saying about people who wear their heart on their sleeve.  Others make it very hard to know what is really going on inside.  This warns us to be careful in our assumptions. When it comes to people what you see is not what you get.

Part of that is because people are complex.  We have many little pockets in our personality and we don’t share them all.  We are also constantly changing.  It is possible that what was true about you last year isn’t true this year.  The changes might even be daily. 

This is referring more to the person who deliberately deceives.  The KJV talks about the “heart” (5315, first usage).  The NASB says “within himself”.  The world is usually translated “soul”.  Beware of people who are deceptive of their real motivations.

I think there is also a direction to us to make sure that our souls are in the right condition so that our actions are loving.

So?  You can’t read the other guys heart but you can do something about your own.  Pray for honesty with yourself and strength to act on it.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Better Than a Box of Twinkies

(Proverbs 1:31 KJV)  Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Here the NASB has it better than the KJV, using “satiated” (7646) {end} instead of “filled”.  The word has the concept of excess.  I was wishing we could be “satiated” (7646) on God’s counsel but when I thought about it I changed my mind.  Satiation means that you have lost not only the hunger but the enjoyment.  I don’t want to come to that point with the things of God.  The good news is that they can’t. 

I am in glory over the reality that God’s grace and potential are never ending.  I think of the song “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” which reminds us that God’s love and grace are “new every morning.”  The words come from scripture.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 NAS77)  The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.
It is only our own “devices” (4156) that get boring.  We get bored with worship when it is self directed and not open to inviting the Lord to the festival.  We get bored with reading when it only serves as a crutch or distraction.  We get bored with each other when our focus is on ourselves.

So?  Move from your own autobiography to God’s documentary.  It will keep you from the boredom of having eaten an entire box of Twinkies. 


(Proverbs 22:11 KJV)  He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Let’s not worry about the kings today, focus on us.   Do you “love” (157) “pureness” (purity NASB) (2889) of “heart” (3820)?  That may seem like a foolish question.  “Of course,” you answer.  I ask, “Really?  Then why did you laugh at that off color joke?”  I don’t mean the joke that was really funny but the one whose only humor was to be insulting or titillating.  Why do we take a second look at someone who appeals to our prurient interests?  Why do we dress to draw attention of the opposite sex?

If we claim to believe in a moral life, why do we not radiate morality?  How often during the day would we do things different if we would just remember that God is watching?  I think it would be more frequent than we would like.

So?  Just a reminder that we are called to be salt not tofu.  Salt flavors what is around it.  Tofu takes on the flavor of what is around it.  Which way will the day go?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Principle and a Warning

(Proverbs 21:13 KJV)  Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

This verse presents a Biblical principle in yet another way.  Here the literal issue is our treatment of those in need.  This is not talking about the person who does not have a college education or internet access.  That is not poverty.  Biblical poverty is not having eaten and having no money in a time of high unemployment.  I guess it could be extended to figurative cases such as those with mental or emotional poverty but the literal poor give us enough to work on. 

Jesus addressed the principle in a more figurative way.
(Matthew 6:15 KJV)  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
It is a variation of the golden rule. 
(Luke 6:31 KJV)  And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
It is a principle for our lives today.  It is also a warning for our destiny in eternity.

So?  Remember that love is patient and kind.  I imagine that we can all find ways to apply that today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lone Wolf Listening

Proverbs 20:18  Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

This is one that hits me where it hurts.  I am an introvert.  I am a loner.  I can get along with people.  I can function in a group.  I can have fun when surrounded by others.  But I am at heart a lone wolf.  I would rather think things through on my own than consult with anyone. 

The word is used ten times in Proverbs.  As I started reading through the verses I thought I saw a pattern that the counsel was from God.  That would give me an excuse not to listen to others but it was only clearly God’s counsel four times.  It seems that other believers might have something to say.

So?  It seems like I will need to learn to listen.  Sometimes that will be face to face.  Sometimes it will be listening to the preacher.  Sometimes I will listen when I read the Bible or the writing of other saints.  I will always be an introvert but I must also be a listener. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Deep Sleep

Proverbs 19:15  Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

I have been accused of being lazy.  When I am in certain moods I will agree.  Other times I don’t.  Most of the times I am accused of sloth it is because I am not joyful over some task my wife has given me.  The accusation is just a way of manipulation.  I am not accused of being lazy when I get up at 5:00 A.M. daily to go to work.  It is usually when I am in no hurry to empty the trash. 

There is a difference between refusing to do a job and not wanting to do a job.  Neither one is necessarily “slothfulness” (laziness NASB) (6103) because there could be rational reasons for both positions.  Refusing to wash the car when it is starting to rain is not sloth.  Not wanting to wash the cat is not laziness. 

So how do I know the difference.  One indication is having an attitude toward life that dulls your senses.  Consider watching TV.  At the end of a hard day it may be a healthy relaxation to sit down and watch a program.  No, you are not changing the world, but you might be recharging your batteries.  At the same time the internet tells me that the average time for adults to watch TV is around five hours a day.  Is it any wonder that people are bored with life?  Could it have anything to do with a population that is increasingly ignorant. 

So?  I don’t watch TV.  That is why I picked it.  The same could be said for surfing the web or reading vapid novels.  We need to avoid activities that dull our sensitivity to what is really important.  Check out your own day.

Monday, July 18, 2016


(Proverbs 18:3 KJV)  When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.

One of the standards that Jesus taught is turning the other cheek.  We are not to retaliate to offense.  Proverbs tells us,
(Proverbs 15:1 KJV)  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
That is what is expected of us.  One big mistake we make is thinking this will earn us some kind of approval or brownie points from the world around us.

Don’t count on it.

People who are “wicked” (7563) look on your efforts to follow Jesus with “contempt” (937).  They may cover it up with smiles.  They may be courteous.  Deep down inside they despise you and what you stand for.  That doesn’t seem to fit everyone, does it?  I would guess that there are a group of people who don’t feel the contempt but they are the ones that are open to the voice of the Holy Spirit and are moving toward salvation. 

So?  We cannot know people’s hearts.  That fact that they look down on us does not change the fact that we are to demonstrate agape love toward them.  No one ever said there would be no bumps in our roads. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Heredity or Environment?

(Proverbs 17:21 KJV)  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.

Is someone born a “fool” (5036)?  If so, can the condition be changed?  Your response to this might be molded by your basic theological foundation.  It is possible that you believe your eternal destiny is determined by God when you are conceived.  At the other extreme is total free will.  As usual the Bible has whispers and shouts of both.

For one you are born with a personality.  You are born into a situation.  There is nothing you can do about it.  You cannot pick your parents, at least genetically.  In the nine month before my son was born my wife went through extreme stress.  For my daughters womb time things were much calmer.  How much did that contribute to their different personalities?  We will never know this side of eternity.  Some people are inclined toward foolishness.

On the other hand the Bible is full of indications that we can overcome adversity, anger and ancestors.  It is the hope of the transforming power of the Blood.  It is the promise of liberty in Christ.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit.  Once we were lost; now we are found.  Once we were sinners, now saints.  Once we were strangers, now children of God.

So?  Yes, you might be a natural born fool.  That does not mean you need to stay that way.  Keep in mind that your father is not the only one who suffers if you are a fool.  The Spirit waits to help.  Make both your earthly and heavenly fathers proud.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

When Do We Risk Wrath?

(Proverbs 16:14 KJV)  The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

You may be familiar with the phrase “speaking truth to power”.  I have always been a little vague on what it means but since it usually is referring to a left leaning demonstrator lifting a fist to a policeman I get the impression it means standing up to people in power over a matter of principle.  It is the little guy refusing to buckle to the pressure of the United States government.  It is the thing of which movies and books are made.  It seems to be a very American thing.

It may not be a Biblical thing.  This verse warns us about the “wrath” (2534) of people in power.  It is a warning about tweaking the nose of the lion.  It is not “wise” (2450). 

Or it might be a Biblical thing.  Remember Peter’s response to the Sanhedrin.
(Acts 4:18-19 KJV)  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
And think of Jesus refusing to cooperate with Pilate. 

So?  Which is it?  Are we to moderate our rhetoric or speak truth to power?  As with so much in our walk of faith it depends on the circumstances.  If the issue is just political power then it is time to be moderate.  If it is a matter of clear spiritual principle, it is time to stand up and be counted.  We live in troubling times.  I pray that we will know the difference. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Threats That Need Not Apply

(Proverbs 15:10 KJV)  Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

Is this “grievous” (stern NASB) (7451a) “correction” (discipline NASB) (4148) referring to this life or eternity?  If it is in this life, does it come when you are still a believer or after you have left the fold?  This is an interesting phrase because in the Updated NASB it is translated differently than the 1977 edition.  The KJV says “correction is grievous”, the NAS77 says “stern discipline” and the Updated NASB has “grievous punishment”. 

The noun is an interesting word.  The most frequent translation in both versions is “instruction”.  Evidently students were no more thrilled with the prospects of learning in ancient Israel than they are today.  The adjective is a standard word but instead of the choices here the common translation in both KJV and NASB is “evil”.  Put it together and you could easily make it “evil punishment”.

So?  Take it for now or for then, the results of wicked living will be nasty.  I would hope that it is as far away from your reality as bread lines.  For those walking in obedience it is nothing to worry about.  For most it is a real danger.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fear Walking

(Proverbs 14:2 KJV)  He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.

It is getting harder to “walk” (1980) in “uprightness” (3476).  When I was a child certain things were understood.  There was no question of what was right or wrong in areas of sexual morality, drug abuse, panhandling, rioting or vulgar language.  My family, my church and my neighborhood were in agreement.  You have all heard stories about how kids didn’t dare certain actions because the people down the street would call their parents and report them.  Now when a teacher calls a parent the parent wonders what is wrong with the teacher.

It is not right and wrong that have changed but the character of the people.  An increasing percentage of the population has decided to reject the standards of God and follow their own “way” (1870).  It is like the problem with high blood pressure.  It is called the silent killer.  Usually it is the result of many small decisions made:  Too much to eat and too little exercise top the list.   The problem is ignored like we are Teflon.  When the doctor diagnoses the problem we don’t take our medication.  It is so easy to ignore until the stroke hits.

So?  Today is the day to decide how you are going to walk.  Sure you can probably put it off another day but when does tomorrow come?  Fear the Lord so that you don’t need to be afraid of the Lord.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

It’s for the Children’s Children

(Proverbs 13:22 KJV)  A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Here is a mark of a “good man” (2896a) that we don’t often think about.  He doesn’t drive one of those RV’s with the bumper sticker that says, “We’re spending our children’s inheritance.”  A “good man” builds up something to leave to his grandchildren.

It would seem obvious that this involves financial wealth but don’t go too fast or too far in that direction.  One of the sad truths that you can observe by looking around is that leaving your children a lot of money can destroy them.  This is observed even by the secular world.  One generation earns the money.  The next lives on it.  The third is destroyed by it. 

What should be obvious is that there are immaterial inheritances that are being considered.  We leave our children a spiritual heritage.  We demonstrate what it means to follow the living God.  We live our ethics and our love.  Our goal should be to pass it on so that our children can pass it on.

So?  Keep your sense of perspective.  It may well be that the example you set in the hard times is good but the example you set in the good times is even more important.  You never stop living the example. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Imagine That

(Proverbs 12:20 KJV)  Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

“Evil” (7451b) exists.  Evil people exist.  I have made that point many times because it keeps coming up in Proverbs.  That brings up another question, “Why?”  By that I am asking, “Are people innately evil or is it a choice they make?”  I am afraid this is one of those questions where the answer is “Yes”.  By that I mean that both are causes.

In the generic sense we are all evil.  We are born with sinful natures.  Because of the sin of Adam, which corrupted the race, we are all little rebels.  We are totally self centered.  We are estranged from God.  That is why we are forced to teach children that it is wrong to lie.  “Deceit” (4820) comes natural to us.  Only the power of God can set us free from that.

In other cases it is a choice.  It is amazing to me how many people have an understanding of the good news about Jesus and turn away. 
(Isaiah 53:6 KJV)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
That is the bad news.  The good news is that Jesus stands ready for us to repent.  He can take care of the acts of sin and the condition of sin.  That is the second part of the verse in Isaiah.

So?  Rejoice or repent.  If you reverse the order it can become repent and rejoice.  Either way we can live lives of hope and “joy” (8057). 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Be Righteous

(Proverbs 11:5 KJV)  The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

“Righteousness” (6666) exists.  If it doesn’t then this is another verse that is meaningless.  Righteousness is within the reach of the believer.  Not only is it in reach but it is a requirement.  So why is it that so many Christians keep trying to deny it?  I think that they link Biblical righteousness with what I have heard called “works righteousness”.  This is the idea that we earn our salvation by our own efforts.  It makes obedience and discipline the source of our salvation instead of the required response to our salvation. 

We can do nothing to pay for our sin.  The debt is too great.  That is clear.  Yet the debt must be paid.  That is where the Perfect Lamb of God comes in.  Jesus.  His death on the cross was the sacrifice that paid for our debt of sin.  His blood is what can wash us.  Then with the help of the Holy Spirit we are expected to respond with actions, works if you will, that are a response to His sacrifice.  We are expected to live holy lives.

So?  This just dips a finger in the subject but reminds me today that I am expected to live in obedience.  I am expected to organize my day and set my priorities as one who has been redeemed.  I am expected to walk in righteousness.  It is not an option. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Selective Hate

(Proverbs 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

“Hatred” (8135) is getting a lot of bad press.  Most of it involves politically motivated attempts to control thinking and manipulate feelings.  In the passive sense the cultural leaders are trying to “stir” (5782) up “strife” (4090).  By passive I mean that they are trying to get the general population to get upset by the attitudes on an unknown “them”. 

That being said, hatred is something that Christians are not allowed.  When people call me a “hater” or a racist in order to manipulate me, if I am given a chance, I will explain that those terms are impossible for me because I want to go to heaven and those kind of attitudes would be a barrier.  Hatred of people is negative but there is a positive:  We are to hate evil.
(Proverbs 8:13 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
The unfortunate part of this is that so much of what is accepted in our modern culture fits in this category. 

So?  We are not to embrace our society without discernment.  We are to accept some things, love a few and hate what is evil.  You will possibly be rejected by what you reject but keep in mind you will be accepted by the One you obey. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Expressing Yourself

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

Wisdom seems to be the opposite of scoffing (NASB) or scorning (KJV).  The two translations have Hebrew words that look different to me but my software says are really the same.  I have to assume it is the type of difference we find in the Declaration of Independence where it talks about unalienable rights.  The modern spelling is inalienable. 

Wisdom breeds humility.  Since we saw two verses before that wisdom is rooted in the fear of God it involves bringing our opinions and positions into alignment with Him.  It may sound arrogant to others for us to claim to know truth but our knowledge comes from beyond ourselves.  Wisdom is marked by patience and explanation.  Wisdom is willing to listen.
Scoffing is grounded in arrogance.  The word has the idea of looking down or talking down.  Mocking and boasting are expressions of scoffing.  It always wants to do the talking.

So?  All human beings are born with the image of God stamped on them but corrupted by sin.  Christians are transformed with cleansed hearts.  They are then expected to move on to wisdom.  I hope that scorn and arrogance have been left behind.  If that is not the case then it is time for some repentance. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Where’s Wisdom?

(Proverbs 8:20 KJV)  I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

Again I scratch my head at the choices of translators.  For the “walk” (1980) of the NASB you have the KJV with “lead”.  This is another case where the word is only translated this way once.  In contrast the KJV uses “walk” 61 times, “walked” 67 time, “went” 96 times and so forth.  Maybe someone had a bad pizza the night before.

Either way it points out that you will find wisdom hanging around in the same place as “righteousness” (6666) and “justice” (4941).  This is again pointing out that wisdom, real wisdom not the Dr. Phil kind, is only available in the context of morality and law.  We have a lot of pseudo wisdom but it is like the politicians that want a big spending bill to build a road or a bridge to nowhere.

So?  You only have one life.  Time is running out.  By that I mean you have less of it than you did yesterday.  At what point do we decide to get down to business and get on the road going somewhere?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wake Up Your Liver

(Proverbs 7:23 KJV)  Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.

What does it take to wake people up?  Understand I count myself as a member of the group “people”.  It took the reality of diabetes and the threat of the needle to get me serious about weight loss.  We just finished a school year and we always have students coming to us a week before it is over asking how they can get their grade up.  Suddenly they don’t want to fail. 

Think of the destructive behavior you see around you.  We watch drug abuse, video addiction, young girls dressing like prostitutes and young men dressing like prison inmates.  We watch churches focusing on fellowship instead of worship.  We see parents dropping off their children at day care so they can go to the gym.  There are so many varieties that I could go on all day and still not notice the ones that I am most guilty of violating. 

God is patient.  God is forgiving.  In this chapter the call to repentance goes out.  The scary thing is that in other chapters God seems to say that even He has a limit to His patience.  There may come a day when He will not listen any more.

So?  Be real, whatever that means.  Be honest, with yourself and with God.  Don’t wait until you need a liver transplant. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine...

(Proverbs 6:23 KJV)  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

I was stuck in the back seat of a shuttle van.  It was dark.  The seat belt did not want to work.  Suddenly the guy next to me turned on his flashlight.  That little bit of “light” (216) made the difference.

I usually tend to think of the lessons I get from the Bible as being a help for my day, and they are.  What I tend to overlook is that they can also help people around me.  When I am discussing homosexuality in its different forms and students ask me why I think it is wrong I can ultimately come down to “The Bible says so.”  I can present a case from a scientific or historical perspective.  I can point out the physiological evidence.  I can approach it a lot of ways but they just lead to more discussion.  Ultimately though it boils down to the reality that God sets the standards of right and wrong.  It plants a point of light in their lives.  They may not accept it but they are aware that it exists.

So?  Some day they may be in the back seat, sitting in the dark and need to know how to buckle up.  Maybe my little light will shine then.  Stranger things have happened. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Righteous Insults

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

When I see “discretion” (4209) praised I am reminded of how different the values of the Bible are compared to the standards of today.  Words that were once honorable and positive have been painted with a dirty brush.  Traits that represent high standards and righteousness have become labels of derision.  Think of the insult of being called a prude.  You are insulted for not living in the gutter.  Remember when it was a mark of wisdom to discriminate?  It meant that you could tell the gold from the dross.  Now it means you are being called a racist. 

Have right and wrong changed?  Not in God’s eyes.  Not in terms of eternity.  But certainly by the standards of our day.  It is hard to read the word without realizing that we are out of step.  I guess that is one reason why we are supposed to be reading the word.

So?  Listen to the beat.  Find the melody.  It is hard to be in step or sing harmony if you are not paying attention.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Feet of Clay

(Proverbs 4:20 KJV)  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

As I read this I am reminded of how elusive and compartmentalized success can be.  Most of the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon.  Portions were not.  How do we know?  Because the book tells us.  Some start like chapter one saying these are the proverbs of Solomon.  Others, like chapter 30, have another author listed.  Solomon is noted for his wisdom.  He is the author of what is called the Wisdom Literature.  You would think that he was a rousing success.

Not really.

His sons did not listen.  When he died they divided his kingdom and began to destroy everything he had built. 

So?  The Bible is very open about the human qualities of the great heroes.  The list of qualities that we would want to avoid is long.  I am encouraged by that.  If great icons of the Bible often had feet of clay and were still used of God then there is hope for me.  And you.  I can’t use it as an excuse for disobedience but I can use it for encouragement for falling short. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Memory Loss

(Proverbs 3:1 KJV)  My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

It is very easy to “forget” (7911) what we have only heard once.  It is very easy to forget what we don’t want to remember.  One of the best ways to remember is repetition.  Proverbs demonstrates this by repeating teachings over and over.  That won’t help much if we don’t read it.

I have found that I am forgetting and losing skills.  I don’t think it is just because I am getting older.  A few years ago I had enough songs memorized that I could go to the beach to watch the dawn and play for hours.  Of course I took time out to pray and listen, but you get the idea.  Now I am not sure if I can still do more than one or two.  I have not been practicing.  One by one the chord progressions and notes slip away.  I have not been serious enough about it.

So?  How serious are you about the things of God?  I hope that your are concerned enough to spend the time to keep the “law” (teaching NASB) (8451) [torah] and “commandments” (4687) fresh in your mind and “heart” (3820). 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Verbal Confirmation

(Proverbs 2:3 KJV)  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

Context is important.  So is follow-through.  This is step two in a three step process.  The first, given in the previous verses, has to do with making the decision to gain wisdom.  This verse tells us we must voice that decision.

Why is it important to make a public statement of your faith.
(Romans 10:9 KJV)  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Notice that it isn’t just having the right thoughts but speaking the right words.  When we say something in front of witnesses it puts us on record.  In golf there is something called “hitting a provisional ball”.  This happens when you have a long drive that curves toward out of bounds but you can’t see if it is playable.  You can hit a second ball and if your first one is out of play you can use the second ball.  There is a penalty involved but it speeds up play.  The issue is that you have to announce ahead of time that you are going to do it.  That commits you. 

So?  Do you really desire wisdom?  Then make it a public statement.  This is primarily to God but it could also involve other people around you. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

The 49ers

(Proverbs 1:30 KJV)  They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

“Counsel” (6098) is presented as a good thing.  One of the translations is “advice”.  Most of the time we don’t want advice because it seems to be just meddling and someone being bossy.  But what if the person offering the advice is an experienced veteran and you are the new recruit?  At that point you would welcome anything offered, or at least you should.

How does God offer us counsel?  It can come straight from the written word.  Sometimes it is a simple voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking out of what you are reading.  Sometimes it is the result of a disciplined search of study.  It is like gold in 1849.  Some nuggets are found in plain sight.  All you need to do is have your eyes open.  When that first piece was found near Sutter’s fort it was not hidden.  Other gold requires bringing out tons of ore in order to get a few ounces of metal.

Have you ever found money laying on the ground?  How many people walked past it without seeing it?  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.  It doesn’t mean it was not valuable.  It means they were not looking.

So?  Look.  Pay attention.  One of the values of a daily time of worship is that it is like someone saying, “Squirrel!”