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.

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.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Eyes of Love

(Proverbs 16:15 KJV)  In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

As I read this today my mind saw The King instead of a king.  Did you ever sing the chorus that went,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
The Holy Spirit was playing with my reading skills today to remind me that it isn’t just me looking at Jesus but Jesus looking at me.  He is watching me.  Since He is God He has the ability to watch you at the same time.  All the time.  There are times when that is comforting and times when it sounds boring.  There are more times when it is a scary thought. 

It is a good thing He loves me and is the expression of I Corinthians 13:4,
(1 Corinthians 13:4 NAS77)  Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
Since God is love I take that to express how He looks at me.

So?  It is not an excuse to push the envelope but it is a comfort for my many failures.  I remind myself that the king is my Father.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


(Proverbs 15:11 KJV)  Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

What happens after you die?  Many think that the departed go to heaven and hell immediately.  Do not pass go.  For that thinking we have the thief on the cross being told he would be with Jesus in paradise that very day.  We have the rich man and Lazarus who both died and went to Hades and “Abraham's bosom” non-stop.  Others believe that none of this happens until the resurrection and judgement day. 
(Daniel 12:2 KJV)  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
That leaves the problem of the time in between.  One solution is to understand “Hell” (Sheol NASB) (7585) as a holding tank.  It never has a pleasant connotation but it doesn’t have the sense of punishment associated with “destruction” (Abaddon NASB) (11).

So?  This is one of the areas that different believers have different understanding.  What we all believe is that there will be a separation of those who go to eternal life based on their faith in Jesus and those who go to eternal death based on their rejection of the faith.  Chose your team.  It is an eternity long commitment.

Friday, October 14, 2016


(Proverbs 14:7 KJV)  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Hanging around with the wrong people can stunt your growth.  One problem is that you hear what they say and that is going to influence you in some way.  The longer you are with them the more they will influence you.  I don’t know if you have ever spent much time talking to a Jehovah’s Witness.  They seem to be really good people.  They are sincere and dedicated.  They are also wrong.  In my younger years I tried arguing with them and they had my head in knots very quickly.  It was necessary for me to “go from” (leave NASB) (1980) their “presence” (5048) in order to get my thinking back in order.  I needed time calling on the Lord and reading my Bible to get back to the truth instead of being influenced by the subtle lies being fed to me.

So?  Do the best you can when it comes to choosing your companions.  If you can’t do anything about where you work then it is even more important to find time to give the Lord a chance to rearrange your thinking. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

More Than Spoiling the Child

(Proverbs 13:24 KJV)  He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Hatred is like love in that it is a choice not a reaction.  If you look at the description of love in the New Testament you find a list of behaviors such as patience and kindness that call for repeated choices.  Hatred is the same.  Here it seems strange that parents would choose to hate their children but that is what is happening when they reject the duty of discipline.

The only people I can think of that I might hate are a few that are evil and demonstrate it clearly.  The list would be very short and none would be people I actually rub elbows with.  When I think of hate I think of things like liver, standing in line, talking on the phone.  I don’t try to bring evil on those things, I avoid them.  When I can’t avoid them I endure.  Except for liver.  I draw a line there.

So?  Think of ways in which parents avoid their children and thus avoid the necessity of discipline.  I heard a teacher once happy about the fact that her child was taken care of by others from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  She got a round of applause from the other teachers in the room.  From me she only got sympathy.  God weeps with me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Paying Tribute

(Proverbs 12:24 KJV)  The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

This brought to my mind the moment when Samuel was growing old and the people demanded a king.  You can find the story in I Samuel 8.  One of the warnings he gave them was that a king would make all kinds of demands on them.  This relates to the “forced labor” (4522) that Proverbs speaks of.
(1 Samuel 8:16 KJV)  And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
Solomon understands this because he became the prime example of drafting his subjects to complete all the project he planned.  The one everybody knows was building the temple but it extended to roads and forts.  Large numbers of people were forced into hard labor for long periods of time.  The reason was that they had turned away from letting the Lord be king and demanded to be like everyone around them.

They turned off their diligence.  They took the easy way, or the one they thought would be easy.  Too often God’s people substitute other sources of authority for God Himself.  Instead of the Bible they have gurus and mantras.  They clean them up and make them nice but that is what it becomes.  It is not longer “what does the Bible say” it becomes “what does ________ say” and you can fill in the blank with a contemporary or historical figure.

So?  As Joshua said and the people forgot:  “Choose this day whom you will serve.”  It will make a difference.  And it seems to be almost a daily choosing. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Expectations and Hope

(Proverbs 11:7 KJV)  When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

If you compare modern translations with the older ones you find the second half of this verse with a variation represented by the KJV as the “unjust” (205) man and the NASB as “strong men” (202).  The numbering system would indicate two different Hebrew words.  As I look at the commentaries on my computer they acknowledge both trends but imply that it is just a different opinion of what the words mean. 

The KJV translation makes more sense.  “Unjust” runs parallel with the “wicked” (7563).  The NASB brings an important point.  The “strong” tend to place their confidence in themselves.  That is a dead end street. 

So?  There is only one target for our hope and that is God Himself.  It is our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus being sufficient for our redemption that is our hope.  It is not our personal power of discipline.  That is good news for those of us who know we are deeply flawed. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Smarter Than a Squirrel

(Proverbs 10:14 KJV)  Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

As I read this today the picture came to mind of a squirrel running around burying nuts.  I have also heard of hoards of nuts stored in hollow trees.  Is it true or just a cartoon meme?  My Bible study today involved a quest through Google.  Evidently scientists don’t have much to do because there have actually been studies done on this topic.  Different squirrels have different styles but the experts have determined that they remember where they put their nuts.

One interesting point made was that some squirrels will dig up and re-bury their caches to see if the nuts are still fresh and refresh their memory about where they were stored.  If it works for squirrels then maybe it would work for the “wise” (2450).  You can’t remember what you never learned.  At the same time a shelf full of books getting dusty doesn’t necessarily make for an informed citizen or believer. 

A dusty Bible is even worse.

So?  Are you smarter than a fifth grade squirrel?  Prove it. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cruise Control

(Proverbs 9:13 KJV)  A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

The problem here is not that a person “knows” (3045) “nothing” (1077/4100).  The problem comes because they know nothing and are content in that position.  One of the mantras of Proverbs is that we seek wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  They don’t just happen.  The woman being described is so typical of our modern mentality.  Since this was written thousands of years ago it must be a human condition not a sign of the times.

So?  Don’t be satisfied to be a party animal.  Don’t focus on gratifications but on holiness.  Growth is not an option and it is not automatic. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Winning Ticket

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

Do you want God’s blessings?  I know I do.  I would also like to win the lottery but it ain’t gonna happen.  I learned a long time ago that if you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win.  With God I have “bought” a ticket.  The difference is that if you buy a lottery ticket you lose.  My understanding is that you have a better chance of getting hit by lightening than winning the lottery.  No system or methodology will change that.

With God a win is assured.  I am assuming that you have already repented and trusted in Jesus.  That gets you in the fold but it is not the end of the journey.  Picture going to one of those all you can eat buffets, paying your money at the door and then just standing there watching people eat.  Too many people live their lives that way, starving and yearning but not partaking.

So?  Think about the three responses given here.  We are to listen, watch and wait.  It is like the old railroad crossings that used to have those crossed arms that said, “Stop, look, listen.”  The train would eventually come. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Victim Hope

(Proverbs 7:26 KJV)  For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.

In this tragedy I am hearing a word of hope.  It is wrapped in doom.  It is presented as a warning.  But there is hope.  The “victims” (2491a) are walking in hope before they are dragged down by the temptations of life.  This young man did not need to give in to the seduction.  He was not helpless.  He may have been weak and naive but he was not helpless.

We sometimes forget that.  When we see people we care about sliding down into death dealing patterns we need to understand that they are making choices.  God has sent the Holy Spirit to help them make other choices but they reject that.  Sometimes it is the arrogance of thinking we are above common restrictions.  Sometimes it is powerful attractions.  Often it is just a willingness to let sin rule our lives.  The end is death.

So?  You can’t make decisions for your loved and befriended.  You can make decisions for yourself.  You can be open about why you have made those decisions.  You can be the example that makes the other person stop and think.  It is called being salt.  It is called witnessing. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pagan Variations

(Proverbs 6:26 KJV)  For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

Here we have two varieties of sexual sin.  The first is expressed by “whorish woman” (harlot NASB) (2182).  The second is “adulteress” (802).   There is a difference between a harlot and a prostitute.  The dictionary in my computer does not get into the nuance.  I had to go to Google and even there read with my mind working.  A harlot, or whore, is sexually active but is not necessarily paid.  A prostitute provide service for money.  This word is referring to women who get involved sexually for the fun of it.

The second term in context shows that the first one refers to single women.  “Adulteress” is a compound expression meaning “man’s wife”.  This is adultery.  In the Bible both are condemned.  In the Bible the man is also condemned.  There is no wiggle room.

Our post modern pagan culture still has some sense that adultery is wrong but is zealous about the innocence of pre-marital sex, “as long as you love each other”.  If you call yourself a follower of Jesus then you cannot accept that distortion.

So?  Know who you are in Christ.  Be pure and upright.  Don’t fall for it when others claim the status of saint and live in open sin.  As they say in some churches after reading the scripture, “Hear the word of the Lord”. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ears of Truth

(Proverbs 5:5 KJV)  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

There is a slight bit of hope in this verse if you are listening.  This is not a “you” verse but a “her” verse.  The one heading for “death” (4194) is not the “son” of verse 1 but the “strange woman” of verse 3, the one who is trying to get the son to ignore the teaching of his father.  Therein lies the hope.  Therein lies the need to listen to the right voice.

God is speaking.  He does it in many ways.  On rare occasions a person might actually seem to hear His voice.  It happened to me once.  Frequently He speaks when we are reading the Bible and a verse takes on new meaning for us.  A pastor can touch a chord in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit can bring something to mind. 

The problem is we don’t always want to listen.

So?  Make your own choices but keep in mind when you say, “I didn’t hear you” He isn’t your wife, He is your God.  He knows if the ears are true or not. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

“I Don’t Understand”

(Proverbs 4:7 KJV)  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

How often have we heard someone say, “I don’t understand” when a point is so obvious?  How often have I sought “understanding” (998) of why people can be so blind to truth when they seem so intelligent?  In this verse we are looking at why so many people can have a college education and still be so simple.  Facts do not give you a grasp of the situation.  Wisdom does.

Without “wisdom” (2451) you are a babe in the woods.  Picture trying to put together a jig saw puzzle without the box cover to show you what the finished piece will look like.  Try doing it with the back side up even if you have the picture.  That is knowledge without wisdom.

So?  Seek wisdom.  That is only possible if you have a healthy fear of the Lord. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Peace, Bro

(Proverbs 3:2 KJV)  For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

Promise or principle?  There is a difference and I am not sure if there is a sure-fire way to figure out when each applies.  If you look at the surrounding verses you see Christian character described:  Following the law and commandments, mercy and truth.  That kind of living has results.

The results are expressed in two ways, quantity and quality.  Christian character produces longer lives and it produces lives that are more peaceful.  That gives you the whole package.  Who wants to live longer if you are only experiencing misery?  I think this also promises that we can find that peace in the midst of any situation.  How many Americans are happy about their choices for president this year?  How many are happy with the economy?  What are the prospects for avoiding violence on our streets and in our world?  In the midst of that God’s people can know “peace” (7965) [shalom].

So?  We have read the book.  We know who wins.  Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to minister to you?  Have you understood that walking by faith means trusting that God is in charge?  Peace, brother. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Seek Fear

(Proverbs 2:5 KJV)  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

This verse may be the center piece of the chapter and I find it a bit startling in that context.  The first four verse urge in different ways for us to dig in and seek the wisdom of God.  The following verses talk about all of the benefits but notice what it turns on:  “Fear” (3374).  And it isn’t just any fear, it is the fear of the Lord.

What startled me was that this seemed to be saying we should be seeking the fear of the Lord.  That goes against all of our post modern thinking.  We are supposed to be seeking self actualization and fulfillment.  We are supposed to be seeking community and cooperation.  Our churches are seeking to be seeker friendly.  That is all part of the way in which pagan Enlightenment thinking is seducing the people of God.  We are to seek to fear the Lord.  That will be the turning point.

So?  I don’t know how many times I will need to remind myself that my standards are not to be those of the world around me.  My standards were established before the foundation of the world. My standards are based in the character of God.  That is a fearful thing.  That is a glorious thing.  Fear.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Teachers of the Years Awards

(Proverbs 1:8 KJV)  My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

We see two conflicting trends in education.  On the one side we see an accelerating dumbing down of what is being taught and what is expected.  While words like “rigor” and “challenge” are used ad nauseam, the bar is continually being lowered.  Big words are removed from the books.  Group work allows the few who have skills to carry those who don’t.  At the same time the system presses everyone to go to college.  It is considered almost a civil right to have a college degree, even if you can’t read the diploma.  Education is defined as what schools give you.

Not so the book of Proverbs.  Here it is laid on the parents to teach their children.  Obviously they do it by example but they are also to do it by word.  I doubt if it was original with my father but one lesson he gave us was, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”  And then he went out and lived it.  If the contract called for 3 ½ inches of concrete we understood that meant a minimum, not a maximum.  Those kind of lessons go a long way to making mature adults.

So?  Instruct your children.  You were their first teacher.  You are their most important teacher.  Do not abandon them to people who get paid to do the job.