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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Billion Page Views

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Visions of Sugar Pills

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Fear Day

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What Is Your Allowance?

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fool Folly

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

Golden Ruling

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Not by Osmosis

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Landmark Decisions

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Good Eye

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mall Syndrome

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

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

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Out of Oil

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sin-fool Behavior

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shining Toilets

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Before You

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

No Choice, Choose

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lord of the Mouth

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ignoring the Obvious

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fat Diligence

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Good Words

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Special Delivery

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Balance to Bank On

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Casting Pearls

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

There Are Gates and Then There Are Gates

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Timing for Temptation

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fire Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 5, 2016


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

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

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

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

Simple Formula

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 3, 2016


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Archaic Skill

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

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

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

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