An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Faithful in the Small Things

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 30, 2016

Beware Lofty Eyes

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rot Control

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Evil Judgement

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Poetry in Rocks

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fools Bold

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 25, 2016

History Lesson

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 24, 2016


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

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

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

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

Friday, December 23, 2016

Beware the Redeemer

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fear of Work

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

First Loves

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Crying Uncle

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Anger Enabler

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Smart Mouth Response

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

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

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

An Avoidable Tragedy

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Eternal Revenue Service

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Seeking Wise Men

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crib Notes

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Soul Food

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

Spiritual Spore

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

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

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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Check Your Shoes

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 10, 2016

No Generic, Please

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

Truth Is Not in the Comfort Zone

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Everlast Is More Than Boxing Shorts

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

One Foot in the Grave

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Levels of Sin

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Relax in Wisdom

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

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

I find the simple, literal translation more useful.  I would demand “guard” if I were on the committee.  Wisdom guards our speech.  There is a difference between witnessing and trying to win against a stacked deck.  Jesus may have been referring to this when He said,
(Matthew 7:6 KJV)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
It is almost impossible to explain virtues like chastity, prudence and integrity to people saturated in prurience, extravagance and deceit. 

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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Starts and Finishes

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

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

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

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Identity Theft

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mercy’s Designated Driver

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 1, 2016


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

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

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

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

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