An Idea Borrowed

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017


(Proverbs 31:26 KJV)  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

As we come to the end of another year it is good to be reminded to two character traits that we will need in large measure for tomorrow and the days after. 

We desperately need “wisdom” {2451}.  My wife has a bit of technology called Roku.  On in she has multiple choices available at the click of a button.  I think there are even more she could access with the application of a credit card.  I am not sure than any of them dispenses wisdom.  The main product is entertainment.  Others will be informative.  What we need is wisdom, however you want to define it.  What we need to the max is wisdom from God.  Pray that voices will be lifted up and that ears will tune in.

We also need “kindness” (2617a).  This is more than helping old ladies across the street and being patient with the new kitten.  This is a galactic word in Hebrew, chesed.  It is the Old Testament word for the New Testament agape.  It is only possible in the context of God’s grace.  We live in a republic, so partisan differences are our glory.  The Constitution gives us the right to express ourselves in something we have come to call Freedom of Speech.  We need to remember that while the civil law says “Yes”, there may be times when the divine law says, “No.”  We may express our opinions but with what Peter calls “gentleness and reverence” in the NASB’s translation of I Peter 3:15.

So?  The date for the new year is arbitrary.  Wisdom and kindness are eternal.  Make this a W&K year. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sour Grapes

(Proverbs 30:23 KJV)  For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

Some people are never happy.  Here we have two women who have achieved the top spot available in their culture, honorable marriage.  Today that may seem a holdover from the patriarchal age but in Solomon’s day women did not have careers in anything except prostitution.  So these ladies have arrived and they proceed to rock the world.

I wonder how many blessings God has given us that generate a selfish response instead of gratitude and grace.  When I had success in losing weight I found myself becoming critical of those who had not.  I should have had understanding and compassion but the tendency was to judge and be full of myself.  When I sail through flu season without a sniffle I somehow feel like I am God’s chosen one instead of being blessed for reasons I don’t understand.

So?  I need to rock the world with thanksgiving and generosity, not arrogance and self centered evaluations of others.  I guess it is an application of “judge not”.  God is watching along with the people around me.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Mutual Abomination

(Proverbs 29:27 KJV)  An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

It would be a good thing if Christians could get over their Pollyanna complex.  We get this way in our concepts of evangelism and outreach.  It is the basic foundation for the idea that we can make our worship less threatening and more appealing to the world.  We see all kinds of churches and sincere believers who think that if they can just be nice enough and not offend their neighbors, the sinners will repent and come running to Jesus.  Others think that if we could just explain the gospel in simple, positive words then people would turn toward the cross.

It doesn’t work that way.  Paul makes a couple of statements in I Corinthians that should give you an idea.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV)  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

(1 Corinthians 1:23 KJV)  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
The cross means that we are sinners in need of a savior.  We live in a culture that teaches that we are wonderful and it is the structures of society that are the problem.  To them we don’t need a personal savior we need a reformation in society so that we can reach our full potential.  When you live for Jesus, you are an offense to there sense of self-righteousness.

So?  The world hates you.  Some may feel it more mildly but you are still an abomination to them.  And, yes, the word is as bad as you think it is. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Seeds of Decline

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

Have you noticed how society seems to be going down hill?  In one sense that is an illusion.  When people talk about the “good old days” it is more the patina of memory than the reality of the past.  Often we define change as bad just because it is not what we are used to.  I was asked recently if I was still looking for the perfect burrito that I had enjoyed years ago at a now defunct restaurant.  When I said I had given up they wondered why.  I told them that I was not sure that my memory was as accurate as I thought it was and even if I found the same taste I would not know it.

At the same time there are certain measures that say there is serious moral decay in our culture.  Unwed mothers are now single parent families.  A disease based almost exclusively on immoral behavior, AIDS, has civil rights.  Abortion is not only accepted but is funded by tax money taken from people who feel it is murder of a child. 

The reason for this decline is that the righteous have withdrawn from leadership.  We have silenced our voice.  We have retreated into our sanctuaries and tried to be seeker friendly.  Instead of having a Bach writing pieces that set the framework of western music we have “Jesus gave me this song last night and I want to share it with you”.  Instead of basing sermons on the eternal word of God we have the latest gospel guru quoted as if there was some new truth.

So?  People who have abandoned the God of holiness do not have the wisdom to lead or set examples.  We need to seek as individuals to follow Him and work to pick leaders who are capable of wise leadership. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Drop the Drip

(Proverbs 27:15 KJV)  A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

Notice it is not the “dripping” (1812) which is a problem but the “constant” (2956) dripping.  This might be a pointer in our daily lives.  Don’t overdo actions that irritate.  We have all seen the person who does something and it is funny.  Everyone laughs; the first time.  After the action has been repeated it becomes inflamed and infected, no longer funny, past irritating.  It makes me pause for a moment and wonder what I do that gets on people’s nerves.

I have known for a long time that certain people don’t seem to have much sense of humor.  In reality that means that they don’t have the same sense of the absurd that I have.  I have learned not to joke around some people.  The same sensitivity might help in how I drive a car, dry the dishes, hang my clothes and untold numbers of other activities.

So?  I need to work on being less irritating.  Sometimes I can’t do much because it is the problem of the other person but that can also just be an excuse. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Seeing the Lion

(Proverbs 26:13 KJV)  The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

I have seen the lion.  In military parlance they talk about having seen the elephant.  It means you have been shot at in combat, you are more than a barracks rat.  Seeing the lion means that I have seen work that needed to be done and I found a way to avoid it.  If it happens between Christmas and New Years you can probably get away with it but remember that there are many things in life that will not get done if you don’t do them.

This is the beginning of another condemnation of sloth.  Here the focus is on excuses.  I don’t know about you but I have a million of them.  Of that number a dozen are legit.  The rest are just ways of putting off what I don’t want to do.

So?  I need to work on honest assessment of tasks that need to be done.  Maybe I will start tomorrow.  Just kidding. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Refreshing Messenger

(Proverbs 25:13 KJV)  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

I don’t know about you but if I was working in a harvest field under a hot sun and suddenly snow started falling, I would get excited.  I would revel in the coolness.  I would laugh at how impossible it was.  I would rejoice, I think.  I might be the pessimist who worries about how the snow is going to hurt the crop, which is a possibility.  I might worry about the fields getting muddy.  The idea though is just enough cold to be invigorating. 

That is how we can effect people if we are “faithful” (539) “messengers” (6735a).  December is a good time to be a faithful messenger.  We might start by expunging the term “happy holidays” from our vocabulary, unless you want to pronounce it correctly as “happy holy days”.  We are in the advent season.  We are celebrating the coming, not sale-ebrating the great deals we got at the mall.  Think of the faithful message that went,
(Luke 2:10 KJV)  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
And don’t forget the other end of the story,
(Matthew 28:8 KJV)  And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
The incarnation is the miracle that led to the crucifixion which led to the resurrection.

So?  Merry Christmas.  This is the first verse of the message, “He is risen”. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Selfish Wisdom

(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.

There seems to be a personal aspect to wisdom.  Yes, we need leaders who exhibit wisdom, but the point here is that it will benefit you.  Is that selfish?  It could be but it isn’t.  Always keep in mind the instructions given when you are starting a flight on a commercial airline.  They talk about the possible need for oxygen masks and tell you if you are traveling with children, make sure that you have yours on before you help your children.  The point is that you won’t be of much help if you pass out.

You won’t be able to help select and support the right leaders if you don’t know what to look for.  If you have “know” wisdom, how will you know it in another?  This is why people don’t recognize nonsense in the news for from the pulpit.  They don’t have any common sense themselves.

So?  Prepare yourself.  If you think that is selfish then realize you have been given the green light on this type of self-seeking.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Famine Preparation

(Proverbs 23:23 KJV)  Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Recently, after watching the latest conspiracy newsflash, my wife commented on how we did not have a lot of food stored up.  In California we were in good shape.  Here in Texas we have not emptied our moving boxes let alone filled our shelves.  The concern is that when we have a disaster, man made or nature induced, we will not be able to run out and “buy” (7069) a loaf of bread.  As I write it is Thanksgiving.  As this is posted, it is almost Christmas Day.  Picture how many stores are closed just because it is a holiday.  Think what it would be in a crisis. 

There may be times when it is impossible to find “truth” (571).  Libraries may be shut down for evaluation.  Book stores closed for political reorientation.  The internet may be totally censored, not just filtered.  You may come to the point where the only sources of information available are what are on your shelf.  And of course, what you have stored up in your heart.

So?  Become a prepper.  Have enough food on your shelf in case the next hurricane comes to your neighborhood.  Have enough truth in your heart in case the Illuminate take over our world.  It isn’t weird, it is prepared. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

What Is on the Quiz?

(Proverbs 22:25 KJV)  Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

This verse in a continuation of the last.  The context is picking our friends and associates.  To a large degree I can’t pick my neighbors.  I have no say in my birth family.  I am limited in controlling my work associates.  Even picking friends is not just a matter of reviewing qualifications and punching a button.  Friends don’t fill out an application.

There is a point at which we can encourage a deeper relationship or distance ourselves.  Friendships involve sharing the things you have in common and compromising on what you don’t.  Rarely do you agree with anyone on everything but there are certain types of people to avoid.  Here the reference is to short tempered people.  In chapter one it was violent thieves and people advocating a communistic sharing of resources. 

So?  As you read Proverbs or any other book in the Bible there are recommendations about the common things of life.  You won’t have a quiz on teleology or hermeneutics.  I need spell check to even mention them.  You will be influenced vitally on other things like the friends you chose.  Choose wisely.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Plum Truth

(Proverbs 21:28 KJV)  A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.

“I was only joking.”  No you weren’t, you lied to me.  “So I exaggerated a bit.”  No, you lied.  “It is just a matter of opinion.”  No, a lie is a lie.  If you have ever listened to the news or read a newspaper you know how easy it is for some people to look at truth and deliberately distort it.  If you have had someone tell a story about an event that you also witnessed, you have sometimes wondered if you were on the same planet.  I know at times that I wonder if it is me who is losing my mind or the other person who lives in fantasy.

We are called to be beacons of truth.  That starts with eternal truth. 
(John 14:6 KJV)  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
It extends into every nook and cranny of our influence.  Obviously there is room for differences of opinion and perception.  My wife had her toe nails painted.  Why?  I don’t know.  I think it is a female thing.  I commented on the black color.  I was told they were “plum”.  Then she came up with a couple of other colors that were also hard to tell from black.  That is not an issue of truth.  The fact that she had them coated is truth.

So?  Are you a follower of Jesus?  Then there is a limit to how much you can exaggerate, joke, spin and interpret.  Take this seriously.  God does. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Honorable Cheeks

(Proverbs 20:3 KJV)  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

I find the process of “keeping away” {cease KJV} (7674) from conflict to be frustrating.  It is difficult at times but even more, it is frustrating.  This is dealing with one of the core behavior patterns of Jesus.  It is one that has gotten in my face ever since I was a child.
(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Then Jesus goes on to add other applications of the principle so that we cannot avoid it.  I am getting really tired of walking away from personal attacks and insults, but Jesus did not give me the option.  He also didn’t add, “if you feel like it”.

I want the personal satisfaction of lashing out.  I want to stand up for myself.  I want to be a man in the face of accusations.  Sometimes that is possible without strife, often not.  So I turn the other cheek in obedience.  Not always.  Sometimes I lose control.  I admit it, but I am more concerned about the “honor” that Solomon is talking about than a brief victory.

So?  The struggle goes on in my life.  I take consolation that God can see my heart even when the person I walk away from doesn’t. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Bottom of the Curve

(Proverbs 19:1 KJV)  Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

I am currently reading a book called The Bell Curve.  It has received a lot of bad press like anything does that looks at facts instead of political correctness.  It is a scientific look at intelligence and how it effects our lives.  It is criticized because it takes the actual data from research showing how IQ is different in different ethnic and socioeconomic groups.  One of their repeated points is how low IQ is very highly correlated with poverty, crime, illegitimate births, low birth weight, etc.  In almost every area of social concern they find low intelligence is a common trait.

What that has to do with today is that they are constantly repeating that even though you may have a lot of people with low intelligence in the poverty range, most of them are being responsible citizens.  Although they are at the low end of the IQ scale that does not mean they are failures.  They are still productive and living good lives.  This simply backs up what this verse is getting across.  There are things more important that the common measures of success.  Integrity is one of them.

So?  Don’t judge someone based on the snob appeal of their cars, clothes or homes.  Look at how their children are turning out.  Look at their moral positions.  God’s standards are not those of our culture. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

The “Lot”erry

(Proverbs 18:18 KJV)  The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

I would like to use this verse as an excuse to buy lottery tickets.  I figure that if God wants me to be rich this would speed up the process.  The problem is that it would only be valid once, so I am waiting until I am really desperate.  Who knows, it might be God’s will for me to win the Big One.

But I doubt it.  One of the problems with reading the Bible on a regular basis with your mind turned on is that you find the balance that excludes your delusions.  Just a few pages beyond this you find,
(Proverbs 20:21 KJV)  An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
This verse is the one that applies when you have two points of view and both seem equal.  It is not an invitation to stop on the way home and take a chance.

So?  I am sorry to report that you will probably need to keep working until retirement.  Of course that is easy for me to say at this point since I am retired. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Let It Lie

(Proverbs 17:9 KJV)  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

A good way to ruin a friendship, poison a marriage or break up a family is to bring up some untouchable from the past.  The first part of the verse implies that a wrong has been done.  Whether it was resolved or allowed to fade from memory does not make any difference.  It is in the past and should remain there.

A good way to ruin things is to bring it up again.  It is always nice if people have confessed or the wrong was righted but it does not say that is necessary.  Sometimes the scar has just faded in time and is best left to rest.

So?  This probably goes with the admonition to be slow to speak that is given other places in scripture.  As believers we are to leave the ugliness of the past in its grave. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Yule Tide Aspirin

(Proverbs 16:28 KJV)  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

When I think of people who are deviant my mind goes to things like molesting children and torturing animals.  I don’t tend to think of the family member who comes for Christmas and proceeds to get the family fighting, yet here they are labeled “froward” (perverse NASB) (8419).  This is the direct contrast to the person Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes.  That whole passage addresses this and specifically,
(Matthew 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
This is not talking about negotiators for the UN.  This is talking about the family member who doesn’t complain about the gifts they got, who doesn’t keep asking how much something cost, who doesn’t grab the best seat and leave grandma standing. 

So?  You all have seen this happen.  The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Has it been me?”  If you follow this word through Proverbs you notice a strong presence of volition.  People choose to be a pain.  We can work on being an anesthetic. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Road Hazards

(Proverbs 15:24 KJV)  The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

When I am driving down the road and see some debris in the lane I try to avoid it.  That makes common sense.  It might just be an empty cup.  It might be a bag of nails.  It is just a good idea to be safe.  This verse implies that we can avoid or “depart from” (keep away NASB) (5493) from “hell” (Sheol NASB) (7585).  We don’t forget that we are saved by grace, not our own efforts.  We should also remember that God has tasked us with the responsibility to live upright lives.  That means avoiding evil.

I find that if I am paying attention and driving a reasonable speed it is easier to miss the board in my lane.  If I am daydreaming I might not even see it coming.  If I am going too fast I may not be able to swerve safely.

So?  Keep that in mind as you plan your day.  We can live in faith that God is in charge.  Just because the sergeant is not in charge does not mean he can march out of step. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Colonoscopy Anyone?

(Proverbs 14:14 KJV)  The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

I am enjoying reading my old Living Bible this month.  I assumed it was almost the same as the New Living Translation but it is a different world.  The NLT pretends to be a translation.  The LB admits it is a paraphrase.  I have this verse underlined from thirty years ago,
“The backslider gets bored with himself; the godly man’s life is exciting.”
We are surrounded with bored people.  They are seeking thrills and spills.  I think of the coming Christmas season and the endless parties people will attend.  I have never made a habit of going to such gatherings because I have listened to stories.  They seem to be little more than an excuse to get drunk and convince yourself you are having a good time.  I remember years ago a guy talking about the great time he had, drinking and partying.  I asked him what he did.  He said, “I can’t remember but I had a great time.”  By that definition getting a colonoscopy is having a great time. 

So?  Being self centered is a sure recipe for boredom.  If you are bored go out and study a leaf on a tree and wonder how it was made.  Meditate on the miracle of the incarnation.  Ask yourself if Mary ever nagged Joseph. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pual and Piel

(Proverbs 13:12 KJV)  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

I find the sense of being “deferred” (4900) is different than I expected.  If you look at the basic meaning it is to draw or drag.  I get the impression of the way my feet shuffle in the morning as I am walking away from my bed.  There is no bounce, no enthusiasm.  My interest in the day is being deferred.  The Blue Letter Bible tells me this is a Pual participle.  Pual is the passive form of Piel in Hebrew.  Piel expresses intensive or intentional action. 

What does all that technical jargon mean?  I would guess that it is telling us that we are capable of keeping joy and fulfillment at arms length.  I think of times when I have been happy to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  That was a lot easier than moving forward in faith, trusting the barriers to God’s care and being obedient.  It is much easier to just blame others. 

So?  I can come up with plenty of reasons to feel stifled in life.  Since I don’t want a “sick” (2470a) “heart” (3820) I am going to put aside my pity party and live in joy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Donkeys Are For Riding Not Petting

(Proverbs 12:10 KJV)  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

We are to be concerned with our “beasts” (animal NASB) (929).  Notice that it doesn’t say “pets”.  The concept of a pet in history seems to be focused on the idle rich or perhaps the familiars of those involved in the occult.  It says animal, it means animal.  These are the machines and power sources of the age.  We are to treat them well.  Jesus rode one into Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry.  The Bible does not say that Mary rode one to Jerusalem for the birth of Jesus.

What was interesting to me as I looked at this today is that the Hebrew word is one that we are familiar with.  Actually we are familiar with the derivative.
(Job 40:15 KJV)  Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
In Job the word is masculine.  It is only used there in the Bible.  The feminine noun, used in Proverbs, is more common, over a hundred times.  You have heard speculation on what the behemoth was.  Some speculate on dinosaurs and such.  Notice how it is defined in the context of Job.  It eats grass like an ox.  That is God speaking, not me.

So?  Love your animals but keep them in their place.  They should not replace your neighbor, your children or your spouse in your concern or priorities. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

To the Rescue

(Proverbs 11:21 KJV)  Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

This is another day in which the verse that stood out to me while reading was the one that would have come up in my routine.  I love these “coincidences”.  This month I am reading in my 40 year old Living Bible and the second half of this verse is paraphrased this way,
“And you can also be very sure that God will rescue the children of the godly.”
Part of my routine each morning is to be thankful for all my blessings.  That can take a long time because, really, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I know it is after Thanksgiving Day.  I can still be thankful.  One of the things I am grateful for is my children.

I will confess that every day of their lives I was not tickled pink to have them in my home.  Those years between 10 and 18 stand out in my mind as a continual question of “Why me, Lord?”  But even then they were worth keeping.  Sometimes all I had to do was compare them to what I worked with at school and I was good to go again.  But the overall consensus is that God is rescuing them on a daily basis. 

So?  I pray that I will be godly enough in my weaknesses to have God iron out the rough spots as they come.  I pray the same for you. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Days or Years

(Proverbs 10:27 KJV)  The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

There is a contrast in the Hebrew that comes through in the KJV but not in the NASB.  The Hebrew has “days” (3117) [yom] and “years” (8141).  The verbs are opposites.  God “prolongs” (3254) one and the other gets “shortened” (7114a).  “Prolong” literally means “add to”.

This fits well in my observations.  It seems to me that the good things in life take a long time to build and consistent effort.  Raising godly children is a project that seems to go on forever and yet the evil side can come down like a ton of bricks in a moment.  I came to marriage with a really nice ukelele.  I bought it in Hawaii when I was in college on the advice of a friend who knew ukeleles.  I played it for years and let it sit for years but time does good things to a quality musical instrument.  Then one day my young child got hold of it.  It was no longer a ukelele.  It was now good for starting a fire.

So?  Don’t get discouraged when it seems like expectations are not being fulfilled.  It takes time for life to age properly and come together well.  God sees it even when we don’t.  Of course if you prefer pasturized process cheese food to a nicely aged baby Swiss, all bets are off. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017


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

Here we are told to “reprove” (3198) and told not to reprove, all in the same verse.  Others might contrast the words of Jesus to “judge not” and the words of Paul,
(2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
This is another one of those times when we are reminded that as Christians we cannot turn off our minds and go on auto-pilot.  Thinking with discernment is always in order and sometimes necessary.  It is clear that at times we are expected to correct our brothers in the faith.  As parents we are expected to train our children.  As citizens of a republic we are expected to raise our voice when the king is naked.

It is not easy.  It will not always we clear.

So?  How do we know when and where?  Two necessary perquisites.  We must be listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  And before we can listen we need to take vocabulary lessons by reading the text book.  Think of it as a quiz with questions that are always fair.  If you have studied you don’t need to worry about your grade.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Tension of Wisdom

(Proverbs 8:35 KJV)  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

One of the constant questions in my mind is the tension between a sovereign God and the free will of man.  How do they work together?

Read Job.  He was upright and blameless and yet God allowed him to be tested.  In the dialogue with Job God brings out the fact that He is God, not Job.
(Job 38:4 KJV)  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
It was like God was saying, “Just because I told Satan you were a good man doesn’t give you the right to question Me.”

And then we have passages like this that tell us we are to seek wisdom and God will reward us if we find it.

So?  The tension will not go away in this life.  Maybe in eternity we will understand.  I find the joy of knowing that in His sovereignty God has chosen to allow me awareness and free will.  At times of pain I wish I were a robot but overall I rejoice in the relationship it allows.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Just Around the Corner

(Proverbs 7:12 KJV)  Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

Temptation is everywhere.  The context here is adultery but in real life it takes many forms.  The form will be different for each person and for that person it may change every day.  Temptation deals with actions and opportunities that are a normal part of every day life.  In the right context they may even be righteous.  Take gossip.  Sharing prayer concerns and gossip differ in attitude not always in content.  Have you ever picked an apple?  Did you have permission or just take one because it was there?

Also keep in mind the sin is not in the temptation but in the completion of the opportunity presented. 

So?  Finish the day knowing that Satan is out to get you but that he can be frustrated by simply living an upright life.  Acknowledge the temptation, turn away and get on with life. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Avoidance Behavior

(Proverbs 6:4 KJV)  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

Excuses abound in my life.  When there is something that I don’t want to do I can find limitless other important tasks that need to be done.  Often they do.  Often they don’t really.  We use them to keep from doing what we want to avoid.  Here we have a young man who has done something stupid.  In this case it was co-signing on a loan for a casual acquaintance.  He knows he needs to do something about it.  He is being told to go and beg to get out of the trap.  He doesn’t want to go so he thinks he will take a nap first.

Bad choice.  Avoidance behavior.  How many times have I decided to have a little snack instead of starting some task?  Look at my waistline and you will get an idea.  There are lots of good things to do but when used as substitutes for what is needed they become bad things to do.

So?  I keep working on telling myself, “Do it now.”  Sometimes I listen and life is better.  Some times I don’t and the hole I am digging gets deeper.  Profit from my mistakes.  I am trying to. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Get Ravished

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

My wife likes to tell the kids that what attracted me was the short red dress she wore.  Since it was an asset, I can’t argue.  I am wise enough not to point out all the long discussions we had about life and how we seemed so much on the same page in our commitment to the Lord and desire to serve.  Let her have her moment.  Solomon would have nodded his head and smiled.  He knew what she was talking about.

Physical attraction is part of how God built us.  It is part of the program and it is more than a gimmick to insure the existence of the next generation.  Paul put it this way.
(1 Corinthians 7:5 KJV)  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Is it any wonder that the Prayer and Fasting League never caught on?

So?  If you are married the attraction you feel for each other is holy.  If you are not married and feel the attraction then the answer is marriage.  Children are just an added bonus.  They will certainly change your Christmas season. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Be a Hugger

(Proverbs 4:8 KJV)  Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

Are you a hugger?  I am not.  I can hug.  I have hugged.  I can hug well.  I am not a hugger.  Both translations I refer to use “embrace” (2263).  I am not an embracer either.

Just because I am not something by nature does not mean I cannot learn how and when to practice it.  I am not a runner by nature.  My advice to visitors in Boston years ago when cars were rushing toward them as they used a crosswalk, “Whatever you do, don’t lose your dignity.”  Yet I have been known to run when my children are in trouble.  I never chose to eat sushi.  If you have me to your house and serve sushi I will eat it with a smile on my face.  We can learn.

So?  Wisdom can be learned.  It is offered by God.  You have the Holy Spirit as a tutor as well as examples in living flesh around you.  Just because you are not a hugger does not mean you cannot learn wisdom.  Remember, this is a limited time offer.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Right Hand Blessing

(Proverbs 3:16 KJV)  Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Why is “long” (753) “life” (3117) something to be desired?  We could play with the KJV’s “length of days” which is more literal but that begs my question.  We could speculate that this includes eternity, and some day I might, but today I notice that the other hand has “riches” (6239) and “honor” (3519b) and, as they say, “you can’t take it with you”.  Why are we not told to hurry up and get out of this life and move on to a better world?

I think one good question deserves another.  Why did God create us in the first place?  I sometimes think that we bring joy to Him by the constant generation of new experiences.  The longer we are here on Earth the more we will have to add to the eternal stew and in some way God will savor it and allow us to join in the enjoyment.  I know there is heresy waiting just around the corner as I talk about adding to God in any way but keep in mind that the Bible seems to indicate our praise and worship are something He desires.

So?  Live long in righteousness.  Why?  This may be one of those places where God would just say, “Because I said so.” 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Boring Temptations

(Proverbs 2:16 KJV)  To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

I feel a little let down.  I don’t think I have ever needed to be rescued from an aggressive woman.  I have come across the scene in books and probably seen it on the screen.  Two people meet by accident in a bar and within a few pages are having wild and improbable sex at her place.  I am still waiting to practice my self control.  Somehow I don’t think it is going to happen with all that drama.

I need wisdom to “deliver” (5337) me from more mundane things.  With me it is more meeting a box of Cheese-Its in a grocery store and within a few pages having wild and too common gluttony in the recliner at my place.  It isn’t quite as exciting.  Hollywood won’t make a movie about it.  I still need delivery.

So?  Wisdom will give us the focus to help us deal with the real challenges we face.  They may come in a box or in a conversation.  Help is not on the way, it has arrived. 

Friday, December 1, 2017


(Proverbs 1:11 KJV)  If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:

This compound word “without cause” (2600) is fairly common in the OT.  It should be telling us something about how we respond to people.  We have often been taught that certain things, such as killing, are always forbidden.  We get the idea that we should never get angry.  Maybe that is not true based on this term.

Obviously some things are always wrong.  There is never a legitimate reason to jump someone in the dark and rob them.  But there are many things in life which are acceptable, or even necessary, if the situation is right.  You would not normally go and pound on your neighbors door at 2:00 A.M. but if his house is on fire he would understand.  You don’t normally get up and walk out of church but you might if the pastor has just denied the divinity of Christ.

At the core is our motivation and the path of reasoning we have followed. 

So?  Make sure you don’t rationalize what God will punish.  Keep seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and enrich your mind with the words God has given to us for that help. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017


(Proverbs 30:22 KJV)  For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;

It used to be said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  Of course that would be considered sexist today, even if it is still true.  It may be true but it reflects the opening salvo of a relationship.  Good cooking is not enough to build a life long relationship on.  Neither is looks or sex.  The point being made here is that a “fool” (5036) tends to be one dimensional.

If your measure of success is food then you are a fool.  Proverbs also has the same thing to say about people fixated with wealth and power.  People who only have one interest tend to be driven in that area but ignore the rest.  Followers of Jesus need to be well rounded.  No one will be great in everything and a person who is at the 50 percentile in everything is boring but we cannot rest on one strength.

So?  We may only have one gift but we have all of the fruit.  Both rooms of our character need to be developed. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Forks and Choices

(Proverbs 29:26 KJV)  Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.

Remember the words of Joshua,
(Joshua 24:15 KJV)  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
The part that sticks with us is “choose you this day whom ye will serve;...”  For Joshua it was a fork-in-the-road day.  It was a matter of picking one and going in a different direction.  That is really too simple.  Oh, that it was that easy.  In reality we make this decision repeatedly.

Walking with Jesus is just that, a walk.  It is a series of steps, each one involving choices on direction, length of stride, speed and which way we lean.  It might be possible to move forward while you lean back and throw your center of gravity behind your feet, but you would be stretching it to call it walking.  In the same way it is not safe to turn left when your eyes are to the right.  Try it in a grocery aisle some day.

So?  Seek the Lord’s favor.  Whether it leads to a longer life is up to Him.  I guarantee it will lead to a happier eternity. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Nation of Law

(Proverbs 28:4 KJV)  They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

We are supposed to be a nation of law and be ruled by law.  What does that mean?  It means that our society has agreed on certain types of behavior.  Some actions are acceptable; others no.  Right and wrong are defined and the standards are written down.  They are not to be changed to benefit one powerful individual.  They are not to be ignored when it is convenient.  In a broad sense that is the idea here.  As Christians we are to be law abiding.

We see that concept comes from the Bible.  The law referred to here is not the civil code that tells you not to park in front of a fire hydrant.  It is talking about the law of God which is demonstrated by, but not limited to, the Ten Commandments.  The principle is rooted in the Hebrew tradition.  God does not change.  Right and wrong do not change.  There are situations where it might be hard to make a decision but the unchanging principles are always there to guide us.

So?  Again, how can you know the rules unless you read the book?  How can you know what is wicked and who is wicked?  We are to support the righteous and abandon the evil.  It is the law. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Attitude Trumps Action

(Proverbs 27:14 KJV)  He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

I wonder if this is a verse about attitude or motive.  The action is praiseworthy.  We are to bless people, even our enemies.
(Romans 12:14 KJV)  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
This is what turning the other cheek and going the extra mile involves.  The problem inferred here is that we can cancel any good we do if our motive is not right.  A loud voice early in the morning says you are either trying to irritate or trying to impress.

What does this say about other things we do in life?  I think the same principle applies. 

So?  It is good to do the right things.  It is vital to have the right motivation.  Other people may not know but you do and so does God. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017


(Proverbs 26:12 KJV)  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

At this point the NASB is more literal when it says “eyes” (5869), which the KJV translates “his own conceit”.  The literal is good but this is one of those places where the interpretive aspect of translation is helpful.  I think that conceit is a common problem today.  We have the label of the “me generation”.  That would apply to every man and woman who has lived on the earth because the basis of sin from the Garden of Eden on has been me-ism.  Human beings rebel against God because they want to be Lord of their own lives.  People reject the life Jesus expects us to live because it demands submission.  Submission does not mix smoothly with modern teachings about self-esteem.  Reaching for the tree in the garden is an attitude supported and reinforced today.

So?  Many times there are teachings that are both/and.  This is an either/or.  Jesus said,
(Matthew 6:24 KJV)  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Who am I to tell you differently.  Make wise choices today.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Earrings and Pony-tails

(Proverbs 25:12 KJV)  As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

I tend to get distracted by cultural aberrations.  I have my normal.  There is a penumbra with raised eyebrows.  From their we move to strange and on to evil incarnate.  To me it is almost like every day is Halloween and the problem is really in me, not in the people I am observing. 

Sunday was an example.  I was visiting another church and when it was time for the sermon this guy got up on the platform and my mind just started saying, “No.”  Someone brought out a stool with a bottle on it.  I assume it was water, but one never knows, does one?  Then this guy walks out and I am assuming he will be a comedian opening up for the pastor.  Maybe he has an announcement about a street ministry.  No, he was an elder in the church and has been asked to teach today. 

He was very fashionable if you know modern ideas of fashion.  He was wearing the required jeans that looked like they had come from a dumpster behind a thrift store.  I kept telling myself they were probably very expensive.  You don’t get those perfect tears and irregular fading without a lot of artistic work.  They really were not dirty.  They just looked that way.  I adjusted to that and the required long sleeve plaid shirt worn with the tails out and the sleeves rolled half way up the forearms.  He was very contemporary.

What I had trouble getting past was his head.  Being a bit overweight made it wider than it was high.  This was emphasized by a haircut that had his head shaved up to the 10 and 2 o’clock positions.  At first I thought he had a Mohawk but then, when he turned his head, I saw that he had one of those cute little pony-tails sticking out about two inches from the back.  It was not long enough to hang down.  It stuck out.  It caught my eye every time he turned his head.

Why am I sharing all that?  After a few minutes I was able to get beyond the devotion to current trends and actually listen to what he had to say.  He was preaching about anger and how God expects us to control it.  When I listened he had a lot to share.  Notice our verse in Proverbs.  It talks about ear-rings.  It doesn’t say women.  I think we can assume that in Solomon’s day men wore earrings.  We can assume they did not wear pants.  They would look strange to us.

So?  Don’t let fashion or the lack of it keep you from listening to what God is trying to tell you.  It is too easy to judge people by the way they dress.  They may not know any better.  Or, it may be you that doesn’t know any better.  Look to the heart.  Look with agape. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Stick Shift

(Proverbs 24:13 KJV)  My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

The contemporary mantra is that sugar is bad for you.  I am not on that bandwagon except to observe that just about anything in excess is bad for you.  To me refined sugar is simply taking something that occurs naturally in our world and extracting it because it brings pleasure.  There is nothing wrong with the “sweet” (4966) things of life. 

Sin comes into life when we take the gifts of God and misuse them.  That can be in gluttony and excess.  In this chapter we are told to enjoy honey.  In the next chapter, in verses 16 and 27 we are warned not to overdo it.  Think of your after dinner mint like your medication.  Just because one pill encourages health it does not follow that twenty will make you even better.

Misuse can also be in avoiding what God has declared good.  Sweets?  Meat?  Marriage?  How many other blessings have been proscribed in the quest for a holiness that is not of God?

So?  Moderation, timing and balance are keys to an upright life.  Although they can be developed, for many of us they will never be like an automatic transmission.  The interaction of a clutch, brake and throttle will always be with us. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Family Pattern

(Proverbs 23:22 KJV)  Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

There are a number of assumptions in this verse.  Those assumptions are consistent with the entire Bible.  One assumption is that a man will father a child and be around to raise it.  Men are not just studs.  We do not exist for the sole purpose of impregnating the female and then going on our way.  A child cannot listen unless we are around.  He should not listen unless we are trying to mold his character.

The second is that the father and mother will be married for life.  Mom is also still around.  She is “old” (2204).  They have grown old together.  In English the word is translated like an adjective.  In the Hebrew it is a verb.  She is old and getting older.  She got that way raising you and putting up with your father. 

So?  If you still have both parents, rejoice.  If you don’t, honor their memory.  If one was AWOL then trust the Lord to fill in the gaps for you.  You are not alone. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Right to Choose

(Proverbs 22:24 KJV)  Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

The KJV states clearly what is only inferred in the NASB.  The NASB says to not “associate” (7462b) which would be almost impossible.  Paul points that out. 
(1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NAS77)  I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.
The KJV zeroes in on what we can control.  It tells us not to “make friends” with the wrong kind of people.  Here the emphasis is on the “furious” (hot-tempered NASB) (2534).  Other places there are other warnings. 

So?  We can choose the people we develop deep relationships with.  Choose wisely. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Renew Your Subscription

(Proverbs 21:27 KJV)  The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

The idea of sacrifice (2077) does not stand in isolation.  In spite of owning the cattle on a thousand hills, God seems to be thrifty.  Because of that, sacrifice includes a feast.  This might not apply for the smaller offerings of the poor but when an ox or a sheep was offered up for atonement only a portion was consumed by the fire.  The rest went for food.  Consider the verse often quoted for the tithe,
(Malachi 3:10 KJV)  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
This also bring to mind the abuse of the communion meal in I Corinthians 11.  What was intended to bring the body of Christ together became a vehicle for snobbery, selfishness and class warfare.  That was because people were coming for communion who were “wicked” (7563).  That was why Paul called for them to examine themselves.
(1 Corinthians 11:27 KJV)  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
So?  This is not a call for you to be the judge of where the person down the pew stands in relation to God.  This is a call for you to make sure that you are up to date.  Don’t let your salvation subscription run out. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Keep Your Head Down

(Proverbs 20:2 KJV)  The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

It is sad to say but our government is getting so strong and bureaucratic that it is almost impossible for the average citizen to deal with.  Bureaucracy was developed by the Chinese to make government more efficient.  On its good side it makes the process clear and defines who is responsible to whom.  In the nightmare of maturity it becomes a intractable maze that depends on the whim of low level employees.  I remember the time I went to renew my drivers license and the eye condition I dealt with all my life was suddenly an issue.  Because the clerk didn’t want to be bothered I had to waste hours of my life going through paperwork channels.  Picture what it would be like if you are accused of a crime you could not have committed or assessed a tax you should not have to pay.

It is sad to say that the best thing to do is stay off the radar.  In a day when government officials are defining believing Christians as domestic terrorists it becomes wiser than ever to keep your head down and your mouth shut.  Of course that is not always possible because we are commanded by God to be salt and light.

So?  Pick your battles.  Make sure that your are speaking on issues that are supported by Biblical principles and ultimately walk in faith.  Persecution should be because of righteousness, not self-righteousness. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017


(Proverbs 19:29 KJV)  Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.

There is some truth in the fact that God loves all people.
(Acts 10:34 KJV)  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
At the same time He does not treat us all the same and we are not supposed to treat everyone identically.  Here we see two types of personalities that are not to be given the benefit of the doubt.

“Scoffers” (3917b) are already judged.  That may not seem fair.  Everyone deserves another chance in our current cultural thinking, but remember the words of Jesus.
(John 3:18 KJV)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
A scoffer refuses to believe. 

So?  Be kind and courteous.  Show agape to everyone.  At the same time don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everyone is acceptable to God or that you will be accepted if you live in rebellion or rejection. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Did You Wash Your Hands?

(Proverbs 18:17 KJV)  He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.

It is not only acceptable to ask questions, it is important.  It may even be a requirement.  There may be times when we must accept the first word.  There are times of crisis and short encounters but often we have time to “searcheth” (examine NASB) (2713) what people tell us.  It isn’t even that people are trying to deceive.  Sometimes it is just a case of being too lazy to examine what they remember.

We are given the responsibility to think and assist others in thinking.  Questioning is important.  Being considered a skeptic might be the difference between knowing the truth and living a lie.  You never know.  When you ask your child if they washed their hands it is usually just a precaution but there will be that time when it will make a difference between getting sick or staying healthy.  The sickness can vary from a runny nose to a fatal disease.

So?  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  The masses are often too happy with their bread and circuses.  We are to be salt and salt makes a difference. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Welcome to Life

(Proverbs 17:8 KJV)  A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

Are you comfortable with the idea of a “gift" (bribe NASB) (7810)?  We have many common extensions of this concept.  While bribing someone is illegal we accept tipping for good service.  One difference is that usually tipping comes after and is voluntary.  A job bonus might be the same, but what about “discounts” and “free samples”? 

This is a simple observation that the person getting the advantage because of a gift is quite pleased with themselves.  Like so many gray areas of life the moral value depends on the intent and attitude of the actor and the results of the action.

So?  Life is not always easy.  Decisions are not always clear.  Sometimes all we can do is focus on the inner values that have been instilled by faithful reading of the word, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and trust God.  Welcome to life. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sons of Belial

(Proverbs 16:27 KJV)  An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

If you have a background in the KJV you are familiar with this word “worthless” (1100) as a transliteration of the Hebrew.  It is usually accompanied by the words “sons” or “children” and you see “sons of Belial”.  The root meaning of the word is “good for nothing”.  Although there are no numbers or percentages given here the implication throughout Proverbs is that many good-for-nothings are running around loose.

The old “chicken or the egg” question comes up.  Are they worthless because they bring out evil or are they evil because they are worthless.  It really doesn’t make much difference.  We need to be aware that all men are not benevolent or simply mistaken.  We must make sure that we are not falling into this trap.

So?  Evil exists in greater numbers than we want to admit.  We are called to be righteous.  It makes for a world with a lot of tension. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Eavesdrop on Life

(Proverbs 15:23 KJV)  A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

There is a second quality in learning and growing.  We need a "word in due season" (“timely” (6256) “word” (1697) NASB).  When I first read this I saw myself as the one giving the wisdom.  As I read it again I begin to realize that maybe I am the one who is receiving.  We are reminded to listen to those around us worth listening to.

Sometimes we are prodded by something in a sermon.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us through a conversation we are eavesdropping on.  Sometimes we may have asked a good question and actually paid attention to the answer.  If our hearts are hungry, God will supply us with what we need.

So?  Listen.  Expect.  Be alert.  The answers are out there.  Make sure that they don’t need to be repeated or you might miss the high tide. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gallows Humor

(Proverbs 14:13 KJV)  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

I think of this as a possible endorsement of “gallows humor”.  I say that because I have rarely seen a situation in which I cannot see something to joke about.  Often I have the common sense to realize my one liner would be in bad taste and only cause more “pain” (3510).  Too frequently my mouth exceeds the speed of thought. 

It is also a reminder that even the love of Christ does not shelter us from the stubbed toes of life.  Look at the life of Paul.  Look at the rejection of the prophets.  For that matter, Jesus knew a bit of suffering Himself.  The good news is that even in the dark times we are walking in the light.  Don’t think of the low spots as being abandoned by God or punishment for some moment of weakness.

So?  We have a hope, an assurance, based on the character of God and made possible by the blood of Christ.  Rejoice in the hard times and laugh if you can.  Just don’t expect everyone to see the lighter side. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sweat Capital

(Proverbs 13:11 KJV)  Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time discussing life with a few millennials.  It is like talking to aliens from outer space.  They have starry eyed dreams of making a big splash in life but they don’t have a job now.  Actually this way of thinking has been around for generations.  I would guess it was fifteen or twenty years ago I had a conversation with a young woman who in desperation had taken a job teaching middle school.   She was constantly frustrated with the daily grind of the classroom and the ridiculous demands of administration.  Part of the problem was that she was teaching science with only a few classes in anthropology under her belt.  The bigger problem was a sense of entitlement.  Her dignity was attacked because she had taken all kinds of classes in public policy and she “was trained to be the one behind the desk giving orders, not the one out in the field.”

Too many people want the rewards of hard work and don’t want to put in the hours required.  I see budding musicians who will never know success because they don’t see the importance of learning their scales.  I see future NBA stars who will never get off the playground because they think they are too good to learn discipline. 

So?  Don’t sneer at hard work.  It is the path to success.  This is true in our careers, our child rearing and our spiritual walks. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

No Smoking

(Proverbs 12:9 KJV)  He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Does the phrase “smoke and mirrors” ring any bells?  How about “all smoke and no fire”?  We tend to get distracted by the spectacular and showy.  It is part of human nature.  Stage magicians have perfected the art of illusion and misdirection.  The rabbit does not really come out of the hat.  What they get the masses to do is assume something and believe it based on that assumption. 

The only way we can get around this is to know what is true and reject that which we know is not.  It used to be called common sense but as people have lost contact with the wisdom of the ages it is replaced by mob psychology.  It is better to drive an old car that is paid for than to have a leased one that you can’t really afford.  Sending your child to day care does not get them ahead in life as much as the faithful attention of a mother.  It doesn’t matter that everyone else is doing it.  It doesn’t matter that some children seem to come through it just fine. 

So?  Again I harp on the principle of reading and thinking about what the word says to us.  Only then can we judge truth from fiction.  Only one leads to eternal life. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Two Step

(Proverbs 11:20 KJV)  They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.

This seems to be comparing apples and oranges.  We have “heart” (3820) which refers to the inner man and “way" (walk NASB) (1870) which refers to the outer.  Some people like to ignore that both are necessary. 

We must have an inner transformation.  We see words like “washed”, “cleansed” and “filled”.  These are accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit through the grace of God.  It doesn’t matter how well you follow the rules if you are still in your sins. 

There must be an “upright” (blameless NASB) (8549) aspect.  That has to do with our volitional actions.  We are expected to expend willful energy walking in obedience.  It is still done through the power of the Spirit working in our lives but demands our willing cooperation.  It doesn’t do much good to have a date in your Bible that you can point to on which you were saved if there is no fruit from that moment.

So?  I would rather “delight” (7522) the Lord than be an “abomination” (8441). 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tortoise Time

(Proverbs 10:26 KJV)  As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

As I looked at the context I noticed that this verse had a different pattern than the two surrounding it.  As I looked a little further I saw that the two forms are mixed through the chapter.  Some of the verses contrast two thoughts.  This continues or elaborates on the first idea. 
The issue being addressed is sloth, one of the seven deadly sins.  The NASB uses the modern term of “lazy” (6102).  I say modern because it does not seem to appear in the KJV, which here uses “sluggard”.   The danger is more than being slow.  It is a slowness that is caused by a lack of focus and application.  Think of the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare.  The hare was very quick but did not apply himself.  The tortoise was slow but always working toward the goal. 

So?  Are you frustrated because you are not the horse with the fancy saddle?  Maybe God needs a sure footed donkey to get the job done. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Well Earned Slap Down

(Proverbs 9:7 KJV)  He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

If you are anxious to see how this works go to a public forum of some sort, stand up and make a defense of Biblical marriage.  The very thought makes me shudder.  I would hope that if the occasion demanded it, I would have the courage to stand and speak the truth as God has established it.  I still shudder.  You know what would happen.  At the very least you would be called names and the polite ones would end in “phobe”.  You would also stand a good chance of physical assault and/or legal action.

If this happens, and it probably will, wear the accusations as a badge of honor.  Understand that it is not you they are rejecting but the God you serve.

So?  Think twice before you make a public statement.  Ask yourself if anyone will listen.  Ask God if it is necessary.  The second thought should outweigh the first.  I don’t think this is telling us not to speak but to not be naive about the reaction. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Promises, Promises

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

The Bible is full of promises.  We like to quote them and we should.  What we like to overlook is the conditional nature of those promises.  This chapter in Proverbs is full of promises.  In this verse we have the vision of being “blessed” (835).  I would like to live that.  The rest I am not always so sure about.

Notice the three requirements for the one promise.  We are to pay attention, daily, at our assigned post.  We can’t sleep-in until the celestial alarm clock goes off and expect to get the prize.

So?  It is all very wonderful, and Biblical, to believe in the sovereignty of God.  I believe in it myself.  Salvation is a gift that God chooses to give.  The other side of that is He can also choose not to give.  In His sovereignty He makes the decisions of bestowing blessings.  Are you feeling lucky today or do you think it might help somehow to follow the directions? 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Where’s It Happening?

(Proverbs 7:11 KJV)  (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:

How many of our problems come to us because we are not willing to “abide” (remain NASB) (7931) at our “house” (home NASB) (1004).  Here Solomon is specifically targeting a woman on the prowl, but the principle catches all of us in its beam.  This was written before the days of internet porn, what they are calling “cyberbullying”, hackers invading privacy and even the Home Shopping Network.  We have many ways to get in trouble without leaving the house.

But again, the principle applies.  Take something we all have to deal with, more day than money.  I don’t know if you have ever run a test of expenses by writing everything down that you spend.  It is amazing how much goes towards activities outside the home that are not necessary.  One example hits most of us.  We have countless franchises of fast food sirens, all catering to people who say things like, “It is cheaper to eat out” or “I am too tired to cook”.  Really?  Are you too tired to work that extra job to pay for it?

So?  The problem is not working hard or having a second job.  The problem is trading the time we have to prepare for eternity with being out “where it is happening”.  It should be happening in your home.  God is with you everywhere but He can get you to listen better in certain situations. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

In Praise of Nagging

(Proverbs 6:3 KJV)  Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

I wonder if Jesus had this in mind when He told the story about the widow who kept after the judge until he gave her justice.  Notice the reason he gave.
(Luke 18:5 KJV)  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
It would seem that nagging can have positive results. 

The biggest problem is admitting that we made a mistake.  First we need to admit it to ourselves, then confess it to the neighbor.  Then keep confessing until you get some action.

So?  Honesty and persistence are steps that we need to add to our arsenal of daily living.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Life Basics

(Proverbs 5:18 KJV)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Faithful monogamy.  It is such a simple standard.  It is such a clear standard.  It is such an ignored standard in our day.  It reflects the special place that the marriage relationship has in the heart of God.

It is sexual and permissive within the bounds of monogamous marriage. 

It is familial, giving the foundation for the raising of children.

It is collegial, it shares the responsibilities, trials and joys of life.

It is deep.  When the years pass you may lose the shine but you remember the sparkle and keep the spark alive.

So?  Believers should be setting the example of what marriage is. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Leftover Pumpkins Won’t Help

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

The translation from NASB starts of with totally different wording.
(Proverbs 4:7 NAS77)  "The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
The difference is not in the Hebrew.  First, look at the words in italics.  Both are inserted to make it flow.  The key word translated differently is “beginning” (7225) or “principle”.  It has the idea of being first in importance.  If I were translating it, which is always dangerous, I would start with,
(Proverbs 4:7 Pumice Pathetic Paraphrase) Wisdom first.  Get Wisdom....
This tells us a couple of things.  First, wisdom is vital.  It is not an option.  It is a requirement.  Second, it ain’t gonna happen unless we make it a priority.  God is not like the Fairy God Mother who waves her wand and turns mice and a pumpkin into a coach and four.  Third, it is available to everyone.

So?  What are you waiting for, Cinderella?  No one is going to be able to acquire wisdom for you.  God will award it but only to those who seek. 

Friday, November 3, 2017


(Proverbs 3:15 KJV)  She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

There are times when we need to put on our thinking caps and get beyond the words of scripture.  I am not a big fan of “rubies” (jewels NASB) (6443).  I do not understand why people are fascinated with jewelry.  That does not just apply to the old geezer with a big medallion and gold chains.  It refers to things like engagement rings and all things that go sparkle.  When you look at the Hebrew word you find several possible translations.  One of them is coral. 

Think of this as a term used like we use “Kleenex” or “Coke”.  It is kind of generic for things that show wealth.  We might think in terms of a Rolls Royce or Lamborghini.  To see is to be impressed.  Wisdom is, or should be, of more value to us than any of these sparklies. 

One reason wisdom is not so popular is that it does not draw attention to the person using it.  It is not ostentatious.  It is not loud.  It is not pushy.  It often goes unnoticed.  We should still seek it and value it.

So?  Be really different.  Be wise. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Emergency Reserves

(Proverbs 2:7 KJV)  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

As I was reading this chapter I again wrestled with the meaning of “wisdom” (8454).  Traditionally most cultures have associated wisdom with advanced age because older people have more experience.  At the same time we are aware that many people just become bigger fools as they move through life. 

So what is wisdom?

We know it is rooted in a fear of the Lord which means a person must know enough about God to fear Him.  This chapter up until now talks about listening and learning from the words and teaching given by God.  We would associate that with the Bible.  My thought for today is that wisdom is based on knowing the right principles and standards.  In some cases wisdom is kind of obvious.  Look at the list of the Ten Commandments.  There is little to argue with unless you are an atheist who rejects God or a rebel who refuses to worship God.  But there are bigger principles, more subtle if you will, that need to be applied in complex situations. 

What do you do when you need to chose between two principles?  The standard example is the people who were hiding Jews from the Nazis.  They lied.  They disobeyed the government.  Most of us understand that.  The situations we face are a little more complex.

So?  No guru is going to give us answers for every little crossroad we come to.  We need to build our own reserve of principles that we can apply to cloudy paths.  We need to walk “uprightly” (in integrity NASB) (8537) so we develop skill in applying the principles.  We need to be listening so that the discernment is available as the Holy Spirit speaks.  Be Wise. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Windows of Enticement

(Proverbs 1:10 KJV)  My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

My daughter and I somehow were talking about smoking and she asked me if I had ever tried tobacco.  When I said, “No”, I explained the different stages I had gone through.  One of the stages was a short period where I would have tried it if someone had offered me one.  After that brief window I was not open to it at all.  If someone had enticed me I would have at least opened a door to a different direction in life.

Or maybe not.  Perhaps one drag would have been enough.  I have enough confidence to the work of the Holy Spirit to believe that if I had been that stupid, Providence would have made me wake up. 

So?  The fact remains that there are temptations around us and they are often active, not passive.  The active are often easier to resist than the ones that just lay in wait.  Remember that line from the Lord’s Prayer, “...and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,...”  Next time you are at church and the congregation recites it, let it jump out and wake you up.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mundane Majesty

(Proverbs 31:25 KJV)  Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

“Honour” (dignity NASB) (1926) is a case of undertranslation.   It is used widely from an ox to old men but the most common reference is to God himself.  The most common translation in the NASB is “majesty”.  The KJV uses “glory” and “majesty” most frequently.  In this case we are looking at a description of the model wife.  We do not get the picture of a simpering little doormat who runs around picking up socks.  This verse is wedged in transition between her business activity and her spiritual contributions.  It speaks of her character.

“Dignity” (1926) is a quality that can be cultivated but it can become artificial and proud.  Instead of majestic it can become pompous and arrogant.  The key for us is to let it become a reflection of the time we have spent with the Lord and a product of worship rather than the results of a self help program.

So?  Daily exposure to majesty gives us a dignity that is life resistant.  Thus patience becomes a fruit of the Spirit not a result of discipline.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Day of the Lord

(Proverbs 30:21 KJV)  For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

What does it take to be an “earth” (776) shaking event?  One of the patterns I follow is to hit the “next blog” button on my internet page after I have posted my blog and exited.  It is amazing what people blog about.  I land on sites from Africa fairly frequently.  The events that they focus on are of no importance to us, or so we think.  Many of the screaming headlines of our lives are vague echoes over there. 

Have you noticed how the threats close to home are the most real?  We have survived Hurricane Harvey.  Under the radar has been the fires in the Western United States.  While we are worried about rescuing pets in Houston, Mexico is hit by an earthquake that kills more in one hour than Harvey killed in a week.  Our focus is on the local.

So?  The continued reminder of Proverbs is that as much as our world rocks, our Rock is not moved.  Is today a red letter day for you?  Maybe a black letter day.  We have the “Day that shall live in infamy”.  Halloween has been relabeled the “Day of the Dead”.  For us we are reminded that “this is the day the Lord hath made”.  Prepare to rejoice in it. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Road of Trust

(Proverbs 29:25 KJV)  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

I remember when I used to live near Boston and went each day into the bowels of the city.  I pastored a small church in a neighborhood that many feared to drive through, let alone walk the streets.  I don’t remember ever being too worried about it.  I did have my car broken into once but since I didn’t have anything worth stealing I was mainly frustrated by the cost of fixing the window on our skeletal finances.

I had a choice to make and made it every day.  I could choose to live in “fear” (2731) or I could “trust” (982).  Although I had many struggles with times of depression I kept coming back to the road of trust.  That is what being saved through faith involves.  It is not just trusting God for my salvation.  It is not just having my sins forgiven.  It is an attitude that diffuses into every area of life.  Thus when we were a potential target for Hurricane Harvey I was mainly worried about the roof of our new home leaking.  I also tend to enjoy earthquakes and thunder storms. 

So?  It could be I am crazy or that I have learned to trust in a few areas.  Each day, each step it is a trust and a commitment that is renewed.  Sometimes I teeter on the rim of despair but so far the Lord has pulled me back.  I expect, or trust, it to continue. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Common Oppression

(Proverbs 28:3 KJV)  A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

One way in which the “poor” (7326) can oppress the “poor” (lowly NASB) (1800b) is by taking charity, free food or some type of welfare when they don’t really need it.  In the Hebrew there are two different words.  That is not reflected in the KJV.  Score one for the NASB.  I always liked the wisdom of the proverbial saint who said, “We were not poor.  We just didn’t have much money.”  The first word here represents what we would call the lower classes of America.  They don’t have big bank accounts.  They might live in small homes.  They might drive old cars.  In spite of that they are keeping the wolf away from the door.  They often have Air Conditioning, cable, internet and a second car. 

The second word is where most of the world is at.  They go without food some days.  They live in one room huts and have no access to medical care.  They are not able to work or there is no work available.  They are truly destitute.  When those who can work take what is intended for those who cannot, it is the poor oppressing the poor.  This type of oppression is more prevalent than the rich oppressing the poor.  Think how much would be available if we could do away with graft and fraud in the different social programs. 

So?  Often there is little you or I can do except act as watchmen.  We can report abuse.  We can vote for people with genuine 365/7/24 Christian values.  And of course, we can make sure that when we receive some help that we really need it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Giving the Shirt on Your Back

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

From whom are we to “take” (3947) the “garment” (899b)?  From the one who guaranteed the loan, not from the borrower who did not pay.  In this case the one who co-signs is considered as much a fool as the one doing the borrowing.  He is as much a fool and more accountable because he knows better. 

How many actions will we take that are foolish but we make excuses for doing it.  This summer has seen a slew of natural disasters.  Fires in California.  Hurricanes in Texas and Florida.  Earthquakes in Mexico.  As Christians our hearts respond and our pocketbooks are touched.  How many have been irresponsible enough to give their hard earned and much needed money to charities that use most of it to pay bloated salaries to executives and buy advertising to generate more income?  It is not a question of giving, it is a question of giving wisely.

So?  Don’t co-sign unless you are willing to give the shirt off your back in the process.  God might demand it. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017


(Proverbs 26:11 KJV)  As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Why does the Bible take such a dim view of “dogs” (3611)?  They are rated with pigs in the hierarchy of creation.  They obviously exist but seem to be nothing much but scavengers.  When you think about it the Bible doesn’t seem to make pets a major topic.  What does that say about our modern culture where we hear about people leaving their estate to a favorite animal?  When we had our will redone lately the lawyer stuck in some boilerplate about animals.

So?  Think of your priorities.  Think of your preferences.  Should pets have the place of honor that they do in our homes?  I am not an animal person but consider me like the ignorant child who asked why the king was running around naked. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Moments of Gold

(Proverbs 25:11 KJV)  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

How do we know if what we say is “apples” (8598) of “gold” (2091) or just prunes of bronze?  This is the beginning of a series of word pictures that convey the importance of a word spoken at the right time.  This verse emphasizes the proper timing.  Next comes content and the third element is the character of the speaker.  Two out of the three are choices we make.

We should be careful about waiting for the right moment.  I know that can just be an excuse but in reality we can often do a better job.  It might be a good idea to check our own motivation.  The right moment is not the one that makes us look good but has a chance of being heard.

So?  Wait actively for the right moment.  It may come only once.  To be honest, it may never come and you will realize that what was so important, wasn’t. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Double Standard

(Proverbs 24:12 KJV)  If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

When a student would pass me in the hall and say, “See you next period” I would often respond with, “Is that a promise or a threat?”  I feel the same way about this verse.  It has two statements that can be good or bad, depending on my mood of the moment.  The first is that God “pondereth” (weighs NASB) (8505) our “hearts” (3820).  On the good side, when we mess up in spite of the best of intentions, God knows what was the desire of our heart.  On the bad side, when we do a hallelujah chorus with the wrong motivation He also knows what is going on inside. 

The second is that He is going to “render” (7725) according to our “works” (6467).  This points out that God expects us to live obedient lives.  Yes, we are saved by grace.  That simply means we can never do enough to deserve forgiveness and salvation is God’s gift in spite of that.  However, that is no excuse for living debauched lives.

So?  Take it as a both/and moment.  God sees what we do and knows why we do it.  Fear and rejoice. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Deadly Sin Number Two

(Proverbs 23:21 KJV)  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

What is gluttony?  It is one of those words that gets slippery when you try to pin it down.  Gluttony is something someone else does.  Feasting is what I do.  The Bible is full of feasting and celebrating.  Think of the fatted calf prepared for the Prodigal Son.  Think of Wisdom in chapter 9 calling us to eat and drink.  Then you have Jesus feeding the five thousand until they were full.  So what qualifies you as a “glutton” (2151b)?

It is more than overeating.  The root of the word has to do with treating lightly or making worthless.  I think in terms of waste.  I think of having no awareness of the amount of work it took to put the food in front of you.  Thus most Americans qualify as gluttons even if they do not overeat.  The waste aspect could apply to people who sit down to a meal, fill their plates and don’t eat it. 

So?  Gluttony is one of those sliding scale things based on attitudes.  It is something that we can know in our hearts but deny all day.  It is a sin and thus needs to be take seriously.  In fact, it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Think about that. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Don’t Worry about Uriah

(Proverbs 22:23 KJV)  For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

I can remember days when I was on my way to our Monday faculty meeting.  I would meet other teachers in the hall and we would be cheering each other up on the way down the hall.  We tried to convince ourselves that it would not be that bad and some times by the time we got to the door we had succeeded.  Then we walked in the door and saw the person our principal had brought to share wisdom and you could almost see us deflate.  That is what is being talked about in the second part of this verse. 

The NASB says “take (6906) the life (5315)” but that seems a little too strong.  I think the KJV hits it on the head with “spoil the soul”.  He will rain on their parade.  He will prick their bubble.  He will throw a monkey-wrench in their gears.  He is going after those who have been messing with the poor.  God is working quietly behind the scenes to make life unpleasant for those who prey upon the weak.  We don’t usually see it because people are so good at covering up their pain. 

So?  Don’t worry about the punishment or justice that some people deserve.  The inner soul conflict is already in motion.  The price is being paid.  Focus on being obedient and generous yourself and let God worry about the Uriah Heep’s of your life. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Is Share a Noun or a Verb

(Proverbs 21:26 KJV)  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

For my wife “coveting” (craving NASB) (183) something is an excuse to go out to eat.  I can satisfy mine by opening the refrigerator.  This idea is a little stronger than that.  This is more like the drug addict craving his next fix and willing to do anything to get it.  This is the sports fan who will ignore his family and other commitments because another game has come on the TV.  It might be why some people have so many pairs of shoes. 

The contrast here is in attitude more than actions.  The contrast is between the taker and the giver.  In our day the culture is enshrining the victims and trying to please a large number of people who have demands but don’t know how to give.  We have vocal whiners who can do nothing but complain and point out how they deserve more.

The righteous gives and gives again.

So?  How do you want God to look on you?  What does He see?  Does He see someone who ignores all the blessings and just wants more shiny or does He see someone who wants to pass on the prosperity they have received?  This is why the scripture says that unto him who has much, more will be given.  He knows how to share. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Wisdom Meter

(Proverbs 20:1 KJV)  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

This is a pretty clear statement.  If you get drunk, you are not “wise” (2449).  We have the wise; we have the fools.  Is there an in between or a continuum?  What do we call all the people in between?  I am thinking that perhaps neither on is an absolute.  I think we have all had times when we seemed to see things clearly and other times when it was like our brain forgot to come back from lunch.  It would seem that what we do in the physical realm effects us in the intellectual and spiritual.  That would explain why too many naps can sap our initiative and gluttony sate our acuity.  Physical discipline can enhance or drain our lives.

On second thought, does the wine deaden the wisdom or does getting drunk mean you never had any?

So?  Don’t eat, drink and be merry or tomorrow you may die.  If you don’t die you will move toward the wrong end of the wisdom meter. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Skip the Pastry

(Proverbs 19:28 KJV)  An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.

I was struck by the different words used in the KJV and NASB in the second half of this verse.  Actually it was one Hebrew word.  If the NASB did not have a marginal reading that said “literally swallows” I would wonder if they had done their homework.  The NASB has the “wicked” (7563) spreading “iniquity” (205).  This is the only place that it is translated that way.  The most common translation is “swallow”, so the KJV gets it right.

It makes a difference.  The point is that the evil people of the world consume and add to their wickedness.  They seek it out.  We would look at pornography as a sample.  It always amazes me how often we take the epidemic of porn consumption and talk about how even Christians are hooked on the stuff.  I am not sure that is how God sees it.  I think He tends to look at it more as the wicked devouring iniquity.  They don’t just give it out, they take it in.

So?  Pornography is just an obvious example.  There are many sources of evil around us.  They are always tempting.  We are like diabetics in a bakery.  There is whole wheat bread for sale but our eyes and nose are only aware of the temptations.  Beware.