An Idea Borrowed

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

Monday, October 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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Fit

(Proverbs 18:16 KJV)  A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

I remember a man named Reuben Welch.  I am not sure if he is still alive, but if he is he has the “gift” (4976) of longevity.  He was one of the preachers that could speak for an hour and a half and still have everyone without hemorrhoids still with him.  He shared the time in his life when he realized he was not “God’s golden boy”.  Have you reached that point?  I have.

I realized that I would never be a big fish in a big pond.  I am not gifted enough to compete on that level.  As we search for a church we can endure my wife will ask me if I am going to get involved in the music.  I can only laugh.  While I am good enough to be a stand out in a small church with limited talent, I am out of my league in the kind of church she is looking for.  I know it.  I don’t like it but I know it.

I may end up doing what I did last time I was in a big church.  I may take my guitar and help the three year olds sing Father Abraham.  The true artists tend to be too good to spend time in that venue, no glory.  For me it is a way to apply my gifts where they are needed. 

So?  If I don’t make first string it is because I make a better water boy.  I am learning to live with that.  I am not God’s golden boy.  I am not even God’s silver or bronze boy.  I am however His to do with as He sees fit. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hie Talke

(Proverbs 17:7 KJV)  Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

“Excellent” (3499a) “speech” (8193) is an interesting phrase to play with in translation.  The most common use of “excellent” is to refer to that which remains.  It can be the oil on a palm after the hand is turned over or fodder in the fields left for the cattle after a disaster.  “Speech” is usually translated “lips” but it also has the idea of edge.  There are many possibilities.  I like the Geneva Bible calling it “hie talke” or high talk.

We are not supposed to play the “fool” (5036).  As followers of the Most High we are not to get down in the gutter and wallow in the same filth as the pagans and apostates.  That also applies to our language.  Can Christians swear and use obscene language?  Can we be coarse and crude?  The only ban that comes to mind is taking the name of the Lord in vain, but somehow I think verses like this point out that we should have language that is special, or “hie”.

So?  We have a tendency to adopt the vocabulary of those around us.  Language does change but not always for the better.  We need to be aware of fool talk and avoid it.  If you will excuse the expression, “It is easier said than done.” 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Don’t Embrace Your Inner Vegetable

(Proverbs 16:26 KJV)  He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

There are times when I wish I had the ability to go back in time and take a different path.  Sometimes it is simply because I wasn’t paying attention and had an accident.  I want to avoid the pain of my carelessness.  Other times I want to have 40 years of experience in delving into Greek and Hebrew so I could understand the word.  My software tells me that the “he” (5315) of the KJV is the same as the “appetite” of the NASB.  Neither one gives us the meaning of the Hebrew word, which is nephesh. 

Nephesh is the word for soul.  38 times the KJV uses the word “soul” in Proverbs and each time it is this word.  It is used to describe the creation of man.
(Genesis 2:7 KJV)  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (5315).
You can see it is a bit deeper than “he” or “appetite”. 

There is a life force within us.  There is a desire to live.  It applies to the animal world as well. 

So?  I don’t know about you but there are days when my higher thinking skills don’t want to kick in.  Today was one of them.  I was content to lay in bed like a vegetable.  It took awhile but eventually the battle was settled for a day of life.  I rejoice in another victory and pray that you would also experience that again today. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Original Google

(Proverbs 15:22 KJV)  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Let’s face it, most of us do not seek a lot of opinion when we already know what we want to do.  We avoid “counselors” (3289).  Too often they tell us what we don’t want to hear.  But assume the best, you want to know.  Where do modern Americans go for counsel?

Google.  Be honest now.  When you have a question, you Google it.  The fact that the owners of Google are filtering the information you get to shield you from certain information does not slow us down.  I am at the point where I use it for a spell check.  It can be one source of information for counsel as long as you understand that it is biased against real truth. 

You Tube.  When I want to know how to change a windshield wiper it not only tells me, but shows me.  When I want to know how to service my water softener, the same.  When I want to know how to live an upright life and walk in righteousness, it has severe limitations.

There are two traditional sources of counsel that are falling into disuse.  The first is the concordance.  I am not talking about the pathetic, edited child’s toy at the back of your Bible.  I am talking about the one that is four inches thick and has tiny print, the one that lists everything.  It is a good place to start when you want to know what God has said about something.

And of course there is the one who is called Counselor.  This is the One that Jesus said He would send us.  The Holy Spirit is a bit of counsel that needs to be sought more often. 

So?  Do your homework but don’t forget to ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and interpreter.  He is waiting to provide the insight and understanding that lead to holiness and wisdom.  Consult Him often.  He does not keep office hours. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Where Water Runs Uphill

(Proverbs 14:12 KJV)  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

At Knott’s Berry Farm they used to have a spot called the Haunted Shack.  It may still be there but I have not been there since I had hair.  You have seen variations of it.  They make it look like water will run uphill and a chair will let you sit in it half way up the wall.  There is a “right” (3477) and there is a real.  Your eyes see it but you know it can’t be true.  Your mind can explain the phenomenon but your eyes still see the impossible.

Often in life we see what appears to be right and true.  If we are out of contact with the unchanging God we might follow on that path.  But for those who have read their Bible and spent time in the presence of the eternal there is something that we know is wrong.  When we hear people telling us to accept couples living in fornication because they are in love and God is love, it sounds so beautiful.  The problem is that the meaning of love has been twisted to make it look like water is running up hill.

So?  Deception is all around.  We are only human.  He is “only” God and has provided us with the tools to tell what is really right and what is illusion.  Remember that the level doesn’t do any good in your toolbox. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pattern of Pride

(Proverbs 13:10 KJV)  Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

The “presumption” (2087) of the NASB is better than the “pride” of the KJV in this spot.  Pride is a word that can have a positive force.  It can be a synonym for dignity or a healthy sense of self worth.  This word is negative.  It is pushy.  It is not content with being quiet and smug but insists on applying itself moment by moment.

This is the opposite of humility.  It is aggressive.  If you follow the verse you see that those in touch with wisdom are willing to listen and accept advice.

So?  Did you listen yesterday?  Are you going to listen today?  What is your pattern?  You should be able to see one.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wisdom Nuanced

(Proverbs 12:8 KJV)  A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.

If you are reading the KJV you will notice that this verse talks about “wisdom” (7922) while the NASB uses “insight”.  I point this out because this is not the most common Hebrew word for “wisdom” in Proverbs but it is what might be called a “nuance word”, it gives us some understanding of what wisdom is.

Here the definition involves insight and prudence.  It almost seems to be emphasizing the practical aspect of wisdom.  It is something that can be applied and used.  The words from this wisdom actually mean something and help.  Often when I read fantasy or any genre that deals with the world of magic and the occult, wisdom is vague and mysterious.  It is held in awe but does nothing but confuse.  This points out the rubber meets the road aspect of real wisdom.

So?  What the Bible teaches us is useful for what we do in our everyday lives.
(2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
It isn’t a tool for impressing people.  It is a tool for guidance.  And again I remind you that the tool is useless to you if it isn’t in your tool chest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Active Pursuit

(Proverbs 11:19 KJV)  As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

As I compare the two translations I see some differences that trace back to the Hebrew.  We have another situation where the Hebrew word looks the same but can mean different things, like the English word “can”.  What I do see coming through in the two translations is the general posture of the two people represented. 

The upright is pictured as standing or quietly following.  The “evil” (7463a) “pursues” (7291).  I see the Godly listening and responding in obedience.  I see the wicked out looking for even more quicksand.  We also see the different promises, “life” (2425b) and “death” (4194).  Both are goals.  Both are choices.

So?  Every day we are offered choices.  It can be an action or an attitude.  It can be a direction or a way of responding.  May your choices lead to life today. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Righteous Resilience

(Proverbs 10:25 KJV)  As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

As I write, Irma is approaching and Harvey is in cleanup.  Five years ago I was writing about Katrina at this point.  What is a hurricane but a big “whirlwind” (5492a).  One of the snippets I read in the coverage of Irma was a group of people in Florida who were going to stay where they were because their building was rated to withstand a category 5 hurricane.  I am not sure I would have that kind of faith.  I doubt if I will read about how it went with them.

You notice in this verse it is not the wind that is labeled as evil.  It is a force of nature.  The doom is on the “wicked” (7563).  The promise is on the “righteous” (6662).  How that plays out with forces of nature I don’t know.  I tend to want to make this figurative but there is always the question of how our spiritual condition relates to the tragedy of life.  We need to be careful about literal understandings.  Note the words of Jesus,
(Matthew 5:45 KJV)  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
I think the difference is in how we respond to the forces of nature and life.  Having a foundation of righteousness makes us more resilient.  We bounce back.  We keep the faith and live the life.

So?  I pray that you and yours have made it through the earthquakes and hurricanes of the year.  I also pray that you have the strength of the Lord to flourish. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Who Has the Pink Slip?

(Proverbs 9:6 KJV)  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Recently I heard a preacher comment on how people are willing to love Jesus, they just don’t want to serve Him.  It doesn’t work that way.  It never has.  Here we see the part of the formula that keeps so many people out of the kingdom of God.  In order to belong to Jesus we must give up our old way of life.  We sold a car last month.  When we took the man’s money we signed a paper saying that the car was his.  We had to “forsake” (5800a) any claim that we had before he would give us the money.  It was part of the deal.  I can’t be showing up in the middle of the night because I need a ride.

It is the same way with serving God.  We have a new title of ownership.  In California we called it a “pink slip”.  You might remember the old line from a Beach Boys song, “And one more thing, I got the pink slip, baby”.  God demands exclusive ownership.

So?  Are you still trying to lease salvation?  Then it doesn’t belong to you yet.  If you want life you must give up the ways of  the “foolish” (folly NASB) (6612a). 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Honing Memory

(Proverbs 8:33 KJV)  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

I wish I could give credit to the first person who pointed it out to me but I can’t.  Most of us don’t need some new idea or teaching.  We are not even following what we already know.  We “neglect” (6544a) the wisdom that we already have access to.  We are like someone starving to death in a grocery store because he refuses to open a can.

I am finding that much of the music I had memorized is slipping away.  I have known this for years and it kept slipping.  Part of it is probably the aging process.  I just don’t remember like I think I used to.  Most of it is a lack of application.  Now that I am retired I am picking up my guitar and reaching back.  Slowly I am regaining ground but if I neglect to practice and worship with what I have recovered it starts to slip again.

So?  Most of us have the blessing of being taught truth and wisdom.  Most of us have taken it for granted and it is hiding in the recesses of our minds.  Do not fail to stir it up before it disappears. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Choices Have Consequences

(Proverbs 7:10 KJV)  And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

This is an unusual chapter in Proverbs.  Almost the entire chapter deals with one story, an event.  It is not just a series of pointed remarks.  It relates two people meeting and the evil that comes of it.  We meet people in a constant flow.  Some we ignore as we pass by.  Some we give superficial greetings.  Others we engage in conversation.  We have more control over how the contact goes than we think. 

Recently my wife and I were involved in a long conversation with someone we had never seen before and never expect to see again.  In the process we heard much of her life story.  Later my wife commented on how long it went on and could not understand why.  I did.  It went on forever because she kept asking questions and responding with her own stories.  If it had just been me the conversation would have never moved beyond first greetings.

The man and women in this chapter of Proverbs made choices.  There were many places where different choices would have caused different outcomes.  We face the same in our lives.

So?  We need to develop a longer range view of the choices we make.  Sometimes that is based on common sense.  Other times it is experience.  Always it requires us to be honest with ourselves.  Engage your brain. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Libby Lips

(Proverbs 6:2 KJV)  Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

One of the greatest protections we have from an overbearing government is the Fifth Amendment where it says no one “shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself;...”  If you have ever heard of someone “pleading the fifth” this is it.  If you remember the name Scooter Libby you might remember that he went to jail, not because he had committed a crime but because he gave an inaccurate answer to the FBI.  Most of us are aware of this guard to our liberty when it comes to criminal offenses.

Solomon is telling us that we need to be aware of the trap that our mouth can set for us in our daily lives.  We talk too much.  We talk too fast.  We talk without thinking.  We get ourselves in hot water. 

So?  Beware.  Often I am my own worst enemy.  People remember and so does God.  Take a look at your day and start planning your conversations. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Silent Love

(Proverbs 5:17 KJV)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

Everyone does not need to know every detail of your life.  Some people have a tendency to share more than they should about everything.  It is bad enough when they tell all the details of their lives but crosses another line when they share the private details of others.  People probably don’t want to hear and usually the ones involved don’t want you sharing about them either.

The context here is our sexual contacts.  The Bible is clear that sex is to be reserved for marriage.  You could extend that to talking about private matters.  Tales of the bedroom, intimate details, failures of a spouse, etc. should all be kept between the people involved.

So?  Just because others are revealing that which should not be revealed does not mean you need to match the tale for tale.  Let love be expressed in silence. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Slow Leaks

(Proverbs 4:6 KJV)  Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

What is the purpose of a “guard” (8104) (preserve KJV)?  Most of us live our lives without posting guards.  We don’t have someone staying awake around the campfire.  We don’t take turns pacing around the walls of our compound.  We have grown secure compared to those in the past.  But we do have our guards.  We lock our doors and windows.  We might have an alarm or a dog.  We might listen in the night for squeaky stairs or rustling curtains. 

I also keep a bat under the bed.  You see, a “guard” does not fight the battle for you.  The sentry simply calls out a warning.  The idea is to wake you up in time to engage the foe head on.  It gives you time to put on your pants and maybe tie your shoes.  Wisdom has many roles and an important one is to set an alarm off in our hearts and minds.  We are aware that something is wrong.  We have a new, used car.  It has bells and whistles.  One is a light on the dash that tells us we have a problem with our tires.  It came on the other day and we could not see anything.  We had just had the tires checked.  We ignored it and a few days later I noticed that one tire was going flat. 

So?  Wisdom, when consulted, will warn us about the slow leaks in our lives as much as the attacks of the barbarians.  For me the slow leaks are a greater danger.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

To the Rescue

(Proverbs 3:27-30 KJV)  Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.  Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.  Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

As I write we are seeing Hurricane Harvey moving east and diminishing in power.  Out in the Atlantic the guys wanting a piece of the fame are predicting another moving toward the east coast of the United States.  In Texas we are seeing the results of this passage being applied without even thinking about it.  We see people being neighbors in the best sense and being individuals in the worst sense.

If you paid attention at all you saw all the people who spontaneously responded to the needs around them.  They dug out their boats and started rescuing people.  In our area which only had some high rain and winds they began loading up 18 wheelers with food and water.  It is the response of a Christian nation that does not “withhold” (4513) “good” (2896b).  What makes this giving what is “due” (1167)?  They are in need.  I even heard stories of people who lost everything along the coast who went north to help pull others out of the flood.  Jesus smiled.

Then you have those in verse 29 who are out to harm others.  Some of it is obvious.  The looters are out.  Some people think first about taking advantage.  On a more subtle level we have the gas lines in our area.  There is plenty of gas, or there would be if people didn’t panic.  I read that the stations are selling 2 ½ times as much gas as normal.  Why?  Because people start filling up everything so they will be taken care of.  If everyone would just relax and think of others there would be no gas lines.

So?  We have the good and the bad.  I don’t need to guess which group is acting the way God expects us to act.  I pray that in a crisis I will chose wisely. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

We Are Not X-Wings

(Proverbs 2:15 KJV)  Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

The KJV uses the English word “froward” (3868) (devious NASB) fairly frequently.  The weakness is that it uses six different Hebrew words in the process.

As I look at the different words and the roots they come from you get a picture of an X-wing fighter dodging down the canyon of the Death Star, dodging and weaving; anything but straight.  Of course in Star Wars it was to attack evil.  Too often people use this kind of course to get to the destination they desire regardless of the cost. 

What we dodge are not the bolts of Darth Vader but the commands of God.  We will take any path as long as it leads to our personal Rome.

So?  God expects, and demands, that we walk straight and true.  We are not to change definitions or directions based on what we think will get us what we want but follow the path of righteousness which is usually described as straight and narrow. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Chains into Ornaments

(Proverbs 1:9 KJV)  For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

We have just moved to Texas and every person we meet has the potential of being a new best friend.  I am content to sit and meditate but my wife is out moving and shaking.  She can spend five minutes with someone and get their whole life story.  It is quite a gift.  One of the common stories that comes up is dysfunctional parents, the kind that don’t get verses like this written about them.  I was raised in a blue color Leave It to Beaver family.  I understand what Solomon is saying here.  Many people do not.

For such people the KJV word “chains” (ornaments NASB) (6060) is a better word because they take their heritage as bonds to be left behind.  The glorious thing is that we meet people who are overcoming this family wreckage and are moving ahead in the Grace of God.  It is possible.  In the process you may be an agent of grace by providing the godly example.

So?  Blessings as you overcome and help others overcome. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Place to Start

(Proverbs 30:20 KJV)  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

I accept the fact that you are not an “adulterous” (5003) “woman” (802).  To be honest, neither am I.  So we can ignore it or go for the principle involved.  If we ignore it, I have nothing to write about, so instead let’s substitute something that we might be guilty of, say gluttony.  Or maybe gossip would be better for you.  How about lack of faith in hard times?  If you can’t think of anything, just go with arrogance. 

We have a tendency to justify our own failures.  If we lose our temper and say unkind words we claim we were driven to it.  We may be right.  It may be understandable.  It still doesn’t make it pleasing in the eyes of God.  The reason this is a problem is that usually in order for God to work in our lives we need to repent.  Repenting means first admit that you were wrong.  It is hard for us to get over that first hurdle.

So?  Be open to admitting to God that what you did was “wrong” (205).  If you can admit it to God, maybe you can admit it to your spouse. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Soul Hatred

(Proverbs 29:24 KJV)  Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

This seems to be a subparagraph in Psychology 101.  The idea is that we often make choices that reinforce our negative images of ourselves.  Thus a person who thinks they are ugly might deliberately dress to reinforce that.  Think of the group of people that are called Emo.  They dress in black, have multiple piercings and generally distort their appearance.  They cut themselves.  The ones I know also have some serious emotional issues and are spiritual wastelands.  They have a lot of suicides. 

They pick friends like themselves.  So do we.  How often do I set myself up for failure by the choices I make?  How often do I take the easy class?  Do I take a lower paying job instead of trying to better myself? 

So?  Perhaps we need to raise our sites a little.  I can’t speak for you but although I am not making a thief my partner I might be living at a level that steals from what God would have for me. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Princes of Transgression

(Proverbs 28:2 KJV)  For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

Do we get the government we deserve?  I honestly hope not but that may be the reason we see so much corruption and foolishness in our leadership.  Who came up with this idea?  From a Google search the consensus seems to be a man named Joseph de Maistre.  His version was “Every country has the government it deserves.”

This verse would go along with that.  It seems to be saying that each of us is a prince of transgression.  Does the statement that we have all sinned ring any bells?  Does the gate to destruction being wide cause you any concerns?  Since we live in a culture of human beings we can expect them to act like human beings, that is, if we are Christians.  Our culture denies original sin.  Our education system is filling our children with the drivel that they are all snowflakes that have been polluted by the soot of a capitalist, homophobic, patriarchal society. 

So?  Through the grace of God and the Blood of the Perfect Lamb of God we can become part of the solution.  Of course, Jesus is the real Man of Understanding but we can be His servants instead of His opponents.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Simple Pass

(Proverbs 27:12 KJV)  A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Finally a verse that does not have a lot of controversy over the translation.  It is refreshing.  While I write I am watching the rain and wind as Hurricane Harvey winds down.  I spent time this morning being thankful for our safety and lifting up those who actually had to deal with the rage of the storm.  All we have seen are occasionally heavy rain and constant wind.  It isn’t over yet but we are on the downside.

As I have been keeping up on the event, the rescue sagas start coming in.  I don’t pay a lot of attention to them but I keep hearing a mantra from the weather reports, “Turn around, don’t drown”.  It seems that most of the people who drown in floods die in their cars.  On one road around here we have constant dips.  As you approach they signs say, “Road subject to flooding”.  Okay, I can see that, thanks for the warning.  When you get to the low spot they have gauges that tell you how deep the water is and they tell me they have sensors that tell the authorities a local yokel is about to do something stupid. 

The spiritual application is this:  You get into more than you can handle when it is “full speed ahead” and the water is rising.  We can avoid a lot of pain if we will just stop being stupid, or as Solomon says, “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).  Is the water rising in a dip in your life?  Maybe charging ahead isn’t the thing to do. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fool Trust

(Proverbs 26:10 KJV)  The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

Again we experience the mystery of the translator’s mind.  Note the word translated “rewardeth” (7936) in the KJV is translated “hired” in the NASB.  Out of the 22 times it appears in the KJV, 14 times it is translated with a variation of “hire”.  Only here in Proverbs do we see it twice as “rewardeth”.  Why?  Who knows?

Either way the “fool” (3684) is not going to be happy in the end.  Neither is the person who trusts them.  This whole passage in Proverbs echoes with that warning.  We are not supposed to give fools responsibility hoping they will learn in the process.  We are to avoid trusting them.  Because they are fools they cannot be trusted.  We should know better.

So?  The hardest step for some people is admitting that some people are genuinely, totally fools.  Like evil, many do not want to see what is right in front of them.  We need to make sure our eyes are open and our minds in gear or we might be counted as one of them. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Be the He

(Proverbs 25:10 KJV)  Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.

There will be times when you and I are expected to be the “he” in this verse.  The issue is gossip.  On some level most of us have been guilty of this at times.  You might think not but then you either need to improve your memory or expand your definition of gossip.  I would hope that you would have repented and changed, either because the Holy Spirit simply brought conviction or you were publicly exposed and didn’t want to experience that again.

In between those two are the times when you and I are expected to step up to the plate for the benefit of the guilty party.  We have this responsibility to each other as part of the family of God.  We are to hold each other accountable.  In the New Testament the words are reprove, rebuke and correct, but we find the concept in the Old Testament also.
(Ezekiel 33:6 KJV)  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
This does not mean running down the street yelling, “Turn or burn!”  It does mean being honest with brothers and sisters in Christ.  Usually this will be people that you have earned the right to speak to.

So?  Be the “he”.  There might be someone who will repent in time because you loved them enough to speak out. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rejected Rescue

(Proverbs 24:11 KJV)  If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;

This verse is one that can be taken both literally and figuratively.  It can be for contemporary application and be reserved for prophetic fulfillment.  Its context of the previous verse talks about a “day of distress”.  It can be applied to any experience in which we are wavering and those around us are moving toward destruction.  In fact this applies to situations where people are not just moving toward a bad end but are actually judged and being led away.

We have much to offer people.  The moral structure that the Jews brought to the Roman Empire attracted many.  The righteous nature of God attracted more.  We have those same strengths to offer if we would just live and believe them ourselves.  We also need to be aware that most people will not be willing to take the step of commitment.  People admired the Jews but wanted to keep the Law they followed far from them.  Today people like the idea of the loving Jesus but really don’t want Him as Lord.

So?  I have settled the Lord question.  I have a refuge to offer.  I hope you do too.  It is up to each person whether they are happy on the road to destruction or seek release. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Use As Directed

(Proverbs 23:20 KJV)  Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

Sin is generally the result of taking something God has given to us for the good and using it in a way void of righteousness.  A good example would be the drug morphine.  When my mother was at the end of her life, morphine kept the pain at bay.  When my wife was in recovery from surgery, morphine was used to keep her from screaming in agony.  It has made life better for millions of people.  It has also ruined millions of lives when used in excess.  It is addictive and deadly.  The same substance that saves lives, kills.

Our context mentions alcohol and food.  Other verses talk about sex, profit, sleep, and almost every other activity that God has given us or made possible.  The principle continues to apply.  Used as intended these are gifts from God for a good life.  Used other ways they destroy.

So?  Drive you car as intended.  Eat you food as intended.  Love your family as intended.  Let the blessings God intended be set loose in your life. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Relative Sin

(Proverbs 22:22 KJV)  Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

Sin is absolute and yet it is relative.  Stealing is a sin.  It is important enough that the ban is posted in the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 20:15 KJV)  Thou shalt not steal.
It seems pretty simple and straightforward and yet we have so many ways to disguise robbery and put a cloak of virtue on it.  We have Robin Hood taxes that take from the rich and give to the poor.  We justify it because the government has the right to tax and the rich have plenty and the poor are needy.  In the process we rob the church of its role of charity and give individuals an excuse to not be generous. 

At the same time there is a pecking order for sin.  If you don’t believe that then look at the different penalties that are allocated in the Old Testament.  You have everything from a grain offering to death.  I am not sure where robbing the “poor” (1800b) fits on the scale but it is clear that our motivation is a factor.

So?  We should not be taking advantage of people.  Just because the government gives them a check we cannot claim to be excused from our need to be generous and show the love of Jesus. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Finger Control

(Proverbs 21:25 KJV)  The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

How do “hands” (3027) “refuse” (3985) to “labour” (work NASB) (6213a)?  Have you ever seen someone arguing with their fingers to pick up a pencil?  I will admit there have been times when I have told my hands they need to wake up.  When I am playing my guitar there are times when my hands seem to have a mind of their own and will not pluck the right string or hold down a string in the right way.  It is my way of reminding myself that I need to practice more. 

Why don’t my hands practice more?  I have more guitars than I know what to do with.  I have extra strings and a workable tuner.  I have even thought about putting in a little time but often it is hard to get my hands to pick up the instrument and get to work.  Overcoming my inertia of doing nothing is often beyond me and thus beyond my hands.  I want to practice and play but not enough to do it. 

So?  Apply that to our walk with Jesus.  On Sunday I was visiting a church and the pastor pointed out that many of us say we love Jesus but don’t want to serve Him and that it does not work that way.  Jesus said,

(John 14:15 KJV)  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

So tell your hands what to do.  And your eyes.  And your mind.  And... 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Seeker Unfriendly

(Proverbs 20:30 NAS77)  Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts.

We live in what is being called a Post Christian world.  As I look around I am not sure that I disagree with that.  As a teacher I watched anything having to do with Christian values being expunged from the curriculum and the discussions.  I worked with people who claimed to serve Jesus who were afraid to say His name.  Morality has to do with going green not staying pure.

Unfortunately that applies even in the church.  I have been visiting a lot during our move and in almost every church I see expressions of the lies of the world.  One of the big current trends that has polluted the church is the idea of being “seeker friendly”.  We have tried to shove under the rug anything that might offend a non-believer.  We have tried to live like them so they would think we are regular guys and gals.

This verse points out another truth that the world does not want to accept.  It is in isolation but has plenty of support in other parts of the Bible.  People learn best through suffering.  I don’t think God wants it that way, but that seems to be the way we are.

So?  Rejoice in infirmity.  Learn from the hard times and failures.  The lessons will need to be learned because persecution is coming.  In America we live in a bubble that may be weakening us for the battle ahead.  I guess I need to be reminded of that today. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Different Emphasis, Same Goal

(Proverbs 19:27 KJV)  Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

As I compare the KJV and the NASB my simple Hebrew tools tell me the original text uses the same words for both translations, yet there seems to be a different emphasis.
(Proverbs 19:27 NAS77)  Cease listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
The NASB seems to be saying we will stray if we stop listening to the truth.  The KJV seems to say that we will stray if we keep listening to lies.  Notice the phrases in each translation that are not in the actual Hebrew, that are assumed.  The point is that what we listen to will effect where we end up.  It would be wonderful if we could make this another type of twofer.  How strong would we be spiritually if we developed the discipline to avoid the destructive and focus on the truth.

So?  One of the glories of inspired scripture is that you can often arrive at the same key points even with a different emphasis in the translation.  God speaks to our hearts, if we are listening.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hearts and Minds

(Proverbs 18:15 KJV)  The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

What determines how a word is translated?  Take “heart” (mind NASB) (3820) for instance.  The Hebrew word is used almost 600 times in the Old Testament.  The term refers to that center of a man’s being that is the location of our personality and how it interprets the world.  It has at least 10 different general understandings but they all point to some kind of focal point.  If I had to pick a generic word I would say “middle”.  The most common translation is “heart”.

We have a lot of terminology that uses this idea.  We talk about Jesus coming into our hearts.  The Bible refers to our hearts being cleansed.  Understand that this is not the soul.  That is a different word in both the Old and New Testaments.  Our hearts are cleansed; our souls, saved.  Maybe we could say that we have some input into our hearts staying cleansed but our souls are totally beyond our reach.  Heresy?

So?  Feed your heart of mind, whichever you prefer.  Think of it as a sponge that will pick up whatever it is surrounded by. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Waiting for a Crown

(Proverbs 17:6 KJV)  Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

I currently have no grandchildren.  I have done my part and am waiting for my children to do theirs.  In a sense I don’t have a “crown” (5850).  There is something missing in my life and I am forced to rejoice with my friends and brothers who have that gap filled.  I am tempted to be jealous of their joy but have so far resisted.

Isn’t that a problem in life.  We see others with blessings that we don’t have and we get jealous.  We work hard and someone else gets the reward.  We are thrifty and still can’t make ends meet.  Am I the only one who has been tempted to give up and compromise?  We see it all the time.  Maybe you know someone who has walked away after 40 years of marriage.  We read about people who go out and start shooting.  Some become enraged and use their car as a missile.

That is why our ultimate “crown” is found in Jesus.  I may not have grandchildren, and I am not giving up yet, but I do have a Lord who makes life complete.

So?  Enjoy the perks of life.  That is why they are there.  At the same time make sure that your focus is right.  It does wonders for your attitude and makes the wait full of joy. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Life Is Not an Activity Book

(Proverbs 16:25 KJV)  There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

In children’s activity books you come across two pictures and you are told to find the differences.  Sometimes it is obvious.  In one picture a dog will have five legs.  You don’t need to compare, but be aware.  In another you need to really study, perhaps the eyes are looking right instead of left.  So it is in life.  Some things are obvious, others obtuse.  At times it doesn’t matter if you are looking for truth or looking for excuses.

Let’s assume that your heart is right and you want to do the same.  You know you should not rob a bank but do you understand you should be honest about the car you are selling?  After all, let the buyer beware.  Sometimes we need to be alert to seeking the right because we are surrounded by so many forces that are trying to lead us to hell.  After all, didn’t the star of your favorite TV show just say that _________?  Or to be more meddling, didn’t your wife just tell you that eating out was cheaper than eating at home?  How can they be wrong?

So?  We can never afford to turn off our minds and just go with what seems right.  Sometimes it is just an inconvenience to be wrong.  Sometimes errors are eternal.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Lean Righteous

(Proverbs 15:21 KJV)  Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.

“Folly” (200) is not just a mistake.  It is an attitude.  There might be a tendency to see the problem here as the general ineptitude that so many of us experience.  This is not tripping over a crack or putting too much salt in the stew.  To be sure, it includes these moments but that is not the point here.

Some of us embrace folly.  Some live in it, for others it is a moment of wandering.  Either way it is not to be mistaken with a simple bad decision.  This is a wallowing in the bad decisions.  How often have I had a second bit of calorie embraced food when I know I have had enough.  When I am by myself I have a quiet gilt.  When I am with others I celebrate my decision.  That is the issue here.

So?  Start with general attitude.  Only God can really change that.  Then, when fortified, move on to the forks in the road of life.  Walking upright is a matter of leaning in the right direction. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Poor Excuse

(Proverbs 14:21 KJV)  He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Today as I read I noticed that this verse is a follow up of verse 20. 
(Proverbs 14:20 KJV)  The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
Notice that the same actors are on stage in both verses.  This is a statement of Christian attitude and character.  It is a matter of the heart as much as the actions.  We cannot be looking down on anyone, specially those we consider below us.

Here it mentions the “poor” (6035).  I have a problem with this when I see people on government assistance.  Something in me rebels.  My mind starts to close and I make a lot of assumptions.  It might even be that some of those assumptions are true.  All of them might be true.  When we make decisions we need to act on them if they are true but the glory of our faith is that we can do what is best for people, even when it is painful, and still not “despise” (936) them.

So?  It does not say we need to like everybody.  It does say that we are to treat them with an attitude of courtesy.  Love means doing for people what is best for them, not what we want or what they want.  There is a difference. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hey Buddy, Got a Light?

(Proverbs 13:9 KJV)  The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

As Solomon keeps reminding us, evil exists.  Evil people exist.  They are all around us.  One of the big lies that we are influenced by is that they have good lives.  This verse reminds us that they do have lamps.  There are bright spots in their existence.  There is often a lot to be admired in who they are and what they do.  We especially admire what they have.  We need to learn that what we see is usually not what we get.  A poem comes to mind.  I do not like poetry.  I am not a poet.  I avoid reading it when possible but this one has been with me since high school.  You may have studied it.  It is called Richard Cory.  If you have never read it the Poetry Foundation has it for you.

The thing to remember is that Richard Cory had it all and was admired by all, but his lamp had gone out.  He had no inner light to show him the way.

So?  There is a reason that Jesus said He was the light.  Our lamps are not enough without the inner radiance.  Don’t be deceived by bells and whistles.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Persistence of Evil

(Proverbs 12:7 KJV)  The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.

Again we are reminded that evil exists.  It is almost as if Solomon knew that the day would come when the intellectuals of society would deny it.  I tend to think that the masses of the past were very much aware of the hovering nature of evil.  In most of history people have lived with the knowledge that they could be overwhelmed by invading armies, clouds of locusts or floods.  They could also be brought to their knees by lack of rain or a failed harvest.

Or perhaps the modern idea of self-esteem and innate goodness are not so modern after all.  Take this nursery rhyme: 
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating his Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb,
And he pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"
And that comes from the 1700's.

So?  Live with your eyes open.  Jesus came to redeem individuals but a fallen humanity creates a fallen society.  Be salt today. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Motive, Means, Opportunity

(Proverbs 11:18 KJV)  The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.

What is it that is “deceitful” (deceptive NASB) (8267)?  The obvious answer would be the “work” (wages NASB) (7938) sought but I think it is deeper than that.  One clue would be found in the Hebrew but does not come through in translation.  “Work” (7938) is the same Hebrew word as “reward”.  The result of our actions is the same noun.  The difference is the motivation and the moral character of the actor. 

So?  As is often the case, the difference is in the adjectives and adverbs, not the nouns and verbs.  Our motivation is key.  The same action can be sin for one and obedience for another.  Picture the widow's mite compared to the gifts of the rich.  From another perspective, based on the detective shows I have watched, one of the ways you catch a criminal is motive.  What is yours today? 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cultural Conflict

(Proverbs 10:17 KJV)  He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

This could be considered a commentary on the form of our schools today and points out a basic difference between our contemporary culture and the understanding that the Bible tries to give us.  I say “tries” because too often the church has abandoned the clear teaching of scripture and embraced the polluted world view of our leaders. 

When the Bible talks about teaching and learning there is a word that keeps coming up when we read about learning the things of God and raising children.  Here it is the word “instruction” (4148).  This is the most frequent translation and relatively safe.  The second most frequent is “discipline” and the definition carries the idea of correction and chastening.  The Bible understands that while most people are eager to learn the things that are fun and rewarding in our careers and finances, we resist anything that has to do with righteousness and morality.  Modern education believes that you only have to lay out the tidbit in front of a student and if the environment is right, they will gobble it up.  Picture putting a seed down in front of a hungry chicken.  The Bible understands that sometimes you need to force people to accept truth.  That is multiplied in its importance when the lesson involves self restraint or delay of gratification.

So?  Seek the way of life by embracing instruction, even when it says you can’t act the fool.  We love to act the fool.  Or maybe it is just me.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

An Early Supper

(Proverbs 9:5 KJV)  Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

You don’t see it in the NASB but I wonder if this is some sort of Old Testament reference to the Last Supper.   We have “bread” (3899) (food NASB) and “wine” (3196).  Jesus spoke of the bread and the cup.  There is nothing strong enough to be doctrinal here but it could point to the tie of wisdom to salvation.

As we see in verse 10, wisdom begins with fear.  Here it is fed by the nourishment that wisdom provides.  It is another side of our journey of faith.

So?  Fear the Lord and partake of the wisdom that He offers. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Challenge of Now

(Proverbs 8:32 KJV)  Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Why is “now” (6258) such a difficult word?  I am a procrastinator.  I find that actions I do not like will often go away if I ignore them long enough.  If I wait someone else may scrub the toilet.  If I put it off someone else will take out the trash.  If I don’t do it now, it may be too late. 

Procrastination is dangerous.  Sure, it is sometimes a simple way to avoid the unpleasant, but often it negates an opportunity.  Other times it reduces the return on investment.  In spiritual terms it may have eternal consequences.

We are blessed with a God who is patient and merciful.  He has provided us with a book that gives us all the truth we need for life.  He has provided it in many editions and translations.  It is inexpensive.  Too often it is unread.

So?  Now.  There are things no one else can do for you.  There are things that are dangerous to put off.  What might that be?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Looking Both Ways

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

This is a reminder that God is aware of all we do.  We can’t hide.  We can’t run.  He knows. 

So?  Your mother may have times when she isn’t looking.  You may be able to get away with what is on your mind in regard to her.  God, on the other hand, is always aware.  File that away next time you look both ways. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Live Like a Weak Link

(Proverbs 6:1 KJV)  My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

Recently I was reading a poster that started off talking about free men and ended up talking about slaves.  The quality that designated a slave was being in debt.  That bit of truth comes straight from the Bible.
(Proverbs 22:7 KJV)  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
This verse is adding support and context to the idea from chapter 22.  One of the entanglements we are to avoid is debt.  Another is helping others get into debt.

You may have heard the expression “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”  One reason we are to live an exemplary life style is so that we can help others avoid the mistakes that we know to avoid.

So?  Do it for the children, and the neighbors and the friends and the enemies, for that matter.  Live like you are the weak link. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Questions and Comments

(Proverbs 5:16 KJV)  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

Sometimes the translation is important to understanding.  When I read this verse in the KJV it does not seem to make any sense.  When I go to the NASB it brings it together by making it a question rather than a comment. 
(Proverbs 5:16 NAS77)  Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets?
That makes me wonder if there are times in life when we should be questioning rather than accepting.  This is the case in much of our daily lives.  We are in a culture that is veering away from the historic ideas of right and wrong.  Our entertainment, education and news sources have rejected any common sense morality for assumptions of anything goes.  We should dance to a different tune. 

So?  Be constantly aware of the road that you are being directed down.  Life is not easy or safe and demands constant vigilance if we are going to bring joy to the heart of our Savior.  It might also have eternal consequences for us. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Acquisitive Behavior

(Proverbs 4:5 KJV)  Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

How many of us really want be guided by “wisdom” (2451)?  That may seem a silly question but think about all the things we do on a daily basis that are counterproductive.  Think of purchases made for things that only have the appeal of being seen on TV.  Think of the books read and the ones ignored.  Think of all the excuses we have for not spending time in prayer and reading the word. 

I speak from experience.  Hind sight and wishful thinking will not get the horse back in the barn.

So?  Go for the gold standard.  The quest starts with the next decision. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Balancing the Books

(Proverbs 3:14 KJV)  For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

Proverbs has a place for making money and being wealthy but it also tries to remind us that there is a higher priority.  The “it” of this verse is referring back to wisdom, discipline and so forth.  Being human beings who seem to be impressed by fast cars and good steaks, we need to reminded on a regular basis.

Being immersed in God’s word brings “merchandise” or “profit” in the NASB (5504).  It is “better” (2896a) than silver but understand that does not infer that silver is evil, just not as desirable as wisdom.  We are not called to be hermits alone in caves reciting the 23 Psalm.  We are intended to take time to gather the wisdom to make a difference in our world.

So?  It doesn’t hurt to make a regular review of our priorities.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Baby Evil

(Proverbs 2:14 KJV)  Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

This bit of truth is very hard for most Christians to accept.  Even though we see it on a daily basis we don’t want to admit that the world is full of a lot of very bad people.  In that we have again been conditioned by our culture rather than the Bible.  When a politician stands up and lies then fills their pocket with bribes as a reward, it is not because they had a rough childhood or they don’t understand.  It is because they are “wicked” (evil NASB) (7451a).

At the root of their personality is evil.  It should not be understood as starting with a desire to hurt and destroy.  It starts with a totally self-centered heart and mind.  In a Christian controlled culture they are taught it is wrong to lie, murder, steal and rape.  Even in a Christian culture those lessons are of limited value because evil starts in the heart and we are born with evil hearts. 

So?  Babies are being born.  They are wonderful.  They are evil.  The only hope they have for escaping that inner bias is by an encounter with the living Christ and having their hearts cleansed by faith.  Truth.  You may not like it but still truth. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Examples Set, Examples Followed

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

There is a commercial I have seen on TV and the theme is acting like your parents without being aware of it.  I cannot remember what the product was but it was an entertaining 30 seconds.  We tend to act like our parents.  It comes through more clearly when we get older.  That should be a good thing.  This verse encourages us to listen to what our parents are trying to teach us.  I think that has two extensions.

Listen to what they do.  I am sure that my father gave me verbal lessons but the important distinction is that he lived what he spoke.  As I search to find why so many children stray from their parents teaching I wonder if the elders in question were not the same in private that they were in public.  I hesitate to judge them but I hasten to judge myself so that I can avoid their heartache.

Walk in the path they outline.  It doesn’t do much good knowing how to wash clothes if you just leave them on the floor for someone else to take care of.  My parents are both gone but I hope I still walk in the light they gave me.

Of course many people have parents that do not set a good example.  That is where the church should be serving its purpose.  This is where spiritual parents step in and try to fill the gap.

So?  Follow your righteous teachers.  Be a righteous teacher.  People watch you.  Some are your children and some are pretty much strangers but you have an influence on all. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Biblical Trumps Cultural

(Proverbs 31:24 KJV)  She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

This is one busy lady.  Every time I read this chapter I am overwhelmed at how many different balls she has in the air:  Buying land and farming it, supervising a large staff, making several different articles of clothing and marketing them, importing and who knows what else is implied.  This is a long way from the little woman cooking, cleaning and serving.

I hope you see the difference between this Biblical view of women and the veiled, isolated harems that are presented by much of the world.  This is not offered up as one of a kind but an example to be followed.  Think of the Chinese women of the day with bound feet and locked away in an inner sanctum.  Think of the many cultures that treated their women as chattel. 

And this is presented as the ideal.

So?  Too often our ideas are based on cultural traditions rather than Biblical reading.  That applies to how our homes are structured as much as murder and theft. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Obviously Ignored

(Proverbs 30:19 KJV)  The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

Four familiar events that Solomon is saying are not to be understood.  On the surface they might seem to be obvious but in reality, who knows.  Take the flight of an “eagle” (5405).  I was talking about the miracle of flight this week.  Have you seen the contraptions that were tried over the years to imitate the flight of eagles?  Most of them totally missed the principle God had developed to make flight possible.  The man on the ground focused on the flapping of wings and never got off the ground.  It took the development of the scientific method to look at all the failures and do the research to find the answer.

Flight is possible because of Bernoulli’s Principle.  It was discovered that birds can fly not because they flap their wings with vigor but because of the shape of the wings being flapped.  As the air rushes across the top of the wing is greater than the bottom and that moving air causes lift.  Airplanes don’t flap their wings.  They are propelled through the air and the bird shaped wings give enough lift for flight to take place.

Who would have known?  That is an easy question, God.

So?  How many issues in our lives have a solution that God knows but we have not considered?  Many of the things we do everyday by habit in a Christian society are foreign to other cultures.  The concepts to honesty and mercy don’t develop naturally, they were demanded.  Read about those and the other principles that God has established for the good life. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trust Big

(Proverbs 29:23 KJV)  A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

In English “pride” (1346) can be understood two conflicting ways.  There is the sense that can be understood as arrogance and also the idea of dignity.  Two different words are translated as “pride” in Proverbs and both have the first sense.  This pride is based on the sin of arrogance.

The root of this sin is reflected in different ways all through Proverbs.  All come down to the focus of our trust and the foundation of our standards.  This pride is anchored in yourself.  It is an assurance that you are the ultimate.  We can hide it from others and sometimes live in denial to ourselves but it is an inner refusal to bow our knee to the God of the universe and the Lamb of the Cross.

The resounding chorus of Proverbs is that our trust is in the Lord, nothing else.

So?  Is your day full of speed bumps and potential viral infections?  Even when you have the resources to plan around them you need to prepare with the awareness that ultimately success is in the hands of God.  Trust big. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Trust Bold

(Proverbs 28:1 KJV)  The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Why are the “righteous” (6662) “bold” (982)?  It is not based on a sense of personal accomplishment.  It is based on trust, which is the root meaning of the word.  One of the translations is “careless” but the point is not cavalier but confident.  Last night I went out to dinner.  Usually I balance my willingness to pay with the attraction of items on the menu.  Last night I did not even look at the prices.  Why?  Because my son was paying.

I was not being careless with his money, I was trusting in his desire to pay, his ability to pay and a knowledge that he did not care how much anything cost.  He knew he could well afford anything on the menu.  I knew he could afford anything on the menu.  What would have been the utmost in extravagance for me was simply a pleasure and a desire to give for him.

It is that way with the righteous.  We can trust.  We can go forward with boldness.  We know the One who is paying the bill.  That is why a believer can face surgery and economic crisis with peace and confidence.

So?  Trust boldly.  To be confident in the future because of our resources would be arrogance.  To have it based on His is simple trust. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Special Joys

(Proverbs 27:11 KJV)  My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

As I read this today it has special meaning since I am spending a week with my son.  I am very proud of “the boy” who is a full grown man making his way in life.  When I begin my day thinking about the blessings of my life I always think about my children.  This would be a great prayer to be repeated often.

Is everything in his life as I would want it to be?  Of course not.  He has his quirks and individual preferences but he continues to “make my heart glad”. 

So?  Today it might be a good time to slow down and be thankful about some of the people God has blessed you with.  The possibilities are almost endless from your parents to the lady with the full grocery cart who let you go ahead with your yogurt.  Always remember to include the Perfect Lamb of God who gave His life for you. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Thorns

The “thorn” (2336) is not the problem.  The problem is the fool who is not paying attention.  We have moved to a piece of property that has areas we will not mow.  When I walk through those areas my shoe laces become coated with thorns.  As long as I am careful it presents no difficulties.  It does not do me any good to get mad at the stickers.  They are doing their job.

Thorns in some cases are for protection.  A cactus has points to keep from being eaten.  A bull has horns so it can protect the herd.  Sometimes it is to increase the chances of reproducing.  The burrs on my shoes could be picked off and spread to generate new plants.

The key is in how I respond.  If I am careful I can remove them with no pain and suffering.  If I ignore them they will end up in my wife’s foot.  If I hurry I experience pain.

So?  Life gives us thorns.  How we respond depends on our wisdom level. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Spirited Discussions

(Proverbs 25:9 KJV)  Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:

The Christian community has retreated from the public square.  We avoid conflict in the quest for being a peacemaker.  We sit quietly and call it humility.  In the process we have stopped being salt and light.  We have ceased to witness.  People may think we are fine fellows but they don’t know it is Jesus motivating us.  Maybe He isn’t.

The NASB “argue” (7378) may be a little strong for this spot.  The KJV “debate” goes to the other extreme and emphasizes being polite.  The root idea is to contend, to push for what you believe in.  Contrary to the contemporary church fixation, it is possible to have a spirited discussion and part friends.  I have a friend who is a KJV only man.  Everything else is polluted with heresy.  We have some great discussions and are still friends.  I don’t know that I have changed his mind but I have developed a greater appreciation for the King James Translation. 

So?  Don’t be afraid to express a contrary opinion if the basis for your opinion is solid and backed by eternal truth.  It can be done politely. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Prep School

(Proverbs 24:10 KJV)  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

If we knew when the crazy driver was going to pull out in front of us we would have no worries about accidents.  If we knew when someone was going to break into our home we could have the police waiting for them.  Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.  We are often taken by surprise.

What can we do about it?  Develop habits that reduce risk.  It is not a bad habit to look both ways after a light turns green because someone may be running the red.  It is a positive thing to wash your hands on a regular basis.  It is also a bit of insurance to spend focused time each day with the Lord and in the word.  We all get distracted but we tend to go with our training and habits.

So?  Bad days will happen.  With a little preparation we can make them less bad, or even glorious.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Wealthy Attitude

(Proverbs 23:4 KJV)  Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

As I write this I am retired.  I am no longer chasing the rabbit or grabbing for the gold ring.  At the same time I think about going back to work or getting something part time.  Why?  At this point it would only be to be “rich" (gain wealth NASB) (6238).  Why?  There seems to be a certain gene in us that always wants more.  I stand on the porch of my new home and gaze out over the receding ridges.  It is so much more stirring than the middle school I used to have taking up the horizon.  Yet I am aware that we have the smallest house in the neighborhood.

An attitude I need to develop, in fact I should have developed it long ago, is to be satisfied with enough.  I can’t go pay cash for a new car.  I can pay to have my old one fixed, and that is a good thing.  We are all at different places but the assurance we have is that God will provide.  My wife asks me if I am worried about having enough money as we age.  I answer, “No.”  We mean different things.  She worries about having money to live her dreams.  I am concerned about living in dignity.  God will sort out which is more balanced.

So?  How much is enough?  It will be different for all of us because of personality and situation but I have a feeling God wants us to understand that we can be happy and content with less than we think.  It is often a matter of attitude. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cultural Cacophony

(Proverbs 22:21 KJV)  That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

This verse is enough to make me a pariah in modern culture.  This is one of the great divides that has wedged its way into our understanding.  We live in a world that says there are no absolutes, there is no truth.  Our culture tells us that everything is relative and if we think differently we are intolerant and intolerance is the big sin of our age. 

Jesus was exclusive.  He did not believe there were many paths to eternal life.  He believed there was one and it went through Him.  This echoes through the Bible from the Shema,
(Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV)  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
To the words of Jesus,
(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.
So?  It is hard to see and hear when we exist in a cacophony of pagan nonsense.  Be aware that often that confusion exists in the church.  Do your homework.  The truth is available but your surroundings are working overtime to keep you from knowing what it is. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Proud or Preoccupied?

(Proverbs 21:24 KJV)  Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

We should be careful about putting these labels on people we do not know well.  Many times it is our misconception.  Have you ever had someone drive by and ignore you?  It is too late now but try to remember, were they driving into the sun?  Were they fighting a reflection on their windows?  Were they deep in thought?  We need to give people the benefit of the doubt.

At the same time we need to make sure that these terms do not describe us.

So?  Give others some slack but hold yourself to a high standard.  If everyone would do that we might begin to approach an even handed reality. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Beauty of Age

(Proverbs 20:29 KJV)  The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

There is “honor” (1926) in “gray hair” (7872).  Why do so many people try to cover it up?  Why are so many people reluctant to tell their age when the number is big.  I remember a mother who would visit me at school and bring her younger children.  One of the rituals we went through was to talk about how her little one was three years old.  He was proud to hold up the fingers and share it with us.  It was a big deal.  I don’t ever remember the mother’s age being discussed.  And we all know people who tell us they are 29 and will always be 29.

Perhaps we do this because we want “glory” (8597) more than honor.  We want the fun and games rather than the insight and wisdom.  The Bible does not condemn strength and vitality but also reminds us that it is fleeting.  Wisdom on the other hand becomes more useful.  Wisdom also might keep us from doing something that is “fun” or dangerous.  Maybe that is why we don’t seek it as much as we should.

So?  If you are young, enjoy it.  The same if you are old. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Be a Legacy

(Proverbs 19:26 KJV)  He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

My parents have been dead and gone for many years.  I am approaching the point where I could die in this world at any time.  I don’t expect it, but you never know.  Since they are gone I don’t have much call to violate this verse.  At this point they live in our memories.  How can I attack them?

I guess I either attack or endorse them every day by the way I live.  Do I continue in the steps they demonstrated?  Do I live by the principles they taught?  In my case that would be living a godly life.  If you have the image of people leaning over the banister of heaven and watching what we do then the issue is how they feel about what they see.

So?  I am the legacy of my parents.  They may be gone but the legacy continues, or it should. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sustainability

(Proverbs 18:14 KJV)  The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

What keeps me going every day?  What keeps you going in the face of horizons of struggle?  We have all seen people with minor issues who fold and live in defeat when others with major handicaps live in victory.  It has to do with the “spirit” (7307) [ruach]. 

I think that this involves more than numb endurance.  The process going on has to do with comprehending the struggle.  As believers we can understand what is at stake.  When we look at an election we realize it isn’t just about tax rates and immigration quotas.  We realize that we are involved in a cosmic struggle and it is the underlying principles that are at stake.  It is the view of life that gave the martyrs their courage and provides us with the inner resources to press on.

So?  Life is not a party but it is a journey overseen by our Creator.  We can face a lot if our inner spirit is in tune with the Eternal Spirit. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Laughing at the Three Stooges

(Proverbs 17:5 KJV)  Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.

The second part of this verse reminds me of I Corinthians 13:6 where it says love “rejoices not in unrighteousness,...”  This is a key part of our faith.  We are not allowed to desire damage to our enemies.  I have been doubly aware of this being trapped in a room with perpetual television.  Do you realize how many lawyers advertise on TV?  And they don’t summon those who have been persecuted by the government.  They generally are looking for people who are in a situation where the other side has good insurance and would be glad to settle out of court.  When I hear the lawyer wanting my business on the radio he wants cases where you have been hit by an 18 wheeler, not the guy with no insurance.  I can’t help but believe they are glorying in my “calamity” (343) or at least hoping they can.

So?  As Christians we are to desire the best for others, even when we don’t like them and they can’t stand us.  It is an extension of turning the other cheek. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sweet Talk

(Proverbs 16:24 KJV)  Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Usually “honeycomb” (1706/6688) is presented in a positive light.  This is actually a compound word which literally means “comb of the honey”.  Only one other place has this combination.
(Psalms 19:10 KJV)  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Here it talks about “words” (561); in Psalms, the Law.

Our speech is to be pleasant and true.  We are to be that rock in the middle of the stream where a traveler can put their foot and know that it will not turn under them.  We are to be that electrical appliance that is properly grounded so a touch will not kill.  We are the living representatives of Jesus.

So?  I sometimes shudder to think that people would hear some of the things I say in moments of weakness.  We are not like the animals.  We have mouths that can choose truth or falsehood.  We can heal or destroy.  I know which I want.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Respect for Both Parents

(Proverbs 15:20 KJV)  A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

There are days when a verse catches my attention while reading the chapter and it ends up being the same one that I would have picked next by method.  I enjoy those days.  This is a verse that is designed to show how we should please our parents but something else hit me.  It also is one of the numerous places where the Bible points out the fact that we are not supposed to live in a male-only world.  Both parents are mentioned.  The approach is different but the result is the same.

The Bible sets up order in the family.  In that order there is no loss of importance, just different roles and duties.  In Israel women had much more freedom than they did in surrounding cultures.  It is an attitude that we also find in the New Testament.  Christians were at the front of movements like education for women and giving women the right to vote. 

So?  Read the Bible and take what it says as the final answer.  Don’t rely on the pastor, the politician or the blogger.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Portable

(Proverbs 14:11 KJV)  The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

What are the lessons in the word pictures of these words?  The “upright” (3477) are given a “tabernacle” (tent NASB) (168).  I am not sure if the KJV gives more clarity or less.  The word is meant to carry emotional meaning.  This refers back to the tent of meeting or the Tabernacle, which was a tent.  The tent moves as God moves and is able to adapt to flexible needs.  Remember that each day the children of Israel would follow the cloud as God led.  Each time they stopped they would set up the Tabernacle and set up the Holy of Holies.  It was part of God’s promise to be where His people were.

So?  Keep in mind that God being with His people meant that they had to follow where He would lead.  It gave flexibility and variety but it also demanded obedience. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Find Your Fences

(Proverbs 13:8 KJV)  The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

I really can’t figure out what this verse means, at least not enough to make a definitive statement about it.  I notice that you have the two extremes of society mentioned.  Look at this as a continuum or spectrum rather than two choices.  I say that so we can all be included.  Few of us will ever consider ourselves rich and even our welfare classes live in luxury  compared to the poor of the Bible or the rest of the world today.

It would seem we all have a need for something to keep us on the right path.  The rich who want to stay rich live to preserve their wealth.  Spendthrifts often end up in the poor house.  The poor are often ignored but they need correction just as much as the wealthy.

So?  Seek guidance.  Be aware of the fences that are around you to keep out the wolf and to keep you from straying. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Color Samples

(Proverbs 12:6 KJV)  The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.

How many “words” (1697) of the “wicked” (7563) are lurking in your home?  By that I mean how many books, videos, albums or games are in your house just waiting for an unsuspecting mind to open itself?  As a mature adult I don’t worry about the books on my shelf.  There are works of literature that I have read to be informed.  That is part of being wise, knowing what the other side thinks.  But there is a caution I would suggest.

Do you have any children around that are susceptible to nonsense?  I have read the Koran.  I have read Atlas Shrugged.  I have read a lot of science fiction.  If I had young children they would be among the titles I would not have in my house.  Be wise.

One reason Christians understand the world better is because we are totally surrounded by the thinking of the other side.  The pagan God haters control just about every source of information we have.  If we are on track we spend time each day in the word so we have a solid foundation to resist and interpret their nonsense but it does not happen automatically.

So?  Be alert when you pick up a book on history or a source of news.  Be like the home owner wondering what color paint to buy.  He takes a sample of what he is trying to work with and uses it as the basis of his decision.  The word is your color sample. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Boomerang Principles

(Proverbs 11:17 KJV)  The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

A brief look at the Hebrew shows us a difference in the original text used by different translations.  If you have the cool software you can note two Hebrew words with the numbers 2617a and 1580.  The first is “merciful” in both the KJV and NASB but while the second appears in both translations it is associated with different English words.  It seems to be just a matter of the translators having issues because the meaning comes through the same for both. 

The point is that our attitude and intent tend to be boomerangs.  They eventually loop back and hit us in everyday life.  I don’t think this is a short term promise.  I think it is a long term principle.  Jesus put it this way,
(Matthew 5:7 KJV)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
I like to think about how He had to Old Testament scriptures in mind when He spoke.

So?  If you want the best out of life, give the best. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

(Proverbs 10:24 KJV)  The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

There is a phrase that comes to mind, “self fulfilling prophecy”.  Here it relates to the state of our mind as we face life.  When your focus in life is on evil, and Proverbs has a very wide definition of evil, you are going to reap the harvest of that focus.  Have you noticed how animals seem to sense fear in humans?  I like horses but I am afraid of them.  They know it.  When I ride they pretty much ignore me. 

So?  Life will reward you, good or bad.  It will give you the desire of your heart.  Most people are determined to be lord of their own lives and God will honor that rejection. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What Do You Mean

(Proverbs 9:4 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

Often you can’t tell right from wrong by the words used.  Think of all the people talking about love.  We hear a lot about peace.  How about justice?  These are the obvious ones.  In education we have terms like “authentic assessment” and “cooperative learning”.  In politics we are told we need more “bipartisan” approaches.  The problem is in what the words mean. 

I remember having a long discussion once with some Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to my door.  They told me that they believed Jesus was the Son of God.  At least that is what I heard.  The words were fine but what they really meant was that Jesus was a son of god.  You had to know exactly what to ask and when to ask it.  They also believed that you and I are sons of god. 

So?  Be wary.  Always plug in your mind.  Don’t accept what people say at face value unless you know them well enough to trust them and even then be wary.  Wisdom and truth are available but not if we insist on being “simple” (naive NASB) (5493). 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Involving Trees in Worship

(Proverbs 8:31 KJV)  Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Christians are to have a different attitude toward the natural world around us.  Pagans tend to deify nature.  Some versions have spirits, demons and little gods located in each tree and rock.  You might not cut down certain types of trees because the tree gods would be unhappy and cause the wood in your bow to break when you needed it most.  To Christians this is a superstitious attitude toward nature. 

A Christian might also spare the tree but not because he is worried about the spirit of the tree or feels that the tree is his brother.  The believer spares the tree because he is a good steward and realizes that God enjoys the tree He created.  The tree is for man to use, not to waste.
(Genesis 1:28 KJV)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Notice that we are to subdue the earth but also replenish it.

So?  Enjoy nature, don’t worship it.  Worship God through your enjoyment.  Glorify God in his creativity if you are a scientist delving into the complexities.  Praise God for his taste if you are an artist using it for inspiration.