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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Limits of Legalism

(Proverbs 31:20 KJV)  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

The Godly woman, and of course all children of God, reaches out.  She does not wait for someone to come begging.  She “stretcheth” (extends NASB) (6566) her “hand” (3027).  There should be an innate generosity in Christians.  When we see someone in need we have a need, a need to share.  If we don’t have it on an emotional level then we should be developing it on an intellectual level.  That is where I find myself.  I tend to be lacking in mercy which means I need to be extra sensitive.

In English “reacheth forth” (stretches NASB) (7971) is a bit more extreme than just extending.  I am not sure if this qualifies the amount or the effort.  Again, in my case it should be both.  We have practiced tithing all our married life.  We are now having a disagreement on whether giving to para-church organizations can be done with the tithe or whether it is an offering.  We need to get beyond the limits of legalism and give in to obedience.

So?  If you are blessed with generosity then be thankful.  If you are not, join me in trying to develop more sensitivity to those in need. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

God Eyes

(Proverbs 30:13 KJV)  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

Arrogance is a killing attitude.  The idea of pride, or “lofty” (7311) eyes, is a repeated theme.  It is rooted in the garden of Eden.  Ultimately it involves trying to be gods ourselves.
(Ezekiel 28:2 KJV)  Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
Keep in mind the words of the serpent to Eve,
(Genesis 3:5 KJV)  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
In our schools we teach evolution that says man is the highest form of being.  In the cults they end up expecting to be gods. 

The Christian faith is built on bowing the knee to almighty God.  We keep forgetting that we exist for His pleasure, not the other way around.

So?  Heart check or eye check.  Either way I am asking God to keep me humble and un-exalted. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

What Do You Mean I Have a Problem

(Proverbs 29:1 KJV)  He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

This brings to mind some recent conflict I have been having.  I have this inner need to defend myself.  I find myself getting very sensitive to criticism.  The most common translation involves “hardens” (7185) and “neck” (6203).  Another good translation is “stiff neck”.  The ones that tend to paraphrase use “stubborn”.  Any way you look at it involves a refusal to listen to criticism.

Yet it is not just criticism.  It is Godly criticism which is labeled “reproof” (8433b).  This is a part of the mature Christian life, the life of wisdom, that we don’t like.  Part of the resistance is because we are trying to separate the false criticism from the genuine reproof.  That is a healthy tension but too often it is simply a matter of not wanting to be corrected.

So?  I need to struggle to listen instead of reject.  It might be more than just me that needs to fight that battle but I don’t want to criticize.  Right. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Chase

(Proverbs 28:22 KJV)  He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

We have all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  This verse seems to be saying that “evil” (7451) is in the heart of the be-doer.  An “eye” (5869) does not have moral quality.  Flip Wilson did not say “My eye made me do it.”  Notice it is the “man” (376) who is chasing wealth.  That is because his heart decided what his eye should be looking for.  Then his heart directed his feet what to pursue. 

One basic teaching of the Bible is that we are all born sinners.  We are born with evil hearts.  That does not mean that we are all little Hitler’s.  It means that we have a tendency toward ourselves and away from God.  The Holy Spirit works on us most of our lives, trying to get us to respond to the call of God on our lives.  He is trying to bring us to repentance.  He wants to save us.  That is really hard to do when our heart is directing all of our six senses toward something like “wealth” (1952).

So?  Some have already responded and just need a reminder for a spiritual tune up.  Some are so far down the road to perdition that their ears are not working any more.  Some are hearing the call and still sensitive.  Only you and God know where you are on this chart. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Enjoy the Mud

(Proverbs 27:4 KJV)  Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

I am wondering about the relationship between “envy” (jealousy NASB) (7068) and what the Ten Commandments calls “covet” (2530).  I am far from being an expert on the Hebrew but when I look at the definitions and how they are used I get the feeling that jealousy is more a raw emotion while coveting is a focused desire.  Thus I might say that anger is a response that can be explained.  You know what made you angry.  Jealousy is less rational. 

Somewhere I remember jealousy being explained as being unhappy that someone else is being blessed and enjoying life.  It isn’t so much that you even want what they have, that would be coveting.  It is more that you do not like their success.

So?  We need to take what the Love Chapter has to say and apply it in our observed world.
(1 Corinthians 13:6 KJV)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
If you are having a bad day, look around you and be thankful for someone else’s blessings.  If you need an example think of watching a toddler sitting in the mud having a great time smearing it all over everything.  You are not involved but you can enjoy their joy.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Consider the Curse

(Proverbs 26:2 KJV)  As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

A “curse” (7045) can be much more than a pin in a voodoo doll or a chant over a lock of hair.  I don’t know if I have ever run into that form but there is a more regular encounter that we all face.  The definition of this Hebrew word goes beyond curse and includes vilification and execration.  In my computer dictionary vilification is defined as “speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner.  Execration is to “feel or express great loathing for”.  I think this is getting closer to home.

We have all been abused verbally.  Somewhere someone has told you they hate you.  It is possible that the attack is deserved.  I always need to keep that in mind instead of getting all self righteous and haughty.  There are times when God is using this kind of pain to take the wind out of our sails.  Again, it is possible I deserve it and if I want to grow and remain healthy that must be seriously considered. 

It is also possible that it is not deserved.  It could be the person going for your jugular is just trying to manipulate you.  It is possible they are just having a bad day.  It could be they are taking out on you what someone else deserves. 

So?  I need to prayerfully consider what seem to be attacks on my character and personality.  This is where the Holy Spirit as exhorter is so helpful.  He can help us see clearly and either bring repentance or resistance. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What Is the Matter

(Proverbs 25:2 KJV)  It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

The word “thing” (matter NASB) (1697) seemed so common and it is common in the sense that it is used frequently in the Old Testament.  The most frequent translation is “word”.  It would be safe to assume that this has something to do with truth and wisdom.  If you have read the Bible much you will find that there are many teachings that are hard to grasp.  You will notice that prophecy is confusing and clouded.  God has given us what we need to know but makes it like a time-release capsule.  It is released slowly.

There can be many reasons for that and maybe I will follow that thread sometime.  But for today my mind is focused on BISS.  That is an acronym I use to convey “Because I said so.”  I have the right to say that as a parent.  I have the right to say that as a teacher.  He has the right to say that because He is God.  No one likes to hear it but it is still true. 

So?  Live in obedience now.  Find out why later.  Maybe that is part of living by faith. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Check the Balance

(Proverbs 24:4 KJV)  And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Wealth is not condemned in scripture but there is a type of “riches” (1952) that is ranked as more vital than gold and silver.  The source of real wealth is the intangible.  It is that which cannot be counted, stacked or locked up.  Physical wealth without wealth of the spirit will lead to desperation and defeat.  Wisdom, understanding and “knowledge” (1847) without a big bank balance can still create joy and fulfillment.  Of course a balance would be best but we tend to lean the wrong way.

So?  Spend some time today reflecting on what is really important in life.  Examine the balance in your life.  Rejoice in the knowledge of where you stand and move forward. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Autopilot Antidote

(Proverbs 23:12 KJV)  Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

Why have I been posting a daily blog on Proverbs for about six years?  It is a question I ask myself on occasion.  The answer I keep skewing toward is ego.  There is a part of me that thinks I have something worth reading.  It doesn’t take much reflection to realize that isn’t enough to keep this going.  The reason it has kept going on a daily basis is the need to “apply” (935) my “heart” (3820) to “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148).

It is an easy thing to read a chapter of Proverbs and realize that you don’t remember a thing you have seen.  It is like driving a long distance.  Every once in awhile you realize that you can’t remember paying attention to what you were doing.  Maybe I am the only one who goes on autopilot, but I don’t think so.  We can do the same thing when having personal worship.  Ritual replaces engagement. 

So?  I am forcing myself to engage the word on a daily basis.  Years ago when I was preaching and teaching Sunday School regularly I would say I wished everyone had to do it because it forces you to grapple with the truths God wants to convey.  Blogging helps me with that.  This verse reminds me of my motive. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pit Stop

(Proverbs 22:14 KJV)  The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.

When I think of someone involved in adultery I imagine them being enticed by the allure and beauty of the “strange women” (adulteress NASB) (2114a).  Eye candy comes to mind.  You don’t need to do much wandering on the web to come across pictures that are designed to pull you into temptation.  Since the word means stranger I think we can draw a lot of parallels on the specific. 

We are surrounded by a lot of alien thinking.  Since we accept it so readily it might be wrong to call it alien.  Actually it is native and we are the aliens.  The point is that the values and behavior being touted as normal all around us is anathema to God.  Look at the verses around ours.  You see sloth, foolishness, oppression of the poor.  Compare that to welfare, self-esteem and credit card debt.  Satan is doing everything he can to dress up destruction as a desirable object.

So?  Stay awake.  A general rule is that if the people around you consider something normal you need to take a deep breath, read a chapter in Proverbs and think again.  You do not need a deep pit stop.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pastors and Presidents

(Proverbs 21:1 KJV)  The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Righteous people want righteous leaders.  That is natural.  We have been blessed, or cursed, with the ability to have some say into who our leaders are.  We have constant elections at all levels from the Home Owners Association to the President of the United States.  This is rare in history.  We are at the time of change in our leadership.  A month ago we swore in a new president.  Only time will tell what the results will be.

Does the character of a leader matter?  Yes.  If it didn’t then the New Testament would not lay down such stringent qualifications for church leaders.  Strange as it may sound, the character of the president is probably less important than the character of your pastor.  This verse points out that God can “turn” (5186) him whatever way he wants.  Keep in mind that God directed Pharaoh, Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar and many other kings in ancient times.  Some are convinced that the stupid decisions that Hitler made, like invading the Soviet Union, are evidence of the hand of God.  If FDR had not died when he did would he have gone on to establish a royal dynasty? 

Is our current president a righteous man?  When it comes down to it, only God knows His heart and God has the ability to direct it, righteous or not. 

So?  Keep praying for the president and all other leaders and trust in God, not the government. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

E Pluribus Unum

(Proverbs 20:22 KJV)  Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

I don’t know about you but I don’t like this.  When I am wronged, I want justice.  I want vengeance.  I want them to pay.  I want the satisfaction of doing it myself.  Is it just me?

The problem is that such sentiments and actions are non-Christian.  It is pretty simple.  We are to forgive and leave the payback to God.  This has been a principle in American politics.  It is not always followed but we have this tendency to have an election, get all juiced up about our differences and then pull together after it is over.  That is being lost in our current culture.  Race baiting and the lust for power are gaining ground.  We need to stand against the flow.

So?  Did someone vote different from you?  Whichever side you are on, let it go and try to build toward a common future.  At least in the church we are to focus on what unites us, not what makes us difference.  E Pluribus Unum is a Christian concept that has been borrowed by politics.  Live it. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

You Know It When You Hear It

(Proverbs 19:20 KJV)  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

In this verse it does not tell us whom we are to listen to.  The closest context seems to be a father speaking to a son so we can accept that as a legitimate source.  In this modern day with many good translations of the Bible there is no excuse for not taking counsel from the written word.  When it comes to preachers and teachers we need to be cautious.  There are so many false teachers around that we are in deep riptides if we have no discernment.

One of the sermon illustrations that I have heard many times has to do with recognizing counterfeit money.  There are many things to look for but one bank clerk simply said, “I know what the real thing feels like”.  If we read, think about what we read and seek to apply it we will know good advice when we hear it.  We may not like what we hear but we will know it is genuine.

So?  Be open to input from others but don’t neglect to do your homework. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Why Did I Say That?

(Proverbs 18:7 KJV)  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

There are so many ways that my “mouth” (6310) can wreak havoc on my day.  A bit of sarcasm to someone with no sense of humor can cause disproportional results.  An observation that might be honest but is poorly timed can curdle a relationship.  Did I mention gossip? 

I don’t like to think of myself as a “fool” (3684).  Then why do I act like one?  The hope is that I can learn.  Being a fool is more an attitude than an ingrained quality.  It can be changed.  One good place to start is by not saying what I was going to say.

So?  Keep it short and sweet.  Imagine that someone is recording every conversation.  Accept that is does make a difference.  The bad news is that you cannot recall foolish words.  The good news is that God forgives and empowers to growth.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Messing with God’s People

(Proverbs 17:26 KJV)  Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.

One of the sad truths about our world is that the forces of evil seem to be gaining the upper hand.  When you look at the advance of homosexual demands and intimidation you wonder how long God will withhold His hand of judgment.  When you see the plague of unwed mothers you wonder how society will hold together.  When you look at the shallow, feel good educations our young people are getting you wonder how they will ever be able to understand the teaching of the Bible.

And in the midst of that we see the politically correct brainwashers passing laws to penalize those who still want to live by God’s standards.  It does not speak well for our country.  It is not “good” (2896a).

So?  In a sense it is not our problem.  It is an indictment that the educators, politicians and theologians are pronouncing on themselves.  At the same time we are to be salt and continue to walk in righteousness.  Pray for revival. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Way Is the Highway

(Proverbs 16:17 KJV)  The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

What is the purpose of a “highway” (4546)?  Why do people take the big roads rather than neighborhood streets?  Sometimes it is for speed.  At the right time of day the freeways and interstates are much faster than the stop and go of surface streets.  That is not always true and that is where discernment comes in.  Sometimes it is because you don’t know the local streets.  When I am driving cross country I try to stay on the major routes going through big towns.  I have gotten off and totally lost enough to be leery of side trips. 

Here the idea is to “depart” (5493) from “evil” (7451a).  We forget that we are to make the getaway when it comes to evil.  We are not supposed to rub elbows with it or submerge ourselves in it.  Sometimes we cannot avoid it but if we are paying attention we will find a way to escape. 

So?  Flee.  I know James says the devil will flee from us but if you do a search there are more verses that tell us to flee.  Sometimes God’s way is the highway.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Start and Finish

(Proverbs 15:13 KJV)  A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

As I look at this verse we are approaching Christmas.  As you read it, New Years Day has passed.  The greetings of the days encourage us to have a “joyful” (8056) “heart” (3820).  We call out Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  At the same time we don’t want to hear about all the problems.  As a Christian I think we understand what it takes to appear happy.  It starts on the inside.  If we have happy hearts then somehow it is going to get to our face.

Actually most people are satisfied with a “cheerful” (3190) “face” (6440).  That isn’t enough.  The joy of the Lord is something that goes all the way through.  It starts in a regenerated heart and mind and flows out into our actions, attitudes and priorities.

So?  It is a little late but Happy Hearted New Year to you.  God is on the throne.  Start with that.  I guess we should finish with that too.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Types of Witness

(Proverbs 14:5 KJV)  A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

There does not seem to be much wiggle room here.  I want to be “faithful” (529).  That demands that my word be true and reflect truth.  Honesty is so important that God included it in the Basic Ten.
(Exodus 20:16 KJV)  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
If you are looking for wiggle room you will say that only applies to your neighbor.  Such an approach indicates that you have a heart that does not want to be faithful.  All through scripture there is a call to honesty.  Just because our culture has rejected this standard does not mean that we can.

So?  Don’t lie.  Don’t distort.  Don’t deceive.  Take the road of the faithful, not the false.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Natural or Artificial

(Proverbs 13:1 KJV)  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

It may not be obvious to you but the beginning phrase of this verse does not have a verb in the Hebrew.  You know that in the KJV and NASB because the verb “heareth” or “accepts” is in italics.  What we do have is the concept that there is a relationship between a “wise” (2450) “son” (1121) and a “father’s” (1) “instruction" (discipline NASB) (4148). 

What is the relationship?  You need to build that from the context of the chapter and the book.  One thing that is clear is that the son does not get wise by ignoring the attempts of the father to raise him properly.  Does a negligent father or lack of a father doom a child?  No.  God is still at work and can bring teaching from other sources but this is the natural one.  In a day when “natural” is supposed to be best, why do so many people ignore this?

So?  Be aware of your influence on others.  Be aware of the forces at work on you.  Some are natural, some are artificial.  If you are not blessed with the best then make use of what is available.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Slothful Sabbath

(Proverbs 12:27 KJV)  The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

“Slothful” (7423b) seems to be the opposite of “diligence” (2742a).  One is listed as a mortal sin and the other is the path to success.  Sometimes we forget that the same God who inspired this told us to take a Sabbath, a day of rest.

Taking a break from labor is not sloth.  It is not lazy.  It is righteous.  We have forgotten this is well established in scripture.  We take the words of Jesus,
(Mark 2:27 NAS77)  And He was saying to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
and we use them as an excuse for all kinds of activities on what is a day of rest.

We also forget that the Sabbath was to apply to servants, slaves and even the animals.  So did you go out to a meal on your Sabbath?  Did you do a little shopping?  Did you do anything that required someone else to work?

So?  Guilty as charged.  I think my biggest violation is paying someone to fix and deliver a meal while I look forward to my afternoon nap.  I am meddling but also confessing. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Light a Shuck

(Proverbs 11:10 KJV)  When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.

What does it mean when things go “well” (2898)?  This is the only place that the Hebrew word is used in Proverbs.  In Psalms it seems to refer to a quality of God.  A question that comes to my mind is whether the city knows why it is rejoicing.  Somehow I don’t see people getting excited when their righteous neighbors have a good day.  What I do see is that people are happier when God’s blessing is on the political unit they are a part of.

God seems to bless nations and groups for a period of time.  I wonder if this would apply to denominations and local churches.  God’s people are called salt and light.  Often we have the results of light without thinking about it.  When I get up at night and walk around the house without turning on the lights I can often see well enough to stumble over nothing.  It is because of all the little “on” lights on electronics and the general light pollution that seeps through the windows.

So?  Light your candle and keep it lit.  Not only are you using it to keep yourself from stumbling but you are one of those positive influences that your neighbor isn’t even aware of.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

River Dance

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

As I approach my seventh decade it might seem strange for many people to think of me seeking the “path (734) {end} of life (2425b)”.  By my age you often feel like you are getting near the end of the road.  Believers in Jesus think in terms of eternity though.  As I see the light at the end of the tunnel it does not say “exit” it says “enter”.

Rearrange the words and the KJV “way of life” becomes “living way”.  As I look at the many possible translations of “life” I see a lot that has to do with being dynamic.  I see an emphasis of the difference between a river and a pond.  I see motion instead of stasis.  When you listen to the teachings of the Lord your life takes on a dynamic that cannot be stifled.

So?  Keep your focus on the things of eternity.  Plan big.  We are preparing for a journey, not a destination.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Watcher

(Proverbs 9:15 KJV)  To call passengers who go right on their ways:

Today you will face pressure to compromise your righteousness.  The enemy of your soul might be so ambitious as to present you with blatant sin and temp you to commit it.  The devil is out to get you.  How does he know the best approach?  He doesn’t know your heart like God does.  He can’t influence you the way the Holy Spirit can.  He is limited, but he is a good watcher.

In the context of this verse we have the seductress sitting and watching the crowd.  She is trying to decide whom to entice.  She picks out this young man.  What did she see?  How long had she been watching him?  What does Satan see in our daily lives that gives him the clues he needs to make his approach?  He doesn’t temp me with alcohol but he might with poker.  He never tells me to outright lie but I am often called on to exaggerate. 

So?  Walk in righteousness or as this verse mentions, on the straight path.  It is hard to fall off the edge when you are in the middle. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Twenty Years from Now

(Proverbs 8:24 KJV)  When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

Things have not always been as they are now.  The context here is the creative action of God before the world was formed.  You might say He had His act together before the play started.  He knew what He was doing and where He was going.

The same is true today.  We are looking at a political change in America.  For decades we have been watching social change.  Change is scary but we need to be reminded that God knows where He is going.  I often tell people it doesn’t matter where the country will be in twenty years because I probably won’t be around to see it.  Actually it does matter but I take comfort in the understanding that I am leaving it in good hands, His not the next generation.

So?  Work hard.  Get involved.  Make a difference.  Relax in the knowledge that God is active and omnipotent. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Public and Private

(Proverbs 7:1 KJV)  My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

The walk of faith is always a two sided coin and you can’t have the coin without both sides.  If you went to a coin dealer to buy a golden eagle and the coin handed to you was smooth on one side, would you accept it as genuine?  I hope not.

In the same way we see the quest for wisdom having two approaches in this verse.  In the NASB you have the outward action of “keep” (8104) and the inward attitude of “treasure” (6845).  In the KJV it is a contrast between public and the private “lay up” (6845).  We can put on a good act for our family and friends.  We can pull the wool over the eyes of an entire church.  Many people can live exemplary lives in their own strength.  The point they overlook is that God can see their hearts and tell whether the righteousness is really important to the inner man.

So?  Don’t be fooled just because you can fool others.  God has a spy.  It is your heart.  It betrays you or puts a smile on His face. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Are You Hot?

(Proverbs 6:28 KJV)  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

One of my students was complaining that the room was hot.  My smart mouth reply was that it was because I was so “hot”.  We have adopted the idea of “hot” as being really sexually attractive.  We seem to think this is a good thing.  This verse and the previous one are trying to remind us that hot can destroy.  It can blister.  It can kill.

I have seen video of “holy men” in India who theoretically walk on hot coals with their bare feet and are not injured.  I have heard various ways it is explained from the spiritual to secret coatings.  I don’t know enough to make a judgement but I know that if I did it I might not ever walk again.  Just because someone else gets away with something doesn’t mean I will.  Just because I got away with something yesterday doesn’t mean the seeds of destruction were not planted.  One day in the coals leads to scorching.  Two days might lead to crippling.  Three days might lead to death.

So?  We are quite capable of avoiding most destructive behavior.  We are not Teflon coated.  We are Spirit filled.  Live like it. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Exit 58

(Proverbs 5:8 KJV)  Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

The KJV is a bit archaic with “remove” for the NASB’s “keep” (7368) your “way”(1870).  It seems to be a compound word combining “road” and the general idea of departing or moving away.  Both translations have something to offer us. 

For the NASB we have a warning to avoid evil.  Recently I was returning from the airport early in the morning and when I looked at the maps on my phone I could see that certain freeways were infested with construction.  I planned a route that took me as far away from that as possible.  One facet of this warning is to plan our lives in such a way to avoid the pitfalls around us.

For the KJV it is an emphasis on repentance or recovery.  If you find yourself trapped or getting sucked in then it is time to remove yourself from the situation. 

So?  Think of it as an off-ramp from the interstate.  Maybe a right turn at the next intersection if you are on a surface street.  The point is to avoid the congestion and problems ahead.  The glory is that the Holy Spirit gives us warnings to avoid disaster and if we wake up too late to avoid the failure, God is always willing to restore the repentant heart.  Blessings either way.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Half Truth, All Lie

(Proverbs 4:24 KJV)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Righteousness demands more than accuracy.  Being “froward” (deceitful NASB) (6143) can be done with true facts, you just withhold key truths or present them in such a way as to deceive.  One example I have of this came to my attention as I was listening to the radio on the way to work.  It was a couple of years ago but still resounds in my mind.

The discussion was between the host and a guest with “authority”.  The guest said that the Founding Fathers had wanted to separate the church and state.  As evidence of this he referred to the Constitutional Convention.  He pointed out that Benjamin Franklin had made a motion to have a chaplain lead the convention in prayer every day.  The guru said that the motion was defeated.  So far, true.  Then the deception began by withholding more facts.  He said this demonstrated the desire for separation of church and state.  The lie begins.  I have to believe he knew better.  You see, the reason they voted down the motion was because they had no money to pay a chaplain.  Indeed, they proceeded to find a way to not only have prayer but to have sermons read each day.  So much for keeping God out of the process.

So?  We cannot follow that model.  We cannot live on half truths or distortions.  We are called to a higher standard. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Balancing Act

(Proverbs 3:4 KJV)  So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

This is a verse that I think gives a principle rather than a law.  The reason is that the balance of scripture tells us that this will not always be the way things are.  All you need to do is begin reading the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus tells us,
(Matthew 5:11 KJV)  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
And to show the balance you see a verse that is almost the same as Proverbs in the same section of scripture.
(Matthew 5:16 KJV)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The point is that no matter how we are treated we are still to live in righteousness.  We are still to seek and apply wisdom which is expressed in terms of kindness and truth in the previous verse.  As Paul said,
(Romans 12:18 KJV)  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
So?  Seek eternity by being upright and living the truth.  It will please God.  Sometimes it will please your fellow man. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Eternal Sauerkraut

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

Who is the “he” in this verse?  The obvious answer is God Himself, or as the previous verse identifies Him, the Lord.  I like the sense of continual storing.  It gives me the sense of a farm wife constantly canning and preserving the bounty of the day for a future need.  God’s wisdom continually expands.

It gives me a clue to how we are going to make it through eternity without boredom.  As we grow in wisdom and knowledge and revel in His presence, He will keep on moving out ahead of us.  In our finite minds we cannot comprehend this.  Keep in mind that if you could then it wouldn’t be all that marvelous.  Think of being invited to dinner to the home of a recent emigrant and being served a meal of combinations you would have never imagined.  Extend that to eternity.

So?  Who would have ever thought that sauerkraut would go well mixed in macaroni and cheese?  Someone smarter than me.  But it works.  Think of an eternity of new uses for sauerkraut. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Truth or Trendy

(Proverbs 1:1 KJV)  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

The “proverbs” (4912) in this section are attributed to Solomon.  We often put all proverbs into an envelope and consider them all the same.  When I Googled “proverbs” I got one site that said it had 213 Proverbs that all English speaking people would know.  It gave me a chance to pull up a random list of ten.  None of them were from the Bible.  The first?  “Boys will be boys.”  Now that is powerful.

Keep in mind that the words we see in the Bible are often used in ways that do not support the truth or teaching found in the Word of God.  Just because something is called a proverb does not mean that it contains wisdom.

So?  Consider the source.  Examine the context.  Think about the logical development.  Seek truth not trendy.