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, 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.