An Idea Borrowed

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Eternal Ears

(Proverbs 15:31 KJV)  The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.

The call we receive is composed of a series of responses.  It starts with this one, to “listen” (8085).  From there you have a call to faith, a call to repentance, a call to obedience.  As a result we will “abide” (dwell NASB) (3885a) among the “wise” (2450).  I remind you and I remind myself, that is an eternal dwelling.  This is not just a cool promise that we will sit with a bunch of awesome people.  In Proverbs it talks about sitting at the gates and high places.  That sounds impressive.  I think it also it a reminder that we will be with the wise for eternity.

So?  Keep your listening ears on.  Turn up the microphone.  God is giving directions and you probably have an intersection just ahead. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Neighborly

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

Are you a cranky “neighbor” (7453)?  Am I a cranky neighbor?  You will never know.  Where we live now the neighbors are far enough away that if they are cranky we will never know.  This verse is a reminder that we should be the most pleasant house on the block.  That doesn’t mean that you are taking cookies to everyone or mowing their lawn when they are not looking.  It does mean that you don’t play loud music at night or clog up the street with wild parties.  It might mean bringing in their empty trash cans when they are late getting home.

So?  People should know we are nice to live by before they find out we go to church.  If we are obnoxious it will not matter how good our pastor is our how friendly our congregation. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Core Conceptions

(Proverbs 13:19 KJV)  The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Our culture is in direct conflict with the Christian faith.  One of the areas of conflict regards the nature of the human being.  What are we on the inside?  Christians believe that we are contaminated with original sin and thus we tend to be selfish and inclined toward evil.  The world believes that all people are morally neutral or inclined toward the good.  The teachers in your public school have been indoctrinated by psychology and sociology to believe that the reason so many children are messed up and making bad choices is that their environment has blocked their natural goodness. 

Environment has consequences.  Most people will concede that.  The difference is where you start.  This verse reminds us that there are some people who feel very strongly that they need to continue down the path that rejects a holy God and His expectations of righteousness.

So?  Don’t expect to fit in.  It may go well at times.  It may be under the surface.  The standards of the world reject the standards of God.  Decide which side you are on.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Simple Truth

(Proverbs 12:17 KJV)  He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.

The simple statement here is that the believer “speaks” (6315) “truth” (530).  Many people try to fudge on this.  They come up with many excuses and qualifications.  If that is how you swing then it is questionable if you are a believer.  True is the opposite of false.  It makes a difference.

So?  Speak truth.  Is that simple enough for you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Coupons and Faith

(Proverbs 11:28 KJV)  He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

Is the stock market going to crash?  Will Social Security go bankrupt?  Will we be forced into a cashless lifestyle?  Stay tuned, it just gets more interesting.  It is interesting to us because our confidence is not in the “riches” (6239) of the economy.  We balance our check book, pay our rent and utilities, use coupons and lock our doors.  We do not panic because the federal deficit is too big.

This is not just a cliche or platitude.  This is a rock that we base our life on.
My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus blood and righteousness.
So?  That is not just an old song that we used to sing.  It does not just apply to eternity.  It is a daily choice that we make. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Above the Law

(Proverbs 10:2 KJV)  Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

I appreciate the attempts of modern translators to try to make thinking easy for me but I believe in the long run it makes my thinking weaker.  It also can make my faith weaker by not expecting me to think.  The NASB phrase “ill-gotten gains” is literally “treasures (214) of wickedness (7562)” as printed in the KJV.  Once again by trying to help, the translators limit my choices.

“Ill-gotten gains” is one aspect of the phrase.  It focuses on the actions of the wicked.  “Treasures of wickedness” is better because not only includes the actions but the possessions, attitudes and priorities of those who live for themselves.  It is possible to procure something through legal means and have an attitude which makes that object more important than a hungry man next door.  The purchase was not ill-gotten but ignoring your brother in need was wicked.

So?  As followers of Jesus we are called to a higher standard than just following the law.  That is the glory of living under grace.  It does not excuse law breaking, it takes us to levels of obedience fueled by love and guided by a desire to walk straight. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Silent Partners

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

One of the concerns discussed in the Bible is demon possession.  I upset someone who was making an issue of it by saying that Satan does not push this in the west because he has found that the slow seduction of the faithful provides him with more recruits.  When you throw demonic forces at people they tend to either capitulate or turn to God in desperation.  When you dangle the possibility of winning the lottery you get many more takers. 

Notice that the targets of this evil woman are people who are trying to walk “right” (straight NASB) (3474).  Keep in mind that people who are not serving the Lord are serving Satan even though they don’t think of it that way.  They are silent partners.

So?  If you are being faithful then expect to be harasses by the Evil One.  He already has the guy beside you and he will have you for eternity if you listen to him. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Good Expressions

(Proverbs 8:6 KJV)  Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

As followers of Christ we are expected to be touched by wisdom.  I know when we look around we don’t see much of that commodity.  A question to ask is, “Do they see it when they look at us?”  How does this work out in day to day terms?  A verse that this brings to mind,
(Philippians 4:8 KJV)  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
So?  Wouldn’t it be nice to be known for talking and acting that way?  It might not make you the life of the party or the celebrity at the local bar, but it would certainly make you the kind of person who leaves a positive legacy. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Blame Game

(Proverbs 7:19 KJV)  For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:

This reminds me that there are many situations that I cannot resolve or prevent.  The man being described here has done nothing to deserve being betrayed.  At least we don’t know of anything.  He has gone on a business trip.  It may have been necessary to keep his business going.  It is probably the way in which he earns the wealth to support his wife so that she can spend his money stabbing him in the back.

I would venture to guess that there are things facing many of us today that are not pleasant.  We have played by the rules and done the responsible things.  In spite of that we are on the short end of the stick.  One of the things we need to remember is that our success is not measured in who gets the promotion or who is publically recognized.  It is in being faithful to His calling.

So?  We cannot make others trustworthy, just ourselves.  God sets the standard and we either obey or not.  I promise not to feel guilt for the actions of others. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Self Check

(Proverbs 6:11 KJV)  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

“One that travelleth” (vagabond NASB) (1980) is what a previous generation would have called a hobo or tramp.  In theory there is a difference but both have the mystic of being free spirits with no roots.  Often there is a concern about them having sticky fingers for things not tied down.  If you are familiar with Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” you get the idea.

This verse is reminding us that one of the biggest causes of poverty is sloth and lack of integrity.  Modern social justice warriors don’t like that.  They need a rich person to blame.  Oppression happens.  Even more common, at least in this country, is lazy.  Most poor people are not lazy.  Many lazy people are not poor.  The intersection is bigger than we want to admit.

So?  Keep in mind this is not an excuse to judge others.  This is intended as a standard by which we can evaluate our own actions and attitudes.  This is for you to apply to you and me to apply to me.  It works best that way. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Wanting to Believe

(Proverbs 5:3 KJV)  For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

We can be effected by sweet talk and smooth talk.  Admit it.  You like to be told sweet nothings by the right person.  You like to believe what they tell you.  And then there is the guy who has an answer to any question you might ask.  We run into these situations.

Part of the solution is to know what you are a sucker for.  Since I am a bit of a cynic the smooth talk doesn’t work that well with me.  I question just about everything.  I am a sucker though for the person who goes from being ornery to sweetness and light.  I tell myself that I must have been mistaken.  I fall for it every time.

So?  Wisdom can help us in the quest to not look like a fool.  It doesn’t always work because we don’t let it, but it is available.  Our choice.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Quad Safety Valves

(Proverbs 4:15 KJV)  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

The “it” in this verse is the path of evil and evil men.  If you want to walk that way you are not reading this.  Solomon suggests four strategies to use if your desire is to live a righteous life.  Some can be matters of habit, others are results of focus and discipline.  Habits can be established with repetition.

It could be that the first advice is a summary of the next three.  “Avoid” (6544a) evil.  Then there are three strategies to avoiding.  You avoid something by staying away.  When I go to the grocery store I have learned to never go down the aisle that has the Cheesits.  I am better off if I don’t need to fight the temptation.  If by mistake I find myself approaching those distinctive red and yellow boxes I can “turn” (7847) around and go back the way I came.  If it is too late I can just “pass” (5674a) the threat.  Last time I heard, boxes of snack crackers do not jump off the shelf and attack shoppers.  I could be wrong on that.

So?  I have four steps.  Any one of them will keep me where I want to be.  They will not take themselves.  They require my cooperation.  The box is in our court.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Roller Coasters

(Proverbs 3:23 KJV)  Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.

Some people like excitement more than others.  I have ridden on roller coasters.  I can’t say that I look forward to doing it again.  Intellectually I was feeling safe and secure.  Emotionally and physically, not so much.  There is something unsettling about coming over the top of the rise and heading almost straight down.  There is only one way you could get me on one and that was by being sure that it was safe.

To be honest I never went and checked the documentation to see if the ride had been inspected.  I assumed.  I never doubted that some mysterious person or team had gone over the bolts and the beams making up that skeleton structure and declared it solid.  I never looked at the equations that showed the cars would not fly off into space on a curve.  I just assumed.

So?  When you have confidence in the Celestial Engineer and the Author of All Things you can make certain assumptions about the life you live and the challenges you face.  It makes the roller coaster of life more bearable.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Peeps Behind the Bed

(Proverbs 2:1 KJV)  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

It is easy to “receive” (3947).  It is a bit more challenging to “hide” (treasure NASB) (6845).  Think about last Christmas.  Assume that you received a nice pile of gifts.  When it was time to get them out of the living room, what did you do?  If you are like most people the general pile was transferred to your bed or some other flat space.  There it awaited its distribution, but there are always exceptions.  If you received one very special item you either put it in a special place or gave it special attention.  It is possible that there was another item, such as a package of Peeps, that fell down behind the bed and were forgotten about.  You know which ones were treasured by the way in which they were treated.

Around the tree where you were receiving you made the appropriate comments.  In your room the real attitude came out.  It is the same with the wisdom of God.  We learn to make the appropriate responses to the sermon.  We say stirring things at the Bible study.  But do we treasure?

So?  Separate the things you hear and give them the fitting amount of attention.  I am not sure we need to fixate on separating linen and wool but we might want to mediate a little on turning the other cheek. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bird’s Eye

(Proverbs 1:17 KJV)  Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

I am reading a book dealing with the search to understand the qualities that make up human beings.  Most of the book so far deals with debunking all the attempts to establish ways to measure intelligence.  The writer is a liberal who fits in with modern education.  He is afraid to say that there is such a thing as intelligence.  Proverbs has many measures to tell the quality of a person’s mind and thinking.  The overall word is not intelligence but wisdom. 

Here it points out that wisdom includes the ability to learn from your experiences and the experience of others.  The person being described is someone who does not seem to be able to learn from the most obvious.  To people with the benefit of the Holy Spirit it is obvious that some behavior is destructive.  It is clear that the wrong priorities can make success impossible.

So?  God always gives us enough knowledge to make decisions if our heart is open.  Pay attention.