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.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

That Works

(Proverbs 16:3 KJV)  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

“Works” (4639) get a lot of bad press among some Christians.  They emphasize that we are not saved by works, and they are right.  That is a Biblical stand.  What is often overlooked is that we are not saved without our works.  I know a lot of people don’t like that but remember what Jesus said,
(John 14:21 KJV)  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Keep in mind that Jesus did not talk about grace.  He talked about believing and He talked about obedience.  When we are redeemed we are changed.  It makes a difference in how we live.  Part of that change is in whom we live for and what Solomon is saying means that we are to dedicate every action we take to the cause of Christ.

So?  Rejoice that we don’t need to earn our salvation.  Be glad that the Holy Spirit gives us to the power to live in obedience.  Relax in that assurance and walk in righteousness. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Believer Abuse

(Proverbs 15:32 KJV)  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Every year teachers get a review of policies regarding child abuse and its reporting.  One of the categories might be better called “child neglect” although it fits in the general bucket.  This involves when a parent “neglects” (6544a) to provide the proper nutrition or even hygiene for the child.  The sad part of this is that most of the parents I dealt with could have been accused of neglect because they were too busy with their own lives to discipline and control their children.  Of course the state would not see it that way since they are working as hard as they can to get the parents out of the loop.  The point is that ignoring simple everyday procedures is a type of neglect.

Did you “neglect” to brush your teeth?  Did you neglect to wash behind your ears?  These are things which missing once will be no big deal but a pattern can cause serious dangers.  The same is true of our spiritual walks.  There are certain disciplines that are part of the Christian life and are regularly neglected by believers.  Some that come to mind are prayer, meditation, worship, and study. 

So?  Since we are under grace instead of law it is impossible to make some kind of rule about these things.  The problem is that neglect leads gradually to failure of key parts of our walk.  Enough unrepaired breakdowns and eternity becomes a question, not an assurance. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Error Message

(Proverbs 14:22 KJV)  Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.

At what point do we recognize that we “err” (gone astray NASB) (8562)?  I think it is an important question.  Think of people in the Bible who went astray.  You would have quite a list if you listed all of David’s failings.  Peter was known for getting carried away down the wrong path.  I John 1:9 is written based on the assumption that people will get off track. 

How do we respond?  The righteous will see their sin and repent.  The evil will continue down the path.  Notice that the straying comes because the person is evil.

So?  Did you mess up already today?  Is it because you are choosing to be evil or because you got off the track you want to be on.  Repent or keep sliding.  Different people will make different choices. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wise Walking

(Proverbs 13:20 KJV)  He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Life is full of choices.  It can really be important whom you travel with.  I enjoy playing golf once in awhile.  I am over the “gotta play” passion.  I am not really very good.  If you know what it means, if I ever break 100 I have a shouting spell.  I enjoy playing on courses I have never been to before but they have a problem.  What looks like a simple, direct path from tee to hole is often anything but.  In cases like that it helps to have someone playing with you with certain qualities.

It helps to have someone who has played the course enough to know it.  I had one guy who would constantly tell me things like, “Try to stay to the left.  If you hit it right it will roll down a long hill.”  It also helps to know if there is some water just over a rise and hidden in a low spot.  Knowing where to hit the ball doesn’t make me any more accurate but at least gives me a chance to try.

It helps to have someone who has better eyes.  One of the most common questions I ask is, “Did you see where my ball went?”  The problem is that the ball went farther than I could track.  It could be hazy conditions.  It could be I wasn’t looking.  Often there are others who can help out.

What you don’t want is the guy who wants to tell you how to change your grip and stance when it is obvious he isn’t doing so well himself.

So?  As far as possible, choose whom you walk with. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Coup de Gras

(Proverbs 12:18 KJV)  There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

In this spot the NASB does a better job on the Hebrew.  The KJV leaves out the concept of “rashly” (981).  While the term can refer to making solemn statements it has the idea of doing it without thought, even flippantly.  I have a vision of some of the spiritual discussions I have had with people where I deliver the coup de gras only to find that they don’t think it was so profound.  It was, they just didn’t get it.  I am not referring to the times I was totally wrong.  The problem was not my facts but my attitude.

So?  It doesn’t do any good to be right if no one will listen. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Servant Class

(Proverbs 11:29 KJV)  He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

 The second part of this verse does not necessarily have to do with the first although I can see how one relates to the other.  A fool would mess with his own house.  We have the phrase, “foul your own nest”.  I don’t know if you have ever seen pictures portraying the work space of a computer geek who has empty pizza boxes piled by the chair.  I have actually seen that in real life.  It is disgustingly awesome.

The “foolish” (191) have certain qualities.  Proverbs keeps bringing them out.  They have personalities that make them useful only on tasks that do not really matter.  It says they will be “servants” (5650) but it does not say that they will be useful servants.  They will be the kind of housekeepers that might be trusted to change the toilet paper but will need to be checked to see if they get it rolling the right way.

So?  Some people are not worthy of being in responsible positions.  That should never be said of followers of Jesus. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Soul or Not

(Proverbs 10:3 KJV)  The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

This is a verse that is easier to deal with if you consult different translations and look at some of the study tools available.  The NASB seems to be saying that God will never stand by and let one of His children get hungry.  That is literally nonsense.  We all experience hunger.  It is how we know it is time to eat.  So we need to look a little deeper.

Different translations give us a clue.  Notice that the KJV says “soul” (5315) of the “righteous” (6662).  That brings the meaning into reach.  Also notice the marginal notes in the NASB.  There is says it is literally the “soul of the righteous”.  If that is what it means then why didn’t they translate it that way?  Sometimes I see why a friend of mine is so fed up with the NASB.

Another item of interest is that the verb in the first phrase seems to be an interpretation, not in the Hebrew.  It has the Lord and the righteous but what is the action?

So?  I think the figurative, spiritual understanding is best.  God will not allow our soul to dry up and wither.  He will be with us and hold us up through any trial.  I can live with that. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Choice Ignorance

(Proverbs 9:16 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

It has been a long time since I have seriously used my Bible commentaries.  It isn’t that they don’t have good things to say, they do.  It isn’t even that they contain heresy, unless you are a die hard Arminian who thinks Calvinists are heretics.  I don’t think that.  They may be confused but they are not heretics.  The reason is that in most cases the commentaries are not sharing great insight into the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek but instead are sharing their own opinions. 

Notice in this verse that the appeal of deceit works best for the one who “wanteth" (lacks NASB) (2638) “understanding” (3820).  This type of appeal works best on people who are ignorant.  What we often overlook is that ignorance is usually a choice.  It is not the same as stupid.  You can’t help it if you are stupid.  You can be responsible if you just don’t know or have not taken the time to learn.

So?  Sometimes ignorance is no big deal.  I don’t know who the latest rap star is, nor do I care.  I do know however that the fruit of the Spirit is more important than the date of the rapture.  One is available, one is God’s business. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Utter Utter Truth

(Proverbs 8:7 KJV)  For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Proverbs spends a fair amount of time talking about evil with all of its attributes and variations.  It also spends time on the character of righteousness.  On that list is “truth” (571).  We are to “utter” (1897) truth.  In English we have at least two different meanings depending on whether it is used as a verb or an adjective.  Both are helpful if we are talking about living upright lives.

Here it is used as a verb.  It is interesting to me the scope of meaning in the word.  Of course it means to speak or say.  In addition it carries the baggage of moan, groan and muse.  It is even translated “mutter”.  I don’t know if you mutter but I do.  Even that must be truth. 

It would help to look at the adjective also.  It is not the meaning here but in English “utter” as an adjective means total and absolute.  To you could say that the believer is to speak total truth at all times.

So?  Just as we need to be aware that there is evil around us we need to acknowledge that God expects us to be different.  Our standard is truth.  We are surrounded by a culture that is making all kinds of excuses for lies and deceit.  We are not part of that. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It’s His Fault

(Proverbs 7:20 KJV)  He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

We have here a man who is being betrayed by his wife.  Has he done anything to deserve it?  There is no indication that he has.  Of course that brings up the point that our behavior is not excused by the behavior of others.  As Christians we are called to follow the Highway of Holiness.  We are called to be salt and light.  We are to stand out.
(Philippians 2:15 KJV)  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Flip Wilson used to have a routine about how “the devil made me do it”.  We have our own routines.  We blame parents, children, society and even God.  I know that when I eat too much I usually have some good excuse for my lack of discipline.

So?  We will be judged on our response to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  God already knows our excuses, what He wants is our obedience.  Seek and find.

Monday, August 6, 2018

All, or Most, for Naught

(Proverbs 6:12 KJV)  A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

The KJV has “naughty” (1100) and the NASB “worthless”.  The English language has changed because they used to be synonyms.  I found it interesting to look at how my collection of translations handle the Hebrew.  The Basic Bible in English uses “good-for-nothing”.  Douay-Rheims has “apostate”.  The Geneva Bible has “unthrifty”.  The Jewish Publication Society says “base person”.  That is an interesting selection.

A transliteration is used frequently in the KJV as the name “Belial”.  In this chapter there are a lot of characteristics used to describe this type of person from being lazy to telling lies.  It is interesting how often this comes up.  Contrary to the teachings of our schools and media, man is not a benevolent creature.  We are prone to evil and too many have not been touched by the grace of God.

So?  Again, accept that those around you are serving the devil by serving themselves.  Make sure you are the exception but don’t expect to be loved because of it. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Mouth Sword

(Proverbs 5:4 KJV)  But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

If you look up the uses of “two-edged” (6310) “sword” (2719) you will find it is only used twice in the OT and three times in the NT.  That doesn’t seem like much for such a well known term.  Even more startling is that a literal translation is “mouth sword”.  In context here that seems very appropriate because the woman portrayed here is doing much of her damage with her mouth.  In the end it might be said that her mouth is sending her to hell.

So?  I guess it is simple:  Watch your mouth.  As believers we are readily tempted into gossip and idle chatter.  In a world of declining politeness we are also desensitized to the growing vulgarity and crudeness of speech.  I am not sure that an occasional four letter word will send us to hell but it is an indication of our focus.  So, watch your mouth. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Insomnia

(Proverbs 4:16 KJV)  For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

Have you ever had nights when you just could not get to sleep?  I know I have.  I can be tired and yawning.  I can’t focus.  I sit in my chair and have a hard time staying awake but when I go to bed, sleep will not come.  Often it is because something is on my mind that keeps me from relaxing.  It might have been a confrontation that took place and continually does a re-run.  I can’t let it go.

There are people like that in regard to “mischief” (evil NASB) (7489a).  This is totally alien to us but it normal for them.  They think of a chance they had to damage someone and how they missed it.  They pine for that lost opportunity and relive the moment.  They are beyond what we would consider the borders of normalcy.  I am not talking about the clinical sociopath.  I am talking about masses of people who know what is right and wrong and rejoice in doing the wrong.

So?  Part of growing up is knowing that the battle we fight is not just apologetics, reason or knowledge.  You cannot convince someone of a truth they admit and reject.  Think of the people who saw Jesus call Lazarus from the grave (John 11:43) and then went away to plot his death.  Think of the crowds who saw Him heal and went back to life as normal.  That is the normal state of mankind.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Salt Dreams

(Proverbs 3:24 KJV)  When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

There are many ways that fear can rob us of rest and peace of mind.  I am long past worrying about monsters under my bed.  Now I worry about the government listening through my computer microphone.  One was childish, the other is very possible.  Both are real at the time.  We are in a season when it is time to nominate a new justice to the Supreme Court.  People on the left are having a melt-down.  They are talking about concentration camps and the end of freedom.  That is probably as much an exaggeration as the fears people on the right had when Obama was elected.  These things make a difference.  They are real.  Don’t let them rob you of your sleep.

Our confidence is not in the government or even the church.  Our hope is in what Romans 16:27 calls The Only Wise God.  If you are having trouble putting that in perspective then read back through this chapter and grab hold.

So?  Will there be hard time ahead?  Of course.  This is a world inhabited by sinful creatures called humans.  Sleep well.  You may be called on to be salt and light tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Right Stance

(Proverbs 2:2 KJV)  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

I hear better out of one ear than I do the other.  If you know me well enough you can tell if I am really trying to listen because I “make attentive” (7181) the ear that hears better.  It is getting so it is automatic.  When I am in a restaurant I try to sit with my good ear toward the conversation.  How much I understand depends on how I situate myself.

Did you take your Bible to church with you?  I won’t bother asking if you went to church.  It should be obvious that you can’t hear the preached word if you are not in attendance.  But do you go with the idea you are going to hear something that could change your life?  I remember one famous church we visited.  I saw things that made me feel it was more of a social club rather than an institution of higher worship.  One indication was the obvious way we stood out as visitors:  We were carrying Bibles.  They had their coffee cups and water bottles but obviously figured they did not need a Bible.

So?  What is your worship stance?  Could a casual observer tell that you were really expecting to deal with eternal truth?  Make yourself attentive. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Cause and Effect

(Proverbs 1:18 KJV)  And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

I have been thinking about my blessings and, as often happens, I ask, “Why me, Lord?”  Why do I have the minor aches of age when people younger than me shovel in pills to keep the pain at bay?  I could go on in that mode but the key questions is, “Why me, Lord?”  I don’t have an answer that I can spread like a blanket.  Actually it might be like a blanket at a picnic.  My facade looks good in some ways but when you try to set your glass down you find that the uneven ground is still there. 

I will tell you what I would like to think.  I would like to think I am blessed because I have not followed the path in the previous verses.  I would like to think that I have been more pure at heart and more faithful.  The problem is that I know my heart and I know my actions.  That does not wash.  Yet I am truly blessed.

So?  I don’t have an easy answer.  I do know that God promises to see us through and we are to be careful about laying sin at the feet of others.  I do know that God makes it clear that rebellion and disobedience will have a price.  I am thankful for grace and the blood of Jesus.