An Idea Borrowed

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

Monday, April 22, 2019

Do You Really Want to Be a Nathan?

(Proverbs 22:11 KJV)  He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

I think most political leaders would focus on the second part of this description.  I am sure that David wishes the prophet Nathan had been a little more “gracious” (2580) when bringing up the king’s infidelity.  I think it is one reason Billy Graham was able to get along with so many different presidents.  If Graham ever approached a president about sensitive issues he must have done it with great gentleness and tact.  That is why the doors always seemed to be open to him.

There are times when we must stand up and be counted.  Those come on occasion.  An every day event is being more gentle in our approach.  The danger we fall into is in not being heard because we are too gentle.  I am not sure if that is our problem or people refusing to listen is the issue. 

So?  Make sure that being a strident voice is not a matter of ego.  People often reject the truth and usually reject it when it is wrapped in self-righteousness.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Prudent Thinkers

(Proverbs 21:12 KJV)  The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

We are surrounded by evil role models.  At first glance they may not seem that way but often that is because we do not want to see it.  After all, these “wicked” (7563) people are our friends and often family.  We need to understand that anyone who is not serving the Lord is serving Satan.  It doesn’t matter how nice they seem.

So it is important to understand what it means to “consider” (7919a) the people around us.  The basic meaning of the word is to be prudent but it has no one overwhelming translation.  I usually think of prudence in regard to behavior.  Here it is talking about our thinking.  We need to be prudent thinkers.  The two most common translations in the KJV are “wise” and “understanding”.  Perhaps a good word would be discerning.

So?  We are told we must live in the world.  That means we need to be alert and aware.  Pray that God would open our eyes and our minds. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Bursting Bubbles

(Proverbs 20:18 KJV)  Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
One of the reasons we don’t seek advice from people wiser than ourselves is experience.  We have learned the hard way that wise people will not tell us what we want to hear.  How many of us would ask someone who understood finance if we should buy the fancy sports car when we either had no job or were working for minimum wage?  We don’t want to hear it.  I remember the last housing bubble.  People all across the country ended up losing their homes.  What is not usually pointed out is that they should not have bought the house in the first place.  Two people do not need 4,000 square feet in a gated community.

We don’t want to hear it.  We need to hear it. 

So?  Start with scripture if you can’t get anyone to listen.  In this chapter alone Solomon talks about alcohol, work, borrowing, cheating in business, and gossip.  Those are just the topics I was willing to hear.  If that isn’t enough then ask your mom. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Keep, Not Get

(Proverbs 19:16 KJV)  He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

As we look at this verse and wonder how it relates to being saved by grace we need to think about something.  You can’t “keep” (8104) something you don’t have.  This is not a warning to obey the law if we want to get saved.  It is a reminder that obedience is not an option and it is necessary if we want to stay saved.  You may not like that but I can’t help it if you like instant grits. 

I still believe that no one will go to hell who does not reject heaven.  For someone who is determined to be lord of their own life an eternity with the real Lord would be utter misery.  I think there will be masses who will stand before the judgement seat of God and still be defiant. 

So?  Grace is extended.  Forgiveness is offered.  The blessings of eternity are available to those who are willing to enter in.  Or not. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Long Laces

(Proverbs 18:9 KJV)  He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Have you ever had your shoes come untied when you are in the middle of something?  I had one pair that would always start trailing strings when I was walking on very cold mornings.  Then I would be forced to take off my gloves to tighten them up again.  I kept wondering why it was just this pair of shoes.  I finally figured out that the laces on these modern styles were so long that they would either drag on the ground when tied or flop around enough to gradually work the knot loose.  I cut off a few inches and rarely had trouble afterwards.

There are areas in our life that are like that.  We need to keep checking them and redoing them and the reason is that we have too much unnecessary foo-fa pulling on them.  We need to get rid of what the NASB calls “slack” (7503) and in this one place the KJV calls “slothful”.

So?  Keep your laces snug.  It will make a lot less stumbling in life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Virtue View

(Proverbs 17:23 KJV)  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

I tend to think of a “bribe” (7810) as a bit of sleazy perversion that is used to attract the unscrupulous.  This might imply that it is given out of the “bosom” (2436), or secret place, in order to bring about what is viewed by both parties as a good result.  There is a temptation to think that our view of a situation is the view of virtue and in this one case the ends justifies the means.  Have you ever been checking out at the store and the clerk somehow enters a lower price than you expected?  It is very easy to rationalize that they put in a higher price another time and so it is only fair.  It might even be true but it is the beginning of making excuses and fudging on the strait and narrow.

We usually don’t have the temptation to “pervert” (5186) “justice” (4941) is big steps.  Satan has a hard time getting us to commit the big sin.  It starts small and grows from there. 

So?  Keep an eye out for the little compromises that are offered to us.  Some may be just fine.  Others may be a bribe from Hell. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Scale of Eternity

(Proverbs 16:11 KJV)  A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work.

You may have a different dream but I don’t see myself ever selling produce or running a business weighing recycled aluminum.  The ideas here about honest scales would seem to apply to someone else.  Not so.  The principle is the issue.  There are many ways in which I can cheat without going near weights and measures. 

How do I determine whether I am justified in returning a product I have bought?  Have you ever been tempted to purchase an expensive item, use it the one time you need, and then return it for a full refund?  I hear there are some women who do this with dresses.  I can picture doing it when I need a specialty tool.  What is happening is that the consumer is taking advantage of a retailer who is trying to be fair with his customers.  What we don’t like to admit is that this kind of misrepresentation is a form of lying .  I hope you understand how angry God gets when we lie.

So?  Business ethics are also the responsibility of the customer.  It is a matter of eternal significance.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Only the Righteous

(Proverbs 15:6 KJV)  In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

You may be familiar with the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s ‘treasure’ (2633)”.  In NASB terms that would be “One man’s waste is another man’s ‘wealth’ (2633)”.  If you have ever gone to a yard sale you know the feeling.  What one person is getting rid of another just has to have.  This kind of attitude is why I could never work on a garbage truck.  I would bring home so much cool stuff that it would be grounds for divorce.

The key point here is that God blesses the “righteous” (6662).  That may or may not involve what the world calls wealth but whatever your equity, He brings a rich life.

So?  While it may be better to be rich and miserable than poor and miserable it is best to be blessed in whatever socio-economic group you find yourself.  Roy Orbison recorded a song called “Only the Lonely”.  Ours might be “Only the Righteous. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Full Quiver

(Proverbs 14:28 KJV)  In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.

I often point out basic differences between what the Bible teaches and what our culture endorses.  One of those differences has to do with population, size of families and children.  The pagan culture of our day is worried about the planet because Gaia, the earth goddess, is at the center of their worship.  To them the job is to preserve the planet by subduing humanity.  They forget that if they have their way the comfortable life style that they enjoy will be gone.  It will be back to starvation, the mercy of the elements and living in caves.

The repeated emphasis of the Bible is that God wants people to have children and they are to be stewards of the earth.  They are not to exploit but to subdue and manage.  You see it in God’s words to Adam,
(Genesis 1:28 KJV)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
You see it in the Psalms,
(Psalms 127:3-5 KJV)  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
So?  Do a lot of praying about your ideas of family planning.  Children are a blessing, not a curse. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mouth Meal

(Proverbs 13:2 KJV)  A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

What is wrong with simple literal translations?  The KJV has it in “eats” (398) while the NASB confuses it with “enjoys”.  I think of many ways this picture is used.  When an athlete gets buried by the competition we talk about how he “ate it”.  We know what it means to “eat our words”.  That is probably the idea here.

How is the meal when you have to eat your words?  If we have been positive and honest then the taste can be quite pleasant.  If we have been critical and stretching things a bit they can come back to bite us. 

So?  If you are going to “eat it” keep in mind that you have a say in what the main course involves. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

More Than a Nod

(Proverbs 12:25 KJV)  Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

How many chances did I miss yesterday to give a “good” (2896a) “word” (1697)?  A good question.  I look back and try to think of people I spoke to outside my family.  I remember a mother in the grocery store whose boy was acting like a boy.  I didn’t say anything but my smile and nod let her know I figured it would work out.  I remember the clerk at checkout.  I like to answer the “How are you” question in ways that generate conversation.  I can think of a few more, mainly clerks in stores. 

I can’t think of any real complements I gave or encouraging words.  How much does it take to tell someone “good job” when they do a good job?  Evidently more than I had.

So?  Today I want to make the world a better place for people living in it with me. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Two Neighbors

(Proverbs 11:9 KJV)  An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

What happens when you are the righteous “neighbor” (7453) to a “hypocrite” (godless man NASB) (2611)?  I don’t think this means that we will never be inconvenienced.  Keep in mind that if you are going to be “delivered” (2502a) there needs to be some real problem.  We are told by Jesus that we are blessed when we are persecuted for His sake.  Count it a blessing but keep in mind that the story isn’t over until the last chapter and we have a promise for that.

If you are the godless next to the righteous then you may have nothing but frustration ahead of you.

So?  Make sure you are the right kind of neighbor. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Wink of Sin

(Proverbs 10:10 KJV)  He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

Adam Clarke’s discussion of this verse brings to mind people in places of authority who “wink” (7169) at certain types of crime.  We see it when the authorities do nothing to enforce laws against marijuana or prostitution.  For those on the other side we see it currently in sheriffs who are saying they will not enforce new gun control laws.  This is rebellion against due process and the rule of law. 

Some might think that the grace of God that is extended in forgiveness to us is a kind of winking at sin, after all, it is washed away.  Not so.  God follows the due process that He set up. 
(Romans 6:23 KJV)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God’s system of justice says that sin must be paid for by death.  Does He violate that by forgiving us?  No.  The sin was paid for by sacrifice.  In the Old Testament times the Jews had the temple system of sacrifice.  At the cross the ultimate sacrifice was offered up in the person of Jesus.  The price was paid.

So?  The question for us is how we respond.  God didn’t wink.  Neither can we. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Starting Line

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

Is this a universal call?  It seems to be selective.  Does it assume that some are not “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a) just as there are some who understand?  I would think that there would be some who have been studying what God has to say that might not need to tune in to this session.  It makes me think of attending a training session with a bunch of teachers and the leader picked up an object and said, “This is a mouse.”  When I looked around I realized there were teachers present that did not know that.

There is a place for Wisdom 101.  There are basics that need to be taught.  Only you can decide if that is where you are.  We need to start there but are expected to keep moving forward.  As Paul said,
(1 Corinthians 3:2 KJV)  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
So?  Start where you are.  No problem there as long as you don’t stop where you are. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Civics Lessons

(Proverbs 8:15 KJV)  By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

I am currently questioning my relationship to the governing authorities.  I understand that pure democracy does not work.  The Founding Fathers knew that and as a result gave us a republic instead.  They rejected the idea of monarchy and a noble class.  I was brought up to think that way.  Yet here we have all of those things being endorsed.

Why is it that our form of government is not taught in the Bible?  Why do we find kings and nobles mentioned instead of city counsels and a national legislature?  Even if we say that the ancient Hebrews would not know about those things, God did.  And by the time you get to the New Testament you have the democracies of Greece and the two houses of legislature in the Roman Republic.

I continue to wonder. 

So?  Our happiness does not depend on the form of government.  As much as I believe they are inspired, it does not even depend on the Bill of Rights.  It does depend our the Blood of Jesus. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sheol Street

(Proverbs 7:27 KJV)  Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

We used to sing a chorus that had the phrase “highway to heaven”.  The NASB has a phrase that I have always like, “Highway of Holiness”. 
(Isaiah 35:8 NAS77)  And a highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.
In this verse we are warned about Sheol Street.  If we look at the KJV we could come up with “highway to Hell”. 

Sheol Street is in the wrong part of town.  It may be in the ritzy part.  It may be rural.  The point is that rebellion and sin are the guiding principles.

So?  Just as you can decide what route you take on a vacation, you decide which way your day goes.  Check the Map and plan accordingly. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Context of Hate

(Proverbs 6:19 KJV)  A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Read in isolation this verse is an incomplete sentence that makes little sense.  I think that is how most people prefer to read it.  You need to look back a few verses to see the context.
(Proverbs 6:16 KJV)  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
We live in a time when such things as “fake news” and “spin” are pretty much accepted by both sides of the aisle.  It is considered just the way business is done.  To be honest, dishonesty has always been with us and will always be with us.  So, what is there to get excited about?

God hates liars.  We may be able to pretty it up and call it “misspeaking”, but no matter how pretty it is, God hates it.

So?  Obviously we should not tell lies.  At least it is obvious to me.  If I am all alone, so be it.  On this one I am on God’s side. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Possible if Not Easy

(Proverbs 5:11 KJV)  And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

I don’t want this verse inscribed on my gravestone.  I don’t want it as an obituary.  Do you know people that are like this?  It is one reason I start each day with a time of thanksgiving.  It does not take much reflection to call to mind all the blessings that not only populate my past but fill my present.  As I write it is below freezing outside but I am toasty and warm.  It isn’t because I spent hours yesterday chopping wood. 

The warning is for those who refuse to listen and respond.

So?  Listen and respond.  That seems rather easy but I have noticed it is always easy for one person to tell another what is easy.  Let’s just say it is definitely possible. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Programming the Autopilot

(Proverbs 4:23 KJV)  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

We are to guard our “heart” (3820).  There is a core to our being that sets the tone for our thinking, our speech, our actions.  We are to spend time grooming it and conditioning it.  We live in an age that lifts up emotions and how we feel above facts and logical thought.  While it is our inner man that determines our direction we need to be aware that we can mold that part of our being.

Actually it is God who does the molding.  Sometimes He moves against our intention.  Much of the time He expects us to get into training.  That is why so much of Proverbs and other scripture emphasize study and preparation.  We are told to take certain actions and avoid others.  There is a conditioning that goes on all the time.

So?  We don’t run on autopilot, at least not for long.  And even the autopilot must be programed. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

It Only Looks Good

(Proverbs 3:31 KJV)  Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Wanting to be seen as successful in the eyes of our contemporaries can be a fatal trap.  We look around and see that the corrupt politicians and greedy tycoons seem to be doing all the winning and getting all the pie not just the biggest piece.  It is really tempting to start doing things their way.

If you read on down the chapter you find that such decisions turn the Lord against you and ultimately become a curse.

So?  Stay on the path.  Short term victories and gains based on a flawed scale are not really what I want.  I hope you agree. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Gap Thickens

(Proverbs 2:9 KJV)  Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

Here is good news that is frightening to some.  “Righteousness” (6664) exists.  “Judgement” (Justice NASB) (4941) exists.  “Equity” (4339) exists.  There is a “good” (2896a) “path” (course NASB) (4570).  Not only does this tell us we have genuine choices but it also tells us we can know them. 

That is frightening to those who want to fit into our current culture.  Keep in mind that we have government bodies making it acceptable to kill babies after they are born.  They would define that as moral.  At the same time they would say that driving a car is immoral.  The Bible gives us definitions that are different.

So?  We are out of step with popular culture.  We always have been but we have been able to coast for a time.  The vacation is over.  The gap is too wide to straddle any more.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Avoiding Foolishness

(Proverbs 1:25 KJV)  But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

What a great verse for April Fools’ Day.  This is found in the midst of one of the most brutal passages in the Bible, one that is ignored by just about everyone with the gift of mercy.  The context is God explaining why death bed conversions are not always a great idea.  If they are genuine, all is well.  If they are the guy who has decided to wait until the last minute so he can enjoy his life of sin, you lose.

God is in the business of redemption.  I would not go so far to say that is all He is going, after all, He is God and is beyond my comprehension.  But keep in mind that is why Jesus came to earth, suffered and died and was resurrected.  The point here is that some people make a business of ignoring all the clues.

So?  I trust that I will not fall into this trap of being smug in my walk.  I hope I keep listening and getting the benefit of His excellent counsel.