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, June 24, 2019

Weed Control

(Pro 24:31 KJV) And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

This verse caught my eye in the NASB because instead of the “thorns” (7063) of the KJV it has “thistles” (7057).  My references say that they are actually the same word in the Hebrew.  Both translations have “nettles” (2738).  The reason I noticed is because I have been pulling them up out of my yard.  I originally thought they were the same thing but evidently not.  The plant with the glorious purple flower is a thistle.  Nettles are not so colorful.  Both have the spiky, thorny leaves.  Both have to go.

I am just beginning my struggle against these two plants.  I am operating on the assumption that just mowing them down will not take care of the problem.  I am pulling them up and trying to keep the seeds from spreading.  Fortunately they seem to come up easily.  One thing I know, if I don’t pull them they will multiply.

So?  The point Solomon is making is that we need to be diligent in our spiritual lives as well as our gardening.  We need to pull the weeds out by the roots or they will take over.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Know Your Targets

(Pro 23:5 KJV) Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

In my reading I have come across successful businessmen talking about how to be successful in business.  Makes sense, more sense than asking movie stars how to run the country.  I digress.  One of the points I seem to remember is that you don’t just ask yourself, “How can I make the most money?”  Obviously you need to make a profit but the point they make is the same one Solomon is making.  If your only goal is to make money, you probably won’t.

Instead they say find a need and fill it.  Or I guess they would say create a need and fill it.  When people feel they need that microwave that senses when the popcorn is ready you will sell one to each popcorn lover.

So?  Follow God’s principles and you will get the desires of your heart.  Chase the desires and you will watch them fly away. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Borrowed Trouble

(Pro 22:13 KJV) The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Do lazy people live vicariously?  Did a friend see a lion once?  Really, have you ever seen a lion in the street?  In Israel it might have been possible in a small town.  I know that in California they have bears that wander out of the mountains on occasion.  I have heard of joggers being mauled by mountain lions.  I have never seen any of this myself.  So would I use this as an excuse to not take the garbage out at night?  I doubt it.  But I can remember when I was afraid of the boogeyman. 

I have my own 21st century fears: What will the neighbors think, Does this color look good on me, Will they take Discover?  The thing is we are supposed to live fearing God, not social scorn.  If we fear God in the right way then the other stuff become an irritation, not paralysis. 

So?  What are your lions in the street?  They are probably different than mine but no more worrisome.  Trust and obey.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Peace, Bro

(Pro 21:14 KJV) A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

One of our roles is to be peacemakers.  Think of the words of Jesus,
(Mat 5:9 KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
I am still wrestling with the concept of buying people off with rewards.  That requires a careful dance, but the principle that we are to be oil on the waters instead of vinegar on baking soda is clear.  It may require that we do things we don’t like.  It may require humiliation or at least a bit of humility.  It is still our path.

So?  Be a peacemaker.  Leave the agitation for the servants of Satan. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fathers’ Week

(Pro 20:20 KJV) Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

As this is posted we are a few days after Fathers’ Day.  I guess you could say we are in Fathers’ Week.  This is a good reminder at this time of year.  As we pause to recognize fathers we can turn this on its head and say that our lamps will not go out if we bless our fathers. 

On the other side, maybe those who are fathers might remember that they are supposed to live up to this recognition.  This is not supposed to be one of those Millennial Summer Camp award ceremonies where we give out trophies for participation and no one comes in first place.  This is hopefully a time where we recognize the daily grind of faithful service that has been slipping under the radar.

So?  I hope you have something to celebrate. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Adult Pain

(Pro 19:18 KJV) Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Once when I was in elementary school I had a boil that had developed on my back.  My mother set up her tools to deal with it.  I immediately began screaming.  I think everyone in the neighborhood thought I was being murdered by torture.  I remember that I put on a great show.  Was I in any danger?  No.  Did the boil need to be lanced?  Yes.  Did my screams stop my mother from doing her duty?  Not a chance. 

Children do not like discipline.  They do not like to be corrected.  I think of the way my granddaughter responds when she is told not to touch something.  Now realize that adults don’t like to be disciplined either.  It isn’t so cute when they throw their little tantrums.  It is one of the reasons for the violence we see with the snowflakes rioting on college campuses. 

So?  Keep in mind that the old saying, “This is going to hurt me more than it will you” did not refer to the physical pain but the pain of being the one forced into the role of adult.  Also keep in mind that the alternative is “death” (4191), not just the “crying” (4191) that the KJV refers to. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pantries Trump Walls

(Pro 18:11 KJV) The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.

There are a lot of people who look at things through human eyes and make the decision about what is “strong” (5797) and what is weak.  The purpose of the choice is to decide where to invest their time and how to set their priorities.  You work to your strengths to compensate for your weaknesses.  The ancient world was full of great cities that thought their walls would defend them.  As far as I know, they all fell.  One thought I hear repeated is that cities do not usually fall to attacks on their walls but are betrayed from within.

While the world is working to build walls higher and repair cracks, the real danger is in their hearts.  While the ramparts are worked on, the world does not make sure that they have enough food and water to maintain a siege.  It doesn’t matter how high your walls are if you pantry is empty.

So?  Let the world build its walls.  We need to strengthen our inner man, to develop our trust in the Lord and our obedience to His word. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Foolish Conclusions

(Pro 17:25 KJV) A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

Don’t jump to conclusions.  “Foolish” (3684) children are a real problem and a burden but don’t confuse childish immaturity with being a genuine, unadulterated, total fool.  Children can be embarrassing.   I should say, “Will be embarrassing”, but a lot of that is grounded in your lack of a healthy sense of humor.  As I enjoyed my granddaughter on a recent visit I thought about how often I could find it embarrassing that she left more food on the floor than she got in her mouth.  That is not being a fool, it is being a child.  It is being a learner.  If my adult children did the same, that would say something about my parenting skills.

Childish foolishness will go away with training.  Youthful foolishness will hopefully be the same.  If you are still a fool when you become an adult, then we have some serious issues.

So?  Be patient and keep training when it comes to your children.  Be anxious and repent when it is you.  God is trying to communicate.  It is up to us to listen.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

How Are Your Lips?

(Pro 16:13 KJV) Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

I am glad that this verse is translated literally.  I like the phrase “righteous (6664) lips (8193)”.  This is the only place it occurs exactly this way but there are two other places where the words are used together.
(Pro 10:21 KJV) The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
(Pro 10:32 KJV) The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
Both are positive statements.  They are a standard we should look for in our leaders.  Good luck with that.  Righteousness involves speaking truth more than avoiding crude language.  Political leaders are not known for their truth speaking.

It is also an expectation for us.  We need to be leery of expecting people in authority or leadership to live on a higher level than we do.  It was one of the failures of the medieval church.  People began to expect that it was enough for pastors and elders to live righteous lives while the laity were free to pursue the desires of their hearts.  I used to run into a comical expression of this when people who were cussing up a storm would find out that I was a preacher.  They would stammer and get apologetic.  I would assure them I was familiar with the words.  So is God and His approval is much more important than mine.

So?  Expect the best from our leaders and live up to that level ourselves. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Members Only

(Pro 15:8 KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

For the believing Jew there was only one place that you could make a “sacrifice” (2077).  After the temple was built sacrifices could only be offered in Jerusalem.  The Hebrews ran into real problems trying to get around this.  That was one error.  The other error was that many began to look at the sacrifice as a superstitious ritual, a rite that they could perform and expect some mystical power to be invoked.  They would come with pagan hearts and expect a response from a Holy God.  It did not work that way.  It still doesn’t.

Gentiles do not sacrifice in the temple.  Christians now have communion to remember that blood sacrifice is not longer necessary because Jesus shed His blood to pay for our sin.  As He said on the cross, “It is finished”.

This verse should remind us though of the warning issued by the Apostle Paul.
(1Co 11:27-28 KJV) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
So?  Communion is a sacrament that was instituted by Jesus.  One of the aspects is that we are to examine ourselves and make sure that we are up to date on our repentance and obedience.  Non-believers need not apply. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Maybe It Is in Your Head

(Pro 14:30 KJV) A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

This could be a reminder of what we call psychosomatic illness.  Our state of mind has a lot to do with our health.  We need to be careful because people who tend to be healthy can get to be arrogant and judgmental toward people going through real problems.  Ultimately our health is in God’s hands but He lays down the foundation that helps guide it.  Living by faith is one of them.  Stress is a part of life.  The unknown is always with us.  Much of our stress is non-spiritual.  Picture approaching a signal on a road with a 50 MPH speed limit.  Will it change?  When it does should you hit the brake or the accelerator?  Stressful but not spiritual.  At the same time the amount of confidence we have about the providence of God makes a difference in how our bodies respond.

So?  Relax.  Easy to say and often hard to do.  The basic fact is that we can work ourselves into a frantic attitude that opens us up to physical issues. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Want or Need

(Pro 13:4 KJV) The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Which is more common, getting what we want or getting what we deserve?  One old saying that has always bothered me it “People get the kind of government that they deserve”.  Another that is frightening is,
(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
and when you put that together with,
(Rom 6:23 KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
it can become panic time.  This verse offers some reassurance.

God looks at our heart and ends up giving us what we really need.

So?  Actions are important but will never replace the condition of the inner man.  Sometimes that condition is automatic.  Sometimes it requires focus and discipline. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Close Enough for Government Work

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

It is interesting the variations in translating the word “slothful” (7423b).  Sloth and laziness are the two most common.  Another that comes up is “deceitful” which is also possible.  The one I found interesting was “slow” because that hits me where I live.  I have never been known for moving fast.  Maybe that is something I need to work on.

However you prefer to translate it the problem is an attitude that gives less than its best.  It is a “good enough for government work” kind of approach.  You all know how that works out when you are the one in line and nothing is getting done.

So?  As Christians we should be the ones who are in early and leave late.  We should go the extra mile and strive for excellence.  Others are watching.  It isn’t necessarily a matter of us getting into heaven but it might influence their choices. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Over the Fence

(Pro 11:11 KJV) By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when our culture has needed this verse applied more.  Okay, that was hyperbole.  If you compare our day with Rome at it’s worse we still have a little way to go, very little.  If you look at the way the poor were treated in the days of David Copperfield you can see that things are still above average.  But the evil in our day is on the attack and few are rising to meet it.

We are hearing more about it.  Say what you want about Donald Trump, he has been making frequent reference to human trafficking.  There are advocates calling for an end to abortion.  The problem is that we don’t have enough of the rank and file that are speaking up on a daily basis.  We need to take a stronger stand in our checkout lines conversations and back fence dialog. 

So?  We need to be an active blessing rather than a full bottle on the shelf. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Immutable

(Pro 10:12 KJV) Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

I get frustrated with people who think that the Old Testament is somehow an archaic book, that the God of the New Testament is different somehow.  You have heard how Yahweh was a God of anger and Jesus represents the God of love.  Wishful thinking.  There is little of Jesus’ basic teaching that is not grounded in the Old Testament and it would almost seem like Paul had read the book of Proverbs.

“Love” (160) as being central was not a new concept conceived by the apostle Paul to meet modern times.  It was the universal standard of God.  Our problem with this is that we have allowed the pagan pastors and humanistic Hollywood to define down our concept of both God and love to the point where we cannot handle either.

So?  Love with the love that is rooted in the holiness of God, not the feelings of your philosophy professor.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Red Herring

(Pro 9:6 KJV) Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

What is necessary for salvation?  This is a question that can be asked sincerely and can also be a dodge.  The Philippian jailer asked it and received a simple answer.
(Act 16:31 KJV) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
If you are a sincere seeker this opens the door.  This is enough to bring regeneration and justification or at least start the process.

The problem comes when we get to the Rich Young Ruler.  He essentially asked the same question except his terminology had to do with eternal life instead of being saved.  This actually comes up in Luke twice.  The second time the answer involves the Ten Commandments and then selling everything, giving it away and following Jesus.  The first time the answer is slightly different and boils down to two things.
(Luk 10:27-28 KJV) And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

A complete reading of the Bible assures us that salvation is a gift given by God but also reminds us that we are expected to respond.

So?  Don’t be sidetracked by the red herring of being saved by your works.  That obviously is not Biblical.  So is a salvation without repentance and change. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Enough Rope

(Pro 8:17 KJV) I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

An interesting difference is seen between the NASB “diligently” (7836) and the KJV saying “early”.  This is a demonstration of how variations in translation can bring home the meaning of the Hebrew.  The definitions of the word include both ideas.  There are a number of ways to look at this.  Today the thought that is working on me is a concern for those who are playing games with God.  You know the type.  They are going to have their fun and then at the last minute repent.  They think they can then have the benefits of salvation and the perceived benefits of a life of sin.

The problem is that God can see their cards.  He will either call trump when they are not looking or pull the hidden card out of their sleeve when they try to take the hand.  By that I mean they would go of a sudden hear attack or He would respond the way we see at the beginning of Proverbs,
(Pro 1:28 KJV) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
So?  God gives out the rope.  You can use it to fasten to a sure foundation or hang yourself.  It is not that He does not care.  It is that He is holy and not to be mocked. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Torque Test

(Pro 7:2 KJV) Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

When people come to know Jesus in a real way it makes a difference in how they think.  It might be a good test to read this verse and respond to find out if you are really saved.  To the genuine convert this verse is a promise.  To the superficial or phoney it is a threat.  There is a correlation between living the moral, focused life that God lays down and life.  To the believer it is not just eternal life that is being referenced but today and tomorrow.  It is the good life of the good.

Some people respond to the call to salvation but when they hear the commandments they pull up and say, “Now wait just a minute.”  They are quite willing to take the promise of pie in the sky but they want to be in the fast lane until that day comes.  Any restriction is poison and it eventually turns them away from Christ.

So?  I trust that you are enjoying life, now and forever.  We need to remember that the commandments are like a good torque wrench.  They keep the wheels from coming off. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Agent of Change

(Pro 6:21 KJV) Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

How do you “bind” (7194) something like a commandment?  The Jews decided that one way to reinforce the word was to take written portions and literally tie them to their bodies.  Like many physical gestures, it can help but the danger is that the ritual replaces the reality.  The key to this is found in the previous verse where be are told to keep the commandments.  By keeping them we eventually build up what athletes call muscle memory.  We get to the place where we react automatically in many situations.

It is called a habit.  I have developed the habit of pulling my bed together in the morning.  At first I had to remind myself.  Now it has become almost automatic.  Many of the expectations God has for us can be built in that way.  Don’t confuse this discipline with the necessary work of grace through the Holy Spirit.  It is an application made possible by that grace.

So?  We all have areas of life that need improvement.  It might be something as obvious as anger.  It might be subtle enough that only you know.  It will not change unless you become an agent of that change. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Listening Sloth

(Pro 5:13 KJV) And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

Comparing the KJV and NASB brings an interesting insight.  The KJV says “obeyed” (8085) and the NASB has “listened” (8085).  Both are acceptable but the idea of paying attention is at the root.  If we are listening to God’s voice then we should be following His direction.  It is as simple as that.  If you don’t obey then you are either in open rebellion or guilty of listening sloth.

We are surrounded by whispers and shouts that try to give us direction.  When the question comes up of those who have never heard the gospel I tend to answer that they heard many pre-gospels and refused to acknowledge them.  Think of the people who smoked cigarettes for years with the warnings on the label.

So?  Listen and respond.  Realize that to not respond is still a response. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Straight Choices

(Pro 4:25 KJV) Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Words having to do with righteousness have an element of straight to them.  Evil and corruption tend to show an aspect of crooked or twisted.  On a theological level we deal with original sin and recognized that we are born sinful creatures.  It is a part of our being that keeps trying to turn us away from God.  It keeps us from following the straight and narrow.  We battle it and too often we lose. 

Then we meet Jesus.  He redeems.  He washes.  He justifies and through the power of the Holy Spirit we are now able to make real choices.

So?  Choose wisely.  When you ignore your GPS it sometimes leads to a long trip back. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Curse of Example

(Pro 3:33 KJV) The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

The “curse” (3994) and blessing of God go beyond the individual targeted.  Notice it is directed toward the “house” (1004).  We raise children and there are times when certain mannerisms and habits get passed along.  When my son and I were being forced to stand for a picture he pointed out that we need two things to make the photo genuine: Hats and hands in pockets.  It is how we do things.

Parents pass things on to their children.  It is part of the reason why pastors who look so good to the public turn out kids who are reprobates.  The kids see dad in public and private.  They tend to follow the private.

So?  Do you love your children?  That is another reason to get serious about your commitments and priorities. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Apply What You Know

(Pro 2:11 KJV) Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

What is the difference between “discretion” (4209) and “understanding” (8394)?  We could assume that the author is simply using a literary devise of searching for a synonym to underscore his point.  I think it goes beyond that.  I think he is trying to increase our grasp of the issues involved. 

Discretion is an act of the will, a conscious decision.  Understanding is mentally grasping information.  You can understand that gossip is a sin and still have loose lips.  You can understand that adultery is wrong yet still get involved.  You can also be discreet even when you don’t know what is involved.

So?  The Holy Spirit and the word make it possible to have the foundation we need to make decisions.  We must decide whether we will live in obedience or rebellion. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Unblessed Assurance

(Pro 1:27 KJV) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

I have no indication of what the Hebrew word is for “when”, or if there is a Hebrew word, but it appears in all the translations I have available to me.  They all seem to agree that trials and tribulations will come.  Bad times happen.  We, as believers, are told about that and reminded that God will see us through.

It is not so promising for the unbeliever.  This specifically points out that things will eventually fall apart for them.  If you have a hard time accepting that, go back and think about all of the people who seemed to have it made who committed suicide, overdosed on drugs or got a divorce.  When the calamities of life come they have nothing to make the difference.

So?  The answer is available to them as it is to you.  They have chosen to ignore it.  Pray for them and live in faith.