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, August 20, 2019

Focal Point

(Pro 20:22 KJV) Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

I think the focus of this verse is the same that Jesus had with His famous statement about turning the other cheek.  It is personal.  We like to take the mention of evil and say, “What about Hitler?”  or “What about the millions killed with abortion?”  The real question is, “What about my wife?” or “What about the guy in the car in front of me?”  The real concern is our day to day attempts to justify our behavior.

Have you noticed that you are just having a bad day but the other guy is a menace to society?  The answer to this is the same as it is to many questions.  Take for instance when Peter tried to begin the comparison game,
(Joh 21:21 KJV) Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Jesus told him the same thing He is telling us.
(Joh 21:22 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
So?  The key question in the Bible is not pre-trib or post-trib.  The real question is, “What is that to thee?”  The answer is follow.  Today.   Now. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Up for the Count

(Pro 19:20 KJV) Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Wisdom cannot change the past.  We have all done stupid and childish things.  We have made bad choices.  We have sinned.  We can’t get over it.  We are doomed to lie in the bed we made.  Then comes Jesus.  Many consequences cannot be undone.  Joni Eareckson Tada will not regain use of her entire body in this life.  Veterans of Iraq will not grow back legs.  Aborted children cannot be reclaimed.  That is the hard truth.  The glorious truth is that with grace, forgiveness and hope we can look to change the future.

Part of that change begins now.  Part will move into overdrive after the resurrection.  The great part is that we can start today.

So?  Absorb the lessons and benefit from them.  Be prepared for the New Jerusalem that is set in a new earth.  Count on it. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Will to Hear

(Pro 18:13 KJV) He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Hearing is an act of the will.  Our ears work all the time.  I can’t turn mine off.  In spite of that handicap my mind can do a good job of putting up barriers.  We hear when we want to.  I don’t know if you have ever worn hearing protection.  You see them at shooting ranges, on airplanes and I have even seen them being worn by musicians.  People who work around loud machines wear them.  One of the interesting things about them is you can still hear.  It is possible to be wearing a device designed to protect your hearing but be able to hear the person speaking next to you.  It happens because you are paying attention.

So?  This is something we can all work on.  We need to recognize there are times when it is important that we listen.  It is not easy.  It can wear us down.  It is still important. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

I Don’t Know

(Pro 17:27 KJV) He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

I think it is fairly common for us to talk too much.  People ask us a question and we feel we need to answer with more than a raised eyebrow or, “I don’t know.”  In some situations I am comfortable with that but usually I feel the person asking knows even less than I do.  In those cases I try to start with an “I don’t know, but....”  Having confessed my ignorance I then try to use what I do know to come to a logical conclusion. 

It works for me but it often does not work for the other person.  They never seem to hear the “I don’t know”.  It would probably be better to stop right after the “know” and before the “but”.

So?  Keep in mind that the person asking possibly did not want to know and won’t listen to what you have to say anyway.  In our ego we believe that people value our opinion.  Don’t count on it.  Restrain yourself. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Off the Radar

(Pro 16:15 KJV) In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

As I general rule I think it is wise to stay off the radar of anyone who has a “king” (4428) complex.  You can avoid a lot of trouble by staying away from people who enjoy giving it.  The principle extends to anyone in a position of leadership.  This verse is positive but if you include the previous verse, take note and beware.  It can be a king, hard to find in America, or a police officer.  It can be your supervisor or the president of the HOA.  Even for the good ones you never know what there mood is.

So?  Follow that great verse in Micah 6:8,
(Mic 6:8 KJV) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
That refers to the Almighty not the local demagog. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Corrected Walking

(Pro 15:10 KJV) Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

With a nod to the fact that this is an Old Testament statement it still seems to be a reminder that people who are walking on “the way” (734) have the ability to “forsake” (5800a) it.  The concept is used all through Proverbs and the Old Testament.  You also find it in the New Testament in spite of those who deny it. 

We stand before God in a walk.  We are not statues touched by Midas.  We are living beings redeemed by our trust in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  It is a journey and anyone on a journey can decide to go a different route or to a different destination.  Even people riding airplanes can leave the airport different ways or get on another flight.  God does not reject us.  We reject Him.  We do it by our disobedience and refusal to listen.

So?  It does not have to happen.  People do not “lose” their salvation.  They throw it away.  Keep active and He will strengthen your grip. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Deny Denial

(Pro 14:32 KJV) The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

Every once in awhile I come across someone who claims that the Jews did not believe in “heaven”.  By that I assume we mean an eternity with the blessings of God.  I am not sure how they work that out with verses like this. 

The afterlife exists.  It is obvious to anyone who does not start out with a need to deny it and there are people like that.  They even occupy positions as pastors and teachers of theology.  If you find yourself listening to someone like this in church or class, it is time to leave because they have nothing to say that will not be tainted by their own personal superiority to the word of God.

The afterlife for the “righteous” (6662) is a good place.  Here the word used is “hope" (refuge NASB) (2620).  I don’t think that would overlap with ideas of a holding tank eternity.  Some people claim that there is a kind of Limbo that souls go to.  This would seem to be better than that. 

So?  Certain details of the Christian faith are basic.  Embrace them and accept no substitutes.  It contributes to our strength in these strange days.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Attitude of Leisure

(Pro 13:6 KJV) Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

I like the contrast in the effects of our behavior.  If we are walking in the light then we are guarded and protected.  If we insist on living in sin then we are weakened and twisted.  This would almost seem to be automatic.  Our behavior does effect our being.

One reality behind this is the nature of the law.  Most people who want to make life an eternal party think that the law of God is there to keep them from having fun.  In reality the standards that God has set for us are a well thought out plan to live the best life possible.  We tend to look at immediate gratification.  God looks at eternal satisfaction.  To use an example of me as I write, I am sitting in my Lazy Boy recliner.  It is my favorite spot but I find that if I sit in it too long it is hard to move when I get up.  I get used to the attitude of leisure when I need to exercise the mobility I am blessed with. 

So?  I need to constantly remind myself to get out of my spiritual recliner and get the blood flowing.  I don’t think I am alone in this. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Growing Pains

(Pro 12:1 KJV) Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Adam Clarke draws a parallel with an ox who “hates” (8130).  Keep in mind that an ox can be trained to respond to voice commands.  That does not mean that it likes to be guided.  I would imagine that if an ox could really think, it would rather turn toward that green grass on the side of the road than go straight ahead.  In the same way we can learn to do what is right and still hate the limitations.

That could be a basic difference between the law and grace.  The law can be followed even by people who do not like it.  Grace transforms a heart.  Even there I think there is a limitation to those who come willingly.  And we come from where we are.
(Mar 9:24 KJV) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
So?  I would call on God to transform my heart in such a way that I welcome those situations that help me, or force me, to grow. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Disciplined Mouth

(Pro 11:13 KJV) A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Having a “faithful” (539) “spirit” (7307) (trustworthy NASB) means having a disciplined mouth.  I am not so sure that all gossip is malicious.  I think much damage is done by people simply sharing a good story without thinking.  The KJV does a good job of literal translation here.

Casual conversation is a danger.  Think of the way talk goes at gatherings of people who are not committed to each other.  When I was teaching the staff had an annual Christmas party.  In thirty years I can only think of one time I might have gone.  Such gathering have little interest to me.  I can make small talk but I don’t see the point.  I think it is such times that encourage the kind of talk mentioned here.  Of course much of it could just be that I am an introvert by nature.

So?  We are to be friendly but need to beware of the danger of loose talk.  The law of unintended consequences applies to casual comments too. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Pause

(Pro 10:14 KJV) Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

As I read this verse I am reminded that I don’t always need to share what I know.  While I would hesitate to call myself “wise” (2450), I have a lot of good stuff churning around in my head.  I have a lot of great ideas that seem to emerge from the soup and often have an urge to share them.  Fortunately for me there is not always someone around to listen.

I have a little recorder that I use to store up my bits of wisdom.  If I am really organized I will type those thoughts into a file on my computer.  It is amazing to me how many of my great insights into the gears of the universe turn out to be nonsense on reflection.  That bit of pause will often keep me from sounding “foolish” (191) even if I deserve the title.

So?  We are what we are but that does not mean we need to broadcast it.  That applies to both the wise and the foolish. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Breath Wasting

(Pro 9:8 KJV) Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

We tend to think of wisdom as a noun, something that is spoken.  Sometimes it is just that.  Wisdom is wisdom no matter who speaks it but there are times when wisdom is wasted.  There are times when we should not be wisdoming.  There are times when we are not to give others the benefit of eternal truth.  Those times are defined by their character, not the truth.

I guess this verse could be rephrased as “don’t waste your breath on people who will not listen.”  Here it refers to correcting people.  It might also apply in witnessing or explaining.  Part of our wisdom is recognizing people who are not interested.  I know the times I have watched people’s eyes glaze over when I move into spiritual things.  That tells me this is not the time.

So?  Timing is important.  That word to the wise might need to wait until wisdom is present.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Pay Off

(Pro 8:19 KJV) My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

This is a reminder of priorities and the relative value of achievements and goals.  It is not telling us that wealth is evil.  It is simply telling us that wisdom is of more value.  We hear a lot of talk today in politics about redistribution of wealth.  There are some who think if you took all the wealth in the country, put it in a common pot and passed it out equally among all American we would achieve some kind of equality.  You might, for a few moments, until the checks are cashed.  Then you would find out who has the wisdom to deal with the assets of life and who simply knows how to spend.  My opinion says that within a short period of time many of the people who had been wealthy before would be wealthy again and most of those who had been poor before would be out of money.

People make decisions.  Decisions have consequences.  When you chose to buy a shiny new car instead of making a down payment on a house, you have made a decision that has long term consequences.  When you go out to eat instead of preparing a meal at home the future is changed.  Enough of these decisions will change your destiny.

So?  In America we have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to making mistakes.  Wisdom still pays off, always in the long run and often in the short.  Think twice, or more. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Gender Studies

(Pro 7:4 KJV) Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:

I am used to the American culture where we personify things and give them a gender.  Thus ships are “she”.  I don’t know if that is the same in all cultures.  In Proverbs Wisdom is usually referred to as being feminine.  Is that cultural or does it have some deeper meaning?  Again the answer is, “Yes.”  We have a both/and situation.

Traditionally we think of women as being more intuitive.  That means they have a deeper understanding of things.  Many situations in life are not cut and dried.  Grey is more common than black or white.  Right and wrong can be murky.  That does not mean that we can put off decisions or stop moving.  It means that we need wisdom.

So?  Keep adding to the foundation that makes it possible to make the right choices.  It will involve facts and principles.  It is molded by the package into wisdom. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Glory of the Law

(Pro 6:23 KJV) For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

One of the attitudes I have been noticing as I read the last few days is a love of the law.  A lot of different words are used but the idea is consistent.  This makes me ponder just what the law includes.  Somehow I don’t think Solomon was getting excited about the regulation to not cook veal in the milk of the mother cow.  I am not sure he was excited about all the little regulations that the rabbis had come up with.

I think he was responding to the holiness of God that is a part of so much of the law.  This high standard of morality and conduct was attractive to many people who were not willing to submit to circumcision or the kosher requirements.  In the New Testament Paul refers to a group of people that hung around the synagogues and were drawn toward the God of Israel.  They were ready made converts when grace moved them beyond legalism.

So?  Don’t discard the commandments of God because you are under grace.  Keep in mind that Jesus said He came to fulfill the law not do away with it.  Keep in mind that the core of the law is love of God and neighbors.  Have a good day of worship.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Life Spice

(Pro 5:15 KJV) Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

Have you heard it said that “variety is the spice of life”?  That may apply to your diet and your wardrobe but it does not apply to your sex life.  Sex is like chewing gum.  It is not to be shared cavalierly.  It is so special that it is to be reserved for that one special person.  I know that goes against every TV program and college course on diversity.  Chalk it down to following the standards of God rather than Google.

Have you ever had something so special that you were saving it to share with just one special person?  It might be a mountain view you have discovered.  It might be a recipe that is hard to duplicate.  It might be a poem from your heart.  Have you ever shared something like that and the other person looks at you blankly and says, “Yeah.  So?”  I think of stories of people who have had a rare and expensive bottle of wine and a family member with no understanding of fine wine serves it for dinner some night.  Sex is like that.  It is to be reserved for marriage and that special one God has for you.

So?  Keep in mind that God’s standards are a reflection on His holiness and when applied make our lives better. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Right or Left

(Pro 4:27 KJV) Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

In politics we talk about the “right” (3225) and the “left” (8040).  The reference refers back to the days when the French legislature sat on certain sides based on their politics.  We often take the easy way out and follow the course set by the spokesman for the side we choose.  Labels can help.  A political party might give some guidance.  Ultimately our choice is not between right and left but between right and wrong.  Often there is a moral dimension that we are overlooking.

We want to ignore that some choices are just plain “evil” (7451b).  This is a very common word in the Bible and a very rare word in our culture.  What is frustrating is that when the word is used it is often used to take a stand against the law of God.  We need to work on some clarity about what is good and what is evil.  If you are pleading ignorance here then turn to Exodus 20 and read the Ten Commandments for a starter. 

So?  Evil exists.  We are supposed to be on the other side.  Knowing which side you are on is impossible if you don’t know the difference between right and wrong. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Spelling “Epitaph”

(Pro 3:35 KJV) The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.

We watch our granddaughter and then try to decide where her distinctives come from.  Does she “inherit” (5157) her obvious intelligence from her mother or father?  Both?  Anything that is less than optimal I attribute to my wife’s French ancestors.  It is hard to tell what is gained from our DNA and what from our observation.  We do tend to absorb things though.

There is not much we can do about our genes.  We can, however, do something about our environment.  I can control what I watch, read and listen to.  I can choose whom I hang with.  I can pick my words.  There are things we cannot control but there are many we direct.

So?  What legacy do you want on your tombstone?  What character do you want written on your heart?  Today’s decisions will determine that. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Paths to Not Follow

(Pro 2:13 KJV) Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

There is a special class of danger to believers.  I would like to say new believers but I don’t think that the danger ever goes away.  It is from those who “leave” (5800a) the path of righteousness.  Often they are people that we know and care about.  They could be very close to us and when they decide to go a different way in their lives it causes us to think again and maybe doubt.  It could be that they were the ones that influenced us toward following Christ. 

This is why it is so important to keep our eyes on Jesus and read His word for guidance.  We may be inspired by someone’s example but it must be more than that.  I have confidence in the Holy Spirit.  He can keep us on the path but we need to focus on Him and not our good friend.

So?  Ultimately our salvation is a person commitment between us and the living God.  Pray for those who leave but don’t follow. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Who Is Number One

(Pro 1:29 KJV) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

Motivation is a powerful force.  It can bring victory or be willing to settle for defeat.  We love the stories of people who have overcome adversity in order to be successful.  On the other side we see people with everything going for them who destroy their lives.  Many people who are raised in a Christian environment will reject the love of God.  That is because they are motivated by hatred.  They hate anything that edges them off the throne of their lives.  They resent anyone who tries to tell them that they are not god. 

Think of the attractive elements of certain religions.  In Mormonism you have the attraction of becoming gods.  In Islam you are put in a position of dominance over other human beings.  In most pagan religions the gods are not smarter than you, just more powerful.  The God of the Bible is to be feared and thus He is hated.

So?  As Jesus quoted from the Old Testament,
(Deu 6:5 KJV) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
May people cannot deal with that because it puts them in submission.  I hope you can.