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.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Errors

(Pro 14:33 KJV) Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.

Always check your sources.  My NASB from 1977 uses “bosom” for the “midst” of the KJV.  Both are from the Hebrew word with the Strong’s number (7130).  When I checked my software which ties the numbering in the NASB Updated the word is changed to “hearts” and gives a number of (7310).  The word is okay.  The reference is the kind of thing that the hand copied manuscripts were supposed to be susceptible to.  Someone switched the numbers in the middle.

Is this an error in the Bible?  No.  It is a technical problem.  Could it be serious?  Only if you refuse to do your homework, keep your mind in gear and trust that there are answers. 

So?  Be responsible for your own spiritual growth and always be willing to check things out. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Pretend Money

(Pro 13:7 KJV) There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

This verse is not about money.  It is about attitude.  The second reference “poor” (7326) is the clue.  It generally means poor in the sense that we think of it but in this form of the Hebrew, called the Hithpolel, evidently means to “impoverish himself”.  It is a deliberate act.  That is why the translations include “pretends” in the NASB And “maketh himself” in the KJV. 

I would take from this that if money is your god and you set your cap on it, the attitude will eventually ruin your life.  If you use your wealth to serve others without being consumed by dollar signs, you will be blessed.

So?  I am not sure how that works out in our mortgaged, car payment, college tuition world, but I think we need to do some serious thinking as Americans about what our priorities are. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

It Matters

(Pro 12:2 KJV) A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

Are these rewards temporal or spiritual?  To me it is obviously both.  Others might disagree.  Some would write books to say that this verse does not mean what it says. 

These rewards are temporal.  There are plenty of places where God makes promises that are conditioned on our choices and faithfulness.  Those promises may not always have dollars signs but they do have worth in the here and now. 

These rewards are spiritual.  They will lift us up and empower us in this life.  They will also follow us into eternity.

So?  It makes a difference the kind of person we are.  Let it be so today. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Enough

(Pro 11:14 KJV) Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

How many is an “abundance” (7230)?  Sometimes all we need it one and that is the danger being expressed here.  Often we define wisdom as agreeing with us.  If we have one person that we can trust to tell us we are right then we stop there.  Counseling done.  It might be a second source is sought.  Children do this when mom says no.  They go to dad.  If that doesn’t work there is always grandma.  I don’t think that is what this is talking about.

The KJV likes “multitude” for a translation.  The idea is that we seek a broad scope of input.  And consider your sources.  If you are listening to the radio and a godless pagan gets onto something you are concerned about, his opinion might not be as well balanced as you might like.

So?  Start with the word.  Some things are simple.  Go to the body of Christ.  Above all listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to you. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

No Peasants Allowed

(Pro 10:15 KJV) The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

There are at least four different Hebrew words that are translated “poverty” (7389) in the KJV.  In trying to figure out the differences I began to wonder if this one has to do with the class systems of the world.  Most cultures have them whether they admit it or not.  It can be based on the ethnic group you belong to.  It can be traced to religion.  In the case of Israel it was what we might call the peasants.  If you were born into it, you were it.  There was almost no chance of changing. 

A peasant class tends to stay “poor” (1800b) because of their attitudes as much as their lack of money.  We are seeing that in our culture.  We don’t actually have classes that are acknowledged.  We have a small group of people that think they have the right to run the lives of others but the others tend to reject that.  We do have what is becoming called an “underclass” that is getting locked into a poverty mindset. 

So?  As Christians we cannot embrace the concept of class.  We are all children of God and the ground is level beneath the cross.  That involves regarding others.  For ourselves we need to make sure that we don’t fall into the peasant mind set and give up on hard work and a healthy frugality. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Avoid Dog Food

(Pro 9:9 KJV) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

I just noticed when copying this verse from the KJV that “instruction” is in italics.  That is true in the NASB also.  This is used to indicate that the word is not in the original language but is added for clarification.  The same is true of the word “man”.  So what happens when you leave them out?  It becomes,

    “Give to wise and teach righteous”.

We have a clear declaration to “give” (5414) and “teach” (3045).  We know that.  What we tend to overlook is the target of our giving and our teaching.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave this instruction,
(Mat 7:6 KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
The way that Jesus used reference to dogs usually meant gentiles.  We would say non-believers.  There is again a clear admonition about priorities.

So?  Our first priority is to give to needy brethren and to teach those young in the faith.  If we can do more, well and good but we are to go to the Body of Christ first. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Twist of...

(Pro 8:20 KJV) I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

Our culture is perverted.  Perversion does not exit in a vacuum.  Often, if not always, it takes something that is good and perverts it.  That is why we call it perversion to take the love of a parent for a child and turn it into incest or molestation.  The Biblical words for perversion seem to have the idea of twisting.  Our culture has done that to the concepts of “righteousness” (6666) and “judgment” (justice NASB) (4941). 

The twist goes back to having no wisdom, which is what this verse is about.  The lack of wisdom goes back to the statement that it starts with a fear of the Lord.  The gurus of our culture hate God simply because His righteousness and His righteous demands knock us off the throne of our lives and keeps us from twisting what is good.  The human condition wants to twist.  It is the way we are made.  It is why training children is so hard.  They are little gods and want to keep ruling.

So?  On one side you have the righteousness that God expects.  On the other side you have the twisted version of truth that our culture embraces.  In the middle is where each human being stands.  The big question is which way are we going to go.  Only you can make that decisions for you and remember to not decide is to decide. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Ad Antidote

(Pro 7:5 KJV) That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.

How many of us don’t want anything to “keep” (8104) us from the “adulteress” or literally, “strange” (2114a) “woman” (802)?  I imagine most people would say they believe adultery is wrong and yet the common wisdom is that sex sells.  How often do I find myself taking a second look at a picture with a provocative woman in a prominent place?  It happens more often than I want to admit.  Satan knows our weaknesses and works them ruthlessly.  How do we emerge victorious?  By knowing the teachings of wisdom and following them. 

So?  One thing that sex will not sell is holiness and a saving status before Jesus.  We have many decisions to make and it starts with reading the directions. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Question of Cain

(Pro 6:24 KJV) To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

We need something to “keep” (8104) us from “evil” (7451b) in general, let alone away from evil “women” (802).  This might bring to mind the question of Cain,
(Gen 4:9 KJV) And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper (8104)?
For Christians the answer is, “Yes.”  We are to be prepared to help, exhort and support those around us.  That goes double for the family of God.  That is not the provision being given here.

If you look back at the context you will find that what protects is an internalizing of the law.  It is knowing the standards revealed in the commandments that is to be our primary defense.  God has given us access, at least in modern times, to the written word and all that it contains.  Yesterday I was in a doctor’s office and on every table in the waiting room there was a Gideon Bible available.  I would guess that God would say that everyone who sat down to wait in that room had a chance.

So?  I have a million excuses for every failure in my life.  God is not interested.  He has given me all that I need to avoid futility, frustration and condemnation.  Now to make use of what I have. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Share Not

(Pro 5:16 KJV) Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

The word picture being drawn here is of a cistern and the use of stored water.  The advice is to not throw away a valuable resources.  The literal application behind the figurative speech is to keep your affection and sexual contact within the bonds of marriage and not throw them out into the general public.  That seems pretty simple.

A cistern would obviously be limited in the water it will hold but I never stopped to think that even a well will run out of water if too many people are using it.  Stewardship applies to our sexual facet as well as our financial.  God blesses us and we are expected to use them in righteousness.

So?  Don’t waste your affection on those outside of your personal covenant.  Remember that water running down the street is dirty and gets dirtier as it runs. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Activate Your Attention Span

(Pro 4:1 KJV) Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

It is very important that we embrace what it means to “hear” (8085).  The definition given in Brown-Driver-Briggs is “to hear, to listen, to obey”.  It is that last part that we like to ignore.  My wife is concerned about my hearing.  Putting aside her tendency to not finish sentences and change subjects with no warning, the question is often asked, “Didn’t you hear me say...?”  Since I confess I was able to hear other things that she said it comes down to not paying attention.

I won’t go into all the reasons why I might not have been paying attention to my wife.  You will have your own.  There are times when it is perfectly appropriate to drift in our attention.  I think of churches I have visited and after a few minutes of the sermon I begin to realize there is nothing there.  I think of people who don’t know what they are talking about trying to tell me how to do something.  I need to make sure it doesn’t happen when God or His written word are trying to talk to me.

So?  I find it helps me to do an attitude check.  I kick myself in the morning before I start to read Proverbs.  I remind myself I am supposed to be paying attention, not just going through a habit.  Sometimes it helps but it never helps if I don’t to it. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Messing up the Square

(Pro 3:1 KJV) My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

We “forget” (7911) the things we do not practice.  Years ago our family got involved in square dancing.  It seemed a strange thing to do but we all went weekly for lessons and kept at it until we graduated.  This was a real miracle because my family is not known for their sense of rhythm.  It goes to show that if you pay attention you can have victory even in your areas of weakness.

Then a strange malady struck.  My wife started coming up with excuses to not go to the weekly meetings of the club.  What had been a lot of fun as a family activity became a partial family activity.  It soon became clear that she was losing the feel for square dancing.  Many of the moves are conditioned in so that you respond automatically.  It goes fast enough that if you have to stop and think then you mess up.  Messing up is expected for new learners.  The experienced dancers took it in stride but when someone does not keep up their skills it soon becomes apparent and all they do is mess it up for the other seven people in the square.

So?  One reason for us to keep up our spiritual skills is so that we don’t mess it up for others.  God is patient and forgiving but the people around you may not be strong enough to stumble because you did. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Something Wicked Never Left

(Pro 2:14 KJV) Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

If you have been paying attention pedophiles are being mentioned more often lately.  Currently I have been seeing that historic figures such as John Maynard Keynes seemed to be linked to sexual activity with young boys and of course we have the Island hops of Epstein.  We will also probably see that this type of activity will get less and less criticism and more calls for tolerance.  What the KJV calls “frowardness” (8419) is well on its way to social acceptance.

What Christians need to understand is that sexual perversion is real and it is a part of the sinful nature.  Being accepted by your local public school and society at large does not make it right.  It is just an indication of where people are coming from and where they will go if not countered by the grace of God.

So?  Evil exists.  It has been toned down by Christian culture but Christian culture is not the same as a society filled with Christians.  Until we see revival it will get worse. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

We, not They

(Pro 1:30 KJV) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

This says “they”.  We should first consider if it is really saying “we” or “I”.  We get into a certain mindset.  I recently bought a cheap air compressor.  As I was trying to figure it out I noticed that there were several pages of small print saying things like, “Don’t stick the hose up your nose” and other warnings.  Generally I am one of those guys who likes to look at the directions on how something is supposed to be used but I tend to ignore the obvious stuff at the beginning.

Many times we don’t consciously think about certain points God has made.  Is it because we don’t know them?  In a few cases that is true but do we really need to read “Thou shall not murder” every day?  The bigger question is, “Do we ‘accept’ (14) the terms of the contract”.  That is generally a matter of the heart and our deep priorities than it is information.

So?  Each of us has to make our own decision.  We need to make it every day.  In a sense we are faced with it whenever there is a fork in our road.  We are walking on the Highway of Holiness not staying in the Hotel of Sanctity.