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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

You Must Leave before You Arrive

(Pro 16:17 KJV) The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

As I write I am looking at maps and planning a road trip.  One of the features of the maps program on my computer that is not available on my phone is the ability to chart a route that avoids toll roads.  Another factor is that the computer might show different routes at different times of the day because of traffic patterns.  That is handy because you might not want to go through town during rush hour. 

Usually when we plan routes it is a desire to get somewhere but Proverbs points out that the purpose of the road is also to get away from somewhere.  Set aside fleeing natural disasters and just think about what is the best way to get out of town.  Since I will be driving from a location I am not familiar with to one that I know it is probably more important for me to plan the getaway.

So?  In life Satan may have a few surprises waiting for you.  It is reassuring how often we can chart our path and avoid those traps simply by living a righteous life.  There are signs.  I know I am not in the best part of town if I see a lot of bail bondsmen.  Keep your eyes open as you move down the highway. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Reject or Accept

(Pro 15:12 KJV) A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

Attitude is so important.  It filters what we hear and censors what we say.  Attitude also determines what we feel.  I recognize this when I see others processing what I say.  I am not so alert when I am the one falling short of the law of love. 

Why do we reject advice?  Sometimes because we have thought it through and rejected it because it dilutes righteousness.  Would that it was always that way.  When someone tells you how to get away with a flagrant violation of honesty it may seem golden at first listen but if your standards are right you will almost immediately feel the dissonance.  Other times it takes a bit longer but an attitude of honesty and seeking first His kingdom will eventually wake you up.

What if it doesn’t?  Maybe you are a “scorner” (scoffer NASB) (3917b) at heart.  Maybe I am a scoffer at heart.

So?  Righteous self examination is always in order.  I think it is always good to make sure that our motives are right and our foundations are true.  Read.  Study.  Ponder.  Act. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

A Wagon on a Hill

(Pro 14:34 KJV) Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

I am glad to be an American.  I am also embarrassed to be an American.  Actually that should be expanded to “I am embarrassed to be a human being”.  Our cultures are rejecting the idea of “righteousness” (6666) and glorifying “sin” (2403b).  The change may have started subtly but we are going down a steep hill with well oiled wheels.  The question is, “What do we do about it?”

When I was a kid we lived briefly in a house with a steep dead-end road out our front door.  We were cool.  We had a wagon.  We were stupid.  I am not sure at what point in the ride I considered that it might be a bad idea but I was convinced when I reached the bottom.  Blood and scrapes were the order of the day.  The smartest thing would have been to not get in the wagon.  If I had half a brain I would have bailed early.  Like most of us, it was too late before I realized the danger. 

So?  We can’t usually bail from our culture, or can we?  The word for church is “called out ones”.  We need to be looking for things that we can be called out of.  Think of clubs and organizations you have joined.  Some might be able to change jobs.  Many will need to find a church that is not oiling the wheels. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ranking Riches

(Pro 13:8 KJV) The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

How do you define “riches” (wealth NASB) (6239)?  The quick answer for most people involves looking around and checking their standard of living.  Most people on reflection will look a little farther.  In this context of “ransom” (3724a) it is a question of paying to redeem your captivity.  If you were captured by pirates and they demanded a ransom most people would give up their money rather than their children.  Wealth is a matter of attitude and priorities.

So?  Look at your calendar.  Look at your checkbook.  What does that say about the things you value most?  Is God pleased? 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Variables

(Pro 12:3 KJV) A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

“Wickedness” (7562) does not have a “root” (8328).  It does not start with one.  It does not develop one.  Adam Clarke makes an interesting statement about this.  He says, “Evil is always a variable...”  I know that variables are a part of math and necessary for equations but in living life variables become a matter of convenience.  Have you ever tried to play a game like Monopoly with someone who keeps changing the rules?  It doesn’t take long before no one will play their game.

You run into people like this all the time.  In politics we see this as one difference between those called liberal and those called conservative.  Whatever the value of their positions and whether you agree with them or not, one side adjusts the facts and the other adjusts to the facts.  Truth does not change.  In order to not change it must exist and be understandable.

So?  We need to be constantly seeking to understand the truth.  In order to do that we need to find out what it is.  That is another good reason to begin each day in the Book of Truth.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Strangers in the Day

(Pro 11:15 KJV) He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

Keep in mind that just because someone is a “stranger” (2114a) doesn’t mean that they are treated like trash.  In some cases non-Jews were to be held accountable just like Jews.  In other situations they were to be given a bit of leeway.  There was an overriding principle:
(Lev 19:34 KJV) But the stranger (1616) that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Here we run into some difficulty with translations.  Some strangers are stranger than others.  Notice that though the English is the same the Hebrew number from Strong’s system is different.  The one used here in Proverbs is also used as adulteress.  It means strange in an corrupt way.  The one in Leviticus is more like someone with a tourist visa or a green card. 

So?  Nuance requires thinking.  Be careful about one-verse proof texts.  We can never afford to turn off our minds.  God wants a package deal of body, soul, mind and spirit.  Robots need not apply. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Mark It Paid

(Pro 10:16 KJV) The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

The word for “sin” (2403b) has an interesting potential for translation.  It can be translated this way but there is a word added throughout the Old Testament that gives it a different slant.  That word is “offering”.  Thus the promise to the unrepentant sinner is that they will become a sin offering.

When you put this 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.
and
(Heb 9:22 KJV) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
it becomes clear that the sinner will pay for his sin with his own blood.

So?  We can rejoice in the knowledge that the shed blood of Jesus on the cross moved us from the sin offering category to the paid in full column.  A good thought to start the day and apply by our obedience. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Fear Hormone

(Pro 9:10 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

How can it be healthy to live in “fear” (3374)?  We tend to think of fear as something that locks our joints, turns our muscles to jelly and freezes our mind.  There may be some people who need to look at God with that attitude but not the believer.  For us fear is a growth hormone that gives strength and vitality.  It opens new worlds to us.  Sound strange?

Think about the first time you got behind the wheel of a car.  You entered in fear and it is a good thing.  Your actions now made the difference in how 2,000 pounds of steel and plastic interacted with the world around you.  Remember how hard it was to control the steering wheel?  Every little tremble caused the car to change direction.  In time you learned to live with it but it started with fear.

In one sense that fear should never go away.  The car is still a lot of mass that can cause a lot of damage.  If you forget that then you have even more reason to fear.

So?  God is not an inanimate object.  That makes Him even more dangerous.  At the same time He has these auto-correct features that put Him in control.  Fear.  Relax.  Obey.  Trust.  Get on with the journey. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Refreshing Priorities

(Pro 8:21 KJV) That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

We need to keep in mind verse 10 when we look at this.
(Pro 8:10 KJV) Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
It is a delicate edge to keep that requires us to reject wealth in order to gain wisdom and have the wealth promised in the same chapter.  It seems to me that the promise of one would cause us to lose focus on the other.

But such is the life of faith.  We see a similar conflict in,
(Joh 12:25 KJV) He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
There are times when we will need to react based on our inner compass but much of the time walking with Jesus demands a mind as fully engaged as our heart and soul. 

So?  Every day is a constant renewal of priorities.  That is one reason it is so important to start with worship and imbibing in the word.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Look Out

(Pro 7:6 KJV) For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,

I wonder if this picture is studied or accidental.  It doesn’t tell us if the observer has been standing there a long time looking for something specific.  He could have just glanced out and seen one young man who stood out.  I imagine in life we will run into both.

It is good for us to look around us and be observant.  When I read about people who are attacked or have problems it is amazing how often it is a result of being someplace they should have avoided.  I live in Texas.  We have quite a bug population including scorpions.  Scorpions like to sit in out of the way places.  Scorpions sting.  Stings hurt.  So I make it a practice not to pick up boxes in corners without looking.

Sometimes we need to simply be paying attention and we will see things.  I don’t usually have any problem running into deer while I am walking across the yard.  It does not take much for us to avoid each other.

So?  Be alert and keep you brain in gear.  God promises to guard us but it is amazing how often we are told to be alert in spite of that.  He never promised to make all doors open in the direction we are going. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Beyond Skin Deep

(Pro 6:25 KJV) Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

I don’t know if we are ever going to win this one.  God made creation beautiful and gave us the ability to appreciate it.  That may be one of the differences in us that make up the image of God.  I can’t imagine a cow on a hillside being entranced by the view across the valley.  When your dog looks at you with puppy eyes I don’t think it is “beauty” (3308) he is seeing.

Maybe that is a lesson for us.  Your dog doesn’t care if you have sox that match or if your hair is combed.  He might care if you had a bath but I would not count on it.  There is some deeper and more basic connection that he is making.  We are all about culture and appreciation of the arts and knowing good coffee when we taste it.  That ability is from God.  So is the ability to look beyond the surface and make decisions based on more important values.

So?  Are you beautiful?  On the outside or the inside?  One is more important than the other. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Well Known Strangers

(Pro 5:17 KJV) Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

There are three concepts that get confused in translation.  The word that brings this up is “strangers” (2114a).  In this chapter it carries the idea of an adulteress which is another of the concepts and the third is foreigner.  The point here, although rooted in a discussion of adultery, is that there are certain people whom you are not to trust.  It does not mean that you can mistreat them or sin against them.  It just means that they are outside of any covenant with you and thus do not live the way you do.

Or at least there should be a difference.  The thing is that we are the ones who are supposed to be different.  The ways of the stranger are the long established ways of the world.  The ways of the believer are different.  We look in horror at the revelations about the euphemism of “human trafficking”.  We forget the age old terms of prostitution and child molestation and act like this is something new.  No, it is not new.  God’s people have always stood against it but as we have been conforming to the world it has become accepted.

So?  We are to be holy.  We are to reject the ways of the world whether it is updated with modern language or the simple old terms we have known for so long.  Remember that the Greek word for church means “called out ones”.

Friday, October 4, 2019

A Word Gone Dirty

(Pro 4:2 KJV) For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

One thing that puts my teeth on edge is the number of people who go around claiming to be followers of Jesus and rejecting the idea of doctrine.  They say it is all about Jesus not doctrine.  That is a totally unbiblical and unchristian attitude.  The KJV uses “doctrine” (3498) while the NASB tries to avoid controversy by translating “teaching”.  This simply begs the question which moves on to “What do you teach?”  If you are part of the “Jesus Only” group then the question is, “What do you teach about Jesus?”  Whether you teach what He taught or teach about Him you have moved into doctrine.

The New Testament is more clear on this issue.  The word translated doctrine in the NT and the word translated teaching are almost always the same.  Doctrine is not a dirty word.  It is simply one of those words that the modern age has tried to avoid because it requires them to surrender some of their ego and self power.  That sounds like a good thing.

So?  Of course there is bad doctrine as well as good doctrine.  The best way to know the difference is by reading the source of the doctrine and using your own mind under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Happy growing. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Dealing with Raw Oats

(Pro 3:2 KJV) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

This is a promise that speaks to me today.  I was ambushed this morning by some doom and gloom about the deep state and how they were controlling the weather and it seemed there was no hope.  Woe is me.  Then I read Proverbs 3 and the rock came up to meet my feet.  The rock is not just a big boulder but the foundation of creation.

The important thing to include is that this is not an empty promise without context.  You need to read around it and absorb the magic ingredients.  Raw oats are a the promise of nutrition but it is an empty promise if they are not prepared.  Oats require some kind of milling, a liquid to cook them in, a fire to heat the mixture and ideally a bit of salt and some sweetener.  God’s promises are often like that.

So?  It is a day to rejoice and a day to prepare for the next day’s rejoicing. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Deviation

(Pro 2:15 KJV) Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

The KJV again uses the English “froward” (3868) but there is a difference in this Hebrew word.  That is why the NASB says “devious”.  I think a better word would be sidetracked.  It means to turn aside.  It is a picture of someone who knows where they are supposed to be going and how to get there but decides to dally.

Sometimes the distraction is momentary and no issue but when we allow the pattern to set in it becomes a destructive habit.  Have you ever missed an important appointment because you stopped to do one more thing on the way?  It may have been important and a good thing to do but it kept you from something more important.

So?  One appointment you don’t want to miss is with Jesus.  Don’t let the good distract you from the best. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Wayward

(Pro 1:31 KJV) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

What is the result of doing things our “way” (1870)?  Can you think of a time when someone gave you a chore with specific directions and you did it your way instead?  When it comes to taking out the garbage you may get away with it but shortcuts in cooking chicken can get you poisoned.  The problem with being human is that we tend to see things from our perspective.  We expect people to see us coming.  As a result we often “eat” (398) it. 

So?  God did not give us the written word so that we would have a use for excess paper.  It is there to share the wisdom of a better way.  It is there to guide us to salvation and righteousness.  It is something you cannot do your way.