(Pro 31:14 KJV) She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
We are talking about the ideal wife, and it seems mother. This is one busy lady. Here we seem to be referring to the way in which the matriarch will supply daily sustenance to her family and household staff. The comparison is to business people. The lady does not go out in the field, grow the food, harvest it and prepare it. She buys it in the state that the food seller finds most profitable for himself.
We are talking about a number of qualities. We have planning, knowing value, being able to pay. We also have the ability to bargain, which is a characteristic of the market in much of the world.
So? Be a good steward. That involves what you buy as well as caring for those you are entrusted with.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
(Pro 31:14 KJV) She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
(Pro 30:23 KJV) For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.
This verse gives us a clue to why some marriages are full of misery. If you start with the NASB who describes the woman as “unloved” (8130) you see one scenario. Picture a woman who has never been loved. She may have had no father or a father who failed in every important way. She may have never been Daddy’s Princess. It is possible that even her mother rejected her. She is a walking time bomb if she manages to get married.
Take it a step further as the KJV has “odious”. This translation says the woman in question is really impossible to be around. The cause may have been she was unloved as a child. The cause could be a refusal to acknowledge sin in her life. Regardless, she is destined to make the life of her husband and children miserable.
And of course the lesson goes the other way. There are men who are odious too.
So? There is not much you can do about someone’s past or present. You can be lifting them up in prayer because God has the ability to remake the odious if they are willing to be remade.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
(Pro 29:4 KJV) The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
As we move into the new year it is a good time to stop and think about “justice” (4941). It is one of the mass of words that the forces positioned against God are trying to redefine. Notice the difference between the KJV, “judgement” and NASB. The two English words are entwined in the Hebrew. I would analyze it as the impartial application of the rule of law. It starts with a concept the humanists reject, absolute right and wrong. Those standards are established by God from the foundation of the earth. They are not a result of this weeks polls among academics. In justice there is also one law for all. There are not different rules based on gender, race or class.
The only way we will have a stable, safe nation to live in is if we insist on the Biblical meaning of justice and reject the constantly manipulated mush of the elites.
So? You can’t know what is right if you don’t read the Book. Get in the habit.
Monday, December 28, 2020
(Pro 28:11 KJV) The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
There is a place for everyone in God’s economy. There are wealthy people who are good stewards of God’s blessings. There are poor people who keep the faith even in the struggle. This is pointing out that the “poor” (1800b) has a responsibility to keep the “rich” (6223) in line. It is not likely that a poor person will ever get elected president. He may have started out that way but if he has the qualities to lead the country he will have been successful in other ways. Our job is to be the child in “The King’s New Clothes”.
We can see how this works in a democratic system but it is also true in autocratic governments. Even in the midst of oppression there is buy-in required by the masses. We have a sacred charge to keep our leaders in line.
So? This can be applied by voting, where we shop and what we buy. It can be verbal. However it applies we are to apply it.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
(Pro 27:21 KJV) As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.
“Flattery will get you anything.” So the saying goes. The idea is that you won’t have to work hard and will get what your heart desires. I don’t think this means you should not compliment the hostess on Christmas dinner. I do think you ought to slow down on the “best meal I have ever had” approach.
The approach here though is toward the person receiving the “praise” (4110). We are to be cautious when people start to say nice things about us. The ones that are really good at trying to manipulate you will find subtle ways to do it. They will pick something they know you are working on, like painting the house, and they will make more of it than needs to be. Take a moment, breathe deep, enjoy the compliment, and get on with life.
So? I guess a better question to answer than “What do they think” is “What does God think?” Ask it as you read and worship.
Saturday, December 26, 2020
(Pro 26:21 KJV) As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
What do you “kindle” (2787)? In our modern world we are used to lighting a fire with a match and a gas log. Whoof. It is done. It doesn’t work that way in the Solomon world. If you have ever tried to start a fire while camping you know what a challenge it can be. You need to start with small, dry pieces of wood. That is why it is called “kindling”. When it starts to char and turn black you know you are close. The actual flame may come as a surprise.
Some people may be able to cause trouble with a word but most of the time it is the result of a consistent picking and stirring.
So? If your intent is dissension then you don’t need to be reading Proverbs and you will probably have a special place reserved for you in Hell. If you desire is to glorify God and build up His people then examine your speech patterns and make adjustments.
Friday, December 25, 2020
(Pro 25:20 KJV) As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.
When we have someone we care about going through a hard time we want to be helpful. Often we think that being positive and cheerful will help. Sometimes it does but there are also many times when they don’t want our positive attitude. They don’t need us to quote Benjamin Franklin or tell about the time we.... What they need is quiet support.
Think about the times that there is really nothing you can say. You can listen. You can make the coffee. You can clean the house. You also need to give them a chance to allow the Holy Spirit to heal. This may be doubly true on a holiday like Christmas.
So? Discernment is hard but we can usually do better if we think about it. Don’t drown out the Holy Spirit with a happy ditty.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
(Pro 24:14 KJV) So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
We must “find” (4672) “wisdom” (2451). This seems to become another of those conditional statements that we find in the Bible to balance absolute statements such as “by grace alone.”
“Wisdom” (2451) is essential for your “soul” (5315). So many people who embrace the name “Christian” reject how important it is to learn, grow and change. They tend to think of Biblical essentials as the add on that they are used to purchasing with a bit of soft ware. I don’t know about you, but almost all of the things I do on a computer, other than games, I could do on my first computer. The graphics and ability to click on things have streamlined and made the basics easier but I still do the same things I did then. For me the computer is a fancy typewriter and adding machine.
So? Wisdom is not an add on. Wisdom is part of the requirements. It is not the stereo system in your new car, it is the steering wheel. Seek wisdom. Neglect it at peril to your soul.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
(Pro 23:23 KJV) Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Christmas time is another good time to stop and consider what is “truth” (571), what is well meaning tradition and what is outright fraud. The secularization we are watching is all about smothering the truth that created the celebration. Christmas is about the Incarnation. It is the day that God became man. He was born in a manger so that He could die on a cross and be resurrected from a tomb. That is the truth. That is what we should “buy” (7069) into.
That doesn’t mean we have to throw out the fun stuff that has become traditional. Much of it is like the rum in rum balls. A little bit adds flavor and I am told the alcohol cooks out. Too much and it can be destructive. Tradition has its place but does not trump truth.
So? Don’t let the attempts to remove the divine from Christmas spoil the celebration. Don’t let the celebration eclipse the worship. Invest your day and season in truth.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
(Pro 22:2 KJV) The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
This is a principle that America was founded on. It is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence with “all men are created equal” and continued in the development of the Constitution which forbids income and class as requirements for public office. Have we always lived up to it? That is a rhetorical question and always will be. It is part of the human condition that we will never measure up to ideals. We can, however, keep trying and striving.
So? As Christians we are to look at people as children of God. That does not mean we accept their sin or sinful behavior. We do not make lesbians our pastors. What it does mean is that we do not judge people based on their net worth, blood lines or social class. We need to keep remembering that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Christmas is a good reminder of that. God announced Advent to the poor shepherds, used a middle class family for the incarnation and invited royalty from afar. Celebrate.
Monday, December 21, 2020
(Pro 21:31 KJV) The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.
The difference between the KJV with “safety” (8668) and the NASB with “victory” is worth consideration. The word is defined as salvation or deliverance. It is translated with both of those words in both of the translations. I think there is danger in both of the English words used here. Although God promises us eternal safety and ultimate victory the Bible is also clear that there will be persecution and suffering in life. Too often we want to think all will be bubbles and rainbows.
Our confidence is in God and not in any of the blessings He sends our ways. We have a different perspective on what is important and what is secondary.
So? Don’t get discouraged by the headlines even if they are true and accurate. God is in control and will work His will. Relax and enjoy the season.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
(Pro 20:7 KJV) The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
It is important to walk in righteousness. One part of that requirement is that our eternal salvation depends on it. If you want to live in one of those mansions that Jesus said He was going to prepare then it makes a difference how you live. Rebellious sinners will get what they have invested in.
But there is something more important than you and me, at least if you are a parent. I guess the concern could be extended to anyone who has others looking up to them but here it refers to the “children” (1121) [ben] (sons NASB) that are watching our walk and mimicking our walk. If the way we walk won’t get us into heaven then it will keep them out also. We walk in righteousness because our children are watching.
So? Keep in mind that loving our children involves setting the example.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
(Pro 19:6 KJV) Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
Do you have a lot of friends? Have you asked yourself why? Could it be that you are considered a giving person? Is it genuine generosity or just an attempt to buy love? I think it could be hard to tell. The inference here is that the friendship is false, it is opportunism. If you are doing well be careful of those who seem to suddenly find you interesting. One of the reason I have never been a big fan of becoming suddenly rich is that it would be hard to tell if people really cared about you or just your money.
So? If you are the one with the wealth, be careful. If you are the one without, be genuine.
Friday, December 18, 2020
(Pro 18:5 KJV) It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
I like the insights on this verse given by comparing the KJV and the NASB. They both have nuances that are important. The KJV says “accept (5375) the person (6440)” compared to the NASB’s “show partiality”. I think it is important to look at the idea of accepting in light of all the push for political correctness going on today. The push to conform and accept is not new. It is just that the organized church and its affiliates have gone overboard to try and get along instead of standing for truth. Part of the way they are doing this is by redefining words. “Tolerance” has meant to endure what you don’t like. Now it is being taught as if it means “respect”.
We are called to be courteous and kind. We are taught to love our neighbors. We are not to accept them or their actions. One of the ideas that undermines this is the idea of loving the sinner and hating the sin. In truth you cannot accept one as long as he persists in the other.
So? Stand for truth. Do not accept any substitutes. I think I heard that in a commercial. They stole the idea from the Bible. Maybe we should do the same.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
(Pro 17:16 KJV) Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
If you had to give me a ratio of fools to wise, what would it be? Are there any in between or does the Bible require you to be one or the other? I think there are very few wise people in the world. The first requirement is to fear the Lord. That pretty much rules out everyone who is not a part of the Christian or Jewish faiths because no other group knows the God who created. They may fear Allah or Vishnu but since those are not really God they can’t be wise.
So start with the general population that identifies as Christian or Jewish. Now you have to remove those who reject the God of the Bible Who revealed Himself and have substituted some watered down version. The numbers get pretty small.
How about the fools? Is it everyone else or just the extremes? I tend to feel it is everyone else but accept there may be levels of fool. That means that there are a lot of people out there spending their money in the pursuit of something. They may even call it wisdom but the evidence is that they will not find it.
So? Too often we set our priorities and standards based on what we observe around us. We go chasing after false dreams because we see others doing it. It is like the toddlers I have been around, all you need to do to make a baby want something is to act like it is important. We can be better than that. We must be.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
(Pro 16:31 KJV) The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Our culture has bestowed the crown of wisdom on the young. It has been years since I have been forced to watch TV but one of the things I don’t think has changed is the constant theme that children are wiser than their parents, especially their fathers. I can remember when we were told to not trust anyone under 30. I remember one youth pastor telling us that we could not be involved in our son’s activities unless he gave permission. All of that is one reason we see our society in such crisis.
We limited TV and screened the children’s books in our home. We did not let our son get involved in a youth department staffed by singles and divorced people but banned parents. The most important ingredient in this formula though is at the end of the verse, “righteousness” (6666). That has been our goal.
So? So far it has worked out for us. I am not so cocky as to assume I have the answers or that everything is based on one ingredient but the repeated call to upright living cannot be ignored.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
(Pro 15:25 KJV) The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
You really don’t want to get on God’s bad side. This is presented in various forms. At one place God says that if you mess with the unfortunate in life you will need to deal with their lawyer, which is God himself. Christians and Jews are told to treat their enemies well, or else. Here the issue is pride. God seems to get extra rabid about pride.
On one level pride is a matter of feeling you are better than anyone else. Why does someone get in the fast lane and drive slower than the flow of traffic? Why do people park in front of fire hydrants? Why do they put their fence a few inches on your property? It eventually gets to the point where these people think they are better than God. I think that is at the root of a lot of “Bible scholarship” and paraphrases masking as translations. People figure they know more than God.
So? I don’t know which should be first, courtesy toward our neighbors or fear of God. Probably it should be simultaneous. Destruction seems motivating to me.
Monday, December 14, 2020
(Pro 14:12 KJV) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Are you sure? Really? Are you willing to bet the farm on it? One of the differences between Greek thought and modern science is that, while both are thought to be logical, only science demands proof by experimentation. If you don’t have much time or resources then you may only have logic to go by. Often that would work out just fine but just as often it will lead to disaster.
So? Be logical but consult the reference material to find out what you never thought of. Logic says that man would never be able to fly in a machine that is heavier than air. I am sure that the first few times it was tried the results were not pleasant. Now you can design an airplane even if you have never been off the ground. Our reference manual is the Bible. It needs to be consulted. It doesn’t matter how good the deal sounds.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
(Pro 13:20 KJV) He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
I would guess that “fools” (3684) are a lot more fun to hang with than the cautious and careful. I remember the days of my youth when a friend showed me how much fun it was to go down in the storm drains and walk around the city. It was fun. It was also incredibly dangerous. If some location uphill decided to release water for some reason we would have become statistics. If we had run into a pack of hungry rats we might have gotten out alive but who knows what kind of shots we would have needed to keep living. This was before the days of homeless masses but you never know.
Yes it was fun. It was also incredibly stupid. I am sure all of us have similar stories we could tell.
So? I am grateful for guardian angels and the grace of God. This verse is reminding us that His patience may come to an end if our choices continue too long.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
(Pro 12:17 KJV) He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
Is it possible to speak truth? The skeptic would join Pilate,
(Joh 18:38 KJV) Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.There is some point in that question because so much of what we have access to is based on deception and lies. So there is some excuse for being reluctant to commit.
At the same time we, as Christians, must accept that truth does exist. There is a right and a wrong. There are some things that never change. We also must accept that God is serious about us being voices of truth and Truth.
So? We are called to be salt and light. We are to seek eternal truth and use it to decide what is daily truth. Then we are required to stand for it. That is hard in the current atmosphere of relative values and political correctness, which simply means it is even more important.
Friday, December 11, 2020
(Pro 11:28 KJV) He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
What does it mean to “flourish” (6524a)? It is another one of those words that can be positive or negative depending on the context. At its base it means to break out or sprout. New life comes to mind. Regeneration is hinted at. The negative usage has to do with things like the development of leprosy. Here it seems to be referring to plants so it is obviously positive.
“Righteous” (6662) living has the promise of constant renewal. Keep in mind that most plants go through cycles of life. Some die every year and spring back from seeds. In plant terms those are annuals. The picture here is the perennial, a plant that keeps coming back. Think of the tree that drops its leaves each year and buds anew every spring. Think of the growing vine that seems to always have green shoots coming out.
So? We have the promise of renewal but recognize that the promise is dependent on living a righteous life. Perennial sinners become annuals through disobedience.
Thursday, December 10, 2020
(Pro 10:29 KJV) The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
The Bible has a lot of different terms for people who follow the living God. Righteous, blameless and saints are some of the words. Here it is “upright” (8537). One of the ideas behind “upright” is that direction is important. I vaguely remember from my days of childhood how someone told me there was a right way and a wrong way to hold a baseball bat. It had to do with the label engraved on the wood. According to this ghost of my past it made a difference which way the label faced. I was told to have it on top when the bat was held out in front of me. It had to do with the grain of the wood and physics.
Can you get a base hit if you don’t have an upright label? I am sure you can because most people ignore it. Can you fail? Yes. How many times has a broken bat robbed the baseball of just enough energy that it never made it out of the infield instead of being a home run? No one will know, but the point is being upright adds strength and dependability to your swings.
So? Keep your focus on the things above. It will improve your lifetime batting average.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
(Pro 9:5 KJV) Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
Both Wisdom and the foolish woman call for our attention. Verses 4 and 16 are worded the same but followed by different offerings. The difference I noticed today is that one is an open invitation to enlightenment and the other is offering some secret delights. Righteousness flourishes in light. Evil spreads in darkness. Even if you look at things like fulfilled prophecy, you find that the original statement was made in public. It may have been hard to understand but it was in the open.
So? Be very careful around people who claim to have exclusive information, insights or revelations. God does not play “Hide the walnut”. Secret societies such as the Masons have been avoided by Bible believing Christians for that reason but they are not the only ones out there.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
(Pro 8:33 KJV) Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
Do you know of any Christmas gifts that need assembly? This used to be a standing joke about children’s toys but it is getting to be true of adult items also. Ikea, anyone? It is possible that I could get some Ikea items together by instinct but knowing my handyman skills, I would not bet the farm on it. I wouldn’t even bet my wife’s cat. I find that I need to pay attention to the directions. For me that is wise.
In my spiritual walk there are many things that I am either never tempted on or I know how to avoid. That is not because of built in wisdom. It is because I have spend a good deal of time paying attention. Have you ever watched a movie with someone who is either talking or out of the room at the mircowave? What is their favorite question? “Why did he do that?” If they were focused and on task they would know.
So? God gives us the information we need to be obedient and upright. The manual won’t help much if it is in a box in the garage.
Monday, December 7, 2020
(Pro 7:16 KJV) I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
Adultery again. You would think that Solomon could find another topic. Maybe it is so frequent because we need to be reminded. Maybe is to so frequent to help us understand that the moral depravity of America today is nothing unusual. I am reasonably sure that my sphere has very little going on, if any. That does not mean that the culture is not guilty.
It also does not mean that we need to accept that as normal. It does not mean that we need to accept it at all. In the past few months two people in the broadcast media who were supposed to be solid conservatives have dumped their wives. I don’t know what was involved. In a real sense it is none of my business. What is my business is accepting their opinions as readily as I did before. If people can’t keep their marriages in order how can I expect them to be reliable on the news?
So? Always walk with discernment. One of the pastors I used to know used to jokingly say, “Don’t loan this man any money because he who would lie will also cheat.” Or was it “he who will cheat will also lie”? Either way, the principle is the same.
Sunday, December 6, 2020
(Pro 6:3 KJV) Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
This is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all recommendation. If you look at the previous verse it seems to indicate that you are in the present crisis because you have run your mouth off too much. In other words, you dug the hole you are trapped in. This is not offered as a solution to the totally unexpected tragedy that strikes at your family. It is not about lightening strikes. This is about congruence that comes from your efforts.
So? Don’t use this verse to justify going to the President about his foreign policy. It means we are to keep in contact with our neighbors and use that contact to build relationships, not so shoot them down. I guess it means be a State Farm agent, “And like a good neighbor...”
Saturday, December 5, 2020
(Pro 5:6 KJV) Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
If we are paying attention, everywhere we turn we see how the common culture of America is being purged of Christian content. The key here is in paying attention. Many people are not. I think it is a choice, not an accident. It is true that they did not get up one day and say, “I am going to go ostrich today.” Most of the things that sneak up on us and form our lives don’t come with signs hanging on them. At the same time we know we are on thin ice for many of our decisions. If we make it across we breathe a sigh of relief. If we fall in we call for help, if we can.
Christmas is one example. It used to be I could turn on a radio station weeks before the day and get a good solid run of genuine Christmas music. Then it contracted to start on Christmas Eve. Then it became a bunch of secular music put out by people who were told they needed to do a Christmas album. Thus it becomes a day of “Imagine” or insipid romantic riffs.
So? This chapter is talking about the danger of sexual sin. The Biblical standard is being watered down and warped on an accelerated basis. I don’t know if it is a problem for you. It is a problem for someone you know. Grab hold of standard of righteousness and put in a good word for the spiritual life.
Friday, December 4, 2020
(Pro 4:15 KJV) Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
If there was ever a verse in the Bible crying out for context, this is it. One thing you can understand from these few words though is that we can make choices. Whatever this terrible thing is, we can choose to not be damaged by it. The converse would also seem to be true. Many of the problems we have in life are because of the choices we make. What reinforces this is that we do not serve a god of caprice. He is fixed in character as much as He is dynamic in His involvement in our lives.
So? We have the joy of a God we can trust and the challenge of having the opportunity to do our part.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
(Pro 3:13 KJV) Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
I believe that the mental attitude and general outlook on life is different for Christians than it is for others. When we allow the “wisdom” (2451) of God to permeate our being, our view of life changes. The year 2020 has been a year of one blow after another for our country and many individuals. It has the potential for gloom and doom as an appetizer for every meal. That is why we need to seriously think about this word, “blessed” (835). Being blessed is not just a matter of emotion. It is definitely not a matter of luck. It isn’t even being in good circumstances. It is an approach to life rooted in a confidence in providence.
This is the reason that people in lower income groups are reported to be more giving than the rich. They realize that God is in charge and they can share without destroying themselves.
So? Rejoice is the knowledge that Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus and presents under a tree. Add to that an awareness that Easter is not about bunnies or new clothes. A providential view of life gives a blessed response.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
(Pro 2:6 KJV) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
I have not kept a written record but my memory tells me that serious Christians have times when a verse in the Bible will take on new meaning. They may have read it frequently and heard others quote it but suddenly there is a time when it jumps out at them and grabs them by the essentials. That is because the inspiration is not tied to ink on a page or the insights of a translator but the result of the Holy Spirit breathing into it and us.
This is why it is important to keep a steady diet of basic truth. It is like getting plenty of sleep and washing your hands regularly. You never know when you are going to need that extra bit of energy or when a bug is waiting to invade your body.
So? Take some time to give God a chance to speak to you. He may be trying and you are not paying attention.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Pro 1:31 KJV) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
It is amazing to me how we can convince ourselves that we are right. I can see it very clearly in others. I need to be aware that I am guilty of the same behavior. We know all of our excuses just as they know theirs. We must be different. Notice I did not say we should, but we must.
How can we be sure? The average person in the world around us sets their values by what they see and hear on social media and the products of the entertainment industry. That is why we have a constant changing in the cool styles. Back when people wore suits you could tell who was with it by the width of their lapels. Now it involves the latest technology and hip vocabulary. We on the other had have an unchanging source in the written word of God. Even with the new translations the standards are the same.
So? Expose yourself to the source. It can happen by accident but God is not promising that. He gave us Bibles, hymnals and sermons. You might want to examine the church you go to and ask yourself if you are getting all three.
Monday, November 30, 2020
(Pro 30:22 KJV) For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;
How do the ruling elites control the masses? I guess there are different methods depending on the variables of numbers, awareness, ability and weapons available. Pharaoh kept them so poor and hungry that they worked as slaves. Islam has at times used the terror approach. Look at the Armenian Holocaust as an example. Rome, facing a massive group who knew how to use weapons went for bread and circuses. People can be controlled.
What do the elites of America use? I would suggest the Roman approach. Our bread and circuses are wrapped up in social media, sports, alcohol, ignorance and drugs. By drugs I don’t just mean the illegal kind. I don’t know how many children I worked with who were tanked up on medications to make them pliable.
So? As Christians we need to be aware that there are godless groups trying to separate us from the joy of the Lord. Sadly some of those people are in leadership in the organized church. It is up to you as a child of God to seek His face so that He can remind you of who He is and quicken your spirit. (Posted, November 30, 2020, PP)
Sunday, November 29, 2020
(Pro 29:3 KJV) Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
Certain types of people suck the life out of you. Here the reference is to “harlots” (2181). It brings to my mind the prodigal son who “wasted his substance with riotous living”. There are many ways in which you can throw away your inheritance. We hear about young people going into a business with no idea of how to make it work and losing a fortune. We know of people who spend too much on fast cars and expensive bistros. This is the opposite of “wisdom” (2451).
So? Proverbs seems to say that our needs will be met but I don’t think that promise applies if we waste what God provides us.
Saturday, November 28, 2020
(Pro 28:10 KJV) Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
“And they lived happily ever after.” So end the many stories we heard as children. As a child I accepted that as a good ending. I wanted to think that life had one big problem, which solved left the future a time of unicorns and rainbows. I probably kept wondering how come it didn’t work out that way. Actually, it will.
As Christians we are promised a happy ending. The problem is that we don’t set the time or place. That is in God’s hands. But the assurance is there. I don’t know how many times I have used the mantra, “I have read the book and we win.” There will be stumbles along the way. I may not be one of those destined to arrive at the earthly destination. Think of the Pilgrims who came to Plymouth. I think around half of them died the first winter. They did not live to see the next chapter of the story, but it was there.
So? We have a promise. We may not see it in our three score and ten but we will see it in eternity.
Friday, November 27, 2020
Pro 27:20 KJV) Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
A misconception of our society is that sincerity is a deciding factor. Thus if we really want something, it must be good. Not necessarily. This verse reminds us of the carnal nature that we are all born with. My granddaughter is with us for a few weeks and she is in the “mine” phase. She probably won’t get out of it until she is saved and the Spirit takes control. It is amazing how many things are hers. The reason? Because she says so, or as this verse would put it, her eyes say so.
When we are redeemed and the Holy Spirit has worked on the inner man our choices become more righteous.
So? There are three levels of spiritual life mentioned at the end of I Corinthians 2 and the beginning of chapter three. The natural man is unsaved. The fleshly man is saved but not mature. The spiritual man is ready to make decisions in confidence. Strive to be the spiritual man.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
(Pro 26:20 KJV) Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
We would like to think that the “wood” (6086) is the facts about our actions. We live under the illusion that if we just live the right way then there will be nothing for people to attack. I am not sure if I should say, “Dream on” or “Wake up and smell the roses.” What is bursting into flames is the gossip and innuendo, not your behavior.
In one sense there is little you can do about the problem. It is their mind and mouth. In reality you might be able to pick your associates more carefully.
So? You may not pick your family, you might have limited choice of whom you work with, but you are the one who decides on friends.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
(Pro 25:19 KJV) Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
I am at the age where I cannot assume that my feet will work properly. It is weird the way I can suddenly develop a pain in one ankle for no reason and after a few steps it will depart. It isn’t something I can have a doctor check out because, just like in my old cars, if it ain’t broke, you can’t fix it.
I can’t fix it but I can prepare for it. When I get up, whether it is from bed the first thing in the morning or from a chair in the middle of the day, I stand with caution. It only takes a few moments to get mobile. Sometimes it is just that pause to make sure everything is working. Other times it is a chance for the parts to come together as intended. Then I am ready to go.
So? Before you put any confidence in the people around you, give it a pause. Consider and pray. It might keep you from an unexpected fall.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
(Pro 24:11 KJV) If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
As I write we are days away from a general election and the people of America are on edge. We have witnessed violence and we are promised more violence. As I post this we will know how those prophecies worked out. In the midst of all this we have a commission. If we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ it is because of the truth we have found in the Bible and the way in which the Holy Spirit has applied that truth to our hearts. In the midst of the chaos and potential chaos we have an assurance that is echoed throughout this chapter.
The assurance we have applies both today and forever. We have an inner sense of peace because we believe that God is working in His providence to bring about His will. We are a part of that plan so we can rest and be blessed. That is for today. We also have the promise that when it comes to the ultimate “death” (4194) we have nothing to fear. We will be like the child being put on the airplane and told that our grandparents will meet us at the other end.
So? This verse tells me we need to use the social state of anxiety to share with those around us why we are not fearful of the outcome. We can “deliver” (5337) those who can’t sleep at night. Tell them why you can.
Monday, November 23, 2020
(Pro 23:22 KJV) Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
The Bible is full of standards that have been rejected by our culture and generations before us. Here is another one: Respect for our parents. One thing that gives me a hard time is that there is no qualifier about the parents being worthy. I guess we could assume it but children who are inclined to discredit their parents already have their mind made up. Is it because the parents did a bad job or just because the kids are so steeped in sin that they can’t see straight?
On the other side, we as parents are called to be worthy of respect. That means that we understand our place is to be foundations and not friends. We are builders of young lives not buddies of narcissistic teen-agers. The call is to be worthy even if they don’t see it.
So? I write after going to dinner with my daughter and grandson. It was a glorious time. It wasn’t always that way when she was being raised. I hope you have the same joy I do.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
(Pro 22:1 KJV) A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Is money important? In our modern culture yes. If you lived in North America a thousand years ago, not so much. At that point you couldn’t even count your horses as wealth because the Europeans had not brought them yet. The point here is not the physical minerals made into coins. The comparison is objects you value compared to relationships you value, things versus people.
Things can be replaced. If your house was on fire would you rescue your child first or your antique clock? I hope that you don’t need to think too long about that.
So? Priorities. We all have them. They will decide if you have time to worship. They may determine how your children turn out. They will effect your eternity.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
(Pro 21:30 KJV) There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they respond to something you didn’t say? Maybe you have been the one who makes a fool of yourself. It happens. It can also take the form of someone making a big point about a point they completely missed. During the presidential debates President Trump made a comment about coyotes smuggling children across the border. Evidently a lot of people who consider themselves important started mocking him for the statement. They seemed to think he was talking about four legged, canine animals. They immediately demonstrated their lack of “wisdom” (2451) and “understanding” (8394).
When it comes to politics and people who have over-inflated self-images this can be funny. If we are talking about eternal issues it can me much more serious.
So? Consider your own opinions. Consider the opinions of people who reject the wisdom of the Bible. One is to be ignored, maybe both if they are based on the same data base.
Friday, November 20, 2020
(Pro 20:6 KJV) Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
I want to rephrase the question to “Can you find anyone worth trusting?” This is an important question. It must be answered regularly in our daily interactions and decisions. This verse also makes it clear that the person you are wondering about is not supposed to have a lot of influence in the decision. His opinion does not matter. It cannot be trusted.
This does not mean he is unworthy. An honest opinion of our self is always the hardest to form. The error goes both ways. It always amazes me the people that are willing to get up and sing solos in church. Once I could see. Everyone is entitled to give it a try. Repeated strings of flatted notes and cracking chords should not be repeated. I enjoy playing the guitar. I have been working on playing the melody of hymns I enjoy. When I worship on the front porch at sunrise I honestly believe the Lord enjoys it as much as I do. I only had to try it once in church to realize I was not ready for prime time.
So? Be honest with yourself. Be honest when considering others. Keep in mind that if they clean out the dishwasher you might be the one trying to find the silverware.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
(Pro 19:5 KJV) A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
Lying is a big deal. We find all sorts of synonyms to take away the stigma. Our culture seems to accept it and many of the cultures blending with the American stream seem to have no problem with it. In spite of that, lying is a big deal. It is one of the corrosive agents that is breaking down the fiber of our society. Yet we still don’t like to call it out.
Think about the consequences of even little lies. It means that we cannot trust the other person. We cannot take their descriptions of events or the quality of their work. Lies weaken the ties that hold us together.
So? It is not mystery about why truth is so important to God’s kingdom and any earthly political entity that wants to prosper.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
(Pro 18:4 KJV) The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
As I write we are in a political season. Since we are Americans, it is always a political season. We have a lot of people who want us to listen to them. I guess this blog is another example of that. I don’t know if I have anything to say but I have a need to say. I am satisfied that I am seeking truth. I may not always recognize it but it is the goal. You cannot assume that of many of the sources you have.
Always consider the source. I remember the first diet drinks that were successful. They were put out of circulation because of some “research” that said the sweetener caused cancer. What was of interest was the rumor that the “research” was paid for by the sugar industry. That is a common denominator in people who push green energy because they want government contracts to teachers that claim they need more money for education.
So? Remember the words of Jesus,
(Mat 10:16 KJV) Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.Don’t fall into the deep waters of deception.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
(Pro 17:15 KJV) He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
This verse shouts out to us today. We want to ignore it. We do ignore it. All around us we see a culture redefining morality and nailing down the Jello of justice. How about another alliteration: The Silly-Putty of Spirituality. Pedophelia is going mainstream. Rioting is the new family outing. Ignorance is glorified. God is not amused.
We often forget that the ultimate judge is not Judge Judy or the Ninth Circuit. It isn’t even the SCOTUS. The ultimate judge is God. The final measure of evil and good is His word.
So? The standard is established. It just remains a question of which side we want to come down on. Choose wisely.
Monday, November 16, 2020
(Pro 16:30 KJV) He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
In this verse we have two of the monkeys, you know the “See no evil, hear no evil...” bunch. The translations of the KJV and NASB are a bit different but they hit the same two problems. Our eyes can get us into trouble. In our modern internet culture evil is often only one click away. Our eyes are constantly attracted by cleverly designed candy. A lot of money goes into research for the graphics and even the location on the page. Add to that a general knowledge of human habits and weaknesses and you have traps everywhere.
So? It is almost impossible to avoid electronic media. Maybe we should take a lesson from martial arts from fencing to the latest import from Asia, build the right habits and automatic responses by practice and discipline. You might not be able to stop the first glance but you control the next focal point.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
(Pro 15:24 KJV) The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
The path of the righteous leads “upward” (4605). Notice the implication that Heaven is up and Hell is “below” (4295). We tend to be taught that is literal but I am not so sure. Take “heaven” for instance. Its frequent meaning is sky. It also refers to the abode of God but is usually not a reference to a place we spend eternity. Hell, or Sheol, is the underworld but I don’t think there has been any evidence in mining or drilling that there is a vast cavern under the earth holding Satan and his minions. Yet we still see the designation of high and low.
One point we need to understand is we are expected to take what is called the high road. We see this every day in politics. People who reject the God of the Bible are quite free to change the rules and lie. Christians are not. We are to take the path that leads upward. That is true for our personal fate. It is also true for our nation because that is the only way we will survive and prosper.
So? Live upright and righteous. It is the minimum standard, not just a fuzzy goal.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
(Pro 14:11 KJV) The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
This is a prophecy that is easy to dispute. We all know people living in blatant and unashamed defiance of God who seem to be doing very well. We also know people who are obviously living upright lives that are struggling. It is easy for us to fall victim to appearances, and I say that without apologizing for rationalization.
What you see is not always what you get. I know of times when I take a big bite of an apple and immediately realize that I did not inspect if carefully enough. We have all had a big, juicy slice of watermelon that has as much flavor as unsalted tofu. Careful cooks will crack their eggs one at a time in a separate bowl. This applies double for people around you.
So? Don’t believe everything you see. Don’t assume that inner turmoil will show. Walk in faith and righteousness. It is the only assurance.
Friday, November 13, 2020
(Pro 13:19 KJV) The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
“Desire” (8378) is another one of those words that can be used in a positive or a negative way. Its value is in the context. Sometimes the context is the situation. Other times, like this, the context is in the person doing the desiring. Since the negative part of the verse refers to “fools” (3684) it would follow that the first part refers to the wise or righteous.
The promise of fulfillment is to those who are not foolish. Although the contrast is wise/foolish you need to remember that Proverbs also says,
(Pro 9:10 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.So? Proverbs 9:10 is a well known verse. It might help in our lives if we would take it seriously.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
(Pro 12:16 KJV) A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
Have you ever been deliberately insulted. Someone looks you right in the eye and boldly tells the world what is wrong with you. The verse doesn’t specifically say if you deserve it or not. It does assume that it will happen. The recommendation is to avoid showing any response. Proverbs has a lot of advice about not getting angry, being slow to respond, gentle responses and such. Here there is the recommendation of a dead pan face.
One advantage of this is it gives the situation a chance to settle down and resolve itself. It may blow over because you don’t make an issue of it. Someone else may step in and call the bluff. You may think of a righteous way to respond to the situation.
So? Maybe you could practice an unresponsive face in front of a mirror. My granddaughter likes to practice and watch herself. Maybe it would help us.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
(Pro 11:27 KJV) He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
The NASB uses the English “seeks” twice for two different Hebrew words. The KJV translates them differently as “diligently seeketh” (7836) and “procureth” (1245). Unfortunately this is the only place the KJV uses this translation. Over 190 times it is some form of “seek”. So we don’t see a guarantee here, we see a goal.
It is not clear if the benefit comes from God or man. It could be both. Either way it seems to be telling us that if we go out looking for trouble, we will find it.
So? Motive is always as important as the actual action when it comes to righteous behavior. Check what you heart has as a goal because you will get results based on that.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
(Pro 10:28 KJV) The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
“Hope” (8431) is one of the great New Testament words. That hope produces “gladness” (8057). This is assurance. This is guarantee. This is payoff. No empty wishing is involved here; God will deliver.
But wait. We are not in the New Testament, we are in the Old.
Hope is contrasted with “expectation” (8615b). This is the kind of hope that comes through politics and economics. It is generated when we feel we are in control or have made the right decision. It allows us to pat ourselves on the back.
So? I am free to have my expectations about the economy and to plan for them. On eternal issues my only plan is to trust in Jesus.
Monday, November 9, 2020
(Pro 9:4 KJV) Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Here it is Wisdom speaking. Although she is speaking specifically to the “naive” (6612a) there is a sense in which she speaks to everyone. If you look down at verse 16 you see the same words coming out of the mouth of a “foolish woman”. There is a sense in which she is also speaking to everyone.
(Pro 9:16 KJV) Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,The key in both cases is the meaning of “lacks” (2638) “understanding” (3820). The KJV has “wanteth understanding”. Neither one gives the best translation. NASB does better with “lacks”. In modern times “want” means to desire. In 1611 it meant to be without. And the margin of the NASB point out “understanding” literally means “heart”. So the call is to people who have heart problems created by sin and ignorance.
So? If you have heart problems you don’t go to see the dermatologist. You don’t consult the dentist. We need to seek real solutions to what ails us.
Sunday, November 8, 2020
(Pro 8:32 KJV) Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
The context of this remark is creation and the march of history. We are then reminded of how obedience makes us “blessed” (835). I don’t know about you but I begin every day rejoicing in the creation. I watch the day emerge from the darkness. Some days are spectacular. Some days are pure vanilla. All of this show the variety and care that God has put into our world. I often reflect on how awesome it will be when I have perfect vision and no infirmities.
I am also living in a blessed time in history. If you know anything about the advance of civilization you know we live in a bubble of progress and prosperity. In America even the poor people live in luxury compared to history.
So? Rejoice if you are living in obedience. The promise is there for you.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
(Pro 7:15 KJV) Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
Have you noticed how convenient it is for us to believe what we want to hear? When you dress up for a special event and someone says, “You are looking good,” something in us believes them even if we have just looked in the mirror. It isn’t always the advertisers that deceive us. One of the techniques of selling is to make you think you need something. It moves from something you never thought of to something you want and eventually becomes what you need.
So? I guess the problem is our ability to lie to ourselves. Others help but the biggest fool is the one who believes it.
Friday, November 6, 2020
(Pro 6:2 KJV) Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
One piece of advice they gave us in the Army was to never volunteer. One of the reasons for that was you never really knew what you were volunteering for. You could never get the information you needed to determine if this would be an exception to the rule. How do you tell when it is okay to join, support, get involved or pledge yourself? You have heard the advice, “Know thyself.” A corollary of that is “Know the other guy.”
The context here is dealing with both friends and strangers. I remember one time my brother asked me to help him unload a couple of awkward pieces of furniture when he was helping his daughter move. I was good for that. Hours later the entire truck was empty, my hands refused to open and his family had sat and watched us do the whole thing. Next time he called I did not answer the phone.
So? Really be careful in your involvements. They can drag you down and ruin your whole day.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
(Pro 5:5 KJV) Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
We are in a passage contrasting wisdom with the adulteress (NASB) or strange woman (KJV). The difference is in both behavior and information. What you believe to be true determines how you will act. The point being made here is that bad behavior based on false information can lead to eternal disaster.
Truth exists. I would concede that there are many areas where our limitations force us to choose between shades of gray but we make those decisions based on what we believe to be true. One of the political footballs of the election is something called the Green New Deal. The facts are amazingly clear. Current technology and technology of the foreseeable future does not make it possible to produce dependable power with renewable resources. Can the wind generate electricity? Obviously yes. Can you depend on the wind? Obviously no. Yet people still want to invest millions in windmills. Maybe they know something the historic Dutch didn’t but the action is based on false information.
So? Where your electricity comes from is a matter of debate. False information in relation to your eternal soul is a bit more serious.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
(Pro 4:14 KJV) Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Is it easy or hard to recognize a “wicked” (7563) “path” (734)? Sometimes the difficulty depends on the path; sometimes, the chooser. I think of mowing the lawn. There are times when it is easy to see where I have mowed and others where it is impossible. If I am going through brush I look for indications of where people have gone before. If I am at the airport everything is labeled. One key factor is knowing where I am going.
Some people end up on the wrong road because they don’t know their destination. As followers of the living God we should know a bit about where we want to end up. I think a lot of our choices are clear if we are honest with ourselves.
So? God knows what you know. He knows your heart. He does not play games but is always willing to forgive honest mistakes. Choose wisely.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
(Pro 3:12 KJV) For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
One thing I have given up on is trying to raise other people’s children. When I was a teacher it was part of the job. It was a thankless task because many of the parents didn’t want you corrupting their children with things like responsibility and honesty. I did what I could but there was a limit on my investment. With my kids it was a different story. That was an area that did not allow for giving up. With grandchildren it gets a little more testy but since we raised our daughter right we are not worried.
So? Accept the position of God’s child not someone else’s kid being babysat. God has a genuine investment in shaping you up.
Monday, November 2, 2020
(Pro 2:5 KJV) Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
“Fear” (3374) gets mixed reviews. There is a lot of political turmoil going on right now and believers keep reminding themselves that they are to fear not. At the same time Proverbs keeps telling us to fear the Lord. It is one of those decisions that can be healthy or crippling depending on the target and the reason. If we are unrighteous the fear that we have for the Lord is totally different than the upright.
We tend to fear the things that God is in charge of. Hurricanes and earthquakes drive some people up a wall. Death is nothing but terror for billions. Tomorrow is a reason for sleeping late.
So? Do your homework. Embrace your fear by embracing your Lord.
Sunday, November 1, 2020
(Pro 1:30 KJV) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
When it comes to wisdom and the direction that God wants to give us, there must be buy in. We must “would” (accept NASB) (14). You are used to doing this in your daily life without paying attention. You do it every time you put an app on your phone, add software to your computer, visit a new doctor or just about anything you do that requires you to sign your name. We keep getting asked, “Do you agree to the terms?” It really irritates people when you actually try to read the small print but it might be important to find out if you are pledging your first born child to Microsoft.
If you have spent any time reading Proverbs you have noticed that there are certain things that keep getting repeated. You are to fear the Lord. You are to be honest in business. You are not to be a sluggard. If you are even half way paying attention you know what God wants.
So? Are you accepting his counsel and reproof? He waits.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
(Pro 31:13 KJV) She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
One of the blessings I had as a child was a father whose work allowed him to take his boys with him. What that meant was we had to work with our “hands” (3709). That experience taught me that I did not want to do concrete work when I grew up. It was what made me decide to go to college. While I intellectually believe that physical labor is honorable and important that does not mean I want to do it.
In spite of that I think too many people go to college. Education is important but I often get realistic enough to ask what that has to do with college. Physical work would teach many people more. We all should experience it.
So? If you are one of those people who does physically demanding work and enjoy it, you are one of the blessed. For the rest of us we need to work with a will when it is demanded of us.
Friday, October 30, 2020
(Pro 30:18 KJV) There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
No, Solomon is not confused. He is not having a hard time making up his mind. Is it three or four? Actually it is a literary devise. You also see it in the book of Amos, for example,
(Amo 1:3 KJV) Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:Amos then goes on to use it eight times. Adam Clarke explains that it is a way of emphasizing things, a literary devise. This is an example of how study helps us understand things we question.
So? Keep studying whether it is three or four times.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
(Pro 29:2 KJV) When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Righteousness is not in style, at least not by any Biblical definition. If you pay any attention to the political and social chatter you do find words like “moral” being used but they don’t mean what you think they do. We have a political party that feels it is acceptable to kill a child before it is born and consider it moral to be sensitive to the “choice” of the mother. God would not agree. Sexual fulfillment is viewed as moral if both people are in love and consenting. It doesn’t matter if they are married or the same sex. Morality is defined by how they feel. God would not agree. People are calling for segregation on college campuses and in public facilities. Since they view it as empowering black citizens it is moral. God would not agree.
So? You have an influence. Make sure that it is “righteous” (6662). God would agree.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
(Pro 28:9 KJV) He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
If you don’t listen to God then He will not listen to you. This is not a matter of childishness or trading. It is the simple fact that your prayers will be totally off focus if you don’t have any idea of right or wrong.
How did someone listen to the law? Obviously it would involve doing a little reading yourself. There were fewer literate people in those days so some might be limited to what they could hear from the rabbi in the synagogue. Advice from family members would be key. For us today this would include listening to the Holy Spirit. There are many sources.
So? It is not a good thing to be an “abomination” (8441). Learn to listen.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
(Pro 27:19 KJV) As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
How can you tell what kind of “heart” (3820) someone has? It is often hard in the short term. People are good at presenting themselves in the best light. You have to go with the face shown to you until you know better. I find it interesting when people identify as a person of faith and yet their words make that hard to believe. We have a lot of politicians who claim to be Catholics and yet consistently vote to support abortion. That is a conflict that cannot be resolved. We have the same thing with people who claim to be believers while being involved sexually with someone they have not married. Contractors who claim to serve Jesus and do shoddy work would be another example.
So? We are not to judge but we are to discern. Keep in mind that you cannot rebuke and reprove if you are incapable of making observations of moral behavior.
Monday, October 26, 2020
(Pro 26:19 KJV) So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
A recent clip being shown on the internet involved Joe Biden speaking to the troops and calling them “stupid bastards”. The short clip was supposed to show that Biden had no respect for the troops. The Biden campaign said he was joking. Although I am not a supporter of Biden, after watching the clip I have to agree with his campaign. He was obviously doing a bit of locker language in order to connect with his audience. I don’t think any of the uniformed personnel in the audience thought it was anything but funny.
The ones who should be apologizing are the people who clipped the video. They cut off his next words and the response of the soldiers and marines. I am guessing they laughed and clapped. We need to be careful in the use of humor and how we interpret it. We need to be careful in how we respond. I know that I found that with certain people I try to turn off my sense of humor completely.
So? Laughter is wonderful but not at the cost of integrity and truth.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
(Pro 25:18 KJV) A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
We are in a political season. I recently received a hit piece in the mail attacking the man I am planning on voting for on November 3. I know enough about the man and had read the letter written by his opponent to know that it was based on misrepresentation at best and outright lies at worst. There were two items he was being accused of. In an effort to look like they had done real research they included dates after the accusation. The only problem is that the first accusation was a few months after he took office and the other was over a year before he was sworn in.
As Christians I believe we are to be involved in the political process. We are to do so in a Christian way. That means we must present truth, not lies. It means we must focus on issues rather than making ad hominem attacks. It means we work hard but always to a higher standard.
So? We should be able to have an intelligent discussion without anger and hostility. Look at it as practice for your chances to give a defense of the hope that is in you (I Peter 3:15).
Saturday, October 24, 2020
(Pro 24:13 KJV) My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
The glutton in me loves this verse. The diabetic hates it. Like so many things that you read in the Bible, if you take them in isolation and read nothing else they give the wrong impression. We are to enjoy the good things. We are not to let the good things consume us. It is called moderation and timing. I often complain about how social occasions make it hard for me to control my weight. It is a smoke screen. What puts on the pounds are the extras that I add to the meal and the calories I consume when I get off by myself. No one grabs my hand and forces the food into my mouth.
So? Moderation is a spiritual quality. Moderation is hard. It is a day by day and often minute by minute struggle for me. I hope you are different.
Friday, October 23, 2020
(Pro 23:21 KJV) For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
“Drowsiness” (5124) strikes home on me lately. I always seem ready to fall asleep. The root word of this term has to do with sleep and it literally means sleeping but the figurative implication is being lazy. It is one of those chicken-and-egg questions about which comes first. Are drunks inclined to laziness or are sluggards more open to drinking. The danger being mentioned here is poverty.
This theme is not confined to the Bible. One of the books I read during the virus lockdown was obtained from Project Gutenberg and titled “Thrift”. It was published in the 19th century and one of the points he makes repeatedly is the role of alcohol in keeping the working classes poor. The man who stopped to have a few pints on the way home continued to live in poverty. The man who went straight home and started a savings account often ended up buying cottages to rent out to others.
So? Walking with Jesus reaches into how we spend out money. Pay attention. It will make a difference in the long run.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
(Pro 22:29 KJV) Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
This verse gives me a good reason not to want to be the best. I don’t want to “stand” (3320) before kings. On the few times I have received awards I tend to be irritated. Part of the irritation is based on how meaningless most awards are. Take the Academy Awards. If I read the headlines and comments correctly a movie now needs to meet a long list of affirmative action quotas to even be considered. It would seem to me that this would automatically make the award meaningless as a recognition of film excellence. It should be redefined as an award given to the HR department for meeting the quotas with people who can read a script. I remember the Student of the Month awards we used to give. It started out with each teacher picking one student and ended up with teachers calling up entire classes.
In spite of that God still wants me to give Him my best. I can also live with that. He does not give out false awards.
So? I will take the Daily Gave-It-His-Best award.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
(Pro 21:29 KJV) A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.
Where do you want to put your energy? Do you want to spend it researching ways to look good or would you prefer to spending it actually getting better? It seems like a rhetorical question but it is something we should be thinking about. There are a lot of ways I can invest my time. Some are fun. Some are nothing but work. Some are drudgery. Some are rewarding. Should I read the latest best selling novel? Actually I wonder if I should spend any time on current cultural focal points. Have you ever gone to the library and investigated the new books they are investing in? It seems like a competition to waste time.
Have you read any of the classics? Now would be a good time before they are edited to reflect modern morals. How about Christian classics, and I don’t mean Max or Stormy.
So? If you don’t lift weights your don’t get stronger. If you don’t get enough vitamin C you get scurvy. If you don’t read the map you won’t know where your are. The virus lockdown has been potentially a great time to grow.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Pro 20:5 KJV) Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
There is a bit of a promise here. It isn’t just that there is a solution to what faces you but that you can find that solution. The thing we don’t like is that it takes some effort to “draw” (1802a) it out. Sometimes we act like it isn’t obvious when it is. You may have seen the meme poster that has a lady saying, “If he already has a wife, God did not bring him to you.” Other times it might be a bit difficult. That is the bad news. The good news is that we can find the answer.
So? Keep praying, reading, meditating, asking and listening. Give it the time it needs.
Monday, October 19, 2020
(Pro 19:4 KJV) Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
Do you have any long time friends? If you are older you are probably in a position to attract gold diggers. You may be a supervisor or an executive and people will approach you based on what you can give them. It is hard to tell the difference between the sincere and the users. Older people learn to value those who liked them when they were not just a career advancing asset.
If you are younger it is a good time to establish those that will be loyal to you later. It is a time of discernment. In thirty years will you want people to know you hung around with that guy? The other side of that is will people want others to know you were their friend?
So? Be worthy and make careful choices. If you are older don’t assume people laugh at your jokes because they are funny.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
(Pro 18:3 KJV) When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
“Wicked” (7563) people exist. I have pointed that out often because Proverbs points it out often. This is reminding us that their touch is poison. They pollute everything they touch. They drag down the upright, soil the clean and compromise the truth. I think it is second nature to them. It is the reason that organizations tend to move toward godless positions. You see it in politics but you kind of expect it there. You also see it in the church. You would think the church would be vaccinated against evil people in positions of power, but it doesn’t work out that way. People who call themselves “ministers of God” and “Christian” publicly deny the resurrection and the need for regeneration.
Often these people know exactly what they are doing. They know it so well that they are experts and covering it up. An obvious place would be the cults. They use terms like “Son of God” knowing what you mean by it but they mean something totally different. We see it in education with the dumbing down of the books with a plea for meeting people where they are while talking about maintaining high standards. We see it in politics when they corrupt the word “justice.”
So? Keep your mind in gear and know the truth by reading and listening. Understand that even nice people can be serving Satan because they know you can catch more flies with sugar than with salt.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
(Pro 17:14 KJV) The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
Remember the potato chip commercial that said, “I bet you can’t eat just one.” Since there is no time limit it is a good bet. You might eat one and have another six months later and they could say, “See. I told you so.” But I don’t think that is what they were talking about. There are many things in life that we have a hard time resisting. Here the emphasis is on anger and the things that go with it like resentment and revenge.
The principle applies to other areas of life. We all have weaknesses and bad habits. We know that the biggest weakness is that first violation. After that we have a good excuse to keep going.
So? Don’t let down your guard when it comes to your weakness. I make it a habit not to go down the aisle with all the salty snacks. The cookie section is no problem but keep me away from the chips. If that isn’t enough warning then think about how everyone else in your family will indulge if you bring some home.
Friday, October 16, 2020
(Pro 16:29 KJV) A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
I have always thought of the expectation to avoid violence to be for our benefit. I am sure it is but turning the other cheek rather than flaring up is also important in the example it sets for others. If we are the kind of person that flies off the handle frequently it is going to have an effect on the person watching us. We are leading, but in the wrong direction. And think of our children. Here it mentions “neighbor” (7453) and that is certainly important, but what about the people in our own home or at church that are watching us.
So? We are called to be examples. It may effect our eternal destination but we need to be aware that it also will influence others.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
(Pro 15:23 KJV) A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
The “timely” (6256) “word” (1697) of the NASB is probably more accurate than the “word in due season” of the KJV but the latter is more poetic. There is a season for things to be said. Like humor, timing is important in passing on truth. Face it. Most people are not ready or willing to hear anything that goes against their preconceived notions. I would assume that applies to us.
So? Be alert for the right time to share about salvation. Now is a good time to share about the hope we have and our lack of fear concerning the virus going around. If you don’t have a lack of fear maybe it is time for a word to you.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
(Pro 14:10 KJV) The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
Sharing is wonderful. It just isn’t always possible. It might be a problem of timing. We are not always with people we can share with. It might be a problem of need to know. I know that I don’t share every pain or happiness I experience. That may be just me. We are all different. I would also assume that it might be good for us to keep our “bitterness” (4787a) to ourselves. If we are healthy it will fade in time. If it keeps festering it might be time to share it.
I am an introvert. I find that sharing with the Lord is usually enough to get me through a hard time. I find that if I spend time in worship and thanksgiving my view of life changes. For instance think about the current fear over a virus. We can join in the fear. We can panic and worry. We can also use it as an opportunity to share with people why we don’t fear and do it without being judgmental. We can share what I Peter 3:15 calls “the hope that is in us”.
So? Do you want to be one of those people who takes the downers of life and uses them to encourage others or do you want to drag others down with you. You choice will effect your life and those around you.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
(Pro 13:18 KJV) Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
The KJV talks about “instruction” which is an important point but the more accurate translation is the “discipline” (4148) of the NASB. In trying to figure out how this came together I want to something called, the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. In the quotation musar is a derivative of yasar.
“From the usage and parallels in the OT, one must conclude that yasar and musar denote correction which results in education.” TWOT, volume 1, page 387We must be open to learning and growing through that learning. I think part of the point being made is that learning is not always fun, easy or appreciated. The picture I get would be summed up in the words of that old song, School Days, which goes “learned to the tune of a hickory stick.”
So? God may be forced to teach us the hard way if we refuse to learn or listen. Welcome it.
Monday, October 12, 2020
(Pro 12:15 KJV) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
One of the early titles for the church was the “way” (1870). I don’t know if there is any documentation of how this evolved. It may have come from Jesus’ statement,
(Joh 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.It indicated that life had changed. No longer could we do our own thing. No longer could we follow mindlessly after the gurus of our culture. No more could we go forward without thinking. Now we had a path laid out for us, a path outlined by Jesus and reflected in the scriptures.
So? Wisdom is antithetical to foolishness. It chooses what Robert Frost labeled the “one less traveled”.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
(Pro 11:26 KJV) He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
We need to understand that the concept of a fair profit for your work is well grounded in scripture. There are some people who think they should get without paying. There are others who think you should give without thought of reimbursement. There are times when that would be the case but those are the exception not the rule.
The important idea is “fair” profit. If you look back over the verses before this it explains that the righteous person operates a certain way and is rewarded for it. We can’t demand the reward but we are responsible for our motives and priorities.
So? Share when it is appropriate but always be willing to give a fair deal. That includes expecting others to pay for what they get.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
(Pro 10:27 KJV) The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
This is a good day to be reminded of the “fear” (3374) of the Lord. As I write we are looking at violence in the streets and the potential for all kinds of cheating in the coming election. It is very discouraging to be living in interesting times. It is also very easy to lose the foundation that puts things in perspective.
There are so many things that I can do nothing about. There are some things I can do. In all of them I need to remember whom I fear. I do not fear political chaos. I do not fear the forces of evil all around us. I remember that the liberty I know is a blip in history. I grab hold of my foundation, my fear of Almighty God. With a firm grip on that I face the day and get on with life.
So? Does that mean I hide and hope? No it means I live an upright life and walk in righteousness. It means I influence the world I touch and trust in the promises of God. Forward.
Friday, October 9, 2020
(Pro 9:3 KJV) She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
Good news, the buffet is still open. It will be open when you get there. More good news, there will be plenty of seating. Too often we ignore what is available. I imagine you have had the experience of seeing someone panhandling in front of a fast food joint and on the door is a big sign saying, “Help wanted.” God’s wisdom is like that. Unfortunately we are too often like the beggar.
Humans are funny creatures. I am always amazed when people with a closet full of clothes say they have nothing to wear. Or how about the person who has shelves of food who believes they need to go out to eat. In the same way, God offers a wisdom buffet.
So? Wisdom is something you can’t force on someone. Don’t be that someone. Partake.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
(Pro 8:31 KJV) Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
Why did God create the universe? Even more specific, why did God create man? I have heard a lot of different ideas. Here it implies that God enjoys us. Yes, I know it is Wisdom speaking but the implication is there.
Does God enjoy our rebellion and sin? Obviously not but keep in mind there are still those who repent and walk in righteousness and seek out His fellowship. That is what worship involves. I think it is the primary purpose of prayer. God rejoices when we commune with Him.
So? Make God’s day. If you look around and see nothing but sin and selfishness then it is up to you to provide that glimmer that may keep Him from turning the earth into a cinder. He promised not to flood us again. I don’t think that applies to lightning or asteroids.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
(Pro 7:14 KJV) I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
As I read some of the commentaries on this passage I see repeated reference to the largess after the sacrifice is made. Often there is a lot of prime beef left over for the use of the Levites and the one making the offering. The insinuation is that this woman had made her ritual sacrifice knowing that she would be ready to meet this young man and offer him a feast. It would seem that her motives might not have been pure.
As we follow the story it becomes clear that her motives were carnal. She is hoping to take what she kept after the ritual to prepare a meal for seduction of the fool. You will notice that he walks into it and the outcome is tragic.
So? Good deals and fun activities are not always the way to go not matter how much they seem to offer. If the person giving the party has evil in their heart you are in for a potentially destructive evening.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
(Pro 6:1 KJV) My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
Today I began reading toward the end of the chapter and looped around to verse one. What struck me was how Solomon was going down a list of behaviors that can ruin your life. I started reading about adultery and then looped back to misuse of credit. There are so many things that we can do that seem gratifying at the moment. We can talk ourselves into them. We can know that they are not usually a good idea but manage to convince ourselves that we are smarter than the average bear and we are different.
It doesn’t work that way. We may be smarter but that does not mean we are smart enough. I remember a three year old that would come into Sunday School, run across the room, yell, “Spiderman” and throw himself against the wall. He did this week after week. I noticed right away that week after week he fell off the wall. I don’t remember how long it took for him to realize it wasn’t going to work for him.
So? Common sense requires a knowledge of life and eternity. We have the resources. We have been warned. Application is necessary for best results. Actually it is necessary for any results.
Monday, October 5, 2020
(Pro 5:4 KJV) But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
The concern here is about the “end” (319), about both endings. It is about what eventually happens to the person with the smooth lies. It is also about the person who listens to the smooth lies, the smooth listener. Someone has to listen. Your senile grandfather may have mumbled to himself a lot. You may know someone who talks all the time even when no one is listening. That is not a threat. What is destructive is the sweet talk that gets listened to.
You know about things that sound too good to be true. When you are hearing what works for you it might be a warning about what you are hearing.
So? What we listen to works its way into our inner thinking. Just as you would avoid walking on icy steps you should also avoid slick talkers.